Friday, December 28, 2012

Free But Precious: Digital Books Addressing the Abortion Issue

Today is December 28. As a tradition, Roman Catholics in the Philippines observe Niños Inocentes on this day as a commemoration of Herod's brutal killing of male babies two years old and under. Though countless babies were slaughtered, the real target is the God-incarnate baby, the King of the Jews-- whom Herod saw as a threat to his throne.

Now that we are in the 21st century, this is universally condemned as an evil act. Yet many of these same people who condemn Herod for killing babies outside the womb would justify the killing of babies inside the womb. In today's edition of Free But Precious, Tinubos features digital books addressing the abortion issue.

Abortion and the Christian
John Jefferson Davis

The Inescapable Issue
Charles Swindoll

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Soundtrip Sabado: Christmas 2012 Edition

Mary's Boy Child (TobyMac and Jamie Grace)
on Youtube

Mary's Boy (Alathea)
on Youtube

Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Sojourn)
free download at Noisetrade with two other songs

Joy, Joy (Bifrost Arts)
free mp3 hosted by the Gospel Coalition; right-click and choose "save link as"

Gabriel's Message (Jars of Clay)
on Youtube

Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven (Keith and Kristen Getty)
free mp3 hosted at; right-click and choose "save link as"

Emmanuel, Emmanuel (Sovereign Grace)
free mp3 hosted at the Gospel Coalition; right-click and choose "save link as"

Babe in the Straw (Leigh Nash)
on Youtube

Christmas Related Books:
 The King Has Come (by James M. Boice)
The Christ of Christmas (by James M. Boice)
God in the Manger (by John Macarthur)
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (by Nancy Guthrie)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

BEYOND "God Knows HUDAS not Pay"

Photo Credit: Arkibong Bayan

There is something frightening at the thought of God's omniscience. This attribute is often employed to warn people from doing bad things. Children are taught to sing: "O be careful little eyes what you see... O be careful little ears what you hear... O be careful little hands what you do... O be careful little feet where you go... O be careful little mouth what you say" for God watches from up above. Inside many public utility jeepneys, we see stickers with these words: "God knows HUDAS not pay", a reminder to passengers that even if Mamang Tsuper doesn't know, even if Mamang Konduktor doesn't know, God knows who the robbers are and he will hold them accountable for their deeds.

Is such fear healthy? I say "Yes!". We should have an awareness that God knows us exhaustively and one day we will give an account before him. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to  whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:13 NIV 1984). But in this post, I will tackle some of the blessings we get from the omniscience of God on the positive side-- that is this particular attribute as a source of hope, comfort and encouragement for his children.

God's omniscience gives us hope that we will be purified.
As we turn our bibles to Psalm 139, we read that God knows the psalmist exhaustively (verse 1). Even before a word is spoken, he knows it completely (verse 4). He doesn't just know all the future days of the psalmist's life, he ordained them (verse 16). There is no place in the universe where we could hide from him (verses 7, 8, 11 & 12). The psalmist ends with a request: 
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (verses 23-24)
God knows us very well, even in areas where we don't know ourselves. With a desire to be purified, the psalmist earnestly asked the Lord to search him and reveal the blind spots that he may be led "in the way everlasting."

God's omniscience protects us from evil-minded men
There was an impending attack from King Saul on Keilah. David isn't sure if the people there were on his side. So he inquired of the LORD, "Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?". The LORD answered, "They will." (1 Sam. 23:12). So David and his men left Keilah and moved from place to place. In the same way, even though we don't know the evil intentions of the people around us, we are certain God knows their secret thoughts. Therefore, he knows how to rescue us from them.

Since God is omniscient, he is neither shocked nor caught surprised by anything that happens in our lives and in the world.
 In Isa 46:10, YHWH declares: 
 I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
  I say: My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.

He knows about future storms, future earthquakes, future ailments, future terrorist attacks, future famines, future persecutions, futures deaths of loved ones, etc. These things don't ruin his good plan for us, rather they are all parts of the plan-- a plan that is not for our harm but for our welfare. Whatever takes place, his promise remains intact. He causes all things to work together for the good of those whom he loves and whom he called according to his purpose (Rom.8:28)

Recommended Books:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When Your Son Asks...

In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?" tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders--great and terrible--upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness. (Deu. 6:20-25 NIV 1984)
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses gave a set of instructions in anticipation of the nation's entry into the Promised Land. His primary concern is the preservation of the faith for the succeeding generations. In summary, this set of instructions consists of the following:

1. They should carefully observe the Lord's law while living in the land.

2. Their loyalty should be to YHWH alone. The Shema in verse 4 is not just an affirmation of monotheism; it is also a confession of allegiance to the One True God. And so immediately after the Shema, we read: "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (verse 5)

3. The Word of God must be diligently taught to the younger ones in every opportunity and in every possible means. (verses 6-9)

4. Know that there will be bitter consequences for disobedience (verse 15)

When this whole-hearted devotion is observed at home, the children will be puzzled. They may begin to wonder, "What's all the fuss about these dos and don'ts in the law that we are meticulously  observing?"
"Why are we so loyal to YHWH? What makes him different from the gods of the neigboring countries?"
"All my classmates are free to view this film, why can't I?"

When the child could no longer keep it in, he will approach his parents and ask them about it (verse 20). Thankfully, God himself prepared an answer for the parents long before the children ask (21-25)

  • Israeli parents were to tell their offspring about their miserable condition before salvation came. "We were slaves my Son, we were weak and miserable slaves, but God set us free." In the same manner, contemporary Christian parents must say, "My son, we have never been enslaved by human tyrants but we were miserable slaves to sin until the Lord broke the bondage"(Romans 6:20).
  • Israeli parents were to tell the child, "My son, God rescued us by doing miraculous deeds proving He is the true God and not the gods of Egypt." Likewise, contemporary Christian parents ought to tell the younger ones, "The God who has done miraculous deeds in the past is the same God who saved us by his power. We were formerly serving false gods, but now we were given the privilege to worship the One True God." (1 Thess. 1:9)
  • Israeli parents were to tell the child, "We were not only emancipated from slavery; we were also placed in this land flowing with milk and honey." Contemporary Christian parents ought to tell the kids, "We were not only delivered from the power of sin, we were also granted every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Eph. 1:3)
  • Israeli parents were to say, "My son, other nations may be stronger than us; their armed forces are larger and more powerful than ours, but as long as we are faithful to the Lord, we'll be safe and sound in this place." So contemporary Christian parents ought to say, "Son, there may be so many threats to our well-being: poverty, famine, persecution, sickness, criminals, terrorists, wars... but as long as we are in God's loving arms, we are eternally safe." (Romans 8:35-39)
  • The fifth one will keep us Christ-centered and cross-centered. For an Israeli parent then would  say "if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness." Yet the New Testament reveals that no one has ever achieved that righteousness by perfectly obeying the law. As a result, the entire human race is under a curse (Gal.3:10). This is the very reason why Christ died, that he may grant us the righteousness we are unable to attain from the law (Gal.2:21). In Christ, we are righteous before God (2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Cor. 1:30). So Christ-centered and cross-centered contemporary Christian parents, you know what to say :) 

Books on Christian Parenting:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Joel Osteen: Visiting the Facebook Pages of Prosperity Preachers, part 5

Taken from the Facebook page of Joel Osteen Ministries

This lady bought Principle One of Joel Osteen's book Your Best Life Now. This principle  is "Enlarge Your Vision"; here you must believe that God gave his children "special advantages" and "preferential treatment". The way to avail of these is to declare them with your mouth, which by the way is related to Principle Three "Discover the power of your thoughts and words".

The lady in the photo is declaring that people will bless her, even her enemies. Because according to  Osteen, as the children of the Most High God, we can expect people to treat us differently. We must expect them to do good things for us.

Of course the Lord can do that if he wills. The Egyptians who were naturally cruel to their Israelite slaves suddenly turned super generous to them just before the Exodus because God supernaturally controlled their wills and desires (Exodus 11:2-3). But that wasn't the norm. Right after that, the Egyptians pursued them again relentlessly until the LORD drowned them in the Red Sea.

So in our time, we can believe that the Lord can supernaturally work in the desires and wills of the people around us (bosses, teachers, politicians, neighbors, drivers, barbers, doctors, criminals, etc.) so we can receive favors. But never expect that to be the norm. What we should expect is that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). They may stone us to death (Acts 7:57), throw us to prison (Acts 22:4), confiscate our properties (Hebrews 10:34), toss us to the lions' den, or burn us on stakes. And when these things do happen, we should not be caught surprised. The Apostle Peter wrote:
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12)
When people mistreat you because of your faith, do not for a single minute think you're not getting the best out of what God has provided for you. The very opposite could be true. For our Lord Jesus Christ taught:
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bowman Disagrees with McConnell and Hanegraaff on the Origin of the Positive Confession Movement

Robert Bowman Jr. (Director, Institute for Religious Research)

It was in  D. R. McConnell's book A Different Gospel where it was first proposed that the Word of Faith Movement (a.k.a "Positive Confession"; a.k.a. "Name-it-Claim-it"; a.k.a. "Hyper-faith") traces its roots to the Metaphysical cults. Most of the subsequent critical evaluations of the movement then followed McConnell's conclusions. For example, Hank Hanegraaff wrote:  
"Essek William Kenyon, whose life and ministry were enormously impacted by such cults as Science of Mind, the Unity School of Christianity, Christian Science, and New Thought metaphysics, is the true father of the modern-day Faith movement." (Christianity in Crisis)
Veteran counter-cult researcher Robert Bowman Jr. disagrees with this assessment. His own research led him to the conclusion that the movement's origin could be traced back to the faith healing movement within the evangelical tradition in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I don't have a copy of his now out-of-print book The Word-Faith Controversy, but I'm grateful his lecture Frequently Asked Questions About the Faith Movement is available for download or online listening at the website of Calvary Santa Fe.

I was able to list at least three grounds of his objection to the McConnell proposal.

First, though it might be true that E.W. Kenyon was exposed to the metaphysical cults in Boston, the same is true for most of the people in that area. Rather, the person who probably influenced Kenyon the most at Boston is the prominent Baptist pastor A.J. Gordon who was a firm believer in faith healing. There were no Pentecostals yet then for the Azusa Street Revivals won't be held until 1906, yet faith healing was already a part of American evangelicalism. Kenyon got married in Gordon's church and it was even Gordon who ordained him.

Second, Bowman questions the soundness of the methodology McConnell used in his research. For instead of demonstrating Kenyon's debt to the metaphysical cults from Kenyon's works, McConnell lumped together Kenyon-Hagin-Copeland quotes. Though there are parallels between the metaphysical cult teachings with the statements of latter Positive Confession teachers such as Kenneth Copeland, it is irrelevant to the question of the movement's origin.

Third, when we look into the big theological issues, one would not find parallels between Kenyon and the Mind Science cults. What we find are contrasts.

  • Mind science cultists believe in an impersonal god referred to as the "cosmic mind"; Kenyon believed in a personal God.
  • Mind science cultists' method of biblical interpretation is esoteric-- that is they often find hidden, spiritual meanings in the Bible which no one else has ever seen before; Kenyon's interpretative method is very literal.
  • There is no concept of sin in mind science systems; Kenyon taught men are sinners in need of salvation.
  • Since there is no sin in the mind science cults, Jesus doesn't have to die for atonement. Jesus' death was a travesty of justice. Some of them even toyed with the idea that Jesus did not die. Kenyon taught that Jesus died both physically and spiritually to redeem humanity. That spiritual death part is unsound, but it is nevertheless in contrast with the view of the mind science cults.
Make no mistake about it; the Positive Confession teaching  is indeed a false doctrine says Bowman. His concern is this: they will rightly dismiss us if we misdiagnose the problem. That should be our concern too for it would be extra difficult for us to rescue our friends and loved ones from the claws of the Word of Faith heresy if we fail to understand the nature of the horrific monster.

You can listen to the lecture HERE

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tinubos Tidbits SMS Edition, volume 1

Vintage NOKIA 3210

  • Lying is something God can't do (Titus 1:2). Can a child of God then live a life of lies? We are called to imitate Him, not the father of lies (John 8:44)
  • salamat kung may bagong gamit. Pero kung wala, 'wag kamuhian ang luma. Ito'y tumagal sa biyaya ng Diyos (Deut. 29:5)
  • What a haunted house needs is NOT the sprinkling of holy water. Pursue Christ-likeness and your house will be blessed (Proverbs 3:33)
  • "Ang pagsisisi ay hindi lamang pagtalikod sa lahat ng kasalanan kundi pagbaling sa lahat ng mabuti; pag-ibig sa lahat ng mabuti; pagpapahalaga sa lahat ng mabuti, at pagsunod sa lahat ng mabuti." ~ THOMAS BROOKS
  • if you're enjoying electricity today, even if you didn't use it for His glory yesterday, this is God's goodness, mercy, and grace.

  •  "Huwag iisipin ninuman na ang pagpatay sa kasalanan ay sa pamamagitan ng mga konti at mahihinang tapik. Kung sinimulan mong hampasin ang isang ahas, ngunit itinigil mo kahit ito ay buhay pa, pagsisisihan mong sinimulan mo ang away. Sapagkat babalikan ka nito at tutuklawin. Ganyan rin naman ang sasapitin ng sinumang nagsimulang labanan ang kasalanan at hindi ito tinapos hanggang sa ito ay mamatay." ~ JOHN OWEN

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dalawang Magkasalungat na Buhay sa Unang Salmo

AWIT 1, Bagong Magandang Balita Biblia
v.1 Mapalad ang taong hindi nakikinig sa payo ng masama,
at hindi sumusunod sa masama nilang halimbawa.
Hindi siya nakikisama sa mga kumukutya
at hindi nakikisangkot sa gawaing masama.

v.2 Sa halip, kasiyahan niyang sumunod sa kautusan ni Yahweh.
Binubulay-bulay niya ito sa araw at gabi.

v.3 Katulad niya'y punongkahoy sa tabi ng isang batisan,
laging sariwa ang dahon at namumunga sa takdang panahon.
Ano man ang kanyang gawin, siya'y nagtatagumpay.

v.4 Hindi gayon ang sinumang gumagawa ng masama,
ito ay tulad ng ipa, hangin ang siyang nagtatangay.

v.5 Sa araw ng paghuhukom, parusa niya'y nakalaan
siya'y ihihiwalay sa grupo ng mga banal.

v.6 Sa taong matuwid, si Yahweh ang pumapatnubay,
ngunit ang taong masama, kapahamakan ang hantungan.

1. Magkasalungat na mga Prinsipyo
Kung meron mang hindi ipinagdaramot ang mga taong walang takot sa Diyos, 'yan ay ang pagbabahagi nila ng kanilang mga prinsipyo sa buhay. Feeling talaga nila mga wais sila; papayo-payo pa. Ang kanilang mga paninindigan ay kanilang ibinabahagi sa mga personal na pag-uusap, sa kanilang mga awitin, sa kanilang mga isinusulat, sa kanilang mga ipinapaskil sa kanilang timeline at sa kanilang mga itini-tweet. Natutuwa sila kapag may sumasang-ayon sa kanilang likong pamumuhay.

Pero ayon sa unang salmo, ang tugon ng taong matuwid ay pagtanggi sa mga payo ng masasamang tao at sa kanilang mga baluktot na pangangatuwiran. Sa halip, ang mga prinsipyo sa buhay ng mga taong matuwid ay kanilang hinuhugot sa Salita ng Diyos. Ito ang kanilang patnubay sa pamumuhay.

2. Magkasalungat na Kagalakan

Ang kagalakan ng taong masama ay ang kutyain ang mga bagay-bagay na may kinalaman sa kabanalan. Wala silang interes sa mga matuwid na aral. Kapag tuturuan mo ng tama, magagalit pa sa iyo at iinsultuhin ka pa. Bakit? Kasi naman, tinatanggal mo ang kanyang happiness. Ang gusto niya happy siya, at ang happiness niya ay kalikuan.

Salungat yan sa kagalakan ng taong matuwid. Kasiyahan niya ang ipamuhay ang mga prinsipyong nahuhugot niya sa Bibliya. Marami mang pinagkakaabalahan sa buhay, hindi niya kinaliligtaang pagbulayan ang mga banal na aral araw at gabi.

3. Magkasalungat na paglalarawan
Ang taong masama ay inihalintulad sa ipang tinatangay ng hangin. Ang bagong aning trigo ay tinatahipan ng mga Hudyo gamit ang winnowing fork. Bago nila imbakin ang trigo sa kamalig, pinapatangay muna nila sa hangin ang mga ipa sapagkat wala naman itong pakinabang.

Sa kabilang banda, ang taong matuwid ay inihalintulad sa punong itinanim sa tabi ng batis. Laging luntian ang kulay nito at namumunga sa tamang panahon. Salungat sa ipang walang pakinabang, ang punong matatag, luntian at namumunga ay maraming pakinabang.

4. Magkasalungat na kinabukasan

Sa oras na hahatol ang Diyos, hindi makakatakas ang masama. Ihihiwalay siya ng Diyos sa kapulungan ng mga mututuwid tulad ng paghihiwalay sa mga tupa at kambing. Habang sila ay walang hanggang mawawalay sa presensya ng Diyos, ang mga matutuwid ay sasamahan ng Panginoon magpakailanman.

 "Tingnan ninyo, ang tahanan ng Diyos ay nasa piling na ng mga tao!
Maninirahan siyang kasama nila,
at sila'y magiging bayan niya.
Makakapiling nilang palagi ang Diyos
at siya ang magiging Diyos nila" (Pahayag 21:3)

Subalit huwag iisipin ninuman na ang mga matutuwid na tinutukoy sa Awit ay nangaligtas dahil sa kanilang sariling kabanalan. Kung babasahin ang mensahe ng buong bibliya, walang matuwid, wala kahit isa. Maliligtas lamang ang tao dahil sa sakripisyong ginawa ni Kristo sa krus. Ito ay biyayang kaloob ng Diyos at tinatanggap sa pamamagitan ng pananampalataya lamang. Ang kontribusyon ng Awit na ito sa kabuuan ng teolohiya ng Bibliya ay ang katotohanan na ang mga nananampalataya sa Diyos ay kakikitaan ng buhay na banal, salungat sa buhay ng mga hindi kabilang sa kanyang kawan.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oktubre 28 sa Buhay nina Jim Elliot at Micah Tarlit

Micah Rosario Tarlit
Micah, unang-una ay ipinaparating ko ang aking pagbati. Bagamat ako'y 'di makakadalo sa pagdiriwang ng iyong ika-18 kaarawan dahil kailangang may maiwang mag-aalaga sa iyong lola, nais kong ipabatid na ako'y nakikigalak sa iyong espesyal na araw. Tiyak ika'y puno ng pag-asa at ng mga mararangal na adhikain para sa kinabukasan. Nawa'y ang lahat ng iyan ay matupad ayon sa kalooban ng ating Manlilikha. Wala akong ibang hangad para sa iyo kundi magbunga ng maraming kabutihan ang iyong buhay. At dahil 'yan ang hangad ko, hayaan mong banggitin ko ang pangalang Jim Elliot.

Maraming puwedeng sabihin tungkol sa kanya, subalit wala akong balak pahabain ang mensaheng ito. Tutal, ang mga detalye sa kanyang buhay ay madali namang mahalukay sa panahong ito na may Google at Wikipedia.

Taong 1927, ang life expectancy o inaasahang haba ng buhay ng mga bagong silang na kalalakihang Amerikano ay 'di kukulangin sa 56 na taon. Oktubre ng 1927 nang ipinanganak si Jim Elliot, subalit ang haba ng buhay niya ay umabot lamang sa kalahati ng 56. Enero ng taong 1956 nang tumarak sa kanyang katawan ang isang sibat na agad kumitil sa kanyang buhay. At hindi lamang siya ang dumanas ng ganito; maging ang kanyang mga kasama ay ganun din ang sinapit: Ed McCully, 29; Roger Youderian, 31; Pete Fleming, 28; at si Nate Saint, 32. Ang tanging atraso nila, tinangka nilang ibahagi ang ebanghelyo ni Hesus sa Waodani tribe, isang marahas na tribo sa Ecuador.

Makatuwirang tanong: bakit kailangang mangyari iyon? Malakas pa sila at marami pang puwedeng gawing kapaki-pakinabang sa ating daigdig. Sa mata ng sanlibutan, nasayang ang kalahati ng buhay ni Jim Elliot. Ngunit nasayang nga ba?

Sa kamatayan ng limang misyonerong ito, ang pangamba ng marami ay manghihina ang loob ng mga kristiyano at mababawasan ang bilang ng mga hahayo bilang mga misyonero. 'Yan pala ay isang maling akala. Sa halip, naging inspirasyon sa marami ang buhay nina Jim Elliot at ng kanyang mga kasama. Marami ang naglakas-loob na ibahagi ang ebanghelyo sa mga lugar kung saan 'di pa ito naririnig. Marami rin ang nakakilala sa Panginoong Hesus, ang ilan sa kanila mula sa Waodani tribe.

Ang petsa ngayon ay Oktubre 28. Sa araw na ito noong taong 1949, may isinulat si Jim Elliot sa kanyang journal:

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Si Jim Elliot ay isa lamang sa mahabang listahan ng mga martir. Sinimulan ni Stephen (Acts 7:59-60) at sinundan ni Apostle James (Acts 12:2). Silang lahat ay nagbuwis ng buhay dahil sa patotoong si Hesus ay namatay at muling nabuhay at nararapat kilalanin bilang Panginoon.

Oktubre 28, 2012. Eksaktong 63 taon na ang lumipas, subalit ang diwa ng isinulat ni Jim Elliot sa kanyang journal ay nananatiling sariwa sa ating kapanahunan. Kaya naman ito ang hatid kong mensahe sa iyo: Ang buhay na ganap ay 'di nasusukat sa haba nito. Hindi rin ito nasusukat sa kaginhawaang tinatamasa ng katawan. Ang buhay na ganap at kasiya-siya ay ang buhay na ginugol sa pagsunod sa kalooban ng Diyos anuman ang maging kapalit.

Isang pinagpalang kaarawan!

Sulat-kamay ni Jim Elliot sa kanyang Journal

Monday, October 22, 2012

Soundtracks for the Redeemed

Play Eye of the Tiger and people will remember the boxer named Rocky.
Sing The Moment of Truth and The Karate Kid comes to mind.
Scenes from the Titanic flash before people's memories when the disc jockey cues My Heart Will Go On.
(paumanhin, panay luma alam kong mga pelikula. LOLz )

Part of good film making is composing its appropriate soundtrack, that when the song is played, people will remember the film long after it was shown in the cinemas. If there are enough number of songs, they compile it into an album and is sold separately from the film itself.

When DreamWorks released the animated film The Prince of Egypt, three albums were prepared: The Prince of Egypt OST, The Prince of Egypt Inspirational, and The Prince of Egpyt Nashville.  Yet the Bible itself provides the  most appropriate soundtrack for that grand event-- the parting of the Red Sea for the salvation of Israel and the destruction of the Egyptian forces. This song is Exodus 15.

Do you have a song in your heart? If you have experienced salvation from the Lord, I guess you should have one, or even multiple songs. In one of his last sermons, James M. Boice described music as: “a gift from God that allows us to express our deepest heart responses to God and his truth in meaningful and memorable ways. It is a case of our hearts joining with our minds to say, ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ to the truths we are embracing.” (cited in P. Ryken, Exodus: Saved for God's Glory)

But if you are going to compile a soundtrack album for your life story, what kinds of songs ought to be included? Let me offer two guidelines.

1. The Soundtrack of Our Lives Must Include Songs About Who God Is.

Exodus 15 is replete with words describing the character and the attributes of God: his eternity, his power, his wrath, his supremacy, his holiness, his glory, his love, matchless deeds. As we sing about who God is, we are also describing the kind of God we need.
  •    We are mere mortals, so we exalt the eternal God.
  •    We are a needy people, so we praise a God who is self-sufficient and able to provide for our needs.
  •    We are weak, so we worship God for his matchless power
  •    We live in a world full of hatred so we rejoice in singing about a loving God
  •    We live in a world full of lies and liars, so we sing about God's truthfulness
  •    We live in a world full of injustice where evil people go unpunished, so we sing about the God of justice, a God who expresses his wrath against wickedness.
  • We sing about a forgiving God because we are sinners in need of forgiveness.
  • We sing about a God who saves because we are bound to destruction without a savior.

2. The Soundtrack of Our Lives May Include Songs About What God Has Done.

Just as the Israelites sang Exodus 15 because of their experience of deliverance, we too may sing of the mighty acts of God in our lives. Some don't like this suggestion fearing we may end up singing songs which are purely built on the subjective rather than on objective biblical truths. But if your experience is in harmony with God's revealed truth and if our responses to those truths are appropriate responses, I see no reason to prohibit experience based-songs.

God is alive, therefore he is active. He is doing things in the lives of his redeemed, both individually and corporately. We cannot divorce our experiences from biblical truths. In the Bible, believers' dramatic personal experiences with God result in a gladness that overflows into singing: David in 2 Samuel 22, Hannah in 1 Samuel 2, Zechariah in Luke 1;67 ff. and Mary in Luke 1:46 ff. to name a few.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BORN THIS WAY: Pastor John Macarthur's Compassionate Yet Uncompromising Response to Gay activist Chad Allen

No matter gay, straight or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born to survive

I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

~ Lady Gaga

KING: All right, John, let me -- let me move to other members of the panel. We have four  members of the panel. I want to get everyone in. John, what do you say to those who say, What about Chad and the love of his life being together? Isn't that better than, say, the heterosexual marriage where one of the partners cheats? Who is contributing more to the moral decay of the society, the adulterous husband with the female wife or the loving gay couple who don't do that?

MACARTHUR: Yes, well, you're asking me to do something I really can't do, and make a judgment on which sin is better or worse than the other. We've suffered in this country from adultery, divorce, the abuse of children, pedophilia, you name it. I'm not going to classify those in rank. They're sins, and they destroy the family.

KING: And homosexuality is...

MACARTHUR: And homosexuality...

KING: ... a sin to you.

MACARTHUR: Yes. And...

KING: Therefore, it's a choice.

MACARTHUR: It's a choice you make. It's a sinful choice.

KING: Did you make a choice to be heterosexual?

MACARTHUR: I don't think I had to make a choice to be heterosexual. I think that's a natural thing.

KING: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. In other words, one is a choice and one is not?


KING: So he was unlucky and you're...

MACARTHUR: Because -- because you're not talking about -- because it's natural to be heterosexual. That's built...

KING: What do you mean by natural?

MACARTHUR: Well, I mean, that's the way God made us. That's the normal...

KING: But if he doesn't feel that way, what is he, then? He's not a sinner. It wasn't his decision.

MACARTHUR: Yes, I think it was his decision.

ALLEN: I would love, absolutely love for the pastor to point out for me when in my life I made that decision because I have to tell you, it caused a lot of pain in my family. It caused a lot of pain to me. It's a very, very tough thing that I had to go through. I don't remember making that decision. If I did, maybe can you point it out, but that wasn't the case for me.


ALLEN: It's who I am. You also said that it was in the fabric of the human being that -- to understand that marriage was between a man and a woman and that's what family was. It must not be because it's not in the fabric of what who I am. It's not the way I see it. I think families come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

MACARTHUR: Well, let me respond this way, Chad, and say it had to be in the fabric of humanity or you wouldn't be here.

ALLEN: I believe that reproduction is. I'll give you that. I absolutely believe that reproduction is. However, I think family, the definition of family and the definition of reproduction are very, very different things.

KING: All right...

MACARTHUR: Well, what I said earlier is the DNA, the genetic structure of humanity, of civilization, of society is family. Everybody knows that. That's in the heart. That's how it works. You're coming along with others who are homosexual in their perspective and overturning what is natural to everyone.

KING: Could they also be asking to the privilege of something you have preached for years? Marriage is a healthy, wonderful thing, and they're saying, Let us in...


KING: Why would you deny it to them?

MACARTHUR: Let me respond to Chad, too, just on a personal basis, Chad, by saying, I don't think at some point you said, OK, I'm going to be a homosexual. I got two alternatives. You know, I'm going to go be a homosexual. But I do think whatever sin patterns show up in our lives -- and it may be different for us -- we can choose to continue down those paths of sin, whether it's adultery or whatever it is, or we can say, Look, this is sin, and I need to deal with this in my heart. If this is the way I'm being led, it's not right. It doesn't honor God. It's not according to his word. It's not going to ultimately bring blessing on life. I make the choice at that -- I can't make a choice to be a sinner, OK? I am. We all are. But once you start down the path of sin, if you recognize that  it is that, then you look to the Lord for the remedy to that.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Birthday Greetings for Joni Eareckson Tada!

"Sickness does not belong to any of us. The Bible declares if the Word of God is in your life, there will be health, there will be healing-- divine health and divine healing. There will be no sickness for the saint of God. If Moses could live such a healthy life, so can you."
(Benny Hinn)

"I am certain that I never did grow in grace one-half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain."
(Charles H. Spurgeon)

"The religious idea that God chastises His own with sickness and disease and poverty is the very thing that has caused the church to go 1500 years without the knowledge of the Holy Spirit."
(Kenneth Copeland)

"God's strength is perfected not in His delivering His Messiah from crucifixion, nor in delivering His apostle from physical suffering, but is seen in the crucifixion itself, and in the apostle's weaknesses."
(Gordon Fee)

"How can you glorify God in your body, when it doesn't function right?... What makes you think the Holy Spirit wants to live inside of a physical body where the limbs and the organs and the cells do not function right?"
(Frederick K.C. Price)


Joni Eareckson Tada on Larry King Live!

Books by Joni Eareckson Tada:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Short Note on the Anti-Cybercrime Law (R.A. No. 10175)

Of course I'm for improving the laws of the land. Let us repeal bad laws or at least revise/amend them. Yet I guess there were more oppressive laws in the first century and the Apostle Paul wrote:

"For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13:3-4 NIV)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Things that Haven't Changed Before and After the Flood

Photo Credit: Answers in Genesis
In a game show, the participant chose bag #17. When she was asked by the host why, she replied it is the date of her son's birthday. A politician willingly paid a large amount just to acquire a license plate with the figure 777 on it because he believes it is his lucky number. This is numerology, the occultic belief that numbers have special meanings and that they have influence in our lives.

Even bible-believing Christians can fall into numerology. This happens when they ignore sound hermeneutics and exchange it for preoccupation with the alleged meanings of numbers in the Bible. One such case is when Bishop Dan Balais of Intercessors for the Philippines (IFP) added the product of 70 X 7 to 1521 (the year Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippine Islands) to arrive at the interpretation that 2010 is the Philippines' Jubilee year.

Recently, we have witnessed another case of numerology applied to the bible. Heavy habagat rains brought damages to Luzon. People checked the date and it was August 7, 2012 or 08-7-2012. They turned their bibles to Genesis 8:7-12 and concluded that God has a message for us and it has something to do with the Noah's ark. But for us to hear God's message in the Bible, we must not resort to numerology. We must instead read it through the lens of proper biblical interpretation.

I have read the story. I did not start with 8:7 and end with verse 12. I read the whole narrative and here I offer three things that haven't changed before and after the flood.

1. The Sinfulness of Man hasn't changed
The people of Noah's day were all descended from Adam just like us. Eversince sin entered the world through our first parents, every member of the human race are all born with an inherent moral corruption. So it is recorded that before the cataclysm: "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." (Gen.6:5).

Though Noah's son's were flood survivors, they were not left untouched by the sin that originated in Adam. So after the flood, the Psalmist declares: "Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies." (Psalm 58:3)

You may think that because of the advances in civilization, man's heart has improved. No! The malady of man's soul that made him reject Noah's 120-year period of preaching righteousness hasn't changed.  Don't be surprised then if only a few are accepting the gospel message today.

2. The Wrath of God Against Sin and Sinners Hasn't Changed
In the flood account, we we see a God who was furious against sin. He decisively judged that world, and after it was done, there was no hint of regret in him.

Imagine how ugly the world was when the waters subsided. No one would sing All Things Bright and Beautiful then with the sight of mess all around. No surviving forest. No more beautiful gardens. The seas were a mixture of water, mud, sediments and perhaps dead bodies. Everything was ugly. To the survivors, it would have been a testimony of how God deals with sin.

If the sinfulness of man hasn't changed, what would a holy and righteous God feel about it? Was he wrathful against sin and sinners then yet somehow there is a change in his character that makes him indifferent towards wickedness now? Is he not the same yesterday, today and forever? Let post-flood Scriptures speak:

Deuteronomy 9:7-8
"Remember this and never forget how you provoked the LORD your God to anger in the desert. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the LORD. At Horeb you aroused the LORD's wrath so that he was angry enough to destroy you."

Psalm 7:11
"God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day."

2 Peter 3:10
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare."

3. The saving grace of God hasn't changed
Genesis 6:9 testifies to the fact that Noah was a righteous man in that age of wickedness. Yet that must not be taken as to mean that Noah was sinless. I have a strong proof that Noah was a sinner just like the rest of us. My proof is 9:28 where we are told that Noah died at the age of 950. The wages of sin is death, right? (Romans 6:23). He too deserved God's wrath yet he was shown favor; he was given a way of escape, and righteous Noah obeyed by building the ark.

In our time, God still saves by grace. Just as all who were inside the ark were kept safe and sound, so all who are found in Christ are free from God's wrath.

Romans 5:9
"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!"

1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10
"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."