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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.


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About Pr2612

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  1. Pr2612

    Who will it be?

    This article was good, and I shared it on Facebook. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/should-christians-vote-for-lesser-of-two-evils.html So I reshare it here. I really think that a choice between the Republicans and the Democrats at this point is a choice between two evil candidates. Certainly, Jesus isn't on the ballot, and so anyone that we choose will be imperfect. I suppose you could always write in Jesus Christ as a joke vote, because no matter how serious you may be, I doubt that he would consent to take a seat behind the desk of the Oval Office for 8 years, or even 4. The gist of that article is as follows: our system is supposed to be a government of the people. In other words, our leaders only serve at our pleasure. We appoint them to do the right thing on our behalf. I would ask you to consider the issue this way. If you were the only voter, and you could appoint any person to the presidency, who would you appoint? Let's assume that you cannot appoint yourself or anyone you know. So, you could appoint Pope Francis, if you wanted to, but you couldn't appoint your local church pastor. Then, ask yourself under what circumstances you would be willing to appoint Donald or Hillary to the presidency. I can't imagine having free reign to name any person and actually picking one of those two names. Like I said, I do disagree with them both on several crucial issues. I understand that we are not attempting to vote for a pastor but a president. I don't necessarily want the president to be able to give a good exposition of Romans 9. In fact, I would be willing to appoint an atheist to the presidency if he would basically agree with fundamental morality, including such things as that abortion is murder, and be infinitely supportive of religion and all the good that it has done in the world. So, under that criteria, if you would still be willing to say that Donald Trump is the best bet, then go ahead and vote for him. However, I think that each of us could find a better name. And if you could find a name that is actually running on a ticket, say for the Constitution or libertarian party, I would encourage you to vote for that person. The election is not always a two-party choice. They would like you to believe that it is, but it isn't. Abraham Lincoln was a third-party candidate.
  2. Pr2612

    Wake up People - My Rant

    Personally, I would suggest that this is the worst slate of candidates that I've ever seen. I agree, Hillary is bad, very bad. But Trump is worse. I don't know where you get that he would support the Constitution, or that he would even be able to tell the difference between it and Shakespeare. Joel Osteen promises things that he can't deliver. He makes promises based on the Bible, but the Bible just doesn't work that way. Donald Trump promises things he can't deliver. He makes promises based on business and economics, but economics just doesn't work that way. Trump's "brand" is all about talking well, and in the American economy sometimes talking a good game is enough to get people to trust you again and again even when what you're selling is worthless junk. That is the Trump brand, and it doesn't work on the world stage. If it did, Kim Jong Un would be the leader of the world.
  3. Pr2612

    I Don't Believe The Way YOU Do!!

    So, basically, a random guy just walked up to a random stranger and accused him of believing differently than him? Was there any context at all? Any reason for him to even suspect you believed a certain way? I mean, unless he belongs to a cult that has so few members that he would literally recognize every single one of them, how would he have any way of knowing or even suspecting absent any other context what you believe?
  4. Pr2612

    Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

    That doesn't make any sense to me. If it's a metaphor, it has to allude to something. If Christ meant to metaphorically baptize people, then you still have to explain what baptism is, and why people would baptize someone in something (in this case, the Trinity). If it's a metaphor, then we "baptize" people into the fellowship and doctrines of God, then what is the significance of literal baptism? What is baptism? You can't understand the metaphor without understanding what it alludes to. I'd be interested to know what actual baptism would be if Christ's baptism is a metaphor for it.
  5. Amen. Sadly, I don't know many such folks either, or at least I don't think I do. I can sooner think of many who seem to equate Christianity with Americanism, and state that what the law of the nation was powerless to do, Christianity stepped in and improved on so we had less criminals. Anyone not ready to die for the faith is not ready to live for Christ. I don't deny the title "hero of the faith" to such a person, as long as it is understood that they are only a "hero" in the sense that they have done what any Christian in their place ought to be prepared to do. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." - Tertullian I too pray for the destruction of the evil tyranny that is radical Islam, but I want to tell you that the gospel of Christ will go forward, persecution or no. I absolutely would advocate taking any action that could end the awful persecution, but I believe that the only thing that will counter radical Islam, and keep it from growing like a cancer that will soon destroy civilization as we know it, will be the Gospel. No bomb, army, United Nations sanction, or anything else will be sufficient to stop it.
  6. Pr2612

    Scriptural worship songs

    Since I started this thread, this thought hasn't been able to get away from me. So I've been going about trying to find music that makes the grade. Here's an example of a newer song that I think is actually deep: "His Robes for Mine". I just found it yesterday, so I haven't had a lot of time to process it. But here are some selections that really stood out to me: "God estranged from God" "God’s daunting Law Christ mastered in my stead. Faultless I stand with righteous works not mine, Saved by my Lord’s vicarious death and life." - The law of God is daunting and insurmountable. Yet here is the crux of the Gospel presented with deadly accuracy. Not only was I desperately in need of help, Christ came by and actually did it. He did what was to me impossible: to master the law of God. "Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe. He, as though I, accursed and left alone; I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!" - I guess I've never just processed it that way. If God was estranged from God at the Cross, then how joyful would He be to welcome Himself home? It would make the most joyous "Honey, I'm home!" pale in comparison -- and yet, "I welcomed home as though He!" As in, God jumps up and welcomes me into His home with the same exuberance that was felt when Jesus was reunited with God? Maybe I'm spouting heresy here, or maybe it's really one more most amazing concept wrapped up with the Cross. For more on this song, you could look at this site at https://churchmusictoday.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/songs-and-scriptures-his-robes-for-mine/ - but I think this is going to be quite enough to commend this tune to even those who would eschew much modern music. As an added bonus, if you don't want to learn a new hymn tune, it can be sung to the tune commonly paired with "Abide with me, fast falls the eventide".
  7. Pr2612

    Luke warm, numb and kind of giving up

    Welcome! I firmly believe that God sees your heart and that he honors what is in it. Any shred of desire to know him better is like an ember still burning from a campfire the night before. I believe that when you approach God with your ashes and embers, he will fan the flames if you only ask. Everyone goes through down times in their spiritual walk. Sometimes, the people who are most desperately in need of admitting it are also the people who seem the least like it. In a nutshell, don't be down on yourself. Also, don't be dishonest with yourself or with God. If you have questions or doubts that you think you just shouldn't ask about, that's probably the enemy telling you to stay alone so that you can't get help. I would strongly encourage you ask anything that's on your mind. You can even do it in this thread. The most important thing for any Christian to do is to surround themselves with people who will encourage and spur them to further deepen their relationship with God. Welcome. I'm glad you've taken that first step.
  8. Pr2612

    Should Babies' Be Baptized?

    A pastor friend of mine is continually emphasizing to me how God doesn't just deal with us as individuals, he also deals with us as communities. These communities have various levels, including our family, our local worshipping body, and also our nation. Some facets of spiritual interaction can only be achieved at one of these levels. In the Christian life, you can't go it alone. In Acts 16, we see the jailer being baptized. He didn't just get baptized himself. He took his whole family and got them all baptized.
  9. Pr2612

    Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

    And what did Jesus say on the subject? "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." I agree with you that Christ is necessary to Salvation, and he is the only thing. However, I would also suggest that following his commands might be important. Baptism is a command, just as anything else Christ said is a command. Will there be people in heaven who never have the chance to get baptized? I'm sure there will. Does baptism save your soul? If you go down a dry sinner, you'll just come up a wet one. While I do agree with people who rightly state that baptism is not essential to salvation in that you could go to heaven without it, I also find myself wondering why, if it's not important, would Jesus have commanded us to do it? Sent from my LG-H901 using Tapatalk
  10. Pr2612

    Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

    I think the author of this article draws a false dichotomy. He says that either baptism is necessary for salvation, in which case anyone who dies without being baptized goes to Hell, or it is not necessary for salvation. I think that there is a third option which is not as cut-and-dried as either of the other two. I would ask you the following question. Is living in obedience necessary to salvation? When the Bible consistently says repent and be baptized, it does seem that we are being commanded to be baptized. Is it possible for someone to have died and gone to heaven without being baptized? Yes. Is it possible for someone to have died and gone to heaven while having disobedience in other areas of their life? Also yes. Is it the proper way? No. Can you just continue to get away with unlimited disobedience in all areas and expect to be saved? Certainly not. (Heb 10:26; Rom. 6:1-2). I think that baptism is an issue of obedience. The Bible commands it; therefore we ought to do it. I am also amused by how the author attempts to draw the parallel to circumcision, and yet says that infants should not be baptized. I have never practiced infant baptism, and we have a son who has not ever been baptized, because I'm not entirely clear on this issue. However, the sign of the covenant does not mean that the person is living correctly under said covenant. The mark of circumcision tells the circumcised person what covenant they are living under, and what covenant they are responsible to. Galatians 5:3 - "Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law." Likewise, one who practices infant baptism is simply demonstrating by a sign what covenant this baby is responsible to.
  11. If you look to the example of our Lord, he clearly forgave people who who did not and would not ever ask for repentance. When he cried out "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," do you believe that everyone he was talking about there realized what was going on and repented later? I think that to suggest that is absurd. The classic example of the difference between forgiveness and full restoration, as I've always heard it, is the example of the embezzling church treasurer. Just because this person comes and asks for forgiveness, do you immediately put them back in charge of the church finances? And the answer that I've always heard, is, "of course you don't." However, when I think of the example of Christ, I have to think of Judas, who was known to help himself to the common purse from time to time. It would seem to me, that an approach to discipline that is focused on restoration instead of punishment, would evaluate the situation of the embezzling church treasurer and ask if this person is sincere in their repentance. It would ask if this person is going to repeat their failure, or if they are going to embezzle again. It would ask if they are even ready spiritually to be strong enough to resist the temptation to embezzle again. But not for the sake of the church--for the sake of the spiritual well-being of the person that you don't want to put into temptation. And if the answers to those questions are that this person seems genuinely repentant, and we do not believe that we are placing them at unnecessary risk by putting them back into their position, I think that absolutely you should put that CPA back in charge of the finances. I think there's probably a few other questions that need to be a test. If he really does this professionally, is this the only place from which he has taken money? Again, you would ask this for his benefit, not for the benefit of the church's bank account. Find out what help he needs. Put accountability structures in place so that if something like this is happening it will not be able to stay hidden for much time at all. In the instant case, it appears that you have a member that is intentionally being disruptive and doesn't seem to care about the actions their effects are having on others. My instinct says that the correct action would be the obvious one: ban and leave them banned until such time as they're willing to agree to the rules of the community that have been set in place. I have no idea how this does or does not jive with the preceding example that I gave. But I do think it is consistent with the spirit of forgiveness. I think such a person ought to be forgiven, yet I'm not convinced that full restoration could take place without their agreeing to look at their offensive behavior.
  12. As a worship leader, I continually was frustrated by the incessant cascade of songs that are either Jesus-Is-My-Boyfriend, or maybe God-Is-Blessing-My-Socks-Off, or perhaps Yeah-Yeah-Yeah-Yeah-Yeah-Yeah! We could just open up the CCLI Top 100 and start going right down and naming how many of those songs say either nothing at all, or perhaps would fit right into a convention hosted by Osteen, Meyer, and Copeland, or are otherwise doctrinally useless. And, as I believe that the Spirit of God didn't quit inspiring men to write music after Luther wrote "Ein Feste Burg" (A Mighty Fortress), I'd like to see what you suggest as good new worship songs. Let's even be a little lax on our definition of "new," and basically anything in the era of Shout to the Lord and Lord I Lift Your Name on High (these aren't necessarily suggestions of the deepest songs, but these two were definitely the start of the modern worship music era.) So, after all that is said, here's the question: What modern worship songs have you found to be Scripturally rich, doctrinally sound, musically solid, and spiritually stirring? I'll lead off with a few of my favorites: Knowing You, Graham Kendrick. Based off of Philippians 3:7-11, you may have sung this one till it was as hackneyed as "Yes Lord Yes Lord Yes Yes Lord Amen (Trading My Sorrows)", or you may have never heard it. In either case, this song puts to music a passage of Scripture that is basically the antithesis of the Prosperity Gospel. How Deep the Father's Love for Us An excellent concordance of this song can be found at http://www.revisitingscripture.com/2012/04/23/how-deep-the-fathers-love-visited/ . It reminds me that God's love for me is complete, amazing, priceless, free, and yet very expensive. It cost His Son his life to redeem a wretch. What other good examples of songs have you found? Both of these are very melodic, but I'm interested in good songs in any style. Perhaps we'll even revisit some good hymns that just can't be let go.
  13. Pr2612

    False Teachers

    Wow. Wow. Um. I don't like that kind of music generally, and it's not gonna be my everyday jam, but I gotta say two things. 1) Dude can rap. And, 2) Dude nailed it with 2 Peter 2. I think there's some things in 2 Peter 2 that I still don't get, but WOW, I don't think I've ever heard 2 Peter 2 exposited so well even by a lot of preachers, and that's just sad.
  14. Pr2612


    I would go one step further, and suggest that there are actually a lot of people who attend supposedly Christian worship services week after week, and don't even realize that the god that they are worshipping is not the God of the Bible, but a god whose first and greatest commandment is the same as that of LaVey Satanism: fulfill your lusts. Please tell me if this is a derailment, and I will quit this line and move it to a more appropriate thread, but I feel like it is relevant here. It takes on many forms, and usually doesn't sound quite as blatantly arrogant as that, but there are a lot of people who say a lot of things such as: * God wants you to be happy. * If you are following God, he will bless you in material and other wealth. * You need to take care of yourself before you are able to take care of anyone else. * You need to tell the toxic people in your life that you are done with them, and that you will not tolerate their bringing their issues into your life anymore. * Pretty much anything said by Joel Osteen The worst part is that I don't usually disagree with anything that Joel Osteen says. He doesn't usually come out and speak blasphemies and heresies. It's not what he does say, but what he doesn't say. What he refuses to say. Nearly anything that is said by Mr. Osteen we would have to admit, well, that is true, as long as you realize such and such, and this is true in these conditions, et cetera. Lies are most dangerous when you mix them with so much truth that people can't tell the difference between the truth and the lie. But I think the common thread between LaVey Satanism and Osteen Christianity is the number one sin: Pride. It's not about you. It's about God. If you seek first the kingdom of God, then everything that you need will also be taken care of. If you seek first to get what you need, then you won't get either.
  15. Pr2612

    Who's your candidate?

    Let me talk about Trump on the other merits. I do in fact respect the fact that he is at least willing to throw Political Correctness in the fire, and speak as though he doesn't care who he offends. I wish more politicians would have that backbone. One of my favorite Trumpisms came from when he said to the reporter, "You wouldn't have your job if you weren't beautiful." Everyone who jumped on the wagon to point out how misogynistic that comment was also seems to have missed the fact that he was actually giving the lady a compliment. Is it sexist to say that women who aspire to be National anchors are greatly handicapped if they don't have the looks to go with it? Absolutely. But is it true? Sadly, yes. I don't see him there as being the root of it that's sexist comment, I see him as only pointing out what is objectively true. Now, on the other hand, there have been plenty other trumpisms that have proved that he really is misogynistic and sexist, but that wasn't one of them. I don't think he has a firm grasp of foreign policy, or about national economic policy. He is not a conservative, and he doesn't even know how to be a conservative. His policy proposals are mostly either unclear, flip-flopped, or unrealistic. So even in a secular context, I would still have a hard time justifying a vote for him. Granted, I don't like Clinton any more, because she is a liar and a crook, and she is only a byword to prove there is no accountability for anyone in authority in this country. We need to re-establish the pathway from the state house to the jail house. This election, I will probably do what I did last time, and vote for a candidate that I can respect on the issues. In 2012, I voted for Virgil Goode.

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