Group Number 95

[01]  [02]  [03]  [04]  [05]  [06]  [07]  [08]  [09]  [10]  [11]  [12]  [13]  [14]  [15]  [16]  [17]  [18]  [19]  [20]
[21]  [22]  [23]  [24]  [25]  [26]  [27]  [28]  [29]  [30]  [31]  [32]  [33]  [34]  [35]  [36]  [37]  [38]  [39]  [40]
[41[42]  [43]  [44]  [45]  [46]  [47]  [48]  [49]  [50]  [51]  [52]  [53]  [54]  [55]  [56]  [57]  [58]  [59]  [60]
[61]  [62]  [63]  [64]  [65]  [66]  [67]  [68]  [69]  [70]  [71]  [72[73]  [74]  [75]  [76]  [77]  [78]  [79]  [80]
[81]  [82]  [83]  [84]  [85[86]  [87}  [88]  [89]  [90]  [91]  [92]  [93]  [94]  [95]

globe.gif (9362 bytes)  

Another issue, are women permitted to preach or address the congregation on
other matters. The preacher, technically, is not a leader of a congregation. Only the elders are leaders and the scriptures specifically state that only qualified males may serve in this role. But, the preacher, by virtue of the position, has the "appearance" of congregational leadership. Therefore, it may be argued by some, that a woman who preaches or speakes to the congregation, may by appearance, be usurping the authority of eldership. The discontent that maybe caused by a woman preacher or speaker, may have more to do with culture than scripture. So in this situation, would it be better for a woman to avoid the role of preacher to maintain peace in the church?

All believers are to exert themselves to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3). The necessity of this is undergirded by the fact that "the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:18). God simply will not work for good in an environment of contention and confusion.
From the perspective of this discussion, this peace may involve the following. First, a sister possessing insights should not attempt to deliver those insights if it causes unnecessary disruption among the saints. I say "unnecessary" because there are some disruptions that are warranted. These involve hard hearts rather then tender ones (Acts 13:45). However, this is not the only consideration.
Second, in my judgment, until a person comes to the point where they can accept the truth of God from anyone, they are woefully deficient before the Lord. If Eli could receive a word from young Samuel (1 Sam 3:1-18), Balaam from a donkey (Num 22:28-30), and Hilkiah and priest from Huldah the prophetess (2 Kgs 22:14), precisely why can a man not receive the truth from the lips of a holy and insightful woman? If Apollos could receive instruction from Priscilla as well as Aquila (Acts 18:26), what is wrong with a man doing so today, if the truth of God is being conveyed in love? A holy angel told the women who came early to the tomb, to tell Christ's own Apostles that He was risen from the dead, and where they were to meet Him (Mark 16:6-7). Could any of these contemporary champions of Scriptural exegesis have done such a thing? In fact, the very first person to whom the resurrected Jesus appeared was Mary. When she told the mournful and weeping disciples of His resurrection, they did not believe her (Mark 16:9-11). When Jesus later "appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; He rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen" (Mark 16:14, NIV).
One might ask if these observations are even relevant to this discussion. Among other things, they confirm that neither God, Christ, nor holy angels operate by a rule that excludes women from speaking the truth to men. That alone should cause us to be cautious about attaching a meaning to any word of Scripture that concludes promotes such a thought.
I believe this whole discussion is a straw man. In my judgment, the real issue is the love of the truth -- which is a requisite for being saved (2 Thess 2:10). When men decide they cannot receive the truth from certain people, who are themselves reconciled to God, accepted by Him, and have an understanding of the truth (which things are not to be assumed), they are in an extremely jeopardous situation. All of the supposed understanding in the world would not have warranted Barak refusing Debra's command because she was a woman (Judges 4). She was a prophetess, but God did not send her to prophesy to the women -- just as Jesus did not send Mary to proclaim His resurrection to women.
In the entirety of Scripture, there are less than sixty words that can be construed to exclude women from speaking the truth of God to men. There are also views of these very texts that do not make such exclusions. As for myself, I do not think it wise to erect a superstructure of doctrine on such a foundation, bind it upon the saints of God, and even judge them for subscribing to the doctrinal fabrication. A tree is to be judged its fruit, not its shape.
Finally, nothing that makes for edification should be outlawed in the assembly of the righteous. Should some soul arise who is willing to affirm such things can, indeed, be excluded, they will have seated themselves on a throne that will crumble beneath them. On the other hand, nothing should be allowed in the assembly that does not make for edification. Those who are familiar with the text of Scripture know this to be the case. Of course, if these things were put into practice, the change would be so significant one would scarcely be able to recognize them.
Instead of beginning with perceived rules, and attempting to reason what should or should not be in our assemblies, begin with the revealed objective of the Lord for the gathering of His people (Eph 4:12-16). Whatever contributes to that end is right. Whatever does not is wrong.

You seem to be asserting that all modern translations are accurate.  Only God could accomplish perfection in translations.  Yet year after year we see additional translations and revisions of the translations already published.  The people who serve as translators generally make it clear they are doing their best, but like all fall short.  In other words, you seem to assert something the translators and committees of translators decline to say.

That is not what I am saying at all. I am saying this approach is not how God has provided for the understanding of His people -- not now, or ever in the past. There is such a thing as "spiritual understanding" that allows a person to comprehend the truth. It is something for which prayer is made, not research (Col 1:9). There is also the Holy Spirit, who is given to assist us in perceiving the truth (1 John 2:20,27). There is also the fact enunciated by the Lord Jesus, "He who is of God hears God's words" (John 8:47) -- and He was speaking about "understanding" His "speech" (John 8:43). Add to that that prayer is made for "understanding" (2 Tim 2:7). David also sought for understanding in this manner (Psa 119:34,73,125,144,169). Daniel did the same (Dan 9:2).
There simply is no proper understanding of Scripture that can be acquired independently of the Divine fellowship into which we are called (1 Cor 1:9; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 John 1:3). Further, the understanding of Scripture will not be found in a text-by-text examination. Divine purpose is woven throughout Scripture, and is its higher and more precise context. The understanding of Scripture will be in direct proportion to our understanding of that purpose. Good translators have a grasp of that purpose as well as the overall text of Scripture. Those who plod along through the etymological maze will not see what faith sees and understands.
The secret to the understanding of Scripture is the understanding of the God who gave it. After all, eternal life is "knowing God" (John 17:l3), and He delights to be understood (Jer 9:23-24). All spiritual resources are ministered to us "through the knowledge of Him (2 Pet 1:3). Further, the "knowledge of God" is the area in which fundamental growth is to be realized (Col 1:10), and is the spring from which "wisdom and revelation" spring (Eph 1:17).
Asking what God really meant is certainly proper. If you are not satisfied with what you hear from those who claim acquaintance with God, then you must go to the Lord Himself. He has promised, "everyone who asks receives" (Matt 7:8), and He is disposed to give wisdom "liberally," and not upbraid His children for asking (James 1:5).
I will tell you, the closer you get to the Lord, and the more you walk in the light, the more foolish some of the questions we are hearing will become. As to men not seeing the truth alike, God promised through the prophets, "I will give them one heart and one way" (Jer 32:39), and "They shall see eye to eye" (Isa 52:8). If that is not happening, someone is not in the place where they ought to be. It is just that simple.
Now, approach understanding through the Lord Himself, and by faith. You will not be disappointed. And, in the process, you will be able to gain advantage from the words of all of God's people who have spoken, or are speaking, with insight.

Since those on both sides of the question seek "spiritual understanding" to comprehend truth, it follows that God must be issuing differing 'truths' to different diligent seekers ... That, indeed, is a pair of 'truths' I fail to comprehend, because I'm convinced God is not the author of such confusion.

Amen, brother -- and God is not the Author of confusion. In Jesus' day, the sadducees said there was no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit. The Pharisees confessed to these realities (Matt 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 23:8). The Sadducees were a Jewish sect. History tells us they called themselves Scripturalists and Bible Followers, strictly adhering to the written Law. In answer to a rather lengthy question they put to Him, Jesus told them, "Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God" (Mat 22:29).
You have assumed the question in point -- namely that both "both sides" are honest, and that they are seeking wisdom from God. Secondly, it appears you have assumed that their conclusions have come from God. Neither assumption is in order. Where conflicting views of Scripture exist, at least one is wrong, and possibly both. But both cannot be right. It is quite possible for people to see the truth from different, yet valid, vantage points. But such views will not contradict one another. Rather, one will enhance and clarify the other. There is a wisdom that comes from above. There is also a wisdom that "does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic" (James 3:15). The wisdom that is "from above" is " first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).

“A man quoted that to me in an effort to discredit an attempt to hold a minister accountable for poor performance, and I cannot see anything about "the Lord's anointed" in that passage (or its progenitor in I Chronicles 16) that would refer to anyone but the children of promise (I. e., sons of Jacob, sons of Isaac, sons of Abraham). Such use of the verse appears to be a thinly veiled manifestation of the tendency Paul exposed in I Corinthians 3, the abuse of personal loyalty to men that inevitably results in disunity.
It is clear, moreover, from the NT (esp. Peter's epistles) that we are ALL the Lord's anointed in one sense, so to single out a man as being uniquely anointed (other than the Christ, we hasten to add) is likewise an abuse of the text.”

There is a circle of devotees who make a great deal of this text. Most of them are the ones who do not want themselves to be “touched,” criticized, or held accountable for what they say. You are correct is questioning their motives, for an individual who is seeking respect from men cannot be living close to God.
 The text to which you mentioned is a poignant one. “He permitted no one to do them wrong; Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, saying, ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm’” (Psa 105:15).
 First, “anointed” is in the plural, as indicated by later versions. This text is speaking of two classes of people. “My anointed ones,” as you said, are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, together with their progeny, the children of Israel themselves. It was for their sakes that God rebuked kings like Abimelech, Pharaoh, Sihon, Og, Sennacherib, and others. Those who touched the chosen people touched “the apple” of God’s eye (Deut 32:10; Zech 2:8). This was an amplification of the word given to Abraham, “I will curse him who curses you” (Gen 12:3).
 “My prophets” were particular individuals among the body of “anointed ones” to whom God had vouchsafed special insights and words. If they were believed, the people were promised they would prosper (2 Chron 20:20).
 In Christ Jesus, the people themselves are, indeed, “anointed” (2 Cor 1:21; 1 John 5:20,27). In Christ they are “chosen” (Eph 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 2:9), and separated from the world to be His particular people to God Himself (Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9). God will not overlook the maltreatment of these people, whether it takes the form of external abuse, railing accusations, or of withholding spiritual nourishment from them. God Himself will “repay with tribulation” those who malign or harm these people (2 Thess 1:6).
 There are also “prophets” – those gifted to speak “edification, exhortation, and comfort to men” (1 Cor 14:3). These have been placed in the church (1 Cor 12:28), and are to minister according to the ability that God had given to them (1 Pet 4:10-11), and in strict accord with their proportion of faith (Rom 12:6). Those who take it upon themselves to “touch” these servants will not escape Divine attention and retribution.
 Of course, all of these things are evident. Now, more to the incident that you mentioned. To be technical, the person who voiced an objection to you should confine his remarks to “prophets.” Although such are, in a sense, “anointed,” the text does not make the expressions synonymous. Any person who speaks for God, even when his message is legitimate, is subject to the sound judgment of others. When speaking of “prophets,” the Spirit affirmed, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (1 Cor 14:29). It is to be understood that the judgment is “righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
 Paul himself submitted to such scrutiny, even urging it to take place. “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor 14:37). And again, “I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say” (1 Cor 10:15).
 Neither God’s anointing nor His prophetic gift is to be taken for granted. The “anointed ones” and the “prophets” do not occupy their position by some form of spiritual default, or simply by profession. Corporately, the people will not be received by God unless they are “separate” and “touch not the unclean thing” (2 Cor 6:17-18). The office of a “prophet,” or spokesman for God, is equally not one determined by a title, or an official position within the body of Christ. Those who claim to be God’s “ministers” are accountable for delivering what He gives. Their “office” does not protect them, or insulate them against criticism. Further, if He has not given them something to say, their words are nothing more than pretension, and God will judge them for speaking in His name (Jer 14:14-15; 23:32; 2 Pet 2:1-3).
 God has said much about “false prophets” (2 Pet 2:1), “false teachers” (2 Pet 2:1) “false brethren” (Gal 2:4), “wolves in sheep's clothing” (Matt 7:15) and those who creep in “unawares” (Jude 1:4). It is time for the professed church to be demanding concerning those who purport to bring messages to them from God, or who affirm a special anointing or ministry. I do not doubt that there are people who have been especially gifted by God, and endowed with unique spiritual insights to be given to His people. However, the proof of their ministry is not found in their claim, but in what they deliver. If they deliver garbage, they are garbage men, nothing more.
 There is no such thing as an “anointing” or an office that compensates for a failure to feed the flock of God. If there is a “minister” who is genuinely guilty of “poor performance,” that performance negates any claim to an anointing, prophetic office, or legitimacy as a teacher/preacher. Jesus taught us that a tree is known by its fruit (Matt 7:17-19). If the fruit is bad, the tree must either be “made good” (Matt 12:33), or cut down.
 May the Lord bless you as you continue to “fight the good fight, and lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim 6:12).

I need clarification on your perspective in this teaching. Are you saying that those that walk in the belief the "Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly" was not also speaking of the life we live on this planet? Eternal inheritance is what we look forward to when this world is gone, are you saying that is ALL we are to look forward to and believing in God's goodness in the land of the living is not also correct?

I used the expression "EMPHASIZE worldly benefits" to avoid the conclusion that no benefits at all are enjoyed now. Life "more abundantly" is another term for "eternal life." It has to do with being alive to God, able to receive from Him, and walking in His favor. The "more abundant" life, however, does not consist of possessions. Jesus affirmed, "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). The ministry of Jesus is not even necessary for such an abundance. Prior to the coming of Christ, there were saints who possessed many things -- though not many (Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc) -- to say nothing of the ungodly having an abundance.  The prospering of the wicked once troubled Asaph -- until he saw things form the right perspective (Psa 73:1-18).
The "life more abundantly" extends into things that are not found in the repository of this world: i.e., righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:15), filling us with all joy and peace in believing (Rom 15:13), joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Pet 1:8), peace that passes understanding (Phil 4:7), knowing what passes knowledge (Eph 3:19), the full assurance of faith (Heb 10:22), the full assurance of hope (Heb 6:11), the full assurance of understanding (Col 2:2), etc. All of these are samples of the inheritance itself. They are the "fristfruits of the Spirit" (Rom 8:23) -- a pledge of the inheritance that is to come.
All of the benefits that we possess now are through our faith, as you already know. None of them are presently experienced in their fulness, because of the frailty of our bodies -- we do have a very real treasure in earthen vessels (2 Cor 4:7). Further, if you take away the "eternal inheritance," there really is no point to what we have now. It would, in such a case, no longer be "abundant," for we would lose it all when we die. Everything the Lord gives us in Christ Jesus is designed ready us for the inheritance, and will transfer to "the world to come." Everything else will be left behind. This readiness is wonderful, filled with good fruits, joy, and satisfaction.
Your hope is NOT an ambivalent hope, but a certain one. You are being saved "by hope (Rom 8:24-25). Hope is the anchor of your soul, which keeps you from drifting (Heb 6:19). You have been begotten again "to a living hope" (1 Pet 1:3). This is the "hope" by which we purify ourselves (1 John 3:3). Take it away, and life becomes intolerable because of its troubles and inconsistencies. To be sure, trouble is not all that we have -- praise the Lord. But there is enough of it to make us discontent with our present bodies (Rom 7:25). Faith moves us to prefer to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, which is "far better" (Phil 1:23). We do begin to receive our inheritance now. It is the fulness of it that will be received when we are gathered to our Lord.
There is such a thing as "the rejoicing of the hope" (Rom 12:12), and it is to be held "firm unto the end" (Heb 3:6). When Jesus was among us, He walked and lived as One who was always pleasing to God -- always walking in the light -- always deriving the most from God. But when it came time for Him to die, it was not the benefits that sustained Him during His ministry that gripped His heart. That was not enough to enable Him to "endure the cross." Rather, "for the joy that was set before Him," He "endured the cross, despising the shame" (Heb 12:2). In this, He set the standard for all who follow Him.
When His disciples enjoyed unparalleled success in their ministry, with the powers of darkness being subject to them, He solemnly told them, "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). That has to do with hope.

When did most of the churches change from Saturday worship to Sunday and why. I can't find where God said to change days.

God did not "change the days," and "worship" was never said to be on Saturday -- in any covenant. The fourth commandment was never associated with gatherings, or with what men call "worship." In Scripture, meeting together on the Sabbath day is largely associated with the synagogues (Mk 1:21; 6:2; Lk 4:16; 6:6; 13:13; Acts 13:14,32; 18:4). The time when meeting on the Sabbath day in synagogues began is unknown. It was apparently sometime after the Babylonian captivity, between the time of Malachi and Matthew. Jesus nor the Apostles ever commanded believers when they were to meet together.
When believers meet is not governed by law but by purpose. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, then appeared to His disciples twice on the first day of the week (John 20:19; 26), that Pentecost was on the first day of the week, and that believers are to remember Jesus around His table, moved people to gather on the first day of the week from the very beginning.  That is when He appeared to the women (Matt 28:9), Mary Magdelene (Mark 16:9), and the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13). That is what the disciples at Troaz "came together" (Acts 20:7), and it is what the Corinthians did also (1 Cor 16:1-2). They were not motivated by a commandment from God to do this, for no such commandment is ever mentioned. Nor, indeed, is the Sabbath day ever bound on any person in Christ. In fact, we are admonished not to allow any person to bind the Sabbath upon us (Col 2:16-17). The reason for gathering on the first day of the week seemed very apparent to early Christians That fact that it is not apparent to people today simply confirms they do not have the same focus as those early believers. Christ is not dominant in their minds.
The issue of the day Christians are to meet together was never raised in Scripture. From the very beginning it seemed apparent that God had sanctified the first day of the week by Christ's resurrection, appearances, and Pentecost. Also, the fourth chapter of Hebrews establishes that the Sabbath day is fulfilled in the rest realized by faith in Christ. That is the application of the Sabbath day that is made by the Holy Spirit.

I can't control my mind it seems. Its been happening for a while. Its like my mind is compelled to think evil thoughts. These pattern of thoughts come crowding and rushing in and I cant stop them. Their about things that are dear to me. I have asked Jesus to save me in the past as well. Where is the way of escape?  Its like my mind doesn't give me the time to do anything, and if I do have time it still crowds in anyway. What is wrong with me?

What you are experiencing is common to all those who are in Christ Jesus. You have been honest enough to admit it, while some are afraid to do so.
This experience is the subject of Romans 7:15-25. There Paul speaks of doing what he does not want do, and not doing what he wants to do (Rom 7:15-17,19,20). He is not speaking of immoral deeds, as some suppose, for he did not even do such things before he was in Christ Jesus. Concerning outward conduct he said of his former life, "concerning the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless" (Phil 3:6).
What Paul IS talking about in Romans seven is the invasion of unwanted thoughts. It was a battle going on in his mind. We know this is the case, because the commandment that convicted him of sin was the one concerning covetousness -- a matter of the mind (Rom 7:7). The thing that broke forth in him was "concupiscence," which has to do with thought (Rom 7:8).
When Paul came into Christ, he found that some of these thoughts asserted themselves again, even though he hated them. They were like unwanted visitors that popped into his mind against his will -- yet he could not simply dismiss them. He describes this as "another law" in his members (physical constitution) that warred against the law, or preference of his mind (Rom 7:23). He found that these thoughts surfaced when he had determined to do good: "I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good" (Rom 7:21).
These thoughts are the "flaming arrows," or "fiery darts" of Ephesians 6:16. In other words, they are temptations -- thoughts hurled at us by the devil to turn us away from the Lord. Faith quenches these arrows, so that they lose their power. But not even faith stops them from being hurled at us.
The point that Paul is making in the seventh chapter of Romans is that the Law condemned such thoughts, whether they were wanted or not. In Christ, however, we are given new hearts that hate these thoughts, and want nothing to do with them. They are not credited to us unless we entertain them -- inviting them into our hearts, and doing what they suggest.
After addressing this whole situation, Paul concludes that the presence of unwanted evil thoughts is proof that we are justified, for these things were not hated before we were in Christ Jesus. That is why he begins the next chapter of Romans by saying, "There is THEREFORE (in view of the fact that I do not want these thoughts) now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1).
I have a series of lessons on this very subject. They can be accessed at the following link: They may be of assistance in understanding more fully what you are experiencing.

What is something I can ask myself to assure me after this happens that I have not sinned? Can the flesh harass and taunt me like this besides the devil?
You can ask yourself, "Did I hate these thoughts?" "Did I ask for them to come into my mind?" "Did I do what they suggested?" "Did I run to Jesus?"
The flesh is your enemy. It contains a law, or principle, that is against your "new man," or new heart. That is why it is written, "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom 7:23). In other words, he could not stop the thoughts from coming into his mind. He was brought into captivity, not as a slave to do sin, but in the sense of having to deal with these unwanted thoughts. He could not simply dismiss them. Again it is written, "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish" (Gal 5:17).
There are really two personalities in your body. They are referred to as "the old man" and "the new man." One is to be "put on," and one is to be "put off" (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10). God has provided for victory in this circumstance. The grace of God instructs us in saying "NO" to the flesh, and "YES" to the Spirit. Here is how the Scriptures put it: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12).
As long as you say "NO" to these desires, not allowing them to be fulfilled in your actions, you have not sinned.  

Sometimes I feel God is punishing me.  I've tried very hard to do everything right.  I got irritated about tithing a few years ago because I learned to mistrust the church I was attending.  So I stopped tithing.  Once I stopped tithing, my husband lost his job, both of his parents died suddenly within three months, and it seems like our prayers aren't making it past the ceiling.  I'm hurting so see my husband hurting.  Is God mad at us? 

First, consider what you have said. How can you be trying very hard to do everything right, yet stop tithing? Is that not part of what God said to do? If God promised to open the windows of heaven if His people brought in the tithe (Mal 3:10), what will He do if His people do not do this. If He said, "Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce" (Prov 3:9), what will He do if this is not done? If He says, "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (2 Cor 9:6), what are we to expect when we sow sparingly.
I do not want to discourage you. You surely know the answers to all of these questions. The question you should be asking is NOT "IS God mad at us?" God is still "waiting to be gracious" (Isa 30:18), and has gracious intentions for you (Jer 29:11). He is not looking for a reason to hurt you, but for an opportunity to bless you.
If you are disappointed in the church you attend or attended, then find some work of God that you can approve, and support it with your tithe. God does not give you the option of withholding the tithe from Him.
It may be that the Lord is chastening you, but that is not something for me to determine. It is something that you must be able to see. If this is the case, then you must know that He is chastening you so you will ultimately "share His holiness" (Heb 12:10-11). Your misery is not His objective, but your spiritual growth and stability.
You and your husband must now determine to seek the Lord with all of your heart, doing what you know is right. You will not be met with a frowning or angry God. He is gracious, and of tender mercy, and He will be gentle with you. Find a group of believers that exhibit the truth and love of God, and connect with them. I will tell you that it is most difficult to find this kind of people -- but they can be found.
I will be glad to assist you in any way possible.

I'm confused if Jesus is God. How did Stephen on acts 7:55 see God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God?

God is like a family name. The Father is God (John 6:27), the Son is God (Tit 2:13), and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4).
Jesus is referred to as God several times. The Father Himself said to Him, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Heb 1:8). Isaiah prohesied that the name of the Savior would be "the mighty God" and "everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6). Speaking of Him before He came into the world, it is written, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). It is also said of Him, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2:9). He is also called "the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ" (Tit 2:13).


The "just" are the justified ones -- the ones who have been made just, or righteous, by faith (Rom 1:17; 3:22,28; 4:5,9; 5:1; Gal 3:24; Phil 3:9

Faith can only be contemporary -- at the moment. God does not honor a faith in the past that no longer exists (Jesus some believed only "for while" -- Luke 8:13), or an imagined faith in the future that is not yet existent. Faith is described in the word "believing" (Matt 21:22; John 20:27,31; Rom 15:13; 1 Pet 1:8). It is something that is in the now: "NOW faith is . . . " (Heb 11:1).
A person is righteous (which is the meaning of "just") because he believes the record God has given of His Son (1 John 5:10-11), and is relying upon Jesus to bring him to glory (Heb 2:10). So far as "in all things" and "all of the time" are concerned, those are powerless phrases. They appear to be the ideal situation, but are mere speculations and tend to induce doubt. The point is NOW. When a person IS believing, heaven undergirds that person, for we are saved "by grace THROUGH faith" (Eph 2:8), and are "kept by the power of God THROUGH faith" (1 Pet 1:5). As for when and if we are not believing, it is really not necessary to say what God's reaction is. He has spoken clearly about "unbelieving" (Acts 14:2; Tit 1:5; Rev 21:8).
God has made no commitment for good to any person without faith, or who is not believing -- not so much as a single syllable! Yet, we do have to grapple with unbelief. It is like a temptation that is hurled as a flaming arrow at us by the devil (Eph 6:16). During such times, it is in order to cry out like the Centurion, "Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief" (Mark 9:24). That prayer itself is an expression of faith, feeble though it may seem. It will form a sort of shield that will quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. That is because God works through faith.

Can a Christian be possessed?

I assume you mean possessed by the devil or demons. Since the word "Christian" is not understood to mean the same thing to everyone, I will use the expression "born of God." Here is what God says of such a person: "We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one DOES NOT touch him" (1 John 5:18).
It is not possible to be dominated by the Lord Jesus and the devil, or a demon, at the same time. Our bodies cannot be the temple of the Lord and a house for the devil at the same time (2 Cor 6:16). Jesus and Satan cannot be together (2 Cor 6:15). We cannot eat at the Lord's table and the table of devils at the same time (1 Cor 10:21). Light and darkness cannot cohabit (2 Cor 6:14).
The only person who can be possessed of demons, or in whom the devil is dominant, is one in whom Jesus does not dwell. This is so because Jesus has nothing in Jesus (John 14:30), and thus cannot invade the person in whom Jesus dwells.

Paul uses the most majestic phrases when addressing  God the Father. Such as in 2 Cor 1:3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...."Father of compassion and God of comfort"..." "The all-glorious Father", Eph 1:17...Paul generally refers to the "Holy Apostles and Prophets" the "glorious riches of Christ", on and on. I know this is referred to as distinctive Pauline style by "scholars" but,  why don't we today have that distinctive style when we speak of the Father and of Jesus Christ and of Heavenly things? Even in our gatherings this uplifting manner of talk is uncommon even though the scriptures are full of gratuitous and complimentary references to the Father and the Son. I wished I could feel more comfortable among the brethren when I want to use phrases such as these when I feel it in my spirit do so. Thanks for answers!!!

The reason any person or people does not speak about God as Paul did is because they do not see what Paul saw. They do not have a lofty view of God, and therefore do not speak of Him in lofty words.
This condition, however, is not acceptable. Paul said his purpose was to "make all men see," in fact, what he saw (Eph 3:9). He was not given views of the Lord that were intended to remain private, but ones that were to be declared with power. He prayed that the eyes of the understanding of believers would be opened to see the magnitude of salvation (Eph 1:17-10). He prayed they would be able to see the marvelous extent of God's love, know the love of Christ, and perceive the exceeding greatness of the power that is toward those who believe (Eph 3:15-20). Where such prayers are answered, the kind of expressions you mentioned will be heard.
I am very familiar with the kind of environment you mentioned -- one in which we do not feel comfortable using expressions that are becoming of such a great God. Of course, in such a place, we should say them anyway. I can only tell you the conclusion to which I have come about such environments. GOD IS NOT DWELLING THERE. Where God cannot be comfortably extolled is the place where God simply is not dwelling. In such a case, the Lord Jesus is in much the same posture as He was regarding the church at Laodicea. He is on the outside knocking, calling out for some person -- any person -- who is willing to let Him in and "sup" with Him (Rev 3:20).

Had a discussion with a friend about predestination.  They believe that every persons destination (in terms of heaven or hell) is determined before they are born.  I know predestination is in the bible, but if our destinations are already predetermined, then what is the point of witnessing or preaching?  Looking for a biblical answer.

The thing that has been predestinated is the conformation of people to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29). When believers are said to have been chosen to salvation, it is affirmed that this choice is implemented "through the sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth" (2 Thess 2:13). In both of these circumstances, what God has determined is carried out by appointed means.
In the first case (conforming us to the image of Christ), the Holy Spirit is changing us from one degree of glory to an other -- it does not happen automatically (2 Cor 3:18). That Spirit must not be grieved (Eph 4:30) or quenched (1 Thess 5:19), else the work will stop.
In the second case, working through the Gospel, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us -- first by convicting us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11), and then by leading us in the crucifixion of the flesh and perfecting of holiness (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:22-25). The "belief of the truth" refers to believing the record God has given of His Son (1 John 5:10-11) -- the Gospel. The Gospel of Christ is God's "power unto salvation" (Rom 1:16). It is what He uses to carry out His purpose, and fulfill His determinations.
We are categorically told that God has chosen to save people "through preaching" (1 Cor 1:21). He has "manifested His Word through preaching" (Tit 1:3). People are "established" in the faith through preaching (Rom 16:25). Preaching the cross is "the power of God" (1 Cor 1:18). This is HOW God implements His choice. In this way, among other things, He has graciously allowed the redeemed to work together with Him in fulfilling His great purpose.
Yes, God does predestinate, choose, and elect. However, He implements those determinations through the preaching of the Gospel, which announces His gracious intention and the marvelous way in which men can participate in them.

In Phil 3:17-21 for the context..."their mind is on earthly things...these men
Paul is describing in these few verses are they professing Christians or is
speaking in reference to regular folk who belong to this world.

Not only are they professing Christians, they were preachers and teachers. They were people the Philippians could follow, as indicated om the 17th verse. The principle also applies to any professing Christians who "mind earthly things," thinking only of temporal things. Paul is not speaking of obvious people of the world, but of professing Christians. "Enemies of the cross of Christ" are those who choose to wear His name, yet do crucify the flesh. These are the kind of people mentioned in Second Timothy 3:5, who have a "form of godliness, but deny the power thereof."



Go to next page 01_04_B.gif (10479 bytes)  HOME.jpg (6133 bytes)