Philippians 4:13 themes elsewhere in the Bible

Philippians 4:13 is a commonly misinterpreted Bible verse.

Philippians 4 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.

The real meaning is about being content in all circumstances — good or bad — by living through Jesus who strengthens us.  Unfortunately, it is most often used out of context in relation to worldly accomplishments.

But that isn’t the only place you’ll find the real theme.  Notice here the reality of being content despite horrible circumstances:

2 Corinthians 12 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

And here’s another passage about him giving us strength for endurance and patience, not wordly accomplishments.

Colossians 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,

And another . . . .

1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

Being content sounds bland compared to our worldly desires, but what a phenomenal blessing the real interpretation of Philippians 4:13 is! How wonderful would it be to have contentment in every situation in life? That’s the true promise of scripture that we seek and rejoice in.

As often happens, the real meaning of the passage is better than what we wanted it to mean.

Mark Sandlin = false teacher

Mark Sandlin is a wolf in sheep’s clothing who often blogs at Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis’ Sojourners blog.  A friend sent me a link to Jesus Is Not My God, where Sandlin loudly and proudly claims not to believe in the deity of Christ.  He is welcome to his opinions, of course, and I respect his right of religious freedom.  We even have a term for people like him: Non-Christians.

I’ll start with one of his closing comments, because it typifies the approach of these “progressive Christians.”

I’m not trying to say I am right and others are wrong.

I find that kind of statement as revolting as his claims to be a Christian.  It is a completely wimpy, passive-aggressive postmodern lie.  He has a pulpit, blogs and Podcasts in place to teach these things, so he obviously thinks he is right.  Why not grow a pair and own it?

This is the first post in a series called:“This Collar Is Too Tight: Heresies From a Southern Minister.” Most institutionalized Churches define who is and who isn’t a Christian far too narrowly. There is an increasingly long list of tenets to which a person must dogmatically adhere in order to be in the club. The thing is… I don’t believe a whole lot of them. I even find many of them to be biblically inaccurate.

That’s an odd thing for him to say, because he sits in judgment of the Bible and decides for himself what “really” belongs.

I’ve decided to address them one by one because I’ve discovered that there are a lot of people who feel the same way — even other ministers.

The fact that there are many false teachers — especially within his circles — proves nothing.

I hope that this will give us all a little support and encouragement as we try to cling to our Christian-ness while others try to take it from us.

We aren’t trying to take anything way.  But words mean things, and based on the Bible and thousand of years of history it is incorrect to call people like him Christians.

I am a believer. Mostly.

I believe that there is probably a god — something bigger than us. I have a very hard time believing that there’s not something larger than humanity.

Wow, that’s bold apologetics.  Preach on, “minister.”

 . . . When I worship, I worship that God who is all-at-once bigger than me and might not be at all.

It’s the same god I believe Jesus was trying to teach us about.

In calling God “Father,” Jesus tried to teach us about the nurturing nature of this god. In saying that he and the “Father” were one he was trying to teach us about how we are all one in this god-thing that is larger than us. In telling us that in loving other people (everyone) we were loving God, he was trying to teach us about the connectedness of us all being created in the image of God.

I am a Christian because Jesus, for me, is the teacher who best helps me understand this god-thing.

How can one claim to be a Christ-follower and reject so much of what He taught?

When he worshiped, he worshiped that same god.

He did not worship himself.

Jesus never called himself God.

Here the cheating starts in earnest.  He’ll ignore what he doesn’t like from the synoptic Gospels, then dismiss the Gospel of John and the rest of the biblical claims about his divinity with a wave of his hand.  He starts with the assumption that the Bible isn’t the word of God, and concludes that the Bible isn’t the word of God.  Convenient.

Read through Matthew, Mark and Luke. You won’t find him saying it. Sure, there are a few places where you can interpret what Jesus says to possibly suggest he is God, but it isn’t stated outright.

Maybe if he didn’t go to the text with his preconceptions he’d come to a different conclusion.

You have to ask yourself: Something that important, don’t you think he might have mentioned it? And, if he did mention it, don’t you think somebody would have decided it was important enough to jot it down?

He did.

The Gospel of John does have Jesus mentioning the whole being God thing – a lot. The difference is a bit striking, isn’t it? The first three Gospels, all written before the Gospel of John, without Jesus saying he is God… and then John, after many years have passed, with Jesus saying he is God.

Does anyone else think it sounds like dogma slipped in there during those in-between years?

Thus begins the “progressive Christian” approach which isn’t new at all.  There are countless solid answers to objections like that but Sandlin doesn’t even pretend to have attempted to understand them.

Actually, yes, they do. Most modern scholars agree that John has some new theological perspective into its accounting of the life of Jesus. It may or may not be right, but because of the other three Gospels, I’m going with the idea that it is probably an addition.

Translation: “Most modern scholars” = “people I agreed with when I went opinion shopping.”  So Sandlin knows more than the early church?  Indeed.

For me, Jesus not being God is a good thing – a very good thing.

If what I hope to get from Jesus is an understanding of how to be the people God created us to be and to develop a closer relationship and understanding of God through that, it is much more helpful to see a person who is actually a person and not a god doing it. It’s hopeful even.

This “minister” doesn’t even understand the hypostatic union.

. . . I am saying that if you, too, believe Jesus is not your God, no matter what people tell you, you can still call yourself a Christian.

The Bible, the early church, common sense and 2,000 years of church history say otherwise.

Sandlin does what most pagans do, only they are more honest than he is and don’t make a living off their lies.  He finds a handful of verses he likes and claims to be a Christian.  But he doesn’t even hold to his professed belief of just believing Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Even those have Jesus speaking of Hell extensively, and Sandlin certainly couldn’t support that. And Jesus said that marriage, from the beginning, was just a union of a man and a woman.  Sandlin actively denounces biblical sexuality so once again he disagrees with Jesus.

Run, don’t walk, from false teachers like Mark Sandlin.

grumpy cat

On Mary

I got a really creepy email from a Catholic guy who I’ve done prison ministry with.  He actually signed off on the email “In Jesus and Mary.”  He was encouraging people to go to a site called Holy Love, which has alleged direct revelations from Mary, other dead people and Jesus.  Indeed.  Here’s a sample from Mary:

Our Lady comes seated on a Throne. She is in white with gold ornaments on Her Mantle. She says: “Praise be to Jesus.”

“Today, you honor Me under the title ‘Mother of God’. I am the Mother of God, but also the Mother of All Humanity. I am the Mother of all who esteem Me and pray to Me. I am also the Mother of all who have abandoned Me. I am the Mother of those who live in error, those far from their salvation and all who promote sin.”

“My Immaculate Heart is the Chamber of Purification where souls can face illumination and conviction in the Truth. Not believing in the Truth does not change the Truth. Conviction of heart is a great grace in any present moment, and must be accepted for conversion of heart to take place.”

“Therefore, as your Mother, I call each soul into My Heart as I tenderly and profoundly call you to realize the Truth of where you stand before God in any given moment.”

Now here is one from Jesus:

“I am your Jesus, born Incarnate.”

“No one can be saved or come into Paradise outside of God’s Divine Will. So it is, through and in this Divine Will, I come to offer the path of Truth which leads you into the Light. If you pursue the Chambers of Our United Hearts, you will live in the Truth and obey My Father’s Commandments. So it is, I offer you a roadmap to Eternal Joy – a Joy beyond all telling.”

“It is easy to disbelieve and thereby discount what I offer, but disbelief does not free you of the responsibility to discover the Truth.”

“Today, you are experiencing much snow in your part of the world. I tell you, some hearts are ‘snowed under’ by error. Holy Love must melt away the error and help them to begin their journey towards the Divine Will. Be the instrument which melts the ice.”

They have hundreds of those.  You can’t take the Bible seriously and believe any of them.  They have Jesus coming to us regularly and telling us to pray the Rosary.  Sure.

CARM has lots of great resources about Catholicism, such as Roman Catholicism, comparing Mary to God.  This is a great list to study thoroughly.  Look how often RCC doctrine is the opposite of what the Bible says.

My challenge for Catholics is to read the Bible for yourself and see how few mentions of Mary there are.  The book of Acts?  One mention, and only to note that she is in the room.  There are zero in the rest of the official recording of the early church history!  Romans?  Zero. 1 Corinthians?  Zero.  And so on, through the rest of the Bible.

We should have the proper view of Mary, which is that she had a unique role and was an obedient servant of God.  But the veneration / worship commanded by the RCC shows how false they are.  I appreciate their pro-life and pro-family views, but their Mary-worship, indulgences, purgatory, justification by works and other heretical views can’t be tolerated.

Also see What does the Bible say about the virgin Mary?

Jesus’ encouragement to churches standing up to false teachers

Note his first comments to the first of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2 and 3:

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.

But don’t get smug or arrogant.  There’s more.

4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

So don’t forget the love.

Then there’s this.  So Jesus has things He hates?  Who knew?*

6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Apparently the Nicolaitans were seducing Christians with idolatry and sexual immorality — much like the theological Liberal churches today.

Revelation 2 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

Jesus hated that and still does.

*Those who read all of the Bible.

6 reasons to write in your Bible and 1 reason not to

Our pastor made some excellent points in 6 Reasons Why You Should Write In Your Bible.  Go to the link for more details on each reason.

1) Marking up the Bible helps you see what’s there.

2) It’ll help you process what is there.

3) You’ll remember more of the Bible.

4) You can find what you found.

5) Create Your Own Cross-references.

6) Most importantly, it will help you worship God with your heart and mind.

Here’s my one reason not to: If your handwriting is so bad that it makes the Wing Dings font look legible and you can’t even read it yourself.

I wrote in my Bible once.  I’m not sure why.  This is from the Bible I got as a kid, which I never read.  But for some reason this was written in the front.  It will give you some keen insights into my spiritual condition at the time.

2014-08-08 17.15.12

So I guess there is a 2nd reason not to write in your Bible: Don’t do it if you are going to write something stupid.

This is what I’ve been trying to tell people my entire life.

writing

Whether you write in your Bible or not, just be sure to read it.  A lot.

 

 

Churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” are identical to the world

This is a devastating but unsurprising summary of their views.  The data is right here.  While comparing the first two columns of numbers is illuminating, what really stuck out to me the similarity of the 2nd and 3rd columns.  Note how the churchgoing people who support SSM are nearly identical to the population average in every category.  These churchgoers are even more pro-porn and pro-abortion than the average person!  Regnerus-Graph

This is just more confirmation of one of the theological Left’s biggest lies, namely that we are just misreading the Bible on the verses about homosexuality.  But if that was the case, these “Christians” who support SSM should at least be more aligned with us than with the world when it comes to porn, abortion, divorce, etc.  And keep in mind that two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) agree with Bible-believers that homosexual behavior is a sin.

Please read this carefully and note how it perfectly describes churchgoers who support SSM: 1 John 2 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

I wish they would have added a question about whether Jesus is the only way to salvation.  That is a simple litmus test, because it is taught over 100 times in the New Testament.  Anyone who disagrees with that should not claim to be a Christian.  In my experience there is remarkable correlation between pro-SSM people and those who deny the exclusivity of Jesus for salvation.  So you can test their authenticity without even bringing up the LGBTQX topic.

The theological Left and its false teachers love the world, not God.  They have access to the truth but delight in living out the opposite, and blame others for the incredible destruction caused by violating God’s guidelines for sex.  If it weren’t for them, abortion would be illegal, Planned Parenthood would not get taxpayer funding, schools wouldn’t be teaching pro-gay propaganda, and we wouldn’t be losing our religious freedom, parental authority and freedom of speech at such an alarming rate.

Churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” are identical to the world. In other words, they don’t appear to be Christians.

—–

* The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

  1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians)
  2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
  3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

I agree that it was a message from demons . . .

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

Lest anyone think this is gratuitous Catholic-bashing, please note that I spend way more time addressing false teachers within Protestantism.

The Mother Mary Facebook page shared this story about how demons allegedly fear Mary and her power for salvation.  These demons also give you tips on how to be saved — but only because they were allegedly forced to.  I completely agree that the message is demonic in nature, just not in the way the author intended it.  I see these possibilities:

1. A demon really said it, but was lying because Satan wants to confuse people about Mary’s role, take away glory from Jesus and keep people in bondage.

2. Someone made it up as “evidence” of the Catholic Church’s false claims about Mary.  And we know who the father of lies is.

This is only believable to those who don’t study the Bible and/or those who are hostile to its truths.

When Saint Dominic was preaching the Rosary near Carcassone, an Albigensian was brought to him who was possessed by the devil. Saint Dominic exorcised him in the presence of a great crowd of people; it appears that over twelve thousand had come to hear him preach.

During the exorcism, the demon was forced to speak the following about devotion to the Mother of God: “Listen well, you Christians: the Mother of Jesus Christ is all-powerful, and She can save Her servants from falling into hell. She is the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles. It is She who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares, and makes our temptations useless and ineffectual.

Please stop and consider for a moment whether a demon of Satan just might lie about how people are really saved. 

So we are supposed to be her servants and not Christ’s?  Mary is all-powerful?

The Holy Spirit forgot to mention any of that in the Bible when He addressed the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

“We have to say, however reluctantly, that not a single soul who has really persevered in Her service has ever been damned with us; one single sigh that She offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires, and aspirations of all the saints.
“We fear Her more than all the other saints in Heaven together, and we have no success with Her faithful servants. Many Christians who call upon Her when they are in the hour of death, and who really ought to be damned according to our ordinary standards, are saved by Her intercession.

They slip up here when referring to “our ordinary standards.”  Uh, wouldn’t that be God’s standards that are involved with the damnation question?

“Oh, if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called Her) had not pitted Her strength against ours and had not upset our plans, we should have conquered the Church and should have destroyed it long before this, and we would have seen to it that all of the Orders in the Church fell into error and disorder.

So they fear Mary but not Jesus?  Interesting.

“Now that we are forced to speak, we must also tell you this: nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because She obtains for Her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins, and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy.”

So we’re saved by saying the rosary and not by repenting and believing in Jesus?  I missed that part in the Bible.  Must have been right after the part about vain repetition.

For the record, I think that some people in the Catholic church are saved but just don’t know what the foundations of the religion really are (works-based justification, Mariolatry, indulgences, purgatory, etc.).  I also think that many in the Protestant church aren’t saved.

But people who believe what that Facebook page said have some wildly inaccurate theology.  The comments there were as creepy and sad as the post itself.  I beg people to read the Bible for themselves and abandon these man-made / demon-made tales.  Read the Book of Acts, the history of the early church, and ask why Mary was only mentioned once — and that was merely noting her presence a room.  Why no mentions in Romans?  And 1 Corinthians?  And 2 Corinthians?  And so on.  If the Bible was given to us by the Catholic religion, as it falsely claims, then why doesn’t it include more about Mary?

This is from another post on that site.  I don’t recall any Bible verses about this, either.

mary