Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Aretha Franklin and numerous other artists have turned the song "R.E.S.P.E.C.T." into a musical classic. And although I find the lyrics a bit distasteful, the message is clear; folks need to be respected. Everyone wants to be respected. When someone looks down at me, I want to demand he or she respect me. After all, I have spent twenty years serving my country in the U.S. Navy. I have been married to the same wife for forty-eight years (although from day to day I am not sure she is always the same). I went from being an atheist to being a born again Christian, and I have served the Lord for almost forty years. I graduated from three schools of higher education with honors, including Seminary. I had worked for fifty-three years before I was forced to retire due to health issues. I have tried my best to assist my family any way I could, raising two of my grandchildren and boarding whoever needed a place to stay. Dog gone it, I deserve a little respect! Right?

The answer depends upon whom one asks. If I ask my wife, kids, grandkids, and great grandkids, the answer is often no. You see, in between all those great achievements, people who are most familiar with me know my true nature, and they aren't particularly impressed with me. In fact, knowing myself as I do, I am not all that impressed. I will not spend time or space listing my flaws; if you want to know about them, simply ask one of my family members. Suffice it to say, I am a hypocrite just like every person I know who wants to live for the Lord. We want to be pleasing to Him, but circumstances and people get in the way. I find it difficult to respect those who are less than perfect, just as they find it difficult to respect me. When it comes down to the bottom line, I don't have much respect for myself either. I am reminded of the hero of Schindler's List, who after saving over a thousand Jews, bemoaned the fact that he could have done so much more.

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, Paul, although he was an Apostle of Christ, struggled with his ability to live up to his own standards (Rom. 7). In Philippians 3:4-9, he calls "his credentials" before coming to faith in Christ as "dung." And in 3:12-16, he tells us to forget our passed failures and keep our eyes on the goal, and for those who think they are perfect, to think as he does about his own unworthiness. None of us has arrived at Christ-likeness, and the Lord knows how far short we fall of being what He wants us to be; yet He loves us and continues to work producing "little replicas" of His Son (Rom. 8:28-29; Phil. 1:6; 2:13).

When it comes to those God respects, it is the humble (Ps. 138:6). He respects those who have accepted His gift of righteousness (2 Kgs. 13:23). But God is also very clear that He does not view one person as "better" than another (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17). And when it comes down to us respecting one person over another, we are told it is wrong (Prov. 24:23; 28:21; Jam. 2:1-9). So if God is no respecter of persons, and we are told not to respect man, why do I so strongly crave the respect of others? If I see myself as nothing without Christ, why do I want others to respect ME? Shouldn't I be wanting them to respect Christ? (That is a rhetorical question!) To Him be the glory! Amen!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I figured since I have written about pools and stools, I might as well say something about fools. Jesus warned not to call someone a fool for whosoever did would be in danger of hell fire (Matt. 5:22). And yet, the word appears at least a hundred times in the Old and New Testaments. The Greek word translated "fool" in this verse is moros which means "a rebel." It has the sense of one sitting in judgment as though they were God, knowing the motives of another person's actions. Rebellion is considered equal to witchcraft and idolatry in the Scriptures (1 Sam. 15:23). For all practical purposes, calling a person a rebel is equivalent to condemning him to hell. Jesus basically is saying be careful how you judge others because you will be subject to the same judgment. Jesus called the Pharisees and the scribes fools, but then He is God and knows how He will judge them in the future (Matt. 23:13-39).

There are numerous other Hebrew and Greek words translated as "fools, foolish, foolishness," but none of them have the same meaning as moros. They should be interpreted as "ignorant" (unlearned), "unwise," "arrogant," and "silly." One who is ignorant is not really expected to know something he has not been taught. However, if he had the opportunity to learn and simply chose to ignore it, then he is foolish. A person is unwise when they misuse the knowledge which they possess. Someone is arrogant when they believe their own understanding of something is superior to the Word, or to wise counsel. Proverbs 12:15 speaks of just such a man, as does Romans 1:22.

Determining what is foolish and what is wise is a very subjective thing. To the Christian, it is unwise to reject God's Word and continue to live a sinful life. Most of us, if not all, have experienced the Hebrews 12:3-15 consequences for our disobedience. Paul said those partaking of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner suffered weakness, or sickness, or even death (1 Cor. 11:30).

On the other hand, to the unbeliever, the things of God are viewed as foolish. Moses has prophesied that God would use another "nation" to provoke Israel to jealousy (Rom. 10:19). Yup! The Church is "that nation" (Rom. 11:11). To the world, the preaching of the cross is foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18). To the Greeks (everyone other than Israel), the fact that Christ was crucified is foolishness (1 Cor. 1:23). To the natural or un-regenerated man, the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness (1 Cor. 2:14). God uses the weak to confound the strong (1 Cor. 1:27). It is almost as if everything the world respects, God hates. Everything the world thinks is wise, is foolishness to God. It reminds me of the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit; they are total opposites (Rom. 8:1-13). Christians: Fools for Christ!

Monday, June 28, 2010


I have often related how the Lord has been at work forming me into the likeness of His dear Son (Rom. 8:29; 1 Jn. 3:2). I wish it were not so, but I am still a lot like my father Adam. Because Adam died spiritually the very day he partook of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 7:15-25), and because God is Spirit, man has to be spiritually born again in order to have fellowship with Him (Jn. 4:24; 3:3-8). Adam was created in God's image and likeness, but because he sinned and ceased to be like God, every person born of his seed has borne the likeness of man (compare Gen. 1:26 w/ 5:3). The only person born spiritually alive since Adam was Jesus, because he was not born of the seed of man; He was born of the seed of woman (Gen. 3:15). Jesus truly was in the image and likeness of the Father (Jn. 1:1; 10:30; 14:9; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3).

Recently, I have made mention of the "swimming pool from hell," and how God has used it to reveal how my "Adamic" nature dominates over my God-like nature. I can honestly say that if I didn't know that the Lord saved me, I would take one look at the fruit I bear and declare myself lost. And it is not just the pool that has brought out the worst in me; being a husband, a father, a neighbor, and just about everything else tends to reveal how far from being Christ-like I am. I do so relate to the Apostle Paul who described himself as a "wretched man" (Rom. 7:24 - notice it is in the present tense). Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians that he had to forget his past failures and keep his eye on his goal to be like Christ (Phil. 3:13-14).

Sunday, I told one of the elders of my church that I would not fill in as teacher in the adult Sunday School class. When I had been asked, I had immediately said yes, because I love teaching the Word of God. I would have been a lot better off if I had said I would pray about it. That would have given me time to remember my health prohibits me from standing for more than a minute or so. I would need to be able to sit while teaching. Our auditorium floor slants so we needed to use another classroom. Have you ever tried to get senior adults to move from "their seat" let alone move to another classroom? Then there is Sister Marie who, although nearly crippled to the point of not being able to walk, struggles to get to her place next to the entrance. Marie would not be able to attend if we were to move to another classroom, and God help the man who would dare recommend she use our wheelchair! It was final; they would need to recruit someone else. I had tried to get someone else, but like most churches, we have dozens of men who should be teaching, but they prefer someone else do it. There's my anger rising up again, sorry.

Well, as fate would have it, during the sermon which had little or nothing to do with my situation, I came under conviction. Why couldn't I use a stool on the one place where the floor is level? There is a place nearer to the front of the auditorium specifically designed for wheelchairs. If I could sit on a stool, I could endure the pain for the hour I would be teaching (God kept reminding me of Marie). The stool is a compromise between standing and sitting, true, but it is also evidence that He is still at work on me. Amen!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote about the encounter Jesus had with the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda (Jn. 5:2-16). I suggested that the incident was as much a revealing as it was a healing. It revealed the selfish nature of those who ignored a paralyzed man for thirty-eight years and rushed so that they could be the one healed. I neglected to mention that his healing also revealed the true identity of Jesus: Messiah. After all, He did enter Jerusalem through the Sheep Gate.

Pools have a way of revealing lots of things. If you are over weight (that is me), or if you have scars, stretch marks, warts, or really ugly feet, the whole world will know. As I have mentioned in the past, my wife has purchased a pool for our back yard, and once it is usable, all our neighbors will see our physical flaws. But from mid-May until today, it is a work in progress. Because I am limited by blood clots in my lungs, degenerative spine disease, congestive heart failure, and just plain old age, the intended installation of said pool was "assigned" to our son-in-law. But because he has spent the last month re-landscaping our front yard (another battle all its own), he has yet to have an opportunity to provide us with a "swimmin' hole." It hasn't helped that he, my wife, and I have argued for a month over where it should be put, and how it should be done. Believe me, I am being kind in describing the atmosphere around here!

I wish I could say that our "discussions" were reasonable based on the fact that only one of us can read a scale drawing and visualize the outcome. I would like to say that my wife wanted our son-in-law to do the work because she is worried about my health (partially true, but in reality, she just wants the pool operational). I would like to say that the "landscaper" was being paid, because then I could fire him. I would like to say that our failure to work together in a Christ-like fashion is their fault. But alas, I cannot. This "pool from hell" (see my post of June 4, 2010), has merely revealed that our sin-natures are alive and well, and living in Indiana. I have seen the enemy, and it is "we."

In all actuality, the pool does not deserve to be viewed as an abomination from hell. It is more accurately a revelation from God that He is not finished with me, even though I often think He is making a lot better progress on me than on everyone else. This pool is a tool of God to reveal my lack of humility, my concern more for how it is done than for the persons with whom I argue, and to show I am lacking in Christian love. It is so depressing to have been a graduate of Bible College and Seminary, to have been a pastor and a Bible teacher, only to discover that a fourteen foot inflatable pool is able to reflect my image even while still in the box. And because of what I see, I am so ashamed. Prayerfully, I won't be like the man who sees his reflection in the "mirror" and as soon as he walks away, forgets what kind of man he actually is (Jam. 1:21-25). Humility does not come easy, but if one is willing to see his own reflection in life's circumstances and compare what he sees with how the Lord is pictured in His Word, it is instantaneous. Life is full of pools of reflection that are ignored by the majority of the multitudes, but the Lord "heals" the one(s) who are willing to look into them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


People, events, and circumstances often bring out the worst in us. Yes, I know that we are to be patient and forgive seventy times seven, but some people seem to delight in provoking me (Matt. 18:22). Yes, I know that events occur that are unpleasant, such as renewing our driver's license, court hearings, doctor's appointments, family reunions, etc., but we are expected to take up our "cross" and "put on a happy face" (Mk. 10:21). Yes, I know that flat tires, poor service, health problems, faulty appliances, bad weather, etc. are beyond our control, but we are to "count it all joy" when we face trials (Jam. 1:2). On my best day, I am merely depressed when faced with these things, but for the most part, I am full of anger, frustration, and an avid complainer.

While talking to a brother about the difficulty of being Christ-like, I was reminded of the days before I became a Christian, when I was constantly getting into trouble because I was constantly drinking. We both agreed that our drinking did not cause us to be immoral or break the law; it simply weakened our inhibitions so that our true nature could raise its ugly head. When we were drinking, we did not care what the rules were or what should do; we did what we wanted.

In John 5:2-16, we are told of a pool that had the ability to heal when an angel stirred the water. Apparently this pool was well known, because when Jesus passed by, there was a great multitude waiting to be healed. There are some unusual facts about this incident. The pool only healed one person when the water was stirred, and that person had to be the first to step into the water. What about those who could not step into it?

I find it strange that Jesus only healed one man. I do not recall any other time when Jesus did not heal everyone that needed healing, except where He encountered rejection (Matt. 13:58). I find it strange that an individual who was unable to walk would lie beside the "healing pool" for thirty-eight years, knowing he could not possibly be the first to enter it. I find it strange that someone with a minor ailment would not be willing to help him. I find it strange that God would only use this one pool to heal only one person.

Perhaps the healing was limited to one pool because it forced everyone to go there. Perhaps the reason that Jesus only healed one man was that the others were selfish and unwilling to help the paralyzed man. The pool not only served as a place of healing, it served as a place of revealing. It revealed human nature at its worst. How many of us suffer illness, poverty, or some other loss because our lives are focused upon our needs instead of those less fortunate?

Friday, June 25, 2010


On June 4, 2010, I wrote about how something little can "snowball" into a huge problem. Floods begin with a single drop of water. Sin and death began with a single bite of fruit (Rom. 5:12). On the other hand, something little can "snowball" into something wonderful. Pearls begin with a single grain of sand. Salvation and eternal life begin with a single confession (Rom. 10:9-10). We decide whether the "miraculous growth" of something small into something huge is good or bad based upon the outcome. If it pleases man, it is recognized as being a good thing; conversely, if it displeases us, we do not hesitate to declare it a bad thing.

But what do we say about something that makes some people happy and others angry? Is the majority opinion therefore good? The answer is no! The majority wanted Jesus to be crucified. At one time, the majority believed Blacks were inferior. The majority of members of the Supreme Court view abortion as a woman's right. The majority of Congress voted to bankrupt our nation by spending more in one year than all the previous two hundred thirty-three years of our nation's history combined. I am proud of our nation for being willing to elect a Black President. I would guess that few, if any, ever dreamed that the efforts of Blacks and Whites to end discrimination would one day lead to us to this historical outcome. And even though President Barack Hussein Obama was elected by the majority over a year ago, today the majority of Americans believe he is the wrong man for the job, Black or White. So, in a sense, whether something is either good or bad depends on which day one evaluates it. What was good a year ago is, according to the majority, no longer good today.

Fortunately for Christians, the determination of whether something is good or bad is "set in stone" (pardon the pun). God provided man with a list of things He determined to be either good or bad. The Ten Commandments tell us that God, God's name, the Sabbath, and honoring one's parents are good (Exod. 20:2; 7; 8-11; and 12). Having other gods, killing, committing adultery, stealing, being a false witness, and coveting are bad (Exod. 20:3-6; 13; 14; 15; 16; and 17). We also have the Lord's command to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, written in "red letters" (Matt. 5:43-48; 7:12; and 22:39-40). Add to these the words of the Apostle Paul (Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Thes. 3:11-13; 1 Tim. 1:5), and those of the Apostle John (1 Jn. 3:23), and we have a clear understanding of what God views as good.

So what does all of this have to do with "snowballs from heaven?" Even those things that Satan does or inspires, those "snowballs from hell," are ultimately good for the Christian. ALL things work together for good to them who love God (Rom. 8:28)! Swimming pools, illness, poverty, wars, the courts, the congress, the President, everything is used of God to conform us into the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29). So be of good cheer, what doesn't kill you can only make you more like Christ (and so does death - 1 Jn. 3:2). We need only to learn what it is that God is trying to teach us, and praise Him IN it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Modern man lives in a world that hates patience. We have instant tea, coffee, soup, oats, rice, potatoes, etc. We cook in a microwave because it takes less time; we don't like to wait. We complain if we have to actually wait in a doctor's waiting room. I often catch myself complaining because someone is late for a meeting or because it takes so long for my computer to boot-up. My impatience has caused me to drive from restaurant to restaurant in order to find one that has "no waiting." Of course my wife loves to remind me that, after finally finding the perfect situation, I could have been finished eating if I had simply waited at the first restaurant of choice. She makes me so mad.

I can't remember where I heard it, but I like the statement, "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get." One would think with jet planes, interstate highways, washers, dryers, dishwashers, cell phones, remote controls, fast food, etc., that we would have enough time for leisure and recreation. Yet, I hear the majority complaining about never having sufficient time to get things done. I have even heard retired people say that! And with all of the modern inventions and a forty-hour workweek for most, people fail to spend time with their family, to visit neighbors, and the most obvious of all, to go to church. Society has arrived at the time Daniel warned us about (Dan. 12:4).

So here is a test to see if you have patience. I doubt that anyone will take the time to look these up, but there is always hope someone will. I even took it easy on you by using only the New Testament.

God asks you to be patient and wait: Mk. 3:9; Jn. 5:3; Acts 1:4; Rom. 8:23-25; 1 Cor. 1:7; Gal. 5:5; 1 Th. 1:10; 2 Th. 3:5; Jam. 5:7.

Patience is necessary: Lk. 21:19; Rom. 5:3-4; 15:4-5; 2 Cor. 6:4; 12:12; Col. 1:11; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:10; Heb. 10:36; 12:1; Jam. 1:3-4; 5:7; 2 Pet. 1:6; Rev. 2:2-3, 19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12.

The only kind of patience Satan likes: Lk. 11:54; Acts 20:3, 19; 23:21, 30; 25:3; Eph. 4:14.

Speaking of Satan, notice that when he tried to get Jesus to sin, he wanted the Lord to take a shortcut (Matt. 4:1-11). Don't wait for food, change the rocks. Don't wait for the cross, jump. Don't wait for the Father to put all of creation under your authority, worship me and I will give it all to you. And, by the way, he is the one who wants man to wait before accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus says that today is the day of salvation, and Satan says, "wait just one more day." The Lord's parable and the warning from James should show that one can not count on tomorrow (Lk. 12:16-21; Jam. 4:14). In the case of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord, DON'T WAIT!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Becoming a Christian is the easiest thing in the world! All the work has been done for us (Eph. 2:8-9). God loved us (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8). Jesus died for our sins and rose again to save us (1 Cor. 15:2-4; 15:12-23). The Holy Spirit convinces us and gives us the faith to believe (Jn. 16:8; Eph. 2:8-9). All I have to do is agree with God. I have to agree that I am a sinner worthy of God's judgment. I have to agree that I need a Savior. I have to agree that Jesus was qualified to take my punishment. I have to agree that the Father loved me and has accepted Christ's payment of my debt. All I have to DO is believe (Jn. 1:12; 6:29). What could be easier than that?

Being a Christian is equally easy. The Spirit provides us with spiritual birth (Jn. 3:3-8). The Spirit seals us as God's property (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The Spirit intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26). The Spirit indwells us (Jn. 14:17). The Spirit empowers us with supernatural abilities (1 Cor. 12:4-11). The Spirit arms us to fight against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12-17). What more do we need to live as a Christian?

Behaving like a Christian is anything but easy! WE are to love everybody: family, friends, the brethren, and even our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48)! If someone has done us wrong, WE are to go make it right (Matt. 18:15-17). If we have offended someone, WE are to make it right (Matt. 5:23-24). Others can take us to court for offending them, but WE are to suffer through it (Matt. 5:25-26; 1 Cor. 6:7) WE are to forgive seventy times seven (Matt. 18:21-22). As much as possible, WE are to live peaceably with all men (Rom. 12:18). WE are to bless them that curse us, and WE are to pray for those who despitefully use us (Matt. 5:44). WE are to be perfect, even like God Who is perfect (Matt. 5:48). When we fail to live according to this extremely high standard, WE are called hypocrites. Am I the only one who believes behaving like a Christian is beyond my ability?

I THANK GOD for Romans Chapter Seven! The Apostle Paul describes his struggle to live the Christian life as beyond his ability, and he anxiously awaits being freed from this "body of death" (7:24). I THANK GOD that His Word lets me know He does not expect me to be perfect yet (Phil. 1:6; 2:13; 1 Jn. 3:2). I THANK GOD that He is faithful and just to forgive us when we confess our failure to behave as Christians (1 Jn. 1:8-10). Is it possible that anyone reading and believing this could fail to thank God?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Before we look at what the Bible has to say about the speaking in tongues, I would like to make a couple of observations. First, tongues were foretold (Mk. 16:17); tongues occurred (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6); and tongues were only mentioned in three chapters of one letter (1 Corinthians). There is no mention of them after Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth. Secondly, when Paul wrote concerning the manifestation of the spiritual gifts, the New Testament was not yet complete. "That which is perfect" was not yet perfect.

I find it amazing that Paul begins the three chapters on tongues by saying, "Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I would not have you ignorant" (1 Cor. 12:1). In a church where everybody had a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation, one would think that church, of all churches, would not be considered ignorant on the subject (1 Cor. 14:26). Paul states that he wished everybody spoke in tongues, which tells us that not everybody had the gift (1 Cor. 14:5). Lest someone think that every Christian has the gift of speaking in tongues, Paul is clear that the spiritual gifts are "handed out" by the Holy Spirit, and that He gives different gifts to different people (1 Cor. 12:4-11). He then asks a question; "Is everyone an apostle, a prophet, a teacher, a worker of miracles, able to heal, able to speak in tongues, able to interpret?" The obvious answer is a resounding NO! He spent almost the entire chapter explaining that each member of the Body of Christ has a specific place in that body, and no one has all the gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-31).

Well, the obvious question is, "If everybody is speaking in tongues, yet not everyone has the gift, what is going on?" Another question needs to be asked as well; "If not every believer has the gift of tongues, how is it that many in the Church teach one is not saved unless they speak in tongues?" The answer is quite simple; false teaching has twisted, manipulated, and totally distorted the Word of God to support a false gospel. Tongues, as they are being taught today, are something that the individual needs to pursue in order to be saved. One needs to "pray through" until the Spirit finally tires of hearing the begging, and rewards them with "the gift." Therefore one's efforts, being works, negates the truth that salvation is a gift and not by works (Eph. 2:8-9).

I want to be absolutely clear about this. Those who speak in tongues may or may not be saved. Those who speak in tongues are neither more nor less spiritual than anyone else in the Body of Christ. And for those who read this, be very careful what you teach the "little ones." A prayer language, singing in tongues, and the tongues of angels are not "loop-holes" to justify false teaching. Even if they exist today, they are the prerogative of the Holy Spirit Who gives spiritual gifts to whomever He chooses. "Forbid not the speaking of tongues," but "Let all things be done decently and in order," and be careful that your "liberty" does not cause a brother to stumble (Rom. 14:21-22; 1 Cor. 8:9; 14:39-40; Gal. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:16).

Monday, June 21, 2010


Having stated in earlier parts of this series that I believe tongues ceased when the perfect, completed Bible was written, I would like to make an observation. The Bible seems to indicate God uses miracles or signs to confirm new things. This does not mean that God didn't do miraculous things at other times, but I see four periods throughout biblical revelation where there seems to be clusters of miracles. The first was during the Exodus of the Jews from Egyptian bondage. The miracles were as much for the benefit of the million or so Jews, as they were for the convincing of Pharaoh. If they had been manifested for the persuasion of Pharaoh only, they would not have continued for the next forty years in the wilderness. Israel repeatedly complained and doubted Moses, which is really difficult to understand when you think of manna, the cloud and the pillar of fire, and constant source of water in a desert. The Jews required a sign.

Following the period of the Judges and the united kingdom of Israel, the nation split into two very unfriendly groups: ten tribes remained united and were called Israel, and the other two tribes formed what was known as Judah (Judah and Benjamin). Israel's kings became more and more corrupt and distant from God, until the reign of Ahab who, married to Jezebel, led Israel into idolatry. God sent two prophets to convince Israel to return to Him, and because they had strayed so far from God, He gave the prophets miraculous powers. Elijah is recorded to have "performed" fourteen miracles and his student, Elisha who received a double portion of God's anointing (2 Kgs. 2:9), "performed" twenty-eight ( These miracles were intended to validate the prophets' warnings that God's judgment would fall on Israel in the form of a series of national defeats which would result in slavery to the Assyrians, and eventually to Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome; that is, if they did not repent. The Jews ignored the signs.

The next cluster of miraculous events occurred with Jesus and His Apostles. Jesus worked miracles to validate to the Jews that He was the Messiah, and when Israel rejected Him, the Apostles were able to work miracles to validate their teaching concerning the Church. The Jews rejected the signs.

The next cluster of miracles will occur during the Tribulation. The seven-year judgment ending the fifth dispensation, also known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble and Daniel's Seventieth Week, will once again involve two prophets of God to warn Israel of their pending tribulation (Rev. 11:3-12). Since these two prophets work their miracles for the first forty-two months of the seven year period, they are warning the Jews who are experiencing peace, of the judgment about to fall on them. The Jew reject their signs as well (Rev. 11:10 - notice "they that dwell upon the earth" includes Israel).

These four clusters of miracles represent God's patience and long-suffering with a stiff-necked people. Apparently, even though the Jews require a sign in order to believe (1 Cor. 1:22), they "can't read."

Sunday, June 20, 2010


There are dozens of verses in the Gospels where Jesus refers to God as His Father (Matt. 26:63-65; Mk. 14:61-64; Jn. 10:24-31; etc.). On most occasions He was speaking to His disciples, but whenever He referred to God as His Father before the religious leaders, as in these examples, they immediately sought to have Him killed. I have observed that there are three distinct groups of people based upon their reaction to the Truth about the Lord's relationship to His Father: one is doubt which seems to be displayed by apathy; another is acceptance and which is evident by repentance, obedience, and worship; the third is anger which is evident from verbal hostility at best, and at worst, assault and even death. For the third group, their anger betrays their conviction that the Gospel it true, and as Shakespeare would say, "Me thinks they protesteth too much."

If Jesus claim to be the Son of God was not validated by His miracles, and all we had to go on was His word, I would also be skeptical. If all there was to prove He rose from the grave was a list of witnesses who are all long dead, I would be doubtful. But we have something that convinces me that His claims and the claims of His "witnesses" are true; we have the spoken word, the voice of God Himself. At the Lord's baptism, John the Baptizer was told by God to watch for One on Whom a dove would light following His baptism (Jn. 1:31-34). All four Gospels record this event, and the three Synoptic Gospels tell us that God spoke saying Jesus was His Beloved Son, and that He was well pleased with Him (Matt. 3:17; Mk. 1:11; Lk. 3:22).

On another occasion, known as the Mount of Transfiguration, God declared Jesus to be His Son, and told three of His disciples to listen to what Jesus had to say (Matt. 17:5; Mk. 9:7; Lk. 9:35). This event revealed to Peter, James, and John that Jesus is much more than a man because they saw Him in His glorified body. And although they also saw Him at His worst having been beaten, nailed to His cross, and die, God proclaimed His outrage for what we were doing to His Son; darkness at noon, an earthquake, and the veil being torn from the top to the bottom were all declarations of Who we were killing. I say "we" because it was your sin and mine that necessitated His death if He was going to save us.

Jesus is recorded to have spoken seven times while on the cross. Between the third hour and the sixth hour of the day, He was focused upon His enemies, a thief, and His mother. Then the sky turned black at noon (the sixth hour), and for three hours, Jesus was silent. When He finally spoke three hours later, He was focused upon His own needs; He missed the fellowship He had with His Father, and He was thirsty. Finally, in the end, He put His total trust in the Father by declaring "It is finished!" and yielded His Spirit to His Father. For six hours He suffered, but during the seventh, He rested. Today, He sits next to His Father and makes intercession for you and me (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). On this Father's Day, I pray that all who read this will be able to call the Father of Jesus his or her Father (Jn. 1:12).

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Let me state at the outset that what I am about to write is not intended as a put-down, or meant to be offensive. I have been a member of a charismatic church for over ten years, and my ordination to the pastoral ministry was by that church. I cannot speak concerning reports of Christians witnessing to people of different language groups. I have heard many Christians tell of such experiences while attempting to spread the Gospel, but one would have to wonder why there are no video recordings of such occurrences, or why the phenomena does not take place as the norm rather than being relatively rare.

If "that which is perfect" is the Bible in its perfect, completed form, what is happening in many of the churches today? There are differing views as to their source, from it being a psychological, mass hallucination, to it being the result of demonic activity. If it were a mass hallucination, why would be so limited even within charismatic churches? In most churches where tongues are encouraged, there might be more than one explanation. In those churches which teach the false doctrine that says a person is not saved until he has spoken in tongues, there is obvious pressure to conform. In churches that merely encourage the expression of the gift, suggesting that the ability indicates a higher level of spirituality, those wanting to look spiritual have the incentive to fake tongues. Before you take up stones to silence me, look at how the gift of healing has been faked by many famous "healers." Reading Paul's letter to the Corinthians, it is obvious that the abuses today are not new. The speaking in tongues was meant to be a sign, as I stated in an earlier post, and it is clear to me that demons would not facilitate someone spreading the Gospel.

A possible explanation for tongues today is that there is more than one kind of "tongues." There are the angelic language mentioned once but without description (1 Cor. 13:1), and a prayer "language" which might be explained as that of the Spirit (Rom. 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:14-15). There is apparently the ability to sing in tongues as well (1 Cor. 14:15). Since these examples are not actually considered by Paul as part of the Corinthian problem, he makes no comment on them except to say that he would rather pray in his own language so that he would understand what needs to be prayed (1 Cor. 14:13-15). He also said he would rather speak five words in his own language than speak ten thousand in an unknown tongue in the church (1 Cor. 14:19).

With regard to the Apostle's direction on the use of tongues in the assembly of believers, he said they were specifically designed to reach unbelievers, and not intended for those who were Christians (1 Cor. 14:22). In the verse before, he refers to an Old Testament prophecy concerning the future expression of tongues, saying that it would be to "this people." Since it was Isaiah who was a prophet to Israel, and because the Jews require a sign, and because the Gospel is now being directed to the Gentiles, speaking in an unknown tongue should be less prevalent today (Isa. 28:11-12; 1 Cor. 1:22; Rom. 11:7-25; Acts 1:8). To be continued.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Before I continue sharing my thoughts on when the spiritual gift of tongues will cease, I feel that I should probably say something about the significance of Peter being present when they occurred in Acts Two, Eight, and Ten. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus said to Peter, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven...." Jesus was prophesying that Peter would be the one to determine who gets into the kingdom and who does not. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells all the disciples that the progression of the Gospel would be first to the Jew, then to the Samaritans, and finally to the rest of the world (the Gentiles). It was Peter's testimony to the others in Jerusalem that the Samaritans were to be part of the Church (Acts 8:14-17), and that the Gentiles had equal access to salvation through Jesus (Acts 11:1-18). Therefore, tongues were a sign to Jews that they no longer could limit "membership." The statement that they had interpreted as giving them exclusive access to God, in actuality meant that salvation came through the Jews in the person of Jesus Christ (compare Jn. 4:22 with Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:47; Jn. 1:11-12; Acts 1:8). The Apostles must have been slow learners because it took the Apostle Paul confronting them in Acts Fifteen before they "caught on."

Tongues were "the credentials of truth" to Jews. In Mark 16:17-20, tongues were a sign of confirmation that the speaker was of God. The writer of Hebrews declares that signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit served that very purpose saying, "Thus God confirmed the word of His Apostles, bearing them witness..." (Heb. 2:4). Which brings us back to the question of when tongues will cease. Since the purpose of tongues was to confirm truth to the Jews, when the Gospel focus eventually changed to the salvation of the Gentiles, one could expect that the sign gifts might cease. Also, when the writers of the New Testament had completed their work in approximately A.D. 95, there would no longer be a need for supernatural knowledge of God's truth; it had been written and was complete (perfect). And, since God had revealed what He had planned for the future, there was no need for addition prophetic revelation.

The Word says, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). James 1:25 calls the Word, "the perfect law of liberty." Paul says that it is scripture that provides the understanding necessary for the complete equipping of the believer for ministry (2 Tim. 3:16-17). So, the obvious question is, "If tongues have ceased due to the Gospel now being focused upon the Gentiles, and the completion of the perfect Word of God, how do we explain the phenomena of tongues in many churches today?" Lord willing, I will try to address that question tomorrow. Pray for me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


There are four main theories as to what Paul meant when he wrote that the gift of tongues would cease when "that which is perfect is come" (1 Cor. 13:8-10). The "perfect" is: 1. When a believer becomes perfect as in "a spiritually mature man" or Christ-like. 2. When the Church has reached its last convert and is therefore perfect or complete. 3. When our perfect Christ returns. 4. When the perfect Word of God, the Bible, is completed. The Greek word translated "perfect" is teleios, which is translated "of full age" (1x); "perfect" (15x); "man, or of ripe age" (1x); "that which is perfect" (1x); "they that are perfect" (1x). The root, telos is translated "the end" (35x) out of a total (41x). It is easy to understand how there could be a wide variety of interpretations of these verses.

Last night at Bible Study, our pastor showed us his copy of his Greek New Testament. Written at the end of Revelation in capital letters was TELOS. It was not part of verse twenty-one, but was centered on the page beneath twenty-one. In my study for this writing, I discovered some strange anomalies. One version of the Greek N.T. did not even have verse twenty-one. Those versions that did have it, did not have the word "amen" in them, unless they were showing the Greek for the English text, or in other words, the Greek was translated from the English. Since the original was Greek, it is strange that someone would change the Greek to match the English versions. Needless to say, I will have to do a great deal of study before I try to discuss interpretation number four.

In the mean time, I would like to make some observations about the gift of tongues. Tongues were a gift of the Spirit and were for the purpose of authenticating the speaker as being of God (1 Cor. 14:22). The Jews required a sign in order to believe (1 Cor. 1:22). There does not seem to be a single example where the gift of tongues was manifested for the benefit of unbelieving Gentiles, and even the idea of such happening is spoken against by Paul (1 Cor. 14:23).

In the four historical examples where tongues occurred, Jews were present and God's truth was verified by them. At Pentecost, everyone there was a Jew, and each heard them speak in their own language (Acts 2:1-12). As a result, the audience listened to the Gospel and three thousand were saved. In Acts 8:14-18, Samaritans accepted Christ and began manifesting something that indicated to Simon they had received something supernatural. The Apostle Peter was convinced that the Samaritans were to be part of the Church. The Bible does not say it was tongues, but if it were something different, Luke would have told us. When the Gentiles were recognized as being saved, the evidence to the Jews (in this case, Peter) was that they spoke in tongues (Acts 10:44-47). When he returned to Jerusalem, Peter convinced the others that the Gentiles were also accepted by Christ as part of the Church (Acts 11:115-18). In the last example, twelve Jews who apparently were disciples of John the Baptist, were presented with the Gospel of Christ. They believed, spoke in tongues, and immediately went into the synagogue and preached the Kingdom of God (Acts 19:1-10).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Today, my wife and I have been married for forty-eight years. I often joke about the longevity of our life together by suggesting I could have killed ten people and be out of jail in less time. My wife does not think that is funny. In all honesty, our marriage has been a rough one. When we first married, I was an alcoholic and an idiot. (I no longer drink, but a vote of those who know me would probably show that I have retained the other flaw.) Because I was extremely abusive, I irreparably damaged our relationship. Nine years after we were married, I became a Christian. Even that caused temporary conflict in our relationship, due to six weeks passing before Judy accepted Christ. That was an interesting six weeks, to say the least.

I am sure there are those reading this that noticed I said our relationship was "irreparably damaged." I can just see the shrinks and Christian counselors salivating at the thought of "fixing" us. Well, we have been students of the Bible for almost forty years; have been to numerous counselors, Christian and otherwise; and have prayed for our "miracle" for so long that we have come to accept the fact that our marriage will never be what it should. And please, if you have any words of advice, pray them and do not say them. I, for one, do not want to hear them.

When I met Judy, she was sixteen and I was eighteen. I was in the Navy and met her due to someone "fixing us up" when I was home on leave. She was the cutest and sweetest girl I had ever met, and I fell madly in love with her. Six months later, while she was still sixteen, I asked her to marry me one year to the day later. She said yes! I had asked her while we were dancing to "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" at a neighbor's birthday party in his garage. June sixteenth fell on a Saturday the following year, purely by "chance," and we began our journey together with no car, totally financed furniture, and a small one-bedroom apartment in Washington, D.C.

Today, after three children, eight grandchildren, and four great grandchildren, we remain together. As I look at her faithfulness as a wife and mother, I am so grateful to God that He has given her the ability to persevere. If someone were to ask me, knowing what I do now about our years together, would I still marry Judy, the answer is no, because she is far too wonderful a person to have had to experience what I put her through. Thank God, because I would have missed sharing my life with the most wonderful woman in the world. She does not believe I feel this way, and that is the majority of our problem. I can say this without hesitation: If I had not married Judy, I would be either in prison or dead by now. She has "kept me in check" more than she will ever realize. She has spent years diverting my anger away form others onto herself in an effort to maintain peace. She has paid an awful price, and for that, I will be eternally grateful. God's Word says, "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Gen. 2:18), and "Whosoever findeth a wife findeth a good thing" (Prov. 18:22) AMEN! And, by the way, if any of you reading this believe being a Christian makes you a good husband and father, remember Romans Chapter Seven. Our greatest opponent to our living a Christian life is ourselves.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


The clearest passage describing the Bride of Christ, calls it a mystery (Eph. 5:32). That in itself should tell us maybe we shouldn't be too dogmatic when speaking of Christ's bride. The word "bride" appears only seven times in the New Testament, three of which refer to the bride chamber. The only time it is used in the Gospels is found in John 3:29 where John the Baptist refers to the Christ as the bridegroom, but he is speaking to Jews. God viewed Israel as His bride (Jer. 3:14). So John's reference to Christ, Who is God, most likely has to do with His relationship to Israel.

Jesus referred to "bridegroom" eleven times, and although He does not specifically say that He is the Bridegroom, in most cases it is clear that He is speaking of Himself (Matt. 9:14-15; Mk. 2:19-20; Lk. 5:34-35). With the exception of Matthew 25:10-13, all His references are in response to the criticism of the Pharisees over His disciples failing to observe the fast. In Matthew, He describes the Second Coming as His return as the Bridegroom (Matt. 25:1-13). Paul speaks of the Church being "espoused" (engaged) to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). In the Ephesians passage mentioned above, Paul describes the relationship of a husband and his wife to that of Christ and the Church.

From the Old Testament view that Israel was the bride of Jehovah, and the New Testament presenting the mystery of the Church being the Bride of Christ, one might get the impression that God is a bigamist. Obviously that is not the case because, even though He permitted men to take more than one wife in the Old Testament, it was not what He intended. The New Testament clearly teaches that a believer is to have only one wife if he would be considered a spiritual leader (1 Tim. 3:2; 3:12; Titus 1:6). Certainly man can not be considered more spiritual than God!

Perhaps the answer lies in Revelation where the marriage takes place (Rev. 19:7-9); the description of the Bride as being "the holy city, new Jerusalem" (Rev. 21:1-2); and the description of the New Jerusalem, itself (Rev. 21:9-14). The Lord's Bride consists of all of those saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, both Jew and Gentile. Paul wrote that there is no longer a separation between Jew and Gentile, but both are united in the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:13-16). The New Jerusalem is made up of twelve gates representing the twelve tribes of Israel, and twelve foundation stones representing the twelve apostles (Rev. 21:12-14). So, the best I can do to explain why Israel is married to Jehovah, and the Church is married to Christ, is found in the composition of the Church. Just as both represent the Bride, Jehovah and Jesus (One in the Same in my opinion) are the Bridegroom.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Yesterday, I discussed the connection between the descendants of Noah's three sons and the three men who I believe were saved at the cross of Christ: the Jewish thief, the Roman Centurion, and the Black Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross for Jesus. Normally I wouldn't point out that Simon was a black man, but the majority of Christians I know seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that God used Blacks in the Bible. Ham, who settled in Northern Africa, produced Noah's grandson whose name was Cush, which means "black" in Hebrew (Gen. 10:6).The wife of Moses was a black woman from Ethiopia (Num. 12:1). It is not clear from Scripture whether this black wife was Zipporah (his wife from Midian), or if Moses had married a second wife after sending Zipporah back to her father (Ex. 18:2).

Just to prove God has a great sense of humor, one need only look at the irony involving the criticism of Aaron and Miriam concerning the black wife of Moses (Num. 12:1-16). God's punishment for their sin of prejudice was to turn Miriam's skin "as white as snow" from leprosy. If you wonder why it only happened to Miriam, perhaps the answer lies in the role Aaron played as the father of the Aaronic priesthood (Ex. 28:3). According to the teaching of Jesus, lepers were to get the priest's approval before being accepted back into society (Lk. 17:12-19). Aaron was forced to intercede for his sister to the Lord which I am sure made him have to face his own guilt in the offense. I am not certain what all of the moral of the story is, but it must have something to do with "If you like being white so much, I will make you really white."

Solomon wrote Song of Solomon about one of his wives who happened to be black (1:5-6). Ebedmelech, the Ethiopian eunuch, interceded for Jeremiah with the king, and was given command of thirty men to fight if necessary for Jeremiah's release (Jer. 38:5-10). King Zedekiah had ordered Jeremiah imprisoned and then told Ebedmelech to free him. Later, when Jeremiah was asked by the king to prophecy concerning him, the king again had Jeremiah imprisoned, where he would remain until freed by the Babylonians (Jer. 38:14-28).

The only other New Testament reference to a black person of which I am aware, is that of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-39. This man had come to Jerusalem to worship and was obviously a Jew. When Philip explained the Gospel to him, he placed his trust in Jesus Christ. As with every conversion, he went away rejoicing! Perhaps the reason there are not more Blacks referenced in the Bible is because it is mainly about the Jews, who were the lineage from which the Messiah would come (Lk. 3:36). Noah's son Shem's descendants wrote the Bible; it is about their experience with the Living God.

One side note: The languages used on the sign above our crucified Lord's head was written in the language of the Roman Centurion (Latin), the thief (Hebrew), and the Black, cross-bearer Simon (Greek). The reason we know it was Greek was because Northern Africa produced the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I know that there are billions of human beings in the world today that do not believe the Bible is the work of God, and I also know nothing I can say will change that. I have quoted Scripture to offer proof in the past, but that is as useless as quoting Mark Twain to prove Tom Sawyer lived. I have offered the scientific evidence of Bode's Law which demonstrates that our solar system is laid out in a mathematical design, which would then in turn, necessitate there be a Designer. And I have offered my own personal testimony as a former atheist who, having believed the Word and experienced salvation, have an ongoing relationship with the Creator that has on occasion, included hearing God speak to me. So I am sure that what I am about to share will probably have the same result. Nevertheless, I pray some reading it will become intrigued if not convinced.

There were three men present at the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ whose lives were forever change when they understood Who it was that occupied the center cross. The thief on the cross next to Him who was apparently a Jew because he acknowledged "the King of the Jews" future kingdom (Lk. 23:38-43); the Roman Centurion who having initially mocked Him later recognized Him as "the Son of God" (compare Lk. 23:36 w/ Mk. 15:39); and Simon of Cyrene (Matt. 27:32; Mk. 15:21; Lk. 23:26). One might ask what evidence is there that Simon was converted by what he saw, and what significance do these three play in proving the Bible is supernatural. Let me try to explain.

In Acts 11:20, Luke tells his readers that there were men from Cyrene preaching Jesus Christ at Antioch. In Acts 13:1, he tells us that Simeon (Simon) was nicknamed "Niger," which means "black one." That is because Cyrene was a city in North Africa, and Simon was a black man. Antioch was fond of giving men nicknames, and they even gave the Church the name "Christians" (Acts 13:26). They had also named Joseph "Barnabas," and Saul "Paul." Simon's wife, the mother of Rufus, was a nurturer of Paul when he spent a year at Antioch (compare Mk. 15:21; Rom. 16:13; Acts 11:26). Although the Word does not specifically say that Simon was saved at the cross of Jesus, it is very unlikely that it did not play a major role in his conversion. So, the three changed by that horrible event were the thief, the soldier, and the black man.

I am sure some reading this are wondering what is so miraculous about these three. The answer is that they represent the lineage of the three sons of Noah. From Genesis 10:1-32, we understand that Japheth's offspring settled in what we would call, Euro-Asia (the Roman Centurion's area); Japheth's offspring lived in the area known as the Fertile Crescent from where Abraham came (the Jew on the cross); and Ham's offspring occupied Africa (Simon was from Africa). While I realize the skeptic will say these connections are based upon very flimsy evidence, those of us who know the Lord have absolutely no problem recognizing this "coincidence" as further proof of the Bible's authorship. Praise God.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Most of us are slow learners, and it is a good thing God is long-suffering and patient toward us. We are told in 1 John 2:16 that our human nature (that part of us which continues to fight against the Holy Spirit within - Romans Chapter Seven), consists of our lust of the flesh, our lust of the eye, and our pride of life. Few would disagree that Christians need to control their fleshly desires. Few would disagree that Christians should be satisfied with what the Lord has provided instead of craving what we do not have. But what about our pride of life? I am not sure I even know what that is.

Perhaps it is when one looks back on their accomplishments with pride in themselves. But why, didn't God give us the ability and the incentive to do it (Phil. 2:13)? Nebuchadnezzar was warned about his pride in a dream interpreted by Daniel (Dan. 4:4-27). A year later, he was right back where he had been, bragging about how great his accomplishments were, and the Lord fulfilled the prophetic dream (Dan. 4:28-34). Christians are fond of saying, "In Christ, I can do all things..." but often forget that apart from Him, we can do nothing (Phil. 4:13; Jn. 15:5). Perhaps the pride comes from the fact that we are believers in Christ and therefore children of the Most High God (Jn. 1:12). Paul made certain that we are aware our salvation is a gift, and therefore we have no right to boast about it (Eph. 2:8-9). Actually, the pride of life cannot be our relationship with God, because unbelievers have it as well.

Although I am not certain exactly what God means by the pride of life, I know that I have no grounds for pride. All that I am, or ever hope to be, is the work of Almighty God. Paul's thorn in the flesh was put there because he had received special revelation from God and his nature would have been prideful (2 Cor. 12:1-10). Before Paul became a believer, he had a serious problem with pride, describing himself as being the epitome of righteousness (Phil. 3:4-6). But Paul later wrote, "...not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think...." (Rom. 12:3).

Pride has another side that is equally unacceptable to God. When a poor person would rather steal than ask for help (Prov. 30:9). Or when one who can no longer drive refuses to ask for or accept help from others. What about a person who refuses to share his needs with the brethren as a prayer request because he doesn't want anyone to know "his business?" Or what about the person who has an area of sin in their life that makes them feel unworthy to attend church or pray? They forget that God knew their weaknesses long before the world was formed and He loved them anyway. God cannot be surprised or is never disappointed, because He never expects us to be more than we actually are. We are ashamed that we fail to live like Christ, and that is pure pride. If He somehow miraculously made me like Jesus, can you imagine the size of thorn it would take to keep me humble? Don't compare yourself to others and become proud; don't compare yourself to Christ and become defeated. Just rejoice that He is in the process of making you to be like Jesus! "... He Who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6; 1 Jn. 3:2).

Friday, June 11, 2010


Yesterday, I mentioned that I would try to explain why I prefer Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible over the most popular concordance, Strong's. Note: It is important that the serious Bible student use helps that are references to the same Bible translation. They are pretty much a waste of time if you are using the NIV and they are KJV. I am not sure, but I believe even the student using the NKJV will have a problem when using a concordance that is KJV.

The main advantage gained by using the Young's is that each and every word in the Bible shows the exact Hebrew or Greek word from which it was translated. This is extremely important. A good example would be the word "miracle" found in 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28, & 29. It is from the Greek dunamis, and it is the word from which we get "dynamite." It is used to emphasize the God-given power to do things such as heal the lame, raise the dead, cast out demons, to make a person blind, and to heal through handkerchiefs or aprons. (Acts 1:8; 4:33; 1 Cor. 1:24; etc.).

If one uses Strong's, the word "miracle" will be defined as: power, inherent ability, mighty works, a sign, a mark, a token, etc. The reader has to choose which one he or she believes fits best in the context of the passage. In Young's, the exact meaning is presented under the word being studied, and the original Hebrew or Greek word translated as such is also shown in the Lexicon in the back of the book with all the other ways in which the KJV translates it. For instance, dunamis is also translated "ability (1x), abundance (1x), meaning (1x), might (4x), mighty deed (1x), mighty work (11x), miracle (8x), power (77x), strength (7x), violence (1x), wonderful work (1x), worker of miracles (1x), and mighty (1x)." Even a casual glance at these immediately tells us that the word refers to a supernatural power-backed ability.

There is another word that is translated "miracle" in the New Testament. Semeion is translated: "miracle (22x), sign (51x), token (1x), wonder (3x)." When semeion is used, the writer is indicating God's purpose to authenticate the messenger. So, does it make a difference? God must have thought it did. One emphasizes the supernatural ability given the person to perform the act, while the other emphasizes the purpose for which the ability was given. Ability focuses upon the Christian; power focuses upon God. You and I need to "check out" the translators just as carefully as we are to "check out" the preachers using the translation (Acts 17:11)! With Strong's, it is impossible, but with Young's, you have the exact Hebrew or Greek word to understand exactly what the writer meant.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


When my youngest daughter was four, she raised her head from blessing her food and said, "Daddy, I just asked Jesus into my heart." When I asked her what that meant, she said, "I want to mind Him." Even at four, she understood that God loved her, and she wanted to "love Him back." All true believers in Christ want to please the Lord out of gratitude, but it appears that most of us are lazy about it. We go to church, pray, and read our Bibles, but do we really understand what the preacher is teaching or what we are reading? God's Word needs to studied; it needs to be rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15). I have written extensively on Rightly Dividing the Word of God, and the interpretive method which recognizes the Bible is divided into dispensations, so I will not take time to cover it again. Please read back through the list of topics and take the time to study Dispensationalism.

One might ask why it is so important to be a serious Bible student, and the answer is really quite simple: God told us to. The New Testament has numerous admonishments to study the Truth. There are two very important reasons why. First, that we will be able to recognize false teaching. Acts 17:11 suggests that people who listen to preachers (which included the Apostles) are honorable if they go home and verify what they heard with the Scriptures. We are warned over and over to beware of false teachers (Matt. 7:15; 24:4-5; Jn. 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 4:14; Titus 1:10; 2 Jn. 1:7; Rev. 12:9; etc.). Unless we prayerfully compare what is being presented with the Word, we may be deceived. The second reason is so that we don't pass on the false teaching.

One of the most important rules of Bible study is to compare Scripture with Scripture. One should never take a single verse and build a doctrine on it if there are others which speak to the same topic. A good example is the subject of divorce. Deuteronomy 24:1 and Mark 10:2-4 say that a man may divorce his wife if she displeases him. That seems clear enough, until you read Mark 10:5-9. The real fault is not that of the wife, but it is the hardness of the husband's heart. God hates divorce (Mal. 2:14-16)! Consider all that the Word says on a subject before believing something and sharing it with others.

A faithful student of God's Word will also consult the teaching of other faithful student's of His Word. One should always "check it out against the Word," but there are excellent Bible teachers who have Bible study materials available on the internet. I recommend They have a vast library of study materials from which to choose, and it is free. I recommend the Ryrie Study Bible, and the Young's Analytical Concordance of the Bible instead of the Strong's. Lord willing, I will tell you why tomorrow. I like the Nave's Topical Bible and The Reference Passage Bible for study helps. I highly recommend Things to Come by J. Dwight Pentecost on the subject of Bible prophecy. Most of all, I recommend prayer and commitment to be found a faithful student of God's Word!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Freud is quoted as saying, "Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious." Apparently I have a much lower opinion of them, because my dreams are usually related to what I had as a bed-time snack. The kind of dreams that occurred in the Bible may still occur, but I can't say I have experienced any. Perhaps at sixty-seven, I am not old enough (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17). If they do occur today, I find it strange that the only New Testament reference to visions and/or dreams is the one found in Acts 2:17. One would think that with all the modern day folks proclaiming visions and dreams, they would be mentioned more that once.

Some might consider Stephen's experience as a vision, but the Word does not call it that (Acts 7:56). Paul speaks of a young man being "caught up to the third heaven," and he is not sure himself if it was physical or as a possible vision (2 Cor. 12:2-4). Most believe he was speaking of himself because of the "thorn" was given to Paul (2 Cor. 12:5-10). The only other possibility of someone experiencing a vision would be John in the Book of Revelation. He describes his experience as being "in the Spirit on the Lord's day" which few would question as him having supernaturally seen something (Rev. 1:10). While these three examples are usually accepted as visions, the text does not call them that. Visions and dreams are not mentioned among the gifts of the Spirit, but this might be explained by reasoning that visions and dreams are not under the control of the person having them, while the gifts are (1 Cor.12:23-32).

If one considers that the Old and New Testament visions and dreams occurred before the Bible was completed, he could make the same argument that is used to explain the cessation of some of the New Testament gifts. Non-charismatic Christians usually refer to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, as "proof" that the Charismatics are in error, but there are two good arguments against that position. The phrase "that which is perfect" could be the individual following death (1 Jn. 3:2), or the Second Coming of Christ, and not the Bible itself. And the second argument widely used to support the charismatic experiences is that God does not change (Heb. 13:8). Non-charismatic Christians would respond that the Bible is perfect, and that an understanding of dispensationalism shows that while God does not change, what He is doing has changed considerably over the time since creation.

Instead of God giving me visions or dreams that serve as prophecy, He has given me hope. I have His Word which promises that I will one day be with Him and even be like Him (1 Jn. 3:2). Should He decide to give me visions or dreams, great, but for now I will glory in His gift of salvation and His promise of an eternity spent learning the vast amount of things I certainly do not know now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


In my life experience, I have encountered many things that were too difficult for me to do. Whenever I have expressed my frustration to Christian brothers and sisters, they most generally say, "With God all things are possible," of course referring to Matthew 19:26. What they are implying is that if I were more positive and prayed, God would miraculously enable me to achieve the impossible. In other words, if I were more spiritual (perhaps like they were), I could do anything my heart desired. After all, didn't God say He would give us the desires of our heart (Ps. 37:4)? Perhaps I should be more optimistic and pray that I will not become so aggravated with my friends! Maybe that is how Job tolerated his "friends."

Never mind that the context of the Matthew passage has to do with people being saved, which is totally the work of God. Never mind that the passage from Psalms should be interpreted to mean something quite different from using God as a genie. To me, it actually means that if I delight in God's will, my desires will be like His. And, because He and I want the same thing, it is definitely possible. But there in lies the rub; it takes both God and me working together to accomplish the impossibles of my life. I, more often than not, fail to live up to my part of the equation. My human nature (sin nature) wants to "do its thing." So, because of my inability to continually live a spirit-filled life, I encounter real impossibilities.

My number one problem is, and has been ever since I became a Christian forty years ago, my inability to love others. I not only appear unable to love my enemies, I find it difficult to love "my friends." Oh, I do just fine when I meet new people, but before very long, they will demonstrate imperfection and will loose me as a fan. I know that I am holding others to a much higher standard than I myself am able to meet, and I realize the hypocrisy in that, but that is who I am. Disgusting, I know. Changing me definitely will require the work of God! I have tried repeatedly, but to no avail.

Having said all that, I would like to suggest that Romans 12:9-21 be interpreted in a similar fashion as one would interpret the Lord's teaching concerning legal justification for divorce found in Matthew 19:3-9. Because of man's inability to forgive adultery, God allows divorce. The real problem is unforgiveness, not adultery. In the Romans passage, Paul is instructing Christians on how to respond to others. After setting the standard (love them all), he adds, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (v. 18). I understand Paul to be saying we are in various stages of spiritual maturity, and we are to do the best we can to love even the "unlovable." The "unlovable" part says more about our inability to love than it does the character of others.

So yes, with God all things are possible, but we are not God. We are limited due to our sin nature and spiritual immaturity. To dwell upon my failure to love like God loves, is a demonstration of pride. Who am I to think I can love like He does? Oh, how I long for that day when I shall be like Him (1 Jn. 3:2)!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Life is so frustrating! Nothing seems to ever be what it is supposed to be. Disappointment and discouragement are my constant companions. I am beginning to wonder if the problem is not me and not everyone and everything else. I would be curious to hear what you think.

MY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF PEOPLE - The Bible tells us there are three categories of people living today: Jews, Gentiles, and Christians. I expect Jews to follow the Old Testament, but they never really have. I expect Christians to live for the glory of God, and to make every attempt to live Christ-like lives, but none of us do. I expect the Gentiles to use common sense and to follow the golden rule, but they do neither.

MY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF POSSESSIONS - You would think having things one desires would bring some happiness, but it is not so. We spend time worrying about them being stolen. We bore of them. And of course, they break. Is there such a thing as a "prized possession?" No, because even those possess us.

MY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF PROCESS - The obvious proof that this is ridiculous is summed up in Murphy's Law: If something can go wrong, it will.

MY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF POLITICS - Why expect anything from people who lie to get elected, leave office as millionaires, and who vote to promote their party rather than to choose what is best for the country? The last decent politician I can remember was Harry S. Truman, and even his middle initial was bogus.

MY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF PARENTHOOD - I am now aware that it is foolish to believe I would be a better parent than were mine. It is just as foolish to believe my kids would turn out better than I did. I am a mess, and they seem determined to "out mess me!"

MY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF PREACHING - For a man to believe that people will listen to what he has to say and do it, is total arrogance. If people wouldn't listen and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, why did I think anyone would follow me?

MY UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF PUBLISHING - When I had a medical problem that very easily could have led to death, I asked those praying for me to pray for my healing with one condition: that the Lord would provide me with some ministry to Christians and to the lost. Soon after my partial recovery, my pastor set up this blog to share my thoughts. I expected it to go out to all the world, and that some would read it and find it a blessing; so much so that they would tell others about it. Yesterday, after over six months of publishing, I had one reader. I actually have six times as many "followers" as I have readers!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


When ever I see the word "whosoever" in the Bible, I immediately think about the positive aspect of God's offer of salvation to "whosoever believeth...." I suppose it has to do with the fact that I am New Testament oriented. My total relationship with the Father is based upon His offer to adopt as His child, any and all who believe in or trust in His Son Jesus (Jn. 1:12; 3:15-16; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). I praise God that the offer is not restricted to the Jew, but is available for all of humanity. God is not a respecter of persons; His offer of salvation is to everyone as Peter found out in Acts 10:9-34. That means His offer is to you, too!

As I did a word study on "whosoever," I discovered that it does not always indicate the positive. In fact, it appears approximately seventy times in the Old Testament, and apart from four verses which speak of an individual's willingness to make an offering (Ex. 35:5; Lev. 22:21; Num. 15:14; Joel 2:32), it is always used as a warning. Whosoever breaks the Law will be punished severely.

In the New Testament, the word appears over ninety times. The positive to negative ratio is far more positive, which is logical since the Old Testament deals with the Law and its warnings, and the New is focused on forgiveness for failure to keep the Law. Most of the negative references in the New Testament have to do with those "whosoevers" who reject Jesus and His Church. There are at least nine instances, in Matthew alone, where Jesus promises blessing upon the "whosoevers" of obedience (Matt. 5:19; 7:24; 10:32; 10:42; 11:6; 12:50; 13:12; 16:25; 18:4). An offer of forgiveness, salvation, and a relationship to God as Father is to any and all who will accept it.

Some key verses are:
John 3:15-16 "That WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Romans 10:13 "For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
1 John 4:15 "WHOSOEVER shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1 John 5:1 "WHOSOEVER believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God...."

I guess the only question I would ask you is this: Which WHOSOEVER are you? Are you the WHOSOEVER that needs warning of pending judgment, or are you a WHOSOEVER who has accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? God's offer is available and you can either choose to accept it, or you can reject it. It is totally up to you.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


You would think that God's first though of you would have to be on day six of creation when He said, "Let us make man" (Gen. 1:26). But you would be wrong. We are told that God chose us "in Him before the foundation of the world" which means before day one (Eph. 1:4). We were destined to inherit His kingdom, we were considered saved, Jesus was considered slain, and our names were written in the Lamb's book of life before the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34; Heb. 4:3; Rev. 13:8; Rev. 17:8). God knew us!

Jeremiah 1:5 says, "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." God knows us before we are conceived. He knows we are going to receive His Son as our Lord and Savior before we are conceived, and He already counts us as sanctified. He knows the plans He has for our part in the ministry of reconciliation.

While our entire life from the beginning to the end is known to God, He also knows that there will be a stage in every person's life that is in rebellion to Him. Adam did die the day he ate of the forbidden fruit; he died spiritually. And as a result, all of humanity born of men are born with a death sentence upon them (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12).

When God draws us to His Son (Jn. 6:44); and the Spirit gives us the faith to believe (Eph. 2:8); and when we place that gift of faith in Jesus, we become the child of God (Jn. 1:12). We are born again spiritually (Jn. 3:6; 1 Cor. 15:22; Col. 2:13). We are said to be "in Christ" and a member of His body (1 Cor. 12:12-27). We are no longer independent beings, but are part of the corporate Body of Christ. We need each other.

We are created in Christ to do the work of Christ (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 1:6; Phil. 2:13). We are to be our King's ambassadors to the lost world (2 Cor. 5:18-20). Ambassadors must provide credentials to show they are servants of their King. Jesus said, "By their fruit ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:16-20). Our evidence is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, but when he sinned, he and his offspring were no longer like God (Gen 1:26; Gen. 5:3). The good news is that the Christian, one day not long from now, will again be like Him for eternity (1 Jn. 3:2)!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Americans have many "cute sayings" that are understood by almost everybody. Some examples are: "Keeping up with the Jones'"; "He is as stubborn as a mule"; "Good fences make good neighbors"; "Keep your nose to the grindstone"; etc. One particular saying describes the great lack of probability of someone accomplishing something; "He hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell." (Hell, by the way, is not a cuss word but a really hot place.) Obviously, if the locale is extremely hot, a snowball would not last long.

What then are "snowballs from hell?" Americans have another saying that describes the worsening difficulties of a situation as "snowballing." It means that just as a snow ball grows in size the further it rolls, so do problems that seem to naturally grow worse as time goes by. And, the "snowball" being from hell refers to the source of the escalating events: Satan. A good example from the Bible is found in the life of David. 2 Samuel 11 and 12 describe the progression of sin that leads to murder. First, David did not go forth to battle as was the custom of kings. Instead, he stayed home and played the "peeping Tom" watching one of his soldier's wife take a bath. His lust got the best of him and he "had his way with her." She became pregnant, so David tried to get the soldier to sleep with his wife that the baby would be thought to be his. When the soldier was too honorable to do so, David plotted to have him killed. Then, the married David took the soldier's widow to be his own wife. As a result, the prophet Nathan confronted David and prophesied the terrible consequences David and his family would suffer as a result of his awful sin.

On a much lighter note, my family is going through a "snowball from hell" kind of experience. My wife saw "a really good deal" on an above-ground swimming pool. Of course, she bought it. That's when the fun began. First, our son-in-law who offered his services free of charge, insisted on digging up the "entire backyard." He required us to purchase at least one pick-up truck load of sand. Then there is to be a truck load of paving stone to surround the pool so that the mower will not endanger it. Then we discovered you have to have a five foot fence around the pool. Then we learn that there is a county requirement for us to get a forty dollar permit. Of course, the digging and the truck of sand have been ongoing and the appraisal for the fence is forth coming. And of course, we still have not gotten the permit to do the project. Won't it be wonderful to have the pool, the fence, the sand, the gravel, etc. all finished only to have a neighbor report us for not having a permit to drain our pool which would then run through her yard? Apart from several arguments and near anxiety attacks on my part, I have been able to remain married, but for how long, I would not venture a guess. My wife's bargain will probably end up costing over a thousand dollars just for the installation. Oh, by the way, the bargain pool is missing the ladder. PRAY FOR US AND OUR SNOWBALL FROM HELL!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


When believers are in need of help, I recommend the Book of Psalms. "Help" appears about fifty times in the King James Version of the Old Testament. It appears twenty-seven times in Psalms. The Old Testament has four words which the KJV translates as "help": yeshuah and teshuah which speak of one's safety; and ezer and eziah which actually mean help. It is interesting, to say the least, that jeshuah is the Hebrew for Jesus; it is translated Joshua in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New. Of course, we understand our safety is assured in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

When one speaks of helping someone, it means to meet their need. Persons under attack need defending; persons who are hungry need food; etc. Jesus will one day judge the nations on how they met the needs of His brethren, Israel (Matt. 25:31-46). It is important to note that specific needs require specific solutions. Giving food to someone being attacked by a robber would be ridiculous. Building a fortress for nomads looking for water...well you get the picture. What about missionaries who go to share the Gospel with people who have no food or water? I have heard of missionaries raising thousands of dollars to build schools and churches, when the people have no well or no source of food. I have seen pictures of tribal men wearing white shirts, ties, and sport coats, while being told to donate because their families have no blankets. It is true that Jesus told His disciples to go evangelize, baptize, and teach the lost, but He set the example by healing and feeding His audiences.

This kind of reminds me of the story about the enthusiastic Boy Scout who insisted on helping a senior citizen across the street. It was a nice gesture, but she did not want to cross the street. Suppose you went to the doctor with a broken hand, and he performed open-heart surgery. Or suppose you took your car to have an oil change, and he decided to paint it a different color. It would be like consulting a dictionary to solve a math problem. The solution to the problem must fit the problem itself. Enthusiasm and sacrifice cease to have meaning if one's efforts are misdirected. If you want to help someone, ask them what it is that they need. I understand that they may not realize that they need the Savior, but what better way to get them to listen than to show a genuine concern for their well-being? To the starving, the Gospel sounds like "blah, blah, blah." Don't you think it is ludicrous that a person could die due to hunger, thirst, nakedness, and disease while learning Old Testament Bible stories? The Matthew passage says absolutely nothing about a failure to share the Gospel with the lost children of Israel, but it says volumes about failing to meet their human needs.

The bottom line is this: If you sincerely want to obey God and help the lost souls of the world, meet their basic needs and gain a grateful audience. Remember, when you help one of His brethren, you help Him.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Have you ever considered the yoke? I have seen pictures of one and it seems like it would really be heavy. (It might even be as heavy as carrying the cross bar of a cross.) Later, I will tell you about a new, lighter version of a yoke. Yokes are intended to harness two animals together to double work production. Of course, that idea is based upon the assumption that both animals are of equal strength. If one of the animals is weaker, or less inclined to do its part, the production is reduced accordingly. That is why it is very important that the two are equal. Paul, in writing to the Church at Corinth about being joined together with unbelievers, told them not to "team up" with them (2 Cor. 6:14). I have heard horror stories about marriages and business partnerships that have been a disaster because the parties did not have an equal relationship with God. Unfortunately, if you are the partner that is a Christian, you are to make the best of it. Paul wrote in an earlier letter that a believing husband or wife is to remain in the relationship, but if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, then the believer is released from their obligation (1 Cor. 7:10-16).

The yoke is often used as a metaphor in Scripture for being in bondage as a slave (Gen. 27:40; Lev. 26:13; Deut. 28:48; etc.). The Old Testament prophets were always speaking of Israel being under the yoke of bondage, or threatening that bondage lies in Israel's future. Today, we speak of the Egyptian bondage, and understand the same could be said for Israel's Babylonian captivity. Israel suffered a series of the same under Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. While the six were vastly different in many ways, the one thing they had in common was Israel's bondage.

Like many of the miracles done by Jesus Christ which defied the natural laws of the Universe, His use of the concept of being yoked is no less a miracle. He walked on water, fed thousands with a single lunch, changed water into wine, healed the sick, raised the dead, and spoke to the wind and raging sea. He defied the grave with His resurrection and gravity with His Ascension. But, His wanting us to be yoked with Him is perhaps a greater contradiction of logic. How can we be EQUALLY YOKED with Him? He is the Creator of the Universe; we are His creation. He is all-powerful; we are powerless. He is Holy; we are sinners. He knows which direction to go; we haven't a clue. There is absolutely no way that we will ever be equally yoked with Jesus.

Another anomaly is that He has a yoke! Why would Almighty God become a Servant under the bondage of a yoke? And what about that yoke? He describes it as easy and light (Matt. 11:29-30). Yokes are not light! Unless..... He is carrying all the weight. So, let me get this straight. He took my load of sin on the cross: I am saved. Now, He wants to help me do the work He has assigned for me to do (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:13; Tim. 2:15; Heb. 10:24; etc.). Wow! I thank God that He is willing to be UNEQUALLY YOKED with me! What an awesome God we serve!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I have good news for you, just in case you have never heard. The God of the Bible promised to send "the seed of woman" to defeat Satan (Gen. 3:15). That is a strange phrase, in that the woman does not bear seed, but receives it from the man. Since there was only one individual who was born of a virgin, Jesus had to be the fulfillment of that prophecy. The good news is, he did not inherit the nature of Adam, the theory being that the sin nature is passed down through the male. Since the "Father" of Jesus was Almighty God, unlike us, He was not inclined to sin. And, because He remained sinless, He was able to suffer death for the sins of others, and provide eternal life to those who place their trust in Him (Heb. 4:15; Rom. 6:23; Jn. 3:15). It is interesting that the phrase "eternal life" does not appear in the Old Testament. Perhaps that is why some refer to the Old Testament as the "bad news," and the New Testament as the "good news" (Lk. 2:10). The Old Testament revealed how desperately man needed a savior, and the New Testament revealed the identity of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 16:16; Jn. 20:28).

Following His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus made many appearances during the forty days He remained before ascending to the Father (Acts 1:3). Among them was a visit with two men leaving Jerusalem who apparently had not heard of His resurrection (Lk. 24:13-32). During His conversation with them, He explained what had happened and why. He taught them from "all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Israel had mistakenly understood that their hope for the future rested upon the offspring of David becoming the King over the entire world. To them, the good news was that the King was coming. Jesus explained to the two men that before He would fulfill the prophecies concerning the Messiah saving the nation of Israel from domination by world empires, He needed to die to save the world from sin. It does not say it, but it is highly likely that He informed them that He would return to rule the world. After all, isn't that the message given to His apostles? "I am going...but I will come again" (Jn. 14:3). The good news is that by placing our trust in Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven, and we become the adopted children of God (1 Jn. 2:12; Jn. 1:12)!

The bad news is that not everyone who hears the good news will accept it. Although the offer of forgiveness is for everyone, many will not accept salvation as a free gift (Eph. 2:8-9). They believe nothing is free, that everything has "strings attached." That is why there are so many religions. Man has the false impression that by works of righteousness they may somehow earn a favorable standing with their idea of god. Religion is the biggest obstacle to salvation, because it falsely offers ways to make one worthy. The Word of God says that no one can have access to the Father except through faith in Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6; Rom. 10:8-13). Religion leads to a false sense of pride and down the wide road to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14 - Note: that road has to be wide because there are thousands of religions that share it). The bad news is that not everyone has heard the good news, and unfortunately, most of those who have heard it have rejected it.