Thursday, September 30, 2010


I know what you are thinking; the Word tells Christians not to judge (Matt. 7:1; Rom. 2:1; 14:10, 13; 1 Cor. 4:5; Jam. 4:11-12). On the other hand, the Scriptures also teach us that Christians are to act as judges in this life, and in the life to come.

In this life, we are to judge the behavior of other believers and make every effort to get them to repent. Matthew 18:15-18, Jesus teaches His disciples the steps Christians are to take in correcting a brother or sister. You are to go to the person privately and try to persuade him to change the behavior (v. 15). Should he reject your counsel, then you are to take one or two others with you to try to reason with the offender (v: 16). I do not believe this is permitting us to gossip or to seek "reinforcements." I understand Jesus to be telling us that we are to have witnesses who observe our effort to persuade the person to repent. In other words, they watch you make a second effort to reason with the offender. They in turn, should the person still not repent of the offensive behavior, are to stand with you as you present your concerns to the entire assembly (v. 17). While individuals are encouraged by the Lord to warn the person, the responsibility for judging the person is that of the entire local church (v. 17-18).

The Apostle Paul clearly taught that the Church at Corinth was guilty of failing to judge the improper behavior of one of its members (1 Cor. 5:1-8). Not only had they failed to rebuke the offender, they actually saw his behavior as an example of the liberty of Christians, who are no longer bound by the Law (v. 2, 6). Paul, himself, did not hesitate to judge the behavior, as he literally sentenced the offender to physical death (v. 4-5). Even in this case, Paul desired that the individual would repent (2 Cor. 2:1-10). Paul also taught that Christians are to judge themselves as individuals who are accountable for their words and actions (1 Cor. 11:28-31). He even told them that they should judge him, and every teacher of God's Word (1 Cor. 10:15 - also see Acts 17:11).

In the life to come, when we have received the character of Jesus Christ, we will judge both men and angels (1 Jn. 3-2; 1 Cor. 6:2-3). Because we do not know whether or not a brother will repent or the lost will accept Christ later in life, we are not to condemn (write-off) others. The main difference between the judgment we are to exercise in this life, and that in the life to come, is here, we are to make the effort to produce repentance, and there, we will be condemning the lost and the fallen angels to eternal separation from God. Until I am like Jesus, I think I will stick to focusing my judging to that of judging myself. I will ask myself two questions, "What Would Jesus Do?" and "Is what I am about to do going to bring glory to God?" I can't go wrong with either, because they are really the same thought using different words.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010



If your answer to yesterday's question is yes, then what I am going to say applies to you. If you disagree with what I wrote yesterday, then I doubt that this will be of much concern to you.


The Apostle Paul, the Bible's most prolific writer on the subject of grace, said that believers should not continue to sin. He knew that the life of a Christian was a battle between our two natures, for he, himself, struggled to walk in the Spirit so that he would not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Rom. 7:1-8:4). Paul did not try to make excuses for his sin, but demanded of himself that which he wrote for all believers to read: depart from iniquity!


One reason it is important for a Christian to get victory over sin, is that our sin causes others to reject our testimony. The Word says that the redeemed of the Lord should say so (Ps. 107:2). But unbelievers who watch the behavior of those claiming to be a Christian, "knowing" how a Christian should speak and act, do not want the hear from those who don't practice what they preach. Even if their knowledge of the do's and don'ts of being a Christian is wrong, a believer should avoid those things others believe are inconsistent with our testimony (Rom. 14:13; 1 Cor. 8:1-13). If you think that smoking, drinking, flirting, dressing immodestly, cussing, etc. are acceptable for Christians to do, people who believe that those behaviors are wrong will have little or no respect for what you have to say. If you love God, win souls!

"...THEY...BY YOUR GOOD WORKS...GLORIFY GOD..." (1 Pet. 2:12)

Another reason to avoid behaviors that are viewed as inconsistent with being a Christian is that what we do should produce praise for God (Matt. 5:16; Jn. 15:8). Can you imagine someone seeing you smoking, or drinking, etc., and saying, "Praise God?" And even when an unbeliever challenges a Christian's actions, the believer will usually spend a great deal of time "explaining" why the person is wrong. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin; the flesh defends itself. Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16)!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The word "saved," used to describe one's standing with Almighty God, apparently needs to be defined, because many who profess to be Christians, who call themselves "saved," are as lost as Judas. When we think of the term "saved," several things should come to mind, but the term is bantered about so freely that few of us consider what the term implies. First of all, when folks are "saved," they are not lost or destroyed. Second, the term suggests that they have been "saved" from something and/or for something. It means they have value to the One making the effort to preserve them. Third, and by all means the most important, it implies that the ones being saved are unable to save themselves, and that there is Someone willing and able to "save" them.

The greatest obstacle to a person being saved is the belief that he can do something, and/or avoid doing something, to rescue himself. The question most asked is, "What must I do to be saved? (Mk. 10:17, 25; Lk. 18:18; Jn. 6:28; Acts. 16:30). The answer in every case is "believe what the Word of God says (Rom. 10:9-10, 13, 17). Christians are "saved" by putting their trust in God, Who loved them enough to give His Son as an offering for their sin (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8). The Gospel or "good news," is that God has provided the means to salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4). It is our faith in what the Gospel tells us that saves us, for the Gospel is the "power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). But before someone reading this thinks that by believing, they are somehow good enough or worthy to be "saved," the very faith that it takes to believe in the love of God demonstrated by the finished work of Christ on our behalf, is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9).

Churches that teach salvation requires works and/or holiness to be "saved," are no different than the cults that offer a false gospel; they are betraying the very God they profess to serve. The Apostle Paul declared that churches which teach "another gospel" should be accursed (Gal. 1:6-9). Those who add works and legalism to the "requirements for salvation," betray not only Christ, but their own family and friends. By altering the Gospel, they, being "lost" themselves, prevent others from being "saved" (Matt. 15:14). Paul wrote that from the very beginning of the Church, there were those used of Satan, who tried to alter the Gospel. He had this to say: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been openly set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, 'Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?'" (Gal. 3:1-3). I ask you, have you believed in the finished work of Christ on your behalf as the means by which God has saved you, or are you foolish enough to believe that you, living a religious life, are worthy of salvation? Are you "saved?"

Monday, September 27, 2010


Hope, my granddaughter-in-law, was baptized yesterday, and although I could not be there, reports say there was much rejoicing over the blessed event. When I asked Hope why she was being baptized again since she was raised as a pastor's daughter, she said that she kept feeling like the Lord wanted her to do it. So out of obedience to the Lord's will, she "took the plunge." I am not sure what others think about her action, but I see it as a public statement that Jesus is her Lord, and she desires to please Him. Praise God!

I have been baptized four times: as an infant (1942), as a conditional baptism at eighteen when I became a practicing Catholic (1960), as a born-again believer desiring to get a Church of Christ member off my back (1971), and as an act of obedience and public testimony of my faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of my life (1971). Since then, I have discovered that there is an apparent contradiction in the Scriptures concerning the number of baptisms. In Ephesians 4:5, the Word says there is only one baptism. And yet, there is a baptism into Christ's death (Matt. 20:22; 26:27-28; 26:39; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12; etc.); John's baptism of repentance (Mk. 1:4; Lk. 3:3; Acts 1:22; 10:37; 13:24; 18:25; 19:3; etc.); and the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5; 2:38). Because the Word is perfect, there can be no contradictions, so what is the explanation?

For me, the answer is found in the context of Ephesians 4:4-6. Ephesians is a letter that is focused upon the Church as Christ's body. In chapter four, Paul begins by requesting his readers live in humility and unity, based upon the fact that Christians need one another. The foundation for unity is seven fold: one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. According to the passages I referenced above, the one baptism involves several factors. It is the work of the Holy Spirit Who places us into Christ's death, burial, and resurrection at the moment of our regeneration (Jn. 3:5-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-13). It is the result of the Spirit's conviction and our acceptance of the gift of faith to believe in Jesus (Jn. 16:7-11; Eph. 2:8-9). Public baptism in water is not what is being discussed; it is simply a testimony of what has already taken place the instant we were saved. And, John's baptism had nothing to do with the Church; John was calling Jews to repentance, and what he did was a ceremonial washing symbolizing the cleansing of the soul motivated by repentance of sin (Heb. 9:10).

So, while Hope and I have been baptized with water more than once, the one baptism we are counting on is the baptism of the Holy Spirit into Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. Most church members have been baptized in water, but unfortunately, not all of them have been baptized into Christ. If you have never trusted in the finished work of Christ on your behalf, you have not been baptized into Christ. You can change that the moment you place your faith in Him.


Sunday, September 26, 2010


Jesus answered, and said unto them, 'This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent'" (Jn. 6:29). "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9). It is God's will that everyone accepts His resurrected Son as their own personal Lord. I have spoken of the importance of the resurrection before, and it can be summed up in a single verse: "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins" (1 Cor. 15:17). The resurrection of Jesus is so essential to salvation, God made sure all would get the message. Here are just a few examples:

Acts 10:40 - "Him God raised up the third day, and shewed Him openly."

Acts 17:31 - "... He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead."

Rom. 4:24 - "But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead."

Rom. 8:11 - "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you."

1 Cor. 6:14 - "And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power."

2 Cor. 4:14 - "Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you."

Gal. 1:1 - "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead."

Eph. 1:20 - "Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places."

Col. 2:12 - "Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead."

1 Thes. 1:10 - "And to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

Heb. 13:20 - "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus...."

1 Pet. 1:21 - "Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


On several occasions as a Christian, I have heard someone say they believe in "the Gospel Foursquare." I always have assumed it was a way for Pentecostals to let me know I needed to speak in tongues. And while I believe in the gifts of the Spirit (I am a Charismatic), I am not a Pentecostal, and I really never gave it a lot of thought. In looking it up on the internet, I have discovered that it is a denomination which was founded in 1929 by Aimee Semple McPherson. I would have never guessed that because those using the term never mentioned her or that it was a denomination. Their church is called the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and it is based upon the four roles of Jesus as Savior, Baptizer (in the Holy Spirit), Healer, and soon coming King. If it were up to me, I would preach the foursquare Gospel, but I would have a different four.

The Church is to proclaim the Gospel beginning at Jerusalem and taking it to the "uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Jesus never mentioned the Gospel consisted of four parts, but in my study, I have discovered four things that make up the Good News: Remission, Resurrection, Repentance, and Response.

Remission - The word means the forgiveness of sins. It is based upon the finished work of Jesus on the cross on behalf of mankind. He is our propitiation for our sins; He reconciled all of humanity and God by removing the obstacle that prevented God from having fellowship with humanity (Rom. 3:25; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10; 2 Cor. 5:19; Jn. 1:11-12). He paid the penalty of death for the sin of the whole world; all man has to do is believe that (Rom. 10:8-17; Eph. 2:8-9). Our sins are remitted.

Resurrection - We are told that the Gospel consists of Christ dying, Christ being buried, and Christ rising from the grave on our behalf, according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4). His resurrection was witnessed by hundreds (1 Cor. 15:5-11). If He did not rise from the grave, then we are still separated from God by our sin and there is no hope for humanity (1 Cor. 15:12-22). Christ is risen.

Repentance - Repentance simply means "to turn around." It is as though we are walking away from God, and we hear His voice calling us by name, and we turn and start walking toward Him. Christ has done all the work on our behalf, and we simply need to trust Him and repentance is the natural response (It is acknowledging Him as our Lord, and surrendering to His will - Lk. 24:47; Rom. 10:8-9; Eph. 2:10). We are to repent.

Response - In addition to repentance, there is another response to Christ that needs to be preached. It is the response of worship and gratitude for what He has done for us. Matthew wrote of a woman who, realizing that Jesus was going to die for her, humbled herself and anointed His for His burial. Her act of love and sacrifice (the ointment was very valuable) so pleased the Lord, that He commanded that, in addition to the Gospel, her actions "shall be preached in the whole world" (Matt. 26:7-13). The proper response to the finished work of Christ on our behalf is to turn to God out of gratitude!

Friday, September 24, 2010


Christians have been martyred throughout the history of the Church. Beginning with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, believers are still dying for their faith all over the world. What you do not hear in the reports of these atrocities is any reference to martyrs defending themselves. Whether it is a deliberate omission of the facts, or an accurate description of the event, there is no mention of Christians acting in self-defense. However, as the time of the antichrist rapidly approaches with his take-over of our country, many Christians are stockpiling weapons, food, and other supplies for the purpose of resisting him.

I have mixed feelings about this trend. On the one hand, Jesus told His disciples to turn the other cheek when struck, give to those demanding something of you more than they ask, and go the extra mile when ordered to do so by an oppressive authority (Matt. 5:39-41). On the other hand, Jesus told His disciples to buy a sword if they didn't have one in Luke 22:36, and Paul, in 1 Timothy 5:8, taught that a man should provide for his family (as far as I am concerned, I believe that includes protection). How can these two opposing views be reconciled? Is there and explanation for the difference in teaching?

I believe that both perspectives are valid, and that each can be explained by looking at what the Word has to say to Christians. In all the examples where the Christian is told "to go the extra mile," the instruction is given to the individual. When the abuse or unreasonable demand is made of us alone, we are to respond in a passive and submissive way. However, none of the examples say to allow someone to abuse others. In the two cases where someone might accuse Jesus of encouraging violence, both have to do with defending someone else. When Jesus turned over the money-changers' tables in the temple courtyard, He was defending the sanctity of His Father's house (Jn. 2:14-17). While it does not specifically say that He struck them with the scourge, the passage clearly implies He used it to drive them out of the temple.

In the other example, when Jesus told His disciples to buy a sword, He clearly intended to use the sword to teach them a very important principle. Jesus had told them He would be betrayed and taken by force (Matt. 16:21; 26:21). When He first told them, Peter declared he would not allow it to happen, for which he was severely rebuked (Matt. 16:22-23). Knowing Peter's tendency to react without thinking, He had him buy a sword (Lk. 22:36). Sure enough, true to form, Peter demonstrated him ineptness by missing the man and only cutting off his ear (Jn. 18:10). Jesus used the occasion to teach His disciples that they were not to live by the sword, but were to willingly give up their lives for Him on their "own cross" (Matt. 16:24-25; 26:51-52).

So, was Jesus teaching them not to use a sword to defend others? No! By telling them to carry one, He was saying that they needed to be able to defend others, but He was not telling them to defend themselves. A sword is a weapon; we need to own one; but the weapon is for defending others; surrendering to "our cross" clearly teaches us that the sword is not for self-defense.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


It seems to me that Israel would be particularly nervous during the feast called the Day of Atonement (Yom Kaphar), not just because the Muslim nations have a history of attacking them on the feast days, but because it is the day Jews are to show remorse and ask God for forgiveness of their sins. It is one of the seven feasts of Israel established by God (Lev. 16:1-34; 23:26-32). The Word of God instructs His people to "afflict your souls," a phrase which pictures great remorse and a repentant attitude (Lev. 16:29, 31; 23:27, 29, 32). One must wonder what angst they experience each year that there is no temple.

It was upon this day, once a year, that the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies with a blood offering for the sins of the people and for his own sins (Heb. 9:7). Entering through the massive curtain was so dangerous that the High Priest carried a censer giving off a great amount of smoke to cover the "Mercy Seat," the top of the Ark of the Covenant. Should he see God, he would die (Ex. 19:21; 33:20; Jn. 1:18; 1 Jn. 4:12; Lev. 16:12-13). The "Mercy Seat" was where God would manifest Himself, so the cloud kept the High Priest from seeing Him (Ex. 25:22; Lev. 16:2).

There is a tradition that says the High Priest's garments had bells on the fringes so that, should he die, those outside the veil could pull his dead body out using a rope placed upon his leg as a precaution. There are a couple of problems with this "teaching." For one, the High Priest's garments are described with no mention of a fringe or bells (Lev. 16:4). There is no mention of a rope used for this purpose anywhere in the Bible, and even if they had done this, there would be no one outside the veil to pull him out (Lev. 16:17). While there is no evidence to support this myth, nevertheless, it shows how seriously believers view the dangers of approaching God in a way other than His way. Remember John 14:6!

I believe the Feast of Trumpets, which was celebrated September 10, 2010, uses the plural for trumpets because there are two different trumpets pictured in this feast. One is to call Israel to assemble, and the other is the trump of God which calls the Church up to meet the Lord in the air (Num. 10:1-4; 1 Thes. 4:16). Since the Church is still here, and all of Israel has not assembled in the land, either I am misinterpreting the meaning of the two Feasts, or it is not yet the year God calls to the Christian and the Jew. Then again, perhaps our calendar is off. Either way, it is a good day to repent and begin serving the God Who gave His Son for mankind's sin. Christ has atoned for all who will believe (Rom. 5:11).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


For the entire forty years I have been a Christian, I have heard both Jews and Christians say, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." And because it says that very thing in the Word of God, I have accepted the call for prayer as my duty. Not only have I prayed for Jerusalem because I believed God wanted me to, I also did so because I wanted to be blessed. God promised to reward those who pray for it in the rest of the verse which says, "they shall prosper who love thee" (Ps. 122:6). In a country where being prosperous is given more attention than being obedient to God, praying for the peace of a city seems like the natural thing to do.

But lately, I have begun to think about the admonition as being inconsistent with the rest of God's Word. From my study of Bible Prophecy, I have come to understand that Jerusalem will not live in peace until the seven-year peace treaty signed between Israel and the antichrist, which he breaks half way through it (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:4-21; Rev. 6-19, esp. 11:3; 12:14; and 13:5). With the exception of the false peace lasting only three and one half years, the city will be trodden down by the Gentiles (Lk. 21:24). True peace follows the Tribulation when Jesus returns to establish His kingdom (Matt. 25:1-46; Rev. 19:11-20:6). It will be interrupted for "a little season" when Satan is loosed to make war on God's people (Rev. 20:3, 7-9).

The obvious question then, is why does the Psalm tell the readers to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? The answer is found in the context of the verse. Quoting The New Scofield Reference Bible, "Fifteen Psalms (Ps. 120-134) are called 'Songs of Ascents,' 'ascents' being the correct rendering of the word 'degrees.' The view most generally accepted is that these Psalms were either sung by pilgrims on the ascending march from Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem, or that they were sung by worshipers from all parts of Palestine as they went up to Jerusalem for the great festivals (Deut. 16:16)...." Israel was unaware of the gap in time between their being released from Babylon and the coming of their Messiah to establish His kingdom (Mk. 4:11; Rom. 11:25; 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:7-8; Eph. 3;3-9; etc.). In praying for the peace of Jerusalem, they envisioned the Messianic kingdom as the next event on God's time-table. By praying for the peace of Jerusalem, they were praying for their Messiah to come.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is a lot like praying to have a child; in order to arrive at the end goal, there is much suffering that must be experienced first. Jesus compared it to the pain of giving birth (Matt. 24:8; Jn. 16:21; 1 Thes. 5:3; Rev. 12:2). Yes, I believe we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but in doing so, we must realize we are also praying for the world to suffer like it has never suffered before. It is like Jesus wanting to redeem mankind, all the while knowing that there must be a cross before there is a crown. When the Church prays "Maranatha," we should also pray for those who must face the Great Tribulation first. Peace always comes at a price.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


According to Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the word, "commandment" is used 118 times in the Old Testament. These do not include synonymous words such as "statutes," "ordinances," "laws," etc. Vine's doesn't even mention that it is found in the New Testament, where it appears thirty times! I do not recommend Vine's for many reasons, but it is neither expository nor complete. Vine's does not even define the word! Nevertheless, Vine's is all I have so I am stuck with it.

Webster defines "commandment" as "an authoritative command or order; mandate; precept; specifically any of the Ten Commandments." While the first part of the definition is accurate, there are commandments in the Word long before the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. Abraham was praised by God in Genesis 26:5, where He says, "Because that Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and my laws." According to what I have been taught over forty years, the Old Testament contains 613 laws, or commands; I have not counted them, but that sounds reasonable. It is my belief that the Ten Commandments cover all of God's will for His people, and that the other 603 fit within "The Ten." It is as though God gave Moses "an outline" of all of His "Rules" and then, over time, gave Israel the details.

Jesus had a few things to say which may clarify our understanding of the commandments of God: 1). There are varying levels of significance among the "613" (Matt. 5:19). 2). Both Jesus and the Father had commandments, and I am absolutely certain that they did not contradict each other (Jn. 3:34; 14:10; 15:10; 17:8). 3). There are false commandments made up to subjugate the people of God (Matt. 15:1-9). 4). The commandments from the Law and the Prophets (a way of saying all of the Old Testament) can be summed up in just two commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40).

Christians are not bound by the 613 laws of Israel (Gal. 3:23-25). Christians have really only one commandment: "Love they neighbor as thyself" (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). This is nothing new, for the Father had said the same thing to Israel in Leviticus 19:18. Christians are to judge their own thoughts, words, and actions by whether or not they are expressions of love; if not, they are sin! We have only one, but even it makes us aware that we needed a Savior. Thanks be to God for sending His Son that you and I might have eternal life. Loving God is easy.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Ever since Darby popularized Dispensationalism, the Church appears to have become totally focused upon the Church Age as the Age of Grace, with little or no emphasis upon obedience to the Commandments of God. It is as though Christians have come to believe God does not expect them to obey His Commandments; that they were given to Moses, and were the heart of the dispensation of Israel. After all, it is called the Dispensation of the Law. However, serious Bible students understand that God's will for mankind was that we would be like Him (Gen. 1:26-27). God is Holy, and in order for man to be like Him, man must also be holy. When Adam sinned, he no longer shared the glory of God; he failed to be like Jesus (Jn. 17:5; Rom. 3:23). From that time on, God began telling man what to do in order to be like Him, and correcting him when he failed. And boy, did he fail! Eventually, the entire Law was codified by Moses, but God commanded holiness of those who believed in Him long before there was an Israel. Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc. were considered righteous by God because they believed in Him. We know they trusted Him because they did what He commanded them to do.

Being considered righteous by God does not mean a person is holy, however, because righteousness is a right-standing with God in the present. Past sins, while covered by the blood of a sacrifice, still require one's death (Rom. 6:23a; Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). When a Jew sinned, an animal was sacrificed to cover his sin. In addition, once a year, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies to offer a blood sacrifice for his and his people's sins (Heb. 9:7). This was a picture of what Christ would do for us, once and for all, on the cross of Calvary (Heb. 9:12). Christians are considered righteous when their sins are confessed, but that does not make us holy (1 Jn. 1:9; Rev. 15:4). Our being holy will only happen when we become like Jesus (1Jn. 3:2). Until then, when God says for us to be holy as He is holy, He is speaking of our position in Christ (Rom. 3:24; 6:3; 8:1, 39; 12:5; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rev. 20:6; etc.).

So if Christians are saved by faith in the finished work of Christ's death on the cross for us, why do we need to know and obey the commandments of God? Paul wrote it this way: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31). By acknowledging our need of a Savior, and trusting in Him because we are unable to live according to the Law, we are declaring that the Law of God is holy. Paul continued his call to obedience to God's Law by saying, "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid" (Rom. 6:16). The Law serves two purposes: it shows us the will of God for our lives, and it shows us that we need a Savior (Col. 4:12; 1 Pet. 4:2; Gal. 3:24).

When Christians obey the Commandments of God, they are acknowledging God's authority over them. The word "command" carries with it a recognition of the authority of the one instructing someone under his command. When we obey His Commandments, we declare Him to be our God, and show Him our desire to please Him. When we don't, the world is quick to call us hypocrites.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


A. Authority: For the born-again Christian, discussions on what God desires for His children to do, and not to do, should be based upon what His Word says about the subject. As with all topics in question, one should consult the entire Bible to find what it says about a subject, rather than finding a single verse that supports Church traditions or one's own personal view (Isa. 28:10).

L. Liberty: Born-again Christians are not bound by the Law of Moses, but are to live in the liberty given to us by Christ (Gal. 5:1). However, we are still accountable to God for obedience to a higher law: the law of love (1 Cor. 8:9; 10:28-33).

C. Community: The word "community" implies there are members within and those outside of the group being discussed. In every community of which one is a member, there are specific behavioral standards of accepted conduct. Behavior which is accepted by the community is encouraged, while that which is considered wrong is an offense to one's brethren (1 Cor. 10:28-33).

O. Obvious problems arise when one consumes alcohol. It perverts one's judgment which is saying it makes a person vulnerable to poor behavioral choices (Prov. 20:1; 31:4).

H. Holiness is the standard for born-again believers (1 Pet. 1:16). Being under the influence of alcohol is incompatible with being filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:15).

O. Obedience to God's will concerning our behavior is how a born-again Christian shows his love and gratitude to the One Who loved him and sent His Son to die for him (Eph. 5:2). And because a man is less likely to be aware that he getting drunk with each drink, it is unwise to take the first one; God does not want His children drunk (Rom. 13:13; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:10; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:18).

L. Lord! Jesus is either our Lord or He is not. We either want to walk soberly in the Holy Spirit, or we want to "do our own thing" because "we can." It seems to me that since unbelievers think Christians are not supposed to drink, to do so would support what most unbelievers call Christians: hypocrites. If our calling is to be the "salt" that preserves truth, and "light" that points the lost to that truth, why on Earth would a Christian think it is okay to drink alcohol?

I am an alcoholic. I no longer drink any form of alcohol because I found that I was unable stop before I was drunk. I have family members (my gene pool) who believe a Christian can have one or two drinks. I agree with them, but like me, they do not seem to be able to stop with one or two. They have the concept of Christian liberty right, but fail to recognize the weakness of the flesh. And like all alcoholics I have known, their favorite line is "I can stop anytime I want to." My question is, why don't they want to? A.L.C.O.H.O.L. kills one's judgment, and one's witness for Christ!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I received an e-mail today from an old friend and brother in Christ. He was asking for prayer for his wife and him, and as a bonus, sent a copy of an article he wrote about the "Pre-Rapture Coming of Christ." I must admit I didn't get the thought he was trying to express, because as most of us do from time to time, I simply misunderstood the wording. I believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, meaning that Jesus will come for His Church prior to the seven year Tribulation. I have previously written several posts to present what the Word of God says about the event, so I will refer you to them if you need to be convinced. Jim's wording needed a closer look, and I thank God for my eventual understanding of what he was saying. He was referring to the time when Jesus comes into each individual's life and "knocks at the door of his heart" (an often used interpretation of Rev. 3:20). But because Bible students think of His Second Coming as when He returns to rescue Israel and establish His one thousand year Kingdom, it is strange to think of something in between His Incarnation as the Lamb of God two thousand years ago, and His future return as King of kings and Lord of lords, as another "Coming." So, what on Earth are Jim and I saying?

Well, everyone who believes in Jesus is aware that He came the first time to save the lost (Lk. 19:10). Jim suggests, and I agree, that Jesus comes to individuals, not in a physical sense as He does at the First Coming and the Second Coming, but in the form of the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9). He is still seeking to save the lost, thank God! So then, we have His Incarnation (Jn. 3:16), His Coming to individuals spiritually (Rev. 3;20), His coming in the clouds to take His Church out of the world before the wrath of God is poured out upon it (1 Thes. 4:13-18; 5:9), and His Second Coming to establish God's Kingdom on Earth (Rev. 19:11-21).

Jim's point makes a lot of sense, but there is an obvious problem: Christ's Incarnation is known as His First Coming or Advent, and His return to establish His Kingdom is known as His Second Coming or Advent. The Church is confused enough because of the fact that the majority of Christians know little to nothing about the Word of God. Due to that fact, I am not sure how many of my small number of readers will understand any of what I have already said. When I suggest that there are four "Comings," even I, as a Bible College and Seminary graduate, have to stop and think about what is being said. So when I say that perhaps for clarity sake we think of His Incarnation as "One;" we call His appeal to individual heart "One A"; we call the Rapture "One B"; and we call His permanent return, His Second Coming, "Two"; I probably have lost my last reader. If you stop and think about it, "One," "One A," and "One B" all have to do with the Church, while "Two" refers to the Earthly Kingdom promised to the nation Israel.

For you regular readers, I apologize for the confusion I am sure I have caused some of you; think of it as just one of those days when I have lost my mind, and tune in tomorrow; I may have recovered. Until then....

Friday, September 17, 2010


There is no consensus on how long the average white male lives in America today, but sources on the internet suggest a range from seventy-two to seventy-seven. Since I turned sixty-eight yesterday, I probably will not live to see my great grandchildren graduate from elementary school. Alex, the oldest of four, will be two in December. And because of a medical history that includes obesity, congestive heart failure, and blood clots in my lungs, it is probably unlikely that I will make it to the average age. I have had heart problems for many years, and have made arrangements to donate my body to the University of Louisville Medical School. I have also taken the time to inform my daughters and their husbands about my life insurance policy and paperwork needed for the Navy and the Social Security Administration. I see myself as a realist, but they all think I am morbidly nuts. The common joke is "He's been talking about his pending death for years!" Because I have had such serious health problems, I am not trying to be morbid or melodramatic, I just care about leaving my wife and children prepared. Besides, it is my mother's fault. She is the one who taught me to pray, "Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take." Even the theology of that little prayer is wrong. If Jesus is really my Lord, I don't need to ask Him to take my soul when I die; He already has it!"

Looking back on my life, I am amazed that such an excellent athlete could become so feeble that he can't stand and sing an entire song in church. The years have traded weakness for strength. The Word of God teaches that I am finally where God wanted me all the time. He said, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor 12:9). John said, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30). Today, I am clearly aware that whatever I am able to accomplish physically, is by the grace of God.

People say that "hindsight is 20/20." Most, if not all of us, would do things differently if we knew the consequences of our actions. But looking back at the disaster I made of my life with alcohol, violence, and pride, I still would not change a thing. Had I not experienced life as it was handed to me, I would have probably never met my wife. I would have never had a Navy pension. I would never have learned by making foolish mistakes. Instead, I could brag on how wise I was and because of my arrogant pride, never become aware of my need for a Savior. I regret causing pain and suffering to so many, but had I been a "good guy," I would not have realized that "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10).

Regardless of how many hours, days, months, or years I have left, I will spend them praising the God Who created me, Who died for me, and Who has given me faith to trust in Him. I am decreasing, but I can assure you, in my mind and heart, He is continually increasing. To God be the glory, Amen.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Facebook is amazing! People I haven't seen or heard from in years have taken the time to send me birthday greetings. What is even more amazing at my age, is that I remember every one of them with fondness, even smiling to myself as I read their messages. If only I could get them all to read my blog.

I was born during the Second World War in St. Louis, Missouri, to a military father and a stay at home mother. The fact that I was able to spend so much time with her is such a blessing to me because after only six years, my dad took me from her, and I did not see her again until I was in my twenties. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to visit her three times before she died in 1995. Ironically, I think that is about the same number of times I saw my dad after I joined the Navy on my seventeenth birthday.

I have been blessed to have grown up in the greatest country on Earth. I do not take for granted the fact that our nation has had the "hand of God" on it my whole life. We are so blessed! I really don't know how I made it as a teenager living in an uninsulated, unfinished attic without air conditioning, but obviously I did. Just the other day, I called the cable company to upgrade our cable. She asked how many TV's we had, and I am embarrassed to say that we have four. There are only two of us, and we have four TV's! I have been thinking about the billions in the world who barely have enough to eat, and are in constant fear of being killed, and I wonder why God has been so gracious to us. Our three daughters, eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and assorted in-laws all live in air conditioned homes and have enough to eat. Most of them have jobs, and all of them are relatively healthy. Even my wife of forty-eight years and I, though feeling the ware and tare of living into our sixties, are relatively healthy and have free medical care for those "little irritants" that arise from time to time. We are so blessed!

Even though today is recognized as my birthday on my driver's license, in actuality, I have two birthdays. I was born physically on this date in 1942, but I also was born (again) on January 31, 1971. There is an old saying that I like very much: a man born once, dies twice, but a man born twice dies only once! When a man trusts in Jesus Christ, he is born again spiritually (Jn. 3:3-8). As a result, he only dies a physical death. However, if he never trusted in Christ and he has had only a physical birth, he must therefore die twice; he will die physically, and he will also suffer a second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). I am so blessed to have been born in America, but that blessing is nothing compared to the blessing I have waiting when I spend eternity with the One Who paid the penalty for my sins! America is great, but the presence of almighty God is great beyond my comprehension. I thank God for both of my births; they are gifts from Him (Eph. 2:8-9).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have heard many attempts at defining "righteousness," but none of them seems adequate to explain what it means. Before Satan got Adam to "take a bite out of life," Adam had fellowship, a right standing, with his Creator. After he sinned, Adam and Eve hid from God, which indicates to me that they no longer had a right standing with God. God had told Adam that if he ate the forbidden fruit, he would die that very day (Gen. 2:17). Since he lived hundreds of years before his physical death, the death spoken of by God had to be spiritual death (Gen. 5:5). A right standing with God, that is, fellowship with God, seems to help define "righteousness."

Paul wrote, "...the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord." (Rom. 6:23). Spiritual death is man's condition at the moment he sins, and in order to be born again spiritually, he has to receive Christ and the gift of eternal life that is found only in Him. Jesus explained to Nicodemus that he needed to be born again spiritually (Jn. 3:1-8). In other words, because of Nicodemus' sin, he was spiritually dead. Physically, he was alive, but spiritually, he was dead. In order for him to have a right standing with God, he had to be born again spiritually. Being born again seems to help define "righteousness."

Based upon what God's Word says about Abraham, righteousness comes by faith in God (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23). Abraham believed God's revelation to him. He didn't know about Jesus death for his sins, because that was still a mystery (Eph. 3:4-5). He simply trusted God, and God gave him the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17). Because we have the benefit of knowing that Jesus shed His blood for our sins, faith for us includes believing the expression of God's love toward us in the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:3-4). The Word explains that a person's life is in the blood, so when it says Jesus shed His blood for us, what it means is that He gave His life for us (Lev. 17:11). We know that without His death, there would be no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22). The Gospel is that we have remission of our sins by faith in Christ, and that belief produces repentance (Lk. 24:47). First John, written to Christians, indicates that born again Christians who sin are unrighteous, because when we confess our sins to God, He restores us to fellowship with Him by cleansing us of all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). Because being born again does not necessarily mean that we are righteous all of the time, being born again can not totally define "righteousness."

Because we know righteousness is a gift, and therefore grace, we know it is totally dependent upon God Who is our righteousness; we are not righteous of ourselves, but we are in Christ (Rom. 3:22;5:17; Phil. 3:9; Jer. 23:6; 33:16). I get the distinct impression that being righteousness is the same as being holy. And since we are not yet like Christ, we must wait for that glorious day when we shall be like Christ: Holy, and righteous (1 Jn. 3:2). Until that day, I will praise God for His righteousness!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I heard an interesting sermon today by Charles Stanley. He asked a question, "Which of these passages of Scripture do you think shows Jesus being the most spiritual?" I do not remember all of the four he mentioned, but it really doesn't matter; any four will do. Let's compare His walking on the sea (Matt. 14:25), His raising Lazarus (Jn. 11:43), His dying on the cross (Lk. 23:46), and His spitting to make clay (Jn. 9:6); which do you think shows Him to be the most spiritual? The answer is, they are all equal. Jesus was just as spiritual when he spat as when He offered Himself as our sacrifice for sin. Everything that Jesus said and did was in obedience to the will of the Father. Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father Who hath sent Me" (Jn. 5:30). "It is the Spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life" (Jn. 6:63). "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" (Jn. 14:10).

I believe that everything we think, say, and do needs to be the work of the Holy Spirit in us, or it is sin. The Spirit's job is to guide a Christian's thoughts, words, and actions. The Holy Spirit dwells within the believer (Jn. 14:17). The Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of Christ's words and the Father's will (Jn. 14:26; 16:13-15). The Holy Spirit empowers the believer to be witnesses for Christ in both word and in deed (Acts 1:8; Col. 3:17). Paul wrote that the Christian should walk (go through life) in the power and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:1, 4; Gal. 5:16, 25). When the world, our flesh, or Satan is influencing our thoughts, words, and actions, the Holy Spirit isn't. The world and its systems are our enemies (Jn. 5:18-19). Christians are in a constant battle with themselves (Rom. 7:23). And the Devil loves nothing more than to get mankind to sin (Gen. 3:1-6; Job 1:12; 2:6; Matt. 4:1-11; 1 Pet. 5:8). What is sin?

There are two kinds of sin: doing what one knows is not God's will, and not doing what one knows is His will. If you are not absolutely certain that your thoughts, words, and actions are pleasing unto God, then they are sin (Rom. 14:23). When you do know what the Lord desires of you, and you refuse to act, that is also sin (Jam. 4:17). The Holy Spirit reminds the believer what God's Word says, and it is up to us to respond in obedience. Unfortunately, our minds are so distracted that it is difficult for us to hear what the Spirit is saying to us. Have you ever been in prayer, reading your Bible, or listening to a sermon and found yourself thinking about what is on television, or what you are going to have for diner? God speaks in a still, small voice, and if we want to hear Him, we need to quiet our minds (1 Kgs. 19:12). How can we be led of God's Spirit if we can not hear Him speaking to us? "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10)!

Monday, September 13, 2010


I enjoy "competing" while watching the television shows which require knowledge. Depending upon the category, I am amazed at how much knowledge I have retained since going to school. And at my age, it is comforting to know that "half-timers" has not entered the picture. Of course, some categories get me every time. They are there to keep me humble. What I have discovered watching those shows is that most people are very knowledgeable about a few things, but everyone lacks knowledge in other areas. An appropriate Bible verse says, "... now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Cor. 13:12).

I own a copy of The Great Pyramid Decoded by E. Raymond Capt, and it illustrates well what I believe is true of everyone: we are experts in some areas, while being totally ignorant in others. Capt is an expert on the Great Pyramid of Giza, but he lacks knowledge when it comes to interpreting Bible prophecy. It is a fascinating book loaded with mathematical details about the pyramid. For instance, he describes it as being geographically located at the exact position on Earth so that the angle of the main passage of the pyramid (26 degrees, 18 minutes, and 9.63 seconds) is exactly the same angle as a line drawn from it to the city of Bethlehem (p. 81). He says that the builders solved the mathematical problem of "squaring a circle." Using the height of the pyramid as the radius of a circle, the circumference of that circle is exactly the same as the circumference of the base of the pyramid (p. 52). There are hundreds of other details worthy of mention, but space does not permit me to present them.

Capt's Bible knowledge, on the other hand, is a mix between genius and ignorance. He presents the numerical equivalents of the Hebrew letters in Isaiah 19:19-20 to prove that the Great Pyramid is what the verses describe as a "sign and a witness unto the LORD." The total of the letter values of the Hebrew; the height of the pyramid and the length of its longest passage in pyramid inches, are all exactly the same number: 5, 449 (p. 58). Where he begins to show his limitations is in interpreting his data as prophecy. He suggests that the number of inches from one point to another, represent specific events in recorded history by date (p. 90). Written in 1970, his book vaguely predicts 1979 as the year of Christ's return (p.90). He also misinterprets Daniel 9:24-27 as being fulfilled during the earthly life of Jesus (pp. 82-86). He does not recognize that only sixty-nine of the seventy weeks have occurred, nor does he seem to understand that the future seven year Tribulation is Daniel's seventieth week.

Knowledge can only be taken as truth when it matches what God's Word teaches. Capt may have accurate measurements of the pyramid (a fact that I am not able to verify), but when it comes to his interpretation of the Bible, I believe he lacks understanding. Like Capt, we only have partial knowledge, and what we believe we know must line up with the Bible, the only reliable standard of truth.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Knowledge is a strange thing. It is based upon our believing what someone has presented as truth. Our knowledge is not only subjective because it depends upon our willingness to believe, it is only recognized as fact beginning at a specific time. To the individual, it will remain truth until additional information proves it to be untrue. As an example, a child is taught that two plus two equals four by her teacher. The child believes it to be true, and for a time, it is. But then another teacher teaches her that two X plus two Y equals twelve. She comes to the knowledge that in order for two plus two to equal four, both groups of two must have the same value. Two apples plus two oranges does not equal four of either, but four of another category known as fruit.

Up until the time of Copernicus, people believed that the Earth was the center of the solar system and everything revolved around it. We now know that the Sun is the center and the Earth is among the many bodies that travel around it. We still mistakenly speak of the sun rising and setting as though it is the object which is moving; apparently it takes time for our thought processes to catch up. The truth not only changes when a student learns that two of something is not the same as the number two, it changes as science makes new discoveries.

Truth is often misleading when it is presented by someone putting a "spin" on it, or when only part of the details are known. That is why the courts ask for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Even then, a person who tells the truth is actually telling what he or she believes to be the truth. A witness's limited knowledge or personal bias is involved with how he understands what is true.

I am often guilty of believing something because it supports my feeling about someone. For instance, if someone tells me something disparaging about President Obama, I am likely to believe it because I don't like his beliefs. The same is true about Richard Nixon, Oprah Winfrey, Judge Judy, Jerry Springer, etc. It has nothing to do with race, gender, or political party; I simply do not like them because I perceive that their character is un-Christian. I am much more likely to believe something negative about them, than I am about Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.

So the question follows: is there really something that is true for all time? Yes! Every word that was spoken by Jesus is truth for those listeners who believe in Him (Jn. 17:17; 18:37). Jesus said, "...I am the truth..." (Jn. 14:6). Those of us who believe in Jesus as the Son sent for us by the Father, can know that the Bible is the eternal truth of God. Jesus said that not one jot or tittle would cease to be truth (Matt. 5:18). Since the Bible is the only standard of truth that is eternal, all other knowledge must be evaluated based upon how it lines up with God's Word. If it harmonizes with it, you "can bank on it!"

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I am writing this on the ninth anniversary of the world seeing exactly what Satan does when he is free to do what comes naturally to him. He is like a raging torrent of water waiting to be released to seek its own level. From the Book of Job, I have come to believe that God is sort of like a huge dam holding back Satan from the potential destruction he desires to work on mankind (Jn. 10:10). The destruction caused by evil that fills the headlines is but a trickle of the total havoc he desires for this planet. If Satan had his way, our world would be uninhabitable.

Racism and religious "racism" are but two examples where men cooperate with the evil one. Politics is another. The Constitution of the United States of America proclaims we have a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." We celebrate our freedom to vote for men and women to represent us locally, nationally, and in the world. The problem is, America is duped into electing people who are more interested in power and wealth, than they are in what is best for the people. Men and women of average wealth, who run for office to receive less than $250,000 salary a year, somehow become millionaires while in office. It really doesn't matter which party they represent, "thar's gold in them thar hills" (Capitol Hill). Because the people must choose their leaders based upon what we know about their position on the issues, and because they lie through their teeth, the voters often select the wrong people to represent them. It is my personal opinion that if a person testifying at a trial lies and is subsequently sentenced to imprisonment for giving a false testimony, a person who lies to get elected ought to suffer the same fate. Lying about one's own platform (and about their opponent's), is tantamount to treason. It is taking the government by subversion. The phrase "an honest politician" certainly appears to be an oxymoron.

There is one thing that racism, religious "racism," and political greed, all have in common: self-centered sin. When a person sees himself as superior to someone else, or wants to become rich at the expense of others, it is sin. Sin is the opposite of love. Sin focuses upon self; love focuses upon others. Part of the dream I had for my life was that once I became a Christian, I would become a "good person." But the more I look in the mirror of God's Word, the more repulsive I appear. I am no different than anyone else; I am a sinner. My dream, like King's, is impossible. As long as man is in this body, we are doomed to fail at being Christ-like. However, there is good news. My sins are paid for by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and one day in the not so distant future, I will shed this body of death and become like Him (1 Cor. 15:3-4; 42-58). I never dreamed I could be like Jesus, but for all of us who trust in Him, we will (1 Jn. 3:2). I haven't stopped dreaming. My dreams have changed from desiring a perfect America; I realize that "This world is not my home, I'm just passing through." I dream of that glorious day when I see Him!

Friday, September 10, 2010


I lived in Washington, D.C. when Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. At that time, I was naive enough to believe that his dream was a possibility, but not anymore. The Malcolm X's, Al Sharpton's, Jesse Jackson's, Jeremiah Wright's, David Duke's, the Aryan Nation's, the K.K.K.'s, etc. of this world are determined to incite hatred. Some do it because they are simply hate-filled idiots; others spew their venom because it provides them with a lucrative income. There is nothing that unites people like having a common enemy. And it always helps if the leaders are so paranoid that they believe everyone of another color is out to get them. I used to call their paranoia prejudice, but I have come to see it for what it is: racism. Today, if he were alive, I believe King would be irrelevant. Blacks, at least the ones who make the news, appear to prefer the "us against them" philosophy, rather than mutual respect. Most Whites, believing they are the ones who show "tolerance" don't even realize that the word "tolerant" implied a sense of superiority. And before anyone thinks that racism is the "disease" of Blacks and Whites, check out how the Orientals and Native Americans feel about other races. Racism had its roots at the tower of Babel, and it is alive and well world-wide today.

Racial hatred is not the whole problem. Religious groups have the same mentality for the most part. With the wars between so called "Christian" nations and so called "Muslim" nations, we have seen religions for what they are: intolerant at their best, and filled with hatred at their worst. When a some Muslims rejoice over the death of Americans and proclaims the hijackers of the flying weapons of mass destruction heroes, most view them as typical of the group and hate all of them. Perhaps if moderate Muslims would speak out against such horrible actions, "Christians" would not be so quick to paint all Muslims as terrorists. What "Christians" do not seem to realize is that in countries where Islam is dominant, to speak out against those perpetrators is committing suicide. At least when some idiot threatens to burn the Koran, the majority of Americans are free and willing to speak out against such lunacy. Still, Muslims all over the world threaten to kill every American they can. It is the same thing as racism, except it is based on religion rather than race. All Americans are not burning the Koran, so do all Americans deserve to die? All Muslims do not hijack planes or dance in the streets when Americans die, so do all Muslims deserve to be feared and distrusted?

Racism and religious "racism" are not the only problems Americans face today. There is division in politics that has nearly paralyzed our government. The educational system is a disaster. The economy has collapsed. America is a mess. But don't give up; there is a Savior on the horizon! To be continued.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


The words "the" and "a" are adjectives. They are used to help define the noun they are describing. When we say, "The boat was caught in a storm," we believe that our audience knows of which boat we are speaking. By simply changing the word "the" to "a," the word "boat" no longer refers to a specific boat, but we could be speaking of a literal boat of the entire category of things known as boats, or a hypothetical boat. Adding other adjectives between "the" or "a" and the noun does not alter the meaning. Suppose you said, "The large, red boat was caught in a storm." You would be assuming that your listeners knew which large, red boat. If you said, "A large, red boat was caught in a storm," you would be informing them that one of many large, red boats or a hypothetical boat matching that description was in danger.

Christianity has been criticized for many things, but the most often heard sentiment is that Christians think they "own God." What the critics are saying is that Christians believe that only their understanding of God is accurate; that all other views are a form of idolatry. Before I address their criticism, let me say that all religions, cults, and atheists believe they know the truth about God. The fact that people disagree with the Christian view of God demonstrates that they have an alternative view. By challenging the Christian view, they are guilty of the same thing for which they so vehemently judge Christians.

The old joke about heaven being divided into sections by walls that isolate each religion from the others so that they can continue to believe they are the only ones there, is funny, but it is definitely impossible. The Bible teaches that there is only one God. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD" (Deut. 6:4). In Ephesians, Paul writes, "One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Eph. 4:6). Just a note of caution to my readers: this is written to Christians. Christians are indwelt by God, the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:17). Notice that the Bible does not say "a God," but "the God" (2 Cor. 11:31; Eph. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3).

There is only one way by which man can get to heaven, and that is by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me" (Jn. 14:6). There is only one thing that God requires of man, and that is to "believe on Him (Jesus) Whom He hath sent" (Jn. 6:29). God does not say, "Believe in Me." He says, "Believe on Jesus!" The word "on" implies to place one's trust in, or count upon Him. Christianity is the belief in the God, and the way to the God, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Unlike anthropomorphisms where something changes form for a specific time and reason, when metamorphisms take place, there is no going back. Metamorphisms are complete changes from one state of being to another. "Metamorphism" comes from the Greek meta which has many meanings, one of which is "self," and morphe meaning changing from one form to another. The best known example of metamorphosis is the Monarch Butterfly. The Monarch begins as an egg, hatches into a larva (caterpillar), builds a cocoon in which it becomes a pupa (chrysalis) until it frees itself as a butterfly. The lifespan of a Monarch Butterfly is about three months. No one knows how the Monarch is able to migrate up to 2500 miles from its place of origin, but due to their short lifespan, the trip is certainly one-way. The travelers in the spring and those in the fall are a lot like Abraham; they go where God directs them by faith.

It would be nice if we could describe the new birth as a metamorphosis, but unfortunately, the born-again Christian too often resembles the person prior to the change. When the Church began on the Pentecost following Christ's Ascension, the lives of Christians were so radically changed that the cowards who ran from those who arrested Jesus, were boldly standing on the corners of Jerusalem, in the temple, and in the synagogues proclaiming the Gospel. They were a changed people. Because the early Church recognized the life of Jesus as a pattern for faithfulness, they were known as "people of the way" (Jn. 14:6; Acts 9:1-2; 19:9, 23; 24:14, 22). They are described as "having favor with all the people" (Acts 2:47). The goal of every Christian was to become as Christ-like as possible.

That certainly is not the case today. The world, seeing idiots protesting at the funerals of our fallen military heroes and others proclaiming to the whole world that they intend to burn the Quran (Koran), thinks Christians are filled with hate. It hasn't been so long ago that so called "Christians," known as the K.K.K., were lynching human beings for "being uppity." With the Roman Catholic scandal of pedophile priests and the cover-up, people like Jim Jones, Jimmy Swaggert, James Baker, etc., it is no wonder that the name of Christ is nothing more than a curse word on television. Twisting the Word of God has always been the work of Satan (Gen. 3:1-5; Matt. 4:1-11; Eph. 4:14; Rev. 20:8). Jesus spoke of these men (and women) as being "wolves in sheep's clothing" (Matt. 7:15).

Just as false teachers can be recognized by carefully "checking their fruit," true believers are to be recognized by their fruit (Matt. 7:15-20; Gal. 5:22-25). We are living in the time of the Church of Laodicea and apostasy is characteristic of the modern church (Rev. 3:14-22; Lk. 8:18; 2 Tim. 3:1-8). The world needs to see genuine believers living their lives for Christ. There is not much time left to win souls for Him, and unless we appear as "butterflies" ("pollinating" with the Word of God) instead of "caterpillars" (consuming everything in our path), there is little hope for the lost. God help us!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


"Anthropomorphism" is a very large word that means something, or someone taking on the appearance of a human being. "Anthropo-" is from the Greek anthropos meaning man, and "morphism" is from the Greek morphe meaning changing from one form to another. The Bible has several examples of something "morphing" into, or appearing as, something else: angels appeared as men (Gen. 19:1-26); Satan appeared as a serpent (Gen. 3:1-15 / Rev. 12:9; Satan also appears today as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14); the rod of Moses morphed into a serpent (Ex. 7:8-13); etc. In these and other similar examples, the changes occurred for a time determined by God. Once His purpose for allowing the change to take place has been accomplished, the thing changed returned to its original form. In the case of Satan being seen as an angel of light, that too will end (Rev. 20:10).

As I have written in earlier posts, Theophanies (appearances of God in human form) are actually Christophanies (pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ). Since God, the Father, is Spirit having no body, and since no man has ever seen the Father, appearances of the Lord in the Old Testament must have been Christophanies (compare Gen. 32:30 w/ Jn. 4:24; Jn. 1:18; 6:46; 1 Jn. 4:12, 20). Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am" (Jn. 8:58). Since Jesus is the creator of the Universe, He obviously existed prior to His birth as a human in Bethlehem (Jn. 1:1-3, Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2). He had shared the Father's glory prior to becoming "the Lamb Who was slain from the foundation of the world," the very world which He created (Jn. 17:5; Rev. 13:8).

There is a danger in viewing the Son of God becoming a human being as an anthropomorphism, however. While all the anthropomorphic changes in the Bible merely appeared differently to man, Jesus did not just appear to change from being God to being man. Jesus, as a man, was still God. And, though He was, and is, and will always be God, He also will remain in the form of a man for eternity (Rev. 1:13). In Romans 14:11, Jesus is pictured as the Judge of mankind with every person bowing at His feet; God has no feet, but the Son of God, being still in the form of a man, will. He did not cease to be God when he took on the form of man. Jesus was still the Creator. He was still the Second Person of the Trinity. He chose to limit Himself and His attributes out of love for His creation. The Father called Jesus His Son while He was a human being (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; 1 Pet. 1:17). God's plan to redeem fallen mankind required someone without sin to die as a substitute for all of us. Had He sinned, He would have had to die for His own sin, but He was the perfect, sinless sacrifice having no sin or blemish (Gen. 22:8; Heb. 4:15; Ex. 12:5; 1 Cor. 5:7).

His sacrifice began when He agreed to create a world for which He would one day die. It will continue eternally as He will remain the resurrected Son of God, seated on the throne of God. Praise the Lord!

Monday, September 6, 2010


My pastor preached an excellent message yesterday about discerning God's will when it comes to choosing a means of making a living. Usually people who are unemployed are looking for a "job." People who are heading for a college or vocational school usually think of themselves preparing for a life-long career in some high-paying field. He explained that the word "career" was a rather modern term for what the Church has historically called a "vocation." I find that strange because the word "vocation" only appears once in the entire Bible. In Ephesians 4:1, Paul wrote, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation to which ye are called." We find the context for this statement in Ephesians 2:10: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Between the two verses, Paul speaks of the unity of believers, the Church being the temple of God, the Church being a mystery hidden until the present, and God's provision for His workers. Paul was writing to all believers about integrity on the job. In another place, he wrote, " all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). In his letter to the Church in Colosse, he wrote, "And whatever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" and "And whatever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Col. 3:17, 23).

Most Bible students know that the Apostles Peter, Andrew, James, and John were formerly fishermen. They know that Matthew was a tax collector known as Levi. They know that the Apostle Paul was a tent-maker by trade, and Moses was a shepherd, as was David. While we don't know the background of every person used of God in the Bible, it is clear that they were doing something prior to being called to service in His kingdom. If Paul had written Ephesians solely to individuals serving as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, one might draw the conclusion that by "vocation," he was referring to members of the clergy, but it was written to the whole Church. Pastor used the example of the Publicans and Soldiers in Luke 3:12-14. Jesus did not tell them to stop doing the jobs they had, but to continue doing them in a way that honors God. A Christian known for fair prices and honest labor is respected by everyone. And that is the kind of Christian to which unbelievers want to listen when they are being drawn to Christ. No one wants advice from a crook.

You may manage a grocery store, wash dishes in a restaurant, own your own business, or mop floors for a living; it really doesn't make a difference, because God wants you to do it with all of your ability and with a good attitude while you are doing it. Should God decide that He wants you to "leave your nets" and become missionaries, then great. But, it has been my experience, being a Christian for nearly forty years, that God may only call one out of a hundred for full time ministry. I have also noticed that the one He chooses is one who is being faithful at the work he is already doing. Just a note to the other ninety-nine: your work is crucial for the support of the Church, monetarily and as workers in the ministry. Everyone should find a place of service in his local church, and do that work for the glory of God. Labor for Him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Did you know that "silent" or "silence" is mentioned forty-three times in the Bible? For a book that has so much to say, I find it ironic that such a concept would be so prevalent. Ten references to silence are from the New Testament, and for the Church, they are both popular and resented, depending on the usage. The most famous and made most popular is the silence found in Revelation 8:1. The thirty minute silence is well known because by Handel's Messiah and its Hallelujah Chorus. The text itself humbles the reader at the thought of millions of angels and the departed souls of men being unable to speak. The scene is the opening of the seventh seal which contains the seven trumpet judgments that are the work of God Himself. The previous six seals involved the work of the antichrist and his minions, but these are so much more terrifying. I see this silence as similar to the silence at the execution of a man sentenced to death. What is about to happen is a solemn event. There is no rejoicing; just an eerie reverence.

Silence is often associated with respect for someone speaking. At the Church council at Jerusalem in Acts 15:1-41, the Apostles and all others present were silent while Paul and Barnabas presented their testimony of God's acceptance of the Gentiles into the Church. In Acts 21:40, Paul is given the opportunity to defend himself. The passage goes on to say in Acts 22:2 that because Paul spoke in Hebrew, his audience was even more respectful. Those in authority had demanded silence out of respect for the ones speaking.

Another reason for a crowd to be silent is when the person speaking has put them to shame through rebuke. Jesus was continually being challenged in an effort to accuse Him and sentence Him to death. In Matthew 22:34, the Pharisees learned that Jesus' response to the Sadducees had put them to silence. Emboldened by the fact that their religious opponents had been defeated, they decided to try to trap Him themselves (Matt. 22:34-45). The Lord's response to their questions, being right out of the Old Testament Scriptures, was irrefutable. They could not answer Him, and the text says from that time on, they no longer challenged Him through questions. Jesus had silenced His enemies.

There is another kind of silence that has a great deal of power. If you have been married, the silence of one's spouse due to conflict is deafening. It even has a name: the "silent treatment." I can honestly say that there are times when I prefer my wife give me the "silent treatment" because it is less painful than listening to her when I know she is right. This kind of silence is ultimately never good, and is the opposite of showing respect for the person speaking. When resolution of the conflict is achieved, we say that people are "back on speaking terms."

Regardless of the reason for silence, to modern man, it is deafening.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I have been sitting here at the computer off and on for quite some time, and I believe I have what actual writers call "writer's block." As I sit here, I think I will write about what is not written. Everyone has heard of the "unwritten rule." We assume people ought to know what is proper and what is improper in given situations, so we do not feel it necessary to "guide" them. For instance, everyone knows that you don't tell jokes at a funeral. Or, it is common knowledge that you don't stand up during the sermon and start singing The House of the Rising Sun. And you don't wear a bathing suit to a formal dinner. People who do such things are probably not going to get invited, or for that matter be welcomed at future events.

"But did you know...." That phrase implies that what you are about to say is not recognized as "common knowledge." It implies that perhaps there are exceptions depending upon the community's cultural make-up. In New Orleans, funerals frequently involve a jazz band leading a procession to the cemetery. Apparently those folks understand that a funeral should be a celebration of someone "graduating." And while interrupting a sermon is never permitted, it is permissible to sing before or after the pastor's message. In fact, using the words to Amazing Grace with the melody of The House of the Rising Sun is awesome. As my dear old dad used to say, "There is a time and place for everything." (I think he might have plagiarized from Solomon's Ecclesiastes). My point is, "common knowledge" is relative to the culture; it should not be seen as binding upon all of humanity.

The Bible has so many instances where silences occur that a true seeker of understanding might go "nuts" trying to figure it all out. What did Jesus do between the ages of twelve and thirty? What happened to Joseph? What went on between the writings of Malachi and Matthew? What was God doing before He began creation? Why in the case of Moses, do we hear of his birth, that he committed murder at forty, and he was called of God at eighty; what about in between? The list is endless. There are a lot more things we don't know, than things we do.

Ironically, even the things written in the Bible are often ignored. Were there really three wise guys? Was Jesus still in a manger a year after His birth? Could a town so packed with travelers actually be silent? And why do we assume there were only three nails? Isn't it possible that they used four? The Jehovah's Witness seem to picture Jesus nailed to a pole using only two nails. Obviously someone is wrong! I vote that it is the J.W., although the actual word translated "cross" is stauros which means "stake." The cross that Christians accept as the method of crucifixion, although not specifically mentioned in the first century, was accepted as the common symbol as early as the beginning of the second century. Since the Apostle John lived nearly that long, many believers heard first hand accounts of the event. If the method of murdering the Son of God was other than a cross, I am sure he would have told them. To be continued, Lord willing.

Friday, September 3, 2010


"SPEED KILLS!" Public service announcements have warned drivers for years that driving fast is extremely dangerous. A libertarian think tank, The Cato Institute, challenges the theory that the higher the speed limits, the higher the rate of traffic fatalities. But logic tells us that if a person loses control of their vehicle, the higher the speed, the greater the risk of being killed. Possible explanations for no noticeable change in the number of traffic deaths is that states have increased highway safety through barriers between opposing lanes of traffic, guard rails that give on impact, and water-filled barrels protecting errant drivers from fatal collisions. Those improvements, plus airbags and structural safety measures in the newer cars, may have minimized the dangers of higher speeds. Still, one would be wise to obey the speed limits, if for no other reason than to protect one's driving record and wallet.

Speed is a factor in another area of our lives. Being swift to speak, usually without considering the consequences of one's words, often leads to serious problems, possibly even death. The Word says it is dangerous to speak without thinking (Gen. 31:29; Prov. 14:29; 15:18; 16:32; Jam. 1:19; 4:11). Being fast to speak and slow to think is certainly not wise in any conversation. After all, we will be judged by every word that proceeds out of our mouths (Matt. 15:1-20).

Speed is determined by the relationship between time and distance. Being quick, on the other hand, is relative. The Bible speaks of the shortest relationship between distance and time as a "twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52). That is fast. By comparison, the fastest any human being has traveled is about 25,000 miles an hour while in orbit around Earth. Within our atmosphere, we consider mach three extremely fast (761.2 mph x 3). Prior to flight, man was very limited. For centuries, travel by horse was the fastest man could achieve. With the invention of the steam locomotive in 1804, man could not only travel much faster, he could go far greater distances. Communication, on the other hand, has advanced from the pony express to computers that are able to communicate around the globe in a matter of seconds. Everything is happening so fast, and that may be our problem. We often don't feel like we have time to think, and as a result, we are quick to speak without thinking.

One of the signs of the end-times is how rapidly mankind is able to travel (Dan. 12:4). Daniel's prophecy has become clear with the dispensational approach to Bible interpretation which was developed shortly after the locomotive was operational. But with all the advances in travel and in Bible interpretation, man has suffered his greatest loss: we no longer hear the Lord speaking to us. We need to slow down. We need to be still, and listen for the voice of God. Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still. 1 Kings 19:11-12 tell us to stand and listen. The greatest disaster caused by going too fast is that it has killed our fellowship with Almighty God. We need to slow down! "SPEED KILLS!"

Thursday, September 2, 2010


What is a friend? Webster defines "friend" as a person one knows well and of whom one is fond; one who is on the same side in a struggle; one who is helpful and available. According to his definition, I have had many friends throughout life. Before I was a Christian, I always had at least one friend with whom I "hung out." We were inseparable. Following Christ changed several things about my relationships to friends. Many of those with whom I had spent so much time, no longer had anything in common with me. We didn't cease being friends, in that we still communicate on occasion, but we do not desire to spend more than a few minutes with one another. We have nothing in common. They do not understand why I am so focused upon Jesus, and they apparently feel that if they are with me for longer, I will begin "performing an exorcism" on them.

Becoming a Christian increased the number of our friends so much that I can not even count them all. There are hundreds of people who would gladly help my family in a time of need, and we would do all we could to help them in the time of their need. We believe the Bible is the Word of God. We assemble together with the express purpose of worshiping Christ and having fellowship with one another. We enjoy being together.

The Bible uses the word "friends" fifty times and unfortunately, not all of them are positive. Haman's wife and friends encouraged him to build the gallows upon which he would be hung (Est. 5-7). Everyone knows of Job's three "friends" who rebuked Job (Job. 2-37). The Psalmist bemoaned his abandonment by his friends (Ps. 38:11). Friends are often pictured as hypocrites (Prov. 14:20; 16:28; 17:9; 19:4, 7; Lam. 1:2; Zech. 13:6; Lk. 16:9; 21:16). It may be helpful to think of these kinds of friends as an army of the enemies of Christ and His people (Jam. 4:4).

The Bible also uses the word to describe genuine friendship. David and Jonathan were friends (1 Sam. 18:1). While his three "friends" failed to pass the test of friendship, Job was a genuine friend of theirs (Job 42:10). Proverbs hints of the future Messiah as being a friend of Israel (Pro. 18:24). Jesus called His disciples friends, even though He knew in His time of crisis, they would all desert Him (Lk. 12:4; Jn. 15:15; Matt. 26:56). Going by these last two examples, friendship does not have to be mutual. One can be a friend of another, and yet not be considered their friend; in that sense, friendship is a lot like Agape love and grace.

I received a call today from an old friend, and we talked for probably an hour or more. It was good to catch up on what the Lord is doing in their lives. I have friends like him in Florida, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia, and who knows where else. We don't write, visit, or call very often, but the moment we do come in contact with each other, it is as though we have never been apart. I find myself smiling the whole time we talk, and I hate to have the conversation end. Christ has given us a love for each other that cannot be severed by time or distance. We are brethren as children of the same Father. I thank God for old friends.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


What would it take to convince the world that Jesus is the Creator of the Universe, that He died, was buried, and rose again according to the prophecy of the Scriptures, and that He will return to judge those who reject Him (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:1-8; Rev. 20:11-15)? As a former atheist, I know what it took for me. It took a complex series of circumstances, perfectly timed, to instill in me the faith to believe. God gave me the faith as a gift, not because I was someone special, but because He wants all to be saved (Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Pet. 3:9). If He would go to all that trouble to convince me, I have to believe He does whatever it takes to reach every living soul (Acts 10:34). Unfortunately, it appears the majority of the human race rejects the evidence provided each of them.

The Bible says that the Jews require a sign to believe, and the Greeks (Gentiles - all non-Jews) seek after wisdom (1 Cor. 1:22). The entire Old Testament contained hints, clues, and clear statements that provide the people of Israel with what it took to identify their Messiah when He came/comes (I say "comes," because He came to save them from their sins over two thousand years ago, and He will return to save them from their enemies sometime very soon - Jn. 1:11; Rev. 19:11-21). On the day of His resurrection from the dead, Jesus told two of his disillusioned disciples that they should have expected Him to die and rise again; the Old Testament said so (Lk. 24:13-32). Israel had focused upon the Scriptures that told of a coming King, and had missed the part that described Him as the Suffering Servant (Jn. 5:39-47). All the miracles He did to reveal His identity were lost on them; He didn't fit their picture of what the Messiah should look like.

Although the entire Bible was written by Jewish authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and all the converts to Christ up to the time of Acts Ten were Jews, it was the Gentiles who responded to the Gospel message. As John wrote in his Gospel, Jesus offered Himself to His people Israel and they rejected Him, but many Gentiles responded to His offer of grace and were adopted as children of God (Jn. 1:11-12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). As mentioned above, the Gentiles sought wisdom; they wanted to be convinced through reasoning (Acts 24:25; 26:28). Unfortunately, if it were possible to prove that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for the sins of the whole world, and that He will return to rule and reign forever, then faith would not play a part in salvation. But, salvation requires faith; one must believe what the Bible teaches by faith; it cannot be proven (Eph. 2:8; Rom. 10:8-17).

All the miracles done by Jesus did not convince the Jews of the truth. All the reasoning presented through sermons, books, and testimonies has not convinced a lost and dying world that Jesus is Lord. Whatever evidence needed to bring about a surrender to the Lordship of Christ, whether signs or logic, has been provided in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit offers the gift of faith to those who want to believe. Trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or reject the gift of faith and deny Him. It is up to you!