Friday, December 31, 2010


Every year, around Christmas, the "Hallelujah Chorus" is sung, and most Christians stand to their feet in honor of its Subject. It is merely a small part of Handel's "Messiah," an oratorio which presents an interpretation of the Christian view of the Messiah or "the Anointed One," Jesus Christ. Divided into three parts, it covers the prophecies concerning the coming of Christ, the birth, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and Christ's final victory over sin and death. Handel even included the "thirty minutes of silence in heaven" (Rev. 8:1), with a powerfully dramatic pause which always gives me chills.

Hallelujah (Halleluyah and the Latin form Alleluia are transliterations of the Hebrew word הללו יה), meaning "Praise Yah" (from the first two letters of YHVH, translated LORD in the Old Testament). The term is used 24 times in the Hebrew Bible (mainly in the book of Psalms (111–113, 146–150), where it starts and/or concludes the Psalm. It also appears four times in the Book of Revelation (19:1, 3-4, 6). Psalms 111-113 portray man's relationship to God. Psalm 111 could stand alone, but Psalms 112 and 113 must be read as presenting the results of God's wonderful characteristics.

Psalm 111 This Psalm describes God as "great, honorable, glorious, righteous, powerful, and the source of man's wisdom and understanding. It is the only place in the Bible where the term "reverend" is used to describe the His name (I cringe when I hear men called Reverend!).

Psalm 112 - This Psalm describes the righteous man. He fears the Lord, and is a lover of God's commandments (v.1). Because of his reverence for God, his offspring will be many (v. 2). He will be wealthy, and will live forever (v. 3). He walks in light, and is gracious, full of compassion, and righteous (v. 4). He is gracious and discrete with his possessions (v. 5). He is well anchored and will be forever remembered (v. 6). He has no fear for his trust is in God (v. 7-8). He cares for the poor, and is honored for his righteousness (v. 9). His goodness makes the wicked hate him (v. 10).

Psalm 113 - Because the Bible teaches that "there is none righteous, no not one" (Rom. 3:10), Psalm 113 explains how the man in Psalm 112 became righteousness. It is the work of God, who "raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; that He may set him with princes, even with the princes of His people" (v. 7-8). Man's righteousness is "as filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). "There is none that doeth good" (Rom. 3:12). The only way the man in Psalm 112 can qualify to be called righteous is if he has trusted in God for his righteousness and not in his own. Abraham believed God and God counted his faith as righteousness (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23). Those, whom God calls righteous, are righteous because of their faith in Jesus Christ. "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). Because of Jesus, I can say, "Hallelujah!"

Thursday, December 30, 2010


It is absolutely amazing that God loves us! I can't stand being around most people, and I am not particularly all that fond of myself either. I guess it is safe to say that I like people who are Christ like, and often times, I am not. Don't get me wrong, I honestly "love" everyone I have met; but it is the kind of love that would move me to sacrifice my life for the person, but would not motivate me to waste a moment of my short life with them.

There were many people I knew before I was a Christian, who were sources of joy to me. I enjoyed spending time with them because we had much in common, usually involving alcohol. Sports, with the camaraderie that they provided, have a special place in my heart. I can also remember the same camaraderie with co-workers on jobs. But, when I look back at all of those people, I didn't really have a relationship with them other than those activities we shared.

BUT, when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, things changed. I discovered an entire "extended family" that reached around the world. I could go into any church and immediately feel I was welcomed. I found acceptance and a genuine love from people I had just met. Don't get me wrong, I have met a lot of jerks in church, but they are usually far out numbered by those who loved the Lord, and loved me. When I go to my church and see the faces of those I know, "my heart smiles." I like being with that majority who are trying to live for Christ. I wish I could say that I have the spiritual gift of discernment, and could tell who is sincere and who is not, but unfortunately, I can't. Some of my greatest disappointments in the forty years I have known Christ, have been from discovering not everyone who says, "Lord, Lord," is genuine. Thank God they are the small minority.

There have been many churches which God used to train and nurture me through the years. I have been fortunate to find a Bible believing, Bible obeying, Bible teaching churches wherever we moved. West Pensacola Baptist Church baptized us. Barcroft Bible Church took us from the "milk" to the "meat" of the Word. Graceland Baptist Church taught us that diversity in beliefs does not preclude fellowship around the unity we have in the Lord. Bethany Baptist Church taught us what Pastors have to endure. And finally, Charlestown Independent Church is teaching us to accept ourselves and others who occasionally fail to live holy lives.

There are many other good churches around this world in which we live, but I want to recommend a special one to those who are reading this: Is a web-site resource for serious Bible students. They have hundreds of excellent studies and teaching helps available free of charge. There are thirteen week Sunday school lessons, doctrinal studies, apologetics, and great teachings on prophecy. Our home church is where we worship and fellowship with our brethren; Middletown is where we can find "food" with which to feed ourselves. I thank God for faithful brethren wherever they are!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


At some point in my past, I cannot remember when or where, I met a man who believed only the first five books of the Old Testament were God's revelation, and that the rest of the Bible was a man-made concoction. I did not understand how he came to his conclusion that only those books known as the "Pentateuch," "the Books of Moses," and "The Law," were legitimate and the rest were not. Perhaps he recognized that the Jewish leaders had taken God's law, and expanded it to over six hundred laws in order to give them power and wealth. It is possible that he, and others like him, read Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32, and thought God was through communicating with man; I never asked him why.

Jesus had much to say about the abuses of His people by the self-righteous, greedy, power-hungry leaders of His day. Chapter twenty-three of Matthew's Gospel is a blistering attack on such men. He repeatedly refers to them as hypocrites. They made laws for others that did not apply to themselves. It sounds a lot like our Congress in America, doesn't it?

I also met some men who believed that the Old Testament and the Gospels were the Word of God, but not the rest of the Bible. I do not know if there is a name for the belief of the first guy I mentioned, but these fellows are known as Ultra-dispensationalists. In other words, they interpret the admonition to rightly divide the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15), as God's instructions to "weed out" that which is not inspired. Strange, isn't it, that a verse regarded as the fabrication of man, rejected as being part of the Word of God, would motivate them to reject twenty-three books of the New Testament?

In Proverbs 30:5-6, the writer warns his readers to make sure they do not add to God's words. I suppose there may be folks who accept everything in the Bible up to the Book of Proverbs because of this warning, but fortunately, I have not met any.

As far as I am concerned, I praise God that I have read all the way to the end of Revelation's last chapter! To think that I may have read only through Deuteronomy, or only through Proverbs and stopped, I would have missed out on the greatest news of all! God loves me (Jn. 3:16)! And, He does not expect me to keep over six hundred rules, but in reality, only one (Gal. 5:14)! All I have to do is believe He loves me (Rom. 10:9-10), and the result will be that I will love others (1 Jn. 4:19-21)! Why do religious people make it so difficult? God loves you, and by loving others, you are really loving Him!

NOTE: In case no one has noticed, the warnings against adding or taking away from God's word were in The Law (Deut.), The Prophets (Rev.), and in the writings (Prov.); the three areas of God's Word.

Also, please pray for my computer; it is acting up, and without it, I will not have a ministry. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The most difficult thing for me to do as a Christian is pray for myself. It is not that I don't believe God hears me, and it is not that I don't believe in prayer, because I certainly do. It must be that I believe God has allowed everything to happen in my life for a reason, and by praying, I feel like I am seeking for my will to be done, and not His. Add to that the thought that I am but a speck in the Universe, and God has so many more serious issues with which to deal, I feel selfish whining about my little trials. Don't get me wrong; when it comes to praying for others, or when something tragic has happened or is about to happen, I have no problem crying out to my Lord.

It just seems to me that if God loves me, and I know He does; if God knows everything that is going to happen before it does, and I know He does; and if God can prevent evil from happening to me, and I know He can; then to continually pray about my circumstances actually feels like a lack of trust in Him. He knows the number of hairs on my head (Matt. 10:30), He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground (Matt. 10:29), and He clothes the lilies of the field (Matt. 6:28). Obviously He knows my needs, and since He loves me more than those things, I totally trust Him to take care of me.

Intellectually, I know I am supposed to pray because He told me to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17). He told me to pray about my daily bread, for my forgiveness, and for protection from temptation brought on by the evil one (Matt. 6:11-13). I know that when my prayers are answered, my faith in God increases. When I pray, I am forced to think like God thinks about things before I ask them of Him. The need for my prayers to be answered causes me to have my sin confessed to insure I am in fellowship with Him (1 Jn. 1:9).

My wife used to sing a song with the chorus that said:
I can pray out loud, or silently.
I can pray standing tall or on my knees.
It really makes no difference, its just that prayer is the key.
Cause prayer changes things and it changes me.

Today, I prayed for a family member who needs to believe in Jesus. Today, I prayed for my family. Today, I prayed for a friend whose church closed its doors, and whose wife had just passed away. And today, following hours of crawling on the floor to fix our "froze-up" computer, calls to those who might be able to help, and the horrible dread that everything we have on it might be lost, I finally prayed. I don't know what I did following that prayer, but whatever it was, the computer "thawed," and the mouse worked! He knew it would all the time, but He wasn't going to help me until I humbled myself and ask for His help. My faith is stronger, my pride has been humbled, and I can personally testify that prayer definitely changed me. Praise God!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010


All we know of the Lord's first year on Earth is found in Matthew 2:1-23, and Luke 2:1-40. The birth narrative is recorded in Matthew 2:1 and in Luke 2:1-7. From that point on, the sequence of events is difficult to discern. We know that eight days after He was born, Joseph took Him to the temple to be circumcised (Lk. 2:21). It is not clear whether Mary was with Joseph or not, because the Law required Mary to go through forty days of purification before she could go into the sanctuary (Lev. 12:2-4). However, there is the possibility that she might have been able to be there, because verse two speaks of seven days of purification, verse three talks about the circumcision on the eighth day, and verse four seems to be saying the woman was to then continue her purification for thirty-three more days. It is clear from Luke 2:22 that when her forty days were finished, the family went to the temple to "present Jesus to the Lord."

If one were to take the two Gospels individually, they, for the most part, tell the same story. However, if we take the two side-by-side, some confusion arises. In Matthew, the events following the birth of Jesus are the visit of the wise men, the trip to Egypt, and then the return to Nazareth (Matt. 2:2-23). The wise men and their sojourn in Egypt are not mentioned in Luke. Instead, Luke focuses upon the shepherd's visit (Lk. 2:8-20), the circumcision of Jesus and purification of Mary (Lk. 2:21-24), Simeon and Anna (Lk. 2:25-38), and the family's return trip to Nazareth (Lk. 2:39-40). At first, the two seemed to contradict as to when the family returned home; Matthew seems to be saying it was after a long time, and Luke appears to present the trip as being within less than two months. As with most apparent contradictions, this one might be explained by using the brain God gave us, for both are true.

Notice in Luke's Gospel, he has the shepherds looking for a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger (Lk. 2:12, 16). Matthew, on the other hand, has the wise men finding the young Child residing in a house (Matt. 2:11). The Bible does not say that it was Joseph's home. The solution may be found in reading Luke 2:41. It is possible that a year had passed, and the family had traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover. They could well have been staying with family in Bethlehem during that trip to celebrate the feast. As I mentioned on December 22, 2010, and again on December 26, 2010, Herod's edict to kill all the boys up to the age of two makes sense if the Lord was about a year old.

Today, we have a tough time understanding the Word because our culture is so different from that of the Jews in the first century. Another problem is that there are gaps in the chronology of the Gospels. For instance, from the time the wise men visited Jesus, until the next time we hear about Him, is about eleven years (Lk. 2:41-42). The next gap in the story is eighteen years when Jesus began His public ministry (Lk. 3:23). The Apostle John wrote, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (Jn. 21:25). Because the Bible is all true, there are no real contradictions.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


It is funny that when we want others to believe us, we solicit the support of many witnesses, but when we do something wrong, we hope no one is looking. Nicodemus wanted to speak with Jesus, but out of fear of someone seeing them talking, he waited until it was dark (Jn. 3:1-2). Today, billions of people know about his visit to Jesus because of John's Gospel. Obviously something changed Nicodemus, because he publicly provided the very expensive myrrh for the Lord's burial (Jn. 19:39).

Over thirty years earlier, another event occurred at night that would be heralded around the world. God became flesh and dwelt among men (Jn. 1:1, 14). The advent was witnessed by lowly shepherds, and the multitude of the host of heaven (Lk. 2:9-20). The Lord's birth is recorded in the two Gospels which also identify Him by including His genealogy (Matt. 1:1-25; Lk. 2:1-7; Lk. 3:23-38).

Within the first year or so of His life, witnesses abounded. When His "parents" (Lk. 2:27, 41) took Him to the temple to be circumcised, Simon, a "just and devout" man who was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Messiah, verified that the Child was the Christ (Lk. 25-35). An elderly prophetess, Anna, proves that one is never too old to be a witness for Jesus, for she "spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem" (Lk. 2:36-38).

As I mentioned in my post on December 22, 2010, by the time the "wise men" arrived, Jesus was about one year old. Herod's response is also a witness to the fact that the Messiah had been born, or he wouldn't have slaughtered the children (Matt. 2:1-18). His dastardly act verified the Lord's identity as it was foretold in Jeremiah 31:15.

Throughout His earthly sojourn, Jesus was recognized by many as the Messiah of Israel. The number of witnesses, including the angels, must be "as the stars in the sky," and "as the sand of the sea." In other words, innumerable. But compared to His Second Coming as King of kings and Lord of lords, the number pales. The Bible tells us that His return will be accompanied by the armies of heaven (Rev. 19:14). Notice the word "armies" is plural. I believe that His return will include not only the angels of heaven, but all of the redeemed as well. The armies are dressed in clean, fine linen, a phrase used to describe the clothing of the saints (Rev. 19:8). And there is the promise that wherever He is, His followers will be with Him (1 Thes. 4:17).

Finally, God's Word says that "every eye shall see Him" (Rev. 1:7). In addition to the redeemed and the Lord's angels, the fallen angels and the lost will witness His triumphal return and mourn (Matt. 24:30). You see, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Christ (Rom. 14:11); everyone will be a witness for Christ. Wouldn't it be a shame if the number of lost who confess Him could have been smaller had you been a witness during your life?


Saturday, December 25, 2010


Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. When His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, and before they were sexually intimate, Joseph discovered she was with child. Then Joseph, her husband to be, being a just man and not wanting to make a public example of her, was considering quietly breaking off their engagement. But while he was still thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, calling him by name, telling Joseph, as a son of David, not to reject her, because the child she was carrying was conceived of the Holy Spirit. He said that she would give birth to a Son, and that he should call His name Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins. Then Joseph, waking from the dream, did as the angel had told him, and he married his wife, but they remained virgins until she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and they named Him Jesus. (a Skipslighthouse "translation" of Matthew 1:18-21, 24-25).

To the Jew, an engagement was the same thing as a marriage in the eyes of the Law. Breaking the engagement was the same thing as a divorce. Mary was "with child." She did not need to give birth to the child for it to be considered a child. Had there been an abortion, it would have resulted in murdering the Child, not simply expelling fetal matter.

Joseph was considered a just man, even though he did not reveal Mary's "sin" of being pregnant prior to marriage. A just man is a man who obeys the Law, and by sparing his wife-to-be, he was actually defying the Law. To the Jew, a woman who became pregnant by someone other than her husband, was considered an adulteress. Adultery broke the seventh commandment (Ex. 20:14), and was punishable by death (Lev. 20:10). It appears that Joseph was dreaming about his decision to divorce Mary, because the angel of the Lord spoke to him in a dream. Joseph must have believed that God spoke to him in his dreams, because he obeyed as he would a command from the Lord. He also responded the same way concerning their flight to Egypt to avoid the blood-bath that was to take place in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:13-18).

The word "until" in Matthew 1:25, indicates that Joseph and Mary did not consummate their marriage "until" after Jesus was born; obviously the did so following His birth (Matt. 1:2, 11; 4:18; 12:46-50; 13:55-56; 22:25). I am not sure exactly what we should call Joseph. He obviously was not His Father. He was not the Lord's stepfather, because there had not been another marriage involved. He was not a foster father, nor an adoptive father, and yet, Luke identifies Joseph and Mary as His "parents" (Lk. 2:27, 41). Also, Jesus must have treated Joseph as He would a father, in that He submitted Himself to Joseph's authority (Lk. 2:51).

It is a shame that Joseph's name is not listed in Hebrews Chapter Eleven. It is also a shame that we never hear of his training Jesus as a carpenter, or why Jesus didn't prevent his death. But without Joseph, we would not be celebrating Christmas, that's for sure! Thank God for his faithfulness!

Friday, December 24, 2010


The star of Bethlehem, famous for leading the Magi to the young child Jesus (Matt. 2:1-11), appears to have been created on the day of His birth, although there is no proof of that. The fact that Gentiles recognized it as signaling the arrival of the King of the Jews, is a miracle in and of itself. There are some other details about the star that make it unique: its movement is described as having led them from the East to Jerusalem, stopping, and then moving south to Bethlehem. Because Jerusalem is only about five miles north of Bethlehem, the calculation of its precise position and the direction of movement are remarkable. We do not know how long each leg of the journey took, but their observation of it must have been over several months. And then, the fact that they were able to pin-point His home, is beyond remarkable.

Many theories have been offered over the centuries, including calling it a meteoroid, also known as "a falling star" or "a shooting star." But meteoroids do not stop and start, nor do they make right-angle turns. Some have said it was the aliening of two or more planets, but they are incapable of those movements as well. I have not heard of anyone saying it was actually an angel, but it is a definite possibility. Angels are frequently called "stars" in the Word (Jud. 5:20; Job 38:7; Isa. 14:13; Dan. 8:10; Jude 1:13; Rev. 1:20; 6:13; 12:4). Angels are said to be bright (2 Cor. 11:14), and since angels were involved in the Nativity (Lk. 1-2), it is not all that unreasonable. It would explain the movement and the precise positioning.

The New Testament word translated "star," comes from the Ancient Greek word ἀστήρ (astér). Most are familiar with the word "Aster," as it is the name of a star-shaped flower, and an asterisk is a star-like symbol (*). The asterisk is used to call out a footnote. Typically, an asterisk is positioned after a word or phrase and preceding its accompanying message at the bottom of a page. I find it interesting that an asterisk acts as a "messenger" to alert the reader of additional information. The meaning of the words used for "angel" in the Bible, actually mean "messenger."

Regardless of what the "star" was, when it comes right down to it, it pales in comparison to the true Star that day. This Child born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-23; Lk. 1:26-35), was not only the center of attention on that special day, He is central to life itself. He created all that there is (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-3). Notice in the Hebrews reference that He was the "brightness of His (Father's) glory, and the express image of His (Father's) person." Jesus is described as being the brightness of the sun at the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2), in the vision of John (Rev. 1:16), and at His return (2 Thes. 2:8). After all, He is God (Matt. 1:23; Lk. 1:47; Jn. 20:28; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Tim. 3:16; 4:10; Titus 2:10; Heb. 1:8-10; Jude 1:12; etc.), and God is Light (1 Jn. 1:5). Make sure Jesus is the true Star of your focus this CHRISTmas!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


It is obvious from the Word of God, that Jesus Christ's first appearance as the Anointed of God (Messiah) occurred approximately two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, also known as the City of David (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:1; Lk. 2:4). Israel had long awaited the promised King who would finally liberate them (Matt. 2:1-6; Acts 1:6). The first appearance of Christ resulted in His rejection by Israel, and He was crucified (Jn. 1:11). His Resurrection (Matt. 28:6; Mk. 16:6; Lk. 24:7; Jn. 20:16) and Ascension to heaven (Acts 1:9), bring us up to date; today, He is seated at the right hand of God, the Father (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 12:2).

The third advent of Christ is commonly known as His Second Coming. His first was to offer Himself as the "Lamb of God" to take away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29, 36; 18:37; 1 Cor. 5:7). What believers call His Second Coming, will occur at the end of the seven year Tribulation, when He returns to destroy the armies of the antichrist, and establish His one thousand year kingdom, also known as the Millennium (Rev. 19:11-20:6). Based upon the Scriptures, His Second Coming is probably not His last, in that there will be a time when heaven and earth will be purified by fire (2 Pet. 3:7), followed by His ruling over the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1). Instead of coming as the Lamb of God, at what most people call His Second Coming, He will be known as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5).

The second time Christ will come, He will not come as the "Lamb of God," or as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah." This time, He will come as the "Bridegroom" (Matt. 25:1-13; Rev. 19:7-9). No man knows the day nor the hour of His return for His bride; He will come with stealth, as a thief in the night (Matt. 24:36-46; 1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10). At His third advent (the Second Coming), He will actually come to reign on the earth (Isa. 24:23; 27:13), and His feet will split Mount Zion in half (Zech. 14:4). At His second advent, commonly called the Rapture, born-again believers, living and dead, will meet Him in the air (1 Thes. 4:13-18). At the Second Coming, every eye will see Him, but at the Rapture, only those who are caught up to meet Him in the air will see Him (Rev. 1:7; 1 Jn. 3:2). The Word says that the Rapture will happen "in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52).

To the Christian, all three advents are important: His first offered us salvation Jn. 1:12; 3:16), His second will change us into His likeness (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:53; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Jn. 3:2), and at His third, we will begin to rule and reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 20:6). So as we celebrate His birth this year, just remember, for the born-again Christian, it is just the beginning! Things just keep getting better and better! Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Sometime around His first birthday, wise men (number unknown) arrived with gifts at the home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (Matt. 2:11). I base that on Herod's reaction to their report as to the time of the star's appearing. Herod's instructions to kill every male child up to the age of two years; he was taking no chances that they would miss in his attempt to kill the Messiah (Matt. 2:16). The gifts consisted of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Although their gift of gold was timely due to the expense of their trip to Egypt (Matt. 2:13-15), I believe God inspired their choices to represent the three aspects of Christ's life: King, Priest, and Savior.

GOLD: Herod saw Jesus as a threat because the travelers called Him "the King of the Jews" (Matt. 2:2). Ironically, Pilate also called Him the same thing (Matt. 27:37). When the Queen of Sheba went to see Solomon, she brought many gifts, but gold was listed first due to it being the most precious (1 Kgs. 10:10; see also 1 Cor. 3:12). Gold was the gift for a king, and it represents the Lord's right to sovereignty.

FRANKINCENSE: This spice represents Him as a Priest after the order of Melchisedek (Gen. 14:18; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:6, 10), and it was used to as a perfumed incense in the Tabernacle (Ex. 30:34-38). The use of incense in worship pictures the sweet smell our prayers are to Almighty God (Ps. 141:2; Lk. 1:10; Rev. 8:3-4). This gift foretells of the intercessory ministry of Jesus for His people (Heb. 7:25).

MYRRH: Some have called myrrh "the Balm of Gilead.," but in Genesis 37:25, it is listed separately from balm. Nevertheless, isn't it awesome that the same verse mentions travel to Egypt? God wanted Moses to use myrrh for the oil of anointing (Ex. 30:23-25), and it was used "to purify" women (Est. 2:12). John said that Joseph of Arimathaea used it for the Lord's burial (Jn. 19:39), and it very well might have been the precious ointment which was poured upon Jesus at the house of Simon, the leper (Matt. 26:6-13). It is clear that myrrh was a picture of the death of the Messiah, which was revealing Him to be the Savior.

While Christ's role as King is awesome, and His role as Priest is much needed, it is His role as Savior that is most important of all. It was His reason for coming (Matt. 5:17; Lk. 19:10; Jn. 12:27, 46; 18:37). Unless a person accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, the fact that He is the King and the Priest, will mean nothing. Man can do little more than bring gifts to God's Son out of adoration; His Son came to be The Gift of God to man (Jn. 3:16; 4:10; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8). While you are giving and receiving gifts this CHRISTmas, respond to God's gift to you by giving yourself to Him. Be the most precious of gifts to Jesus!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


WikiLeaks is a website run by The Sunshine Press. Americans should relate it to many of our states' Sunshine Laws; both are the result of people determined to bring the truth to the public. Recently, WikiLeaks has caused our government great embarrassment by releasing confidential communications between officials, which were never intended to be seen by the American public, let alone by other nations. Some of that information has been said to endanger our troops and the lives of our allies in Afghanistan. My response to the unveiling of this, or any other information that undermines America's efforts to bring peace to our world, is that doing so is an act of treason.

That being said, nearly all of the documents which have been released do nothing more than reveal the shallowness and arrogance of our government officials, and the governments of other nations. The Bible teaches us that eventually, everything that is said in private will "come to light" (Lk. 12:3). So, if you have a disrespectful attitude toward those in authority, and if you do not want what you are about to say to be made public, keep your opinion to yourself! If what you have to say may endanger the lives of others, then instead of classifying the material as Confidential, make it Secret or Top Secret.

This brings me to the purpose of this post. Once someone discovers that we have been untruthful or "two-faced," he no longer trusts us. Christians seem amazed when their children don't turn out the way they had hoped. They see them as disrespectful and are puzzled by their rebellion. But think about this, why should your child believe what you tell them about Jesus, when many of the "heroes" of whom you have taught them, turn out to be fairy tales? From the time a child loses his first tooth, until one of his classmates "burst his bubble" about Christmas, he has been lied to about the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus. Our Christmas carols describe things differently than they are revealed in the Bible. We smile and shake the pastor's hand, telling him what a great service it was, and then criticize it on our trip to a restaurant where we tip a waiter at a higher percentage than we gave to God's work. Why should our children believe what we say?

Instead of telling them about Santa, why not tell them of how Wise Men (number unknown) traveled hundreds of miles to offer precious gifts to the Son of God, Who was no longer in a manger, but was living in a house (Matt. 2:1-11)? Why not give a child a coin for a lost tooth, rather than credit the benevolence to an imaginary figure? What possible good comes from teaching that a rabbit hides eggs, when the meaning of the holiday is far more wonderful? The One whose birthday we celebrate, the One who rose from the grave, is coming back! If we are not truthful and don't get excited about His first "visit," why should our children understand the significance of His return? Do we really want our children to discover we make stuff up? Christmas and Easter should be the easiest times of the year to win the lost to Christ; don't waste the opportunity!

Monday, December 20, 2010


The Bible has a lot to say about gardens. In Genesis, the Garden of Eden was the home of Adam and Eve, it was where they had fellowship with God, and it was the place of their temptation by Satan (2:8; 3:1-10). The Garden of Eden would become their "good old days," as they would look back at what they had lost (3:23-24). Its perfect environment is a thorn in the side of liberals who want to blame criminal behavior on being the result of the influences of nature, and the kind of nurture the offender had as a child. Adam and Eve had God for a parent, and an environment one could only describe as perfect.

The Garden of Eden is also a picture of what God promised for Israel's future (Isa. 51:3; 58:11; 61:11; Ezek. 36:35). Obviously, these prophecies have yet to be fulfilled, and although I cannot show it from Scripture, I believe it is what the new earth will be like, with the exception of Satan being present, of course (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 20:10; 21:1). I also believe that man and animals will, once again, eat vegetation instead of meat as they did up until the time of Noah's flood (Gen. 6:21; Isa. 11:6-9; 65:25).

In what I believe to be a metaphor for God's relationship to His bride (Israel - Isa. 54:4-8; Jer. 3:14; Hos. 2:16-20; etc.), the Song of Solomon presents His intimate relationship with her by describing her as His garden (4:12, 15-16; 5:1; 6:2, 11; 8:13). It should be clear from what I have said thus far, gardens are some of God's best "work."

It is also possible that gardens can be places of trial and death. Kings were often buried in gardens, which were viewed as places of beauty and tranquility, but were still little more than cemeteries (2 Kgs. 21:18, 26; Est. 7:7-8; Eccl. 2:5; etc.). Jesus spent His last moments of freedom in a garden, agonizing over what He was about to face, and healing one of the men who had come to arrest Him (Jn. 18:1-11). Following His crucifixion, the Lord's body was taken to a garden and placed in the borrowed tomb of a rich man (Isa. 53:9; Matt. 27:57-60; Mk. 15:42-47; Lk. 23:50-56; Jn. 19:38-42). Also, Isaiah describes Israel as rebellious, offering evil sacrifices and eating "swine's flesh" in gardens (65:3; 66:17), and Jesus used a garden to represent an evil world in His parable (Lk. 13:19).

Gardens, like anything else, can be viewed as good or bad depending on their purpose. Gardens can be beautiful places of rest, they can be sources of food, or they can be places of trial, dismay, and death. Houses, churches, public parks, etc., can also be places of refreshing, or places that hide dangers. In and of themselves, none of these can be described as good or evil; that distinction results from who is there, and why. When you are there, does your presence bless others, or do you diminish the value of the place? Grow where you are planted, but be sure you are not a weed!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


It may be possible to ascertain whether or not a person is a Christian by asking him the same question the Apostle Paul asked in Galatians 3:2 - "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith?" After all, the Lord had said that a man must be born of the Spirit to be saved (Jn. 3:3-8). He told His disciples that the Spirit would dwell within them (Jn. 14:17). Jesus told them that they were to wait for the Spirit who would make them witnesses for Him (Acts 1:4; 1:8). Notice that the sequence is wait, then work. There was nothing they were to do but simply wait.

But someone might say, "Isn't waiting works? Isn't it doing something?" The answer is yes. However, one does not follow instructions unless one believes the person giving them deserves to be obeyed. And one does not obey a person unless there was already a decision to submit to the authority of that person. Therefore, works follow faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 speaks of salvation being a gift from God, and says that being saved is not by doing works. Ephesians 2:10 says that those who have received salvation should do the work God intends for them to do. Works do not save us, salvation is a gift.

And, it is not always easy to tell who is, or who is not, saved by observing their works. Religions require works for salvation. The difference is, their works are done to merit their salvation, while the Christian understands there is nothing he can do to earn it. Man's effort to clothe himself in righteousness is doomed from the start, for all his righteous acts are compared to "filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). For religions, good works lead to salvation; Christianity teaches that salvation leads to good works.

A perfect example of the futility of looking at someones works to determine if they are a Christian, is given in Luke 10:38-42. If those present at the visit of Jesus to the home of Mary and Martha were asked which of the two was saved, the religious person might say, "Martha," while the Christian might say, "Mary." Both could be wrong. Martha could have been either trying to earn the Lord's love, or she could have been working because of her love for the Lord. Mary could have been worshiping at the feet of Jesus, or she could have been seeking instruction on how to be saved. It is clear that by the time Jesus arrived in Bethany in response to word that Lazarus had died, both believed in Jesus (Jn. 11:1-32). Mary believed that had Jesus come earlier, He could have prevented her brother's death (vs. 32), but Martha believed Jesus had the ability to raise her brother even though he had dead (vs. 21-27). Both were saved, but it was the "worker" who had the greater understanding of who Jesus was.

The moral of the story is, it is impossible to determine who is saved and who is not. The lost do good works to be saved; the saved worship by doing good works. Only God knows a person's motive, and therefore, only God knows who is saved and who is not.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


It seems that everyone enjoys hearing about someone who "pulled himself up by the bootstraps," often calling him a "self-made man." Unless, of course, their story crosses lines of bias, such as that of Nelson Mandela. White supremacists, such as those who supported slavery or apartheid, probably have a tough time swallowing his transformation from prisoner to President. It has been my experience that white racists see the success of a white man as inspiring, and that of a black man as his "being uppity." Strangely, black racists seem to be in agreement with their white counterparts, using the name "Uncle Tom" in the place of "uppity."

The American author, Horatio Alger (1832 – 1899), was a prolific writer who was most famous for his novels about the adventures of bootblacks, newsboys, peddlers and other impoverished children in their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of respectable middle-class security and comfort. Today, when discussing a person's rise from rags to riches, we often hear their biography called a "genuine Horatio Alger story." You may have noticed that Alger's stories of success only rose to the "middle-class." That is probably because no one seems to like the exceptionally wealthy. They are viewed as people who climbed to the top "on the backs of others."

The Bible has a few well-loved "Alger" stories, and what makes them unique is that God is credited for the "upwardly mobile." The most obvious example is that of Joseph, the son of Jacob. His brothers sold him into slavery due to jealousy and pride, only to be humbled by a famine and the rescue by the one they hated (Gen. 37-50). He too went from being a prisoner to being Governor (Acts 7:10). The Bible gives us another example in David, who was the youngest of Jesse's eight sons, and as such, had the lowest job of all; David was a mere shepherd. God directed Samuel to anoint David as Saul's successor (1 Sam. 16:1-13). There are many more "rags to riches stories" within the Word of God.

The greatest "rags to riches story" is my own! I was an atheist at the age of twenty-eight, when God opened my eyes to His existence. I was a vile man, and while the Apostle Paul called himself the chiefest of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), I may have broken his record. The Bible says that I was an enemy of God (Jam. 4:4), but now I am His friend, even His child (Jn. 15:15; Gal. 4:7). It says that of myself, there is nothing good in me, but now that I have trusted in Jesus, the Spirit of God dwells within (Rom. 7:18: Jn. 14:17; Gal. 3:2). Yes, my righteousness was as filthy rags, but in Christ, I will rule and reign with Him (Isa. 64:6; Rev. 20:6). "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). To God be the glory!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Yesterday, I shared that the Lord requested His people go up to Jerusalem on three of the seven feasts of Israel, but I made a mistake on the Bible reference; it should have been Deuteronomy 16:16. While my blog shows only four of you read it, it is posted on Google, and there is no telling how many have seen it there. I have attempted to correct it, but I am not sure it will be corrected on Google. I hope so.

What I am about to say should have been said the very first time I posted on this site. Don't take my word for it! If you have read any of my past posts, you know that I make mistakes, or at least I hope you do. I am not intending that anything I write be taken as "gospel." I simply am putting down on "paper" what I believe the Lord is showing me.

The Apostle Paul, the most prolific writer of the New Testament, wrote at least thirteen of its twenty-seven books. Paul was a person who demonstrated his authority through miracles and in power (Acts 19:11; 1 Cor. 2:4). He, a man who was verified as an apostle by Peter and whose writings were declared to be Scripture by Peter, told his readers to make sure they check what he had to say against the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:15-16; Acts 17:11; 1 Thes. 5:21). If the Apostle Paul, when writing what has been declared and accepted as Scripture, praises those who did not take his word for being The Word, perhaps one should verify what every preacher and writer has to say. That is especially true of me.

When reading what Paul had to say about checking on teachers, one cannot help but notice the attitude he wanted them to demonstrate. In Acts 17:11, he praised those who did not confront him in public, but who waited for him to finish, and then went to the Scriptures to verify what he had said. Paul respected them, and he called them "noble." And while he did not commend those who verified his teaching in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, it seems to me he was telling us what to do when we find something that does not seem to agree with our understanding of Scripture: simply ignore it, and focus upon that which is good.

I am ashamed to say that I have had a tendency to totally avoid teachers I believed taught something that was incorrect. That is not wise. No preacher is right all of the time, and by rejecting their teaching altogether, I lose the opportunity to learn the truths they do teach. If I continued to do that, and if I were to live long enough, eventually I would not listen to any of God's people. That contradicts Paul's admonition to be taught by others in the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-16). The writer of Hebrews said basically the same thing (Heb. 10:24-25). Church is where we serve, and church is where we are taught. But, don't take my word for it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I found a neat chart on the internet that shows the seven feasts of Israel. It has the 360 days of the Jewish calendar with a pie-chart format, and by looking at it, I suddenly realized that the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Tabernacles are exactly six months apart. One falls on the fifteenth day of the first month called Aviv or Nisan (Lev. 23:6), and the other falls on the fifteenth day of seventh month called Ethanim or Tishri (Lev. 23:34). Both feasts show Christ as righteous: Unleavened Bread (leaven always represents sin) shows Him as One without sin in death, and Tabernacles picture the resurrected Christ ruling in righteousness.

There is another parallel between the Spring and the Fall feasts: the tenth of each of the two months holds great significance. The tenth of Aviv is the day the Passover Lamb was chosen (Ex. 12:2-3). The tenth of Ethanim is Israel's Day of Atonement, which also involved the selection of an animal as a sacrifice to God for sin (Lev. 16:5-10). Unlike the head of a household choosing the Passover Lamb, and keeping it for four days before sacrificing it, lots were cast to see which of the two goats God chose to be killed (Lev. 16:8-10). The other was released into the wilderness, and ironically, it is called the scapegoat. Today, we call the person who takes the blame for something the scapegoat. But at the Feast of Atonement, the scapegoat is the one who lives. The symbolism is awesome! The "innocent one" dies, and the one which represents the actual sinners, continues to live (compare Lev. 16:9, and 16:21).

I have mentioned in earlier posts that the first three feasts of Israel represent Christ as the Lamb of God at His first advent, and the last three feasts picture Him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah at His second advent (Jn. 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:5). The fourth feast, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, is another advent. It is the day the priest waved two loaves of leavened bread to celebrate the previous day's wave offering (Lev. 23:15-22). This advent was not of Jesus, but of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). The coming of the Spirit was the beginning of the Church, which consists of both Jew and Gentile believers (hence the leavened loaves). The original Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, involved the offering of two lambs, one representing each of the two peoples which make up the Body of Christ (Lev. 23:19). The two lambs were for a peace offering, and it is the Lamb of God who has made peace between Jewish believers and Gentile believers (Eph. 2:11-16).

Oddly enough, of the seven feasts, only three called for Jews to go up to Jerusalem: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Deut. 16:16). And wouldn't you know it, those feasts picture God visiting His people! God came when His people came! God wants us to come to Him (Matt. 11:28). Will you?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


In science, a law is a proven hypothesis. In other words, it is an indisputable fact. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that all matter is in a state of entropy, that is, it is breaking down or becoming less complex. Christians often use the Second Law to argue against Evolution, but say little about the First Law, which denies the existence of a Creator.

The First Law involves the conservation of matter and energy, and states that the sum-total of all matter and energy remains constant in a closed system. They can neither be created nor destroyed, but can only be transformed from one state to the other. Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity (Energy = Mass times the speed of light squared) suggests that energy and mass are merely different states of the same thing. The problem with that is, the reverse should also be true (Mass = Energy divided by the speed of light squared), but it is not. Just as heat travels in only one direction, from warmer to colder, energy cannot be slowed down enough to produce matter. Shouldn't something be testable, and the test be duplicatable before it is call a law?

It is the First Law that has given rise to the fallacy that the Universe expands following "the big bang," and continues to expand until it collapses back upon itself due to gravity. Matter then eventually becomes so compacted that it explodes again. This is known as Pulse Theory, which is nothing more than an attempt to eliminate the need for a Creator. And while Pulse Theory seems to line up with the First Law, it fails to explain which of the two, the expanding or the contracting, is representative of entropy since nothing is lost in the process.

And why would the Universe begin contracting? Wouldn't the equalizing of the forces of velocity and gravity simply cause the Universe to become totally stable? The Moon orbits the Earth and because its velocity is equal to the gravitational pull of the Earth, it stays where it is. It is true that the Universe is expanding, but no one has observed it contracting. Someone once said, "God said, 'Let there be..., and BANG, it be!'" Who really cares whether God created the Universe as a minuscule dot of matter and then exploded it? I can accept that He may have used that method to produce the Universe, but He still created that minuscule dot and it still only took six days! And, there is absolutely no evidence that a contraction of the Universe will occur.

"So called science" (1 Tim. 6:20), has been the tool of Satan from the beginning. He enticed Eve to test her theory that eating the forbidden fruit would prove deadly (Gen. 3:1-7). The Theory of Evolution and Pulse Theory are Satan's attempts to create doubt in the revealed Word of God. It amazes me that both are called "theories" and yet they are treated as laws. Need I remind you that the Law of Gravity was broken by walking on water and ascending into heaven? Water was turned to wine, food miraculously multiplied, lepers were made cleaner than when they were born, and the dead were raised to life. Praise God and tolerate science; the truth will soon be revealed!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

I am aware that this verse has been used millions of times on Christmas cards, and while it is easy to see that the beginning of the verse refers to Jesus being born, the rest of the verse has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. The birth narratives, the genealogies, and the themes of the Synoptic Gospels do not focus upon Jesus as God; instead, they emphasize different aspects of His identity: [Matthew - Israel's King (2:2); Mark - God's Servant (10:45); and Luke - Son of man (19:10)]. It is not until John's Gospel that the Deity of Christ is the focus (Jn. 1:1, 14). I will attempt to briefly explain what I see in the four titles.

Wonderful Counselor: The only time the New Testament describes Jesus as a Counselor is found in Revelation 3:18. Not only was He no longer a new born child, by the time of John's vision, He had been crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended, glorified, and seated at God's right hand. If Jesus is to be called Wonderful Counselor, it must be His relationship with the Holy Spirit, who was sent to indwell born-again believers from Pentecost until today (Jn. 14:16-20; 16:7; Acts 2:4).

Mighty God: Jesus declared to His disciples that He and the Father were one (Jn. 10:30; 17:22; 1 Jn. 5:7). Thomas called Jesus, "My Lord and my God" without rebuke (Jn. 20:28). And while most claiming to be Christians believe that Jesus is the Creator God, everyone will know it when He returns (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 20:1-15).

Everlasting Father: As I mentioned above, Jesus claimed to be one with the Father. He said, "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him" (Jn. 14:7). The writer of Hebrews said of Jesus, "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (1:3).

Prince of Peace: This one may be the easiest to show these titles are referring to Christ's role as an adult. Jesus, Himself, said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword/division (Matt. 10:34; Lk. 12:51). Nowhere in the New Testament is He called the Prince of Peace. Yet His role as the Lamb of God to bring peace between God and sinful man, was already determined before the world was created (Jn. 1:29, 36; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). And therein may lie the key to understanding how the baby Jesus could be described by these four titles.

Thanks be to God, whose love for us sent Jesus Christ!

Monday, December 13, 2010


It seems that all the necessary ingredients are assembled for the "crowning" of the infamous antichrist. The economy has collapsed, with Greece being only the first of what could be dozens of countries to declare themselves bankrupt. There is a lunatic ruling Iran, who hates Israel so much that he is willing to sacrifice his entire nation over nuclear weaponry. War between them is inevitable; either Iran will succeed in becoming a nuclear power and destroy Israel, or Israel will execute preemptive strikes against Iran and begin World War III. Since the Bible declares that Israel will exist, though scattered until Christ returns, the latter is the most likely outcome. The same insanity is going on between North and South Korea.

It is ironic that the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons is leading the world's efforts to prevent two despots from acquiring them. In his arrogance, America's President Obama has insisted that Israel return land captured in a war against Israel in 1967, to those who are determined to destroy them. He even made a speech promising the Palestinian people that he would give them Jerusalem as the capital of their new nation. While it was once believed that America was powerful enough to force such a thing, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have revealed that America is in fact, a "paper tiger." Most of the Arab nations have demonstrated, time and time again, that nothing Israel can do will quench their thirst for Israeli blood. The President's ignorance of the Bible is amazing, in that he claims to have been a twenty year member of a "Christian church" (having heard some of Jeremiah Wright's sermons, it is not surprising that he is not a strong supporter of Israel).

God told the father of the nation of Israel He would "...bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee..." (Gen. 12:3). In verse one of the same chapter, He told Abraham that He would give Abraham's people the land He later described in Genesis 15:18-21. Although Israel has yet to be in control of the entire land promised to them, it will one day possess all of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates. God declared that the land belonged to Him, and it was therefore His to give (Lev. 25:23; 2 Chron. 7:20; Isa. 14:25; Jer. 2:7; 16:18; Ezek. 36:5; 38:16; Joel 1:6; 3:2). Notice that God's covenant with Abraham was an everlasting covenant (Gen. 17:7-8).

In spite of his unearned Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama has absolutely no chance of producing peace in the Middle East, unless he is the antichrist. The only peace Israel will experience prior to the return of the Prince of Peace, is a false peace lasting just three and one half years (Dan. 9:27). It is doubtful that President Obama is the antichrist, due to the fact that Israel does not trust him well enough to sign the seven year peace agreement. The real villain will present himself as a friend to Israel, and will protect them from all the wars and rumors of war surrounding them (Matt. 24:6). Strange as it seems, even he recognizes the land belongs to God's people!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


When I listen to the radio, I usually listen to conservative talk shows. I don't always agree with the hosts, but for the most part, I think I listen to reinforce my beliefs, and to get good ideas on how to defend my position on various topics. Although they seem to be kindred spirits, I am frequently disappointed in their attitudes toward the opposition, and to callers who disagree with them. That observation has helped me separate the political from the spiritual on the issues. I do not assume that they are born-again believers in Christ. In fact, I often wonder how their views could be so far from what I believe Christ would say. As I remember the Scripture, Jesus didn't have a problem with politicians; His problem was with the religious.

Recently, I have noticed that their programs are gaining in sponsorship from those "selling gold." Their sales pitch says things like, "gold has never been worth nothing." I am not sure if gold was of any value in the Garden of Eden, but it seems to have soared in popularity from that time until now. There are 393 verses in the Old Testament which mention gold. But when Jesus arrived on the scene, gold apparently became of less importance, because there are only thirty-six verses about gold in the New Testament, with more than half of them (19) being in Revelation. John's vision does not support the advertisers claim concerning the certainty of gold's value. In fact, it says that those who trust in gold will mourn during the Tribulation period (Rev. 18:9-19).

Investors in gold are deceived when they believe gold is increasing in value. The fact is, as the dollar loses value, gold climbs in value, but should one wish to "cash out" to purchase something, the dollars they get are worth less than if they had purchased the item earlier. Since the dollar's value is falling faster than the value of gold increases, investors actually lose money.

Gold in itself is neither good nor bad. It is our attitude toward it that determines whether or not God approves of our having it. The Magi who came to Jesus bearing gifts, brought gold to show respect and honor for the Son of God (Matt. 2:11). Gold is used to symbolize the best works a Christian does for Christ (1 Cor. 3:12). The writer of Hebrews reminded his readers that the censer of the Tabernacle was made of gold (9:4), and gold is mentioned in a positive way numerous times in Revelation 1:12, 13, 20; 2:1; 4:4; 5:8; 8:3; 14:14; 15:6, 7; 21:15, 18, 21.

Gold is not the problem, it is "the love of money that is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10). When money is our priority, Scripture describes it as "unrighteous mammon," and "filthy lucre" (Lk. 16:11, 13; Titus 1:7, 11; 1 Pet. 3:2). In the song, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready," there is a line that says, "Children died, the days grew cold, a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold." I wonder how much lusting for gold there will be when a starving person has only a piece of bread; I doubt he will have much interest in purchasing what has become worthless. To show you how much gold is worth to God, the streets of heaven will be paved with it (Rev. 21:21)!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Once a month, the senior citizens of our church, and an occasional mid-lifer, meet to share a potluck dinner and play table games. The group is known as the Joy Club, and I have truly enjoyed spending a few hours with Christian brothers and sisters on a regular basis. In fact, I seem to be more enthused about it than most who attend, as I was the one who insisted we not skip a meeting regardless of some scheduling conflicts. We meet in the church fellowship hall and simply enjoy the food and fellowship.

I have planned to attend every time the group has met, but something has interfered for the last few months. I am not sure if it is the Devil who hinders our attending, or if the Lord has different plans for those times. Whichever, I am not only disappointed, I dread facing the "where were you guys?" questions the following Sunday. As of last night, I have missed the last four gatherings in a row. I don't even want to think about what everyone must be thinking. I am ashamed to say I know what I would be thinking if it were someone else.

It seems that God's plans for us on the past four occasions have not only tested my patience, but they have tested my priorities. Apart from one of the four misses being due to health problems, all have been due to surprise visits from family. I am sorry, but when family shows up at the last minute, my place is to be with them. I am sure there are a small few from the Joy Club who would say I should have advised family members that I would not be home, but with a large family, my announcing we were going to attend a church function, could be viewed as my "declaring my spirituality," or my trying to send them on a "guilt-trip." It just would not be practical or wise to do so.

Last night, I talked my mother-in-law to going with us. Judy and I were in the car, waiting at the end of our driveway for her to join us. I had our ornament for the exchange, and our food ready. When I saw a car's headlights turn onto our street, I breathed a sigh of relief because we were running late. But surprise, surprise; it was our grandson, his wife, and our two sweet great-grandkids, who forgot to tell us they were coming. After we all went inside, my mother-in-law, and our daughter and her husband arrived. Our daughter knew they were coming, and even though she and Dave had decided to come over to our house to see them, they forgot to mention it to us. Since none of us had eaten, we all went to Logan's and everyone split up after that.

Isaiah 55:8 says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways saith the Lord." I suppose the word "plans" could easily be inserted in place of "thoughts," or "ways." Ultimately, as a Christian, it is His plan for every moment of my life that really matters. If I can trust Him for my eternity, surely I can trust Him to govern the events of my day. Praise the Lord, Who works all things for good, because I love Him.

Friday, December 10, 2010


The problem with life is that when we are young, we are constantly needing to decide things. Should I do such-'n-such, or should I do something else? It was difficult enough when we were alone facing decisions, but the level of difficulty was greatly multiplied when in the company of others who were just as ignorant as we. First, we must be sure our decision is popular, as in "everyone else is doing it." Then, we have to figure the odds of our getting caught (come on, you know exactly what I mean). And finally, it has to be a little rebellious, because after all, the older generation is "stupid," right?

Of course, when we changed our status to "married," we not only had more serious decisions to make, we had to find some way to convince our mate. I have been married for forty-eight years, and if everyone's experience in marriage is like mine, getting the wife to agree on something may be life's greatest challenge. No longer is the popular, the reasonable, or the wise thing to do, necessarily the right thing to do in the eyes of a mate, who is still holding a grudge over the last "wise decision" which turned out differently than advertised. Just as it takes years to gain wisdom from one's own mistakes, it takes even more to convince a mate that you have any wisdom at all.

Then it happens, at least it did for me; I discovered that my wife also had wisdom! In fact, more often than not, her ideas demonstrated the prudence of caution. In my case, my wife is wired to take her time before doing anything, while I, on the other hand, tend to blindly leap into the abyss. It often takes her trying on a half dozen outfits before she finally decides what to wear to work, while I simply grab the closest shirt that doesn't smell.

If I were God, the next time I decided to create mankind, I would pre-program newborns with the wisdom needed to achieve the maximum out of life, by always making the right decisions. Then, if I decided to allow humans to become "foolish in their old age," at least the consequences of poor decisions would only last a short time. Someone once said, "It is a pity that beauty is wasted on the young." I think a better observation would be, "It is a pity that wisdom is wasted on the elderly." Just think of all the mistakes you made over the years; if you knew then what you know now, you would have never made them.

Obviously, wisdom is something to be cherished. But I have noticed that it is the product of stupidity. We all know that a wise man learns from his own mistakes, and while it would be ideal for wisdom to come from observing the mistakes of others, I don't recall meeting anyone that wise. Everyone I know makes stupid mistakes. However, there is hope for the Christian. Not only are our mistakes forgiven in Christ, but we have the absolute certainty that the "mind of Christ" we now possess, will one day totally rule our thoughts (1 Cor. 2:16; 1 Jn. 3:2). If I had it to do all over again, I might never have come to faith in Him. But, thank God we only go through this life once!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


"And it came to pass in those days...that there was no room for them in the inn" (Lk. 2:1-7).

It was a very busy time in Israel. Many Jews had to prepare for their long journey on foot to a distant city. For some, the trip itself could take more than a week, requiring that they take food and bedding for their two-way journey. And once the travelers arrived at their destination, their city did not have hotels and restaurants to accommodate more than a few travelers, so it was impossible to call ahead and make reservations; it was first come, first served.

Concerning Luke 2:1-7, much has been written about the conversation between Joseph and the owner of the inn. Some imagine him being cold-hearted and rude, and others see him as being kind and compassionate, going out of his way to find some shelter for the couple. However, the only thing we know about him, if indeed it was a "him," is that his place was filled to capacity. There was no room for them in the inn. Period.

Since we seem to need to understand everything that occurred, I will add my two cents worth. First, I have to assume the inn keeper was a Jew. And as a Jew, he must have known that his inn was in the city of David. Surely he knew that the Messiah would be born there, and that all Israel seemed to be anticipating His arrival (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:5; Jn. 7:42). However, there is no reason to expect the owner of the inn, or anyone else to know Mary's baby was the Messiah. After all, they were looking for a warrior king to free them from Roman rule. Just as most Christians believe that the antichrist is alive now and waiting in the wings, Israel must have thought their Messiah was an adult simply waiting for the right time to reveal Himself.

Today, we have a couple sayings that seem to fit that situation: "if I knew then what I know now" and "hind-sight is 20/20." Perhaps if the inn keeper lived for thirty-five more years, he could say the same thing: "If only I had known." I am absolutely certain that if he became a Christian, he would have given the family his own room. Even if he remained a Jew, up until the end of the Lord's ministry, he would still have been sacrificial in dealing with the "miracle worker of Israel." But, he didn't know. And, it was a very busy time for all of Israel.

Jesus is coming back one day when His Church will meet Him in the air (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Thes. 4:13-18). I hope and pray that my family, my friends, and my fellow church members are aware that He might arrive any day, and that they will not be so busy being involved with their lives, that they put off accepting Him as their Lord and Savior! The Word says that today is the day of salvation; Once He comes for His Church, it will be too late. I pray no one I know will say, "If I hadn't been so busy...."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Very little is known about Joseph, the husband of Mary, the "supposed father of Jesus" (Matt. 1:20; Lk. 3:23). Apparently, other than Joseph and Mary, everyone believed Jesus to be Joseph's son (Matt. 13:55; Lk. 4:22; Jn. 1:45; 6:42). And by the reaction of the disciples following the Crucifixion, one could say that they doubted Jesus was His Son (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; 26:72; Lk. 24:17; Jn. 20:25).

So little is known about the "supposed father of Jesus" that we don't hear anything about him from the time Jesus was twelve (Lk. 2:51). Apparently, Joseph spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus, because he trained Jesus to be a Carpenter (Mk. 6:3). It is not clear when Joseph died, but when Jesus was on the cross, He turned over the responsibility of caring for Mary to John; if Joseph were still living, that would not have been necessary (Jn. 19:26-27). It may be that Joseph's death occurred shortly before He began His ministry at the age of thirty, because Joseph was not there whenever Mary is mentioned after that (Lk. 3:23; Matt. 12:47; Mk. 3:32; Lk. 8:20)

The Bible calls Joseph a just man, because he did not want to make Mary's pregnancy public (Matt. 1:19). Joseph must have had a great deal of faith in his dream, because he took Mary for his wife even though she was carrying someone else's child (Matt. 1:20). Not only did he go ahead and marry her, he obeyed the instructions of the Angel of the Lord and named the child Jesus (Matt. 12:21, 25). Joseph obviously believed that the pregnancy was the work of God, and the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy (Isa. 7:14).

Actually, Joseph had a great deal of faith in more than one dream. It was also a dream from which he learned that he should take the Child and Mary to Egypt, thus fulfilling one more of the prophecies concerning the Anointed of God (Hos. 11:1; Matt. 2:13). After all, he knew what happened to another Joseph in the Bible, whose family started a four hundred year "vacation" in Egypt (Gen. 15:13; Acts 7:6). It was not difficult for a Jew to remember the Egyptian enslavement of Israel, because it was the basis for the Feast of Passover which is still celebrated by Jews today (Num. 33:3).

It is amazing that the man God chose to raise His Son has never really been seen as more than that. It seems to me that his name could easily have been included in "Faith's Hall of Fame" in Hebrews eleven. Other than in the Gospels, his name is not mentioned. The Bible makes no reference to anyone being named in honor of him. I suppose one could say that being named after the son of Jacob, is in itself, honoring Joseph. Not only were both declared to be just men, one provided bread for his family, and one provided a family for the Bread of Life (Jn. 6:35; 48). He was a simple carpenter, but his life was anything but simple: in actuality, he was an amazing carpenter.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I like the Geico commercial about the ex-drill sergeant who calls his client a "jack-wagon," and then throws a tissue box at him. I know it is horrible of me, but I often feel that way when I have to listen to someone complain about their latest "drama." Having survived many similar incidences, some which were far worse, I just want to tell them to quit whining and get over it. In other words, "shut-up and man-up!" When wanting someone to console us, we usually exaggerate the problems we have and tent to minimize those of others. It is kind of like the reverse of the beam/mote thing in Matthew 7:3-5. We see our flaws as small, but our problems as huge, while viewing the sin of others as great, and their problems as petty. It is all relative.

I have noticed the older I get, the more the folks with whom I hang-out and I spend our time together discussing ailments. Of course there are always those living in denial, who seem to delight in their "perfect health." I have a barber who is in his eighties, and he is constantly bragging about playing golf three or four times a week. He makes me sick, pardon the pun. Recently, he was rushed to the hospital and had to have a pace-maker put in. I am ashamed to say it, but my carnal nature kind of giggled as he related his life-changing "wake-up call." I suppose one could describe his health in comparison to others, by saying, "Thank God I don't have his health problems." I certainly cannot complain about damaged vertebrae when talking to a person with terminal cancer. So, how we view our health situation is also relative.

As you can tell by some of the comments I have made concerning my lack of spirituality, I can make no claim of being Christ-like. In fact, if the truth be told, I am about as far from being like my Savior as a believer can get and still be saved. My thoughts, attitudes, and words are certainly a concern to me, as I sincerely try to live for the Lord. I genuinely love God, but it is His children who drive me nuts; not only His, but mine as well. And when it comes right down to it, again the beam/mote thing comes into play. I have come to accept that I am walking in the flesh most of the time, and recognize that if I am to mature spiritually, it will have to be the work of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, I haven't been able to do it. But for some reason, I am disappointed and often angry when others who claim to be born again live like those who are lost. I suppose that my carnal mind justifies my judgmentalism and lack of love for those who are imperfect, by comparing their sins to mine. In reality, the only difference between them and me is that our list of sins differs. So in a sense, I am just as messed up as they. It is sad and hard on my pride to admit it, but when it comes to recognizing sin as sin, it really isn't relative.

There is one thing that is positive though; I am not as bad as I used to be, and I know that one day, I will not be as bad as I am now (1 Jn. 3:2)! I have heard people say, "I am not as good as I should be, but at least I am not as bad as I could be." I doubt that God looks at it that way. When I look at my forty years as a Christian, I can rejoice that by faith in Christ, I am His relative!

Monday, December 6, 2010


In the sick world we live in, apparently there are a few people who enjoy experiencing pain, even to the point of paying others to inflict it upon them. Masochism is the psychological term for this mental illness. As horrible as that sounds, those who enjoy inflicting pain on others, known as sadists, are far worse. I would say, without fear of objection, that Satan falls in the last category. He seems to get great satisfaction in hurting people.

In Job, he even attempted to hurt God by attacking His "poster child of faithfulness." Satan tried to prove Job did not truly love Him, and while God allowed him to attack Job's family and possessions, He did not permit him to harm His servant (Job 1:12). When Satan persisted in challenging God, the LORD allowed him to inflict pain on Job, but he was not to kill him (Job 2:6). Through the experience of suffering, Job learned much about himself, and a great deal about God, as well (Job 42:1-6). Pain humbles.

You may have noticed that Satan did not kill Job's wife with the rest of his family, nor did he choose to inflict physical harm on her. I can only think of two possible reasons for sparing her. The least likely of the two is that Satan could not kill her because she and Job were one by marriage (cp. Gen. 2:23-24 w/ Lev. 18:8). The more logical reason would be that Satan intended to use her in his plan to destroy Job's faith (Job 2:9-10). He used the same approach in the Garden of Eden, when he deceived Eve, who then gave the forbidden fruit to her husband (Gen. 3:1-6). In the case of Job's wife, we must remember that she also lost her family and possessions, and it is truly difficult to be spiritual when one is in mourning.

Pain does several things that are good. It causes a child to cry out for its mother to come to its aid. It warns of a physical problem, which left unattended, could result in serious physical limitations or even death. An abscessed tooth can be deadly, and without pain, a person would not know he was in danger. In some cases, pain is a good sign in that it tells us that the spinal cord is not severed. And how many lives have been saved by the warning of a heart attack?

Finally, pain makes us willing to leave these corruptible bodies. I cannot tell you how many people I have known that looked forward to death to escape pain. But a warning is needed, for even though we are told in Revelation that pain will cease to exist for the believer, everlasting pain awaits those who fail to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior (21:3-8). So a little pain today, which brings one to Christ, is far better than the alternative. Thanks be to Jesus Who endured the pain of the cross for us!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Below is an e-mail I sent to Pam Platt of the Courier-Journal, about her editorial in the December 5Th edition. It should not be surprising that it was the main article in the Forum section, as most folks know the Courier-Journal is about as far left as the New York Times. Next to her article was one entitled, "A strange way to honor founders," written by Dana Milbank, who equated permitting two thirds of the states to repeal federal law, with the sucession from the union by southern states over slavery. I will save my thoughts on his article for another time. For now, I will focus upon the views presented by Ms. Platt.

My e-mail:
I would like to commend you on your editorial concerning the use of tax dollars in building a Bible theme park. You are absolutely right; the government has no business in aiding in the spreading of religious information, regardless whether or not the religion is the majority religion of the country. For one thing, I would object if government funds were used to build a religious-oriented business for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, etc., and to be fair, none should be used for Christianity either. Secondly, I do not want people who are not committed to Christ running a business which describes itself as a Christian enterprise. The same is true when it comes to teaching Christianity in the public schools. In fact, I do not even want a Roman Catholic or a Mormon teaching my children. Just as I am sure there are many from other Christian denominations, who would not want a Baptist or a Charismatic teaching their children. I go to a specific church because my beliefs line up with those it teaches. If I wanted my kids to believe Catholic doctrine, I would probably be attending a Catholic church.

As far as your thoughts on evolution and creation are concerned, I spent twenty years in the U.S. military defending your right to believe as you choose. I do not know if there is life on other planets in our solar system or in any other, nor do I care. The Bible does not address life elsewhere, but it does say that man was created in the image and likeness of God, and that he was placed on this planet. Certainly, God is not limited in His ability, nor is He obligated to inform us of what He has done elsewhere. But, when He has told us that He is God, that He created man, and has given us the "instruction manual of life," I believe Him. Any serious student of anthropology, geology, and history will certainly find ample evidence that the "science" presented by evolutionists is often misinterpreted, if not fake. Lucy, the latest, greatest find, is a male. Nebraska Man turned out to be a pig's tooth. Multi-strata fossils, strata that are out of sequence, etc. should at least make science a little less arrogant and critical of those who hold differing interpretations. Closed minds are not really looking for truth; they merely want to be right. God has not told us everything, but we have enough to keep us busy until He returns.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration, Paul L. Mutschler

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Now that I am retired from working for a living, I find I miss work. I guess that is not so strange, because I seem to remember always enjoying my work. I had a lot of jobs over the fifty-three years I contributed to society, and most of them paid me with much more than a paycheck. Due to my low self-esteem due to being rejected by my parents, my emotional need to be appreciated was often satisfied by the praise of my employers. I also enjoyed challenge that most jobs gave me. I could feel good about myself. The workplace provided much needed camaraderie, and the "thank yous" when I was able to help customers. Finally, there was the escape from thinking about my problems by getting lost in my work. Sad, isn't it? Work was my therapy.

There were two parts of work that were, to say the least, uncomfortable: the fear of failure as I began a new adventure, and the sick feeling when I was fired. Fortunately, neither happen that often, and neither lasted long. I usually caught on quickly, or found a new job within a very short time. I did have to go on unemployment once, and it was very humbling.

When I was a student in college, I experienced the same feelings that accompanied challenge and success. I often took difficult courses to "test" myself, and because I was able to focus well on the task at hand, I was able to feel good about myself due to receiving good grades. While I did not experience the emotional trauma of failing, I did often experience fear when receiving the course syllabus; it always looked far too difficult for my limited abilities. The fact that I had been forced to drop out of high school, made my successes even more satisfying.

Perhaps that is why I was religious for most of my life. I wanted to work to please God. It is funny, I never thought of myself as a religious person, especially during the two years I was a "militant atheist." But even then, it seems I worked hard to discourage people from being "drugged" by society (Marx call religion the opiate of the masses).

Because I was an atheist the day God saved me, it was easy to believe that salvation is a gift, and not the results of works. If anything, I was working against God. I had been religious, but I had never been a true Christian. I received the gift of faith in the work of Jesus for me, and I became a child of God (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Jn. 3:2; 5:13). Not only am I now resting from the work of a job, I am also resting in His finished work on my behalf. Now I "work the works of God" (Jn. 6:28-29) and do good works (Eph. 2:10; Titus 3:8). "I'll work 'til Jesus comes!" "...Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).

Friday, December 3, 2010


Angels are, for the most part, a mystery to man. Very little is written concerning angels in the Old Testament, where the word "angels" appears only thirteen times. There are numerous instances where the words "angel," "cherubim," seraphim," etc. are mentioned, but all refer to specific angels in specific situations, and do not really address angels as a category of created beings. The closest the Old Testament comes to describing the multitude of angels is by calling them "His hosts" (Ps. 148:2). We also know that they are invisible to man unless God wants us to see them (2 Kgs. 6:13-17). And, the manna which fed the Jews in the wilderness was actually angel's food (Ps. 78:25).

The New Testament has much more to say about angels, where the word appears seventy-nine times. Angels are spirit beings (Heb. 1:7). Angels rejoice when a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior (Lk. 15:10). Angels carry the soul of one who dies to God's appointed destination (Lk. 16:22). Angels announced the birth and the resurrection of Jesus (Lk. 2:8-15; 24:23). When Jesus returns, all of the holy angels will accompany Him (Matt. 25:31). Angels travel from heaven to earth and back (Jn. 1:51; cp. Gen. 28:12). Angels have their own language (1 Cor. 3:19). The word "angels" appears twenty-two times in Revelation alone, where angels fly (8:13), oversee the churches (1:20), praise God (5:11-12), announce coming judgments (8:2); battle Satan's fallen angels (12:7), deliver the wrath of God (15:7), and guard the gates of the New Jerusalem (21:12).

According to God's Word, it appears that every person has at least one angel assigned to him. Matthew 18:10 says, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven, their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven." We often refer to them as guardian angels, although they are never called that in Scripture. The contemporary view among Christians is that our angel is watching over us, but that is not true. Our angel is not looking at us, but upon the face of God; it is God Who watches over us, and our angel stands by awaiting His instructions.

It is true that angels do watch what happens on earth (1 Cor. 4:9; 11:10; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 1:12), but that does not mean our so-called "guardian angels" are watching. God has far more angels than just the ones who await His instructions to respond to our need. We have the ability to count human beings, but only God knows how many angels there are (Heb.12:22).

My question is, what do the angels see when they watch you? I am ashamed to say that my life must certainly make them sad. While I make every effort to live a righteous life by walking in the Spirit, I fail miserably. The one thing that I know for sure though, is that at least once in my lifetime, the angels rejoiced! When I gave my life to Jesus, not only "my angel" rejoiced, but they all rejoiced! Praise God.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


if I were to ask you if God repents, you would be right regardless of how you answered. Numbers 23:19 says, "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall not make it good?" Here, the context has to do with God's grace, that is, His unconditional blessing on His people. It was not conditional based upon their worthiness, but upon His promise. Sometimes, God promises to bless conditionally; "if" you do such-n-such, I will bless you (see Lev. 26:18; Neh. 1:8-9; Jer. 42:10; Mal. 3:10; Jn. 14:3; etc.). In such cases, He is not said to repent, but He is merely withholding His blessing because man has not fulfilled his required part of the covenant.

In Genesis 6:6, Moses wrote, "And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart." Here, the term is used to describe God's regret that His creation was evil continually (Gen. 6:5). He did not eliminate man altogether, but chose eight souls with whom to fulfill His plan (1 Pet. 3:20). Many times, God tells his prophet that He will destroy His people, but then, because they repent, He does not carry out the threat (see Ex. 32:12; Ps. 90:13; 135:14; Jer. 18:8; 26:13; 42:10; Jon. 3:9; etc.). Again, the threat is conditional.

Israel was constantly needing to repent of their sinful practices and affiliations. Their failure to purge the Gentiles from the Promised Land, led to the gradual assimilation of a heathen culture, and to the worship of idols. Abraham trusted Egypt to provide food instead of trusting God, and many kings of Israel trusted to alliances with other nations instead of God for protection. By the time Jesus came on the scene, the religious leaders of Israel seem to be the ones who really needed to repent (Lk. 12-13 for example).

Repentance unto salvation is the change of mind and heart due to believing and trusting the Gospel (2 Cor. 7:10). While most preachers focus on the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for sinners, known as the remission or payment for sin, one will find the preaching of repentance rare in today's churches. According to Luke's Gospel, repentance AND remission are to be preached to the lost (Lk. 24:47). In the early church, the message included repentance as a requirement to be saved (Acts 3:19; 17:30; 26:20; etc.).

The Holy Spirit, dwelling within the believer, is constantly at work striving to bring the Christian in line with the teachings of Christ (Jn. 14:17; Eph. 4:20). It is ironic that the last five references of the Scripture's call for repentance are to the Church (Rev. 2:5; 2:16; 2:21-22; 3:3; and 3:19). Those who claim to be Christians, and who live a life that is no different from those who are lost, need to turn from their life of sin and live for Christ. If you are trusting in half of the Gospel, you are deceiving yourself; repentance, the turning to God from sin, is as much a part of the Gospel as the finished work of Christ on your behalf. And, when you recognize the love God has for you, you can do nothing but respond; obedience is a given.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


If I were to ask people on the street, "Who are you?" the possible answers are innumerable. Some might tell me their nationality. Some might respond with their name. Others might tell me their occupation. Still others might respond with their position within their family, such as a dad, a daughter, etc. It is even possible that someone might answer giving their religious affiliation, such as Buddhist or Baptist. In today's world, with all its "diversity," they might answer, "I'm gay." The options seem endless. But none of these examples really tell others exactly who we are.

There may be dozens of people who have the exact same name as you do. It is possible that your job may be rather unique, but I doubt you are the only individual in the entire world who performs it. There are obviously millions of Americans, dads, Buddhists, etc., and if one believes the propaganda, there are millions of gays as well. In our country, people are given a social security number which identifies them as one specific person. In all the world, with its six billion plus people, there is only one individual who has your social security number. That is unless someone has stolen your identity. Still, each of us has an individual identity that can be stolen, and because it needs to be protected from identity theft, only a fool would answer the question with their social security number.

Because it is so difficult to identify a specific individual in today's world, there are organizations that are pushing for every single person to receive a computer chip placed under the skin, as a means of identification. They are trying to convince the world that life would be so much easier if all our health information, our banking information, and our other identity information could be scanned by a computer. We would no longer need to fill out forms, uses checks and credit cards, or carry a driver's license; everything anyone would ever need to know about us would be a "scan away."

But there is one part of our identity that cannot be scanned, and that is our relationship with Almighty God. The Bible says that we must be born again spiritually, to become a citizen of God's kingdom (Jn. 3:3-8). It says that no one can approach God apart from having faith in Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6). The Word teaches us that we can become a child of God by receiving Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:11-13). There are only two classes of people when it comes to being identified by our relationship to God: His children, and His enemies. We are either in Christ, or we are not. We are either spiritually minded, or we are not. We are either heirs of God, or we are not (Rom. 8:1-17).

The best answer anyone could possibly give to the question, "Who are you?" is "I am a child of God by faith in the once dead and buried, but now raised and glorified Son of God, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!" Nothing else really matters. I am a child of God. Who are you?