I don't know if anyone even reads my blog anymore as I write so infrequently. My apologies. I'm exhausted. I just haven't taken time to write. I'm not reading my Bible as much as I was. I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. I've allowed busy work and home to get in the way. Pray for me. I'm digging out and making a schedule (yes, I need to schedule every minute if I am to get anything done.) so that I make time to write at least once a week. I think that's a decent goal...once a week. I could probably write every day if I wanted this to just be about my happenings, but I don't. The idea was that I would share what God was teaching me in His Word. Gonna stick with that. I like what Pastor Jack Abeelen says. He believes that he's a pastor because God knew he wouldn't study his bible or go to church like he should if he wasn't.
While you are praying for me to get off my butt, pray with me about a Bible study at work. I know a fair number of Christians there - a huge blessing, really. And I was thinking I would poll them to see if they would be interested. Or maybe I should just study, schedule a room and tell them I'll be there if they are interested. Hmmm. Just thought of that.
Anyway. I'm not gone. Haven't given up. Just tired and disorganized and haven't taken the time to write.
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I get the argument for conception and birth. In between? What could that mean? Anyway...
Jeremiah 1:4-5 says, "Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."
And Psa 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
So, God being who He is, has a plan for us before we are even conceived. And He is watching over us in the womb. So, from a human perspective, I would have to say that life as we understand it begins at conception. At the conception of the life, God's plan has kicked into action and He's concerned about us.
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A simple, unrelated question after completing a post that took me forever.
Doesn't the fact that people spend so much time, money, energy trying to figure out where it all started and/or why we are here prove that God exists? If we evolved, who cares why we are here? What difference would it make? Would we even ask the question? I don't see my cats spending their energy on this. Only man does.
My answer is that we were created in God's image. Sin corrupted that and now the connection to God that we were intended to have is broken and we're uncomfortable. Jesus gave us THE way to repair that connection.
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Recall from the intro to Part 1, that this writing stemmed from a discussion that took place about proof that one is saved. One of the people believed that you had to speak in tongues if you were saved.
Where does this argument even come from? It has been brought to my attention (because I have never been in a church that espoused this belief) that the basis for tongues = salvation comes from Acts Chapter 2, which tells us about the Day of Pentecost.
What happened on the Day of Pentecost? Essentially, the 120 or so believers, that's important, that were in a room were filled with the Holy Spirit and they “began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Among them were the apostles. These men and women made up the church. Where church = group of believers. The church didn't start at the day of Pentecost. Being filled with the Holy Spirit began that day. Those who confessed that Jesus is the Christ constituted the early church. Jesus refers to the church first in Matt 16:18 stating that upon Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the church will be built. Jesus makes a second reference to the church in Matt 18:17 when he discusses church discipline. If a church didn't exist, why talk about it as if it does.
These people believed in Christ as the son of God and their redeemer. Again with the thief on the cross next to Jesus. He was promised that he would be in paradise that day. He was saved, yet without being filled with the Holy Ghost.
The other people in attendance on the day of Pentecost were the devout Jews who lived in Jerusalem. They had returned from all over the place. 17 countries are mentioned in Acts 2:9-11. And what did they hear? Did they hear unknown tongues? No. They heard the message in their own language, which is what amazed them (Acts 2:12). When the word "tongues" is used in the New Testament, it is always referring to an actual language(s) unless it's referring to the physical member.
Then in Acts 2:14, Peter starts his sermon. In Aramaic. So everyone in attendance could understand including the mockers from Acts 2:13. At the end of the sermon, 3000 people received Christ and were baptized. Nothing about them speaking in tongues.
I believe the sign of tongues in Acts served a practical purpose. It got the attention of the people who were there. They couldn't deny what happened. I don't think it had anything to do with a proof that they were saved or filled with the Holy Spirit. It's not a card you carry and pull out when someone asks you if you are a Christian. The gift of tongues was given to these people to allow them to minister to the people that they were with at the time. 1 Cor 12:11 tells us that the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts as he wills. Earlier in that chapter, Paul clearly states that there are different gifts, different offices and different effects of the gifts in the given situations. Verse 7 tells us that the gifts are given to benefit the whole body, not the individual. The gift of "unknown"tongues is covered more directly in 1 Cor 14. Basically, that gift is for the individual and does nothing for the church. It's private. In order for me to "prove I'm saved because I have tongues", I have to violate its very use. At the middle of that chapter, Paul downplays the gift of tongues saying he'd rather be able to speak five words that produces learning in others than ten thousand that benefit no one but himself.
For me, this says it all:
The More Excellent Way in 1 Cor 12:31 is 1 Cor 13:1-13. No one’s gifts mean anything without love.
The worst thing is that Christians allow themselves to be divided over this. 1 Cor 14:1-40 asks the question of whether everyone has the same function in the body. No, we don't. Everyone has a unique purpose designed by God. And He has gifts for you to fulfill that purpose.
I'm going to close this with Eph 2:1-22. We are saved by Grace through Faith. We are all saved from the same separation from God by the same Jesus. Filled with the same Holy Spirit. We are to love one another and encourage one another to run the race that is set before us (Heb 12:1). To press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14).
If you want to know if someone is a Christian, Jesus gave you a way to know. Recorded in John 13:35, Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
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