‚ÄúThis weekend, CNN‚Äôs Jake Trapper made the gloomy proclamation that, ‚ÄėChristmas is probably not gonna be possible‚Äô this year. I have news for him ‚ÄĒ Christmas is going to be celebrated by millions and millions of people around the world,‚ÄĚ Graham wrote.
‚ÄúThe reason is that Christmas is not about gatherings and festivities, but it‚Äôs about Jesus Christ. It is about God GIVING His Son ‚ÄĒ sending Him to earth to save us from our sins. As Christians, we celebrate that ‚ÄėGod so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.'‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThis is what Christmas is about ‚ÄĒ and even COVID doesn‚Äôt change that! Christmas celebrations may not be exactly the same this year, but for Christians, Christmas is in your heart,‚ÄĚ he wrote. ...
Franklin Graham has spoken the truth I never thought I'd hear.
I am so looking forward to Christmas, and the annual debate.
But professing Christians who are unregenerate will always argue with scripture, and those who promote scripture. In the UK, this is especially true of the Anglican soft-peddlers and Charismatic BBQ types. Also true of the mixed-up Methodists, and the no communion, no baptism, Salvation Army types. Also true of the United Reformed types, united with the ecumenical movement and RCC. Also true of the cults like Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses and Christadelphians. Oh and a whole host of others who, not having the Spirit, will never understand scripture, nor will they obey the word of God, due to their false assumption that God doesn't want them to do anything in this world lest it smacks of works salvation, which thing they don't even understand what the phrase means.
Mike wrote: Ran into more irony recently. As we know, the Chinese virus has resulted in financial boon for China. Walmart has oodles of non-medical purpose life saving masks and hand sanitizers made in China. This week I found toilet paper made in China. Designed in the US. (like that must have been complicated.) Just in time for the next panic buy. If someone were to write a fiction story of all this stuff, it would be rejected as not believable.
I ordered a small audio lead off Amazon. It was ¬£1.99 including postage. When it hadn't arrived within a week, I checked the order over, and discovered that it was coming all the way from China.
Frank wrote: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV (18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. What a wonderful verse to meditate on. Thanks fellow Pilgrim.
It is a remarkable verse, fellow pilgrim. And it can be applied in every situation, no matter what is happening. I know someone for whom the verse means a lot, and she lives a life of continual thanksgiving; it is very noticeable, and a most wonderful thing to behold, when compared to the negativity of most. The effect on myself is most edifying, and I seek to apply the exhortation every day.
Frank wrote: Brother, I understand and agree with your thought. If God is all loving and sovereign, then we can thank Him for any circumstances we are put through. A perfect example is the Apostle Paul praised the Lord regardless of his circumstances and his suffering. Romans 8:28 ‚ÄúAnd we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.‚ÄĚ 1 Peter 3:17 ‚ÄúFor it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.‚ÄĚ I have personally not conquered the above.
Amen brother! I realise how deep this could go, and I prefer the simplicity that is in Christ. I have one exhortation that I remind myself of continually, and if I could only do this one thing without wavering, it would make me a very happy man.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV (18)¬† In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
It reminded me of a woman I read about once, whom the Lord seemed to have gotten into a position of peaceful resignation, and to all intents and purposes she seemed to be able to give thanks to God, not only in all circumstances, but even for them, seeing every thing as an expression of God's love to her.
1 John 4:7-16 KJV (7)¬† Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. (8)¬† He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (9)¬† In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10)¬† Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (11)¬† Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (12)¬† No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. (13)¬† Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. (14)¬† And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. (15)¬† Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (16)¬† And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
I wonder if he would have said that God is still in charge if he had not got out of the woods. It's like thanking God for journeying mercies if you get there safely, but leaving him out in the cold if you have a blowout or worse.
Watcher wrote: I never saw flu act like this before.
In the UK, Watcher, flu season lasts only a couple of months normally.
This virus has been going for about a year now and is showing no signs of going away.
Here, we eased off lockdown and discovered that the virus took off again, and some of our hospitals were overrun. This could go on indefinitely, until the world population reduces by half. That would save a third world war with all its mess.
BTW, the reason why hospitals are so important at this time, is because the virus can prevent people from breathing, and the only hope for them is to put them on a ventilator in a hospital. And once the hospital ventilators are all taken up, there is no hope for the rest who are seeking admission. It is a horrible way to die.
In England, many folks did not take this pandemic seriously, and now they are on an even bigger lockdown. The Scots too have had to rethink the situation. There is a claim that vaccines are nearly ready, but time will tell how effective they will be.
In conclusion, I would say that the Holy Spirit led the early church into something better than is found in countries all over the world.
This something is produced by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of God's people. He has written in their hearts the law of love, and they love by their new nature not by their adamic nature.
They recognise that all who are born again are such because of God's sovereign grace, and therefore unless they are backslidden they will love every believer, without respect of persons, simply because God loves them.
The old covenant principles of caring and sharing with others of God's people, if and when they are in need, are carried forward into the new covenant, not to gain merit, but on account of God's Spirit dwelling within each believer who now becomes a temple of the Holy Ghost.
I know of several Christian communities, and each one is very industrious, with no shirking or laziness tolerated, unlike countries where a political ideology is entertained. This alone is sufficient to show that God's way is far better than any of mans' ways.
When Christians stick to God's blueprint, there should be no Christian anywhere in the world who is suffering for lack of help. ______________
I must away and get ready for meeting shortly. Don't forget the other part of the exhortation, brother. Later.....
Hebrews 10:24-27 KJV (24)¬† And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25)¬† Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (26)¬† For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27)¬† But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
What I'm saying, Sister B, is that what happened at Pentecost was no legalistic thing, as though these brand new Christians were putting themselves under a whole new set of rules and regulations. No, they had become a new creature in Christ Jesus; it was a work of the Holy Spirit. They were transformed by God. If they had a love, care and compassion, as Jewish believers under the law, they now had the same thing greatly enhanced under grace, being filled with the Spirit and having a new heart, so that God led them into walking in his ways more perfectly, as the prophet described.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 KJV (26)¬† A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (27)¬† And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
This was no experiment, it was God at work.
Acts 2:45 KJV (45)¬† And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Acts 4:32 KJV (32)¬† And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
I do not believe that the Christians at Jerusalem sat down and formulated their ideas into a 'system' or a 'theological concept'. Rather, the Holy Spirit filled them all (which was a new thing) and they all submitted themselves to the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. cf. Acts 2:42.
1 John 3:14 KJV (14)¬† We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
Even without the teaching on it, which came much later, the Jerusalem church nonetheless, with love for others in their company, being born again and having passed from death to life, they ensured that every one had sustenance and assistance when needed. They knew this, from the OT scriptures which they heard read in the synagogue every sabbath. But now, the law of God was greatly enhanced in their illuminated minds, and it was no longer a slavish obedience, but the reality of a changed heart, even a new heart.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 KJV (26)¬† A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Also read v27.
To be continued tomorrow, although I have a 4hr meeting to chair.
I said that the Herrnhut experience was an aside, but most relevant because it was a product of God's providence and the working of the Holy Spirit in power.
In God's providence, Christians of all stripes who were being persecuted, arrived at Herrnhut, seeking sanctuary. Reformed, Baptists, Brethren, and so on, were all helped by Von Zinzendorf, who allowed them to live on his land.
These were all zealous Christians, and it was not long before arguments broke out. Please take note of that. And please take note of what happened when the Spirit of God moved through the meeting, as described in the last post.
The Spirit of God always fills with love, those whom he fills. It is a good test, you can apply it to anyone.
Note also that these Christians did not sit back and sponge off of Zinzendorf. They attended to spiritual life and they attended to their day to day life, working and ensuring that all were catered for, including any widows, orphans, or those who were sick. It was the Spirit who produced this in them, which is why it is worth comparing them with the early church at Jerusalem. I believe Herrnhut is a great example of what happens when the Spirit of God is active.
[On August 13, 1727, at a baptism and communion service, the Holy Spirit moved through the room. Differences dissolved. All embraced one another in forgiveness and a spirit of love. Christ became central to their thinking. They established a twenty-four hour around-the-clock prayer vigil which lasted one hundred years. The fervent prayers resulted in the sending out of missionaries to many lands--the first Protestant missions outside Europe and North America. Thus Herrnhut reached out and touched other lands. Moravians influenced John and Charles Wesley. Moravian missionary zeal prompted William Carey's efforts to reach India for Christ. "See what these Moravians have done," he said in his appeal to have missionaries commissioned. Herrnhut was a busy and industrious place. Spinning, weaving, carpentry, pottery, farming and missionary training went on unceasingly. Each evening Zinzendorf selected a scripture to be the watchword for the next day. Often he wrote a hymn to accompany the word. Saturdays and Sundays were days of prayer and worship. Almost every day, each band met to exhort, reprove and pray for one another. Single women and single men lived in separate buildings. In a special home, the children of missionaries were cared for.]