Midweek Photo: Cowboy and the Princess

Taken a long time ago…in a land, far, far, away.

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Photo of the Week: After the Storm

Heidi and I went walking down by the lake after a recent thunder storm. We needed to get out of the house and one of my favorite past times is walking down to the lake and back.

 

The dark clouds are the storm that had blown through.

Here is a color rendition.

 

The True Israel of God

A very good article on the True Israel of God by R. Scott Clark. He shows that the hopes of Dispensationalists, who are hoping for the constitution of a national Israel, are misguided and not the purpose of God at all. In other words, they tend to think the warp and woof of the Bible is about national Israel, as opposed to being about Christ. While Clark doesn’t say it, I see this same thing when it comes to their view of the rapture. They are so transfixed on this supposed view of future events, that they fail to see they have made an idol out of an event, the Second Coming, instead of looking to Christ alone.

Here is Clark’s premise:

Jesus the Israel of God
It is the argument of this essay that Jesus Christ is the true Israel of God and that everyone who is united to him by grace alone, through faith alone becomes, by virtue of that union, the true Israel of God. This means that it is wrong-headed to look for, expect, hope for or desire a reconstitution of national Israel in the future. The New Covenant church is not something which God instituted until he could recreate a national people in Palestine, but rather, God only had a national people temporarily (from Moses to Christ) as a prelude to and foreshadowing of the creation of the New Covenant in which the ethnic distinctions which existed under Moses were fulfilled and abolished (Ephesians 2.11-22; Col 2.8-3.11).

You can read the rest here.

Midweek Photos: The Gas Station

Well, it’s not actually a gas station since they no longer sell gas. But they do offer to perform state inspections at a reasonable cost in the quickness of time. I barely had time to focus before they were through with my car. So here is the bonus, midweek photos from a gas station in Whitesboro, TX.

It was the over-cluttered office that first caught my eye. I remember growing up back in the 1960s, and the offices of ever gas station looked a bit like this one. If you look close enough, you can see that they sell fidget spiders, along with a host of other things.

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Tracts vs. the Preaching of God’s Word

At a site on Facebook, the author put up the suggestion that when we go out to eat dinner at a restaurant, we leave a healthy tip, and a gospel tract. He suggested that even when the service is horrible, leave a bigger tip and a tract.

This seems like such a righteous thing to do. But alas, this is contrary to what the Bible says when it comes to the spread of the gospel. No where are we told to share gospel tracts. The Scripture is quite clear that we are to preach the gospel.

We see this in Romans 10:14-15

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

The Reason

There is a theological reason that God has chosen preaching to reach His elect. It goes back to the Garden of Eden when the temptation of Adam and Eve took place. Satan tempted the first couple through the spoken word. Satan had no power over Adam. All he could do is use words to tempt them. Sadly, it was enough.

Surprisingly, it is through the spoken word, or preached word, that God has chosen to undue the work of Satan. We are to be the people of God, who are of the preached word. This is why the Scriptures says So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It is also why the word says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

By hearing Satan’s claims, Adam fell into sin. It is through the hearing of the work of the Second Adam that we will be saved. Given that, let us support those faithful preachers who proclaim God’s word, and quit depending upon the inventions of men to do what God has not told us to do, which is preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).

The Rebuttal

One more point. The author of the site came back with the rebuttal that his uncle was saved through reading the Bible, and another person was saved through reading a tract. The author was appealing to the exception clause of the rule, thereby making it the rule. The rule is that we preach God’s word faithfully. The exception is that GOD MOVES when and where and how He pleases. Yes, God can use the tracts we pass out. Yes, God can use the reading of God’s word for ourselves. But this is not what He has CALLED us to do. He has called men in the body of Christ to preach the word and teach it. He has also called some to be evangelist (Ephesians 4:11-12). Through those offices, He operates through the ordinary means of grace. He can use any means He has chosen. But it up to us to be obedient in the use of the means He has given us.

Photo of the Week:Self Portrait

The following is one of my favorite self portraits in a long time. Of course, it just so happens to include my lovely wife and Jacqui too.

Rob and Jacquie took us out on their boat along with Lloyd and Debby, in order to help us appreciate the beauty of Lake Texoma, and the size. The lake is huge. The lake is beautiful. The lake has a lot to see and do. But the best part of the day was sitting in the middle of the lake, drifting, while watching the sunset and enjoying the company.

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Walk By the Spirit

 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 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.

Paul tells us in Galatians 5, to walk by the Spirit. He is instructing us how it is that we are to conduct our lives, and the simple solution, as a Christian, is to walk by the Spirit.

He then contrasts that with those who walk by the flesh. He gives a list of all manner of sin that these people engage in when they walk by the flesh (see below). In other words, Paul shows us what to do by showing us what not to do. We are not to live by the flesh and its evil desires.

But here is a danger that many miss in his instructions: many believe that when walking by the Spirit, we are walking by our emotions, our inclinations, or the gentle desires of our hearts. That is not walking by the Spirit. That is what people do who walk by the flesh. To walk by the Spirit means to die to the flesh and its desires, and live according to the word of God.

As anyone who has walked by the Spirit can attest, following the word of God doesn’t always feel good. It means we have to take stands against sin that are uncomfortable. Dying to sin is never easy, nor comfortable. But that is how the Spirit would lead us if we are walking with Him.

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The Church is Broken

I know, nothing new here. At least if you know where to look. The entire New Testament is full of books that were written because the church is broken. The Apostle James showed us that there was trouble early on, writing only 30-40 years after the ascension of Christ, he penned the following: Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.

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