Spoiled by God's Love

~To God my exceeding joy (Psa 43:4)~
You may not have a big car, but you're on the cruise to heaven;
You may not have gold and silver, but you're given the keys of heaven;
You may not have a good house, but you're God's House, His Temple;
You may not have many friends, but the Best Friend gave His life for you;
You may not have flown in an airplane, but you'll ride on the clouds;
You may not have crossed your village, but you'll rule over nations;
You may not have sung in a choir, but you'll sing with myriads of saints...
You may not have a computer, but you've got the Living Word of God;
You may not have a cell phone, but your voice reaches heaven (toll free);
You may not have many degrees, but you got temperature - the fire of the Spirit;
You may not have bread on the table, but you've eaten the Bread of Life...
You may not have had anybody who said that they liked you, but you got Someone who hasn't spared anything to say that He loves you.........
So, plunge into the riches of His grace, wallow in His goodness; it's okay to be spoiled by God's love. LOVE GOD, GIVE HIM YOUR BEST, SERVE HIM, HAVE A BLESSED DAY OF WORSHIP!!! GOD BLESS!!!
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Evangelism, Exaltation (Worship), Edification - Thoughts

EVANGELISM:
Jesus said "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible" in connection with the salvation of souls (Mar 10:27)... For God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1Ti 2:4). No excuses allowed! If God has planted an idea of evangelism in your heart, don't stifle it with the thorns of godless excuses. He really wants all people to get saved. Focus on the demands of heaven.

EXALTATION (WORSHIP):
~"My soul thirsts for God..." (Psa 42:2)~
If we're really thirsty, we won't stop being thirsty until we've been really satisfied... Some get thirsty when they hear an exciting sermon; then, forget about the thirst as soon as the meeting is over; some get thirsty and come to the river; but, are so afraid, ashamed, and doubtful that they come no further; but, the really thirsty plunge into the fullness of God and are baptised (immersed, filled up to overflowing measure) with the Holy Spirit.
~Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (Joh 7:37-38)~

EDIFICATION:
~The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk... (1Ti 1:5,6)~
A theological curriculum that abounds in "idle talk" (speculative theology, anti-supernaturalism, Pharisaism) is bound to engender spiritual lethargy (no matter how brilliant the religious showmanship appears to be). A right study-plan of God's Word should produce purity of affections, clarity in moral discernment, and child-like sincerity in faith.
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Worship & Humility (Psalm 34:2)

~"My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad." (Psalm 34:2)~

TO WORSHIP (Gk. proskuneo, Hb. shachah) means "to bow down with the face to the ground; to prostrate": this is only possible through absolute humility and self-surrender. While the mind is immersed in self-interest and self-conceit, it can never appreciate the sound of praise and worship to God. Only "the humble shall hear.. and be glad!"
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When I look into the heavens, the moon and all the stars, I wonder What is man that you are mindful of him? (Psalm 8)



~"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?" (Psalm 8:3,4)~

There are about 400 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Now, there are 500 billion such galaxies in the universe. Imagine the number of all the stars if we multiply the 400 billion with the 500 billion; it would be 200000 billion stars. Yet, God knows each of the stars by its name - how much more precious is the life of a human created in the very image and likeness of God. And, then we are only about 7 billion people on this planet. We are precious!

1. THE VALUE OF LIFE

Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matthew 10:29,30).

God cares for the sparrows; how much more He cares for us. He says that even the hairs of our head are numbered.

How precious are we to God?

We can try, perhaps just come close, to understand that if we look at the Lord Jesus Christ. He said that He came into the world to seek and save those who were lost. We are so precious that He doesn't want any of us to be lost in our sins.

Jesus said that He came to serve and give His life a ransom for many. He death on the cross, the ultimate sacrifice, was the price He paid to save us from the consequences of sin - that was eternal separation from God and all His goodness. Now, we need to only turn to God and He is there with His arms outspread to take us in because the stains of sin have all been washed away by the love of Jesus Christ.

He allowed humanity to hate Him to the core by allowing them to crucify Him. On the cross, He embraced us despite our rebellion with His infinite love; He put an end to all enmity; He removed every writ of condemnation. He gave Himself in the Ultimate Sacrifice.

Why?

Because, we are the Pearl of Great Price that God doesn't want to lose. We are precious in His sight.

Yet, we devalue ourselves by separating ourselves from our Source. Our value is not intrinsic in ourselves; it is derived from who we are in Him, because of Him.

The Psalmist talks about our God-given value in Psalm 8:5:
"You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor."

2. THE VISION OF LIFE

The Psalmist also mentions the original purpose of God for humanity:

"You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas." (Psalm 8:6-8)

God created us to be winners, to be victorious, to be wise rulers of His world. But, sadly, how humanity has turned the earth into ruins. We may have excelled in material civilization; but, the earth lies polluted and poisoned under our hands.

The Bible says that the creation now groans in agony, waiting for its redemption, i.e. the manifestation of the sons of God, the ones who will bear the scepter in the world to come. (Romans 8)

In this life now, the vision glows warmly in the lives of those who have turned their hearts to God and have received the earnest of the Holy Spirit. He groans within us to bring forth in us what He wants us to be.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 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. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:26-30).

3. THE VANTAGE OF LIFE

Therefore, the Bible reminds us to remember God in the days of our youth (Eccl.12:1), to make the best use of time for the days are evil (Eph.5:16), and to listen to the voice of the Spirit today when He talks to us (Heb.3:7,8).

We have been given only one life; it is our vantage point. What we decide today determines our destiny tomorrow. Let us not waste it; let us seek Him, His will, and glorify His name by fulfilling His desire for each one of us.

There is no limit to what we can do if we trust in the Lord. God has ordained strength even out of the mouth of babes and infants.

The Psalmist could say:
"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength..." (Psalm 8:1,2)
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I AM THAT I AM (Ex. 3:14)

This is the Name by which God introduced Himself to Moses. The exact passage is:

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. (Ex.3:13,14)

This is the Name by which only God can introduce Himself.

If somebody asked me who I am, I might answer by telling that I am the son of so and so, or that my profession is such and such, or that I work at such and such, etc. My identity is dependent on a host of other things. The technical term is "contingency". My identity is contingent upon a number of other factors.

However, God's identity is not dependent on anything else. He is who He is! As Ravi Zacharias said, "God is the only being in existence, the reason for whose existence lies within himself." God's identity is absolute, independent, and final - He is the Beginning and End of all things. In the ultimate sense, in fact, it is from Him that all things derive their particular identity.

"For in him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)

He is self-sufficient, self-contained, and self-satisfied eternally - in need of nothing. He is the great I AM!
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The Unique Christ - IV - The Song of the Bride


IV
The Song of the Bride
What does He lack that I should seek another?
I desire nothing apart from Him.
What is that desire that is better than the joy He gives?
I find my deepest enjoyment only in Him.
My Lover is altogether lovely,
Brighter than the morning star,
Fairer than the nocturnal moon,
Stronger than the sun at noon;
My Lover is indescribably lovely –
And, see, He has chosen me!
When my heart began to wander after the fleeting shadows,
Love drew me back to His Arms of peace;
When my thoughts were all shaken by fears of tomorrows,
I was gently reminded that I am His.
I cleave to the One whose breath is my life.
He speaks and I’m filled with overwhelming joy.
I seek no other, He’s my joy consummate;
His love is unsurpassable; His kindness, ultimate!



The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the "and" lies our great woe. If we omit the "and" we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite is true. We can well afford to make God our All, to concentrate, to sacrifice the many for the One.....

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever. 
~A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God~


The Unique Christ - I - The Song of the LambThe Unique Christ - II – The Song of the ClayThe Unique Christ – III – The Song of the Disciple
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IRENAEUS (c.130-c.200)

Adversary of the Gnostics

Significance:
  • Doctrine of Christ’s Incarnation, Union of Natures, and Recapitulation theory of Atonement.

  • The church is one and universal, and it confesses one and the same faith throughout the world. The common faith is confessed at baptism, at which one act the believer receives forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit.

  • “Canon of truth” referred to the “rule of faith”, the content of the apostolic preaching in summary form that served as a norm for interpreting Scripture and determining the apostolic faith.

  • Took church at Rome as the representative church in his argument for apostolic succession (from one teacher to the next; not, from ordainer to ordained). The apostolic faith was preserved at Rome.

  • Affirmed the reality of the physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist against the Gnostic depreciation of material elements.

  • Mary, in reversing the disobedience of Eve, found a place in Irenaeus’s doctrine of recapitulation.
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JUSTIN MARTYR (c. 100- c.165)

Apologist and Martyr.

“For I myself, too, when I was delighting in the doctrines of Plato, and heard the Christians slandered, and saw them fearless of death … perceived that it was impossible that they could be living in wickedness and pleasure” (2Apol.12)

Significance
• One of the first highly educated Gentiles to use his learning to defend Christianity even before the emperor himself.
o His writings use citations from Euripides, Xenophon, and above all Plato to strengthen his case for Christianity.

• Opposed rival teacher Marcion who taught that the New Testament contradicted the Old Testament.
• Logos-theology: Even before the coming of Christ, the logos was manifested partially in such Greek philosophers as Socrates and Heraclitus, and in such Hebrews as Abraham, Ananias, Azarias, Misael, and Elijah (1st Apology). Plato’s truth was dependent on Moses (chs.59-60).
o The seed of God’s logos (logos spermatikos) was disseminated to all men in their God-given capacity to respond to truth. “Whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians” (2Apol. 13:4)
o There were Christians before Christ, such as Socrates and Heraclitus (1Apol. 46:3)
o All Theophanies in OT were Christophanies “For the ineffable Father and Lord of all neither comes to any place… but remains in His own place…” (Dial.127:2)

• Fullest Accounts of Christian Rituals including baptism and Eucharist (1st Apology 61-67)
• On the basis of Isaiah 53:2 declared that Jesus was not of a comely appearance. (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew)
• Used the concept of typology in finding Christ prefigured in many other OT passages. (e.g. Noah’s ark – wood of the cross; Leah – synagogue; Rachel – church; Joshua – Jesus…) (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew)

According to an accurate account complies in the 3rd century, Justin was brought to trial with six other believers c.165. He answered his interrogator simply and went courageously to his death.



REFERENCES
John D. Woodbridge (ed), Great Leaders of the Christian Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988)
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Ignatius of Antioch (d. c. 98-117)



Fed to lions during the reign of Trajan (AD 98-117). Wrote 6 letters en route to Rome.

Significance:
• First to use the word Christianismos (Christianity, Ign.Rom 3:3; Magn.10:3)
• Opposed Docetism (Trallians 9;11-2; Smyr.1-3)
• First to stress the concept of “monepiscopacy” (or monarchical episcopacy): a single bishop in a given city presides over the 3-fold ministry of (i) bishop (ii) presbyters (iii) deacons
o The bishop presides in the place of God (Magn.6:1; Tral.3:1)
o Submission to bishop is necessary to achieve henosis (“unity,” Ign.Eph.5:1).
o Even when a bishop is youthful as at Magnesia (Magn.3:1) or is silent as at Ephesus (Ign.Eph.5:1) or at Philadelphia (Philad.1:1), they are not to be despised, for silence is a characteristic of God Himself.

• First to use the word katholikos (“universal”) of the church (Smyr 8:2) “Set on unity” (Philad.8:1). Urges Polycarp (1:2) “care for unity your concern for there is nothing better”.
• First to maintain that either the bishop or his authorized representative has to be present for a Eucharist to be valid (Smyr.8:1). He called the gathering of Christians to celebrate it the pharmakon athanasias, “the medicine of immortality” (Eph.20:2). He also began the association of the Eucharist with the concept of a sacrificial altar, thusiasterion (Magn.17:2; Philad.4:1)
• He begged the Romans not to prevent his martyrdom (Ign.Rom.1:2, 2:1). He proclaimed: “Suffer me to be eaten by the beasts, through whom I can attain to God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ.” (Ign.Rom.4:1).

We are informed of his martyrdom in Rome in the reign of Trajan (c. A.D. 108) by Polycarp, Ireneaeus, Eusebius, and Jerome. Later legendary accounts from the 4th and 5th centuries (the Martyrium Colbertinum and Antiochenum) relate that his bones were collected and brought bak to Antioch. These relics were later brought back to Rome in the 6th or 7th century.



REFERENCES
John D. Woodbridge (ed), Great Leaders of the Christian Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988)
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