Saturday, July 31, 2010


Being a Catholic was very different from what I had experienced from religion before. There was a ritual to everything, and most of it was in Latin. I did not understand the Mass, and by the time the priest got to the parts spoken in English, I was almost in a trance; I heard him but I didn't pay much attention. Nevertheless, when I got into some real trouble in the Philippines, it was the Catholic Chaplain to whom I ran. My life was in danger and he immediately recognized the only solution was for the Navy to transfer me. Three months later, I was on my way to San Diego. So much for the Navy's quick response.

I was stationed on the U.S.S. Jason, AR-8, and guess where our first port of call was. That's right, the Philippines. The first night there, I had shore patrol. While patrolling like a good S.P., a young lady who was in the company of her next "mark," told me that the people who were after me wanted to see me. I didn't know her, nor can I explain how she knew me, but apparently they knew I had been stationed on the Jason, and they knew it was in port. I encountered them shortly after in a bar that my Judo and Karate instructor, Andy, managed. They obviously were there to "take care" of me, but Andy, who I discovered later was Philippine Mafia, walked over and whispered something in the leader's ear. They immediately left the bar. I asked him what he had said, and he replied, "I told them you were my friend." Like a guardian angel, he had sent them running. I never heard from any of them again. Praise God!

Following my year in San Diego, I was assigned to the Naval Air Base in Pensacola. After an uneventful two years in a training squadron, I applied for and was accepted to the staff of the Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels. About the same time of my transfer, I was given orders to represent our base in the regional touch football tournament. At that time, I had been working every evening on a church project which consisted of repairing the frontier village we used for a festival fundraiser. When I told the priest that I had to leave for a while, he went ballistic. I had been one of only four who was there every night to work and he saw my going as a betrayal. I never went back to that church or any other.

Not long after I left the church, I became acquainted with philosophy at the local junior college. I decided that religion was nothing but man-made superstition, and I became a die-hard atheist. What I had lacked in zeal when it came to religion, I certainly made up in my ridicule of the fools who believed in a god. I felt intellectually superior and enjoyed challenging any and all who believed, regardless of which religion they ignorantly chose. College had opened my eyes and I enthusiastically campaigned against what I saw as intellectual slavery. Thank God my life did not end then!

Friday, July 30, 2010


Lately, I have been asked to give my testimony by two different churches, and because I have always believed 1 Peter 3:15 was written to all of us, I said yes. Using the Apostle Paul's example of how one should tell people about becoming a Christian, I tell what my life was like prior to accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior; I tell what happened at the time I was saved; and I tell how my life has changed as the result of allowing Him to reign in my heart (Acts 22:1-16; 26:9-18). I was twenty-eight when I accepted the fact that Christ, being God manifest in the flesh, died as payment for my sins, and that He was raised from the grave having finished the work the Father sent Him to do (1 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Jn. 19:30; 1 Jn. 2:2). Having lived without Christ ruling my life for so many years, I have a great deal of ungodly behavior from which to choose. For the sake of brevity, and because I do not particularly like remembering how vile I was, I will sum it up by saying that I broke every commandment numerous times. I cringe thinking about it.

I was born while my dad was in the Navy during World War II, and although my birth name was Paul, I was known to all as "Skipper." It seems that Dad somehow realized that I was in charge, changing his and Mom's life forever. We lived in St. Louis before he started a business in central Illinois when I was about two. I have very few memories of my Mother, as I was taken from her by my father when I was about five. He was apparently a violent man, and my mother took me and went into hiding out of fear for her life. It was not long before he found us through bribing a mailman to get our address off of a letter to my grandparents. With a buddy of his and carrying his pistol, he drove to Cheyenne, Wyoming and took me from her. I never saw my mother again until I was twenty-six. My dad had told me many lies about her and as a result, I did not try to contact her. Praise God, I did get to spend two days with her over the next twenty-five years, and I wish now that it had been many more. When she died on my wife's birthday in 1995, she had left what little she had to me. Among her "treasures" were my baby book and numerous pictures of me from my childhood. It was not until I saw how she had cherished my memory that I realized how much she had suffered over the years. We certainly had that in common.

When I was eighteen, I learned my dad's sister, Aunt Eleanor, was my Godmother. She had waited until I was considered an adult to inform me that I had been baptized as a Catholic. I never thought of myself as being Catholic, because after my dad divorced my mother, he no longer had anything to do with the church. My stepmother and he sent us to the nearest Protestant church, so that we could walk there and they did not need to take us. We moved many times due to his job, and so we attended churches of all kinds. Although I am sure the Gospel was preached in all or most of them, I do not remember ever hearing it. Now at eighteen, I began studying the Catholic Catechism, and was baptized again and confirmed within a year. It was excellent timing because that same year, I met my future wife who was also Catholic. We were married eighteen months later. Not having a car for the first three years of our life together, we seldom attended Mass. One might accurately surmise that religion was not a priority in our lives.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Have you ever been so hungry that your stomach hurt? Have you ever passed out due to a lack of food? Wait, what am I thinking; I am writing this on a computer, so the chances that a reader has experienced starvation is extremely unlikely. Oh sure, we have all experienced a growling stomach when we are delayed from eating, but real hunger, very unlikely. If you have ever fasted, you might be justified in saying you understand hunger, but otherwise, I seriously doubt that my readers have ever had a bloated stomach from starvation. For that, we should all praise God!

Jesus hungered when fasting for forty days in the wilderness. Of course, Satan came when He was at His weakest, and attempted to get Him to sin (Matt. 4:2-10). His experience reminds me somewhat of the trials of Job. Job was used of God to teach us and Satan that he has only the power God allows him to have. We have no need to fear one that hates us when God Almighty loves us! Although God does not tempt us, He does allow temptation into our lives to strengthen our faith (Jam. 1:13-14). In Proverbs, the writer pleads with God that he be neither rich or poor, but asks God to give him just enough food to meet his need; he did not want to sin against the Lord (Prov. 30:8-9). In His model prayer, Jesus said, "Give us this day our daily bread...and lead us not into temptation..." (Matt. 6:11-13). One could make the point that being unfed and being unwilling to forgive, both make us vulnerable to sin.

Notice what Jesus said to Satan when tempted to turn stones into bread. Jesus said, "It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:3-4). In another place, Jesus told His disciples not to worry about what they shall eat, for God will supply their food (Matt. 6:26). Logically then if we are to sustain ourselves with the Word and with food, and God has promised to provide us with food, it is our job to "feed" upon the Word of God. Peter admonishes new Christians to hunger for the Word of God (1 Pet. 2:2). One might make the argument that milk is for baby Christians and bread or meat is for mature believers (Heb. 5:12-14).

The Psalmist wrote of another kind of hunger that was not physical; he spoke of the hunger of the soul (Ps. 107:9). I thought it strange that I could not find the word "eat" in Psalm 119 since the chapter is one hundred seventy-six verses about God's Word. Then, I found Psalm 119:103. "How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth." Jesus said, "Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). Our soul hungers for righteousness, and we become righteous in God's eyes when we accept Christ by believing His Word (Rom. 10:8-17). We are born-again by the Word, we are nourished by the milk of the Word, and we are to mature enough, not only to eat the "meat" of the Word, but to share it with others (Heb. 5:12). Are you hungry yet?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


In a world of nearly seven billion people, living in over two hundred nations, adhering to over a thousand different religions, and speaking hundreds of languages, it is absolutely ludicrous to believe that only those of like mind will spend eternity with God. After all, didn't Jesus die for the sins of the whole world (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 2:2)? And even though the vast majority of humanity has never heard the name Jesus, all religions believe in God; non-Christians merely call Him by another name, right? Narrow-mindedness has always been a source of mistrust, hatred, and wars. Wouldn't it be great if everyone would simply use the title "God" for God, and thereby remove the main source of division in the world?

Christians are seen as arrogant, and the majority of the world views them as being both ignorant and dangerous. Some writers have even gone so far as to label Christians "haters." Even in America, the last bastion of Christianity, there is a movement to eradicate all hints of their beliefs from society. In fact, this anti-Christian sentiment is gradually becoming the law of the land. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), nicknamed by some Christians as the "Anti-Christ's Lawyers United." tries to make the appearance of being against all religion, but only takes Christians to court. Apparently, they have no problem with a religion that celebrates the death of Americans, and which has declared its intent to eliminate the Jewish people. I would not be at all surprised if many of them believe that if it weren't for Christians and Jews, the Muslims would be a peaceful people. I hate to inform them that once all Christians and Jews are gone, they will go after the Buddhists and the Hindus next. In fact, while the radical Muslim extremists proudly declare death to America and to Israel, they are blowing up Buddhists, Hindus, and even members of the "other denomination" of Islam. And yet, it is Christianity that is seen as intolerant; go figure!

Well, our critics do have a point. Jesus Himself said, "Enter in at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be who go in that way; because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:13-14). From these two verses, it appears that Jesus is declaring the majority of humanity will be rejected by God. Jesus was even more narrow-minded when He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes unto the Father, but by Me" (Jn. 14:6). But one might ask, didn't you say that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world? Yes I did. However, one must compare Scripture with Scripture. He also said, "I said, therefore, unto you, that you shall die in your sins; for if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins" (Jn. 8:24). Jesus died for everyone's sins, but each person must receive Him by faith (Jn. 1:12). A person must accept His payment for his sins, or he will have to pay for them himself. It is like someone putting a million dollars into your bank account; it is useless unless you believe it is there, and you spend it. You see, unless one is narrow-minded, he cannot become a Christian! So, I am guilty as charged!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


On occasion, I have received some rather curt comments on my belief in God as a Trinity. And although I am not thrilled about the attitude that accompanies the comments, I fully understand they are made out of frustration. Just as I am frustrated with having to repeatedly defend my view, I am sure that those holding other views of the Godhead are experiencing the same thing. I guess the difference is that I present my view in my writing and do not feel the need to correct alternative views. If someone wants to believe differently, that is their choice, but it might be a good idea if they met with those of like mind. If they want to "share" their view in the church I attend, I feel it is necessary to oppose their teaching as false doctrine. Here is why I believe in God as a Trinity:

* Genesis begins with God creating heaven and earth. The word "God" is Elohim in the Hebrew; a singular noun with a plural ending (Gen. 1:1)
* Between Genesis 1:1 and the creation of Adam, God spoke to the One doing the creating (1:3, 6, 9, 11, etc.). We find from the New Testament that it was Jesus who created the material universe (Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2).
* The creation of man involved three Persons: One spoke (Gen. 1:24), One created (Jesus), and One breathed into man the breath of life (Gen. 2:7 - the Hebrew word for "breath" used here is nishma, and it is the only time it is used in the Bible. It is related to nishkah which means "chamber." It is likely referring to the lungs of man being filled. The usual word for "breath" is ruach which is also translated "wind," "air," and "spirit." It has the same meaning as pneuma in the Greek New Testament).
* Matthew 3:16-17 - Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit landed upon Him, and the Father spoke.
* Matthew 28:19 - The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are named as equals.
* John 14:26 - Jesus will pray to the Father to send the Holy Spirit.
* Acts 2:33 - Jesus, seated next to the Father in heaven, sent the Holy Spirit.
* Romans 15:30 - Prayer should be made to the Father out of love of the Spirit, and for Christ's sake.
* 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 - We are established in Christ, anointed by God, and sealed by the Spirit.
* Galatians 4:6 - God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.
* Ephesians 2:18 - Through Jesus, we have access by the Spirit unto God.
* Philippians 3:3 - We worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus.
* 1 John 4:2 - The Spirit confesses Jesus has come in the flesh to the glory of God.
* 1 John 5:7 - There are three that bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Spirit.

The above is far from being an exhaustive list of Trinitarian references, but it is representative of how the doctrine of the Trinity is present throughout the New Testament. The Father loves you, He sent His Son to die for you, and the Holy Spirit convinces you that the Gospel is true, giving you faith to believe. Amen!

Monday, July 26, 2010


In order to understand God, one would have to be God, for He is beyond human comprehension (Jn. 1:18). God is revealed in the Bible as the Father of Jesus Christ, and although His voice has been heard on occasion (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mk. 9:7; Lk. 9:35), He has never been seen by man (Jn. 1:18; 6:46; 1 Tim. 6:16; 1 Jn. 4:12, 20). His name is not "God," anymore than ours is "human being." In fact, man does not know His name, if He even has one. When Moses asked what His name was, he addressed Him as God (Elohim), which is a Hebrew word that is translated "God," "god," or "gods." Christian Bible scholars recognize the singular "El" as "God," and the plural ending (ohim) as evidence of the Trinity. Because the word can be translated to describe gods other than the one true God, "El" is more a title than a name.

As I mentioned yesterday, God told Moses that His name was YHVH from which we get "Jehovah," but "Jehovah" is actually the name of the pre-incarnate Christ. In addition, YHVH is a present tense verb of being or existing. In other words, He did not tell Moses His name, but basically told him "I exist," or that He was the One True God. The flame in the bush was the Angel (messenger) of the LORD, and the voice was that of the LORD, not the first person of the Trinity (Ex. 3:1-15).

The only real name we find in the Bible for the Father is "abba" which is more like our "daddy" than "father." It appears three times in the New Testament: Mark 14:36 where Jesus is pleading with His Father about His pending death, Romans 8:15 where Christians are told that we are adopted sons and daughters of "abba," and Galatians 4:6-7 where Paul repeats that we are the adopted children of "abba" God. The Gospels are replete with references to God being our Father, often telling us that He is in heaven (Matt. 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 9, etc.). When His disciples wanted to see God, Jesus told them that if they had seen Him, then they had seen the Father (Jn. 14:8-9). Jesus told them that He and the Father were One (Jn. 10:30; 17:22). And for all those non-trinitarians out there, John wrote that the Father, the Word (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit are one (1 Jn. 5:7)!

Since no man has ever seen God as I mentioned earlier, it makes sense that He is elsewhere. This brings me to the view that God is humble. In order for God, Who is Light, to create an empty Universe yet to contain light, He had to limit Himself. In order for Jesus to become a man, He limited Himself (Phil. 2:5-8). The Holy Spirit has humbled Himself by indwelling born-again Christians Jn. 14:17). God must have decided to let His works declare His identity and to emphasis His Word over His name (Rom. 1:19-20; Ps. 138:2). So, when I use the word "God," I mean the One who is the Father of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, and me! I pray that He is your God, too!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I am a Jehovah's witness. Now before you stop reading because you think I am a member of the cult called Jehovah's Witnesses, hear me out. I try to be a witness for Jesus Christ everyday of my life. As a pastor, Sunday school teacher, and a writer for this blog, my Christian life has all been aimed sharing Jesus Christ. I know you are wondering why I am saying that my witnessing for Jesus is being a Jehovah's witness. After all, the cult does not believe in the deity of Christ, and I definitely do. It is really quite simple. Once you realize that Jesus of the New Testament was in fact, Jehovah of the Old Testament, it all becomes so clear. Now all I have to do is convince you that such is the case. There are several clues. For one, the name for God which has come to be written "Jehovah" is from the Hebrew YHVH and is translated "I AM" in the Exodus 3:14 - Jesus used the name to refer to Himself many times, especially John 8:58. We know that He was claiming to be "I AM" because of the way His enemies reacted (Jn. 19:21). Then there are the many examples which show that Jehovah and Jesus have the same attributes and characteristics:

Both are Lord of the Sabbath - Gen. 2:3 and Matt. 12:8.
Both are called Creator - Isa. 44:24 and Jn. 1:3.
Both are called Savior - Isa. 43:11 and Acts 4:12.
Both will judge mankind - Isa. 3:13-14 and 2 Cor. 5:10.
Both are coming in glory - Isa. 40:5 and Matt. 24:30.
Both are the first and the last - Isa. 44:6 and Rev. 1:17.
Both are the Rock of salvation - 2 Sam. 22:32 and 1 Cor. 10:4.
Both are living water - Jer. 17:13 and Jn. 4:10-14.
Both will reward man - Isa. 40:10 and Matt. 16:27.
Both have all authority and power - 1 Chron. 29:11 and Lk. 9:1.
Both are to receive worship - Ex. 34:14 and Rev. 5:12-13.
Both forgive sin - 2 Chron. 7:14 and Matt. 9:6.
Both are the Good Shepherd - Gen. 48:15 and Jn. 10:14.
Both are Lord of lords - Deut. 10:17 and Rev. 17:14.
Both are holy - 1 Sam. 2:2 and Acts 3:14.
Both are the Light - Ps. 27:1 and Jn. 8:12.
Both are the Way - Ps. 16:11 and Jn. 14:6.
Both give eternal life - Prov. 19:23 and Jn. 3:36.

The list above is certainly not exhaustive as there are hundreds of parallels in the Word. It is clear to me that when I witness for Jesus Christ, I am witnessing for Jehovah. This brings us to an obvious question: If Jesus was a Christophany or a Theophany, then what do we know about the Father, the first person of the Trinity? Unfortunately, not a whole lot. All of what we know about the Father is learned from our study of Jesus. He told His disciples if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father (Jn. 14:9). If Jehovah is the Old Testament name of the pre-incarnate Christ, then what is the Father' name? I will try to answer that tomorrow, Lord willing, but in closing today, I am proud to say I am a Jehovah's witness. Amen.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


"I am the LORD thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:2-3). Did you ever notice the verb used describing what God did? It is plural. You have a single subject, "I," that is defined by the word "God," which is the Hebrew Elohim. Elohim is always translated "God" when referring to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Because it has a plural ending, the verb is plural. You don't suppose that the Holy Spirit wanted to let us know about the Trinity, do you? "LORD" represents Jesus, "God" represents all three, and the Holy Spirit inspired the writer. It is as though we are being told that we are to recognize God in three Persons, and that only They are to be worshiped.

I am not aware of a Bible reference to the worship of the Holy Spirit, but there is one that states that the Spirit is God. In Acts 5:1-11, Luke tells of a married couple who conspired to deceive the Church concerning a monetary gift. They lied saying that they had sold a piece of property for a specific sum, when in fact, they had sold it for more. Peter being inspired, confronted them and declared that Satan had caused them to lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). He went on to say, "Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God" (Acts 5:4).

Men protested being worshiped by men (Acts 10:25; 14:15). Angels refused to accept the worship of men (Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9). Jesus knew that only God was to be worshiped and He rebuked Satan saying, "Be gone, Satan; for it is written, 'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve'" (Matt. 4:10). And yet, Jesus did not correct Thomas when he responded to Him saying, "My Lord and my God" (Jn. 20:28). Jesus had earlier taught that He was to receive the same honor as the Father, and many sought to kill Him for it (Jn. 5:17-24).

The fact that God created the heaven and the earth, and Jesus is identified as the Creator, Jesus is God (Gen. 1:1; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2). The fact that He existed with the Father before the world was made, and had even determined that He would die as a man for mankind before the Universe came into existence, is certainly worthy of worship (Jn. 17:24; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). There is no doubt that Jesus is God, and as such, is not only worthy of our worship, He is worthy of our obedience!

One might ask, "What does Jesus want me to do?" The answer is found in the New Testament: love God with your whole being, and your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37-39). Love of others is in a very real sense, the love and worship of Christ (Matt. 5:43-48; 7:12; 22:40; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Thes. 3:11-13; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Jn. 3:23). It shows the world that He is our God.

Friday, July 23, 2010


In the Old Testament, God has many, many warnings for people, and He frequently began His warning with the word "beware!" "Beware" means to be warned, to be wary, or to be on guard. Warnings, at least from God, are motivated out of concern for the well being of the ones being warned. The Old Testament uses "beware" twelve times employing a variety of messengers, and addressing individuals, societies, or humanity in general. They are: Beware of endangering my family (Gen. 24:8). Beware of provoking My angel (Ex. 23:21). Beware of forgetting what the Lord has done for you (Deut. 6:12). Beware of falling into sin (Deut. 8:11). Beware of thinking how you can withhold help for the brethren (Deut. 15:9). Beware of wine and strong drink (Jud. 13:4). Beware of failing to obey My instructions (Jud. 13:13). Beware that you do not harm God's anointed (2 Sam. 18:12). Beware of going where you are not welcome (2 Kg. 6:9). Beware of committing a sin unto death (Job 36:18). Beware of copying the behavior of those being disciplined (Prov. 19:25). Beware of listening to those whose counsel is opposed to the teachings of God (Isa. 36:18).

In the New Testament, God also has many warnings for those He loves. The word "beware" is used fourteen times, but because the Gospels duplicate the record of them, there are actually only eight. They are: Beware of false prophets (Matt. 7:15). Beware of men who wish to do you harm (Matt. 10:17). Beware of the leaven (hypocrisy) of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the scribes (Matt. 16:6, 11, 12; Mk. 8:15; 12:38; Lk. 12:1; 20:46). Beware of covetousness (Lk. 12:15). Beware of rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:40). Beware of dogs, evil workers, and of the concision (Phil. 3:2). This may very well be Paul using three terms to describe the same people. Paul's major opposition to the preaching of salvation by grace apart from works, came from those claiming to be Jewish converts to Christ. They did everything they could to undermined his ministry (Nearly all of the Book of Galatians). The last two are: Beware of falling for human philosophy and empty lies (Col. 2:8). Beware of being led astray from sound doctrine (2 Pet. 3:17).

God holds those have knowledge of Him or light, to warn those who are lost. In the Old Testament, He uses the term "watchman" to describe those who He has appointed to warn others of danger. He gives us an ultimatum: I warn you not to fail to warn them (2 Chron. 19:10). The Lord is more specific in Ezekiel where He tells us that failure to warn others results in His judgment upon the "watchman" (Ezek. 3:17-21; 33:3-7). In a clear sense, He holds those who fail to warn others who are killed, guilty of murder. If He is that emphatic about warning those who are in danger of physical death, what do you suppose He thinks of those who fail to warn others resulting in the loss of their soul? If you love God, love those for whom He gave His Son! If you love God, share Him with others!

After all, even Satan warns his minions (Matt. 3:7; Lk. 3:7)!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Webster defines wisdom as, among other things, the "power to judge rightly; following a sound course of action; the result of knowledge combined with experience and understanding; etc." However, Webster says nothing about the source of wisdom being a gift from God (Ex. 28:3; 31:3; 1 Cor. 12:8; etc). Nor does he say that wisdom is more valuable than rubies or gold (Prov. 8:11; 16:16). Webster failed to tell us that wisdom begins with the knowledge that God is to be reverenced or feared (Prov. 9:10).

For the believer, wisdom is increased through God's correction (Prov. 29:15). Having said that, it would seem unlikely that a person would pray for wisdom. It is sort of like patience; tribulation produces patience (Rom. 5:3), and who on earth would want to pray for tribulation? Nevertheless, Christians are told to seek wisdom from above (Jam. 1:5). Actually, the gaining of wisdom is the lesser of the two "evils." One can suffer through God's correction which is always done with love, and then be able to succeed as a believer in this world, or one can face the trials and difficulties of life with only human wisdom. James contrasts the wisdom of the world with that which is from above, and it is clear to see that man's wisdom's source is from Satan (Jam. 3:13-18). Remember who it was that told Adam and Eve that they could be as wise as God?

The opposite of wisdom is not ignorance. Ignorance is due to a person never being exposed to the truths needed for sound judgment. The opposite of wisdom is ignoring what one has been taught and using poor judgment, or being foolish. The most obvious example of one lacking wisdom is the person who denies that God exists (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). That is why the fool is able to live without fearing judgment. He reasons that if there is no God, then he can do whatever he wants. Failing to recognize the inevitable accountability before the Creator of the Universe, he believes he need only outsmart the authorities. And although the prisons in American are more crowded that ever before, their odds are still good that they will not get caught. Lawlessness is the realm of Satan, and all those who refuse to acknowledge the existence of God are destined to dwell therein (1 Tim. 1:8-10).

Proverbs 17:28 says that "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise; and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding." Oh, that every fool would attempt to pass as wise! Oh, that every wise one would be a fool for Christ's sake (1 Cor 3:18; 4:10)! Proverbs 11:30 teaches that those who win souls are wise. In order to win souls, one must share with the lost the Word of God (Rom. 10:9-17). For God's sake and for the sake of those who need to hear of God's love for them, speak! Therefore, let all fools be silent, and let every wise one speak the truth in love; for this is true wisdom.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In a world of almost seven billion people, it is difficult to estimate how many have heard of Jesus. I think it is safe to say that the vast majority have some knowledge of Him. Hopefully, all those who have attended a church at least once in their life will have heard of Him. Of the many religions of the world that do not accept the biblical Jesus, those who have heard of Jesus at all believe He was just a man. What kind of man varies, but the historical Jesus was only a human being. The Bible tells us of a blind man who met Jesus, was healed by Him, and still declared Him to be merely a man (Jn. 9:11). It is hard to believe, but the Bible doesn't lie.

Many of those in the world who have heard of Jesus and His teachings are willing to call Him a prophet, and compare Him to Confucius, Buddha, Mohammad, etc. His wisdom is respected and often quoted. Mahatma Gandhi held this view of Jesus. He often quoted Him in his speeches, and when asked by a reporter why he quoted Him but never became a believer, he replied, "I would have become a Christian years ago had I not met so many of them." Apparently, Gandhi met only those who were religious Christians, those who did not have a personal relationship with the Father through faith in Him. After having time to reflect upon his good fortune, the young man healed of his blindness came to the conclusion that anyone who could heal him had to be more than just a man; He had to be a prophet (Jn. 9:17). He had heard Jesus speaking to His disciples and understood that Jesus was sent by God, so he reasoned that He must be a prophet.

Members of all three monotheistic religions of the world are waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Islam calls him the Mahdi, and although the main two sects of the religion differ on the significance and details of his coming, both believe he will purify the world. Christians believe that Jesus, having come in His humanity to die for sin, will return to rule the world for one thousand years. During this time, called the Millennium, Christians will rule with their Christ. Jews believe that their Messiah will come and establish a world government ruled by Him, and that they will rule with Him. Jews recognize that He will be the King of kings, and they will never be persecuted again. After discussing the event with his parents, the one healed of blindness and they came to the conclusion that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (Jn. 9:18-23).

The fourth view of Jesus is that He is the Creator, God Almighty, Savior, and Lord (Col. 1:16; Isa. 9:6; Jn. 4:42; Isa. 49:26). He did not come the first time to establish a religion, but to serve as a bridge for fallen man to cross into the presence of God. The Church is the sum total of all who have become the children of God through faith in Jesus (Jn. 1:12; 1 Jn. 3:2). As God, the second person of the Trinity, Jesus is worthy of worship, and since only God is worthy of worship, for Him to accept it from men shows He recognized that He was God (Lk. 4:8). It was faith in Jesus as his Savior and Lord that caused the young man to worship the Man who had healed him (Jn. 9:38).

Who do you say He is? If Jesus is Lord, say so!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Moses asked God what His name was, so that when the Jews asked him about which God he was speaking, he would be able to tell them. This request implies that the Jews believed there was more than one God. They had been slaves in Egypt for four hundred years, and had given up hope that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would save them from bondage. In fact, any who had heard the stories of how they arrived where they were knew that it was He that had delivered them into bondage in the first place. God, knowing how useless it would be to tell them it was the God of the patriarchs, He told Moses His name was YHVH. Of course, in Hebrew it is HVHY (HE, VAV, HE, YODH - see Psalm 119:33, 41, 73). The KJV translates this as "I AM THAT I AM," and God also gave Moses the shorter version, "I AM" (Exod. 3:14).

Not that it happens that often, but on occasion I have been asked for my name, and that being followed by "Yes, but who is Paul Mutschler?" When asked, I usually respond by giving a biographical sketch varying in length depending upon the time allotted for a reply. There is no short answer. I have had a life of sixty-seven years which has defined who I am. I am a son, a sinner, a high school drop-out, a sailor, religious, a husband, a father, an atheist, a Christian, retired military, a college and seminary graduate, a grandfather, an ex-pastor, an ex-teacher, an ex-principal, a great grandfather, and a blogger (in chronological order). I am an American nicknamed "Skip" from before I was born. But mostly today, I am tired! I long for the day when I can say, "I am like Him" (1 Jn. 3:2). And the sooner, the better.

I have been asked to give my testimony at a friend's church tomorrow night, and although I have given it many times over the forty years I have been a Christian, I am not really sure what I should say. God has been working in my life in so many ways over the years, that I feel somewhat like John must have felt when writing about Jesus (Jn. 21:25). Frankly, my life has few mountain-tops and a whole lot of very wide valleys. And yet, it is in those valleys that I have been closest to the Lord. You might think that strange, but when on the mountain-top, I am loving Him; in the valleys, I am aware that He is loving me.

I have heard Him speak to me at least five times, and every one of them was when I was in despair. I have heard Him say words to this effect, "You wanted to love as I love, and see, you are unable to handle it. Let me work love into you. Be patient." On other occasions: "Turn to September second." (That one was repeated three times until I relented.) "Jesus wept." "As much as possible, get along with all men." And the last time I heard Him, He said, "You go, and let her come on the weekends." I know, you are thinking I am one of those weird guys who hears voices, but five times in forty years is not exactly a daily conversation with and imaginary friend. In fact, on none of the five occasions did I reply. I simply felt the awesome presence of Almighty God, and I instantly experienced total peace. Not only did I know He was there, I knew He knew me as only God can know someone. He knew my thoughts. He knew my emotions. He knew my need. I knew I was loved! May all those who read this know that God feels the same way about them.

Monday, July 19, 2010


The little word "so" is amazing. It can connect what was previously said to a logical response when used in the sense of "therefore." God loved you , SO you should love each other. Breaking the law has serious consequences, SO wear your seat belt and drive the speed limit. You get the picture. It is a bridge in logic.

"So" can also be used as sarcasm. When someone makes a statement, another might say, "So?" In this case, the one responding is declaring that he does not recognize the bridge in logic. He might as well have said, "What's your point?" In other words, the statement is either incomplete, or it does not carry the weight of evidence which demands an obvious response. This use of the term is frequently used by teens who want to challenge authority. It is also used by those who want to reject the shared Word of God, or who want to deny the significance of a Christian's testimony. It is a way of saying, "I don't care."

In Psalm 107:2, the word is used almost as a command! "Let the redeemed of the LORD say so...." Here, the Spirit uses the word to instruct believers to declare what the LORD has done for them. It is demanding that believers tell others "This is so." It defines one's current situation based upon the events that led up to the present. It is what is true today. It is our testimony.

Verses eight, fifteen, twenty-one, and thirty-one of Psalm 107 carry the message throughout the psalm. The writer repeats the exact same words over and over again: "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" It is as though the writer is begging, rather than demanding. You can almost hear him crying out to us, "Please, I beg of you. Declare for all to hear, what God has done for you!"

Of course, if you are unaware of the Lord's existence, or of His presence in your everyday life, you have nothing to say. If you do not believe God loved you and expressed it in the sacrifice of His Son on your behalf, you have nothing to say. If you are living a life that does not line up with what the Word says a believer's life should be, then for God's sake, please have nothing to say! Yes, the redeemed of the Lord are to testify, but their life should be without hypocrisy (Jam. 3:17). Paul put it this way, "...Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2 Tim. 2:19). In other words, "Get your act together, and then be a witness for Jesus."

Does that mean one has to be perfect in order to testify? No! It means that a believer is to have repented and to have confessed his sins before witnessing for Christ. 1 John 1:9 teaches us that when we do this, we are returned to a state of righteousness. The result, or fruit of righteous produces life, even to the point of winning souls to Christ (Prov. 11:30). It is His righteousness poured out through us that quenches those who are thirsty (Matt. 5:6). Be slow to speak, but when you do, say SO!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Religions of the world are filled with seekers who long to know God. Each religion has its own "road map" which is intended to lead its followers into the presence of God. Every one of them provides information on obstacles to avoid (sins), and the roads to travel (works) to arrive at "his doorstep." By nature, man hungers for an understanding of, and a close relationship to, his creator. It is this innate hunger that has given Christians an opportunity to share Jesus Christ with them. But something has happened to that hunger; it isn't as strong and as widespread as it once was. I see two explanations for this. One, false religions (an oxymoron - all religions are false) have satisfied many seekers, and they no longer hunger for Him. Two, Christians have failed to provide a credible testimony for Christ.

True Christianity, a relationship with our Creator through faith in Jesus Christ, has failed for several reasons. Most born again believers know little about the Word of God, and therefore find it difficult to share it with the lost. Those who do have a fair knowledge of the Bible often get caught up in methodology in their effort to witness. They follow the "plan" and usually fail. They try Scripture memory, step-by-step approaches such as Corral Ridge's Evangelism Explosion, and more often than not, they simply invite the lost to church to listen to the "expert" and do not even attempt to share their faith.

Christianity's failure can be easily explained: its leaders failed to focus upon the entire command of Christ known as the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20: Mk. 16:15-16). Jesus said, "Go." Jesus said, "Preach" (the Gospel). Jesus said, "Baptize" (those who believe the Gospel). Jesus said, "Teach" (the doctrine of the Church). Jesus didn't say, Send," but He told His disciples that they would be witnesses to the whole world (Mk. 16:15; Acts 1:8) Once they had gone out, they were to duplicate themselves. Paul told Timothy to teach faithful men (2 Tim. 2:2). The Church is okay at getting people saved, but most remain babes in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1). Apparently even babes need to be instructed to take nourishment, or Peter wouldn't have had to admonish believers to hunger for the Word (1 Pet. 2:2).

Time is short. Billions are unsaved. The Church needs to act now. First, we must depart from iniquity that the world will listen to what we have to say (2 Tim. 2:19). Second, we should tell others what Jesus has done for us (Jn. 4:29). Third, we must continually pray for the Holy Spirit's direction and filling, so that we will go where He wants, and say what He wants. In order to do these three, we need to be so familiar with God's Word, that we know what iniquity is, we know what the Bible says about what He has done for us, and we know enough of the Word of God for the Spirit to bring it to our remembrance. It is great to say to others, "Come," but we must remember to say, "Go" as well. In between, the Church has a job to do.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


The next woman we will look at for clues about Paul's relationship to women is found in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. Chloe's folks were a bunch of snitches. It was "them of Chloe" that had told Paul about the division in the Church at Corinth (11). Basically, that is all we know about her. The use of the term "brethren" indicates that her siblings or her Christian brothers and sisters were Paul's source. Either way, more than one person "of Chloe" informed Paul, and whoever they were, Paul considered their report accurate. Perhaps Chloe was the owner of a house where church was held, as suggested by the KJV translators who sought to make sense of the verse. This could have been like the case of Martha, with a group meeting at her home for "church" (Lk. 10:38). Paul was so confident in the source of the report that he addressed the problem at the beginning of his epistle.

Another case where Paul had great respect for women is found in the family of Timothy. Timothy had a Jewess mother and a Greek (Gentile) father (Acts 16:1). Apparently his grandmother and his mother had much influence in the family, because Timothy was raised to believe in Christ (2 Tim. 1:5). It is interesting that Timothy, having a Gentile father and being uncircumcised, would be led to Christ by two Jewish women. It is very likely that his grandmother and mother would have wanted Timothy to be circumcised, so Timothy's father must have had some say concerning the matter. Luke wrote that Paul met Timothy shortly after the council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), where it was determined that a Gentile did not need to be circumcised (to become a Jew) in order to become a Christian. And yet, ironically, Paul circumcised Timothy that he would not cause Jews to reject Timothy's preaching (Acts 16:3).

So what conclusions can we draw from Scripture concerning Paul's relationship to women? First of all, we know that Paul did not hold marriage as a priority for his own life (1 Cor. 9:5). He saw nothing unspiritual about marriage, but recommended a man remain single (1 Cor. 7:1-9). He instructed believers to remain as they were when saved; if married, remain married, if single, remain single (1 Cor. 7:20, 27). However, being single had its advantages. It allowed one to focus on ministry instead of worrying about persecution of one's wife and children (1 Cor. 7:26). Marriage also had the distraction of providing for, and the pleasing of one's family members (1 Cor. 7:25-35). But Paul clearly held faithful Christian women in high regard. Perhaps Paul saw society's unwillingness to accept women as equals to men, and he did not want to hinder the advancement of the Gospel, as in the case of Timothy's circumcision. We may never know, but one thing is clear, what Paul taught was inspired of the Holy Spirit, and it is Scripture. That settles it for me.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Paul's view of women is very confusing. In one place, he seems to consider women as inferior to men, and in another, he shows the highest regard for "the weaker sex." Anyone who has been married for any length of time probably has quit using the phrase "the weaker sex" due to life experience.

A perfect example of Paul's apparent vacillation is found in his presentation of Priscilla. Priscilla was referred to by Paul six times (Acts 18:2; 18:18; 18:26; Rom. 16:3; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19 where the text called her Prisca). The very fact that she was mention six times and much was said about her part in the ministry, may indicate his enormous respect for her. Biblical authors often used the order in which two related names were listed in their writings to indicate which was to be given more respect. A perfect example is found in Matthew's description of Jesus and His mother on at least four occasions (2:11, 14, 20, 21). One never hears someone say, Sarah and Abraham, Bathsheba and David, Sapphira and Ananias, or Eve and Adam; it is always the male listed first and then the female. However, in the case of Priscilla, Paul clearly was making a statement in his writing concerning her and her husband. Three of the six references to her listed her first (Acts 18:18; Rom. 16:3; 2 Tim. 4:19). She was listed first concerning a trip with Paul (Acts 18:18). She was listed first in commending them as his helpers in the ministry (Rom. 16:3). And she was listed first when Paul told Timothy to "salute" them (2 Tim. 4:19).

Priscilla lived in Corinth with her husband, and Paul stayed with them because Aquila was also a tent maker (Acts 18:2-3). It is not clear, but it is possible that Paul lived with them for eighteen months (Acts 18:11). Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos the Gospel (Acts 18:24-28). While away from their home of Corinth, they possibly rented a house and church assemblies were held there; another interpretation of the verse is that Paul was saluting the church that met in their home in Corinth (1 Cor. 16:19). Either way, church was held in their home somewhere.

Another woman whose name is listed first and who held church in her home was Apphia (Phile. 1:2). Paul wrote of Archippus, Apphia's husband, to remain faithful in the ministry given him, presumably by Paul (Col. 4:17). Because the ministry is mentions only in relation to Archippus, it is possible that Apphia showed hospitality to their guests, just as did Mary and Martha, sisters to Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead (Lk. 10:38-44; Jn. 11:1-44). When reading the Luke passage, it is interesting that Lazarus is not mentioned, and that the house belonged to Martha. More on the morrow, Lord willing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Our next female person of interest in trying to understand the Apostle Paul's strict prohibitions on women in the Church is Phoebe (Phebe). Truly, Phoebe is an intriguing character. In just two verses, Paul's mention of her has sparked much debate throughout the centuries. In addition to the two verses, many Bibles, including the original 1611 version of the KJV, have a note as part of, or following verse twenty-seven, which says: "Written to the Romans from Corinth, and sent by Phebe, servant of the church at Cenchrea." To begin with, her name is actually Phebe, but try looking it up in a concordance as it appears in the KJV (Phoebe) and you will not find it. That is because the publishers were being "helpful" in using pronunciation symbols.

In Romans 16:1, Phebe is called "a servant." Herein lies the problem; the Greek word translated "servant" (diakonos) is the word from which we get the English "deacon." It appears in the Greek original about thirty times; seven of them are translated "servant," twenty of them are translated "minister," and the rest "deacon." The Church has no problem calling Phebe a servant because all Christians are to be servants. However, the term "minister" and the term "deacon" are considered by conservative assemblies as roles filled by men. This is not really difficult to understand. Pastors are often called Ministers. A Pastor is an Elder (aka. Bishop or Overseer) who has authority over the church, and therefore must be a man (1 Tim. 2:12; 3:2). Deacons, likewise, must be a man, for both offices require the person to be married to a woman. There is some indication from Paul's writings that a deacon is considered an "officer" of the church (Phil. 1:1). However, the original seven deacons appear to have been servants who were responsible for daily business of the church, allowing the Apostles to focus on prayer and study (Acts 6:4).

Whatever term we use when referring to Phebe, she obviously was a very special lady in that Paul spent two verses telling the church at Rome to welcome and assist her "in whatever business she hath need of you...." The post-script at the end of Romans, if it is accepted as accurate, indicates Paul trusted Phebe to personally carry his letter to Rome. His epistle to the Romans is the most thorough presentation of God's plan for the ages. It is Romans that tells us salvation is available to "whosoever will," and clearly presents what God is doing with His two groups of elect saints: the nation of Israel and the Church. While many of Paul's writings are to local churches or individuals, Romans is written to the entire world. He presents God's relationship to the Gentiles who are without excuse, to the Jews who have been partially blinded until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, and to the Christians who, placing their trust in Christ, ought to live in this world until He returns. Trusting a woman with such a weighty responsibility shows great respect for her.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


In case you are just joining us, I am reviewing Paul's interaction with women to better understand his prohibition of a woman speaking, teaching, or usurping authority over a man (1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-12). So far, I have discussed Lydia, a demon-possessed slave girl, and Damaris. Today, I will begin with the four prophetic daughters of Philip (Acts 21:8-14).

Philip was not only an evangelist, he was one of the seven original deacons of the Church (Acts 6:5; 8:5; 21:8). Philip had four virgin daughters who had the gift of prophecy (9). Sometime during Paul's stay with Philip's family, a man named Agabus, who was a prophet from Judea, came and prophesied about Paul's future (10-11). He told Paul that he would be bound by Jews in Jerusalem and be turned over to the Gentiles (11). Those living there pleaded with Paul not to go to Jerusalem, but Paul told the weeping that he was willing to go and die if necessary (12-13). Apparently Paul's companions joined those living there in trying to persuade Paul, but he was so determined that they finally relented (13-14).

So why did Luke mention the four daughters of Philip? They had the ability to prophesy, but they apparently did not. The only possible interaction we see from this text is that they were part of the crowd pleading with Paul (12). Why didn't God use one or all of Philip's daughters to prophesy about Paul's future? Why did it take a man from Judea to prophesy concerning Paul's being taken prisoner? I do not know the answer, but if I had to guess, I would say that, in light of his prohibitions relating to women, perhaps he would not have accepted the prophecy of a woman. There are other possible explanations, one of which I would hope was the actual truth. It could have been that the four prophetesses would not have been believed because they were in their own town (Matt. 13:57). We do know that the Holy Spirit chose Agabus to deliver the message, and since He is God (Acts 5:3-4), and since He chose not to have Luke explain His reason(s), it is foolish to draw a conclusion from silence.

Skipping Prisca and Phoebe due to the amount of space left on today's post, and in an effort to end on a positive note, I will direct our study to Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2-3). Paul was concerned that these two women were out of fellowship with each other (2). Because they had been co-laborers with Paul in the past, he was concerned enough to request his "yokefellow" mediate the apparent dispute between them (3). Two things about this situation that I see as positive are: for one, Paul remembered how valuable they were when working together; and two, he cared enough to make a special plea that his friend help them work out their differences. I am sure these are not the only two folks Paul heard were in disagreement over the years, but these two were beloved of him for their faithfulness in serving Christ. That shows he had great respect for them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Having admitted that I do not totally understand Paul's writings concerning women, nevertheless, I recognize his writings as Scripture, and reluctantly submit to his prohibitions (2 Pet. 3:15-16). When one thinks about it, the Holy Spirit inspired his writing, so in effect, I am submitting to the Lord (2 Tim. 3:16). Perhaps we can glean something from Paul's interaction with women during his ministry.

The first woman recorded to have been in conversation with Paul was Lydia. What little we know about her is found in Acts 16:11-15, 40. Since she was from the Macedonian city of Thyatira, in all likelihood, she was originally a Gentile (14). Another clue is that she was named after a Gentile nation (Jer. 46:9; Ezek. 30:5). Whether or not she had become a Jewess is not stated, but we are told she worshiped God (14), which leads me to believe she had; also, they were meeting on the Sabbath (13). There is no mention of a husband, so her business as a seller of purple apparently sustained "her household" which may have included children and servants. As Paul preached to the group of women assembled (13), the Lord opened her heart. It is interesting, in light of Paul's view of women that he would sit and teach a group of them. Lydia and her household accepted the Gospel as truth, and were baptized (14). Her gratitude was immediately expressed by her invitation to Paul and his companions to come abide at her home (15). Following Paul's release from jail, he returned to her house to comfort her and her brethren (40).

The reason Paul had been thrown into jail was because of the second recorded contact he had with women. A young slave girl, being demon possessed, recognized Paul and his companions as servants of God who were bringing the Gospel (cp. Matt. 8:28-34; Acts 16:16-24). Her masters, seeing that their lucrative "business" of her telling fortunes was gone, had Paul and his companions arrested. Note that there is no mention of her becoming a Christian, and that her status as a slave did not change (19). It would be nice if we knew she had been saved. This incident did provide us with a glimpse of a demon recognizing Paul as being a servant of the Most High God. It is strange that a woman in Satan's grip could see the truth, but men could not. Very sad!

The third woman named was Damaris (Acts 17:16-34). Paul preached in the synagogue and then on Mar's Hill in Athens (17, 22). A group of philosophers and Stoics, who loved to debate (21), listened as Paul presented the Gospel of Christ, some wanting him to continue on the morrow, and some already believing (32-34). Damaris was one of those who believed. Was Damaris a philosopher or a stoic? Again, it would have been nice to know more about her, but the Book of Acts is a book of the acts of the Apostles, not their converts. Speaking of the morrow, I will continue this then, Lord willing.

Monday, July 12, 2010


It is easy to see Paul's reasoning concerning women being in authority or serving as teachers of men. He told his readers that Eve was gullible, and he apparently made the assumption that all women since are easily deceived (1 Tim. 2:14). Our new minister preached a great sermon yesterday and in it, he said that Eve took part in the transgression, but Adam sinned. Scripture clearly teaches that sin entered the world by Adam, and yet it was Eve who first partook of the forbidden fruit (Rom. 5:12; Gen. 3:6). Paul seems to have made the same distinction between the words "transgression" and "sin (1 Tim. 2:14). The root word used by Paul to describe Eve's role in the fall of mankind is also used of the act of Judas (Acts 1:25). Apparently Judas was deceived by Satan just as Eve had been (Matt. 27:3-5; Lk. 22:3). However, the distinction between the two words is less clear as Judas calls his transgression "sin" (Matt. 27:4). But I digress.

I suppose it is logical to believe Eve's vulnerability passed down to all women. After all, the sin nature has been passed down by men ever since the first man sinned. It seems clear from the rebuke of Satan that the Messiah would be born of woman, and not man (Gen. 3:14-15). In every other case where there has been a child born, it has involved the "seed of man." However, the Messiah was to be born of the "seed of woman." The sin nature passed on from Adam through men for centuries, did not apply to the Son of God. A look at His genealogy shows that to be true. In Matthew, Jesus is born of Mary (Matt. 1:16). In Luke, He was thought to be the son of Joseph (as was supposed), but was not as the virgin's conception was of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18-25; Lk. 1:26-33).

On the matter of the salvation of women, I do not believe Paul was teaching that salvation for women is the result of childbirth (1 Tim. 2:15). If that were the case, women who are barren, or who choose not to have children for whatever reason, could not be saved from their sins. It is obvious from an abundance of Scripture that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 10:8-13; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9: all written by Paul). The birth of a child did provide salvation to women, but it also did so for men; the child that was born was Jesus Christ. The Genesis passage speaking of the seed of woman is referring to Jesus (Gen. 3:15).

If it is true that women are easily beguiled, then Paul's prohibition of women speaking, teaching, asking questions, etc. in the church assembly makes sense. However, I doubt that women see themselves as more gullible. In fact, from what I can gather from listening to women talk, most seem to think men are much in need of a woman's guidance. The old joke about the wedding ceremony being viewed from a bride's perspective (aisle, altar, hymn), implies that it is the job of the wife to fix what is broken. While I agree that every man needs "fixing," God has placed men in the position of authority in the family and in His Church. The good news is that it won't be long until the Church is ruling with Christ in His millennial reign; both men and women! The curse for sin and transgression will be over for us. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Let me state at the beginning of this post. Good Christian men and women have struggled for as long as the Word has existed, with the issue of the woman's role in the Church. I do not pretend to be an authority or to fully understand Paul's prohibition on women speaking in the assembly. He stated in 1 Corinthians 11:3 that "the head of the woman is the man." In 1 Corinthians 14:34, Paul wrote that women are not permitted to speak, but are "to be under obedience." It is obvious then that a wife is to be obedient to her husband, and an unmarried woman is to be obedient to her father. In 1 Timothy 2:11-12, Paul taught that a woman is not to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. So to sum it up, a woman is not to ask questions, to speak, to teach, or to rule over a man.

In today's Church, if these rules were taken at face value, there would be only male teachers of adult Bible classes. Woman would teach only other women and children. Women could not serve on committees which had oversight of any ministry in which a man served. Women could serve as missionaries but only teach women. Women could not testify in the assembly about what the Lord had done for them. Women could not sing. It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it

Our church has sent and support women missionaries (I think that is good). We have a woman teaching an adult Bible class in Sunday school (the men who attend it think that is good). Women serve on committees of all sorts (apparently the persons who selected them think that is good). Women sing during the services (it depends upon the talent whether anyone thinks that it is good). We have a woman church secretary who reads the minutes during business meetings (we are lucky to have her). My pastor, with whom I have never disagreed over the seventeen years I have known him, views Paul's statements as having to do with the formal assembly of all the local believers in the weekly worship services. My only problem with that interpretation is that it ignores the fact that the Church is where the gift of prophecy is to be expressed; if a woman prophesies, it would have to be in the assembly. The context of 1 Corinthians 14 is regarding the assembly. Verse three says that prophecy is spoken unto men. Verses four and five say that prophecy is for the Church. Verse twelve states that spiritual gifts are for the edification of the Church. Verse twenty-two says that prophecy is for believers. Verse twenty-four says if all prophesy and an unbeliever comes in (to the assembly v. 23), he will be convicted. It is a good thing Paul wasn't present at the day of Pentecost, or a large number would have been rebuked of him. When the Spirit fell, the Church was assembled!

All I know is that God wants us to be in unity. If this topic can not be resolved to every one's satisfaction, then it needs to "take a back seat" to other, more important issues, like winning the lost to Christ. Is it any wonder why Paul wrote what is our thirteenth chapter and placed in in the middle of twelve and fourteen?
He ends fourteen with "Let all things be done decently and in order." Can I get an Amen?

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Both Joel's prophecy and Peter's description of what was happening indicated women would prophesy when the Holy Spirit was poured out (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:13-18). Obviously, Peter's quote tells us that the women were included in the event. One might suggest that when this event occurred, the Church was not assembled because the Church didn't begin until the time the Holy Spirit indwelt His disciples. It may be true that when that particular gathering started, the Church had not officially begun, but it is clear the Church existed before the day was over. Those who spoke in the languages of those from other nations, including the women, did in fact prophesy.

Prophecy is the best of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:1). It was given to members of the Church to be used to speak to the congregation (1 Cor. 14:19-24). Paul speaks of men speaking in tongues (v. 21), but we know that women also had that gift. The ability to prophesy, as I have shown above, was also given to both. As for women using the gift in the assembly, the context of the passage gives us two important facts: prophecy is for the benefit of believers, and it is done within the assembly (1 Cor. 14:22-32). Notice in verse twenty-seven that Paul addresses the use of tongues to men. In this same passage, he speaks of all prophesying (1 Cor. 14:24, 26, 31). There is no gender mentioned in connection to the gift of prophecy in the chapter except for a rebuke to men who think they are the only person through whom God speaks (1 Cor. 14:37).

Paul appears to shift gears in the following two verses where he addresses disruptive women in the assembly. He does not rebuke them for speaking in tongues. He does not rebuke them for prophesying. He rebukes them for asking questions (1 Cor. 14:34-35). If we look at the way the Jews held their assemblies, we find that one would read the Scripture and then they would discuss its meaning (Lk. 2:46; 4:16-29). If I understand it correctly, women were encouraged to prophesy, but were forbidden to participate in the discussions. Paul refers to the Law which forbids a woman to speak, but no one has satisfactorily shown an Old Testament reference to match it, and there certainly is none in the New Testament. Again, there is irony that Paul, who vehemently opposed legalism, would refer to the Law to support this prohibition. Speaking of the Old Testament, women did participate in worship (Ex. 15:20-21; 38:8; Deut. 31:12; Josh. 8:35; 1 Sam. 2:22; 1 Chron. 25:5-6; Ezra 2:65; Neh.7:67).

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will begin discussing the role women played in early Church. Here is a list of the women named in the Gospels prior to the Day of Pentecost: Mary of Nazareth, Elizabeth, Anna, Herodias, Solome, Mary, Martha, Susanna, Johanna, Mary Magdalene, and Mary (wife of Cleopas). There are many mentioned for whom we have no name, including the group of women who ministered to Jesus and His disciples for three years (Mk. 15:41). If one considers the Gospels as a partial biography of the life of Christ, and the male dominated Psyche of the culture at His first coming, it is amazing how many women played a part in His life.

Friday, July 9, 2010


As I was saying yesterday, even though all scripture is truth and good for doctrine, it is true and binding for only those for whom it is intended. For instance, before Abraham, no one was circumcised. The Church, after the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Acts, does not require it either. In fact, it was not intended for the Church Age at all, but it took the early Christians a while to "come up to speed." Circumcision was a requirement for the fourth and fifth dispensations, both having to do with the Jews. The fourth was the Dispensation of Promise, which began with Abraham, and the fifth was the Dispensation of the Law which began with Moses. The Church, the sixth and a separate dispensation, is not bound by the Mosaic Law.

We are not bound by the customs of previous societies either. Our weddings and funerals do not follow those of the Jews during the time of Christ. Our church services do not divide men and the women. There is no mention of musical instruments in the early Church. We do not meet daily, nor do we "break bread from house to house." There are no Apostles. The Bible is complete and in the vernacular. There are some who are opposed to women wearing pants because they are commonly viewed as man's clothing, but men did not wear pants in the first century either. In fact, many of the customs which we as Americans hold as binding are not practiced in other cultures today. And yet, Christians from those cultures are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit as are we.

I find it ironic that the Apostle Paul, who spent a great deal of time challenging those who insisted upon following the traditions and laws of the Jews, would be the one we quote in supporting our "new traditions." Nevertheless, his writings are Scripture (2 Pet. 3:15-16). Before I try to present my view on women in the Church and their ministry, I need to address "the slippery slope." People think that if they give in on issue A, it will lead to issues B, C, etc. eventually being changed as well. Pro-abortionists believe if we succeed in prohibiting partial-birth abortion, eventually all abortion would be outlawed (as it should be - it is murder of a life God has created). Parents are reluctant to add time to their child's curfew for a "really good reason," because there are sure to be many more "really good reasons" in the future. I remember one church forbidding a woman from passing out bulletins because eventually, she would want to be a deacon - hard to believe, but true. The "slippery slope argument" should not be considered when deciding an issue. Each issue should be debated based upon its own merit.

In beginning to address a woman's place in the Body of Christ, one needs to begin with the day the Church began: Pentecost. In Acts 1:13-14, the eleven, the women, Mary, and the siblings of Jesus were together in the upper room. On the day of Pentecost, all the people who were about to become the Church were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the languages of those around them (Acts 2:1-12). When some thought they were drunk, Peter told them that the Spirit has been poured out on sons, daughters, men, women, servants, and handmaids whom the Scripture said would prophesy (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:13-18). To be continued.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I have often thought of heaven as being an eternal Garden of Eden, with the only differences being there will be no serpent and no tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent has been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10), and there will be no need of a tree of knowledge for "we shall know, even as we are known" (1 Cor. 13:12). Our experience will obviously be different than Adam's and Eve's, because we will be in our resurrected, glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:54; 1 Jn. 3:2). In the first "marriage," Adam and Eve were instructed to multiply (Gen. 1:28). The institution of marriage may not be necessary for there will be no more giving birth to children; angels do not reproduce (Matt. 22:29-30). I believe that the only marriage that is relevant is that of Christ and His bride (Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2, 9-14). It is my understanding that the population of heaven will never increase or decrease (Gen. 2:9; 3:22, 24; Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14).

God's instructions to Adam and Eve were to them as equals; Eve did not become subordinate to Adam until after she enticed him to eat of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:16). From that point in history until the time of Christ, women were treated as possessions rather than equals. But things began to change with Jesus. His genealogy, especially in Matthew's Gospel which was written to show Jesus as Israel's Messiah, included five women! And they were not upstanding members of society as one would expect in the lineage of royalty. T(h)amar was a deceiver (Gen. 38:6-30). Ra(c)hab was a harlot who was the mother of Booz or Boaz (cp. 1 Chron. 2:11 w/ Matt. 1:5). Ruth was a Gentile (Ruth 1:4). Bathsheba was an adulteress (cp. 2 Sam. 11:3-4 w/ Matt. 1:6). And Mary, the mother of Jesus, was thought to be an "unwed mother" (Matt. 1:18-25). And if mentioning these is not enough to show the Lord is no respecter of persons, male or female (Acts 10:34), the Gospels are replete with examples of women shown as supporters (Lk. 8:2-3), students (Lk. 10:39), and devote witnesses for Christ (Jn. 20:18). A Gentile woman was used as an example of great faith (Matt. 15:21-28). Anna is another great example (Lk. 2:36-38). From the very beginning of Matthew's Gospel, it is clear that there was something happening with regard to the status of women.

There are those who say that everything that occurred in the Gospels happened before the beginning of the Church at Pentecost, and that Church doctrine should not be based upon them. I would remind them that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, th(o)roughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). What I am about to say will probably get me placed on the "list of heretics" some of the brethren are fond of making, but it must be said. While all Scripture is truth and all Scripture is inspired of the Holy Spirit, not all Scripture is to be used to guide the behavior of His Church. Animal sacrifices, offering the life of one's first born, dietary restrictions, Sabbath worship, circumcision, etc. are not Christ's requirements for His Church. All of these examples are from Scripture, but none of them apply to the Church. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will try to explain further.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Have you ever wondered why Christians are so determined to hang on to life? I once heard a preacher say that all Christians want to go to heaven, but they never want to go now. Why not? What is so great about this world? Jesus told His disciples that "In the world ye shall have tribulation..." (Jn. 16:33). If we live our lives as Christians, the world hates us (Jn. 15:19-21; Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12). On top of that, Christians who have yet to become Christ-like (that's all of us folks - 1 Jn. 3:2) will receive chastisement from God as well (Heb. 12:6; Rev. 3:19). Perhaps the hardest to take of all is the betrayal we suffer from other Christians. The New Testament is filled with examples of Christians sinning against their brothers and sisters by judging them, lying to them, and even wanting to bring harm to them (Matt. 7:1-6; Acts 5:1-11; Phil. 1:15-16; etc.). I love that old song, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through. If heaven's not my home, then Lord what will I do? The angels beckon me from heaven's open door, and I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

And then there is the physical body. Whoever coined the phrase "the golden years" had to be talking about the age when seniors spend all their money (gold) on their poor health. Our old age is gold for the doctors, that's for sure. The last thing you should ever ask a senior citizen is, "How are you?" The next three hours of your short life will be spent listening to a litany of ailments and pains. And I love it when all the "experts" tell me that I need to exercise, to get out and do something. I can't jog due to bone spurs in my feet. My spine is almost fused due to "author." I can't sing a complete song due to my shortness of breath. I can't walk far due to congestive heart failure. Need I go on? Oh yeah, I forgot the cataracts that limit my driving. I think that's about everything. I would mention my lack of teeth, but there are always good ol' dentures on which one can count.

The good news is that when the Lord calls us home, we will have a new body (1 Cor. 15:35-57). Christ is now in His glorified body, and my favorite verse says that I will be just like Him (1 Jn. 3:2)! In heaven, there will be no need for doctors, or for that matter, "counselors" to tell us what we need to do about our weight and health. I have often told friends that I cannot wait until the Lord takes me home. The reaction is almost always the same: "You're kidding, right?" No, I am not kidding. Why would anyone want to live as a rusty, broken-down old Volkswagen, when their future existence will be like a shiny new limousine? It doesn't make sense.

I can only think of three reasons why a Christian would not want to go on to be with the Lord: they think this life is great while failing to compare it to eternal life with Christ; they fear because of doubts about the Word of God; they fear the actual experience of dying with the possible pain and suffering involved; or a combination of the three. I must admit that the process of dying is not all that appealing to me either, but as for trusting God's Word, and wanting to hold on to this "wonderful life," not so much. Paul said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). Can you honestly say that you prefer life as it is? If so, I cannot fathom how. As for me, the sooner, the better! Come Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Hebrews 12:1 says that Christians are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. The word "cloud" is from the Greek nephos which appears only once in the entire Bible. The Greek Lexicon defines nephos as "a large or thick cloud." The only other Greek word translated "cloud" (twenty-five times - nephele) is defined as "a small or thin cloud." It is strange that this is the only place the word is used, and it does not refer to an actual cloud. Chapter eleven presented a large list of faithful Old Testament people who now reside in heaven with Jesus (Paradise accompanied Jesus to heaven and Paradise, as a place, no longer exists - a study for another time). The context of 12:1 clearly refers to the preceding chapter due to the connecting "wherefore." This may be an indication that those in heaven can observe those who remain on Earth. I wonder how they feel about what they see.

The Word is clear that our God is not only all knowing, but He is omnipresent, or everywhere. Psalm 139:7-10 teaches that God is everywhere. Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us that God is where we are. Jesus told His disciples that wherever two or three are gathered in His name, He would be there with them (Matt. 18:20). We are surrounded by God, even to the point of Him dwelling within us (Jn. 14:17). For those who do not believe God is a Tri-unity (Trinity), the concept of Christ in heaven with the Father, while the Holy Spirit lives within believers must be troublesome. The fact that He is here, there, and everywhere at the same time is beyond human comprehension. In our thinking, He is either here, there, or everywhere, not all three. And yet, He is! I wonder how He feels about what He sees.

We are also being observed by the heavenly host of angels. Little children have angels that look out for them (Matt. 18:10). Christians are in the presence of "an innumerable company of angels" (Heb. 12:22). Not only are we surrounded by angels, we are being watched very closely by them (1 Pet. 1:12). And they apparently do more than watch, for there are many recorded occurrences in the Bible where angels visited mankind. And we are warned that we should show hospitality to strangers, because we never know whether our guest is a human being or an angel (Heb. 13:2). I wonder how they feel about what they see.

Not only are we surrounded by Old Testament witnesses, by God, and by angels, we are surrounded by the world of unbelievers. They also watch us to see if we "practice what we preach." Unfortunately, most of us "do not preach" and therefore are neither a good nor a bad testimony for Christ. Equally unfortunate is the fact that those of us who do witness for the Lord are battling our own sin nature (Rom. 7). We often fail to show a Christ-like life. We do not have to wonder what the world feels about what they see.

Monday, July 5, 2010


My handy-dandy Webster's informs me that the word "intercession" means "the act of interceding; mediation, pleading, or prayer on behalf of another or others." Christians make intercession for family and friends all the time. Before the teaching in Sunday school, we are asked if anyone has something to share for which they praise the Lord, or a prayer request. We often praise Him for past intercessions that were "successful" and almost always have a list of folks in mind who need prayer. Most importantly, we pray for those who have not placed their trust in Jesus Christ. I have often heard prayer requests for the salvation of an enemy or a problematic person. If I had "my wish," Osama Bin Laden would come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Like God, I do not want anyone would perish (2 Pet. 3:9).

The word implies that the person interceding believes several things. Among them, that the one in authority will listen, that the one in authority has the ability to meet the request, and that the final decision is yet to be determined.

As Christians, we have access to God. When the temple veil of partition separating man from God was rent from top to bottom, it signified that the death of Jesus Christ "opened the door into God's presence." And, lest we become proud, our access to God is totally by grace (Rom. 5:2). Our access to the Father is due to His Son's obedience, and His role as Mediator and Advocate (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Jn. 2:1).

As God, He has the ability to meet the need because He is all powerful (omnipotent - Gen. 17:1; Job 42:1-2; Jer. 32:17; Matt. 19:26; Rev. 19:6). As God, He knows what needs to be done to meet our requests because He is all knowing (omniscient - (Ps. 139:2; Isa. 40:26; 46:10; Rom. 11:23; Heb. 4:13). As God, He has the motivation to meet our request because He loves His creation (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 8:32; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Jn. 4:8, 16).

For the lost person, there is still hope. The final decision is yet to be determined. As long as a person is still living, the possibility exists that he or she can be saved. The Word says that, "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27). Notice that judgment comes after death; as long as there is still life, there is still hope. Christians are told to make intercession for all men (Gal. 6:10; 1 Tim. 2:1). We must do our part in reaching the lost, as well. How can they believe if no one tells them (Rom. 10:14-17)? Talking to God on their behalf is good, but talking to them is the other half of the equation.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I know there is no such thing as a perfect church, but I honestly believe the Lord has directed my wife and me to the closest thing this side of heaven. We celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its founding today, and I wish I had adequate words to describe it. Our founding pastor spoke about how the church got its start with only sixteen people, and how they met in a machine shop until they could eventually build a small building. If you have ever seen a machine shop, you know that there are metal shavings, and oil spots everywhere. Every week, someone would clean up the shop so that the teens could roll out the carpet and set up the chairs for Sunday's services.

The new building could seat about one hundred, and by the time my wife and I joined the fellowship in 1993, the average attendance was already about sixty, with an overflow crowd for special events. Sunday school space had already been made inadequate, and so we built a wing with several classrooms. Today, Sunday school classes meet in the machine shop, the home attached, the store building, the sanctuary, two in the balcony, and the rest are full. We need more room. Praise the Lord for such a wonderful problem!

We have hired two new "associate ministers" to help our pastor. He had been doing "it all" and was becoming overwhelmed with ministering to over two hundred, plus weddings, funerals, and counseling for the members and their extended families. I had about sixty when I pastored and it was enough to keep me very busy; I can't imagine trying to take care of such a large ministry.

We spent last year asking everyone to do their best at giving above and beyond their tithe, in order to pay the mortgage down and reduce our monthly payments. We paid over half of the mortgage off in one year, raising $200,000! Our pastor and his wife reduced their salary by about one thousand dollars a month in order to set an example, and to do as they felt the Lord directing. Not only is he a remarkable, dedicated servant of the Lord, he is the most biblically correct teacher I have had the privilege of following.

Today, we had a dinner with about three hundred (my guess) which included past members who returned to celebrate with us. We opened a time capsule and watched videos of our church when today's leadership was still in grade school. It was good to remember those of whom we are jealous because they are with Jesus. It was good to see the many who have been faithful for so many years; they are an inspiration. It was wonderful to eat from the table loaded with at least one hundred dishes of almost every kind of food. So many worked so hard to make the day a lasting memory.

One last thing that I am proud to say about our church. Last Wednesday, we had our annual business meeting with a new budget, several amendments to our church's constitution, and nominations for elders and deacons. The vote was unanimous on everything! How many churches can say that they have such harmony in the Spirit? Unfortunately, not many. We are so very blessed and thankful to God! Praise the Lord!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Imagine for a moment that you are an angel. You have spent your whole existence in the presence of the Creator of the Universe. Perhaps you are one of the Seraphim having six wings and although able to fly, you are humble in the presence of your Maker (Isa. 6:1-7). You might be the very one who cried, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" Or you might be the one God chose to carry the hot coal to purify the lips of the young Isaiah.

You might be one of the Cherubim assigned to guard the entrance gate to the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24). Then again, you could be one of those Cherubs that served as model for the sculpture of the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:18-20). If my understanding is correct, you have only two wings and are also close to the throne of God.

It is even possible that you could be Michael, the Archangel who seems to be the guardian of, and the messenger to the people of Israel (Can. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7). I am not sure that Gabriel is an Archangel, but the fact that he ministers to Daniel, Zacharias, and Mary, all Jews, leads me to believe he is (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Lk. 1:19, 26). Michael seems to be the warrior and Gabriel appears as a special messenger (special in that he is named while none of the other angelic messengers are).

God forbid that you would be one of the fallen angels or even Satan himself! If you are taking the time to read this, I am certain that your imagination would not make this choice. A discussion of Satan and his legions is a topic for a later date. Today, we want to focus upon "the good guys."

It is clear that if you are an angel, you are presently superior to man, because Jesus took on the form of man which is said to be lower than the angels (Phil. 2:5-8; Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:7, 9). And while you are either a messenger to, or a minister of Christians, you are still superior to us for now (Heb. 1:14). But I warn you, my angel friend, that one day you will be under the authority of man 1 Cor. 6:3). However, the saddest thing about you being an angel is that you do not understand the grace of God (1 Pet. 1:12). Man can be adopted as children of God, but as an angel, you were not created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore can not become His child. You can only be a spectator to the awesome majesty of God's relationship with those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior!

Aren't you glad that you are human? Your imagination might make it seem like a good idea to be superior to man, but it is only temporary, and as an angel, you could never be like Jesus. We will (1 Jn. 3:2)!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010


I can not begin to tell you how many times I have heard that Jesus died for my sins. We hear and sing about the "old rugged murder weapon" and the blood Jesus shed for us. Good preachers remind us that when Jesus shed His blood, it was another way of stating that He gave up His life for us. Israel understood that the person's life was in the blood (Lev. 17:11). We are reminded that His death fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the crucifixion, as were those He taught His disciples. I am not sure they understood it all because Peter was taken to task for arguing with Jesus about His pending death (Matt. 16:23).

A perfect example of His followers "missing the point" concerning His presence in the world were the two men who gave up hope and decided to return home to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-32). Jesus had been crucified. Their hope that He was the long-awaited Messiah had been dashed at Golgotha (v. 21). After Jesus joined them on their journey and they explained to Him why they were so distraught, Jesus said, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" He then told them all that Moses and the prophets had said concerning Him. Notice that He taught them from the Old Testament the things that would happen to Him.

It is important to be reminded of the Lord's death for us, and He even instituted the Lord's Supper to keep His people aware that His death was only part of the equation (1 Cor. 11:23-26). If He is going to return, then He is alive! The Apostle Paul spelled out what must be believed in order for someone to be born again. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, he says that Christ's death, burial, and resurrection occurred according to the Scriptures (the Old Testament prophecies concerning Him). Even unbelievers, for the most part, believe that a man named Jesus lived, and that He died. Their problem is that they do not believe that Jesus rose from the grave. Some even believe that His spirit is alive, but the Word teaches that He rose bodily, and that he appeared to many (1 Cor. 15:5-7). He ate with them, and cooked a meal for them (Jn. 21:12-14).

Yes, Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, that He was crucified for our sins, and that He arose from the grave as He predicted. But I am afraid that the significance of His resurrection is neglected when Christians tell others about Him. If Jesus had remained in His grave, absolutely no one would be saved from their sins. Paul wrote that it is His resurrection that provides us with saving faith. In 1 Corinthians 15:12-57, it is His resurrection that proves God has accepted His payment for the sins of the world. In fact, Paul said that if there were no such thing as a resurrection, then Jesus was a liar, and we are all still in our sins (vv. 12-17). So, not only does our salvation depend upon Christ's resurrection, our hope for eternity is totally based upon it as well. He is risen! Praise God!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


The use of the word "reverend" when speaking of a man has always bugged me! One has to wonder how the Christian community ever came to refer to ministers as "Reverend." According to my trusty Webster's Dictionary, the word "reverend" is defined "worthy of reverence; deserving to be revered." It is from the root "revere" which is defined "to fear; to feel awe; to venerate; to regard with deep respect." The word "venerate" is defined "to worship; reverence; love." It is easy to see how a word could be viewed as applicable to a person if it is taken on face value, but when one investigates the source of the word, it is certainly an inappropriate word for a man. It is true that a person who is called of God to serve as an ordained minister should be worthy of respect, but revered, I think not.

As a former pastor, I had studied for eight years to prepare myself for the ministry and although falling far short, I made every effort to live a Christ-like life. I believe that in the eyes of the congregation who hired me, I was worthy of respect, but to be revered, no way. I refused to let them call me "Reverend" because, even though the members were not aware of it, the term elevates a man to the stature of God. Those outside our church who wanted to aggravate me used to call me "Rev"; they got quite a kick out of my reaction. I always made it clear that the word is found only once in the entire Bible and it refers to the name of God (Ps. 111:9). They would just laugh and say "we are only pulling your leg" or words similar.

For those who did not read yesterday's post, it was entitled, R.E.S.P.E.C.T., and it explained how God and the world view worthiness of respect from totally different criteria. Great achievements, efforts, or sacrifices impress the world, but only humility seems to please the Lord. The congregation that hires a pastor looks at his credentials and decides whether or not they could respect him as their shepherd. Israel saw Saul as a mighty man due to his size and strength, but God used David to unite the nation and to slay a man far bigger and stronger that Saul. Abraham, Moses, David, John (the baptizer), and even Jesus were humble men. The Apostle Paul called himself an apostle because he was one; not that he deserved it for he knew how unworthy he was.

Genuine humility comes from the knowledge that everything in our life is a gift from God. The air we breathe, the food we eat, our family, our possessions, our health, and especially our salvation are all the result of the love of God for us. If I have an education, He gave me the ability to understand, to pay the tuition, and the opportunity to attend school. If I have a good job, or in these days any job at all, He makes it possible. If I have a family, dysfunctional or not, He has provided it. I think you get the picture. Whatever we are able to do, whatever we have, however strong our faith in Him, He has given it to us. Genuine humility recognizes that we are the work of His hands, and we should never think we are better, or superior to anyone else. When I see someone who appears less fortunate than I, I try to remember that "BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, THERE GO I!" Call no man reverend; only God Almighty is Reverend.