Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of AMERICAN GOSPEL:  CHRIST ALONE

American Gospel: Christ Alone (not rated)
****

American Gospel: Christ Alone, available on Amazon and iTunes), looks at the biblical Gospel, and contrasts it with the so-called prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all (Galatians 1:6,7). Unfortunately, America has exported the prosperity (health and wealth) gospel to other nations, which has caused significant problems for missionaries who go to those countries to teach the true Gospel. Through interviews, excellent graphics by Jason Jean and Les Lanphere (Calvinist) which include numerous bible passages, film clips of actual prosperity teachers/faith healers, the film, written and directed by Brandon Kimber, shows in a straight-forward manner that the Gospel is not Jesus plus anything else (works, tradition, healing, wealth). But using the actual words of the prosperity teachers and faith healers, the prosperity gospel is shown to be the evil that it is. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:13 that such men (and women) are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. He gives a chilling warning in v. 15 that their end will correspond to their deeds. Continue reading


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A Prayer for Christmas Day


Father in Heaven, on this Christmas morning, we thank you for Jesus, your only, and beloved, son. The busy period leading up to Christmas is now over. The decorating of our homes, the gift buying and wrapping, the sending of cards, the parties with friends, special programs at church, etc. The sound of Christmas music has been filling the air, sharing the gospel in music with some who would not normally hear it.
We’ve been looking forward with joyful anticipation during Advent to celebrating Jesus’ birth, His first coming. This is indeed good news of great joy.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
We hear many in our culture talk about the “true meaning of Christmas”. Some say the true meaning of Christmas is peace, and indeed we are told that the angels praised God saying that there will be peace on earth among those with whom He is pleased (Luke 2:14). Tim Keller tells us that Christmas means the increase of peace, both with God and between people. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus that He would be the Prince of Peace:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6
Others say that Christmas is about light and hope.  Father, we know that there would be no Christmas at all without Jesus, who came to earth as a sacrifice for us.   He is our only hope and The Light of the World.
For our sake he made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
We know that the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is You, O God, substituting yourself for man.  We are so glad to read in 2 Corinthians 5: 19 where Paul says “that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them”.  Mark 10:45 tells us that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.
He took the punishment we deserve and gave us His perfect life in its place so we can be reconciled with You.  Love came down at Christmas. That’s the meaning of Christmas.
Father, be with us today. Help those who will be with family and friends to enjoy the wonderful time together. For those who will be alone today, and perhaps missing loved ones, please help them to feel the presence of your Holy Spirit.   May we share this good news of great joy with everyone.  May we live this day and every day for your glory.
In Jesus precious name,
Amen


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“We Sure Could Use a Little Good News”


Last week I talked to a long-time friend at work.  She mentioned the anxiety and worry many were feeling about significant organizational changes in our workplace, two major hurricanes (Harvey and Irma), the recent death of the daughter of a teammate, but most of all the terrible murder/suicide that involved two people who I knew and worked with.  This tragic news stunned and saddened our workplace and community.  Feeling weighed down, she said, “we sure could use a little good news”.

Life is hard and there are times when it seems like there are more bad things happening than at other times. I felt that way earlier this year as I thought about a number of recent losses in my life. Read my article “Encouragement in the Midst of Loss”.  We worry about many things, such as our vocations (jobs), health (ours and others we care for), relationships, finances, the spiritual lives of those we care about, etc. In addition, many families, including ours, have been shattered by the suicide of a loved one.

Last year, as I looked back in the rearview mirror at certain key events in my life and my wife Tammy’s life, I saw how the Holy Spirit has used terrible, difficult and painful experiences for good toward our journey in being conformed to His image. Read my article “Looking Back at Life Through the Lens of Romans 8:28”.   I believe that we may not know all of the reasons why some things happen to us in this lifetime, but we can rest in knowing God is using them for our good and His glory.

I’m writing on a Sunday afternoon after hearing a wonderful sermon from my pastor entitled “God is Glorified in Afflictions”.  It was the beginning of a new series on 2 Corinthians. Chapter one of the book addresses how affliction among Christians is redemptive when we don’t waste it. That’s an interesting concept that you may not have thought of. The entire sermon is worth listening to. You can check it out here:   http://christchurchpca.org/sermons

So in the midst of your worries and suffering, listen to the words of Jesus from John 16:33 ~ “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and frustration and suffering, but take courage [be confident and certain, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

The ultimate good news we all need is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  About the Gospel, R.C. Sproul writes:

“The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well-being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.”

I’ll let R.C. Sproul have the final words of good news:
“The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.”

When you put your full trust in Jesus Christ, will you experience less suffering?  No.  But He has promised that your suffering will not be in vain, and He will give you eternal Hope!  He is faithful to give you His courage, strength, comfort and peace as He walks difficult roads alongside you.  I would appreciate any thoughts you have. Blessings to you, and thanks for reading.