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Archive for February, 2014

 

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To the Praise of His Glory
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:5-6)

 

Theologians of great ability and unquestioned sincerity have argued the meaning of predestination for centuries. Since the question involves the eternal, inscrutable counsels of the infinite Creator, it is evidently impossible for finite humans to comprehend its full meaning. But we don’t have to understand it before we can rejoice in its truth. The Scriptures (especially our text) teach that the purpose of God’s predestinating work is that we might glorify Him and His amazing grace! We have been predestinated to become adopted sons of God, “to the praise of the glory of his grace.”

 

Then it is said that we have been predestinated to a great inheritance, in order “that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (v. 12). We have been “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” and, again, this is all “unto the praise of his glory” (vv. 13-14).

 

Note also that He has “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself” (v. 5). “We have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (v. 11). We have also been predestinated “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29)—predestinated unto eternal holiness, sonship, heirship, and Christlikeness! Surely such gifts are cause enough for us to praise eternally the glory of His grace.

 

That is, indeed, what we shall do in the ages to come. “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21). And since we are to be testifying to the praise of the glory of His grace throughout all ages, it behooves us to do so now as well. HMM

 February 23, 2014

http://www.icr.org/article/7822/

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CHEMAREA -de Lucica Boltasu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F45n6vZNioo

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How Much Mercy Do You Need?

CC Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

Just in case you were concerned that all this talk of mercy and justice was only an Old Testament concept; today I share the words of Jesus.  Matthew records Jesus’ scolding words in Matthew 23.  If you are afraid to come to Jesus because of some sin you carry, if you have never accepted the amazing gift of God’s grace and mercy that Jesus embodies, if you think becoming a follower of Christ is all about following rules, keep in mind the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 23 are not for the “sinner.”  Jesus never spoke harshly to a sinner.  God didn’t sacrifice His only Son to lord your sin over you or simply for the pleasure of reminding you how wrong you are.

Too Weary to Love

Jesus’ words in this passage are for those who claim His name.  Jesus’ words do sting, only because God wants His followers to be HIS ambassadors, not free agents who claim His name.  The call of the Christian is not to make our own rules.  The call of Jesus is not to disregard the rules.  The call of Jesus is to give the rules the proper weight.

A few days ago, in the post, Accept No Substitutions I shared my real-life experience with the concept Jesus was trying to get across.  As I read this passage, it stings my heart because I’m content to do my best at what I’m good at doing.  I will, in essence, give a tithe of my spices; for me that’s easy.  Jesus is saying that isn’t enough.

When I look at the call to be merciful, just and loyal, it’s then I realize I underestimate my need for God’s mercy.  How can I possibly be merciful to others, if I don’t completely understand the magnitude of God’s mercy to me?    How can I act justly if I see others as different from me in our need for a Savior?

Seeking God’s Mercy

This month as I’ve read about and pondered the notion of justice and mercy I’ve come to realize how my heart harnesses and stifles God’s goodness.  I’ll admit, I need salvation.  I’ll admit, I need grace.  I’m reluctant to admit I need mercy. Remember, mercy is not getting the punishment you deserve.  If I’m reluctant to admit I need mercy, I’m not very likely to act in mercy toward others.

Have you asked God for His mercy?  How much do you think you need?  A few weeks ago, I would have shrugged at both of those questions.  I’ve come to realize I need an infinite supply of His mercy.  I can follow the rules good enough to be accepted by those around me, but I need a huge, daily shot of God’s mercy; more than I ever realized, to be truly obedient.  I need God’s mercy not only to be obedient in my motives and actions, but also to make sense of the world around me.

Lamentations 3 is one of my favorite chapters.  I looked at it differently today.  Life is a constant barrage of consequences, inconvenience, suffering and in some cases pain.  In the middle of all of that, regardless of the situation, God offers new mercy each morning.

For what?  To make it through the day.  Each day, I need to rely on God’s mercy for the events of the day.  I need God’s mercy; not for some Herculean task but simply to make it through the day.  I need mercy.

How about you?

Father, thank you for your infinite mercy.  Thank you for giving it freely.  Help me truly understand your desire, not for robotic obedience, to act in justice and mercy and to seek a deeper relationship with You.

By • February 14, 2014 

Reblogged from http://blog.febc.org/faith/much-mercy-need

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ATAT DE MARE E IUBIREA de LUCICA BOLTASU

recita Marius Nicolae Motora

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv7nBBB4nxA&list=PL6F34404892AE1B4A

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The Power of Love

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

The term “love” brings up all sorts of ideas in our widely mixed Western world. The media tend to picture love with desire and feelings and most often promote an equation of love with lovemaking—especially when love is the result of chemistry that bursts into passionate magic. Most of today’s thriving online matchmaking services market their brand of “happily ever after” using personality tests or compatibility pairing—and all of them brag about their success rates.

Speed-dating services and companies like It’s Just Lunch—along with Zoosk, OurTime, ChristianMingle, SingleParentMeet.com, and a host of others—promise to find love for you with “that special someone.” eHarmony alone has more than 15 million members and Match.com has more than 21 million.1 One reliable source estimates that the dating industry brings in over one billion dollars in revenue each year in the U.S. alone, and the average client spends well over two hundred dollars per year to find the “right person.”1

Reasonable, you might say, if real love is found.

It is interesting to note, however, that although the Bible does validate physical lovemaking in marriage as the purpose and design of the Creator, the concept of recreational sex outside of marriage is never promoted in Scripture—all promiscuous, premarital, and extramarital sex is strictly forbidden. Biblical love is based on a much different premise.

Perhaps the easiest way to understand the focus that God requires in a love relationship (both in marriage and in friendship) is to note the play on words in the interaction between the Lord Jesus and Peter after the resurrection. The apostles met with the Lord on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus asked Peter if he “loved” Him. Jesus used the word agapao.2 Peter responded with phileo. The interchange in John 21:15- 17 runs like this:

Jesus: “Do you LOVE Me?”
Peter: “Yes, Lord, You know I LIKE You.”
Jesus: “Feed My lambs.”

Jesus: “Do you LOVE Me?”
Peter: “Yes, Lord, You know I LIKE You.”
Jesus: “Tend My sheep.”

Jesus: “Do you LIKE Me?”
Peter: “You know that I LIKE You!”
Jesus: “Feed My sheep.”

These two words are at the heart of the human problem. God’s love—the love that God exercised when He “gave His only begotten Son”—was agape love.3 That kind of love is unilateral. That kind of love is a promise from the giver to the receiver with a mental commitment to continue that love without regard to circumstances, feelings, or reciprocation. When reciprocated, agape love produces a bond that is almost impossible to break. Yes, the human heart is fallible and sometimes breaks a relationship established on biblical love. But God’s love never fails. Many may reject His love, but God’s love was extended to all humanity with the request that they believe that He loved them.

Human love, on the other hand, in its normal form is phileo love—love that is based on mutual fondness. Hence, the emphasis of the modern dating services on compatibility. And it works…for a while. If folks like each other and enjoy the same sort of behavior, they can get along together under normal circumstances. But when any kind of crisis erupts, disability occurs, or serious differences of opinions develop (and they will), the “like” shows its weakness because it is not “love.” The relationship suffers and may ultimately dissolve.

The Bible speaks of the two pillars of the Law upon which the relationships of man with God and man with man rest. The first pillar is called the Greatest Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This pillar, of course, summarizes the first four of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-11).

  • God is to reign—nothing is superior.

  • God is not reproducible—there is no other likeness.

  • God is to be reverenced—He is not “ordinary.”

  • God is to be remembered—He is the Creator!

The second pillar is: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself ” (Matthew 22:39). The neighbor has a broad application according to the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). That second pillar is summarized by the last six of the Ten Commandments.

Coupled with the obvious emphasis on the agape love outlined in the Ten Commandments, the Bible speaks of a two-master problem. You cannot love two opposing ideas (people, lifestyles, worldviews, etc.); one or the other will dominate your heart (1 Timothy 6:9-10; Matthew 6:23). Put simply, relationships with God and with other humans will either be based on a mutual fondness (phileo) or an intellectual, unilateral commitment (agape).

Perhaps the greatest test of whether love or fondness dominates our lives is examining our practice to see if we do not love what God does not love. And that boils down to how we relate to the “world” (1 John 2:15-17)—the system that places self and monetary success or personal dominance over submission to the authority of the Creator.

On the positive side, “love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). This kind of human love is really an expression of God’s love. That love is easy to define, even if difficult to keep, and is found in the classic passage in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. God’s love is summed up by the following qualities:

Individuals seeking God’s character and instructions for a successful life (i.e., successful in God’s eyes) find their focus in a love for the Word of God (John 14:15-24; 1 John 5:2-3). Our secular world is struggling to find love and falling prey to relationships based only on a mutual fondness that fades with time and circumstance.

In stark contrast, God’s love stimulates good works (Hebrews 10:24). It causes us to honor our leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). God’s love produces confidence and even fearlessness (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18) and a growing maturity in our ability to understand and cope with life (Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 2:2). And God’s love enables us to love others as He has loved us (John 13:34).

Ultimately, of course, God’s love—made efficacious in us through His salvation—provides confidence in His sovereign control (Romans 8:28) and security in His faithful preservation (Romans 8:35-39). When God gives instructions for husbands to love their wives, He uses agapao rather than phileo (Ephesians 5:25). That kind of love continues “for better or for worse” and does not waver when circumstances change. Agape love commits for life; phileo love falls away when the passion fades. It allows only surface sacrifice and protects self rather than the other. But God grants the twice-born special ability to demonstrate the powerful agape love that unreservedly sacrifices for the sake of the one loved. “Greater love [agapen] has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

References

  1. Online Dating Statistics. Statistic Brain. Posted on statisticbrain.com January 1, 2014, accessed January 7, 2014.

  2. Agapao is the verb form, and agape is the noun.

  3. John 3:16.

* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.

Cite this article: Henry Morris III, D.Min. 2014. The Power of Love. Acts & Facts. 43 (2).

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Sweet Naamah
“Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.” (Song of Solomon 1:16)17823_486585701413834_1517720336_n

 

These words begin King Solomon’s tender expressions of love to his beautiful young wife. Solomon wrote a thousand and five songs (1 Kings 4:32), but apparently this was his favorite, for he called it his “song of songs” (Song 1:1), and it clearly centered on his beloved, whom he called “my sister, my spouse” no less than four times (Song 4:9-12; 5:1), thereby intimating both their spiritual and marital relationship.

 Rehoboam was Solomon’s only son, as far as recorded, and his mother’s name was Naamah (2 Chronicles 12:13), meaning “pleasant.” Since he was 41 years old when he inherited Solomon’s throne and since Solomon had only reigned 40 years (2 Chronicles 9:30), the marriage of Solomon and Naamah must have been formalized when Solomon was quite young, long before he was married to Pharoah’s daughter or any of his other 700 wives. Naamah was then and always his one real love, in spite of his spiritual defections in old age. His counsel to young men near the end of his life was: “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days . . . of thy vanity” (Ecclesiastes 9:9).
 Note that Solomon called her “fair” and “beloved” in our text, and then “pleasant.” The Hebrew word for “pleasant” is very similar to “Naamah,” as though Solomon were calling her by a shortened form of her name as a term of endearment. The same word is occasionally translated “sweet.” Naamah was surely a sweet, pleasant maiden, but also a capable woman in mind and heart, fit to become a queen.
 Solomon’s song for and about her is an inspired ode to true marital love and thus can even be a figurative testimony to the love of Christ, the “greater than Solomon,” for His church. HMM

http://www.icr.org/articles/type/6/

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