Tree of Life Blog

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Monthly Archives: July 2009

What Defines Your Life? (Robb Thompson)

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Life Is Defined Not By What You Get, But By What You Give Away.

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“In the same way, the Lord gave orders that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I would like to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my distinction of preaching without charge… What then is my pay? It is the satisfaction I get from preaching the Good News without expense to anyone, never demanding my rights as a preacher.”

1 Corinthians 9:14-15, 18 (NLT)

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What an incredible man Paul was! The situation described here is a result of the shortcomings of the Corinthians. Though Paul was their spiritual father, the one who freely gave of himself so they could hear the Gospel, they did not treat him justly. Instead, they unwisely gave honor to people who did much less for them in comparison to Paul. And what was Paul’s response recorded in the Scriptures above?

  • He never demanded his rights.
  • He diligently worked to add to the Corinthians, not to use them for his opportunistic gain.

Do you go to work adding value, or are you like crawdads in a bucket? Every time one crawdad almost makes his way out of the bucket by walking all over the other guys, another crawdad reaches up, pinches his leg, and pulls him right back to where he started. You can live that way if you choose, but you will have nothing to show for it. Instead, be the one to propel others to their promotion. Go to work to add value, not to use others.

Daily Confession

Father, I thank You for enabling me to add value to my world. I pray that You would continue to give me opportunities to become the answer for others.

RESOLVED – Living Biblically in Our Generation (Steve Camp)

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RESOLVED
…the struggle and desire to live biblically in our generation

In a previous post, I had highlighted part of the journey that Jonathan Edwards had taken when he wrote his 70 resolutions. In the process of that research, I learned that they had became a burden to him rather than something that was freeing and encouraging to his soul. IMHO, part of that reason, was that many of his resolutions were personal whims rather than resolutions that were grounded firmly in the Scriptures.

So with that as a backdrop, I offer the following as biblical resolutions. I do this only by way of brief illustration (the list is not exhaustive); for it to be so you would have to literally reprint most of the Bible. But these cover general areas of the essentials of the faith. Signposts, if you please, that can act as a good remembrance of what the main things are we are to pursue daily in our journey to the Son. My motive in assembling this list is not for it to be read daily as some sort of legalistic exercise; but to be used devotionally, in part or in whole, as a guide in prayer that we can entreat the Holy Spirit to equip us to live to that end and to strengthen us in our life in Christ. Some verses will convict certain days where others will bring comfort; some will exhort us and others will encourage us. But as we come to His Word, it is wonderful to not pray aimlessly, but to pray specifically. You undoubtedly will have several other verses come to mind that represent the overarching key essentials of the faith as well. Please share them with me here and I will add them to this list.

I hope these verses will be an encouragement in your walk with the Lord today. Let us be resolved, to know for certain, what the Lord is asking of us in our generation as we, by His grace, desire to honor Him with an undivided, faithful heart as we daily serve Him.

By His grace and for His glory,
Steve

RESOLVED: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” -Gen. 1:1


RESOLVED: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” -1 Cor. 10:31

RESOLVED: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”” -Matt. 22:37-40

RESOLVED: “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” -John 4:23-24

RESOLVED: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” -Eph. 6:4

RESOLVED: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Rom. 12:1-2

RESOLVED: “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” -Eph. 5:17-21

RESOLVED: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” -Matt. 15:24-26

RESOLVED: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” -Luke 24:46-47

RESOLVED: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.” -Col. 1:15-20

RESOLVED: “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” -1 Peter 2:12-17

RESOLVED: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” -1 Cor. 9:24-27

RESOLVED: “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” -1 Cor. 2:2

RESOLVED: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” -Phil. 3:7-11

RESOLVED: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” -Col. 1:9-12

RESOLVED: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial?* Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? ” -2 Cor. 6:14-15

RESOLVED: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and lexhort, with complete patience and teaching.” -2 Tim. 3:16-17; 4:1-2

RESOLVED: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for hit is God who works in you, both to will and to work for ihis good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God mwithout blemish nin the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine pas lights in the world, holding fast to* qthe word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. ” -Phil. 2:12b-16

RESOLVED: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” -Matt. 5:44

RESOLVED: “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” -Psalm 119:10-11

RESOLVED: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. -Phil. 3:13-14

RESOLVED: “But in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” -1 Peter 3:15-16

RESOLVED: “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry bthat I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” -Acts 20:24

RESOLVED: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” -2 Tim. 2:15

RESOLVED: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Heb. 12:1-2

RESOLVED: “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” -2 Cor. 4:5

RESOLVED: “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” -Heb. 10:25

RESOLVED: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit sthe kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” -Matt. 25:34-36

RESOLVED: “Therefore, yconfess your sins to one another and pray for one another, zthat you may be healed. aThe prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” -James 5:16

RESOLVED: “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” -Phil. 2:1-5

RESOLVED: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, enot because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that jbeing justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” -Titus 3:1-8

RESOLVED: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” -1 Cor. 15:1-4

RESOLVED: “For me to live is Christ and die is gain.” -Phil. 1:21

Have You Checked Your Spiritual “Facebook” Today? (Paul Tautges)

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Have You Checked Your Spiritual “Facebook” Today?

Meditation on 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Paul Tautges

 

 

Facebook is the fastest growing social networking website, boasting over 250 million active users, with more than 120 million of them logging in at least once per day. Think of it! Over 120 million people checking up on their friends and family, sharing significant things (wedding pictures, prayer needs) and insignificant things (what they ate for lunch, comments about the weather), and remaining “connected” to an average of 120 friends each. That’s an amazing amount of “connecting” going on. But then I got to thinking. What would happen in our world, and in our churches, if 120 million believers in Christ made sure to check our spiritual “facebook” every day?

 

As fun as it is to peek into each other’s photo albums there is an infinitely more important “facebook” that we must discipline ourselves to spend time in. That, of course, is God’s “facebook,” the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that sanctification, becoming like Christ, is a cooperative effort involving both the Spirit of God and the believer: But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Sanctification is a process: we are being transformed. The specific transformation taking place in the heart of the believer is into the same image from glory to glory. What image is that? It is the image of the glory of the Lord. Unquestionably, this is God’s goal for every Christian: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). But how does this actually happen? It is the Lord, the Spirit who ultimately performs the work of our transformation; on the other hand, the change only takes place as we with unveiled face [behold] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord. What is the mirror that reflects the glory of the Lord? It is the Word of God. It is the gospel. James writes, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was” (James 1:23-24). As we examine our hearts and lives in the mirror of the Word of God we, with the Spirit’s guidance, see the spiritual pimples that need to be removed and, by the Spirit’s power, are able to correct the sinful character patterns that hinder the image of Christ from being increasingly glorified in us. However, if we approach the Bible merely to gain information, without a desire to experience Spirit-empowered change, we become mere “hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

 

With no desire to throw a wet blanket on anyone’s online fire, let me gently exhort all of us to be sure that we keep the fun tools of technology in their proper place. There is no technology that even comes close to the infinite value of checking our spiritual “facebook” every day. Man’s technology doesn’t hold a candle to the supernatural power of the Word of God.

 

So, have you checked your “facebook” today?

 

I mean, how is your personal time of prayer and Bible reading going? The psalmist woke up in the morning with a desire for deep communion with God: “In the morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch” (Psalm 5:3). Which “facebook” do you wake up with a desire to open? If your desire to check your online Facebook is more urgent than your desire to behold the face of Jesus Christ in the gospel, then it is time to repent of misplaced priorities and renew your commitment to daily read, meditate on, and apply a portion of Scripture to life. Decide right now that from now on you will refrain from booting up your computer until you have first spent time in communion with God through prayer and His living Word (Hebrews 4:12). As we behold the glory of the Lord in the truth of the gospel, the Spirit of God will continually transform us into the holy and gracious image of the Son of God.

Did God Murder His Son – Ray Comfort

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Did God “Murder” His Son? –Ray Comfort

“Sorry Ray, I do not take my morals from a God who drowns opposing armies in the ocean, killed every living thing on Earth in a global flood, punished humanity for all time for eating a piece of fruit, rained fire and brimstone on entire cities because he didn’t like their behavior, killed the first born of an entire nation, and murdered his own son. Thank God he does not exist.” askegg

It seems that you don’t know your Bible. God didn’t “kill every living thing on earth in a global flood.” He allowed all the fish, and a family of eight people to be saved. He didn’t punish humanity “for all time for eating a piece of fruit.” Adam was punished for his “disobedience” (see Romans 5:19). If you refuse God’s mercy, you too will be punished for your disobedience, not for Adam’s.

You are also wrong when you said that “God murdered His own Son.” The Bible says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Jesus of Nazareth was the Creator in human form (see John 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:16). The reason God became a Man was to suffer for the sin of the world (taking the punishment that is due to us). We violated God’s Law (the Ten Commandments), and Jesus paid our fine. That means you can have your case dismissed. It means you can escape Hell, and receive everlasting life as a gift from God (see Romans 6:23).

God warned the Pharaoh ten times that He would judge Egypt, and you pin-pointed the reason for God drowning his army. It was because it was an “opposing” army. That’s a good lesson for us: oppose and you lose. Like Pharaoh, you have been warned (through the Ten Commandments) that God will judge the world because it is at war with Him (see James 4:4). If you refuse to surrender and carry on with your rebellion, God will give you over to what the Bible calls a “reprobate mind.” I would hate that to happen to you.

You are right though about the fire and brimstone. The same Justice of God that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah abides on you (see John 3:36), believe it or not. Please, think about your eternal salvation. There’s nothing more important.

The Dilemma, Again

“Wow Ray, I have personally answered your versions of infinite regression, and ‘nothing creating everything’ and corrected your pathetic misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics… Not that I am claiming you are lying in this regard, I don’t think so. You are simply expressing your ignorant opinions. However if you had any intellectual honesty you would acknowledge that there are answers given to your supposed stumpers that you are unable to refute.” Ryk

I am happy to acknowledge that answers have been given to explain the “nothing created everything” dilemma, and I choose to believe that those answers are wrong. There’s nothing to refute.

I have seen numbers of those who called themselves “atheists” change their minds and admit that they weren’t atheists, the moment they realized that they did believe that “something” created everything. That was because the alternative was ridiculous. That realization is the pin that pops the bubble of atheism. That’s why I am staying with this, much to the annoyance of the faithful posters.

However, my consolation is that if they don’t like me saying this, they are free to go elsewhere. Think about it. If every professing atheist leaves, this would no longer be “Atheist Central.” The Blog would dry up. I would be out of their lives forever. Or could it be that they get bored talking to those others who profess to be atheists?

So, what do you believe: creator or no creator? You could say that there is no such thing as “creation,” which many atheists say, which is absurd. You could say “I don’t know.” But if you do, you are not an atheist. You are agnostic. You could try to define “nothing” as being something, which is also ridiculous. One of your atheist friends said, “An atheist is someone who believes ‘the something’ is NOT INTELLIGENT, because cosmology, abiogenesis and evolution show you don’t need an intelligent designer to end up with a planet filled with life.” Crazy-talk. So you do have a dilemma.

Here’s another atheist’s attempt to distance himself from the essence of atheism: “Let’s say I believe that something caused the universe to form. SOMETHING not NOTHING. However I think that something was natural and not God. See, I am still an atheist because I don’t believe in God, and yet at the same time I believe that something caused the universe.” So he believes in a creator as the cause of the universe. He’s not an atheist.

Let me add to all this that I am honored that you post here. Best wishes to you and yours.

“The Sky is Definitely Blue.”

“There probably isn’t a God. I’d never be stupid enough to commit myself 100% to the statement that ‘THERE DEFIANTLY IS NO GOD!’ because I don’t know it for a fact. It’s summer here in the UK, so I can look out my window and say, for a fact “the sky definitely is blue.” You could say that to a color blind person that the sky isn’t blue, but you’d be wrong because the color blind person has a vision deficiency causing them to see incorrectly.” Andy Duchemin

I appreciate the fact that you have illustrated my point. As an atheist, you can’t be sure of anything in this life. You can’t be sure if God doesn’t exist. You can’t be sure of evolution. You can’t be sure of what is right and what is wrong. But you are sure that the sky is blue. However, it’s not. It has no color at all. It’s an illusion. The only thing you can be sure of is your death.

On the other hand, those who know God (as apposed to those who simply “believe” in His existence) can be sure of many things. This is because God is never wrong. Ever. He is absolutely trustworthy in that which He says. We can therefore know absolutely about our origins, and we can know absolutely what is right and what is wrong. There is no “probably” when it comes to His immutable promises. Rather than let this fact upset you, see it instead as unspeakably good news for those who are tossed back and forth on the sea of speculation. It means that you can have a solid foundation for this life, and absolute hope (know that you have everlasting life) in the next.

“Exalted” (Yahweh) Chris Tomlin

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GOD IS EXALTED. This is such a wonderful melody and such beautiful words… enjoy!

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Chris Tomlin – I Will Rise

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Get up and go for it! That’s what you should tell yourself as you listen to this!

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Chris Tomlin – Sing, Sing, Sing

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Chris Tomlin leading a beautiful hymn of praise to God!

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