Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I read Our Daily Bread this morning, and it reminded me of something I said when the W.W.J.D. fad was at its apex. The writer suggested that W.D.J.D. was far more important. It is funny, but when I said it, no one seemed all that impressed. When the devotion was given to the editor of the devotional, it was accepted and printed. Perhaps it is the timing, but whatever has caused them to include it, I was happy to see it, and I pray that it will produce faith unto salvation.

There are three important facts concerning the example of Jesus:

W.D.J.D. - What Did Jesus Do?" is the foundational question every man, woman, and child needs to be able to answer. It is absolutely essential that Christians tell the lost about the love of God for them, expressed in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God according to the Scriptures (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). It is the Good News, the Gospel, that has the power to bring the lost to salvation (Rom. 1:16). Until one has committed himself to Christ, it really doesn't matter what Jesus would do in any given circumstance.

W.W.J.D. - "What Would Jesus Do?" is appropriate for Christians facing the decisions of life on a daily basis. Believers, those who He expects to follow His example and teachings, have to make choices as to what they should say and do in every situation. Sometimes, the answer is obvious; I should help those in need, and I should not take what does not belong to me. But there are times when we are confronted with a choice that is less clear. Should I always, in every circumstance, tell the truth? Jesus answered Satan using Scripture, and He refused to answer on another occasion (Matt. 4:1-11; Lk. 20:1-8). Another time, He wisely answered by asking a question which put His enemies on the defensive (Lk. 20:21-25). The bottom line is, we may not know what Jesus would say or do in a given situation, but we should make every effort to follow His example when we do. One day soon, we will know if we made the right choices.

W.W.J.D. - "What Will Jesus Do?" is nearly as important to the Christian living in the present, as what Jesus has already done. Believing what Jesus did in the past for us is how we became Christians, but believing what Jesus will do now and in the future, is what gives us the hope and courage we need to face life today. As believers, we know that He works every facet of our lives for good, because we love Him and He loves us (Rom. 8:28). We know He will never leave nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). We know that we will one day be like Him (1 Jn. 3:2). We know that He has prepared a place for us to live with God forever (Jn. 14:1-3). We know He is presently making intercession for us to the Father (Rom. 8:34). "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow," and also today!

The real question is: W.W.Y.D.F.J. - "What Will You Do For Jesus?"

Monday, November 29, 2010


Yesterday, I discussed the huge difference between having a lustful thought, and living in an adulterous relationship. Both are sin, but one is a life-style and the other a momentary lapse of focusing upon the carnal, instead of upon the spiritual. Jesus said there were degrees of sin when He taught His disciples. In Matthew 5:21-22, He gave them examples of levels of sin as murder, unfounded anger, saying "Raca" to a brother, and calling someone a fool. Notice the consequences of committing these acts vary as well. They are not equal.

All sin committed by a Christian, regardless of the seriousness, is wrong for several reasons. All sins are responsible for the death of Jesus on the cross; Jesus died once for all (Heb. 10:1-10). All sins need to be confessed to God in order to reestablish fellowship with Him (1 Jn. 1:5-10). All sins have the potential of ruining our witness for Christ. It is amazing, but unbelievers seem to know how a true Christian should act and talk; they will often recognize our hypocrisy before we do. There is nothing more embarrassing in this life than to be called a hypocrite and be corrected for sin by an unbeliever!

Just as there are levels or degrees of sin, there are levels of value to the works a Christian does. Some things we do for the Lord are considered very valuable, and when they are tested at the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will not be consumed by fire (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10). Rewards will vary depending on the things done for Him (1 Cor. 3:9-15). Those works which we do out of love for, and in obedience to Christ, are described as "gold, silver, and precious stones." But the works a Christian does which are for the wrong reasons, are described as "wood, hay, and stubble." The latter will be consumed in the fire of the judgment, but thank God the believer will still be saved!

There is other evidence that faithfulness to Christ varies in value. The reward for specific behaviors results in our receiving specific "crowns." It is because Christ wore a crown of thorns (Matt. 27:29), that we have been given an opportunity to earn valuable crowns. We can "earn" the incorruptible crown (1 Cor. 9:25), the crown of rejoicing (1 Thes. 2:19), the crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8), the crown of life (Jam. 1:12), and the crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:4). Should we be counted as faithful enough to gain all five, we should never think we are all that special; the woman pictured as giving birth to the Christ child in the vision of John, will apparently wear twelve crowns (Rev. 12:1-5).

If one were to make a list of sins from the greatest to the least, and continue it by adding works for Christ from least to the greatest, the continuum would reveal an amazing fact. It is not just those things we consider to be sin that displease God, works done for the wrong motive do as well. Church attendance, giving, witnessing, Bible study, etc. can all be done with the wrong motive (2 Cor. 9:7; Phil 1:16; etc.). We need to be careful that our "good works" are really good; it would be a shame to lose our reward.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


My daughter, who lives in Mississippi, is visiting us for the Thanksgiving holiday, and it is so great to get to spend some time with her. Well, sort of great anyway. We were reminiscing about our past relationship, and I was surprised to learn that I was a pretty poor specimen of a dad. Glimpses of my ineptness could be seen in between the good memories she has of her childhood. We were discussing my flaws, but hers were not mentioned by either of us. I wonder why that is. I suppose with all that she has gone through the past couple of years, she needed to vent and I needed to be gentle. And, thank God I have matured some from the days I would have "stood my ground." In my old age, I have come to appreciate Proverbs 15:1 which says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger."

During our conversation, she brought up "hypothetical" behaviors that some family members "may or may not be involved in," and pointed out that I should not judge them. "After all," she reminded me, "You are not perfectly innocent yourself." She reminded me of a relapse I had with alcoholism in 1980. It was in response to my comment that sinful life-styles are to be expected of unbelievers, but once a person has accepted Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, those behaviors should cease. I had been confronted by co-workers about whether or not I thought a Christian could drink a beer once in a while, and I said, "As long as it is just one or two, I don't see anything in the Bible that prohibits it." That was a mistake, because they offered me one, and like the idiot that I often betray myself to be, I drank it. And then another, etc. I was, once again drinking, and I had a difficult time stopping. But I did stop, and have not had a drink these past thirty years. Praise God!

Our conversation eventually came to an agreement that all Christians sin (the point of Romans 7 and 1 John 1:8-10), but that a Christian's life should not be marked by sin as a life-style. There is a vast difference between occasionally cursing by a slip of the tongue, and using profanity every other word. A person who is living in adultery has given himself over to a life-style, while a man responding with bad thoughts to a television commercial has committed an isolated sin. Yes, I know what Jesus said about looking upon a woman with lust as being equal to an act of adultery (Matt. 5:28), but there is a huge difference between a sinful look, and moving in with her. Both are sin, but one is obviously an on-going life choice.

Christians who are aware that they are sinning should stop. Many times, we don't even realize we are sinning, because it falls in one of those areas of subtlety, such as being laziness, gluttony, selfishness, or pride. We often do those things before we realize it. But the moment a born-again Christian is aware of it, he repents and asks forgiveness. If he fails to do so, God has a way of dealing with him (Heb. 12:5-11). It is true that it only takes one lie to be labeled a liar, but that does not mean you might as well continue lying. There is a huge difference between committing a sin, and choosing to live in sin. To be continued, Lord willing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Here are just a few of the things God's Word has to say about thanksgiving from the Old Testament:
"And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will" (Lev. 22:29).
"Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High" (Ps. 50:14).
"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving" (Ps. 69:30).
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name" (Ps. 100:4).
"Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto God" (Ps. 147:7).

Here are some from the New Testament:
"For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God" (2 Cor. 4:15).
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6).
"Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving" (Col. 2:7).

Here is a passage that instructs Christians concerning what we may eat:
"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer" (1 Tim. 4:2-5). This passage is especially important as it is a warning from the Apostle Paul about false prophets in the latter days who will put religious restrictions on foods (1 Tim. 4:1). The Jews are restricted by a dietary law which we know today as eating only those things declared to be kosher. Christians have no such restrictions; we are able to eat anything as long as we do so with a clear conscience, and precede our meal with the Word and with prayer (1 Cor. 10:25-33; 1 Tim. 4:5). Any group claiming to be Christian that restricts what one can eat, is most likely a cult.

I will close today by pointing out that all thanksgiving belongs to the God, for it is from Him that we have "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father...." (Jam. 1:17). The Bible's last reference to thanksgiving makes that absolutely clear: "Saying Amen: 'Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever.' Amen" Notice thanksgiving is the central of seven things which belong to our wonderful God. Give thanks unto the Lord!

Friday, November 26, 2010


I cannot believe I am about to write a blog about my wife with the title being "Thanksgiving." But as I sat here, trying to think about something specific for which I am thankful, the Lord kept bringing Judy to my mind. Those of you who know us well, probably can't wait to see what I will say; neither can I. Who "woulda thunk it," right? We have been married for forty-eight years, and my favorite joke about our marriage has been, "I could have killed a dozen people and served less time than this." Now, sitting here at the keyboard, that just doesn't seem all that funny anymore.

God's Word says many things about the husband/wife relationship, but I have not always been mature enough to apply them to my situation. In fact, being a negative person at heart, I would read them, and then think, "Oh, if only my wife were like that." I am sure, by the way, that she has the same thought when she reads what the Bible says about the husband. You see, she is the one who got the "short end of the deal" when she married me. It has just taken me a very long time to realize it and regain the feelings I had for her the day I married her. And that is totally my fault.

Genesis 2:18 says to me that God, recognizing man needed help, made him a mate, a wife as a helper meet or fit to "complete" him. And therein lies the problem. I have always viewed our marriage as if I were the one Judy needed to be complete. I had to be the provider, the protector, the "rock" in our family. But I am beginning to recognize the Word is true, and my perceptions are nothing more than delusions. Judy is the person who keeps in check the impulsive, quick to act and slow to think man that I am.

Recently, I had decided to refinance our mortgage because the interest rates are about half what we have now. Judy was not sure about it, and was hesitant to "cooperate." I was so angry. Finally, I said I would make an appointment with a banker friend of ours to resolve the issue. He showed her the wisdom in making the move, and from that time on, she has been fine with it. That got me to thinking; throughout our marriage, she has been the person who needed convincing before we acted. God uses her to slow me down. She makes me reevaluate before I jump into whatever looks like a "no-brainer."

She has done the same thing when it comes to challenging the behavior of family members. Her example of praying for them instead of "correcting" them, has brought me under conviction. Her reluctance to discuss their seemingly never ending stream of sinful choices, has angered me, but in the end, it has made me realize my intervention is not the solution. They know what God's Word says, and all I can do is pray for them. She is so wise, and far more Christlike than I.

So today, I want to say that I thank God for giving me my wife. She has tolerated my immaturity, rage, and impulsiveness, and the longer I live, the more the Lord has revealed how she is exactly what I need to keep me in line. God knows what He is doing! Praise Him!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am sure that there are many folks who will find it difficult to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, just as there are every year. The death of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job, illness, foreclosure of ones home, etc. are all things that make "the glass more than half empty." Who in their right mind could think about a great Thanksgiving feast while sitting bedside with a child in pain? Parades, shopping, football on TV, and food enough to feed twice the number present, seem to pale in comparison to many of life's struggles.

Most of us don't even think about how our Thanksgiving would be if Mom wasn't there; we act as though she will continue to spend hours every year preparing the meal we await with great anticipation. But one day, hopefully many years from now, she will be gone. Family traditions of travel, bringing the dish that everyone brags about year after year, and hours of family joy will be gone. The anchor of the family is no longer there to hold the family together. Unfriendly siblings putting their differences aside for Mom's sake, will have an excuse to "do their own thing." We have seen how the loss of one or two of the family's senior ladies can effect a yearly family reunion. The reunions stop and before long, the various branches of the family tree lose touch with each other.

In our family, the person around whom every holiday revolves is my mother-in-law, Dorothy. She is nearing ninety and she is the sweetest person in the world! I do not remember ever hearing her say anything bad about one of her vast progeny. She has opened her home, her purse, and her heart to any family member regardless of their history or their character. It is almost as if she loves the lovely and the unlovely the same. She chooses to forget past indiscretions, and just love all who call her "Grandma Dot Dot." My grandparents and parents have been gone for many years, and I miss them. But my mother-in-law, Dorothy, has more than filled in as a wonderful example of Christ likeness, and a true source of joy to all of us. I praise God for her!

So this Thanksgiving, in spite of all the drama that goes on all year long, our family, no, her family will gather around her dining room table, and celebrate all that the good Lord has provided. I have written four previous posts about my thoughts on Thanksgiving, but now that the day has arrived, I want to pay tribute to the person we so often take for granted. And, I also want to thank God specifically for giving us such a special person. He has used her to heal division. He has used her as a role model. He has used her to reveal a glimpse of His own character, and for that we should all be very thankful! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I appreciate the fact that we should be thankful every day of the year, but to have a special holiday to remind us is most needful for me. You see, I watch the news on television. And even if I choose Fox News, I still feel sad and depressed. If it isn't reporting the abduction of a child by someone, it is reporting weather disasters, lying politicians, trapped miners, plane crashes, etc. It is enough to make one find a cave and hide; wait, a cave is a lot like a mine! Never mind. You get the picture though - life is full of bad news.

I know, instead of a cave, I will focus only on good news. But how do I filter out only the good news? If I did find a way, would I still be able to read my e-mails and Facebook? Would I still be able to answer the phone? It is clear that magazines and news papers are out. Would I have to restrict my conversations to those who are always positive? If so, I don't actually know anyone that fits that description. Actually, I couldn't even read my Bible, because it is filled with men and women who suffered disaster, usually due to their own choices. When it comes right down to it, there is not a single thing which does not reveal a world tainted by sin and its consequences. One would almost be better off if they had been born like Helen Keller; but if I remember correctly, even she was miserable until she was able to communicate. There seems to be no hope of peace and joy in this world.

But wait! I think I have discovered a way to enjoy my life and still interact with the world around me. Instead of focusing upon the bad, the evil, the sad, the sin, etc., I will do my own filtering of things. I will focus on the good news, and pray for those suffering tragedy. I will enjoy family and friends, and pray for the areas in their lives that are not Christ-like. I will read my Bible and focus on the cure for sin, and not the consequences. I will keep the "finish line" in sight, instead of focusing upon the obstacles along the path. I will be thankful for the ability to discern the difference between right and wrong, between good and bad, between friend and foe, between this world and the glorious world to come. I will have hope instead of despair. I will have faith instead of doubt. I will have love instead of fear....

Oh, who do I think I am kidding? I am a person who sees the glass half empty. I am a pessimist. All I can do is wait. I must wait for the day when I will no longer be like me, but will be like Him. That is something for which to be very thankful: the knowledge that one day, I will be like Jesus! No more Romans Seven struggles. No more sin, fear, doubt, hate, etc. I will be like my Jesus! Oh, Lord God, for that knowledge, I am eternally thankful! Come Lord Jesus! 1 John 3:2; 5:13; Revelation 22:20

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


One need only read the New Testament's presentation of the relationship born-again Christians have with Father God, to know that we are truly blessed. Even the words used to express our position in Christ tell us why we should be thankful. Words like: Grace, Mercy, Forgiveness, Salvation, Reconciliation, Justification, Sanctification, Glorification, Sons (and Daughters) of God, etc. It boggles the mind to try to comprehend how blessed we are as believers in Christ! I am so thankful!

The vast majority of scientists, on the other hand, seem bent to "prove" there is no God. I recently saw a television program on Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and I came away with a few thoughts. If you really think about it, E=MC2 is actually saying that you and I are nothing more than potential energy, especially me since my mass is so large. Ha Ha (laughing with you). If there was a way to get me moving at the speed of light squared, I would become pure energy. Regardless of his being called a genius, his theory reduces you and me to the importance of coal, oil, rocks, trees, etc. God said He made us in His image and likeness, so does that mean God is no more than pure energy? I cannot prove it, but I believe there is a vast difference between energy and spirit. For one thing, the Holy Spirit has a mind and the ability to recognize right from wrong, while energy is nothing more than a thing. I am thankful that I have faith!

Science has made many contributions for the improvement of life, and for them, I am grateful. However, it has done far more harm than good, in that it has contributed to billions of people going to hell. By challenging the Bible's teaching on Creation, with its Theory of Relativity, its "Big Bang" Theory, its Theory of Evolution, and with its amoral teaching that man is the epitome of life resulting from nothing more than our survival of the fittest, science has quite effectively managed to negate the effectiveness of the Bible to save souls. At least in that respect, science and Satan are twins. Satan did nothing more than cast doubt on what God had told Adam and Eve. He did not force them to sin, nor does science force man to reject God's Word, but the result is identical. At one time, I had "bought what science is selling," but I thank God that He opened my eyes to His truth!

From the time I entered school until I graduated from college, I was constantly bombarded with diagrams of monkeys turning into modern man, the philosophies of men who obviously did not believe in God, and the teachings of anthropology, sociology, and psychology, which all attempted to excuse sin as being the result of the nature/nurture continuum. In other words, a man was the product of genetics and social interaction, so what he did was the natural outcome of who he was. According to science, the conscience is a product of "brain-washing" and therefore nothing more than artificially imposed inhibitions. When I came to faith in Jesus Christ, I did so because I realized I was a sinner needing a Savior. I thank God for conviction!

Monday, November 22, 2010


What I was trying to say yesterday, is that being content with what we have is good, but it does not measure up to being thankful. Certainly it is good to be content with what the Lord has given us, but so often, we fail by taking what we have for granted. We do it not only with things, but unfortunately we often do it with people. I am as guilty of taking my wife and children for granted, as I am of taking God for granted. I have become so content with the fact that God "shall supply all of thy need" (Phil. 4:19), that I fail to ask Him for "my daily bread" (Matt. 6:11). I am so confident in the "full armor of God" (Eph. 6:13-17), that I forget the next verse which says we are to pray and make supplication in the Spirit for the saints (Eph. 6:18). And, even clothed in the armor of God, we are still to pray that the path God has for us today, will not cross that of the evil one (Matt. 6:13).

Thanksgiving reminds us that all we have is a gift from Almighty God (Jam. 1:17). Being thankful for all that we have should produce contentment, but there is an aspect of thanksgiving which is greater than mere contentment. We should be thankful for what we don't have. I like what Solomon wrote: "Remove from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, 'Who is the LORD?' or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain" (Prov. 30:8-9).

Isn't the very reason Christians need to be reminded to be thankful our lack of contentment, which fuels our endless desire for more? How often has a promotion produced pride? A new house, a new car, a child going to a prestigious school, and even being married for forty-eight years to the same spouse, are all sources of pride. We say, "I worked hard for that promotion." I have heard many a parent say that the youth of today think they should have all the things their parents have when they marry. They continue by saying, "We worked hard over the many years to achieve what they expect on day one." All the while, they are forgetting that God sustained them, gifted them with the ability, and protected them from experiencing the destruction similar to that experienced by Job. It is as though they are saying "we deserve what we have because we earned it." It is so easy to take the credit and ignore the Benefactor.

The truly thankful heart is one that is both grateful and content. All that we have for which to be thankful has been provided by God. There is great contentment in knowing that God has provided for you because He loves you. Discontentment, on the other hand, is evidence that one feels God has "let them down." Coveting and lusting after what we do not have is the direct result of our lack of gratitude. It is looking at the part of the glass that is empty, and thinking God doesn't love us enough to fill the glass. One of the great things about the manna in the wilderness was that it provided enough for only one day; what was left over was eaten by worms (Ex. 16:16-27). Thanksgiving should motivated by our confidence in the God Who gives us all that we need, but not necessarily all that we want. After all, a loving parent limits the candy his child can have. Therefore, let us be thankful for what we do not have; obviously God doesn't think we need it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


For years, I have tried to get across to people that Christians are supposed to be content with what they have, and not to lust after or covet things they do not have. I still believe that is true, but the Lord is showing me that there is a vast difference between being content and being thankful. Contentedness is a state in which a person is satisfied with what he has, where as thankfulness is being grateful for even what one does not have. I heard a preacher, this morning on the radio, say that there are five things for which all Christians should be thankful: Faith, Family, Friends, Finances, and the Future. Because I like the number seven, I would add the Filling of the Holy Spirit, and Fellowship of believers. They are:

Faith because the faith we have in Jesus is given to us by God's grace - Rom. 5:15-18; Eph. 2:8-9.

Filling of the Holy Spirit happens when a person is born again spiritually - Jn. 3:3-8; Acts 10:44; Rom. 8:9.

Family may not always be perfect, but they are the ones who sustained us - Lk. 2:51; Eph. 6:1-4.

Friends often are more supportive than family - Matt. 12:50; Jn. 15:13-15.

Fellowship is centered around Christ, forming a bond between believers - Acts 2:42; 1 Jn. 1:7.

Finances for the Christian are always sufficient for what is needed - Matt. 6:25-34; Lk. 9:3.

Future changes that will make us like Jesus - 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Jn. 3:2.

Too often, we focus on how these areas of our life are less than perfect. Our faith is lacking at times (Rom. 12:3-8). As Christians, we "leak" when it comes to being filled with the Holy Spirit; that is why we continually need to be filled again and again (Acts 2:4; 4:8; Rom. 8: all;1 Jn. 1:8-10). Family will let you down (Jn. 7:5). Friends will desert you (Mk. 3:21). Fellowship is easily broken by sin (1 Jn. 1:7). Finances vary from time to time, sometimes having plenty, and sometimes having little (1 Tim. 6:17). But, there is one thing Christians can count on, one thing that will never change: our future is sealed (Eph. 1:13; 3:16-21; 4:30; 1 Jn. 3:2; 5:13). Because God's Word is true, we can call for all Christians to "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name" (Ps. 100:4). He is truth, and He is worthy! Amen!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I chose Skip's Lighthouse as the name of my blog for a couple of reasons: my nickname is Skip and the symbol for our church is a lighthouse. It also didn't hurt that one of my favorite songs is "The Lighthouse" written by Ronnie Hinson in 1971, and ironically, that was the year I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. The song is filled with metaphors about the struggles of life and how Jesus guides believers safely through them. Here is the first verse and chorus with some small changes in capitalization, punctuation, and wording:

There's a Lighthouse on the hillside that overlooks life's sea.
When I'm tossed, It sends out a light, tis a light that I might see.
And the light that shines in darkness now, will safely lead me o'er.
If it wasn't for the Lighthouse, my ship would be no more.

And I thank God for the Lighthouse, I owe my life to Him.
For Jesus is the Lighthouse, and from the rocks of sin;
He has shown a light around me, that I might clearly see.
If it wasn't for the Lighthouse, tell me where would this ship be.

My grandson Corey and his wife Hope, bought me a very special gift from the local Bible Book Store. It is a large, framed, beautiful picture of a lighthouse surrounded by raging seas. If you look closely at it, you can see a man calmly standing outside on the platform, with waves breaking all around him. The caption on it says, "The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God is my Rock in Whom I take refuge." It is taken from Psalm 18:2, but there are other Bible verses that could just as well have been chosen: Jonah 1:6 speaks of the Gentile crew telling Jonah that they know his God can save their ship. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God does not want any to perish. Or what about Jesus, Who many times referred to Himself as the "I Am," when he said, "I Am the light of the world?" (Jn. 8:12; 9:5). Perhaps you might think of others.

In a sense, this blog has saved my life. While lying in a hospital bed, after being told that I may not make it through the night, a preacher asked if he could say a prayer for me. I told him only if he prayed that should God would allow me to live, that He would provide me with a ministry that I might continue to witness for Him. It was my pastor that set this blog up for me to share my thoughts on Jesus. I honestly believe that I am alive today for the purpose of telling others about Him.

So if you are reading this, praise God; and if you are reading this, please do two things: "bookmark" this site, and tell those for whom it may be a blessing. Thanks for taking the time today. And, look up - JESUS IS OUR SOON-RETURNING LORD! .

Friday, November 19, 2010


For most of my life, I have been accused of being a know-it-all, and it has always bugged me. In fact, the longer I attended school, the more I realized how little I knew. I have a four year masters, and yet, I know so little about the Book on which I am supposed to be an expert. To be honest, I have to say that there is far more about the Bible that I don't know than the little I do. There are several sections that I don't even bother reading anymore, because I have no clue as to what they are saying. But, the parts that I do understand are absolutely clear to me, and I have no doubt about their meaning. And, regardless of whether or not I understand passages, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are the Word of God.

The Apostle John might have been viewed as a know-it-all by his contemporaries, because he used forms of the word "know" more than any writer in the New Testament. In First John alone, he used it thirty-eight times. Here are some of the things John knew from a single chapter: those who know Jesus keep His commandments (2:3-5); hateful people are blind to the truth (2:11); he could recognize true believers in Christ (2:13-14); he knew there were many antichrists (2:18); the person who is filled with the Spirit knows what God knows (2:20-21 cp. 3:20); God is righteous, and those who know Him live in righteousness (2:29).

My favorite Bible verse is First John 3:2 which says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Do you get it? Now we know we shall be like Him! I know that even though I am not like Him now, I also know that one day, I will be. He is at work conforming me to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:10). Job looked forward to being changed (Job. 14:14). Paul wrote, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:53).

Another verse from First John that is very important says, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life..." (5:13). Not only do we know that we are now the children of God, but our relationship to Him is eternal! Salvation is a gift. It cannot be returned, exchanged, or re-gifted. It is as permanent as the One who gave it! It is ours, as is the knowledge that the Giver loves us and will always love us, eternally love us! Praise God!

If you want to consider me a know-it-all, fine, but "...I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" (2 Tim. 1:12). When it comes to my relationship with Almighty God, I KNOW! And you can too. God is no respecter of persons; what He has done for me, He is more than willing to do for you. Put your trust in Jesus and see.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I have previously written that the word translated "the Messiah," should actually be "the Anointed One," and that the word "Christ," is English for the Greek kristos, meaning "the Anointed One." The Old Testament tells of a coming Savior known as "the Anointed One," and the New Testament presents our Lord Jesus as God's Anointed One (Ps. 45:7; 84:9; Isa. 61:1-2; Jn. 1:45; Acts 10:38; Heb. 1:8-9). Notice in Acts 10:38, the anointing was not with oil, but the Holy Spirit and power. There are many people and things in the Bible which are said to be anointed by God. The difference is, only Jesus is "the Anointed One."

In the Word of God, there are several kinds of anointing. Those who were ill were anointed with oil for medicinal purposes (Ps. 109:18; Isa. 1:6; Mk. 6:13; Lk. 10:33-34; Jam. 5:14). Jesus anointed a blind man's eyes with mud (Jn. 9:6). Guests were often anointed as a sign of respect and hospitality (Ps. 23:5; Lk. 7:46).

The Tabernacle and its contents were to be anointed with oil to make them holy (Ex. 40:1-9). Old Testament priests were to be anointed for service (Ex. 40:12-15). Even the priest's garments were to be anointed (Ex. 29:29). Those things that God wanted devoted to His service, including people, were sanctified, set apart, and made holy solely for His purposes. Also, other specific items were anointed: a pillar (Gen. 31:13); bread and cakes (Ex. 29:2); etc.

Those who were chosen by God to be kings of Israel were anointed for service: Saul (1 Sam. 2:10); David (1 Sam. 16:12-13; 2 Sam. 2:4; 12:17; 23:1); Solomon (1 Kgs. 1:39); Jehu (2 Kgs. 9:1-6); etc. When God chose a king, He called for him to be anointed, which served the same as crowning him (1 Sam. 16:13). Although it is quite likely that all of Israel's kings were anointed, many of them were anointed by men and not by God. Some examples are: Absalom (2 Sam. 19:10); Jehoahaz (2 Kgs. 23:30); Eliakim (2 Kgs. 23:34), etc.

Those anointed for service do not necessarily remain anointed. King Saul, had the Holy Spirit depart from him, only to be replaced by an evil spirit (1 Sam. 16:14). Judas Iscariot must have had the power of the Holy Spirit when he participated in working miracles, but he certainly lost whatever anointing he had when Satan entered into him (Lk. 9:1-6; Jn. 13:27). However, the greatest example of someone being anointed by God for service and then losing that unction was Lucifer. In Ezekiel 28:13-15, he is called the anointed cherub, and that he is the one who was in the Garden of Eden. Jesus said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Lk. 10:18).

But be of good cheer, born-again Christians have an anointing from God that is eternal, praise God (Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 1 Jn. 2:27)!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It has always bothered me that the Church celebrates Good Friday as a memorial for the day Christ was crucified. What bothers me even more is that I can't prove my theory that Jesus died on Wednesday. It is so frustrating to believe something, but not be able to prove it from Scripture. Here are some reasons I believe as I do:

Matthew 12:40 - Jesus said He would be buried for three days and three nights, that is equal to three 24 hr periods. The Jewish 24 hr. day began at sunset and ended at the following sunset. Jesus was placed in Joseph's tomb at sunset on the day He was crucified (Jn. 19:31-42). That means if He was raised 72 hrs. later, He would have risen at the sunset which marked the beginning of the first day of the week (our Saturday night - by the time the women arrived at about dawn on Sunday, He was already risen). Counting backward three days places the burial at about 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

John 19:31 - While two of the other Gospels mention that the reason they had to quickly bury Christ was that it was the preparation day and the Sabbath began at sunset (Mk. 15:42; Lk. 23:54), John's Gospel tells us that it was not the weekly Sabbath, but that it was "high day" (Jn. 19:31). The Passover was a high day, a holy day of convocation, or a Sabbath (Ex. 12:12-16).

Isaiah 5:20 - Regardless on which day Jesus died, for Christians to call it "good" is like a person saying the day his child died was a "good day." I am sure that if we could ask God what He thought of the day His Son took upon Himself the sins of the very world who crucified Him, He would not use the word "good." I know Jesus didn't think it was such a great day! He agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, asking His Father to save Him from it (Matt. 26:36-42; Mk. 14:32-40; Lk. 22:39-44). Do you think He thought is was a good day when He cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:47; Mk. 15:34)?

We Christians are weird. Our symbol represents the weapon used to kill our Savior. We even sing that we cherish it. The Roman Catholic version even has a man hanging on it. Perhaps it would be better if we used an empty tomb for a symbol. At least that celebrates the victory of Christ over sin and death. Don't get me wrong, I am eternally grateful that Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be crucified, but I am far more grateful that the Father raised Him from the dead (Jn. 10:17-18; Acts 5:30; Gal. 1:1). As a good song says, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, life is worth the living, just because He lives." It doesn't really matter on which day Christ died; what matters is that you believe God raised Him from the dead, and He lives to be your Lord and Savior!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


There are several references in the Old Testament which tell us God would prefer men love and appreciate Him enough to obey Him, rather than for them to offer sacrificial sin offerings when they disobey (1 Sam. 15:22; Ps. 50:8-9: 51:16-17; Prov. 21:3; Isa. 11:11-17; Jer. 7:22-23; Mic. 6:6-8). And yet, Israel continued to saturate the ground with the blood of animals until A.D. 70, when the Romans destroyed the temple. There are at least two reasons that the sacrifices continued. For one, the Law was given to reveal that man is a sinner by nature, and therefore needed the sacrifices to continue (Gal. 3:24). The other obvious reason the religious leaders of Israel continued the practice, was that it made them rich and gave them power (Jn. 11:47-48).

The New Testament offers a solution to the problem. Instead of believers offering animal sacrifices every time they sin, God has provided a single sin offering for all men, and for all time! Hebrews says:

"For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, 'Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared for Me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure.' Then said I, 'Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.' ...He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God" (Heb. 10:4-12).

The Law, with its animal sacrifices, merely covered sins until they could be permanently removed by the sacrifice of Jesus. It is the Law that reveals man's inability to live a righteous life and hence, a need for the Savior. The Law (the first), has been replaced by Grace (the second) provided by Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Heb. 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). It is ironic that God did not desire the blood of animals, when we realize that He did will that Jesus offer His blood for mankind (Lk. 22:42).

One would think that Christians, having the knowledge that God loved man enough to offer His Son for them, would make every effort to live a life pleasing to Him. But, just as the Jews did as they chose because they had the "out" of offering a sacrifice, many Christians live their lives as they choose believing whatever they do is "covered in the blood." Jesus blood did not cover sins, it removed them. If we are truly born-again, God will not ignore our sinful behavior; He promises to discipline His children (Heb. 12:5-8). In fact, if a person claiming to be a Christian continues to live in sin, and has "gotten away with it" for years, he is not a child of God (v. 8).

Live your life in gratitude to the One Who loves you! He deserves it!

Monday, November 15, 2010


The word "written" appears many times in the Scriptures, and it carries with it the idea that what has been written is truth. Just as what God spoke was truth, what He gave to those who wrote the Scriptures is also true (Gen. 3:1-19; 2 Tim. 3:16). God told Moses that He had written the commandments (Ex. 24:12). Warnings were written (2 Kgs. 22:13). Curses were written (2 Chron. 34:24). Prophecies were written, especially concerning the coming of the Anointed One (Lk. 22:37; 24:13-27). The entire Bible is declared to be the truth of God (2 Tim. 3:16). And in case there are skeptics out there who take the time to read what I write, the Apostle Peter confirmed that what Paul wrote was Scripture (2 Pet. 3:15-16).

But Houston, we have a problem! While nearly all students of the Word of God will acknowledge that the original writings were written by God's inspiration, many question the accuracy of subsequent copies. Yesterday, I addressed an apparent contradiction found when one compares Isaiah 61:1-2 with Luke 4:18-19. Some commentators suggest that Jesus was reading from the Greek version of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. They say that because the common language of the people was Koine Greek, they must have used the Septuagint in the synagogues. That is an odd suggestion as we have copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Hebrew. Regardless, if the Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Hebrew, would not the translators have taken as much care to preserve its accuracy as the copiers of the Hebrew text? And wouldn't Jesus, the very Word Himself, have said something about the differences?

I suggest there is a much simpler explanation for the difference: Jesus did not read the text, but as I pointed out yesterday, He interpreted it. The custom in the synagogue of that day was for a person to stand when he wanted to read the Scripture for the worship service. The Rabbi in authority would hand the scroll to the person, and they read. In the case of Luke's Gospel, it says that Jesus "stood up for to read" (Lk. 4:16). What it does not say is that Jesus read the scroll which was handed to Him; He simply opened to it, and began presenting its meaning. As I pointed out yesterday, no one would be amazed at the "gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth," if He merely read what was written. Their response was clearly the result of what Jesus said. Similar responses to His words are found in Luke 2:46-47 and Mark 6:2.

I do not know where the original writings are, and even if I did, I couldn't read them, nor could I compare the Masoretic manuscripts to the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Septuagint. I do not claim to be, nor do I desire to be involved in "textual criticism." I was saved by believing the Word of God as presented in the King James Bible, and I will continue to believe what it says. To the skeptics, the critics, and those who do not believe in the Bible in any form, I make no apology. I believed in Jesus by faith in what was written of Him in my Bible. I believe the King James is best for me. Why shouldn't I? After all, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). I believe, so to me, it is absolutely the Word of God!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty among the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn" (Isa. 61:1-2).

When comparing this passage to Luke's Gospel, two things immediately stand out as odd. For one, the Isaiah passage, and Luke's supposed quote of the passage are not worded the same. Since both are Scripture and therefore cannot contradict, it is obvious that Jesus did not read the passage, but He expressed its meaning; that is, He interpreted it. Luke's version does not say Jesus read the passage. There is a great irony here, in that the experts on the Word of God didn't correct Him, but instead marveled at "the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth" (Lk. 4:22). Why would they marvel if He was simply reading the Scripture? They understood that He was claiming to be the Anointed One, the Son of God, and so they asked, "Is not this Joseph's son?" The answer is no, absolutely not (Matt. 1:16; Lk. 3:23).

The other obvious difference between Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:18-19 is that Jesus stopped interpreting midway through the second verse. Jesus stopped at that point, because the rest of the verse refers to His Second Coming. Neither the Scofield Reference Bible or the Ryrie Study Bible make the distinction between Jesus reading and Jesus interpreting the passage, but they both point out that the second half of Isaiah 61:2 refers to the Second Coming of God's Anointed. As I have said many times, Jesus came the first time to be our Passover Lamb, but when He returns, He will come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Jn. 1:29, 36; 1 Cor. 5:7; Rev. 5:5). His first appearing was marked by meekness and self-sacrifice; His second will be marked by His absolute authority and His rod of discipline (Matt. 11:29; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).

If ever there was a verse of Scripture that could be described as "good news/bad news," it is Isaiah 61:2! The good news is that the Anointed of God humbled himself to die for our sins, and by putting our trust in Him, we will escape the wrath of God (Phil. 2:5-8; Rom. 5:9; 1 Thes. 1:10; etc.). The bad news is that all who fail to accept His payment for their sins are going to have to face His wrath (Lk. 21:23; Jn. 3:36; Rom. 2:5; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; Rev. 6:16-17; etc.). By accepting Jesus as God's Anointed the first time He came, we can avoid facing His wrath at His Second Coming. It is our choice. Jesus died (for our sins), Jesus was buried and Jesus rose again according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). All He requires of us it that we believe God raised Him from the dead, and that we public declare our faith (Rom. 10:9-10). If you believe, tell somebody! Thank God for His Anointed Son! Praise the Lord!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


It puzzles me as to why Christians continually refer to the First and Second Comings of Jesus as that of the Messiah, when the word "Messiah" appears only four times in the entire English Bible (Dan. 9:25-26; Jn. 1:41; 4:25). However, the same Hebrew word is also translated "the Anointed," as it appears dozens of times in the Old Testament. The Greek for "Mashiach" is "Xristos" pronounced "Christos," which appears hundreds of times in the New Testament. It is always translated "Christ" which is defined as "the Anointed." It seems more logical to me that we should be referring of the First and Second Comings as that of God's Anointed.

The Old Testament refers to a future appearing of God's Anointed, and the New Testament makes it absolutely clear that it was Jesus of Whom the Scriptures spoke (Lk. 24:27; Jn. 1:45; 5:39). The first and last verses of the English New Testament contain the words, "Jesus Christ." "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matt. 1:1). Matthew wrote to present Jesus as God's Anointed, Who had to be a descendant of Abraham (a Jew), and of David (being of the royal lineage). John wrote: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen" (Rev. 22:21).

In the writings of John, Jesus is presented as God (Jn. 1:1). John identifies Jesus as the Creator (Jn. 1:3). In Revelation, Jesus is recognized as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16). Back in Exodus, God told Moses that His name is "YHVH," which is translated "I Am," (Ex. 3:14). Wherever "YHVH" appears in the Hebrew text, it is translated "LORD" in English, with few exceptions (Ex. 6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4). I believe the use of "LORD" in the Old Testament, and "Lord" in the New Testament are referring to the same person: Jesus, God's Son.

The New Testament, therefore, presents Jesus as the "Anointed of God." The word "anoint" refers to smearing or pouring oil over someone or something to sanctify it, that is, to set it apart for God's service. Jesus announced to His people that He was the "Anointed One" spoken of by the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 61:1-2; Lk. 4:17-21). He is the One Israel longed to see, and the One they failed to recognize when He arrived. Israel could not see Him as their long-awaited Savior, because they were looking for a King, and not a Sacrifice. Jesus came the first time anointed to be our "Passover Lamb," but one day, He will return as the anointed "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (1 Cor. 5:7; Rev. 5:5).

I am not certain that calling Jesus "Yeshua ha Mashiach" or "Jesus the Messiah" matters. Whether or not we say "the Christ" or "the Anointed" probably matters only to theologians. What does matter is that you and I recognize that God chose Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. In any language, Hebrew, Greek, or English, Jesus Christ is proof that God loves you and me. Loving Him back must be done in the universal language of the heart. He is "the Anointed of God," and He is worthy!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Very early in my military career, I learned a valuable lesson; it is considered insubordination to ask someone of a superior rank, "why?" when given a command. My leader responded with the old adage, "Yours is not to reason why; yours is but to do or die." At the time, and actually even today, I would never have thought in a million years that my Company Commander was "quoting" a line from The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He just didn't seem like one who had read anything but the funny papers. My low opinion of him is somewhat vindicated in that he massacred the text. The actual line is, "Theirs is not to reason why, Theirs is but to do and die." There is a big difference. One is a threat of death; the other is the certainty of it.

My wife, my children, and my employees obviously were never in the military, because it seemed they were always demanding to know why I made my decision about something. They were questioning my wisdom. What I felt they were saying was, "How on earth could you decide that?" Or in other words, "How could you be so stupid?" And, when you think about it, that is what is being said. "I don't think I would do that based upon what I know about the situation, so I want to know what knowledge you have that makes your decision wise, before I comply with your request."

Can you imagine that kind of thinking during a combat situation? It would be disastrous! Subordinates need to trust their leaders and respond instantly; there is no time to debate. Or as a parent, can you imagine having to explain why your child should instantly stop in his tracks when he is about to endanger himself? A parent says, "Stop!" to protect the child. The child needs to trust his parent is always looking out for his best interest.

The idea that those under the authority of others should trust and obey them, must also be applied to our relationship with God. How dare anyone say to God, "Why," when He tells them to do some things, and avoid doing others! We should be absolutely confident that He has our best interest at heart. To know Him is to trust Him. Anyone who would sacrifice His own Son for me, can be trusted. Likewise, a parent who consistently acts in the best interest of his child, can be trusted. An employer who continually makes an effort to treat his employees fairly, can be trusted. An officer who requires the best from his men, and who shows appreciation for a job well done, can be trusted.

What do all these examples have in common? In each case, the authority has earned the respect of those for whom he is responsible. So, when a child, an employee, a subordinate, or a Christian asks "Why," it is due to a lack of respect. When you question the right of any human being to be in authority over you, you are actually questioning the person who appointed him to be your leader. If you follow the "chain" back far enough, you find that you are actually questioning God (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-15). Trust and obey.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I cannot even imagine the size of Hell, but if the New Jerusalem is "foursquare" measuring twelve hundred furlongs (a furlong is 660 feet, making the side of the city fifteen hundred miles long - Rev. 21:16), Hell must be humongous! Jesus used the word "few" to describe the saved in comparison to the "many" who will be in Hell (Matt. 7:13-14). Just to give you some perspective on how big the New Jerusalem will be, Texas is 268,601 square miles in size; the New Jerusalem will be 2,250,000 square miles. The entire United States is only 3,537,441 square miles! Add to that the fact that the New Jerusalem is also fifteen hundred miles tall (which is equivalent to a building with 792,000 stories if each story is ten feet), and you have a lot of room for the saved. Do you suppose God will make it that large to show all of humanity He wanted every single person to be there? After all, if He does not want anyone to perish (2 Pet 5:7), wouldn't He have to have room for everyone if none did?

We know who will populate the New Jerusalem: all those who have placed their trust in Almighty God, but who are those one could meet in Hell? Let me list them:.

ATHEISTS who believe there is no God, such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Madelyn Murray O'Hare, etc. I Googled "Celebrity Atheists" and got a list of hundreds, some of whom already know they were very much mistaken!

AGNOSTICS who are not sure if there is a God, such as Clarence Darrow, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, etc. Again, some already have had their doubts removed by the One known as "I AM."

RELIGIONISTS who think they know who God is, but who fail to acknowledge the Jesus of the Bible as their Creator and their Savior, such as Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc., and a whole lot of folks who call themselves Christians, but believe that it is by their works that they will qualify for heaven.

The Bible says that the Gospel is the power that God uses to save the lost (Rom. 1:16). Paul wrote that there is only one true Gospel (Gal. 1:6-9); that the Gospel is the good news that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures; that He was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4); that salvation is a free gift, and that even the faith to believe is by grace (unmerited favor), which comes from hearing the Word of God ( Eph. 2:8; Rom. 10:17). Paul also wrote "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Rom. 10:9). Period! He did not say, "If you then live like a Christian you are saved." John said we can know we are saved now (1 Jn. 5;13). Nothing we do can earn our salvation, and nothing we, or anyone else does, can remove us from being His child (Jn. 6:29; Rom. 8:35-39)! True Christians are not in a religion; true Christians are in a relationship with God!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Although he is given credit for coining the phrase, "These are the times that try men's souls," Thomas Paine's opening to the pamphlet, The American Crisis, could be said of any time between the eternities. After all, Adam was tried and convicted, just as those choosing sides during the Tribulation will be (Gen. 3:1-19; Rev. 13:17; 14:11; 16:2; 19:20). In fact, as long as this world continues in its present condition, the only time Satan will not be trying to destroy man's faith in his Creator, is during the one thousand year reign of Jesus on Earth (Rev. 20:1-7). That's just what he does (Ex. 12:23; Job 15:21; Ps. 17:4; Jer. 4:7; 1 Cor. 10:10; and especially Heb. 2:14)! Although Satan is bound for those thousand years, Jesus still will rule with a rod, because even without the Tempter present, man is naturally going to sin (Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).

Followers of Christ are not promised to have a smooth life, void of trials and temptations. Jesus said, "...In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33). Notice He didn't say "might have," but "shall have." I am not exactly certain why born-again believers seem surprised when trials come, but if I had to guess, I would say it is because we do not know God's Word. It seems as though most Christians are "babes" lacking a desire for the sincere "milk of the Word" (1 Pet. 2:2). Even those who have been fed that "milk" are considered immature by Paul (1 Cor. 3:1-2).

Recently, I have had two Christians say that they are confused as to why they are having so much difficulty. One said, "It seems like the harder I try (to live for Christ), the more difficult life gets!" The other, my grandson, said that he didn't understand why he, having recently begun actively participating in church, has wrecked two cars and does not have the means to get them fixed. He is angry and hurt that God would allow him to be in this situation. The coward that I am, I decided to take is family to Cracker Barrel to comfort them, rather than try to explain. I will call and tell them to read this blog, but I didn't have the courage to confront him at the time. Knowing him, that simply may have been wisdom.

While the answer seems clear to those not involved in the trial, when you are going through one, you forget that all things work together for good to you because you love God (Rom. 8:28). As for the question, "Why now of all times?", the answer is easy: as long as you were not living for the Lord, Satan was quite content to leave you alone, but the moment that you decided to turn your life completely over to God, he began seeing you as a threat to his diabolical work. You will notice that in the case of Job, Satan didn't attack his "religious" counselors, he attacked the person who was his greatest threat. Satan had no problem with the Pharisees and Saducees, but even before the birth of Jesus, the devil was out to eliminate his opposition.

If things are going just fine for you and your family, take heed; you are probably not a threat to Satan!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Satan and all those who prefer to believe his lies rather than believe God and His Word, continually try to convince mankind that God's Word cannot be trusted. He told Eve that she should not believe God (Gen. 3:1-5). Satan tried to convince Job that God had deserted him by destroying everything Job had, including the compassion of a loving wife (Job 1:1-2:9). In trying to tempt Jesus, he offered Him a short cut to His future rule as King of kings, and Lord of lords, and had Jesus accepted, the prophecies concerning His First and Second Comings would have become void (Matt. 4:1-10). As the father of lies, Satan is constantly on the prowl seeking to destroy the faith men have in God (Jn. 8:44; Eph. 6:11; 1 Pet. 5:8).

A perfect example of how Satan's fans challenge Scripture is their ridiculing of Matthew's math. In Matthew's presentation of the genealogy of Jesus, he wrote that there were forty-two generations from Abraham to Jesus (Matt. 1:1-17). If one counts the number of names, there are only forty-one. The list is divided into three groups, said to consist of fourteen names each, and yet, the last group only has thirteen. Before I attempt to explain the supposed mathematical error, let me say that every apparent contradiction has a logical explanation. If we cannot explain it, it is because we are ignorant of the truth regarding it. I have to admit that there are many things I am not able to explain, but I am absolutely convinced that every word is true. Perhaps we will have to wait until "we know, even as we are known" (1 Cor. 13:12; 1 Jn. 3;2).

While I cannot prove this, I believe that Jechoniah is counted twice, once as the heir of the throne, and once as having been cut off from it (Matt. 1:11-12). The reason is that he was the king of Judah prior to the Babylonian Captivity, but because of his sin, God no longer allowed him, or any of his descendants to rule on David's throne (Jer. 22:24-30). Therefore, when the genealogy resumes following their captivity, Jechoniah's lineage has a totally different status. He and his progeny no longer were legally considered eligible to be king. The next person to sit upon the throne of David will be Jesus during the Millennium (Rev. 19:11-16). He is the rightful heir to the throne because of Luke's genealogy (Lk. 3:23-38).

Satan also likes to question the fact that the two genealogies do not match, but neither do yours and mine. My father's family and my mother's family intersect for the first time when they marry. However, if it were possible to follow them back far enough, they certainly must intersect as the family of Noah. I, and many others, believe that the genealogy in Matthew's Gospel is that of Joseph, and Luke's Gospel presents Mary's. That is especially important since Joseph was not the father of Jesus (Matt. 1:16; Lk. 3:23). If he had been, other than the obvious problems with the deity of Christ, Jesus would not be eligible to sit on David's throne. God's Word it true, and Satan is a liar!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote about the difference between a watchman and a lookout. I said the main difference between the two is the motive they have; one serves to protect from crime, and the other serves to facilitate crime. Another word that is similar is "guard." It can be a noun or a verb, whereas the other two always refer to a person. A guard is a person who has been assigned to protect someone or something. There are several examples: the Palace Guard, the National Guard, an Honor Guard, etc. A guard may also be a thing designed to protect something of value: Scotch Guard (for clothing, carpets, furniture, etc.), a sneeze guard (to protect food in a restaurant), splash guards (for vehicles), a guard dog, etc. In any case, a guard is always for the protection of something.

In the Bible, "guard" appears forty-nine times, forty-eight of which are found in the Old Testament. Thirty-five times, it is accompanied by a qualifier (captain of the guard, chief of the guard, etc.). Of the other fourteen, eleven refer to a group of men assigned to guard someone or something. There are a couple of lessons we can learn from this: one, a guard has a leader who is responsible for those assigned to him; and two, the responsibility of guarding something or someone requires more than one person. If I apply these to the local church, I would identify the pastor as the "captain of the guard," and the elders as his "soldiers."

In the family, the husband/father is to be the "captain of the guard." Jesus has voluntarily submitted to the Father, and the Father made Him to be head over the Church (Phil. 2:5-8; Eph. 1:22). The Christian husband has submitted to the authority of Christ, Who then made him to be responsible for the provision and protection of the family. His Word says that "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8).

A father does not have to be a Christian to be responsible for the protection and provision of his family. Millions, perhaps billions of men accept the responsibility for those things. A Christian father has an additional responsibility; he is to be a role model, to demonstrate Christ-like behavior as he raises his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4). Nothing provokes a child faster than having to submit to a father who does not "practice what he preaches" (Col. 3:21). If he is to train up his child in the way he should go, he has to leave footprints along that path for his children to follow.

The qualifications of a good guard are a willingness to submit to the "Captain of the guard," to be alert to the needs of those for whom he stands guard, and to recognize any threat that endangers those for whom he is assigned to guard. As a pastor, that is your flock. As a father, that is your family. As a Christian, that is your own heart and mind (Phil. 4:5-7). Be a faithful guard, because one day Jesus will ask, "What kind of guard were you?"

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Sixty-five years ago today, Japan attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Most Americans view their action as unprovoked and unexpected. For those who have studied American History, their view is justifiable, but history is always written by the victor. What if we were to read what the Japanese historians have written; would their version of the event be different? Of course, the answer is yes. A few Japanese leaders mistook the intentions of the U.S. and decided to execute a preemptive strike. Why they thought our country would attack them, when we failed to come to the aid of our European allies who had been under attack by Hitler's Nazi Germany from March of 1939, still puzzles me.

A "watchman" is a guard, someone who is assigned to watch for a threat from others to the safety of one's people or property. In the Navy, we were scheduled to stand watch. That usually involved a four hour period of time in which we were to be vigilant in our duty. Sleeping or drinking while on watch was a court martial offense. During wartime, it is punishable by death. The grave of Jesus was guarded by a watch of Roman soldiers (Matt. 27:62-66; 28:4, 11-15). The chief priests gave the guards a bribe to say Christ's disciples stole the body, and said that they would defend them before the governor if he were to hear about it. Two observations here: how on earth could the governor not hear about the missing "corpse," and why on earth would the guards trust men who were obviously unethical? The answer must be that they had no other options. To know how that all played out will have to wait, because the Word does not tell us.

A "lookout" on the other hand, is someone who watches for the authorities while their partners in crime commit the evil act. For instance, a group of bank robbers usually has at least one lookout to warn them of anything that could foil their crime. While there are many references to "watchmen" in the Bible, there is not a single reference to a "lookout." Perhaps that is because God's Word tells us how to obey the law, instead of how to break it.

In the case of Pearl Harbor, both the United States and Japan had planes in the air prior to the attack, to watch for the enemy. The difference is, we had ours serving as "watchmen," while Japan had theirs as "lookouts." Regardless of whose history one reads, the fact that Japan was intent on committing an act of war identifies their pilots as "lookouts."

There are many admonitions for Christians to be "watchmen" in the New Testament (Matt. 26:41; 1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Thes. 5:6; 1 Pet. 4:7; etc.). Christians are to know their enemy and his subtle ways. We are to stand guard in the "whole armor of God" (Eph. 6:11-18). In verse eleven, we are warned to be on the alert for the "wiles of the devil." "Wiles" are defined as "sly tricks, deceit, craftiness." Also notice in verse eighteen that we are to serve as "watchmen" for the protection of others! We are in this together! For all those who believe they do not need the Church, you are making yourselves vulnerable to all those who need a "lookout!" Watch therefore, and pray!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


When I first began attending Charlestown Independent Church, Sonny, the Pastor at that time, asked me to speak at a Sunday evening service. He politely reminded me that the congregation was comprised of people from many different churches, and that I should avoid speaking about the eternal security of the believer. He knew that I had graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and that I had formerly been the Pastor of a Southern Baptist Church, so he assumed that I was a Baptist. I am not. But just like my political views line up most closely with the Republican platform, my doctrinal understanding closely lines up with the Baptist doctrine. He was concerned that I might offend some of the members. Before you think poorly of him, you need to know that the man he recommended as his replacement believes in the doctrine of eternal security.

It is quite easy to understand how churches like the Church of God, Roman Catholic Church, most Pentecostal Churches, etc, have a problem with the concept of "once saved, always saved." Most object because they say a person who believes that, will not live for Christ because he thinks he is free to sin. If true, that person fails to understand that the children of God are going to answer to their Father when they sin (Heb. 12:3-11). God is quite willing and capable of keeping His children in line.

Then, there are those "problematic passages" in the Word which seem to indicate one can lose their salvation. Before I address two of them, let the record show that the Word of God is perfect, true, and cannot contradict itself. If there is an apparent contradiction, then someone is misinterpreting one or both of the passages.

Hebrews has at least five passages which have been historically misinterpreted: 2:1-4; 3:7-4:13; 5:12-6:20; 10:26-39; and 12:12-29. The first of these is fairly easy to explain. If one neglects to accept God's offer of salvation, having heard the testimony of those who witnessed His signs and wonders, and allows the conviction of the Holy Spirit to "slip away," he is without hope. That person was never saved in the first place. Again, in 3:7-4:13, the writer is addressing those who have been convicted by the Spirit and instead of yielding, harden their hearts (v. 8). Then, in verse fourteen, it says that big word, "IF." We are "partakers of Christ "IF" we hold on. That is true. If we want to know if we are saved, we need to ask ourselves, "Am I still trusting in Christ?"

The Apostle John explained those who "leave the fold" in this way: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest (to the Church and to themselves) that they were not all of us" (1 Jn. 2:19). There are millions of professing Christians who believe they are saved, but have never been born again. If they had been legitimately saved, they would have remained faithful to Christ until the very end. Because the work of keeping us saved is that of the Holy Spirit who seals us, we are eternally secure (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). Born again believers stay that way!

Friday, November 5, 2010


At the Sermon on the Mount, I have always believed that Jesus taught only His disciples (Matt. 4:25-5:2). Or at least that is what I though about chapters five through seven, until I noticed the last two verses of Matthew seven. They indicate that the multitude was astonished at His teaching. You may not think so, but understanding that Jesus was speaking to the nation of Israel, instead of just His twelve disciples, makes a difference as to how one interprets His teaching. If He were speaking only to His disciples, He was telling them they were the light of the world (5:14), but if to the entire multitude, He was saying that Israel was supposed to be a light to the world. That does not seem like a significant difference, but it is. The disciples represented the Church that was to begin following Christ's Ascension. The Gospel of Matthew is written primarily to the Jews. Since the Church will remain "salt" and "light" while it is still here on earth, it is Israel that was in danger of failing to illuminate the world.

I have always been taught that Israel was to be a light unto the nations, but I have not been able to find Scripture to support that. All my resources that address the idea of Israel being a light to the Gentiles give Isaiah 42:6 and 46:9 as references, but both of those are speaking of the Messiah. There are numerous places where the concept is inferred, but it is not stated in those specific terms. An example was Solomon's dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:60. So, while I cannot prove Israel is the "light of the world" referred to in Matthew five, I believe it has to be. They had been under Gentile domination for over six hundred years (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and now Rome); it is easy to see how they would lose faith and cease to be "salt" and "light" to the world.

There is great irony in the fact that God chose the Gentiles to rekindle the fire that was nearly extinguished by isolationism and disgrace. In Romans nine through eleven, Paul teaches us that Israel has been temporarily set aside, and that the Church is being used to provoke Israel to jealousy (Rom. 11:10-11). Today, it is the Church that is to be a light unto Israel!

There is one thing I noticed about the passage in Matthew concerning light. It is not written to individuals, although individuals can each serve as light-bearers; it is an admonishment to the nation as a whole. Notice it does not say you, as individuals, are to stand on a hilltop and shine forth; it is the combined light of unified believers which He describes as "a city" (Matt. 5:14). By the time He prayed what should actually be called the "Lord's Prayer in John seventeen, Jesus had already been rejected by Israel. In just hours, He would be tried, crucified, buried, and raised from the dead according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Christ's last recorded prayer, other than those He uttered on the cross, was that Christians would be united so that the world would believe God loved them, and that He sent His Son to prove it (Jn. 17:21-23). It is our unity that is the light. Together, we shine forth with His glorious Gospel. Praise God!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


From the very beginning of creation, Satan has attempted to convince mankind that God's word cannot be trusted. He told Eve that God lied when He told Adam that he would die if he ate of the forbidden fruit, and suggested that God did not want him to be equal to Him (Gen. 3:4-5). Perhaps he told her that because his efforts to be equal to God were thwarted (Isa. 14:12-17). In any case, throughout the entire Bible, Satan is trying to get man to worship him instead of God. The temptation of Jesus is the best example, but there are many others, including Judas being possessed (Matt. 4:1-11; Jn. 13:27). When he takes possession of the Antichrist in Revelation, and demands that he be worshiped, he has neared the end of his reign as the god of, and deceiver of, the whole world (Rev. 13:1-8; 2 Cor. 4:4; Rev. 12:9). He was, and is, the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).

Satan has used many men throughout history to challenge God's Word. The Roman Emperor, Diocletian, decreed in A.D. 303 that every Bible should be destroyed. Thinking he had accomplished his evil goal, he raised a monument saying: "Extincto nomene Christianorum (the name of Christ be extinguished). Just nine years later, Constantine replaced his pagan symbols with the cross. The French atheist Voltaire (1694-1778) boasted, "One hundred years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity seeker." Twenty years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society purchased his house to serve as a print shop for producing Bibles.

Today, what passes for science challenges Creation, thereby denying the Creator. The Big Bang Theory, evolution, and an obvious campaign to eliminate God from our society, has weakened the church's influence. With all the infighting between denominations, and with the many cults that have taken root, many in the world do not believe God's Word is truth, nor even that there is a God.

The greatest problem with people denying that the Bible is true, is that it prevents man from coming to Christ. The Word of God is one hundred percent about God's plan to redeem a lost world through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His Son. Jesus told the two disciples on the road to Emmaus that the entire Bible was about Him (Lk. 24:27; 24:44)! He had told His critics that they should "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me" (Jn. 5:39). Philip told Nathanael "We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write..." (Jn. 1:45).

In spite of Satan's efforts, it is clear that the Word of God is eternal (Isa. 40:8; 55:11; 59:21; Matt. 5:18; 24:35; Lk. 16:17; etc.). And just as His written Word will stand forever, so shall the Word that became flesh and dwelt among men (Jn. 1:1-14). "He that hath received His testimony hath set to His seal that God is true" (Jn. 3:33). In fact, God has declared that His Word is greater than even His name (Ps. 138:2)! Who are you going to believe: science and false religions, or the Word of God? The choice is yours.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Yesterday was Election Day, and I wrote about man having to make a life choice of either the broad way which leads to destruction, or the narrow way which leads to life eternal (Matt. 7:13-14). Jesus taught us that He is the narrow way; in fact, He is the only way (Jn. 14:6). I said that we chose or elect to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We exercise our free will. Joshua addressed this when he said, "...choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:15).

But, there is another form of election in the Word of God which says that God chose some who are His elect. The Jews are called the "chosen people" because they were singled out of all the nations to be God's people (Deut. 14:2; Ps. 33:12; Isa. 43:20; etc.). The Olivet Discourse describes the Jews during the Tribulation as His elect (Matt. 24:4-28). I have written extensively on the fact that the Church will not be on Earth during the period known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble, Daniel's Seventieth Week, and the Tribulation. Please refer to them if you are not sure it is the Jews who are being discussed.

The Church is also described as being a "chosen people" (Jn. 15:19; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:9; etc.). Up until the Day of Pentecost following Christ's Ascension, there were only two kinds of human beings: Jews, and Gentiles. But on that Pentecost, another kind was added: Christians (Acts 2:1-47). Christians are also called "God's elect" (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:10; Titus 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:2; 5:13; 2 Pet. 1:10). So while we choose or elected to trust in Christ, God also chose or elected us to be His children.

One problem many people have with God choosing the Jews and the Church is that it appears to make void man's free will, and makes it seem like God has favorites. Two verses will prove that neither one is true: "God is no respecter of persons" and "God does not wish any to perish" (Acts 10:34; 2 Pet. 3:9). God's criteria for choosing those who are saved is that they have trusted in Him. Abraham, the father of the Jews, believed God, and God called him righteous (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23). The born-again believers of the Church received Christ, and they became the children of God (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Jn. 3:2; etc.).

Another problem for skeptics is that God chose Christians before He began creating the Universe (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2). It is that last reference that clears up the confusion for me. God chose us before the foundation of the world, because He knew we would choose Jesus Christ. Another passage that says this is Romans 8:29-30, which says that God knew who would receive Christ, and as a result, He predetermined that they would become like His Son. The bottom line is, we are chosen because we have chosen! To God be the glory. Amen.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


There are two great things about a political election day in America: first, as citizens, we have the privilege of participating in God's will being carried out (see Rom. 13:1-7); and second, the bombardment of mail solicitations, phone calls, radio and television adds, etc. will stop for a while. They would probably not be so mind-numbing if they were civil and truthful, but in my view, the only truthful politician of whom I am aware, is the actor in the Geico ads whose wife asks him if her dress makes her look fat.

As important as our nation's election is, it pales in comparison to the doctrine of election found in God's Word. I have to use the Webster's Dictionary definition because my Vine's "Complete" Dictionary does not include the words "elect" or "election." Webster gives the theological definition as "the selection by God of certain people for salvation and eternal life." Our immediate response to the thought that only those whom God "picks" receive salvation is to scream, "But that's not fair!"

It doesn't seem to be fair that God would choose some for salvation, but as the late Paul Harvey used to say, "Now, for the rest of the story." God does not want any to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). Throughout time, God has given man enough knowledge about Himself to produce salvation, so that when man fails to trust Him, he is without excuse (Rom. 1:19-20).

Jesus said it this way, "For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt. 22:14). He implied that man must make a choice as to which path he will take: the broad path on which many are headed for destruction, or the narrow way that leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14). There are only two roads, and two classes of people: the many (all those who do not place their trust in the Lord), and the few (all those who do). Those two groups comprise the entire human race. The "elect" are those who have chosen to believe God's revealed truth about Himself; it is they who chose or elected to trust God. We are "the chosen" in Christ because we have chosen to believe God.

In the Scriptures, there are three different groups and one individual who has elected to trust and follow God: Angels (1 Tim. 5:21), Israel (Rom. 9-11), Christians (1 Pet. 1:2), and Jesus (1 Pet. 2:6). God has chosen all of these, because all of these have chosen to trust God. I hope that everyone who has the opportunity to vote in today's election will go to the polls, but more than that, I hope and pray that everyone who reads this will elect to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! Vote wisely!

Monday, November 1, 2010


What do you think is the greatest obstacle to a person becoming a born-again Christian? If I were to ask a hundred church members that question, I would probably get a hundred different answers, varying from "apathy" to "sin" (Sorry, I can't think of a word which begins with "Z"). As with most topics these days, it is difficult to get a consensus. So, rather than take each possible answer, as if I could come up with a hundred different reasons, I will just answer the question myself. The greatest obstacle to people becoming genuine Christians is the concept of grace. There are thousands of religions in this world, and every single one of them refuse to accept the idea that salvation is a gift. Even many denominations of Christianity hinder the salvation of their members over the concept of grace.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for grace, "chen," is translated "grace" thirty-eight times, and "favor" twenty-six times. In the New Testament, the Greek word "charis" is translated "grace" one hundred twenty-nine times, and "favor" six times. We are helped in understanding the term by the Greek using the root "charis" in the word "charisma" which is always translated "gift", and the word "charitoo" which appears once, and is translated "to make accepted." As a result, the word "grace," as it is used in the Bible, should be defined as "unmerited favor."

There's the rub. Human nature finds it extremely difficult to accept the idea that man cannot deserve to be saved. We naturally desire a list of do's and don'ts in order to be "qualified" to have eternal life. The inability of man to accept the idea that we cannot earn, nor will we ever deserve salvation, is the direct result of basic human pride. We need to feel worthy, but Jesus said we must become "child-like" in order to be saved. God's grace humbles us, and man hates that.

The Bible's teaching of salvation by grace and not by merit or works, is not only a stumbling block to man's acceptance of God's free offer, it also hinders those who have accepted Christ by faith from resting in the Lord. The false teaching that one can lose what one never deserved in the first place, is the biggest obstacle to Christian maturity. Paul continually had to deal with Christians who were being persuaded by false teachers that a Christian must avoid unacceptable behaviors, and must somehow work to maintain their relationship with God. While the entire Book of Galatians addresses that problem, he wrote in 3:3, "This only would I learn of you, 'Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?'"

I would ask you the same question: "Having accepted the free gift of salvation by trusting in Jesus Christ, what makes you think that you are now more deserving of it than you were on the day you first believed?" We didn't deserve salvation then, and we still don't. In fact, you and I never will! Praise God for loving the unlovely, for saving the unworthy, and for keeping the imperfect until we are formed into the image of His Son (1 Jn. 3:2)!