Michael Furlonger Shares The Gospel Through The Old Testament Law
The biggest questions that I come across is, “What do I do after I accept faith in Jesus Christ?” It’s a good question. After all, if we are “saved by grace through faith,” what do I do with everyday problems?
Is my porn addiction under the guise of grace? No, it’s not. Is my swearing covered under the guise of grace? No, it’s not. Is my disrespect for my parents, my spouse and my boss covered by the guise of grace? No. It. Is. Not.
You never recognize how bad something is until you are free of it. I never knew how crippling pornography was until I tasted the freedom that godly living provided. How isolating this sin was to me.
I never knew how disrespect hindered me from making genuine connections until I was free of it.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8)
First we taste, and then we see.
Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (Romans 7:24)
Did I just strike a nerve? You may be freed from an addiction of pornography or disrespect or swearing, but find yourself still drawn to sexual thoughts, anger, bad language. After Apostle Paul asks, “Who will save me from this body that is subject to death,” that is ‘subject to sin’, he says,
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:25)
Did you know that the Devil “reads” the Bible? OK. Maybe he doesn’t “read” the Bible, but he does know it. And he knows it better than you or I. And he’s not afraid of using it to make you sin and do things that are against the Will of God.
Allow me to share of when the devil tempted Jesus.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matt. 4:1-7)
Do you see where even the devil said, “For it is written”? He goes on to quote Psalm 91:11-12.
It’s interesting how Jesus responds, isn’t it? Jesus responds with the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 6:16).
Straight Out Of Context
Have you ever lived in sin? Commit the same sin over and over again. Remember, as Apostle Paul says, “by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
Or when a church member confront you of a sin? You have Matthew 7:1 ready in your back pocket. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
For some reason, we actually have King James waiting, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” So people use this as an excuse to ignore people who call out their sins.
Reading Ephesians 2 in context, Apostle Paul is calling on us to live a life away from sin: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world… (Eohesians 2:1-2a). And our faith should be followed with good works: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works… (Ephesians 2:10a).
If we are to read Ephesians 2:1-10 in context, it would say, “We are saved by God’s grace, not good works. Because of God’s grace, we are called to put away our sins and live the life God calls us to live. The outpouring of knowing God is, indeed, good works.”
Same thing with Matthew 7:1. Fortunately, Jesus straightforwardly explains in verse 3-5.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
This is simple to read in context. “Don’t judge. First, deal with the issue in your life and then help your brothers and sisters deal with the identical issues that they are dealing with.”
The Devil Is In The Details
What other verses are twisted? Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”? What about Philippians 4:13: I can do all this through him (Jesus Christ) who gives me strength.
It is dangerous to read these verse out of context.
Jeremiah 29 is a letter to Jewish captives who will spend 70 years in captivity before the Lord will liberate them. Yet, we use it to draw people into the church. But when a woman miscarries, or you lose the job, or your loved one dies, what then?
One verse prior to the coffee mug imprinted verse of Philippians 4:13 is 4:12. It reads, I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
If you don’t get the job, if you don’t pass the test, if you don’t get the girl, should we exclude the verse altogether? No! God is still sovereign. Be content in much and in little, “For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Your strength is not in your circumstance, it’s in Christ.
The Baby And The Bath Water
Back in the day, before modern luxuries of running water, a family would all bathe in the same water. Not all at once, mind you. First the father would bathe, when he got out, then the mother, then the oldest to the youngest child. So when it was time to throw out the water, it was so filthy that you could hardly see through it. And the sayin came, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.”
Now, I just jumped through a few verses that are often read out of context. Should we “Throw out the baby (the verses) with the bathwater (the things that don’t apply to us)”? Of course not. The Bible is a historical account of the God of Israel moving and doing things. And as Hebrews 4:12 says that “the Word of God is alive and active…”
I mention in my book, “God: The Master of Sin and Satan The Beautiful”, Satan doesn’t mind if you believe in God. He doesn’t mind if you read the Bible just as long as you don’t repent of sin and live for God.
In the video below, Michael shares his concern for people who are left with doubts due to emotional spirituality.
Michael Furlonger shares his thoughts after watching a video by Francis Chan on the topic of genuinely loving Jesus Christ. His great concern is this new emotional spirituality or sentimentalism that has flooded many churches. So Michael took time to discuss what Francis Chan lacked in his teaching.
Make it clear that Michael also didn’t go on a personal attack of Francis Chan. Michael’s main concern was for those who are left with fear and doubt of their faith.
Work Out With Mike shares the importance of working out, especially in the time of isolation.
The links provided above is to make it easy if you wish to purchase identical equipment.
In his testimony, Michael shares how a car accident as a child caused damage to his hip and left side. While he doesn’t claim to be a physio expert, he shares the importance of modifying his workout. In the video above, he shares 3 simple upper body exercises that he does daily. He also focuses on balancing out the muscle build on his right and left side.
Dumbbells- Dumbbells can be used for all sorts of workouts, but Michael’s main focus is using them to workout the biceps. In the video, he illustrates arm curls and concentration curls. What is helpful with using dumbbells, as opposed to barbells , is that independence. The left arm and right arm can workout independently and maintain the same amount of resistance (10lbs on the right and left).
Thera-bands- What Michael shares about the rubber band are exercises for both the pectoral and triceps. Be cautious to add the resistance on your shoulders and not your neck when doing the shown exercise. In the same way as the dumbbells are independent, so are the bands. Michael is careful to make sure that he is centering the bands and is extending to the same on each side.
In a future Work Out With Mike video, Michael will be sharing exercises he does to workout the legs,
The links provided above is to make it easy if you wish to purchase identical equipment.
I was in a car accident as a child and this made doing a lot of physical things difficult. While no bones were broken (aside from a miraculous neck healing), my right side had to compensate for my left’s weakness.
This is why working out is different for me and requires modifying a lot of popular workouts. While many like to share their results on YouTube, I want to share how I modify my workouts.
Do you ever look back ashamed of old TV shows and movie you used to watch? With Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney + and many other streaming channels, you can watch these reruns. So, today, I want to talk about life with TV Shows I Left Behind.
Sometimes we don’t think of what comes into our minds. The same thing with music, which is a post for another day. So, looking back, I want to share things that I’ve noticed now looking back.
Note that this is my personal revelations, not self-righteous judgement for you to obey.
So let us begin discussing some TV shows I Left Behind.
When my mom became a Christian, one thing she did was say, “No Simpsons.” Note: I thought O.J. Simpson was a member of the Simpsons cast, so what do I know, right? Anyway, we weren’t allowed to watch The Simpsons anymore.
Now, over twenty years later, I find myself watching a Simpsons movie with my wife. While perhaps we can find funny moments in the movie, I keep on watching a boy who is frightened of his father. A father who, whenever the kid steps out of line, chokes his son. Of course, people brush this off as, “Oh, it’s just a silly sitcom.” But, oh my goodness, how can we expect our society to survive if we feed it that. We raise our kids to be kind and respectful, but sit them in front of this?
Now, in the show, they have a Christian character/ family named Flanders. This family is used to laugh at for their religious family values. But, in this movie we watched, Bart (the son) chooses to go on a fishing trip with Ned Flanders. At one point, I think he loses a lure or something, and immediately is expecting his father to strangle him.
Isn’t it great to make strangling a child funny? Bart sticks out his tongue and makes a funny noise.
But instead of strangling Bart, Ned Flanders says something like, “Whoopsie doo.” And Bart is left with a new revelation that, “Oh, you’re not angry.”
Don’t we need a revelation like that about Christians? And, more importantly, do we, as Christians, make sure we’re portraying love in our lives?
Ok. I know that a lot of people like this show, but looking back I see a horrible story. Let me explain the basic plot: Ross’s is sad because his wife broke her marital vows because she’d rather be with a woman. Rachel runs into the scene in a wedding dress because she’s decided not to get married. Later on in the episode, Chandler and Joey help Ross movie into a new apartment. At which time Joey makes fun of Ross for getting married. Joey would also share his surprise of Ross only having sex with one woman ever.
So, in this opening episode, I see the whole plot being about Ross’s failed marriage. Furthermore, Rachel fleeing from her wedding adds to Ross’s drama because of a lifelong crush on Rachel. Episode one says that marriage is bad. The second last scene of the show, after 11 or 12 seasons, is Ross and Rachel finally being together.
If you watch the whole show, Ross, the only one with a doctorate degree, is laughed at. He had many failed marriages in the story line. When he dates Rachel, he shows how little he cares for her after the break up (on a break) and sleeps with another woman.
This whole premise of sexual promiscuity runs through nearly every episode. So, looking back, I’ve recognized this being a background story: Have as much sex as you can until life, marriage, happiness randomly falls into place.
Two And A Half Men
Just like the show Friends, Alan’s wife breaks marriage vows because she decides to be a lesbian. Don’t hate on my use of the word “decides” because she later marries another man.
Alan is criticized by his playboy brother he moves in with and his mother for his failed marriage.
While living with his brother, Alan also has his 10 year old son every weekend. This doesn’t stop brother Charlie from having casual women coming by the house every night.
Again, marriage is for losers. It’s better to be single.
How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother follows a story quite similar to that of Friends. The story follows the main character Ted, as he relives his life by sharing with his children how he met their mother. While sharing for nine seasons about dating tons of women and sleeping with any number of them in hopes of finding The One.
Again, it’s like Friends: Sleep around until life falls into place. And who cares who gets hurt on your process. And if a person is traumatized, it’s obvious that it’s that person who has issues, not your fault for treating them like garbage.
Furthermore, another friend, Barney, sleeps with many woman. Barney would show a completely disrespectful, perverted view of women. Then, when he finally gets married, he’s surprised how hard marriage is and gets divorced.
I repeat: This is not me telling you what to or not to do. There are so many shows that I love that have dirty background stories. And I have to wonder, should I be watching this?
Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air was a funny show. But didn’t Will Smith laugh at his cousin Carlton for being a virgin? There is an episode where Will stops Carlton’s wedding and ashamed of people thinking he’s a virgin, shouts, “I ain’t no virgin.”
Happy Days was a great show. Who doesn’t love Fonzy? But is he not just a playboy who snaps his fingers and the girls come running?
Even my favourite show Bonanza. Who doesn’t love Adam, Hoss, Little Joe and Pa? It’s a great western where this family of three brothers and their dad living on a piece of land called the Pondarosa. They have a new visitor on the land to help or have to help a damsel in the big city. But I felt convicted because every few episodes Little Joe was making out with a new woman.
Again, I’m not judging you if you watch certain shows. This is just things that came to mind recently. I focused a lot on the sexual aspect of TV today, but maybe I should focus on the violence in the Rambo movies. Or the language in others.
Tell me some shows or movies that you have been convicted of.
For those who are checking out this blog for the first time, this is a sequel post to Scared of Eternity? In the previous post, I discussed a fear of Heaven I had as a teenager due to the measurements given in Revelation 21. I also shared hope that was given through the water of life recorded in Revelation 22 among other quoted verses regarding God’s creation.
Today’s blog post will share other details that I believe can cause quite a concern for those suffering with anxiety like me. I encourage you to read the Scared of Eternity? post highlighted above.
I don’t know why the idea of “work” is such a distasteful word these days. Everyone seems to want to make as much money with doing the least amount of work possible. I had a pastor call me co-dependent because I was offering to work for no money. But, I didn’t want to work because I’m co-dependent, I wanted to work because I enjoy it.
Now, on topic, in the New Heavens and New Earth, we will work. In the original design, God made man work.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Gen. 2:15)
Now, God’s original design, after He created all things, was for man and woman (Gen. 2:18) to work. As we know, the man and woman start talking to a snake, eat a fruit, and are guilty of sin. Let’s relook at this ‘work’:
To Adam [God] said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” (Gen: 3:17-19a)
This is the first thing that I want to illustrate is that “Work” is not a necessary evil. We are designed with capabilities to think, create and work. So for those who think of Heaven as sitting on a cloud, playing a harp, eating Philadelphia Crème Cheese, think again.
This brings up step two.
This topic needs to be discussed, not just about Heavenly worship, but also on earth. But for now, I’ll focus on the New Heavenly worship. While there are various texts to point to an inactive worship, I’ll share one:
Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Rev. 4:8b& 10b-11)
Now, the hard part with interpreting prophecies, I believe, is that they can be in allegory. Whereas Jeremiah 29:10, for example, gives a specific time of 70 years of captivity, others are left with more of an interpretation. So, I think, it’s best to interpret godly worship.
In the previous blog post, I share how God is bigger than the highest Heavens. King Solomon says this when he is dedicating the temple to God. So we must talk about godly worship.
New Covenant of Worship
First verse is when Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman. Culturally, Samaritans and Jews were not allowed to associate with each other. This is part of the conversation:
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:19-24)
This woman believes that the only place to worship is in Jerusalem, the temple Solomon built. Arguably rebuilt since the siege of the Babylonians. But Jesus said that a time has come where it won’t be about the place. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth.”
Our second verse comes from Apostle Paul. Like Jesus, Paul is sharing the message with non-Jewish people. He tells them:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
The Image Of God?
I had a professor in college who believed that in the New Heavens and New Earth we will create like God. We will speak planets into creation as God did in Genesis 1. I’m sorry, but I strongly disagree. If our only understanding of God is his ability to create, we are greatly lacking in understanding God’s holiness. Allow me to share some verses:
And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. (1 Cor. 15:49)
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:5-7)
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Phil. 3:20-21)
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)
God created us as an eternal being and calls on us to be holy. And, I believe, in the New Heavens and New Earth we will design and create. Proverbs 9:16 says,
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
I believe that we will create and design, space ships and submarines, to seek more of the creation that God has done. We will land on distant planets and examine things we have never seen.
This day, I encourage you to seek after God. God’s love for you so much that he paid to cover your sins. In the Garden of Eden, God sacrifices an animal to hide the shame of Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen. 3:21). Now, God has sacrificed his Son, Jesus Christ, to cover our sins.
Let us seek holiness above all things. And when you find yourself unholy, that God for Jesus Christ who cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
Note that this video is not about politics. On Facebook, I saw a video of Don Lemon laughing about Donald Trump and his supporters. While I do not care to discuss politics, what burdened me greatly was the added hate upon hate in the comment section.
During the famed Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt. 5:43-48)
If you fight fire with fire. You’re going to get a really big fire.
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