Does the End Justify the Means? – part 1

A terrorist is heading towards your city.  He will be wearing a suicide vest.  He will detonate it in a crowded area, killing themselves and probably many innocent people around them – men, women, children, babies.

And you are in charge; yes, you!

His co-conspirator terrorist is sitting in your jail.  He knows who the terrorist is, where he is heading and how he will get there.  With this information you could stop the terrorist attack.  But the terrorist sitting in your jail won’t tell you the information you need.  You know that torturing him to get the information is wrong.  However if you choose not to torture him many innocent lives may be lost.  What should you do?  Is torture OK if it will save many lives?  Do the ends justify the means?

Every now and then we are faced with a difficult decision.  It may not be as dramatic as the above scenario.  But on a lesser level we make decisions all the time.  When we are faced with an outcome that we know Continue reading Does the End Justify the Means? – part 1

Not Every Man Will Stray

The former Governor of California and his wife, Maria Shriver, announced last month they were calling time on their 25-year marriage amid Schwarzenegger‘s confession that he fathered a “love child” over ten years ago.

A New Male Order

“Not every unsaved man will stray, and indeed, the media can make it seem as if every man is out to destroy the traditional family.  These ideas are plainly not true.  Many men, Christian or not, will not ruin their families.

The point stands nonetheless.  Godly men have a Continue reading Not Every Man Will Stray

Does God Instruct us to Love and Hate?

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.”

The question is whether God instructs us to love and hate. Or in other words, can we express ‘love’ whilst also expressing ‘hatred’? This depends on the context in which we ask the question. If we are all in heaven where there is no sin, then clearly hate doesn’t even come onto the scene. However we are not in heaven. We are living in a sin-crippled world. Therefore Continue reading Does God Instruct us to Love and Hate?

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Legalism vs Common Sense, or – Spare the Rod

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

I was raised in a very strict home.

My father was the authoritarian dispenser of discipline in our family. What he decreed happened, or else!

Or, I could describe it this way-

I was raised by Godly parents.  My father did his best to teach me that there were consequences to my decisions by applying loving but firm discipline.

Continue reading Legalism vs Common Sense, or – Spare the Rod

24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

The Middle of the Night

We all know what it’s like to get that phone call in the middle of the night. This night’s call was no different. Jerking up to the ringing summons, I focused on the red illuminated numbers of my clock. Midnight. Panicky thoughts filled my sleep-dazed mind as I grabbed the receiver.

“Hello?”

My heart pounded; I gripped the phone tighter and eyed my wife, who was now turning to face my side of the bed.

“Daddy?” I could hardly hear the whisper over the static. But my thoughts immediately went to my daughter. When the desperate sound of a young crying voice became clearer on the line, I grabbed for my wife and squeezed her wrist.

Continue reading The Middle of the Night

Unleashing the Fruit of the Spirit

“We have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (NIV)

I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves… When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (NLT)

Continue reading Unleashing the Fruit of the Spirit

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

2,366,820,000

Rightly or wrongly, I consider myself a fairly open person – a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy.

But, there are some things that people will never know about me.

Some things I don’t want them to know – things about me that I’m not proud of; some things that I consider personal; some habits that are idiosyncratic; others just plain silly. But for the most part, these are things simply not worth knowing. You get the idea – too much information. Continue reading 2,366,820,000

10 Reasons Why Believing in the Sovereignty of God Matters

What we mean by the sovereignty of God is captured in paragraph 3.2 of The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith. The dozens of biblical passages used to support this paragraph are found in the online version.
3.2 We believe that God upholds and governs all things—from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons—all in accord with His eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify Himself, yet in such a way that He never sins, nor ever condemns a person unjustly; but that His ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image.
Why does it matter whether we believe this? Ten reasons.
1. The good news of God’s substituting his Son for us on the cross depends on it.
“Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” ( -28)
2. The perseverance of the saints in the fear of God depends on it.
“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” ()
3. Progress in holiness now, and the final perfecting of the saints in the end, depends on it.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” ()
“But you have come to Mount Zion . . . and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” ()
4. The assurance of God’s final triumph over all natural and supernatural evil depends on it.
“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” ( -10)
5. The comfort that there is a wise and loving purpose in all our calamities and losses, and that God will work all things together for our good, depends on it.
“Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. . . . Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” ()
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” ()
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” ()
6. The hope that God will give life to the spiritually dead depends on it.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” ()
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” ()
7. Well-grounded expectation of answered prayer depends on it.
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” ()
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. . . . For the promise is for . . . everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” ()
8. Boldness in the face of seeming hopeless defeat depends on it.
“Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” ()
“Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.” ()
9. Seeing and savoring the revelation of the fullness of God’s glory depends on it.
“But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ . . . What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power . . . [acted] in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy?” ()
10. Praise that matches the fullness of God’s power, wisdom, and grace depends on it.
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. . . . We will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” ()
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” ()
The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is an anchor for the troubled soul, a hope for the praying heart, a stability for fragile faith, a confidence in pursuing the lost, a guarantee of Christ’s atonement, a high mystery to keep us humble, and a solid ground for all praise. And oh so much more. O Lord, turn this truth for the triumph of your saving and sanctifying grace.
Confident and comforted with you,
Pastor John

Used with permission: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

What we mean by the sovereignty of God is captured in paragraph 3.2 of The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith. Bible2

“We believe that God upholds and governs all things—from galaxies to subatomic particles, from the forces of nature to the movements of nations, and from the public plans of politicians to the secret acts of solitary persons—all in accord with His eternal, all-wise purposes to glorify Himself, yet in such a way that He never sins, nor ever condemns a person unjustly; but that His ordaining and governing all things is compatible with the moral accountability of all persons created in His image.”

Why does it matter whether we believe this? Ten reasons. Continue reading 10 Reasons Why Believing in the Sovereignty of God Matters

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,

32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not willingly afflict
or grieve the children of men.

34 To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
35 to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
36 to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.

37 Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.”

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.

20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.

Psalm 115:18

18 But we will bless the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the Lord!

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.