Sunday, October 31, 2010


God gave us three kinds of "heavenly bodies," not just two. In Genesis 1:14-19, He tells us that on day four, He created the sun, the moon, and the stars also, that is, in addition to the sun. There are twelve verses in the Bible that list the sun separately from the stars: (Gen. 1:16; Deut. 4:19; Ps. 136:8-9; 148:3; Eccl. 12:2; Jer. 31:35; Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:10; 3:15; Lk. 21:25; 1 Cor. 1541; Rev. 8:12). Our sun may in fact be a star, but it is "our star," and it has a name: the sun.

Scientists tell us that stars have a specific lifespan which can be divided up into stages. Unfortunately, no two websites I looked at had the same list of stages. Basically, they appear to go from being a gas cloud called a Nebula, to being a star, to being a super-nova, and ultimately, to becoming a black hole. Most of my sources had at least seven stages, but they are so varied that I am not sure scientists ever talk with one another. But for the purposes of this edition of Skip's Lighthouse, I will simply say that there are stages similar to those of every other created thing.

My pastor and I recently had a discussion about the Law of Relativity, and how scientists believe that time varies according to how fast something is traveling through space. I have no clue what he was trying to explain, and I am not altogether certain that he understood it either. The question I had asked him was concerning the time it takes for a star to go through all of its stages. We both agreed that it was way longer than the latest estimate of when the "big bang" supposedly occurred.

Since man has observed stars in all of the stages at the same time, does that mean that stars are still being created, or that the universe is evolving? I have a theory. When God created Adam, no one saw him grow from an infant to a man, because God made him mature. When God created trees and bushes, they were already producing fruit (there wasn't even time for them to be pollinated, and yet pollination was occurring at the same time). When He created the earth, it also was a mature planet. It had stars that were still in the nebula stage, stars that were mature, and others which were close to becoming a nova. How hard would it be for Him to place stars of varying stages in the universe? That is why man can observe all the stages at one time.

When I first accepted Christ as my Savior, I called my dad and shared my salvation experience with him. When I had finished, he said, "Let me ask you a question. How does the light from stars reach the Earth if the world is only about six thousand years old?" Without hesitating, I told him the same God who created the star, created the beam of light. After all, since the stars were placed in the universe for man's benefit, the beam had to arrive for man to see it.

My belief may not be scientifically correct, but science, for the most part, doesn't even acknowledge that God exists; why then should we act as though what they say is "gospel?" Let God be true, and every man a liar (Rom. 3:4)!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Because it is almost time for the mid-term elections, I am frequently receiving phone calls asking me if I am going to vote, and for whom. I try not to be rude, but because they irritate me, I am not sure I succeed. Someone needs to tell the candidates that election polls, both pre- and post-, are not only inaccurate, they are an invasion of privacy. In America, we vote in secret to protect the voter from being strong-armed by some unethical politician (as if there are many ethical ones). For whom I vote is my business; I only register as a Democrat so that I can vote in the primary elections. I am not a Democrat, nor am I a Republican; I am a political Independent. The same party that gave us Reagan, also gave us Nixon. The same party that gave us Roosevelt, also gave us Obama (wait, that may not be a contrast). It may be better if I use Truman and Obama. The only people I know who enjoy the campaign season are the media; think of the vast amount of money they make for spreading lies, distortions, and fraud. I hope they tithe. I'm just kidding, what I really meant to say is, "I hope they get saved!" Oops, there I go judging again. Oh well, by their fruit....

Although the general public would never stand for it, I would prefer it if someone would call me and ask me if I am a Christian. Imagine "Big Brother" rallying the lawyers to take us to court for using the telephone to spread religion. After all, with governmental "ownership" of automobile manufacturing companies and banks, can television, radio, and the phone companies be far behind? They apparently already have "Judas'" in churches reporting the political activity of Pastors. I wonder if anyone on my "friends list" from Facebook has "ratted me out" for being a political and religious "subversive?" If not, it is just a matter of time, because I refuse to "toe the company line!"

Speaking of asking and being asked questions on politics and religion, have you ever asked someone if they are a Christian? I have, and it is amazing how people answer. I have heard, "I am a Catholic."; "I am a Mormon."; "I am a Baptist."; etc.; more than "yes" or "no." The sad thing is, those who answer by naming a denomination, mainline or cult, are a member of that group, but very possibly are not a member of the Body of Christ. Born-again Christians tell you they are Christians first, and then they might tell you where they have been led by God to worship. I was a Southern Baptist preacher, but I am not a Southern Baptist. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, but I am not a Pentecostal. I attend a church, Charlestown Independent Church, but I am not independent; I am totally dependent upon Jesus Christ. "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so... (Ps. 107:2). After that, if "the redeemed" want to invite someone to their place of worship, fine, but don't be surprised if they quickly tell you of their "brand of Christianity."

The answer of the Christian to others should be guided by 1 Peter 3:15: " ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." Our answer should be like Paul's: "Paul, and apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope..." (1 Tim. 1:1). Are you a Christian?

Friday, October 29, 2010


Most everyone has heard the saying, "Seeing is believing." And while it seems logical for a person to want to see evidence that proves what someone is saying it true, in reality, convincing evidence changes the skeptic's mind from doubting to knowing. Actual belief is not part of the equation. A more accurate statement would be, "Seeing is knowing." Webster defines "believe" as "to take as true, to have confidence in, to trust, or to have religious faith." For a person to "believe" something, there must be a lack of total certainty; there must be some doubt.

Christians tend to view doubt as the opposite of faith, which is weird since the Word of God clearly teaches that faith produces hope, not absolute certainty. It is the lack of certainty that something is true which defines faith. In Romans 8:24-25, Paul writes: "For we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for (it)? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." The writer of Hebrews stated: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Words like "trust," "faith," "believe," "hope," etc. are all somewhat short of "know."

Having faith in Christ does not necessarily mean that a person has faith in Him in all circumstances. Peter had enough faith in Christ to step out of the boat, but when he was faced with the reality of his situation, he doubted (Matt. 14:31). One of the twelve disciples is known today as "doubting Thomas." In John 20:19-29, we are told that Thomas doubted the testimony of the rest of the disciples, stating, "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe" (v. 25). Jesus implied that Thomas' faith was weak in comparison to those who believe in Him by faith. Thomas was not the only one to doubt, for all of the disciples doubted when the women came telling of Christ's resurrection (Lk. 24:1-11).

It is interesting that the chosen people of God, the Jews, need to see to believe. "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:22). You would think that it would be the other way around. The religious leaders of Israel were constantly reasoning together about Jesus (Matt. 16:7; 21:25; Mk. 2:8; Lk. 20:14-15). Paul reasoned with the Jews, as well (Acts 17:2; 18:4, 19; 24:25). And God, Himself, called on the Jews to reason together with Him (Isa. 1:18).

I am not aware of having any Jewish ancestors, but my whole Christian experience has been marked by signs from God. I am glad that I am no longer like a "Greek" by nature, because it was logic and reasoning that caused me to become an atheist. God saved me by showing me His control over my circumstances; I saw the irrefutable evidence that He loves me, and I surrendered to His Lordship. Perhaps He has revealed Himself to me because I was born in St. Louis; you know, the "Show me" state. That is why I write this blog; He has shown Himself to me, and I have to tell others about Him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have learned over the years that when it comes to promises, human beings cannot be trusted. However, I saw myself as an exception because I have always prided myself in being a man of my word. If I said I would do something, you could "bank on it." Unfortunately, the older I get, the less it appears that others can count on me. That's how it works; anything involving pride is destined to result in being humbled.

I have noticed that my memory is deteriorating as I age, and it is beginning to bother me. It is embarrassing. I was the one who insisted that the monthly gathering of the "older folks," which we call the "Joy Club," be held in a month when the leaders had not planned for it. And then, wouldn't you know it, I totally forgot. Of course, my grand kids and their kids visiting was a distraction, but I still received some dirty looks the following Sunday. And, it was I who got on our pastor for not holding Wednesday night Bible studies during the summer, only to miss the second week after they resumed because I simply forgot. The worst thing about becoming forgetful is that others, who forget to tell you something, can always say they did and blame it on you.

One of the greatest differences between Christianity and politics is the value of promises. Politicians are infamous for telling us what we want to hear, with absolutely no intention of following through on them. If they are not exaggerating the supposed weaknesses of their opponent, they are exaggerating their own ability and intent to "fix what's broken." To hear them talk, you would think they could walk on water. Of all their promises, ending abortion is my "litmus test" for earning my vote. I wish I could say that pro-life candidates would stop the slaughter of the most innocent of human beings, but Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush all failed. And even if the Congress is returned to the Republicans, they will not change the law; Republicans held both houses of Congress under Reagan!

God, on the other hand, keeps every single one of His promises. The word, "promises" does not appear in the Old Testament, but "promise" is there forty-two times. Also, a "prophecy," by its very definition, is a promise from God. And, the prophecies which have already been fulfilled were all fulfilled literally. Every single promise concerning the Messiah's coming as a sacrifice has been fulfilled exactly as God had promised. And, because of that, I am absolutely certain that the rest of His promises, which are to take place in the future, literally will occur. "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him, amen, unto the glory of God by us" (2 Cor. 1:20).

I will end with a warning. Should you know someone who is having a problem with memory due to age, be patient and do not think more highly of yourself than you ought; if you are fortunate, you too will get old. Job said it well: "Cast abroad the rage of Thy wrath; and behold everyone that is proud, and abase him. Look on everyone that is proud and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place" (Job 40:11-12).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


For those who avoided the drug culture and are old enough to remember the sixties, the anti-war crowd, with their tie-dyed t-shirts, tambourines, Eastern Gurus, and hedonistic approach to life, were nicknamed "flower children." John Calvin is not that kind of "flower child; he probably would roll over in his grave to have me call him one. Calvin was one of the most influential theologians of the Protestant Reformation, and his seminal work, Institutes of the Christian Religion published in A.D. 1536, is still a "litmus test" for Protestant conservatives. The typical question is, "Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian?" "The other camp" is known for agreeing with Jacob Arminius, a challenger of Calvin's theological positions. Most Protestant Christians are either Calvinists or they are Armininians.

Calvin's teachings are known by the acronym T.U.L.I.P.: T. - total depravity of man; U. - unconditional election; L. - limited atonement; I. - irresistible grace; and P. - perseverance of the saints (hence, the flower child joke). I have no problem with the first two and the last, but limited atonement and irresistible grace are not biblical according to my understanding of God's Word. His atonement was for all mankind, in that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, not just those who would accept Him as Lord and Savior (Jn. 1:29; 1 Jn. 2:2). God is no respecter of persons, and His light (grace) is before all men (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17; Jn. 1:9). Logic tells me that if God does not want any to perish, that the only way to be saved is by believing in God who gives light (grace) to every man, and some reject that light (grace), then saving grace is not irresistible (2 Pet. 3:9; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23; Jn. 1:11).

I have to agree with Arminius who said the atoning work of God extends to all men, and he called it "prevenient grace." Those of you who have been on an Emmaus Walk should be familiar with this term. The dictionary defines "prevenient" as "an expectant antecedent of human action." It is grace that is given by God, who reveals Himself in some way, to every man. Arminius also rejected Calvin's view that the grace of God which is capable of producing salvation was irresistible. Again, logic tells us that if grace is offered to all men, and some reject it, it is not irresistible. Man has a free will, and must choose to accept the light revealed to him. Arminius, however, taught some things with which I do not agree. He taught that believers could "sin their way out of salvation." I have written many times in the past about believers having eternal life, so I will simply say that he is wrong in my opinion. He also rejected unconditional election, thereby saying that works are involved in one's being saved. As with the security of the believer, I have written much on salvation being totally the work of grace, as opposed to grace by works. The very definition of grace prohibits that view since grace is defined as "unmerited favor."

The inspiration for this post was the October 20, 2010 edition of The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest. As the writer so apply put it, "I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian. I'm just a Christian with a Bible."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


There is a clear difference between genuine Christianity and every other faith: the relationship between works and salvation. Simply stated, all other faiths, including many denominations of so called Christianity, require man to do works in order to warrant spending eternity with God. Even the Jewish faith requires obedience to the Law, with the "escape clause" of sacrifice (works) when, not if, they fail. Becoming a Christian, a born-again believer in Christ, requires only faith in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf. In John 6:28-29, the Jews asked Jesus, "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered, and said unto them, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.'"

Some might say that believing is a kind of works, but that is because they mistake intellectual determination to commit to a philosophy or creed as the definition of faith. Webster defines "faith" as an unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence, with a complete trust, confidence, and reliance upon God. One either believes the teachings of the Bible concerning Christ, or they don't. Where there is a question or a doubt, a saving-faith does not exist, for faith and doubt cannot co-exist.

Ironically, that kind of faith is impossible apart from the miraculous work of God in our hearts (Rom. 10:8-9). Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). What is heard is believed because the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to believe what the Word says (Eph. 2:8). Faith is not works (Eph. 2:9). To all those who believe in other faiths, belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is foolishness, or in the case of the Jews, a stumbling block (1 Cor. 1:22-23).

Where then do works fit into Christianity? They are the natural result of gratitude for what God has done. We do the works because we want to honor Him and be pleasing to Him. It is His will that we work His works, and He gives us the desire to do them (Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:13). The writer of Hebrews, in his benediction found in Hebrews 13:20-21, said it best:

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."

True Christians are not saved by works, but they certainly will do them.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I have a friend who occasionally reads my daily thoughts, and he tells me that I should still be serving God as a pastor somewhere. I could take that to mean he thinks I am being unfaithful in my service for God, but I really don't think that is what he means. He may be trying to encourage me by telling me that what I have written blesses him. Or possibly, he actually feels that I would be of more use to God if I were to serve as the shepherd of a local congregation. Regardless of what interpretation I place upon it, it has made me think, "Should I have continued serving God as a pastor?"

I never wanted to be a pastor in the first place, but apparently God has a sense of humor, because shortly after my graduation from seminary, I received a phone call from the search committee of a little Baptist Church in Western Kentucky. My wife of twenty-eight years was against it, for she knew, as did I, that I was far from being a spiritual leader in the family, let alone as the leader of a church. After telling them that I was not "their man," God spoke to me and said, "You go, and let her come on weekends." I am proof of what God's Word says about His choosing the "base things of the world" (1 Cor. 1:28).

I served at Bethany Baptist Church for over two years, and during that time, I felt God's presence and anointing every day. God had a purpose for me to be there, and after that work was accomplished, it was time for me to leave. God used some of the same search committee to tell me my work there was finished. I told you, God has a sense of humor.

Shortly after leaving Bethany, I was asked to teach in a Christian school. I spent nine years there, serving as a teacher and as a principal. Those were the happiest years of my Christian life. I loved the kids, and I loved teaching them. After leaving, I suffered with depression for nearly three years. I did not feel the same when I left Bethany; I felt relieved. I believe God gives His servants joy when they are serving Him where He wants them. I also believe that He removes it when He wants us to leave.

I would accept a call to teach in a heartbeat, because I believe I have the spiritual gift of teaching (1 Cor. 12:28). More importantly, others believe that is my calling. Although I was ordained as a pastor, I do not believe that being ordained necessarily qualifies one to be a pastor for life. The Lord decides. Being a pastor for a specific time, in a specific place, for a specific purpose, is the extent of God's call to that particular place of ministry. Some believe that being ordained is like having a license for an occupation; I believe it merely makes one available to serve when, where, and if God chooses. It will take a clear, undeniable call from God before I ever even considered being a pastor again. I would be very much afraid to ever tackle that position without a clear call from God. The souls of a congregation are far too precious to be handled by the wrong man for the job, and without His call and anointing, no man is qualified!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Psalm 100: "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD, He is God; it is He who hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting and His truth endureth to all generations."

The words "thankful" and "thankfulness" only appear four times in the Word of God, and yet, the Entire Bible presents the reason mankind should be thankful: God loves us! It is impossible for a believer to be ungrateful toward the One who sent His only begotten Son to die for us; to the One who sent the Holy Spirit to give us faith and a new birth; and to the One who will share eternity with those who believe in Him (Jn. 3:15; 3:16; 14:17; 3:3-8; Eph. 2:8-9). The two greatest characteristics of a true believer are gratitude and humility.

In Genesis 1:26, God tells us through the writing of Moses, that His intention was for man to be like Him, and through the Apostle John, that the believer will one day fulfill His intention (1 Jn. 3:2). I cannot wait until the day I am like Jesus! But I will be the first to tell you that I am certainly far from being like Him now. I have enough trouble loving my family and friends; I find it impossible to love my enemies. God not only loves His enemies, "...He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" (Lk. 6:35). That seems impossible when one thinks about how He feels about unthankfulness. In 2 Timothy 3:2-4, Paul lists unthankfulness with "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, and lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." Ingratitude is a horrible sin!

I know that Christians are supposed to do things for those in need without expecting repayment or even a pat on the back. In fact, those deeds done in secret will be greatly rewarded in heaven. But I have a difficult time with some of those we have helped who have not even said, "thank you." You would think if someone gave you a car, a truck, or provided you with a place to stay free of charge for years, that you would be at least respectful. I hope and pray that I have never been ungrateful toward those who have helped us over the years. I also pray that I can get over this feeling of hurt and anger. I know I am wrong to feel this way, because it doesn't feel very loving. It is sin, and I confess it. Lord, I pray that you will take away these feelings, and forgive me. I am grateful that I didn't have to be like Jesus in order to be saved, and I am grateful that You will complete my metamorphosis soon. Thank You Lord!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a Christian say, "Let your conscience be your guide." That sounds like good advice, right? One verse, Jeremiah 17:9, should be enough to show that man's conscience can not be trusted to prevent sin: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?"

After Adam sinned, he and his wife knew they were guilty, and they hid from God (Gen. 3:7-8). In my February 1, 2010 blog, I covered the Dispensation of Conscience, which was in effect from Adam's sin until the Flood, so I will not take the time to cover it here. It is obvious that man's conscience is not capable of making him good. What it is designed to do, is reveal that he is not good. Had it been able to control man's actions, there would not have been five more dispensations, which by the way, would not accomplish the task either. It is ironic that the Dispensation of Conscience lasted approximately twenty-three hundred years, and yet the words "dispensation" and "conscience" do not appear in the Old Testament. "Dispensation" appears four times in the writings of Paul, and "conscience" appears thirty times throughout the New Testament.

The Bible describes a man's conscience as being one of the following: evil (Heb. 10:22); defiled (Titus 1:15); seared (1 Tim. 4:2); weak (1 Cor. 8:7); good (Heb. 13:18); and pure (1 Tim. 3:9). Since unsaved man is at enmity with God, his conscience powerless to inhibit him (Gen. 3:15; 6:5; Rom. 8:7). Sin defiles ones conscience making it "out of tune" with the things of God, often resulting in a reprobate mind (Titus 1:15; Rom. 1:28-32). The fact that this person's conscience has become defiled, implies that it was pure at one time. A Christian whose actions disregard the conviction of the Holy Spirit, is destined to suffer in this life and in the life to come (Heb. 12:6; 1 Cor. 3:13-15; 11:30).

Some Christians have a weak conscience due to a lack of knowledge of God's Word; they are not aware of their freedom in Christ (Basically, the whole Book of Galatians, especially 2:4; 5:1; 1 Cor. 8:1-13). They are described as being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14; Jam. 1:6). Paul calls them babes and lacking in the "meat" of the Word of God.(1 Cor. 3:1-2; Jn. 4:31-34). The solution for the weak Christian is to hunger for God's righteousness, the recipe for which is found in His Word (Matt. 5:6; Ps. 119:123, 172; Heb. 5:13).

I am not certain as to the difference between having a good conscience and having a pure conscience. It seems to me that when a mature Christian lives his or her life according to the Word of God, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, both are true. The Word, without the guidance of the Spirit, is often used of man to abuse others. False prophets and false teachers of the Word are guaranteed to lead weak Christians astray. Feed your conscience on His Word, and you will recognize them for who they are: agents of Satan. "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Ps. 119:11). Feed your conscience on the meat of the Word!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Anyone who watches much television has heard the phrase "good cop - bad cop" in reference to interrogating suspects. I do not profess to understand all the psychological reasons for this approach to breaking down a person, but it always seems to work (at least on television). Parents often use the same approach with disciplining their children. The Mom is the "good" parent, and the Dad is the "bad" parent; that is why Moms are infamous for saying, "You just wait until your father gets home!" I was "fortunate" in growing up in a home with a step-mother who took upon herself the role of "bad" parent. That left me free to love both Mom and Dad. In case my reader(s) can't tell, that is sarcasm. Sorry.

In a sense, Jesus will have played both roles when His new heaven and new Earth begin (Rev. 21:1). To the lost world, His first advent or coming was viewed as good because He came as a meek, Passover Lamb (Matt. 11:29; Jn. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7). Jesus came as a newborn babe born in a stable (Lk. 2:7). He submitted to the authority of His parents (Lk. 2:51). He allowed Himself to be spit upon, scourged, and crucified (Matt. 27:30; Mk. 15:15; Lk. 23:33). It was while He was hanging on the cross that the sin of the world was placed upon Him (Jn. 1:29; Matt. 27:45-46; 1 Pet. 2:24). Fortunately, the story does not end there; God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 3:15; 4:10; 10:40; 17:31; 26:23; etc.). After forty days, Jesus ascended into heaven where He makes intercession for the saints while He waits for the Father to send Him again (Acts 1:3, 9; Rom. 8:34; Matt. 24:36).

The lost world will have a totally different view of His second advent or coming. To the saved, His return will be good news, but to the lost, it will be a time of dread (Rev. 19:1-10; 11-21). The meek Lamb of God will come as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16). His second advent or coming is described as a rod-bearing King Who is known as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 2:27; 5:5; 19:15-16). He will rule and reign with that rod of iron for one thousand years (Rev. 19:15; 20:1-7). Following the destruction of the enemies of God, He will judge mankind from His great white throne (Rev. 20:8-9; 10; 11-15). The works of man are judged when He "opens the books," and all will clearly understand that they deserve His wrath (Rev. 21:12). But, praise God, there is another book which contains the names of those who have placed their trust in Jesus; it is the Book of Life! While all deserve God's wrath, those persons named in the Book of Life will be spared (Rev. 13:8; 21:15). Notice that men are not judged based upon their sins, but are judged according to their works (Rev. 21:12). The reason is that Jesus was sent the first time to take away the sins of the world (Gal. 1:4; 1 Jn. 2:2).

Christ came as the "good cop" to persuade us to admit our guilt (repent - agree with God and turn to Him). For those who responded by accepting Him, He has exchanged His righteousness for our sin, and we have become the children of God (2 Cor. 5:21; Jn. 1:11-12). For those who reject His offer of forgiveness, I have bad news: He is coming again!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


In the Bible, when something is said to be sealed, it means that someone in authority has guaranteed the authenticity of a document (1 Kg. 21:8; Est. 8:8-10; Isa. 29:11; Jer. 32:10-14; Rev. 5:1), someone has forbidden access to that which is sealed, such as the stone on Daniel's den of lions or the 144,000 servants of God (Dan. 6:17; Rev. 7:3-8), or both (Dan. 12:9). Based upon the use of the term, only the person sealing something has the right to unseal it. There is one exception. A person of higher authority can break the seal. Pilate authorized the sealing of the garden tomb, but God raised Jesus, and the angel of the Lord broke the seal rolling away the stone (Matt. 27:65-66; 28:1-2).

The sealing of Christians has been a much debated topic for centuries, perhaps from the very beginning of the Church at Pentecost. The "twelve" made no mention of Christians being sealed, and the only mention of sealing of people by one of them, John, refers to the sealing of the Jews in Revelation 7:3-8. It was not until the Apostle Paul wrote his letters to the Corinthians and the Ephesians that we have knowledge of Christians being sealed. In all three references, the sealing of those born-again is the work of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). Because the Holy Spirit is God, only God can open the seal (Acts 5:4). It is important to note that the sealing work of the Spirit is "unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30). The day of redemption is the day Christ receives His redeemed ones unto Himself.

Paul wrote an extensive passage on the permanence of our "sealing" in Romans 8:28-39. "All things" (8:28) must include things we ourselves do. God predestined or predetermined that believers would become like Christ (8:29-30). Accusations against us by Satan or his agents are totally powerless to change our standing with Almighty God because we have an advocate defending us (8:31-34). He goes on to say that tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword have no power over the believer's salvation, nor should those things be a surprise to us (8:35-37). Nothing, not death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height, depth, or anything else can separate us from God's love (8:38-39). Notice that our "life" is listed! We are sealed!

I can make no claim of worthiness to be saved (Rom. 3:23), I can make no claim of having my own faith for even faith is a gift (Eph. 2:8-9), I can make no claim of righteousness to remain saved (1 Jn. 1:8). I am saved because God loves me (Jn. 3:16), and He has drawn me unto Himself (Jn. 6:44). For my sin, I needed mercy; for my salvation, I needed grace. Because of both, I am sealed, and since God does not intend to unseal me, I have eternal life (stated twenty-six times in the New Testament). Just the words "eternal life" are enough to declare the eternal security of the believer. To God be the glory!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


During his presidency, Ronald Reagan convinced the Democrat controlled House of Representatives to reduce the income taxes on those in the highest tax bracket from seventy percent to twenty-eight percent. The theory was that the richest people in our nation would more readily use their wealth to create jobs and to increase charitable contributions.

While the theory seems credible, it, like Communism, is predicated upon the false assumption that man is generally good and benevolent. There is one main flaw in these approaches to the distribution of wealth: man is not good (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10). "Greed" is a synonym in the Bible for "covetousness," and both words appear a total of twenty-nine times. "He (the slothful man - v. 25) coveteth greedily all the day long, but the righteous giveth and spareth not" (Prov. 21:26). So, since man is slothful and greedy, it is impossible for trickle-down economics or Communism to work.

Jews and Christians are supposed to follow the example of God, being gracious and merciful. Grace is giving to the undeserving what is needed, and mercy is forgiving those who do not deserve forgiveness. The concept of giving alms to the poor is presented throughout the Bible (Lev. 25:35; Deut. 15:7-11; Isa. 58:6-7; Matt. 19:21; Rom. 12:8; Gal. 2:10; Heb. 13:16; 1 Jn. 3:17; etc.). Giving to others is the opposite of stealing; therefore, charity is the opposite of greed. "Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Eph. 4:28).

So, in theory, in a "Christian" nation, trickle-down economics should work. But there is no such thing as a Christian nation. While about eighty percent of Americans claim to be Christian, it is obvious from the "fruit" of most of them, they have little desire to be like Jesus. The vast majority of those attending church do not even tithe, let alone give offerings in excess of ten percent. Ironically, it is those very people who, when asked for financial help, refer the needy person to the church. If Christians were obedient, there would be no need for government welfare!

In nations that are Communist, there is no chance of trickle-down economics to work. Communists are by definition atheists, and have no moral imperative to provide to anyone other than themselves. Nor is there a spiritual mandate to work hard, as can be seen by observing their leadership methods: fear and intimidation. They adhere to the theory of evolution which teaches the survival of the fittest. Instead of giving, their focus is upon gaining wealth and power. It is not a stretch to see the same methods and philosophies in our country. The closer we get to eliminating God from our culture, to redistributing wealth, to adhering to atheistic evolution, and to governmental control of business, the more closely we become like our enemies. If we intend to correct our country's self-destructive slide, we need the eighty percent to start living the Christian way of life!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote about one of the "two inevitable things": death. Today, I thought I would tell you what I think of taxes, but before I do, I need to make an addendum to my thoughts on death. Death is not inevitable. It is true that some of us will get out of this world alive. Unfortunately, the number will be small compared to the nearly seven billion souls on our planet. There is a coming event that will allow born-again believers to escape death. It is called the Rapture of the Church. I have written about it many times before, so I won't take the time to explain much about it except that genuine Christians will not all die. Jesus is coming to remove those who are alive at the appointed time from a world that is about to experience God's judgment (1 Thes. 4:13-18). In that sense, death is not inevitable. Praise the Lord; I hope that it is today!

Escaping the judgment of God destined for this world is one excellent reason to be hopeful; the other is that we will no longer have to pay taxes! While taxes are necessary to provide funds for desired services such as roads, schools, and a military, taxes are also a form of redistribution of wealth. I can't remember where I read it, but someone wrote that democracies work until the majority realizes that they can vote for people who will support them. While the numerous benefits available to the poor are necessary in a few cases, the vast majority of those on welfare are simply wanting a "free ride." One way to save money and reduce the unemployment numbers is to hire several thousand folks whose responsibility it would be to check up on the "needy." If they need to get a "free pass," then they should not object to the government verifying their claims. Only the A.C.L.U. and those committing fraud would fight it.

Jesus lived at a time when taxes were seldom used for the poor. Greed motivated tax collectors and the governments that employed them. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, as God's Word had predicted, because of taxes (Lk. 2:1-6). Tax collectors are called "publicans" in the New Testament. (Ironic that it is usually the democrats that seem to provide us with a welfare state; re-publicans supposedly oppose taxes). The word "publicans" appears in sixteen verses, and it is no surprise that most of them have a negative connotation (Matt. 5:46-47; 9:10-11; 11:19; Mk. 2:15-16; Lk. 5:29-30; 7:34). What is a surprise is that Jesus not only dined with them, He praised those publicans that responded to His preaching (Matt. 21:32; Lk. 3:12; 7:29; 19:2-10). One of them, Matthew (also called Levi), not only became one of the twelve disciples, he wrote the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 9:9; Mk. 2:14; Lk. 5:27-29; Acts 1:13).

While we are still alive and living on this planet, taxes are inevitable, that is true. Our attitude toward taxes should be as was our Lord's: we should "give unto Caesar" that which is due, and we should trust God to provide the means to pay taxes (Matt. 22:17-21; 17:24-27). We only have to be cheerful when giving to God; we can resent giving our money to a corrupt government; after all, what government is more corrupt than was the government of Jesus' day (2 Cor. 9:7)? For now, we just have to grin and bear it, but look up, our redemption draweth nigh (Lk. 21:28; Jam. 5:8)! Praise the Lord!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Where do we go when we die? The answer depends upon one simple factor: whether or not we are trusting in the God Who sent Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior (Jn. 6:29). In order for one to be a child of God, to be saved, to have eternal life, he must believe in both the Father and the Son. And yet, it is ironic that the words, "Have faith in God," only appear once in the entire Bible, but then it only takes once to be true (Mk. 11:22). On the other hand, the words, "trust in the Lord," appear nineteen times, two of which are in the New Testament, both in Philippians (2:19, 24). If our answer is yes, the instant we die, we are present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). Since Jesus is seated on the right hand of God, that means we will be in heaven with Him (Lk. 22:69; Acts 2:33; Heb. 10:22; 1 Pet. 3:22.

However, it has not always been so. At the time of His first advent, Jesus taught that when the saved and the lost die, they both go to a place called sheol in Hebrew, hades in Greek, and hell in English. In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus told the story of a beggar named Lazarus and a rich man. Both died, and went to a place divided by a "great gulf," but they were close enough to see and speak to one another (v. 23, 26). The saved were on the side of the gulf called "Abraham's bosom" or "paradise" (v. 22; Lk. 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7). The rich man was in torment (v.23). If you take the time to compare the four references to "paradise," you will note that it is no longer a part of sheol, but it is now the very presence of God. How and when did it change?

Jesus told the repentant thief on the cross next to Him that he would be with Him in "paradise" that very day (Lk. 23:43). In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he wrote that Jesus descended "into the lower parts of the earth" (v. 9). Jesus then ascended to heaven, bringing with Him those who were captive in "paradise" (v. 8). It is my understanding that the area known as "Abraham's bosom" or "paradise," exists no longer, and the only part of sheol which remained was hell, or the place of torment. Today, when the lost die, they go to hell. Most Christians believe that hell is the place of eternal punishment, but that is not true. "Hell" will one day be cast into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:14).

For the Christian, death should be welcomed. The genuine believer wants nothing more than to be like Christ. Even the word "Christian" means "Christ-like," that is, one wanting to be like Jesus. Christianity is a way of life. It is following the example of Jesus. I fall so far short of it, that I am miserable most of the time. I can not wait for the day when I will be exactly like Him (1 Jn. 3:2). I will no longer think, speak, or commit sins. I will be free from this "body of death" and possess a new body like His (Rom. 7:24; Phil. 3:21)!

"...Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting. O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:54-57). I will praise Him in life, and I will praise Him in death! Even so, come Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:20)! Maranatha (1 Cor. 16:22)!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


No one likes to be thought of by others as foolish or ignorant. After all, we have our pride. Right? But these days, it seems knowledge is increasing faster than even the brightest can comprehend. Of course, that does not keep us from pretending that we understand the latest computerized phone/game system/ etc. There are phones that you can verbally tell who to call and they will dial them for you. If you are in a car wreck, a voice asks you if you need help, and actually knows where you are. We now have cars that can parallel park by themselves! What's next, 3-D Television? No, wait, we already have that available. Just as Daniel predicted, there will come a time when knowledge shall be greatly increased, and travel will always be "on the run" (Dan. 12:4).

Just before Daniel wrote that verse, he wrote, "And they that be wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever" (Dan. 12:3). There is a difference in the knowledge of verse four, and the wisdom of verse three. The unsaved can have great knowledge, but are destined for hell. Only the saved have true wisdom and will shine like their Creator forever. Verse three tells us that true wisdom is manifest by those who lead the lost to receive the righteousness of Christ, and from trusting in their own righteousness (Isa. 64:6; Phil. 3:9). It is having Christ's righteousness in us that motivates us to live in such a way that the lost are drawn by "our fruit" (Matt. 7:16; Gal. 5:22-23). It is our fruit that opens the door to share the Gospel, whereby we are declared to be wise in God's eyes (Prov. 11:30). If you are saved and you want to be considered wise by God, it is easy. Share the Gospel, the Good News, with those around you. Here is a simplified presentation known as the Romans Road:

  1. 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

  1. 6:23a “The wages of sin is death….”

  1. 5:8 “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

  1. 6:23b “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

  1. 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

  1. 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

  1. 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010


When we say, "one of those days," like I did yesterday, we usually mean we have had a rotten day. When we say, "one of these days," it usually refers to procrastination. We look at the mess that is our life, our relationships, our clutter, our waist-line, and we are determined to do something about it - someday. One of my wife's favorite sayings is, "Tomorrow, I am going on a diet." I am waiting for the time when I can remind her that she said the same thing just yesterday. That is probably not a good idea, huh?

Procrastination can sometimes be a good thing, although I doubt that it can be planned to work out that way. For instance, let's say that the car needs new tires, and we go take care of it. How wasteful would that be if we totaled the car on the way home from the tire place? That could also be an excuse for not washing it. After all, it could be totaled coming home from the car wash.

Procrastination is also a good thing when it comes to getting revenge on someone. Have you ever gotten really mad at someone, "let them have it," and later found out he wasn't the person who wronged you? I have seen a few movies with that plot: the father who kills the man he believes responsible for his daughter's death, only to discover it was someone else. Proverbs and James speak to this: "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding; but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly" (Prov. 14:29). "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (Jam. 1:19). That was the main plot of the Jackie Gleason television show. He always jumped to conclusions and found out later he was wrong. He is best known for the line, "One of these day, one of these days Alice, to the moon!" He said this with fist clinched as though he would "send her to the moon by punching her."

Procrastination, more often than not, is a bad characteristic. Waiting to the last minute to study for an exam usually results in a lower grade. Failing to plan out a trip usually leads to forgetting something, or needing to call for directions from a town ten miles beyond your destination. "Putting it off until tomorrow" can lead to a ruined engine in the car you sit in waiting for the tow truck. Checking the oil would have taken a few minutes, but they would have been well spent. The Bible gives some examples of doing what needs done immediately: manna needed to be eaten "today" (Lev. 22:30); reconciliation needed to be made "today" (Matt. 5:23-24).

The most serious result of procrastination is when someone puts off accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. James says that we don't always have another day to do things (4:13-14). Paul wrote, "...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). Isaiah said it this way: "Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near" (55:6). Procrastination can have eternal consequences! The solution, according to one comedian is "getter done." That's good advice.

Friday, October 15, 2010


In the last twenty-four hours, my great granddaughter slammed her finger in a door, broke her finger, and had to have numerous stitches while wide awake (she is not quite two, so you can imagine the trauma emotionally and physically). Her dad had to leave work and rush her to the Georgetown, Kentucky hospital, only to be told they could not handle her case because it was too difficult. He then had to rush her to the hospital in Lexington, where they are apparently far more competent. Amidst the screaming, the frantic rushing here and there, Hope had to deal with self-imposed guilt and the criticism of others for "being a bad parent." Anyone who has had children knows that kids are a constant blur and it is impossible to watch them every second, especially when you have another child, and are trying to hold a yard sale. I am not sure who is worse, those who blame or the one blaming self. Only God can watch His Kid 24/7, and He died on a cross!

I am not sure why, but I was unable to sleep last night. I had to get up early to take Judy to the oral surgeon to have two teeth extracted, and with Alex's injury, perhaps I was just too stressed out. Anyway, as I was getting into the car to drive Judy to her appointment, I attempted to set my Styrofoam cup into the holder. It already had a cup in it, and the straw went right through the bottom of my freshly filled drink. When I pulled it up to see what had happened, the cup was "peeing" all over the place. I tried to throw it out the door into the garage, but it hit the steering wheel, and exploded. The car was drenched, I was drenched, and we needed to be on time. Judy got towels and we attempted to dry the car and me. It was too late to go in and change, so I wore my drenched clothes to her appointment. It has been nearly three hours and I am still cold!

Following her surgery, I had to take Judy's prescriptions to the Walgreen's. I gave them to the pharmacist and showed them Judy's I.D. They said it would take a "few minutes" so I drove Judy home and made sure she got to bed safely. When I returned to the pharmacy, they asked for her I.D. I told them I had taken her home and that I had already showed it to the other lady. After much discussion, none of it containing curse words, they finally were willing to accept my I.D. Judy has automatic withdrawal set up for Walgreen's, but the bank's computers were not on-line. I had no money. Judy's purse was at home. So I sat there, waiting for them to figure out what to do. Finally, they decided to call the bank and ask if her account had six dollars in it. When they were told it did, I finally got her medicine and left. By the way, I am still wet!

When all is said and done, I really haven't had that bad of a day. I had a bed in which to sleep four hours, I had a soft drink to spill, I didn't have my teeth pulled. I didn't break my finger and need a whole lot of stitches. I didn't have to put up with me at the pharmacy. And, while I would hope I am wrong, some of the characters in this saga are most likely lost and destined for hell. I have total confidence that my faith in Jesus will make the final chapter of life on this planet have a happy ending. And, I have a computer to write this on, and I have a few faithful readers who are probably laughing their heads off at my "terrible" day. I am laughing with you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Of all the disciplines involved with being a strong, mature Christian, I have the most difficulty with prayer. I don't think it is because I can not visualize the Person to Whom I am speaking, although I often have difficulty quieting my mind and concentrating on being alone with my Creator. While in the midst of writing that last sentence, my grandson called to ask that I pray for his daughter who nearly severed her finger in a screen door. I stopped, bowed my head, quieted my mind, humbled myself before Almighty God, and prayed for calm, wisdom and skill for the doctors, and for a full recovery by Alex. That kind of prayer was easy. After all, what else could I do? If the problem was within my power to solve, I would solve it instead of praying.

Will God grant my prayer? I have absolutely no doubt! But how He will answer it is yet to be discovered. God has three ways of answering prayers: He says, "Yes." He does what is asked of Him, but it has been my experience that He often answers our prayer in such a unique way that there is no doubt it is He Who deserves the glory. In Daniel 3:17-30, God not only answered "yes" to the prayers of the three "children," He joined them in the fiery furnace. One thinks of the thirty-three trapped miners, whose rescuers will be praised and be called heroes, and yet, believers know that it was God Who gave them the wisdom and skills needed to achieve the task.

Sometimes, God says, "No." The Apostle Paul prayed a prayer and God told him no, because He had provided Paul with the grace to bear the "thorn" (2 Cor. 12:7-9). God forbid that He would do so in the case of Alex! But if He does, I know with equal certainty that it will result in the ultimate good for all involved. The Word says, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God...." I love God! I trust God! I will praise Him, when all is said and done, because the outcome will be glorious! I cannot image how His "no" could possibly be better than His "yes," but I know that should He say "no," it will be! He is trustworthy.

Or more often than not, He says, "Wait." I think His "wait" is more difficult to live with than His "no." It is in the time of waiting that Satan causes us to doubt God's ability and His love for us. I have prayed for years for the salvation of family and friends, and to this day, I have yet to see evidence that some of them have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It would be easy to believe that God is saying "no," but His Word says He does not want anyone to be lost (2 Pet. 3:9). Of course, men have a free will, and can refuse God's efforts to save them. So I pray, God works, and individuals decide how my prayer will be answered. I will have to wait until I get to heaven to know for sure. And, it is likely that there is a delay because there are competing forces battling over the issue. In Daniel 10:1-13, Daniel prayed, fasted, and waited three weeks before God answered.

So whether or not God heals Alex is really not the issue. In the end, we will all rejoice for what He will have done! God is always good, and always worthy of praise! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The Greek word metanoeo, the verb form of the noun metanoia, translated "repentance," means "to perceive afterwards." It always has to do with a person realizing their perspective was wrong, resulting in a humble change of mind. Repenting, or having a change of mind, is an extremely important part of a person's salvation experience. When Jesus was giving His disciples instructions on what they were to preach, He listed repentance first and remission of sins last (Lk. 24:47). Just to show how important repentance is, "remission of sin" is the finished work of Jesus on our behalf, and is based upon His death, burial, and resurrection; it is the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Because the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, repentance is obviously of extreme importance (Rom. 1:16).

When I think of what it means to truly repent, I like to picture a man walking away from God, with his eyes focused upon the world, and having no concern for a relationship with the Father. God calls out his name, trying to get him to turn and come to Him (Jn. 6:44). Repentance is when he realizes his mistake and turns around with a desire to submit. The salvation experiences in the Bible show how men had changed their minds about letting God be their God (Acts 9:1-6; 16:27-34). In fact, Paul heard the voice of Jesus and immediately had a change of heart and mind. In the case of the Philippian jailer, he went from being suicidal, to being hospitable.

It is unfortunate that the word "repent" is so misunderstood. The vast majority of people think of it in religious terms meaning to "turn over a new leaf," or to stop speaking and acting improperly. Even the lost have a conscience, and if they haven't seared it so badly that it does not function, they feel guilt and remorse (1 Tim. 4:2). While a conscience tends to cause man to agree with religious teachings, and often make a commitment to change his ways, it is neither permanent, nor necessarily associated with a life of submission to the will of God. In 2 Corinthians 7:10, two kinds of repentance are presented: one is the repentance of the lost world, which produces sorrow but no submission, and the other which produces the change of heart and mind necessary for salvation.

Genuine repentance that leads to salvation always produces a change in a person's lifestyle. We become a new person (2 Cor. 5:17). We have works that demonstrate our allegiance to God (Acts 26:20; Eph. 2:10). Our works are described as "fruit," the evidence by which others can identify us as children of God, just as the "fruits" of the lost identify them (Matt. 7:20; 13:23; Jn. 15:1-8). According to John 15:8, it is our "fruit" that produces glory for the Father. So, what is the "fruit" which results from repentance and salvation? It is the fruit of the Spirit of God Who produces it in us (Gal. 5:22-23). Truly born-again Christians, when they are walking in the Spirit, produce the fruit that wins the lost and glorifies the Father. When they are not, they need to read 1 John 1:9 and repent!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Sports are a lot like life in general. When the team is winning, the coach is a genius; when they lose a few games, he suddenly becomes an idiot. Loyalty is a characteristic that has become a rarity. It is a "What have you done for me lately?" world in which we live. Our memory seems to fail us when it comes to being grateful, but it is sharp when it comes to remembering offenses and disappointments. The old saying, "how soon we forget" has a lot to do with living in "the now," and failing to look at life in its entirety.

Older children are especially vulnerable to becoming ungrateful. Parents may devote their entire lives to providing, protecting, guiding, and modeling Christ-like characteristics for their children, only to be labeled a lousy parent when they fail to grant permission to do something, or when they hold them accountable for their actions. It is as though one "no" is able to undo a thousand "yes's." I have to admit, I am as guilty as the rest, because my memory of the good things that occurred in my childhood has disappeared long ago, but I can still remember the very conversation that resulted in my dad forcing me to quit school and join the Navy fifty-two years ago.

A husband who does not "cooperate" when his wife wants something is a jerk, even though he may have worked two jobs to provide her with the many luxuries she already possesses. The same husband may forget the many times his wife did without, so that he could have a hobby. For those of you who do not know this, a game of golf costs about fifty dollars if you rent a cart. For some, fifty dollars is not all that much, but should the wife ask him for fifty dollars to buy a pair of shoes or a new dress, all of a sudden fifty dollars is way too much to spend "irresponsibly."

Christians are often guilty of being ungrateful toward God. I have heard people complain that God allowed a loved one to die, and yet, fail to thank Him for the many years they shared together. Some say, "Where was God when the holocaust happened?" Our answer should be, "He was weeping, just as He was when our sins caused His Son to die." Mourners don't want to hear such things; they want to be angry.

The Apostle Paul taught us how to live in good times and bad (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6-8). And the writer of Hebrews wrote, "Let your manner of life be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have..." (Heb. 13:5). A lack of contentment is nothing more than ingratitude.

Sports fans, children, spouses, and Christians need to look at the "big picture." Christians especially need to be grateful that God loves us and even knows the number of hairs on our heads (Jn. 3:16; Matt. 10:30). We either trust Him or we don't. The real question should be, "What have you done for Him lately?" May I suggest praise? After all, who is more deserving of gratitude than Almighty God?

Monday, October 11, 2010


Our pastor is so powerful when he preaches! By "powerful," I mean that he is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts. 1:8). I have known him for about eighteen years, and for many of those, we spent about two hours together five days a week. We carpooled to the Christian School where we both taught. I miss those hours of conversation about the things of God. One reason is that we could use theological jargon and didn't need to explain our terms. It is amazing how knowing the "language" helps facilitate communication. I thought that today, I might try to offer simple explanations of some of the words preachers use from the Word of God.

Salvation: Those who accept Jesus as Lord are saved from the power of Satan and from the bondage of sin (Acts 26:15-18). We are saved when we place the faith given to us in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).

Redemption: God purchased our freedom from Satan and sin with the blood of Jesus (Rom. 3:24; 5:9; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rev. 5:9).

Justification: God, as Judge, has declared those who believe in the finished work of Christ to be just or righteous. Justification is by grace, through faith in the shed blood of Jesus (Rom. 3:24; 5:1, 9; 8:30).

Sanctification: Because of our faith in Christ, we have been "set apart" for God's use and glory, by the Holy Spirit Who also seals us (Acts. 26:18; Rom. 15:16; Eph. 1:13; 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; Jude 1:1).

Glorification: God is worthy of praise and honor (Acts 11:18). Jesus is worthy of praise and honor (Acts 3:13). The Word of God is worthy of praise and honor (Acts 13:48). Because of the work of the Spirit Who gives us faith, and keeps us by sealing us unto God; because of the finished work of Jesus Who shed His blood as payment for our sins; and because of the love of the Father, He counts us worthy of praise and honor. One day, He will make us like His dear Son, and in so doing, He will make us worthy of praise and honor (1 Jn. 3:2).

Our redemption, salvation, justification, sanctification, and glorification are all the result of the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is obvious why the more we know about His work on our behalf, the more our character is marked by humility!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


There are many theories to the size and thickness of the temple veil. Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, said that it was four inches thick. Some say it was hung in such a way that in order for the high priest to enter the Holy of Holies, he had to work his way through "a maze-like" entrance way. Another view says that because the word "veil" is in the singular, it was a single curtain under which the high priest was required to kneel to enter. Because the Wilderness Tabernacle, Solomon's Temple, and the Herodian Temple of Jesus' day were not the same size, to speculate on the exact dimensions of the structure and the veil seems like a great waste of time. Suffice it to say, the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the structure was large enough to secure the Holy of Holies from the view of man. And it must have been thick enough to prevent those outside from hearing the high priest, necessitating the adding of bells to his garment (Ex. 28:33).

At the very moment that Jesus yielded up His spirit, a phrase indicating that He died, the veil in Herod's Temple was "rent in twain from the top to the bottom" (Matt. 27:50-51). Regardless of how thick or how high the curtain was from top to bottom, (estimates say that it was more than two inches thick, and about 45 feet tall), man was incapable of tearing it, let alone from top to bottom. It had to be God Who tore the veil. But why? Of all the things God could have done at that moment in time, why did He choose to tear the veil? While I feel totally inadequate in trying to explain the workings of God, I will, in my simple way, try.

Hebrews 10:19-20 tells us that the veil represented the flesh of Jesus. Prior to His death for us, only the high priest could enter to offer sacrifice for the sins of Israel. By giving His life for us, Jesus was removing the wall of separation between man and God; we can now enter into His presence boldly (Heb. 10:19). He had foretold that His body would be "broken for you" (Matt. 26:26), and the Apostle Paul wrote that the bread of the Lord's Supper pictures His broken body (1 Cor. 11:24). Of course, the breaking of the bread is a metaphor for Christ's body being hung on the cross. There is irony in the fact that like the temple veil, Christ's body was torn from top to bottom; the flesh on His head was pierced by thorns (Matt. 27:29), His hands were pierced by nails, and lastly, His feet were pierced by nails (Ps. 22:16).

Nearly everyone knows that it is sin that prevents man from being able to approach God. Sin is the "wall" that separates man from access to, and fellowship with, Almighty God. When Jesus' body was "torn from top to bottom" for us on the cross, it was because He had taken the sin of the world upon Himself; He became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). The temple veil being torn by God is His way of saying, "Welcome home!"

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I had the privilege of attending the Men's Prayer Breakfast at our church this morning, and while the food was very good, those sharing from the Word provided much better "food for thought." The speaker spoke about the Lord praying to the Father in the garden just before He was to be crucified (Lk. 22:42). He said that Jesus was afraid of what He was about to face, and that He pleaded with the Father to change His plan. When Jesus was ending His prayer, He said, "nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done." Even though in His humanity He wanted to avoid the suffering He was facing, He was more afraid of the moment our sin would be placed upon Him, and He would no longer be in fellowship with His Father. Jesus knew the Scriptures that described what He was facing, and He was terrified (Ps. 22:1-17; Isa. 53:1-12; Dan. 9:26). Thanks be to God that His love for us was greater than His fear!

After he was finished speaking, a dear brother in the Lord shared an awesome illustration. He said that men are like pumpkins. If they are left in the field unharvested, they die and rot. But if someone picks them, cleans off the dirt of the field, opens them, takes out all the gook inside, gives them eyes and a mouth, and replaces the gook with a candle, they become a jack-o-lantern. Christians are like those pumpkins. We are in the field (the world), and we are unclean (sin). Jesus picks us (Jn. 15:16, 19), cleans us up inside and out (baptizes us with His Spirit inside, and baptizes us in water on the outside), gives us eyes to see (Jn. 9:25), gives us a mouth to proclaim what He has done (Lk. 21:15), and puts His light in us (Matt. 5:14). We are useful to God because God has made us so.

Another brother suggested that Jesus, Who became a man for the purpose of redeeming the lost (Phil. 2:5-8), was like the Great Pumpkin of the Charlie Brown comic strip fame. The "legend of the Great Pumpkin" says that He comes to earth to give gifts to children. Jesus came in the form of the rest of us pumpkins, and He was already clean inside and out (Heb. 4:15). He already had the light within Him (Jn. 9:5). Just like the "legend," the "Great Pumpkin" requests that the children come to Him (Mk. 10:14-16). And, just like the "legend," the "Great Pumpkin" gives gifts to children (Eph. 4:8).

But unlike the "legend," our "Great Pumpkin" took all the gook of all mankind inside Himself (2 Cor. 5:21). Instead of a Halloween pumpkin, Christ became our "Passover Pumpkin" (1 Cor. 5:7). Our "Great Pumpkin" died for our sin (Rom. 5:6, 8; 14:15; 1 Cor. 8:11; 15:3), and not for our sin only, but for the sin of the whole world (1 Jn. 2:2). A pumpkin has to die to become a jack-o-lantern; our "Great Pumpkin" had to die that we could bring joy and light to the lost in their darkness. It is a terrible thing to say, but the majority of those claiming to be Christians fail to have their eyes open to see the field needing harvesting (Matt. 9:36-38), and their mouth is seldom, if ever, used to share the light (Acts. 1:8).

The next time you see a jack-o-lantern, think on these things!

Friday, October 8, 2010


The location of something certainly makes a difference. Homes are valued by the neighborhood in which they were built. Businesses fail or succeed depending on the amount of traffic. Swimming is a lot more pleasant in a swimming pool than in shark-infested waters. And while it is possible to worship Jesus Christ in a Mosque or a Synagogue, I highly recommend assembling together with like-minded people (Heb. 10:25). Even something as simple as finding one's keys often depends on the location you tossed them. One of my favorite sayings is, "a place for everything and everything in its place." I am more lazy than organized, but either way, it makes life so much easier.

Before Jesus came in His many Christophanies and eventually in the flesh, man's knowledge of God was that He was "elsewhere." He made appearances in the form of a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night (Ex. 13:21), but to say He was actually limited in location to the Holy of Holies is definitely wrong. God is Omnipresent and His location is, in all seriousness, everywhere (Ps. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23-24). With the Incarnation of Christ, God lived as Emmanuel, which means "God with us" (Matt. 1:23). Today, born-again Christians experience God within (Jn. 14:17; 1 Cor. 3:16). To the indwelt believer, the location of God has gone from being seen as "distant," to being our resurrected Savior, to being the very life within us. Ironically, God has not moved; He has drawn us unto Himself (Jn. 6:44; 12:32).

The real question, when it comes to location, is where are you? I assume that those who take the time to read what I write believe in God. I hope that the God each of you believes in is the God of the Bible. I pray that you have accepted the Son of that God as your Savior and Lord. If you have, then all is well, and you are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the Day of Redemption, the day Christ "collects" those who are His (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). So in reality, your opinion of the location of God depends upon your response to His drawing you to Himself, and upon you accepting His sacrifice for your sin by the faith given you by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 11:28; 19:14; Jn. 6:65; 7:37; Eph. 2:8; 1 Jn. 1:22). God loves you!

NOTE: In a past post, I said that the story about bells on the High Priest's garment and rope around his ankle was not scriptural; I was only partly right. Exodus 28:33-35 describes the bells but I cannot find anything about a rope, or what to do if the High Priest dies in the Holy of Holies. The fact that no one has corrected me worries me. I hope and pray that those reading my posts will be noble enough to check my biblical references; after all, if the Apostle Paul needed to be "checked out," today's preachers and Bible teachers definitely need to be (Acts 17:11)!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I have heard "Godforsaken" many times during my life, but I have never really considered what it actually means. The word does not appear in the Bible, and the closest thing to it is where the prophet Nehemiah asks "Why is the house of God forsaken?" (Neh. 13:11). Here, it refers to the forsaking of God's temple by the people. It is strange that the modern use of the word combines the two words into one. Webster's Dictionary defines "Godforsaken" as "depraved; wicked; desolate; or forlorn."

Depraved is defined as "morally bad; corrupt; perverted." By this definition, it would appear to describe a person who has chosen to reject God or His influence in his or her life. While the word does not appear in the Word of God, there is a clear reference to its meaning found in Leviticus 18:22-23 and Romans 1:24-27 which describe depravity as bestiality and homosexuality.

Wicked is defined as "one having evil intent; etc." Examples of the wicked found in the Word are numerous: Cain (1 Jn. 3:12); all of mankind (Gen. 6:5); Abimelech (Jud. 9:56); Ahab (1 Kg. 21:25); Haman (Est. 7:6); and the epitome of wickedness, Satan (Matt. 13:19, 38; 1 Jn. 2:13).

Desolate means "uninhabited; etc." In Matthew 23:34-39, Jesus tells the religious leaders that their city and the temple would be made desolate because the Son of God would no longer be there. Throughout the Scriptures, there are many places that had become void of people because they had been made uninhabitable.

Forlorn is said to mean "abandoned; deserted; without hope; etc." While the word itself does not appear in the Bible, there are numerous examples of those who were deserted or forsaken by someone: God by Israel (Deut. 28:20; Jud. 10:10-13; 1 Kg. 11:33; etc.); Jesus by God (Ps. 22:1; Matt. 27:46); Paul by Demas, Crescens, Titus, and Mark (2 Tim. 4:10; Acts 13:13; 15:39), to name just a few.

To be forsaken by God is truly bad news! So regardless of how one interprets "Godforsaken," to be so is not good, to say the least. However, the believing Jew of the Old Testament and the born-again Christian of the New Testament received God's promise that He will never forsake us (Gen. 28:15; Deut. 31:6-8; Josh. 1:5; 1 Chron. 28:20; Heb. 13:5; etc.). The Gospel, the good news is that God loves us and sent His Son to die for us, to be buried, and to be raised the third day according to the Scriptures, and that we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world! That is the basis for our knowledge that God has not, nor will He ever, forsake us (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Eph. 1:4)!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The unbelieving world accuses Christians of being a mindless group who base their beliefs on myth and superstition. From my experience as an atheist and from observing unbelievers, those who reject the Gospel have a feeling of superiority over the "fools" who believe (1 Cor. 4:10). However, the Apostle Paul wrote that Christians were to live their lives for Christ because it was reasonable to do so (Rom. 12:1). God used Isaiah to tell us that the Lord wants us to reason things out (Isa. 1:18). Faith in Christ is not a mindless exercise, but the logical result of examining the evidence found in His Word.

When the man possessed of demons saw Jesus (Mk. 5:1-20), he ran and worshiped Him (v. 6), and he recognized Jesus as "the Son of the Most High God" (v. 7). The unbelievers knew him as a man who was out of his mind, but when Jesus had cast out the demons, they found him to be in "his right mind" (v. 15). Here was a man who worshiped Jesus while demon possessed, and who worshiped Him when he was "in his right mind" (v. 18-20). By acknowledging that he was "in his right mind," they had to be convicted when they saw him submit himself to the authority of Christ (v. 18-20).

The mind of Christ, while He was on Earth, was the Spirit of God (Isa. 61:1; Lk. 4:18-21). He lived in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 6:63; 8:28; 14:10; 15:15). Christians have the mind of Christ which is the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:9-16). That is why we are able to understand and believe the Word of God. The Spirit gives believers a "readiness of mind" (Acts 17:11), a humble mind (Acts 20:19; Col. 3:12), a mind of service (Rom. 7:25), a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7), a sober mind (Titus 2:6), a renewed mind (Rom. 12:2), a fervent mind (2 Cor. 7:7), a willing mind (2 Cor. 8:12), a ready mind (2 Cor. 8:9), and a pure mind (2 Pet. 3:1).

"A mindless bunch of superstitious fools" is the last thing the world should believe about Christ's Church. We know the Word is true. We know that apart from Christ, we are doomed. We know that God loves us and He also loves those who reject Him. We know that the lost will face judgment and eternal punishment for rejecting Jesus. We know that He is coming back for His Church. We know that the Church and Jesus will return to rule His kingdom for one thousand years. We know that we will spend eternity with Him. For a bunch of mindless folks, we sure do know a lot; in fact, it is "the fool who says in his heart that there is no God" (Ps. 14:1; 53:1).

Most importantly, we know that it is God's will that Christians believe and be of one mind (Jn. 17:11, 21-23; Rom. 12:16; 15:6; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:14; Phil. 1:27; 2:2; 3:16; 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:8). That mind is the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:9-16)! True believers are definitely not mindless!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Jesus said, "...if ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jn. 8:31-32). The word "indeed" can and should be taken two ways: one, they are truly His legitimate disciples; and two, they show their fruit by their actions, that is, "in deed." Our deeds are evidence of our allegiance to Him. But the word in what Jesus said that brought a negative response from the Jewish leaders was "free." They were offended that He implied they were under bondage to anyone but God. This was truly amazing, because at the time they were speaking to Jesus, they were in bondage to Rome, to the Law, and to their sin. The only person present at that conversation that was truly free of bondage was Jesus! He had no fear of Rome because He could have destroyed them at any time (Matt. 26:53). He was not under bondage to the Law because the Law was the very expression of His character: after all, He was "the Word Who became flesh and dwelt among them (Jn. 1:1-14). And, He was without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Because they were religious, the Pharisees assumed that they were free of the guilt of sin. They knew the Law frontwards and backwards. However, because they were not able to keep the Law, they frequently needed to offer sacrifices for their sins. So, in effect, they were counting on their obedience, and their sacrifices to keep them free from the bondage of sin. The problem was, they did not have a clue about why God gave them the Law in the first place. They thought it was a list of how they could "qualify" for God's blessings and salvation. That which they were counting on for their salvation, was given to them by God to show them they could not live a life worthy of being in fellowship with their Creator. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, had this to say: "But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe (see also Eph. 2:8-9). But before faith came, we were kept under the Law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore, the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith is come, we are no longer under the schoolmaster" (Gal. 3:22-25).

The person who has accepted the Jesus of the Bible as his or her Savior and Lord, is no longer under the legalistic bondage of the Law of the Jews, or the legalistic bondage of churches. We are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and heirs of God (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 8:14-17; Titus 3:7). We are not to be under bondage to "days, and months, and times, and years" (Gal. 4:10). Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath day" (Col. 2:16). There are so many denominations solely based upon doctrines of bondage in the Church. No musical instruments in the church, Saturday worship, the Lord's Supper (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) are all forms of legalism or law. The only biblical restriction on Christians is that we do not use our liberty if it offends others (1 Cor. 8:9). Love of others is the only law a Christian needs (Gal. 5:14)!

Monday, October 4, 2010


From its very beginning, the Church has turned the world upside down (Acts 17:1-6). Christians were preaching the death and resurrection of the Messiah, and the Jews had expected the Messiah to put to death the enemies of Israel (v. 3; Ps. 2:9). One has to wonder why they were surprised that their Messiah would die; after all, Daniel prophesied He would, and it was also foretold in Psalms and Isaiah (Dan. 9:26; Ps. 22; Isa. 53). Jesus also had told His disciples and the religious leaders of the Jews that He would die and be raised again to life in three days (Matt. 12:38-41). Such a claim was foolishness to the Sadducees, but the Pharisees knew that there was to be a resurrection of the dead, so they should not have been surprised (Matt. 22:23; Acts 23:6-8). Unfortunately, there was no room for a cross in their theology.

While the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was a stumbling block to the Jews, to the Gentiles, the preaching of the cross was foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18-25). The teaching of Jesus that in order to have life, one must first die, seemed insane, but to those of us who believe in Him, it makes perfect sense (Matt. 10:39; 16:24-25; 1 Cor. 1:18). I have heard a saying that I think is brilliant: born once, die twice; born twice, die once. When a believer accepts Jesus, he is born again (Jn. 3:3-8; Gal. 2:20). A believer only dies once, physically, but an unbeliever will suffer both a physical death, and a spiritual death called the second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). Equally unfortunate is the fact that Gentile unbelievers, while professing themselves to be wise, prove that they are fools (Rom. 1:22).

The lost of the world view the teachings of Christianity as contrary to common sense. In order to live, one must die. In order to be rich, one must be poor (Matt. 6:19-21; 2 Cor. 6:10; Jam. 2:5). In order to be wise, one must become a fool; in order to become strong, one must become weak; in order to be of value, one must be chosen of the base things of the world (1 Cor. 1:28-29). It is as though everything the lost of the world view as good, God sees as evil; and everything the world despises, God views as precious. In other words, common sense or logic is the opposite of the wisdom of God. Human nature is diametrically opposed to God's nature. Is it any wonder why the Jews at Thessalonica were upset? These preachers of Christ were turning everything upside down.

My question to you who take the time to read my blog, do you see yourself as intelligent, rich, powerful, etc. based upon the opinion of the lost world in which you live, or do they mock you like they did Christ? One of the best ways to tell if you are living for Christ is how non-believers see you. If you fit in, you are in serious trouble! Genuine Christians are called a "peculiar people" for a reason (Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:9).

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Promises are only as good as those making them; they must have the ability to do what they promise, and have the integrity to follow through. In other words, the person making the promise must be a "man of his word." The Bible is full of the promises of God, and as certain as I am that He loves me, I know He will live up to His promises to man. The Word tells us that God is not inclined to, nor is He capable of, lying (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Ps. 89:35; Titus 1:2). In fact, He tells us that His Word is to be respected more than His name (Ps. 138:2). His name, YHVH in the Hebrew, is so sacred that man does not even know how to pronounce it. And He tells us we should respect His Word even more! Christians can stand on the promises of God!

There are a few things about the promises of God that we need to keep in mind. Not all promises apply to us; For instance, God's promise to Abraham that he would produce a son when he was one hundred, and his wife was ninety (Gen. 17:17) does not mean we will live that long (God forbid!), or that we will produce children at that age (Again, God forbid!). God also promised that through Abraham's seed, all the nations of Earth shall be blessed (Gen. 22:18; 26:4). Christians know that He was referring to Jesus, the Son of God (Matt. 1:17; Lk. 3:34).

Some of God's promises are conditional. In order for Him to do some things, the individual had to first meet His requirements. In Acts 16:31, Paul told the Philippian jailer that if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, God would save him and his family. Does that mean that the family of everyone who believes will automatically be saved? No. If that were the case, we would not be burdened to witness to them, and they would assume they were already saved because I am. God has no grandchildren! The Philippian jailer was the only person in the entire Bible that was told that.

Some of God's promises are unconditional. The entire Old Testament is God's promise to send His Son to die for sinners. The fact that John 3:16 says it merely shows that His promised coming had taken place. Jesus told His disciples that He would die, and be raised again the third day; it happened just as He promised (Matt. 16:22/28:1; 1 Cor. 15:1-8). Though it has not happened yet, He promised to return for His Church (Jn. 14:3; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1Jn. 3:2; Rev. 1:4; etc.).

To sum up, some of God's promises are made to individuals, some to Israel, some to the Church, some are conditional, and some are unconditional. He also promises that the lost will be able to stand on His promise, when they stand before Him on judgment day (Rev. 20:12). So some will praise Him for His faithfulness to fulfill His promises, and some will not. I pray that all reading this will be able to rejoice while standing on the promises of Christ, our King!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lord or LORD

There are a lot of folks who go to church for years believing that they have a relationship with God, because they believe He exists. They view their faith in the Creator revealed in the Bible as indicating that they are saved. After all, the Bible says that whoever acknowledges Jesus as Lord is a Christian, right? They attend Bible conferences, music festivals, tithe, visit the sick, and even weep when they hear the testimonies of others; of course they are saved, right?

Let's take each question one at a time. Does believing God exists save you? "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well. The devils (demons) also believe, and tremble" (Jam. 2:19). The context of this verse is that James needed to see evidence that a person was saved before he would accept his testimony (Jam. 2:14-26). According to James, a genuine believer shows evidence that he is saved in two ways: one, he helps those in need (v. 14-19); and two, he obeys God's will (v. 21-26). Notice that James didn't say anything about going to church, or about understanding doctrine. The Pharisees believed in the God of the Bible, they "religiously" attended every "worship service" required by Old Testament doctrine, and they gave tithes, offerings, and even alms to the poor. And yet, they did not recognize their Savior or their need to be born again (Jn. 3:1-9).

What about those who call Jesus Lord? Well, it depends on how you define the word "Lord." If you define it as presented in the Old Testament, you must choose between a person worthy of respect or God. In 1 Kings 1:17, both uses of the word are given and the difference in meaning is obvious: "And she said unto him, 'My Lord, thou didst swear by the LORD, thy God...." One is acknowledging the superiority of the person, and the other is a replacement for the name of God because the Jews were afraid to speak His name. While the New Testament does not use "LORD," it is clear that those using the word when addressing Jesus had the wrong understanding of Who He was. In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus teaches that there is a difference in someone saying "Lord" out of respect, and one who recognizes that Jesus is the Lord Who deserves obedience. In this example, those to whom He was speaking had done good works in His name, but they were doing them in order to "qualify" for heaven. They were not doing what God wanted; they were religious but had no relationship with God, and therefore did not know what He wanted them to do.

To sum up, a person who has accepted Jesus as Lord will do good works out of gratitude for what He has done for us on the cross (Eph. 2:10). And the works he does are only those works that God has personally shown him to do (Jn. 14:15). When Jesus is Lord, the works we do out of gratitude and obedience reveal our relationship with Christ, and result in God getting the glory. Jesus is LORD, not just Lord!

Friday, October 1, 2010


When I think of how my offspring live, I actually wonder if my life as a Christian "patriarch" has been a total failure. Of course, that is the devil focusing my attention of the present; neither he nor I know how each life will play out over the time they have left. My "prodigal" daughter keeps reminding me of that as she ministers to me concerning spiritual things. She has faith in Proverbs 22:6, and uses herself as an example of why I should not give up hope. While I know God's Word is true, I also am aware that no one knows how long they have in which to repent and turn their lives over to Jesus. If they all were to die right now, God forbid, I am sure some would hear the Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I also know that some would spend eternity apart from the One they rejected as Lord of their lives.

Although I am far from being perfect, I have been used of the Lord in the lives of many needing a Christian role model. Just today, a former student of mine sent me a poem about the influence the old make upon the young. And yet, many in my family seem determined to live apart from the influence of Jesus, almost as though they wanted me to know that I have had no impact, or God forbid, a negative impact upon their lives. I suppose I should not expect much more of my family; after all, even the family of Jesus rejected His teaching until after His resurrection (Jn. 7:3-5). And His disciples, called "His friends" in the verse, thought He was out of His mind (Mk. 3:21). The Word, which is always true, says that the family is the most difficult to reach (Matt. 13:57).

Some may think I am judging them, but I am actually observing the fruit of their lives; "by their fruit, ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:16-21). I have an ex-son-in-law in prison for murder; an ex-son-in-law who left my daughter for another woman; grandchildren who are sexually active (and no one seems to care); and there are addictions to alcohol and pornography (both of which I once experienced, but thanks be to God no longer), and there are even rumors of adultery. As I wrote recently: "...Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2 Tim. 2:19)!

I am sixty-eight, and the Lord has insisted that I remain on this planet long enough to see some of my great grandchildren. I have to say that I thank God for my "Alex," Aurora, Rhys, and soon coming "Woody," because they are still precious. They have the sweetness and innocence that I wish could be seen in all of my family, including me. Jesus said, "...Suffer (permit) the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God" (Mk. 10:14). Oh that we were all child-like!