Saturday, February 27, 2010

Why I Do What I Do

please copy/paste this link to read a great article defending Biblical Counseling! (or click on the title of this post which will take you there!

Help Haiti Benefit Concert, watch live online tonight

Help Haiti February 27th - from Compassion International on Vimeo.

Help Haiti February 27th - from Compassion International on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Will You Stand Alone???

We, as believers, are called to proclaim and stand for truth in our generation, in our communities, and in our churches. 1 Tim 3:15 refers to the church as the ‘pillar and foundation of truth’: “….the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” We are also to call others to join us in building their lives on the foundation of truth….everything is to be built upon the truth of God! Not on the wisdom of the world, but on Truth.
Matthew 7:24: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
This requires upholding and proclaiming changeless truth that God has revealed to us in His Word.

We must be alert to the teachings out there (even and especially in Christian circles) that contradict truth. Humanistic teachings abound, and we must use discernment, filtering everything we hear through Scripture. Many teachings have the appearance of godliness, using tricky terminology or catch-phrases and common titles that gain our trust, before we dig deeper to find out where they are rooted. For example, a person can call themselves a “counselor”, and answer “yes” if asked “do you believe in the sufficiency of Scripture”….but if you dig a little deeper to see what their education and approach is, you might be shocked to discover they are not coming from a Biblical standpoint at all. Perhaps they engage in unbiblical practices such as guided imagery, hypnosis, contemplative prayer, and mysticism. These things are often a part of what a person might title ‘Christian counseling’,‘spiritual formation’, ‘spiritual direction’, ‘biblical counseling’ and other titles these days, but cannot be supported by Scripture. We have to check further to discover what kind of teaching an individual might be bringing in to our churches, because we are the pillar and foundation of truth! We can’t let ourselves be fooled by titles or catch-phrases that only cover up what is actually unbiblical.

In 1 Tim 6:20, Paul admonishes Timothy to ‘guard what has been entrusted’ to his care. Believers must guard the truth, the Word of God, and be very wary of any of man’s philosophies and theories that are not rooted in the Word. Our job is to promote and protect the truth. There is a positive and negative side to looking after the truth of God. The positive side is that we do whatever it takes to promote it because we know it has the power to change lives. The negative side is that we must do whatever it takes to protect it, even if it means standing alone. Are we willing to stand alone for truth’s sake?

We have to remember that teaching of truth comes with a cost. Paul also tells Timothy that God-breathed Scripture corrects error, and it is useful for rebuking as well as encouraging. Do you suppose that often it’s when a person feels compelled to stand against error that the truth actually shines brightest?? I believe so.

We should be prepared to suffer for the truth. 2 Tim 1:8-11: “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.”

When we take a stand for the truth we need to be prepared for and even expect to be misunderstood and rejected. We need to be ready to suffer for it and we should never be ashamed of it even when it costs us.

People WILL misunderstand us and even at times get annoyed if the truth is being promoted it all its fullness! However we must remain patient and loving towards those who oppose us. Yes, we should proclaim the truth with courage, confidence, clarity and certainty! But when doing that causes people to come back at us with hostile words or even actions, we should respond with patience, kindness and gentleness. We should respond lovingly! Here's how Paul advises young Timothy:
2 Timothy 2:23-26:” Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

So then it's God's desire that everyone hears the truth and he has chosen the church to be the pillar and foundation of the truth! Therefore we - as the church - should make sure the truth is not contradicted and we should be willing to suffer for the truth.

Jesus said; "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

Monday, February 8, 2010

Grab on!!

Touching the Hem of His Garment:

As I did my homework in a new Bible Study I am leading right now (Breaking Free, The Journey, The Stories, by Beth Moore…the updated version of the original Breaking Free)…..I was so struck by something she said in the week 2 video.

Beth was talking about the woman in Luke 8:40-48; Matthew 9:18-26; and Mark 5:21-43. She gave us a visual about Jesus walking through the crowd of people and how He would have been walking and weaving through the crowd. She teaches that in Luke, the word for ‘edge’ translates as ‘tassels’, the kind the Israelites wore on the 4 corners of their garments.

When I envisioned this verse in the past, I pictured the woman having to get down to the ground in the midst of a thick crowd to touch the hem, meaning the bottom of his tunic that would be at ground level. I don’t know why I conjured it up that way, other than artwork I have seen so many times that pictures this woman nearly laying on the ground and striving to reach forward from behind Him as he nearly got away from her grasp. This is an inaccurate picture!! This is huge for me, and here’s why:

In picturing it the way I just described, it seems to indicate a need to strive and work hard to reach out for help from Jesus. That He may be just brushing by, and I’d better try to grab on while I have the chance, before He passes me by. He said her faith had healed her…but picturing her working hard at grabbing his tassels would then also mean she was working hard at having faith to believe she could be healed just by touching His garment.
There’s a problem here – do you see it??

Picture it this way instead. This woman believed that Jesus had divine power to heal her. She was right there in that crowd, where He was completely accessible to her! She did not have to strive and crawl on the ground to touch Him ….. He was right there within her reach and all she had to do was reach forward and grab that tassel. No striving, no mustering up the faith to believe. He was right there, and she grabbed on!

Isn’t that the way it is for us, too?? We do not have to work hard to find Him. He is right here. He is completely accessible for our healing. Even in a crowd, we do not have to compete for His healing. He avails Himself to all of us. No amount of mustering it up will give us ‘more faith’. We choose to believe even if we don’t feel it. The woman was not healed because of something SHE did. She was healed because Jesus is our healer, and she had put her faith and trust in Him. That is where our healing is, too. Grab on!