Welcome to tomthinking.com Wednesday, December 12 2018 @ 11:03 PM UTC

When We Repent, God Relents

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Does God change his mind? The answer is a yes and no. There are decrees that God makes that are unchangeable. God never changes his mind about these things. No amount of prayer or pleading will get God to change his mind. Probably the best example are moral values and decrees. If you pray and ask God to change his mind about adultery, or lying, or stealing, or blasphemy, you can be completely assured that he will not change his mind about these things. They are wrong and will always be wrong. These are fixed decisions by God.


Finding The Trinity In The Old Testament

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One of the most difficult doctrines of Christianity to fathom is the doctrine of the Trinity. Too many people have trouble getting their minds around the concept that there is one God who exists as three persons. Yet, the New Testament seems clear in this portrayal of God’s nature. But what about the Old Testament? Why doesn’t the Old Testament clearly teach the doctrine of the Trinity?

It may surprise you to learn that, in fact, we do find elements of the Trinity in the Old Testament, though not spelled out as clearly as is found in the New Testament. So, let’s camp for a while in the Old Testament and see how God reveals himself.

First, let’s lay an explanatory foundation. In its revelation of God, the Bible uses something we call progressive revelation. This means that God does not reveal all of himself at one time, rather, God reveals himself over time, long periods of time, slowly revealing his true nature. This does not mean that God hides truth from us. Rather, God reveals truth as he enables us to handle it. We do the same thing with our children. When they are younger we don’t tell our kids everything about us. There is only so much that a child can handle or understand. But over many years our children learn more and more to the point where what they know of us when they are older far exceeds what they knew when they were younger. This is also true of God’s nature in the Bible. Written over thousands of years, the Bible slowly reveals more and more about God until we come to the knowledge we have today. But, we still don’t have a comprehensive picture of God today. There is still more of himself that he waits to reveal to us when we finally enter his presence in Heaven.

Let’s keep this mind as we search the Old Testament for references to the Trinity. In fact, let’s start at the beginning. 


The Key To Finding Purpose In Life

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There has to be more to life than just the daily grind of work and personal entertainment. Life should have meaning and purpose. But where do we find it? I’d like to suggest the the first place we can find what we are looking for is in the first chapter of the Bible’s book of Genesis. It’s in something we call the Cultural Mandate. 

Just what is the Cultural Mandate?


If we want to understand what the book of Genesis is all about and how it applies to us, if we want to understand its themes and what they mean for us, then we have to understand the passage in Genesis which sets the stage for everything that comes after it and that sheds light on everything that comes before it. That passage is Genesis 1:28. We call this little passage of scripture, the Cultural Mandate. 


Would Jesus Go For The Headshot?

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I recently repurchased, at a very low rate, a couple of old PC games that I used to play years ago. The games were first person shooters. I used to have hours of fun playing these games, killing my opponents, and going for the headshot. I wanted to see if I would enjoy the games as much as I used to. I rarely play games anymore, as they bore me since with most games it's just the same thing over and over again. I usually prefer reading or some other more constructive activity. The few games that I do play are the nonviolent variety.

I discovered that I didn't like playing those old games anymore, specifically because they were so violent. It reminded me of a question I asked myself long ago about such games.

"Would Jesus go for the headshot?"

It was then that I began to re-evaluate my entertainment choices, asking the question, "Do my entertainment choices please Jesus?"

I'm not interested in a debate over R rated films or TV-MA programs or violent video games. What I'm interested in is what my entertainment choices build into my life. Once you've seen something you can't simply "unsee" it.

Studies have shown that there is no causal connection between entertainment choices and violent or criminal behavior. According to the Entertainment Software Association, "Numerous authorities have examined the scientific record and found that it does not establish any causal link between media content and real-life violence."(1) According to another study, "The research showed that there is no evidence that violent video games are positively correlated to real-world crime rates."(2)

Hitting the Sink

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What was your first car? Was it a muscle car, a sport car, a truck? Or maybe like me it was a Toyota station wagon (yes, they made them once). My first car was a 1972 Toyota Corona Mark II. It wasn’t exactly what a 16-year old boy would want, but my parents helped me buy it, and it was mine.
Before my dad handed me the keys to my car he sat me down to give me some advice. He was always good with cars and took extra special care of his. He expected me to do the same. I wanted to take care of my car. So when dad sat me down to give me some instructions, I listened. Yes, I listened. But the first thing he told me was so obvious that in my know-it-all attitude I thought it was dumb. He said, “Tom, whatever you do, don’t get into an accident. Not even a little fender bender. Because if you do, your car will never be the same.”
Right dad. Okay. 

The Will of God

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What is the will of God for your life? Just that question alone can open up a Pandora’s Box of trouble. Religions are filled with the idea of man serving a deity according to that deity’s will. The mainline Muslim believes in Allah’s will to destroy the unbeliever in Islam. Some Christian movements teach it is God’s will that His servants have no material want or be materially successful. Even the non-religious may subscribe to a kind of destiny, where impersonal fate prescribes a role in life, instead of a knowable Creator.
I once knew a woman who claimed that God told her during her first pregnancy that she would have a boy. It was God’s will. Delivery time came and she had a boy. During her second pregnancy she said God told her she would have girl. Delivery time came and she had another boy. She felt quite foolish, as her assumptions about God’s will lead her to say some silly things. It made her look bad, but not as bad as some take the will of God.
Famed American TV preacher Oral Roberts once taught it was God’s will for him to raise $8 million from his TV audience. He claimed that if the money didn’t come in that God would kill him. Oral said some pretty stupid things that made not only himself and his organization look bad, it made a lot of people look at the Church of Jesus Christ and perceive it as mythological foolishness.
Many Christians have given up their homes, livelihoods, even their liberties and lives believing that God has spoken to them about a direction their lives should take. They say things like, “It is God’s will for me to _________.” You fill in the blank. Many go on to do noble works—missionaries, pastors, mercy ministries, and so on. Others seem to stumble along, even making strange pronouncements about what God’s will is for them or their associates.

America's Judgment Is Inevitable. Here's Why

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When things are good, when society is prosperous and making its greatest advances, that is when the seeds of destruction are often planted, and people are often unaware. 

Right now many Americans are marveling at the economic recovery that is taking place. Many political reforms are underway that may prove to advance our country into greater recovery. And while these are all good things, we live in a society that is deeply divided politically, more-so than at any other time in history. Why are we so divided with such acrimony and hatred? I’d like to suggest that it is because America is divided spiritually, and more-so than any other time in history. And I’d also like to suggest that no matter what political reforms we put into place, it may be too late to repair the damage. Allow me to explain why this may be, from a lesson in Israel’s history.


Everyone Has A Story. This Is Mine

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Tucson, Arizona was experiencing flooding in October 1983. I was out riding my motorcycle in the rain looking for work every day but getting nothing. I hoped to work in radio, but had no experience or leads to break into the industry. Four months earlier I had been attacked at a bar and had my mouth wired shut for 7 weeks to repair a broken jaw. I had no education, no practical experience in much of anything, to put it mildly, I had no hope that I had a future. But one thing kept getting my attention.

Every day as I rode out to look for work I would pass by a large church on the corner of Ina and La Cholla, Casas Adobes Baptist Church. I had no church background. I didn’t know what it was all about. All I knew about church was that it was open on Sundays and that was it.

Every day I passed by that church and the parking lot was filled with cars. “What in the world are cars doing at church on a Monday?” I wondered. Some people complain about a church with a big parking lot. But it was a parking lot that piqued my curiosity about Christianity.

On a Tuesday as I prepared to make a left on Ina to look for work again, a police officer pulled up on my right. I was in trouble. I had no license plate on my motorcycle and I certainly couldn’t afford a ticket. I actually prayed. “God, if you want me to go to church, don’t let him give me a ticket.” The police officer rolled down his window and got my attention. “Son!” He yelled.

Do You Know What You Need To Know To Have Eternal Life?

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Many years ago I used to teach a Sunday morning Bible study to a group of men who had been in the church I attended for many years. Almost no one in the group was under the age of 60. Needless to say, when I was asked to take over the teaching post I was pretty well intimidated. What in the world did I have to teach a group of men who had claimed Christ for longer than I had been alive?
For the first set of lessons I decided to teach on principles of spiritual growth. Each week went by and the guys listened, and I taught, and we discussed, but I could tell underneath that something was a bit off. I discovered it one day when one of the men spoke up and said, “What do I need to know all this stuff for? I mean, hey, I prayed the prayer and I’m in!”
What kind of attitude do you hold about your salvation? Do you care about growing spiritually? Do you care about pursuing Jesus?
You may have heard the saying, “What did the thief on the cross know?” Someone usually says something like that to justify their lack of pursuit of spiritual things. If the thief on the cross could receive salvation without knowing much about Jesus, then why make any effort to know Jesus at all? Just pray the prayer and you’re in!
Sadly, such an attitude may mark a person who does not know Jesus at all.
What did the thief on the cross know? It turns out he knew quite a lot—a lot more than most people think. Look carefully at this account from Luke 23:39-43.

Why Socialism Is Unbiblical

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It is sometimes said that religion and politics should not be mixed. These are two things that when taken together, can offend and take people’s focus off of the Lord. Yet, the Bible gives us principles that help us determine whether our politics are in line with biblical principles or take us down a collective path toward marginalization or destruction. I am of the opinion that scripture gives us dynamic tools to help us make sound political choices.

In this article I want to present six practices of socialism and how the BIble teach us why socialism in anti-biblical and destructive to societies. These six principles of socialism are:

1. Wealth confiscation and redistribution
2. Government ownership of private industry and property
3. Limits on income
4. High and oppressive taxation
5. Anti-capitalism
6. Values are social creations, not immutable laws

The first argument that might be made about these six things is that the scripture appears to be silent on most of them. For instance, there doesn’t seem to be a direct command anywhere in the Bible that incomes should be limited or wealth confiscated and redistributed. If the Bible doesn’t command it, then we would seem to be free to pursue these things. However, this line of reasoning fails to the ground when we apply it to number 4; there seems to be no scripture that directly limits high levels of taxation. So, in this case, the argument might be a reversal. However, this is a bit simplistic.

The Bible’s commands on ordering a society were not specifically written for modern times. Many of the passages that might concern us were written by Moses in a culture influenced by Ancient Near East (ANE) ways of thinking. This is alien to our modern societies. However, knowing that behind the Laws of the Old Testament there are principles that are timeless, we can approach these passages and use them as guides. So, let’s take a brief look at each of these six thing and see where the scripture might run into them.