Dose of Truth
by Brent Barnett
When Jesus began His public ministry, He quoted from Isaiah 61:1 which says, "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners." This is why our Lord came, to deal with the hearts of mankind (Isaiah 29:13) by redeeming their souls from eternal hell (John 3:16-17) and to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus Christ was anointed by God to bring the gospel to those in need, to those mired in sin, and to those ( Click for more )
In ancient Greece, every year before and after the Olympic games were held, the Isthmian games took place in the city of Corinth. Those who won would receive a wreath made out of pine. No doubt those who participated in these games trained rigidly as the athletes of our day do for the Olympics. It takes strict discipline, sound eating habits, rigid training programs, a burning desire to win, and a persevering commitment to the task to prepare for an athletic event of this caliber. Those who compete at this level run to win, and in order to win, they must discipline their bodies. ( Click for more )
There are churches which use Acts 2:38 to build an entire case that baptism is required for salvation. It says, "Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’" If we knew nothing about the rest of the New Testament, we might read this verse and think that it is repentance and baptism which are necessary for forgiveness. We might think also that baptism is required in order to receive the Holy Spirit. Neither of these beliefs, however, are ( Click for more )
Can God heal? Yes. Does God heal? Absolutely. Jesus healed many as a part of His earthly ministry. He still works miracles at times, some of which include miraculous physical healing. But Jesus didn’t heal all sick people. Why? Because it wasn’t His primary mission and purpose. He came to save the souls of sinners, not to merely make their present life more comfortable (Mark 2:17). Surely, He cared for their needs, hurts, ailments, and discomforts. But He did not heal every physical ailment present on the earth. In fact, though there is nothing recorded in Scripture ( Click for more )
Preaching has come to take on so many various forms that it is confusing to know what makes good preaching anymore. Is it that a person is entertaining, easy to listen to, can quote from various human authors, has great multimedia integration, or what? The only way to know what defines God-honoring preaching is to look at the Scripture. Here are 20 elements from the Scripture as to what defines preaching that we should desire to practice and/or listen to:
1. Biblical preaching encourages the listeners to have open Bibles, to turn to Scripture passages, to make notes in their ( Click for more )
The issue of eternal security is one in which professing Christians hold a wide variety of viewpoints. Some say that salvation is something we can get and then give away by wrong behavior and then get yet again if we turn back to Christ. Another viewpoint suggests that we cannot ever know for sure if we are saved or not because this is a mystery of the Scripture that cannot be solved. Others believe that once saved, always saved. Which viewpoint is correct? Can we answer this question from the Scripture or is Scripture silent on the issue? Does it even matter? May I make the assertion ( Click for more )
I have written much before on why God allows suffering on the part of His faithful followers and how we can be sanctified through those times of trial. Indeed, tough times do come to people who try to live in a way pleasing to God (John 16:33). Yet the flip side of the question of why bad things happen to good people is why do good things happen to bad people? And unless we remember that ultimate justice hangs in the balance of Christ’s judgment and eternal consequences, we will be prone to start envying the seeming prosperity of the wicked. This can be an effective snag of ( Click for more )
It is probably best to set a regular time for prayer each day, preferably before the daily grind. Yet this is not a Biblical requirement, and it should not become legalistic. We already saw how Jesus prayed at all different hours of the day, depending upon the circumstances. David also prayed at nearly every time throughout the day. The important thing is that prayer happens. The goal is that we isolate ourselves from the daily grind and routine and get to a place of quiet. There we can concentrate and let go so we can listen to what the Lord wants to ( Click for more )
"This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme."
-1 Timothy 1:18-20
Timothy had been exhorted through prophecy earlier on to fight the good fight. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, ( Click for more )
In a day and age where false teaching abounds more and more, discernment is something that God’s people need more than ever. Now this idea of things going from bad to worse in terms of the propagation of lies and half-truths is not mere rhetoric but Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:13 says, "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." The reality is that evil men (and women) and impostors abound. They deceive the masses because they look like the real deal, but, of course, they are fakes. Even they themselves are deceived such ( Click for more )
If there is a two word phrase that can best summarize our culture, quiet desperation might be it (though I sense the desperation getting louder). There is a certain internal panic that people have that something is going to go terribly wrong and that there is going to be nothing that they can do to fix it. They distract themselves with celebrity news, sports, entertainment, politics, and so on, neglecting the spiritual void within themselves. Times of trial tend to move people to seek God, but such has been often temporary, sadly too often due to the church not being what it should ( Click for more )
There is a severe malady that has affected much of the church today. The funny thing is that the church is almost proud of its error, glorying in its shame. This is very sad. The spiritual illness I am speaking of affects both those inside of the church and those outside. What is missing is authenticity, being real, and being discerningly transparent and vulnerable. Because the church has degraded into a place where we must look like we have it all together, like we have no doubts, like we have no struggles, and where we must perform rather than be, we have lost much. Churches go ( Click for more )
Have you ever gotten to the point in your life when, due to your own personal difficulties or perhaps due to the stresses of others around you, you wonder in the depths of your heart why God allows certain things to happen? When trials come, sometimes one after the other, why doesn’t He intervene and stop them? After all, as the classic atheist objection goes, if God is perfectly loving and all-powerful, why do we still have pain, suffering, and evil in the world? Job was a man just like us, and he suffered greatly, losing belongings, children, the support of his wife, the trust ( Click for more )
James 4:13-16 says, "Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil." I was once at a church where they made available their 5,10, and 15 year plans. They had ( Click for more )
It is easy for us to lose heart, to lose focus, and to get off track in our spiritual lives. It is not easy to make time to be with our Lord and to open His Word. It is not easy to take in Biblical teaching. Satan has a way of deluding us and distracting us, even when we are aware that we are being attacked. By faith, we must stand firm, resist him, and walk according to the Word and by the Spirit. One of Satan’s greatest ploys is to make things more complex than they really are. After all, the gospel is very, very simple such that even a young child can understand it. ( Click for more )
"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all."
-1 Timothy 1:15
A danger that the church can sometimes fall into is the "holy huddle" syndrome. There can be an ignoring or even a disdain toward visitors or to those in need of Christ in the community. It is easy to be deceived into a false sense of comfort in being in a body of Christ where the Word is being taught and where we feel like we are growing in our faith. Satan can use these times of ( Click for more )
Perhaps there has been a time in your life (probably more than one) in which you came to wonder why God led you to do something or to go somewhere. You were sure that God’s hand was involved in directing you one way, and yet things only seemed to end up going poorly. Perhaps you encountered a lot of conflict and struggle and experienced a lack of smooth sailing, to say the least. If you can at all relate to this dilemma, the story of Joseph is particularly for you.
Joseph didn’t do anything wrong to be the preferred child of his father. That was his father’s ( Click for more )
There is a serious misconception that is becoming increasingly widely held within evangelical circles which teaches that, as believers, we have the right on this earth to have freedom from sickness, financial struggle, and, in fact, struggle and suffering of almost any kind and any nature. This position and line of thinking is so contrary to the full counsel of Scripture that I can only marvel at how and why followers of Christ would believe it. Yet they do, having been deceived. It is true that in Christ we have every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3) and the privilege of being ( Click for more )
Sometimes we as believers separate the "sacred" from the "secular" in terms of jobs, careers, and callings. In other words, sometimes we tend to develop a thought process that sees only what pastors, counselors, and missionaries do as being ministry or service for the kingdom, whereas we might view the person who goes to work from 9 to 5 in the secular workplace as not also being a minister and servant of God. Sometimes it is easy to feel like we cannot worship God while we are delivering newspapers, changing diapers, selling real estate, answering phones, or on ( Click for more )
How we handle our finances is important, and it reflects where our hearts and priorities are at. Here are seven Scriptural principles to guide us as we seek to honor God’s command to His church to give of what we have been given.
First of all, our giving should be free. Jesus said in Matthew 10:8, “Freely you received, freely give.” All that we have is from God, and He commands us to give freely. We ought not to expect something in return as if we are looking for approval or honor before men, but simply because we have the privilege of being able to give. ( Click for more )
2 Peter 3:18 says, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." A great many churches are satisfied with drawing as many people as they can through the doors, typically appealing to the flesh rather than relying upon Christ. They are able to get a good amount of people to make some kind of profession to follow Christ at some point and in some way. Rarely, however, are many of those who profess Christ brought to any degree of Biblical maturity as far as knowing Christ. They may be fast-tracked into finding their spiritual gifts or into ( Click for more )
One of the most frustrating but necessary lessons that we each must learn in our Christian walks is that life is not fair but God is. In order to make sense of the very real prosperity and ease that the wicked can and do experience, we must come to have an eternal perspective. Surely, we have all sensed frustration and maybe even grew bitter for a time when we saw someone get away with wrong. How irritating it is when justice is not served and the righteous suffer when in fact it should have been the wicked who were dealt the blow of justice. Yet, it is not always the case that in ( Click for more )
There is a verse that I have shared with others many times in my life, and I have taken it to heart more times than I can count. Sometimes I fear that the sharing of this particular Scripture becomes cliché or untactful simply because of the prevalence of its use. However, Scripture never goes out of style, and its power is needed regularly, even day to day and moment by moment. This is a verse we must know, we must believe, and we must never forget. If we actually believe it, it can do wonders for our walk with the Lord. The Scripture I am referring to is Romans 8:28 which ( Click for more )
Deuteronomy 3:22 says, "Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you." Just after the king of Sihon and the king of Og were defeated by the Israelites, Moses instructed Joshua to have no fear when he led the people into the promised land. Just as God had given victory to the nation under Moses, so, too, He would give victory to Israel under Joshua if only Israel would trust and obey. We are not fighting literal kings and literal armies, though we do fight the spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). Our call is not to fear evil or cower before ( Click for more )
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." The command to trust means to put one’s confidence in, to be bold, to feel secure, and to rest easy in the Lord. God desires that we put our full hope in Him, that we turn to Him for strength, and that we rest safe knowing that His heart toward us is good. He does allow distress into our lives, but difficulties are our chance to let God work through our hearts to praise Him through unshaken ( Click for more )
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