Thursday, March 31, 2011


Steve Green sings a beautiful song entitled "God and God Alone," written by Phill McHugh. The first two lines of each stanza reveal the reverent attitude the artist and the writer have for God:

God and God alone, Created all these things we call our own.
God and God alone, Reveals the truth of all we call unknown.
God and God alone, Is fit to take the universe's throne.
God and God alone, Will be the joy of our eternal home.

As a Christian, I have the complete revelation of all God wants me to know about Himself in the Bible. To say that He is an awesome God is the ultimate in understatement! I am totally humbled in trying to understand Him, but one thing I can say for sure; He is worthy of my love and obedience! And when I think that what the Bible says about Him is "just the tip of the iceberg," I honestly believe if He were to reveal everything about Himself to me, I would die. I thank God He only gave me what I could handle (Isa. 64:4; Jn. 21:25; 1 Cor. 2:9).

There is no question that He is worthy of my love and obedience, but there is something even greater that I owe Him: worship. In fact, He is the only One I am to worship! The Old Testament makes it clear we are to worship only God and nothing or no one else. Exodus 20:1-3 says, "And God spake all these words, saying, I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (notice the words "which have" are plural). And in Deuteronomy 6:4, we read, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD" (the word "God," from elohim, has a plural ending).

The New Testament teaches the same truth; Christians are to worship only the one true God. In Matthew 4:10, the Lord's response to the devil's attempt to receive worship from Him, is absolutely clear: "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Peter refused to accept worship in Acts 10:25-26. Barnabas and Paul refused it in Acts 14:11-18. And angels do not accept worship (Rev. 22:8, 9).

From these verses, it is clear that only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is to be worshiped. Even Jesus declared that all worship belongs to God and God alone. So then why do Christians worship Jesus? That is an excellent question, and Lord willing, I intend to answer it tomorrow, "same time, same station."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Some have said that the greatest difference between the Old and the New Testaments has to do with a believer receiving God's forgiveness for sin. The Hebrew word translated "forgiven" in the Old Testament only 16 times, is נסלח (nasa). However, it is also translated "to lift up" 137 times, and "to bear up" 156 times. [Is it possible that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) could have chosen its name from this Hebrew word? But I digress.] Of the 16 times it is translated "forgiven," ten of them are in Leviticus, and all have to do with a repentant sinner bringing a sin offering to receive "forgiveness" (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 19:22). The blood of the animal for a sin offering "covered" their sin, but having one's sin "covered" is not the same thing as having one's sin forgiven.

In the New Testament Church beginning in Acts 2:1-4, 41, 47, repentant sinners received forgiveness by placing their faith and trust in the resurrected Christ. We learn from Peter's message on the day of Pentecost that David's sin was "covered" until the time God would offer His Son to provide forgiveness for him (Acts 2:25-35). God no longer requires believers to offer the blood of animals for sin (Heb. 9:1-10:23). Jesus has paid the full price for sin on the cross, for all sin from Adam's to the very last person born. Once for all! Yes, for the born-again believer, the payment for sin has already been made. However, when we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30), and we break fellowship with God (1 Jn. 1:3-10). By confessing our sin to God, we are restored to a "right standing" (righteousness) with Him.

A Christian, having confessed his sin and once again having a right standing with God, still has two hurdles to overcome. One is a form of pride; we find it extremely difficult to forgive ourselves. We think, "How could I do something like that? How could I have been so weak?" These questions reveal a problem with our understanding, that in us, there dwelleth no good thing (Rom. 7:18). Apparently, we suffer from the idea that we are "better than that." In reality, we think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Rom. 12:3). The Apostle Paul wrote of our struggle with our sin nature in Romans, chapter seven. Our sin may often surprise us, but instead of become disheartened, it should remind us that we have been saved by grace! We were not worthy, nor are we worthy now. As my estimation of myself decreases with each sin, my appreciation for God's gift of righteousness definitely increases!

The other hurdle is from Satan, who constantly tries to make us think we are not saved. I have heard a cute saying about how to deal with him: "The next time Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future!" The fact that the Hebrew word translated "forgiven" is also translated "to lift up," seems so appropriate. When we are feeling down because of our sin, the Holy Spirit works to encourage us. He wants us to walk in victory with our heads held high. Not because we are proud of ourselves, but because we know from where our righteousness comes. To God be the glory; great things He has done!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


In Sunday's sermon, my Pastor said that over the last few months, he had been plagued with the fear of failing in his ministry. Our church attendance has dropped by about twenty percent over the last two years, and his Wednesday night Bible study had dropped by about thirty percent. He then told us that while on a short vacation trip with his family, the Lord impressed him to get his priorities straight. It was as if the Lord was saying, "So you fail as a Pastor, so what? So what if your church has to close its doors? Compared to My ultimate plan for the Church Age, how important is your church and your ministry?" He said it was as though the Lord was saying, "Just be faithful and focus on Me; I will do what I will do!"

Being discouraged at the way things are going is not new. Elijah was discouraged and the LORD told him he had seven thousand prophets that were his co-laborers (1 Kg. 19:18). Jeremiah was discouraged by his people failing to heed his warnings, and wished he had never been born (Jer. 20:17-18). Jeremiah's Book of Lamentations is filled with his discouragement. Billy Graham said, "The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'"

As we see end-time prophecy being fulfilled on the evening news, as the frequency of earthquakes rises, as the medical spokesmen warn of a pending world-wide pandemic, and as the kings of the North (NATO) attack the kings of the South (Libya is just the beginning), could this be the beginning of the Ezekiel 38-39 war? It is clear to most students of the Bible that the time for Christ's return is very close. Yes, I know that people have been saying that since the time of Acts 1:9-11, but common sense and logic tell us that we are closer to that glorious event than we were even yesterday.

The Church Age is no different from the preceding five dispensations. Like them, our dispensation ends in a failure to bring mankind to faith in Almighty God. In God's Word we read about the Church becoming apostate or experiencing a "falling away." The word, "apostasy," from the Greek ἀποστασία (apostasia), is defined as a defection or revolt, and is the formal disaffiliation from, abandonment of, or renunciation of a religion by a person. The Church will experience a continual decline just prior to its "Rapture" which removes true believers to be with the Lord (1 The. 4:13-18). The Apostle Paul wrote, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thes. 2:3).

Prior to the Lord's return, the Church of Laodicea is so removed from the faith, that even Jesus is described as standing outside (Rev. 3:20). We should not become weary in well-doing (1 Thes. 3:13), but we should focus upon being faithful. After all, even in the Millennium when Christ is in control, at the end of the thousand years, even He experiences a massive revolt (Rev. 20:7-9)! So hang in there!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Years ago (1958), there was a popular song entitled "To Know Him Is To Love Him" written by Phil Spector. Here is some of it:

To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him;
Just to see him smile, makes my life worthwhile.
To know, know, know him Is to love, love, love him, and I do.

I'll be good to him; I'll bring love to him;
Everyone says there'll come a day when I'll walk alongside of him;
Yes, just to know him Is to love, love, love him, and I do.

If I were to apply this song to my love for Christ, I would have to stop there, as the next verse would not apply. And, if I wanted to have it represent my feelings for Jesus, I would certainly capitalize "Him." I believe that when I am walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh, I make the Lord smile (Gal. 5:16). I also believe that I will "walk along side of Him because 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, "Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." My favorite verse in the whole Bible is 1 John 3:2 which says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet 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." Because I will have been transformed into His likeness, I will not be ashamed to be in His presence.

Yesterday, I wrote that our knowledge of the Father is totally found in our knowing Jesus. Some may say that Jesus did not come on the scene until long after the Old Testament was written, and that we can know God from it. I do not believe the YHVY, the "I Am" of Exodus 3:14 is the Father, but that it is actually Jesus before He took on human flesh; Jesus is Jehovah (see my posts dated February 8-11, 2011).

In the two Old Testament references to God being the Father of Israel, both use the word "God" which is different from the name "Jehovah" (1 Chron. 29:10; Mal. 2:10). The first verse, 1 Chronicles 29:10 says, "Wherefore David blessed the LORD (Jehovah) before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed [be] thou, LORD God (Jehovah Elohim) of Israel our father, for ever and ever." It is quite understandable that David would use the two words together as he could not have understood that Jehovah and Elohim were two distinct persons of a trinity; Israel did not, nor does it now, acknowledge the existence of God as being triune in nature.

Because we know Jesus, we know the Father. Because we know the Father, "We love Him, because He first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19)! Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Amen!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The word, "God," gets used so often that one may come to the conclusion all religions worship the same Being. And if we narrow it down to the three monotheistic religions, that assumption seems even more likely. All three were spread through the lineage of one man, Abraham. The Jewish and the Christian faiths believe in the God of the Bible, while the Muslim faith believes in the God of the Koran. The Jews and Christians know God as Elohim, or Jehovah. The Muslim faith calls God "Allah." The question is, are Jehovah and Allah the same God? You be the judge.

The New Testament gives us several clues as to whether the God of the Jews and the Christians is different from the Allah of the Muslim faith. The Koran denies that Jesus was born of a virgin, that He is God, and that His death on the cross was sufficient to satisfy God's demand for death to pay for sin (Jn. 8:24; Rom. 5:8; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10). In other words, the Bible teaching on the life of Jesus is rejected by Muslims. That is supremely significant, because God's revelation of Himself is found in Jesus Christ. The Bible says:

*John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].
*John 14:7-9 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?
*Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
*1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
*Hebrews 1:3 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.

Then there are the verses that proclaim Jesus as God. They are so numerous that I do not have space to print them all. But, I will give two examples from both Testaments:
*Isaiah 9:6 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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
*John 1:1-2, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.

From these passages, it is clear the God of the Jews and Christians is not the same Being as Allah.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


As a member of the Body of Christ, I have already received an immeasurable amount of grace (unmerited favor) from God. I was drawn to Christ by the Father (Jn. 6:44). I was convicted of my sin and my need of a Savior by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:7-11). I was given the ability to believe the Gospel (Eph. 2:8-9); the Gospel which says that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again according to the Scriptures for me (1 Cor. 15:1-4). I was born again by the will of God in the power of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 1:13; 3:5-8). I have become a new creature; one who is reconciled to God by Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:13-19). God has begun changing me into the likeness of His Son, and has given me the will to please Him (Phil. 1:6; 2:13; Rom. 12:1-2). He will finish the task as I enter into His presence (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 2:13; 1 Jn. 3:2). He is the God of Grace!

On top of all that, He has allowed me to understand the mystery that Christ would make two appearances on earth, rather than one (Mk. 4:11; Rom. 11:25; 16:25; Eph. 3:9). I know what the Old Testament prophets and the angels of God did not know (1 Pet. 1:10-12). At His First Coming, Jesus was called the "Lamb of God Who takest away the sin of the world" by John the Baptist (Jn. 1:29), and Paul called Him "our Passover" (1 Cor. 5:7). Because I understand the mysteries of God, I am able to recognize that the first three Feasts of Israel, occurring in the first month of their calendar, represent the First Coming of Christ (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits).

I know that the last three Feasts, which are celebrated in the seventh month, represent His Second Coming (Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles). And, I also understand that the feast celebrated between the first three and the last three, the Wave Offering, which involved two loaves of leavened bread, represents the Church which is made up of sinners saved from both the Jews and the Gentiles. God's grace has changed my ignorance and opened my understanding.

Jesus truly was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). But the Book of Revelation has another name for Christ. It represents His Second Coming to rule for a thousand years with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:15; 20:1-6). This name for Christ is "The Lion of the Tribe of Juda" (Rev. 5:5). It not only identifies Him with the nation of Israel and the tribe of Judah, it signifies His royalty and kingship. But Christ, being the humble servant of God that He is, only allowed Himself to be called by this name once in all of Scripture. On the other hand, He is referred to as "the Lamb" twenty-seven times in Revelation alone.

I cannot explain why God would choose to save me. As an atheist, I should have been the last one He would transform into His child, but God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). God wants everyone to repent and come to saving faith in Him through Christ Jesus (2 Pet. 3:9). God's grace is for everyone who will accept it. Turn to God (repent), trust in Jesus, and accept God's offer to adopt you as His child. You will not regret it, I promise!

Friday, March 25, 2011


According to the American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer, the phrase, "no news is good news" is considered a common idiom. Her explanation of it is as follows:
"Having no information means that bad developments are unlikely, as in 'I haven't heard from them in a month, but no news is good news.' This proverbial phrase may have originated with King James I of England, who allegedly said 'No news is better than evil news' (1616)."

Today, King James almost seems like a prophet. The news media is inundated with wars, murders, assaults, thefts, sexual deviancy, "ponzie schemes," riots, political corruption and partisanship, etc. It has only been in the last few years that the national television news has ended each broadcast with a short "feel good" story. I hate to be cynical, but I believe that, like me, viewers were tired of their reporting leaving them depressed. I know people who never watch the news because they have too much tragedy in their own lives; why should they add the woes of the rest of the world on top of theirs?

One of the greatest inventions man has given us is "caller I.D." We can look at who is calling and decide whether or not we are in the mood to listen to a family or friend's "sob-story." The same is true for e-mails and facebook. There are some folks who write me, and by the time I finish reading about how horrible their spouse is, or their children are, or their boss and co-workers are, or their health is, etc., I just want to poke my own eyes out. I don't have a cell-phone, but I have seen others who have programmed in a specific ring-tone for each of their frequent callers. It is sad, but funny, to watch the effect the sound has on the person being called.

I can only think of two exceptions to the truth found in the idiom. During the time of war, when a loved one is in harm's way, a call or letter means that they are still alive. It really didn't matter so much what they had to say; just knowing they were alive was the best news possible. On the opposite end of the spectrum, seeing a military vehicle pull up and having a Chaplain get out, pretty much said it all. It was the ultimate in "bad news."

The other exception is found in the contents of God's Word. In it, we learn that God loves us, that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so that we did not have to pay for them ourselves (Rom. 10:17; Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:3; Rom. 6:23). It is through the Good News (the Gospel) which is the power of God unto salvation, that we receive the faith to bring us to believe in Him (Rom. 1:16; Eph. 2:8-9).

So, if you have never heard of Jesus, I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Christians, just like the rest of the world's population, often get themselves into situations from which there appears to be no way out. We have all heard folks describe their job as "a dead-end exercise in futility." In many cases, it is because there is little or no prospect for advancement, while at the same time, their financial needs keep growing. At other times, their dissatisfaction is because of the negative attitudes of co-workers or a boss. Sometimes, it is because the work is so strenuous that it is effecting their health. If only they could find a better job, but the job market is unfavorable, and they can't afford to quit until they find another one. I have been there, and it produces a terrible feeling of being trapped.

Another area in which people feel trapped is in a "bad" marriage. We all know Christian brothers and sisters who are in marriages from which they wish they could free themselves. There are many possible reasons for unhappiness with a marriage: financial stress, lack of respect from a partner, differences of opinion on sexual frequency, differing views on child-rearing, infidelity, verbal or physical abuse, lack of communication, having no common interests, and even boredom.

Psychologically, one or a combination of reasons can cause a feeling of being hopelessly trapped. Perhaps the Christian fears the shame that accompanies divorce within the church community. Perhaps the individual has no where to go, and cannot afford to live on a single income. If there are children involved, there is pressure to maintain a two-parent environment. And unfortunately, there are those who fear bodily harm from their spouse if they try to leave. I wish I could say that a Christian would not be violent, but that is simply not the case. We are just as capable of violence as anyone else.

It is true that God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). It is also true that His permission to divorce over sexual impurity was not because of the act of the one to be rejected, but because of the unforgiving mate's hardened heart (Deut. 24:1; Matt. 19:8). Before I continue, I want to "go on record" that I do not believe a Christian is ever justified in getting divorced, regardless of the grounds. That being said, I also believe a spouse has the right to leave (today, we call it "a separation"), if their partner is unwilling to live up to their financial responsibilities, if the spouse is physically abusive to them or the children, if their mate wants to prevent them from worshipping, or demands they participate in known sin.

The Bible says that a woman is not to leave her husband (1 Cor. 7:10). However, if the circumstances make it unbearable and the wife feels she must leave her husband, the very next verse says, "But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife" (1 Cor. 7:11). A Christian is only to separate with the hope and intention of a reconciliation. I do not believe a Christian can truly walk in the Spirit, and doubt God's ability to "fix" the marriage. After all, look at what He has done in you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


When someone says to us, "mind your own business," we know that we are being accused of "meddling." In other words, we are viewed as "sticking our nose where it does not belong." Usually our comment, which elicits such a response, has to do with criticism of the way the person is doing something. It could be a relationship issue, a sin issue, or a work-related issue, but whatever it is, our opinion is not appreciated. In a way, saying "mind your own business" is much like the admonition of the Lord to "first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (Matt. 7:5).

There are twenty-eight verses in God's Word that contain the word, "business." And while they all refer to some kind of "work," the actual task is quite varied. There are verses that describe doing the will of the Lord as "doing His business" (1 Chron. 26:30; 2 Chron. 13:10; Neh. 11:22; etc.). Others speak of service to one's master or to the king (Gen. 39:11; Est. 3:9; 1 Sam. 21:8; etc.). Still others involve a person's occupation (2 Chron. 17:13; Neh. 13:30; Ps. 107:23; etc.). In a few cases, doing business is spoken of in a negative way. A newlywed was to do no work for the first year of his marriage (Deut. 24:5). In 1 Kings 20:40, King Ahab was "busy" doing other things that distracted him from dealing with the captured Benhadad of Syria. Just a note: this verse is the only time the word "busy" is found in the Bible.

There is another way one could use the phrase, "mind your own business," and unfortunately, it applies to members of the Body of Christ. The word, "busy" does appear three other times in the Bible, but it is connected to the word, "body." Both of the Apostles Peter and Paul had something to say about "busybodies." Peter listed "busybodies" among the things of which Christians should never be accused. The others are: murderer, thief, and evildoer! Can you imagine listing the sin of gossip as being in the same class as those three? And yet, we put people in prison for them, and often have "itching ears" for the gossip.

Paul said he had heard there were those in Thessalonica who spent all their time gossiping instead of working (2 Thes. 3:11). Apparently it is okay to report "sin in the camp" as long as the motive is to have the leaders deal with it. He was more direct in his response to the sin in a letter to Timothy. In 1 Timothy 5:13, he wrote, " And withal they learn [to be] idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not."

Minding one's own business is always a good idea. We have enough "work to do" in keeping ourselves in line with what the Lord would have us think, say, and do. Keeping our own "eye" clear of splinters, beams, and motes is a full-time job. Besides, those of whom we are most often critical, belong to the Lord, and it is His business to deal with the business of His servants! And we all know He can handle them; He is constantly "handling" us if we are His child. If we are not, then He is not our Father (Heb. 12:5-8)!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Nightmares are defined as dreams that produce a strong negative emotional response, such as fear or horror. Although I rarely have nightmares, last night I was awakened in a state of extreme distress, and unable to go back to sleep for some time. In my dream, one of my grandchildren had given birth to a baby boy, and when I leaned down to kiss him on the cheek, he attacked me with razor-sharp teeth and with great strength. It took all I had to get away from him. My wife and I knew that he was the antichrist, and I struggled with the dilemma of whether or not I should kill him; would that be God's will? Even in the nightmare, I knew that it was not. I knew we would raise him to adulthood with much fear and trepidation.

There is no doubt that nightmares can be extremely disturbing, but is there any spiritual significance to nightmares? Dreams and visions are fairly commonplace in the Bible, and God often used the dream state to communicate with His prophets and others. God spoke to Abimelech in Genesis 20, warning him not to touch Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Other dreams include Jacob’s ladder (Gen. 28), Joseph’s dream that his brothers would serve him (Gen. 37), as well as his dream about Pharaoh (Gen. 40-41). The Lord or His angel appeared to others in the Bible, including Gideon (Jud. 7), Solomon (1 Kg. 3), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2), Mary (Matt. 1), Joseph (Matt. 2), and Pilate’s wife (Matt. 27). None of these dreams, however, are called nightmares, so we cannot definitely say that the Lord does, or does not, speak to people through them.

Some people think Satan or demons are infiltrating their minds during nightmares, but the Bible gives us no reason to believe they can read our minds. Clearly that would take a measure of omniscience, which only God has. However, Satan and his demons have been observing and tempting human beings for thousands of years. In addition, they can hear us when we talk, so surely they have learned a few things about us. Even without the ability to know our thoughts, they can probably make a well-educated guess as to what we are thinking, and then attempt to use it to their advantage.

Whether or not our nightmares are the result of demonic forces, they are cause for us to totally rely upon God's Word to deal with them. The Bible is the test of what is true and what is a lie from the Evil One. When Satan tried to tempt Jesus, He responded using the Scriptures to silence him (Matt. 4:1-11).

Satan may be powerful, but we are told to submit ourselves unto God first, then resist the devil, and he will flee from us (Jam. 4:7). So in a nightmare, or while awake, trust in the Lord, and you will find in Him, perfect peace (Isa. 26:3)!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Like me, I am sure most folks have heard the saying, "money is the root of all evil." Usually, the people who say it think they are quoting the Bible, and even though they may not believe the rest of the Word of God, they are sure "that part is right." However, as most of you know, the Scripture does not say that. It actually says, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim. 6:10). It is speaking of Christians who have sinned and when disciplined by their Father, are filled with sorrow (Heb. 12:3-13).

These folks remind me of those pictured in one of the Lord's parables, who were described as "thorny ground." In the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-23), Jesus speaks of seed (the Gospel) being spread on four different types of soil. The first, that which fell on the pathway, was stolen away before it could spring to life (v. 4, 19). The second area was full of stones, and some of the seed produced living plants which could not survive the challenges of life, and so they did not reproduce (v. 5-6, 20-21). The third area on which the seeds fell was filled with weeds, and even though the seed produced life, it was prevented from reproducing (v. 7, 22). Of course, the seed that fell on the area prepared for it flourished, reproducing itself many times over (v. 8, 23).

While most commentators seem to believe only the "fourth type of soil" represents those who accept Jesus and are born-again, it is clear that new life begins among the stones and the thorns as well. Persecution silences many, and the things of this world distract many others. They have received the miraculous gift of spiritual life, but they remain babes in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1). We all know believers who are "married to their jobs," or who believe their responsibility is to provide as much luxury as possible for their family. They have accepted Christ as payment for their sin, but fail to realize that joy only comes to those who are being a Christian.

Money, in itself, is not evil. The Jews were to use it for their atonement prior to the coming of Christ (Ex. 30:12-16; Lev. 5:15-16). It was to be given as alms to the poor (Deut. 15:11; Lk. 11:41). It was used to pay tithes to God (Lev. 27:30-33). Money was used to pay taxes (Matt. 17:24-27; 22:17-21). Jesus used the woman's joy of finding a lost coin as a comparison to the joy in heaven over a soul that is saved (Lk. 15:8-10). Money was used to pay workers for their labor (Matt. 20:1-15). Our interest in money simply reveals where our heart is (Matt. 6:19-21); the amount of time we focus upon money reveals our priorities.

Working is the opposite of coveting, but it is not necessarily obedience; it depends upon our motive.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


There are 282 English words ending with "ology," which informally defined is a field of study or academic discipline ending in the suffix "-ology." Such words are formed from Greek or Latin roots with the terminal "-logy" derived from the Greek suffix -λογια (-logia), meaning "speaking." Not all words ending in "-ology" are "ologies" in the above sense. In some words such as "autology" and "haplology" the "-logy" suffix is from the Greek λογος, meaning "word," and denotes not a field of study but a type of speech or writing.

If I have not put you to sleep with my boring introduction, I would like to make a few comments about some of the words in the list of 282, and some which were not counted. While I attended Seminary, I studied the Bible (Bibliology), God (Theology), Christ (Christology), the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), angels (Angelology), man (Anthropology), sin (Hamartiology), salvation (Soteriology), the Church (Ecclesiology), and the future (Eschatology). For all of those, I am truly grateful, because they grounded me in the ten most important subjects in the world. I have studied these, but unfortunately, those who control our government apparently have not.

It seems they prefer Psychology with its "I'm Okay, You're Okay," Sociology with its "All Societies and Religions are equal," Archeology with its denial of biblical cultures, Geology with its "millions of years" dating of the Earth, Biology with its emphasis on evolution, Embryology with its "life begins at birth," and Astrology with its ridiculous assertion that the stars can predict the future. And how can we forget Climatology with Al Gore running loose, or Criminology with its bleeding-hearts who argue against making the lives of criminals miserable? Is it any wonder we have abortion on demand, children out of control, political chaos, gay marriage, legalized gaming, a drug epidemic, a collapsing economy, and politicians who would rather cut entitlements than manage a balanced budget? For the record: ENTITLEMENTS ARE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN EARNED! To reduce them or do away with them is blatant larceny!

There is only one "ology" that born-again believers and the God of the Bible want to hear: an APOLOGY! Man has turned the truth into a lie (Rom. 1:25), the natural into perversion (Rom. 1:26-27), has called evil good, and good evil (Isa. 5:20), and professing themselves to be wise, they have proven to be fools (Rom. 1:22). Instead of worshiping the Creator, man has chosen to worship created things (Rom. 1:23-25). And sadly, many professing Christians have been duped by Satan and his "ologies" which turn them away from serving the resurrected, living God!


Saturday, March 19, 2011


There must be something wrong with me spiritually. I seem to have developed a hardened heart when it comes to helping others. And what is sad about the whole thing, is that I am not really under conviction that I am wrong. In fact, I am almost angry with all the "bleeding-heart" organizations who try to "guilt me" into donating to their cause. I receive phone calls nearly everyday from law enforcement organizations, colleges, veteran's groups, and politicians whose "volunteers" try to "sell me" on their candidate's "savior-like" qualities. And heaven help me if I ever order something from a television preacher! It would take more than I could give just to print the volumes of materials they send soliciting more.

The Bible has several passages that teach people to be responsible for themselves, and not to take advantage of others. In Exodus 30:15, God expects the rich and the poor to give equally to atone for their sins. In Proverbs 20:13, we read, "Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread." In Paul's writings, we read, "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8). Also, "...that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thes. 3:10). We are also told that some are poor because God wants them to be (1 Sam. 2:7). It is possible that the individual is in the predicament he is in because it is God's way of bringing him into obedience.

On the other side of the coin, those of us who have pity upon the poor are lending unto the LORD, and God will repay the debt (Prov. 19:17; Matt. 25:42-45). If we close our ears to the cries of the poor, we shall become poor ourselves (Prov. 21:13). If we lend to the poor, we are not to ask for interest on the loan (Ex. 22:25). "The righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth" (Ps. 37:21). God even says He will curse those who fail to help the poor (Prov. 28:27). We are to "Give to him that asketh (of us), and from him that would borrow (from us), turn not away" (Lk. 6:30). And "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise" (Lk. 3:11). And finally, another example of God's instructions concerning our helping the poor is found in 1 John 3:17, which says "Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"

In light of these passages, and because we are told not to grow weary in well-doing (Gal. 6:9; 2 Thes. 3:13), I am obviously wrong in my attitude. I should not attempt to determine who is being disciplined by God, and who is genuinely poor. When I feel that someone is taking advantage of me, I should forgive seventy times seven, and let the LORD deal with them. I know my attitude is bad, and I am truly sorry. I pray for forgiveness and that God will soften my heart. I also pray for wisdom and the spirit of discernment in dealing with those who approach me looking for handouts. I really need prayer in this area!

Friday, March 18, 2011


The Apostle Paul wrote that Christians should "put away" anger (Eph. 4:31), and in his letter to the Church at Colosse, he wrote that we are to "put off" anger (Col. 3:8). He also cautioned fathers not to provoke their children to wrath (Eph. 6:4), or to anger (Col. 3:21). In Ecclesiastes, we are told that "anger rests in the bosom of fools" (7:9), and in Proverbs, we read that "wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous" (27:4). From these examples, one would certainly draw the conclusion that anger is an ungodly characteristic. But, as with every teaching from the Scriptures, we must take the whole counsel of God's Word.

There are some very revealing numbers concerning the words "anger" and "angry" in the Bible. "Anger" appears 224 times, and "angry appears 36 times in the Old Testament, but the two words have a combined total of only 12 times in the New Testament. Ironically, the majority of times they are used in the O.T., they refer to God's anger, usually at His chosen people, Israel! Here are just a few examples from Psalms: 7:11; 76:7; 79:5; 80:4; 85:5; etc. And on one occasion, Jesus was angry with His critics (Mk. 3:5).

God's anger toward Israel is quite understandable. The LORD had freed them from Egyptian bondage, fed them for forty years in the wilderness, given them His Law, given them their own land, and protected them from their enemies. When they turned to idol worship, He had every right to be angry with them. And, just as a human father gets angry when his child knowingly disobeys, and he punishes him, God also disciplines His children (Heb. 12:3-15). But unlike most men, God allows time for His child to repent and submit to His authority before taking punitive action. The phrase, "slow to anger" appears seven times in the Bible. Five of them describe God (Neh. 9:17; Ps. 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2; Nah. 1:3), and the other two encourage men to be like Him (Prov. 15:18; 16:22). In the case where Jesus was angry, His anger was also aimed at the Jewish leaders (Mk. 3:5).

I believe Christians are to make certain that their anger is justified (Matt. 5:22), and then deal with it properly (Matt. 18:15-17). Of course, the better way is to forgive the person (Matt. 11:25). Forgiveness is a product of love, and we know that love is long suffering and bears all things (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Also, it is in our best interest to deal with the problem quickly, because otherwise, it could fester and become more serious (Heb. 12:15). If you must be angry, "Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Eph. 4:26). If you are angry, deal with it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


When a person is "saved" (Rom. 10:9) or "born again" (1 Pet. 1:23), it is not because he is worthy. In fact, if a person believes he is worthy, he will never accept the fact that salvation is a free gift given by God to only those who humbly accept it. Instead, he will attempt to enter God's presence on his own merit. Unfortunately for him, his works cannot qualify him for salvation (Gal. 2:16).

In the chief passage about being "born again" (Jn. 3:3-8), the "new birth" is the work of the Holy Spirit. The process of being "saved" involves the Spirit giving an "unsaved" person the faith necessary to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). The faith the Spirit uses to produce salvation results from the "lost" person hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). When a person hears the Gospel, that God loves him, and Jesus willingly died for him, and he believes it, he will tell others of his new found faith in his risen Lord (Rom. 10:9-10).

A "saved" person is said to be a child of God (Rom. 8:16-17). But a Christian is not a child of God in the same sense Jesus is. In fact, the Word clearly says that Jesus is His only begotten Son (Jn. 3:16). Christians are said to be the "adopted children of God" (Rom. 8:15). Our adoption is the work of the Spirit through faith in the Son, according to the will of the Father (Eph. 1:5). God has become our adopted Father (Rom. 8:15).

Most everyone knows that an adopted child becomes an heir to his new parents. It is no different with our becoming a child of God; we are His heirs (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:29; Titus 3:7; Heb. 1:14; Jam. 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:7). And just as the child living in an orphanage or as a foster child has no "right" to be adopted, neither do we have a right to be "saved." The decision to adopt a child is that of the prospective parents alone; the child can only accept the offer. God loves the entire world, and He offers every single soul the opportunity to become His child (Jn. 1:11-13; 3:16; Rom. 10:13). In fact, the word "whosoever" appears ninety-three times in the New Testament. Surprisingly, it also appears seventy times in the Old Testament. God is no respecter of persons; He wants every single soul to be saved (Acts 10:34; 2 Pet. 3:9).

Forty years ago today, my wife accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She had been quite religious, but had never realized that religion would only send her to hell. What she needed was a relationship with God. When she accepted the fact that Jesus died, was buried, and was raised from the dead on her behalf, she accepted Him by faith. Today, she is saved, is born again, is a child of God, because she accepted God's offer of adoption. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The words "trump," and "trumpet" appear ninety-six times in the Old Testament. There are two Hebrew words which are translated "trump" or "trumpet" : shofar (שופר‎), a ram's horn used to signal Israel, which appears sixty-seven times, and chatsotserah (שופר‎), a metal trumpet used as a musical instrument, referred to twenty-nine times.

In the Greek New Testament, the word for trumpet is salpigx (σάλπιγξ), and it is found only twelve times. With the exception of Paul's comparison of an uncertain sound from a trumpet of warning to speaking of tongues, all of the New Testament references to trumpets have to do with future prophecy.

The reason I often present the number of times a word is used, is that the frequency reveals the significance of a term to Israel and to the Church. In today's example, both Hebrew words have to do with the everyday lives of the Jewish people. But for the Church, trumpets play no role except as the signal for the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and Revelation 4:1. All other New Testament references speak of a time when God's judgment will fall upon Israel and the unbelieving world.

There is much disagreement concerning the "last trump" which signals the Rapture, and that of the seventh angel of Revelation. I believe the "last trump" referred to in the Rapture passages, has to do with the last trumpet call to the Church; it signals the end of the Church Age. It is the only reference to a trumpet being the "trump of God."

The seven trumpet judgments of Revelation have to do with the Tribulation period which is also known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer. 30:7), and Daniel's Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:24-27). The first six take place in the first half of the seven year agreement Israel makes with the antichrist (Rev. 8:7, 8, 10, 12; 9:1; 9:13); the last signals the beginning of the second half, which is designated as the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21).

Another obvious difference between the two is that the Church longs for the sound that will signal our "trip home." The opposite is true for Israel; if they are familiar with the events which begin with the sounding of the seventh trumpet of Revelation (Rev. 11:15 - 19:21), they have to be terrified.

A good test of where you stand is whether you rejoice or cringe when someone mentions the final trumpet sounding. As for me, I can't wait!


My wife came home from the hospital yesterday after spending four days recovering from abdominal surgery. She must take it easy when she eats, and she will not be able to return to work for three weeks. Her surgery started me thinking about problems humans have when their body parts are in a place they were not intended to function. In her case, her stomach had torn a hole in her diaphragm and was pressing against her lung. Ruptures of all kinds, dislocated joints, and even teeth growing in improperly are examples of this. Our youngest daughter had an incisor grow out from the center of her upper palate, and it had to be moved. As my boss used to say, "We have a place for everything, and everything needs to be in its place."

The same is true for the Body of Christ. There are two references that identify members of the Church as being part of the Body of Christ: 1 Corinthians 12:27, and Ephesians 4:12.

***In the context of the first, the Apostle Paul teaches us that God has ordained what part we are to play in His Body (1 Cor. 12: 4-6). He shows the purpose of the differing "members" (v. 7-11). Next, he tells his readers that each individual has his function, that none is more important than the other, that the Body must function as one, and that when one member suffers, all suffer (v. 12-26). Finally, Paul identifies the different members of the Body, and tells his readers each has limited and specific functions (v. 27-30).

***In the Ephesians passage, Paul begins by stressing the importance of holy living, humility, and patience with one another so that they will remain unified (Eph. 4:1-3; Jn. 17:21-23). The Godhead exemplifies unity in the building of the Church (v. 4-6). Paul tells us that we have received differing levels of faith (compare Rom. 12:3), and the effort Christ made to ensure we were properly equipped (v. 7-10). He provided leadership for His Body so that we would be prepared to do the work of ministry, and grow into maturity (v. 11-16).

Over the forty years I have been a Christian, I have observed many problems in the Church. I have seen "body parts" where they do not belong, and I have seen "body parts" that seem to have no function at all. I am not sure which is worse, but I suspect that a believer serving in a place to which God has not called him, is, because he prevents the right person from serving there, he is not gifted to provide what is needed, and as a result, he tends to do more harm than good. If you are a part of the Body of Christ, pray that the Lord will direct you and all the members of your church to be "in their proper places."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Years ago, we used to sing a chorus that began, "Jesus is the Rock of my salvation; His banner over me is love." I not only have not heard it in years, I could not find it on Google. But with a professional wrestler/actor known as "the Rock," a Muslim Mosque known as the "Dome of the Rock," and music which is hardly suitable for church, is it any wonder that Christians hesitate calling Jesus the "Rock?" And yet, the Bible makes several references to the Son of God being identified as such.

In his letter to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul reveals a strange fact about Jesus. He says that the Rock which followed Israel throughout the wilderness, the source of water for both man and beast (Num. 20:8), was actually Jesus. He wrote, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ" (1 Cor. 10:4). John's Gospel speaks of Jesus being the source of "living water" (Jn. 4:13-14).

Moses told Israel that the name of the LORD (YHVH) was "the Rock," when he wrote, "Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are judgment; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He" (Deut. 32:3-4). When the Word speaks of the Rock in this manner, it always has to do with man's accountability to his Creator.

When Jesus came to Israel, who expected their Messiah to come as their Mighty King, they rejected Him. Hence, He is called "a stone of stumbling," and a "rock of offence" (Isa. 8:14; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:8). To the Church, Jesus is the "Chief Corner Stone" (Isa. 28:16; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6). He is the "Foundation Stone" (Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:11-12; Eph. 2:20).

To the lost who reject Him, to those who prefer to belong to the empires of men, He will be the Stone Who will destroy them. Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream which foretold the great empires that would rule the world, and said the Stone cut out without hands would destroy them all (Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45).

Yes, Jesus is the "Rock of my salvation," and He is also the inspiration for another song. Those of you who understand the dispensational approach to Bible interpretation understand that each dispensation is called an "age." The Creator of the Universe, Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2), has been saving all who would put their trust in Him in every age; Jesus is truly the "Rock of Ages!"

Monday, March 14, 2011


Here are some interesting Bible references to the use of trumpets according to Nave's Topical Bible:

* Made of rams horn
Joshua 6:4-6 Joshua 6:8 Joshua 6:13
* Made of silver
Numbers 10:2
* Uses of, prescribed by Moses
Numbers 10:1-10
* Used in war
Job 39:24; Jeremiah 4:19; Ezekiel 7:14 ; Amos 2:2 ; 3:6 ; Zephaniah 1:16
* In the siege of Jericho
Joshua 6:4-20
* Sounded in time of danger
Ezekiel 33:3-6 ; Joel 2:1
* Used at Mount Sinai
Exodus 19:13-19 ; 20:18 ; Hebrews 12:19
* On the great day of atonement
Isaiah 27:13
* At the jubilee
Leviticus 25:9
* At the bringing up of the ark of the covenant
2 Samuel 6:5 2 Samuel 6:15 ; 1 Chronicles 13:8 ; 15:28
* At the anointing of kings
1 Kings 1:34 1 Kings 1:39 ; 2 Kings 9:13 ; 11:14
* At the dedication of Solomon’s temple
2 Chronicles 5:12 2 Chronicles 5:13 ; 7:6
* In worship
1 Chronicles 15:24 ; 16:42 ; 25:5 ; Psalms 81:3 Psalms 81:4
* At Jehoshaphat's triumph
2 Chronicles 20:28
* At the foundation of the second temple
Ezra 3:10 Ezra 3:11
* At the dedication of the wall
Nehemiah 12:35 Nehemiah 12:41
Isaiah 27:13 ; Ezekiel 33:3 ; Joel 2:1 ; Zechariah 9:14 ; Matthew 6:2

I apologize for sharing this material instead of writing a normal post; but due to the necessity of my being at the hospital with my wife, I wanted to give my read(s) something to study. God bless and pray for Judy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Young Edward told his Sunday school teacher that his mother said she named him after a famous biblical character. The teacher was puzzled by his statement, so he asked Edward to explain. The boy said, "I don't really understand it either, but she said Ed was a good friend of Jesus." After Sunday school was over, the teacher went to Edward's mother and told her what her son had said. When she was finally able to stop laughing, she said, "I told him that "Ed" was a nickname for the Apostle Peter, and that Jesus really loved him a lot." The teacher still did not understand where she could get such a strange idea from the Scriptures, so he asked her to explain. She said, "Read the fifth chapter of Matthew along with Matthew 16:17, and you will see.

Because the Sunday school teacher was also the Pastor, and because he had to preach the morning message, he didn't have time to look it up. All through the service, he was obviously distracted by something, because he "messed up" several times. All he could think about was that there was a man named "Ed" in the Bible, and he wondered how he could have missed it in all the years he had studied and preached God's Word. Usually, he stood around after the service chatting with those who approached him, but today, he rushed to his office and closed the door.

He took out his concordance and feverishly searched to find "Ed." When he could not, he remembered the verse reference Edward's mother had told him. He opened his Bible and found the place. He read, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." He sat there for quite some time trying to figure out what that verse had to do with Peter having the nickname "Ed." All of a sudden, he realized what she meant, and nearly fell out of his chair laughing.

Edward's mother had apparently told her son that there was a typographical error in the verse, and that Matthew was talking about Jesus praying for His friend, Ed, who was really named Simon Barjona, another name for Peter. She must have said something like "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Bless Ed thou art Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

Now before you think I have completely lost my mind, I am just joking. Apparently the Lord knew I needed to "lighten-up" after spending the day at the hospital while my dear wife was having very serious surgery. What was supposed to have taken about two hours, took nearly six. And even though the doctor said all had gone extremely well, I was so mentally exhausted that I went straight home and went to bed at 7:00 p.m.! So this morning, having slept for nine hours (about four more than I usually sleep), He "told" me this joke. I sure hope it was Him! But whoever it was, I needed it! God bless, and please pray for Judy.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I ended yesterday's post with this verse: "For the law (that which makes mercy necessary) was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (Jn. 1:17). I had pointed out earlier that both mercy and grace appear in the Old Testament, and they are also found in the New Testament. Someone might ask, "If they both appear in the O.T. and the N.T., how can John write that 'grace and truth came by Jesus Christ?'"

I believe the answer can be found in the previous verse: "And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace" (Jn. 1:16). God has increased the amount of light He has given mankind with each dispensation throughout the Bible's recorded history. By the time Jesus was born, God had increased man's understanding four times following Adam's fall in the garden (see my posts on 1-31-10 to 2-2-10). Finally, when all but one "week" of Daniel's prophecy had been accomplished (Dan. 9:24-27), He gave us His Son (Jn. 3:16), the Light of the world (Jn. 8:12; 9:5), the very manifestation of Himself (1 Tim. 3:16), and His people rejected Him (Jn. 1:11).

The writer of Hebrews seems to clearly indicate that with the coming of Jesus, God had given man all the truth we would get concerning our relationship to Him: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by [His] Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; 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" (Heb. 1:1-3).

God had been gracious to man by giving Moses the Law. But by sending His Son, He was adding grace upon grace. And, just as the Old Testament was truth, God gave us the Truth in revealing Jesus Christ. In Christ we find the ultimate grace of God, and the ultimate truth: He loves us!

Have we received all the grace He intends for us to have? NO! Now, we know in part (1 Cor. 13:9), but when that which is perfect is come (the return of Jesus), then that which is in part shall be done away (1 Cor. 13:10). Have we received all the truth He has for us? NO! "For since the beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, [what] He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him" (Isa. 64:4). "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet 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" (1 Jn. 3:2). We will have eternity to grasp the awesomeness of God's mercy, His grace, and His truth!


Thursday, March 10, 2011


For the last two days, I have attempted to show how mercy and grace are both necessary for a person to become a child of God. Today, I want to focus upon the relationship between the two as they are emphasized in the Old and New Testaments. I believe the reason mercy is emphasized more in the O.T. is because the 613 individual laws found there cannot be obeyed; the natural man will sin, and apart from God's mercy, will instantly die (Gen. 2:15-18). If Adam could not obey one single law while still in a sinless state, how could a fallen race of men obey 613? Man clearly needs a merciful God.

The New Testament, beginning with Acts, focuses on God's grace. As I said in Part One, the word "mercy" appears 146 times, and "grace" is found only 37 times in the O.T., while "mercy" is found only 22 times in the N.T., and "grace" appears there 122 times. The Bible teaches that the O.T. was to point out man's need for God's mercy, and the N.T. emphasizes God's willingness to "save" all who accept His grace, that is, His precious Gift (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 10:4-17; Gal. 3:21-26).

One of the amazing things I found while studying the relationship between mercy and grace was strong support for the view that the Synoptic Gospels (Matt. Mk. & Lk.) are addressed chiefly to Israel. I discovered the word "mercy" appears 21 of the 22 times it appears in the N.T. in the Synoptics and zero times in John. The word "grace" appears only once (Lk. 2:40) in the Synoptics, and only three times in John (1:14, 16, 17). The dispensation of the Law, which focused upon Israel, was "temporarily" set aside (it has been nearly 2000 years so far), before it is to be completed during the Tribulation, or Daniel's Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:24-27). The seven year Tribulation is God's punishment to the Jews who rejected their Messiah. As I have written before, each dispensation with the exception of the Church, ends with the judgment of God on those who failed to obey the "light" they received (see posts on 1-31-10 through 2-6-10 and 2-24-11).

Because John was written much latter than the Synoptic Gospels, long after Pentecost and the founding of the Church, his focus was to present Jesus as the Savior of all mankind, and not just as Israel's King (Jn. 1:11-12; 14:15-18; 16:7; also Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4). All four Gospels present the fulfillment of the Law with the offering of our "Passover" on the cross (Matt. 5:17; 27:50-51; Mk. 15:37-38; Lk. 23:46; Jn. 19:30; also 1 Cor. 5:7).

John 1:17 For the law (that which makes mercy necessary) was given by Moses, [but] grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

To be continued, Lord willing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I ended yesterday's post by saying that mercy is not getting what one deserves, and grace is getting what one does not deserve. To some, that may be an over simplification of the "two halves of spiritual D.N.A." which connect a born-again Christian to his or her Father.

MERCY: "For He hath made Him (Jesus), Who knew no sin, to be sin for us..." (2 Cor. 5:21a).
Think for a moment of how Jesus, the Original Son of God," was conceived and born of Mary. First of all, Mary needed a Savior (Lk. 1:47). In other words, Mary was a sinner needing God's mercy for salvation. God cleansed her of all sin the same way He cleanses all those who trust in Jesus. He had mercy on her, and accepted the sacrifice of His Son (and hers) as the propitiation (the satisfaction of the requirement for restitution) for her sins (Rom. 3:25; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10).

GRACE: "...that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21b).
Mary had received God's mercy and she believed Him, making her righteous in His sight (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; Jam. 2:23). Mary's righteousness was due to God's grace. She did not earn it, or merit it in any way, it was a gift from God (Rom. 1:17; 3:22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:8-9). Once she was righteous, her "half of the spiritual D.N.A." could be joined to the "D.N.A. of the Holy Spirit." That Holy Conception resulted in the birth of the Son of God (Lk. 1:32). The same is true for us today. God is merciful toward us by accepting the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. Once we are cleansed of our sin, we are made righteous by God's grace. God's graciousness toward us is seen in the Holy Spirit indwelling us, making us the children of God (Rom. 8:16; Gal. 3:26; 1 Jn. 3:2).

One can not help but notice that both mercy and grace are the work of God. Forgiveness was bought for us by Jesus Christ's death on the cross for our sin. Our adoption as the children of God is due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So what part do we play in being saved? We believe the Gospel, the good news that God loves us. And even that is the work of God in our hearts, because the very faith we have in God's Word is place there by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 10:17; Eph. 2:8-9). What must we do? We must believe God (Jn. 6:29; Acts 16:30-31).

God has shown His character in that He has had mercy on us. God has shown His character in that He has given us faith to believe in Him. God has shown His character in His willingness to adopt as His child, all who put their trust in the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Someone must die to pay for your sin; if you fail to trust in the death of Jesus on your behalf, then you must die and suffer the consequences (Jn. 8:24; Rom. 6:23: Rev. 20:11-15). It is up to you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


The two most frequently used words in the Bible which characterize man's relationship to God are "mercy" and "grace." But what is the difference between the two words? What significance does each one have in describing God?

The Old Testament Hebrew noun, chesed, is translated "mercy" (149x), “kindness” (40x), “loving kindness” (30x), “goodness” (12x), “kindly” (5x), and “merciful” (4x). The New Testament Greek noun, eleos, is translated "mercy" (22x), and it means "compassionate." As can be clearly seen, the benevolent nature of Almighty God is being revealed.

The Old Testament Hebrew word, chen, is translated "grace" (37x), and means "unmerited favor." The New Testament Greek word, charis, is translated "grace" (122x). Again the benevolence of God is presented, but it is coupled with the understanding of the unworthiness of man.

Both words declare that God is greater than those upon whom He bestows these "twins" which declare His love, and man's need. You might think it strange that I call them "twins," since they only appear six times together in all of the Scriptures (Gen. 19:19; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4; Heb. 4:16; 2 Jn. 1:3). Of those six verses, four of them use the two words as a greeting to the recipients of epistles. The two exceptions clearly show man's relationship to his Creator:

"Behold now, Thy servant hath found grace in Thy sight, and Thou hast magnified Thy mercy, which Thou hast shown unto me in saving my life...." (Gen. 19:19), and "Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

There are some interesting facts about the number of times these two words appear in the Old and New Testaments. I believe much can be discerned from their frequency in the two Testaments. "Mercy" is found 146 times in the O.T. with 90 of those in Psalms; it appears only 22 times in all of the N.T. "Grace" only appears 37 times in the O.T., but it appears 122 times in the N.T. Students of the Bible should immediately recognize that the O.T. emphasis on God's willingness to forgive man for failing to obey the Law, while the N.T. focus is God's desire to give man the offer of adoption into His family.

Mercy is not getting what we deserve; grace is getting what we do not deserve! More tomorrow, Lord willing.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I am not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV. I am simply a student of God's Word, with an "ear" for what the world is saying about religion, politics, and "scientific discoveries." For some time, I have been puzzled by the claims of medical "experts" who tell us there are clear differences between the brains of "normal people," and those of psychopaths, homosexuals, pedophiles, mental patients, and those diagnosed with clinical depression. Take for instance the debate concerning brain differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals:

“This research is pointing to basic differences in the brain between homosexual and heterosexual people that are likely there right from the beginning,” said Sandra F. Witelson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at McMaster University in Ontario. “These could be reflecting some genetic or hormonal factors that predetermine your sexual orientation.” (emphasis mine).

Assuming for a moment that there is actually a clear difference in the brain structure, and I am certainly not qualified to say one way or another, was the structure of the homosexual's brain different from birth, or did it develop that way because of life choices? In other words, since most scientists agree that experience helps develop the way we think, isn't it quite possible that those who deviate from the "norm" are really a product of how they have responded to their experiences, rather than "being born that way?" One source had this to say:

"A number of factors influence early brain development, such as genetics, food and nutrition, parental interaction, daily experiences, physical activity and love. In the past, some scientists thought the brain's development was determined genetically and brain growth followed a biologically predetermined path. Now we know that early experiences impact the development of the brain and influence the specific way in which the circuits (or pathways) of the brain become "wired." A baby's brain is a work in progress. The outside world shapes its development through experiences that a child's senses — vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste." (Understanding Brain Development in Young Children, FS-609, APRIL 2005, Sean Brotherson, Family Science Specialist, NDSU Extension Service).

As a Christian, I understand that human beings are the creative work of Almighty God (Gen. 1:26-27; Jer. 1:5). His intention in creating mankind as "male and female" was so that they would complement each other in order to reproduce (Gen. 1:28; 9:1; 35;11). I also understand that the choices we make determine how we "turn out" (Rom. 1:24-32). Therefore, I believe that when a man focuses his thoughts on murder, sexual perversion, etc, he is actually altering his brain structure. But of course, that is just my opinion.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Depression (also known as Major Depressive Disorder) is a serious medical condition that can impact the way you feel and act towards others. Many people with depression feel that life is no longer worth living. They may feel hopeless, like there's "no way out."

According to McDowell and Collins, there are eight major causes of depression: (1) Biological factors, (2) Learned helplessness (sense of being trapped and unable to remedy an intolerable situation), (3) Parental rejection, (4) Abuse, (5) Negative thinking, (6) Life stress, (7) Anger, and (8) Guilt.
[Josh McDowell - Josh McDowell's Handbook on Counseling Youth (Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1996), and Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (revised edition, Dallas, Texas: Word Publishing, 1988).]

The Bible does not use the word “depression,” but it is clear that the writers of Job, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations were depressed. Here are a few general principles I would recommend when trying to deal with depression:
* Avoid being alone. Force yourself to be with other Christians.
* Seek help from others, such as a pastor or Christian counselor.
* Sing Christian music to uplift your spirit, as David's music did for King Saul.
* Lean heavily on the power of God's Word.
* Rest confidently in the presence of God's Spirit.
* Above all, aim to work on the causes of your depression, and not just the symptoms.

Christians are to view life based upon God's Word, not upon feelings. Philippians 4:1 commands us to rejoice (Paul was in prison when he wrote that). James 1:2 tells us to “Consider it all joy when we fall into various trials.” Notice that James does not say we are to feel joyful; he tells us to reckon, to choose to think about your situation as a place God has allowed for your ultimate good (Rom. 8:28-29). Choosing to trust truth rather than your feelings may require a lot of faith.

Sometimes, depression has a physical basis. At the simplest level, we know that lack of sleep, insufficient exercise, the side effects of drugs, physical illnesses, or improper diet can all create depression. Many women experience depression as part of a monthly premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and some are victimized by postpartum depression following childbirth. Other physical influences, such as a neuro-chemical imbalance, brain tumors, or glandular disorders, may be the source of depression. There is evidence that depression runs in families, and it may have a genetic basis.

If confessing one's sins, praising God for His goodness, and speaking with a Christian counselor or pastor does not help, perhaps it is time to seek the help of your family doctor. God bless you and give you comfort, peace, and joy in Christ Jesus! Amen.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


"Angel of the Lord" occurs sixty-five times, and "Angel of God" occurs twelve times in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word, מלאך mal'ach, translated "angel," means "messenger." When used in conjunction with יהוה (YHVH - LORD), or אֱל (El - God), it refers to a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ (a Christophany). The Bible clearly teaches that no man has ever seen God the Father (Jn. 1:18; 1 Jn. 4:12). Because Jesus, the Son of God is God (Jn. 1:1, 14), and He is the only Person of the Trinity that has ever been seen, He has to be the One Who appears as the Angel of the Lord. There are several passages which support this interpretation:

* Genesis 16:7-14. The Angel of the Lord appears to a woman named Hagar. The Angel speaks as God in the first-person, and in verse 13, Hagar identifies the visitor as God.

* Genesis 22:11-15. The Angel of the Lord appears to Abraham and, again, refers to God in the first-person.

* Exodus 3:2-4. The Angel of the Lord appears to Moses in a flame in verse 2, and He is called God in verse 4.

* Numbers 22:22-38. The Angel of the Lord meets the prophet Balaam on the road. In verse 38, Balaam identifies the Angel who spoke to him as God.

* Judges 2:1-3. The Angel of the Lord appears to Israel and identifies Himself as God.

* Judges 6:11-23. The Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon. In verse 14 the Angel refers to Himself as God; in verse 21, the Angel allows Gideon to sacrifice to Him as unto God; and in verse 22, Gideon fears for his life because he was in the presence of God.

* Judges 13:3-22. The Angel of the Lord appears to Manoah and his wife and in verse 22, is identified as God.

The fact that Jesus existed prior to taking the form of a human being (Phil. 2:5-8), is very clear from Scripture as well. Jesus told His audience that He existed before Abraham lived in about 2000 B.C. (Jn. 8:58). He was present at Creation because He is the Creator (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2). It is clear that He existed before "the foundation of the world" (Jn. 17:24; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). He is called the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Ending (Rev. 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13). John told the Jews that the One that was to follow, was before him (Jn. 1:15).

Thanks be to God for His Messenger and for His Message (The Word)!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Nearly everyday, I receive an e-mail from a friend I met when he was about ten; that was almost forty years ago. The e-mail is actually a pre-paid subscription to the, which publishes commentary on religious and political issues. Today's edition began with a question: "Is being a Christian something you are, or is it something you do?" The writer believes that being a Christian is something you are, and he supported his view with the argument that being a Christian is like being an American. You are an American, whether or not you do anything such as vote, pay taxes, or salute the American Flag. Failure to do so does not change your status.

The problem with his argument is that a person is not born a Christian; we each must choose to accept God's offer of salvation by applying the faith He gives us, and be "born again" (Eph. 2:8-9; Jn. 3:3-8; 1 Pet. 1:23). There is some similarity in that being an loyal American will result in doing those things, just as being a faithful Christian will result in works that give evidence of one's salvation (Eph. 2:10). However, a person does not become an American by saluting the flag, nor does a person become a Christian by doing religious acts. The only "work" that is required to become a Christian is to believe in Jesus Christ (Jn. 6:29). Another similarity is that an American who fails to pay his taxes will be punished, and a Christian who fails to obey his Lord will reap His discipline (1 Cor. 11:30; Heb. 12:5-11).

The writer also made the statement that God is eternal, and man was created in His image, so therefore man is eternal. Here, the problem is obvious. Anything created had to have a beginning, and since the definition of "eternal" is "having no beginning or ending," man cannot be eternal. Christians are said to possess "eternal life," but that is because a believer is said to be "in Christ." Because the Son of God is God, and therefore eternal, by becoming a part of "His Body," we share in His eternal life (Jn. 1:1, 14; 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 4:12). When we become a child of God, that is, when we are born again, we receive "everlasting life" (Jn. 3:16; 5:24; 6:40, 47; etc.). "Everlasting" means "having begun, it will never end."

The writer of the OmegaLetter is usually correct concerning Bible doctrine, and his political commentary is definitely conservative. I enjoy reading it because I have learned much from what he has written about current events, and because it makes me think about the Word of God. I hope that those of you who read my blog feel the same way about it. However, let me warn you to read what I say carefully and prayerfully, because I will definitely make mistakes. If the Apostle Paul, a man proven to be an apostle by miraculous works, wanted his readers to compare what he wrote to the Word of God before believing it (Acts 17:11), how much more do you think you need to check out what I say? Let the Word of God be true, and whatever I write that does not agree with it, reject it, but please do not reject the writer (1 Thes. 5:21). God bless you in Christ Jesus, THE LORD!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


There are at least five reasons why the Gospel has failed to convert the world to faith in Jesus Christ.

1. SIN - Men love darkness rather than light (Jn. 3:19). Sin is pleasurable (Heb. 11:25).

2. RIGHTEOUSNESS - The lost are under the misconception that Christians are supposed to be righteous, and this has caused millions to reject our message because they see us as hypocrites. But just like everyone else, born-again Christians struggle with the allure and deceitfulness of sin (Rom. 7:14-25; Heb. 3:13; 1 Jn. 3:2).

3. JUDGMENT - The vast majority of the world's population, including many who call themselves Christians, believe they will one day face God's judgment, and as a result, they place their faith in a "work your way to heaven" religion. Religion provides them with a way to enjoy the pleasures of sin, and then do good works to keep the "balance" leaning favorably.

4. LACK OF UNITY - Because of the lack of unity within the Christian religion, the world does not believe God sent Jesus, or that He loves them as much as He loves Jesus (Jn. 17:21-23). What they do not realize is that the Church, the Body of Christ, is made up of only those who have accepted the free gift of salvation by believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). Just as not all people claiming to be Jews are Jews (Rom. 9:6), not all claiming to be Christians are born-again believers (Matt. 7:15, 21-22; 25:11).

5. SOUL WINNING - I believe the greatest reason the world has failed to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, is because genuine Christians attempt to win the lost apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit. We know that winning souls is wise (Prov. 11:30). We know the Church has been commissioned to spread the Gospel throughout the world (Acts. 1:8). We know that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). We even know that we are to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). But what we fail to understand is that there is a time to speak, and a time to be silent (Eccl. 3:7).

Jesus told some to tell others about Him (Matt. 10:1-4), and He also told those same folks to be silent concerning His identity (Matt. 10:5-6; 16:13-20; Lk. 8:27-30; Lk. 9:18-21). We are to share the Gospel when the Holy Spirit directs us to speak (Matt. 10:16-20; Jn. 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:12-13). And, unless we know we are to speak, it is wise to be silent. If it is not the Holy Spirit speaking through you, it is the flesh, and "the flesh profiteth nothing" (Jn. 6:63). Apparently, timing is everything!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


OVERPOPULATION: Did you know that there are 261,797 square miles in Texas, or 7,298,481,500,000 square feet? Suppose for a minute that you were to move the entire world population to Texas, say 7,000,000,000 people; how much space do you think each person would have if it were divided equally? The answer is just over 1000 square feet per person. That is about the size of a small home. Before we converted our two car garage into a family room, our three bedroom, two bath home was only 1100 square feet. When you think of it that way, the world does not seem over crowded at all. In fact, if you were to take the same 7,000,000,000 people and divide them by four, representing a family, there are 1,750,000,000 families on earth. If each family had an equal share of the land, their homes could be 4400 square feet, or that comes to about a tenth of an acre each.

EVOLUTION: Switching gears slightly, look for a moment at how the world population grew to its present size. Evolutionists like to suggest today's world population would have taken much longer than most Creationists believe the world has been here. However, not according to the Ussher Chronology, a 17th-century chronology of the history of the world formulated from a literal reading of the Bible by James Ussher, an Anglican Archbishop. Ussher's chronology is sometimes associated with Young Earth Creationism, which holds that the universe was created only a few millennia ago.

So, how long ago would the world flood have had to occurred to arrive at today's population?

"...Assume that the average family has 4 children who later have families of their own....For these conditions which are not at all unreasonable, the population at the end of 5 generations would be 96, after 10 generations, 3,070; after 15 generations, 98,300; after 20 generations, 3,150,000; and after 30 generations, 3,220,000,000. In one more generation (31) the total would increase to 6.5 billion." (Quoted from World Population Since Creation by Lambert Dolphin).

Now let’s figure a generation is forty years, then it would need to have been here 1240 years; if seventy, then 2170 years; if one hundred, then 3100 years. Ironically, the Bible records Noah's flood as happening around 2350 B.C. or about 4360 years ago.

Other myths include the Big Bang Theory, the Pulse Theory, Global Warming, etc, about which I have written in past posts. One either believes in God's revelation to man, the Bible, or he doesn't. Those of us who do believe it, certainly should not feel superior to those who question, doubt, or ridicule it. Our faith was given to us by grace (Eph. 2:8-9). Until one becomes a believer, and accepts the entire Word of God as truth, it is not likely that what I have written will change people's minds. I pray the Holy Spirit will uses it to at least get some to start considering the fact that science might just possibly be misreading the data.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Last Sunday in our Life Groups (Sunday School), we were discussing current events before class started. Many had an opinion about the fall of dictators in the Middle East, and everything seemed civil until I asked what right the President of the United States has to tell foreign governments what to do. You would have thought I was Benedict Arnold. One lady's response was, "Well, I love my country!" Unfortunately, my response to her was just as bad, because I gave her a dirty look for challenging my patriotism, and reminded her and everyone else that I spent twenty years of my life in military service because I, too, love my country. After class was closed in prayer, I apologized to her publicly for my angry response.

During my lifetime, I have participated in many discussions which involved criticism of our nation's policies and leadership. In most of them, I will admit my views were not only in the minority, I often stood alone. I was not very popular when I stood against racism and segregation in the sixties. I opposed the Vietnam War (even though I was serving in the Navy throughout its twelve years), not because I believed the war itself was wrong, but because our political leaders did not allow our military to win. I do not believe in Reaganism with its trickle-down economics, because most rich men do not invest their wealth, but use it for opulent living and as a source of political power. I do not believe in providing free housing, food, and medical care to those who can work but don't. I do not believe in educating lazy and disruptive teenagers in our public schools, or "no child left behind," especially if that child is preventing teachers from teaching others who want to learn. I do not believe in providing college educations to those who have not earned them academically (that includes sports scholarships). I do not believe that abortion is a woman's choice, but that it is murder. I suppose that is enough to give you an idea of why my views are not always popular.

That being said, I believe the United States of America was the greatest nation in the history of our planet on the day I was born! We were at war with Germany and Japan, and our people pulled together, doing whatever it took to stop their aggression. By the end of the war, we had a merchant marine fleet that was larger than that of the rest of the world combined. We were a land of industry. It was not perfect, but it was getting "better with age." Integration became the law of the land. If a man worked hard, he could earn a college education. If a man worked hard, he could provide a very comfortable life for himself and his family. But today, our merchant marine fleet is somewhere near one hundredth in the world. About one half of all marriages end in divorce. Our educational system cannot compete with those of many other nations. Our political leaders get rich in jobs that pay little. Our leaders spend a great deal of time putting a good "spin" on their activities, rather than doing the right thing in the first place. Today, the new trend is for the minority party to simply leave their state so they can prevent democracy from working. Today, our government is more concerned with offending the atheists than it is in acknowledging God.

I am a patriot, but as you can tell, I have not made America my God. Patriotism that says, "my country, right or wrong," is not really patriotism; it is idolatry! God have mercy on this ungrateful nation!