Monday, October 31, 2011


The angel Gabriel gave Daniel the prophecy known as "Daniel's Seventy Weeks," which described the future of Israel from the command to rebuild Jerusalem with its Temple, until the "consummation" (Dan. 9:21-27). The Hebrew word translated "consummation" is כָּלָה (kalah) means "to be complete." The total number of years was to be 490 (seventy sevens). Gabriel told Daniel that 69 weeks (7 + 60 + 2 or 483 years) would pass until the Israel's long-awaited Messiah would be killed (Dan. 9:26). Right on time, Jesus came, was crucified, buried, rose again, and ascended to His Father (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Acts 1:9; Col. 3:1). So what happened to the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy? The seven remaining years have not taken place yet.

The hiatus, which some refer to as a "biblical parenthesis," occurs between the 69th and 70th week of the prophecy, into which the mystery of the Church Age is inserted; it is known as the "gap theory" of Daniel 9 (Eph. 5:32). The seventieth week of the prophecy is expected to commence after the Rapture of the Church (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10; 4:1), and will end at the Second Coming of Christ (Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 19:11-21; etc.).

Daniel wrote, "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (Dan. 9:27). The last seven years ending in the "consummation," are known by three names: Daniel's Seventieth Week (Dan. 9:27); The Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer. 30:7); and the Tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14). This seven year period is described in several passages, and they should be studied together (Dan. 9:27; 11:31-36; 12:1; Matt. 24:1-29; Mk. 13:1-23; Lk. 21:5-24; 2 Thes. 2:1-12: Rev. 6 - 18).

The Beast, or the Antichrist, will break his covenant with Israel exactly three and a half years into the seven year treaty (Dan. 9:27). This three and a half year period is described as being 1260 days (Rev. 11:3; 12:6); 42 months (Rev. 11:2; 13:5); and as "a time, times, and half (time)" (Dan. 12:7). The covenant will be broken when he enters the Temple, and declares himself to be God. Called the "abomination of desolation," the Jews, who have had three and a half years of peace, will see the Beast for who he is, and having their "eyes opened," will literally "head for the hills" (Matt. 24:15-16; Mk. 13:14; Lk. 21:20-21; Rom. 11:25; Rev. 12:6).

Between the prophecies of the Book of Daniel; the Olivet Discourse of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; the warning in 2 Thessalonians; and Chapters 6 through 18 of Revelation, we have a clear picture of what the Beast or Antichrist does. The only things we do not know are his identity and when he will make the covenant.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Daniel 9:24-27 speaks of "the people of the prince that shall come," and then connects him with the person who makes a covenant with Israel for seven years, only to break it after three and a half. We all recognize him to be Antichrist, or the Beast of Revelation. Ironically, the actual word “Antichrist” does not appear in the Book of Daniel, or the Book of Revelation. And it is never used by Jesus during his ministry, including His discussion about the signs of the “End of the Age” in Matthew 24 and parallels.

The words “Antichrist” and “Antichrists” appear only four times in the Bible, specifically in the Apostle John’s First and Second epistles, where he is described as the coming one (1 Jn. 2:18); the liar (1 Jn. 2:22); denier of Christ (1 Jn. 4:3); and the deceiver (2 Jn. 1:7).
He is described as a false Christ (Matt. 24:5,24); the man of sin and the son of perdition (2 Thes. 2:3); the wicked or lawless one (2 Thes. 2:8); the first of the four horsemen (Rev. 6:1-2); the beast (Rev. 13:1-4; 16:13; 19:19-20; 20:10); and the beast having ten horns (Dan. 7:7, 20, 24; Rev. 12:3; 13:1; 17:3,7,12,16).

Although Daniel does not call him Antichrist, he described him as the fourth beast, the "Little Horn":

"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things" (Daniel 7:7-8).

Daniel also describes the Antichrist through the typology. Both Jewish and Christian commentaries view Antiochus IV, or Antiochus Epiphanes, as a type of the future "little horn" (Dan. 8:9). Also, Daniel 8:9–12, 23–25; Daniel 11:21–35 are generally identified with Antiochus Epiphanes. More on him later.

Earlier, I described the first sixty-nine weeks of Daniel's Seventy-Week Prophecy as being completed at the crucifixion (Part One). There is one week left of that prophecy; there is "one week of years" yet to be fulfilled. Again, we know they are "weeks of years" because the first sixty-nine "weeks" were fulfilled by the 483 years between the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the Crucifixion. As we shall see, the Antichrist is the main character in Daniel's Seventieth Week.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


While "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16), the Book of Daniel is, by far, the most important in the Old Testament when it comes to showing the Bible is God's revelation. Written approximately five hundred years before the birth of Christ, it correctly predicts the identity of four successive world empires: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Daniel wrote the names of the first three (Babylon, the existing kingdom at the time (Dan. 2:38); Medo-Persia (Dan. 7:5; 8:20), and Greece (Dan. 7:6; 8:21). The fourth is identified by interpretation of the follow:
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (Dan. 9:24-27).
Notice the fourth empire can be identified as the one which would kill the Messiah of Israel, and then destroy the Jewish Temple. Clearly, the fourth empire was Rome.

The Roman Empire ruled from the time of the first emperor, Augustus (44 BC), until it collapsed when Romulus Augustus was forced to abdicate to the Germanic warlord Odoacer (AD 476). Since the above passage indicates that the Temple would be destroyed after the death of the Messiah, He had to die before AD 70, the year Emperor Vespasian had the future Emperor Titus destroy the city and Temple of Jerusalem. That means Israel's Messiah had to live between 44 BC and AD 70. From Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, and the New Testament Gospels, it is clear that Jesus was Israel's Messiah.

Daniel 9:24-27 not only provides us with the identity of the fourth empire, it reveals the year the Messiah would be killed. "Weeks" in the Hebrew is translated from שָׁבֻעִ֨ים (sha·vu·'im), which actually means "a period of seven (days, months, or years), a heptad." The Messiah would be killed sixty-nine sevens after the "the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem." The final command to go rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple was given in 445 BC (Neh. 2:1-8). Because the Jewish year consisted of 360 days, mathematically, the time of the death of the Messiah would be 483 Jewish years from the decree. It happened!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Sim Kay Tee, a writer for Our Daily Bread, had an interesting insight concerning Psalm 131, which says:
"LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever."
Sim Kay Tee described verse one of David's Psalm as describing the humility one gains when he finally comes to realize that God, in many ways, is beyond our understanding. He then referenced five passages that show God's ways are incomprehensible:

Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this Law."

Job 42:3 "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not."

Ecclesiastes 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all."

Isaiah 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

Romans 11:33-34 "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord or who hath been His counsellor?"

When it comes right down to it, all that man can really know about the things of God has been revealed to him by God. There is a saying that describes this very clearly: "God has revealed all that we need to know about all that we need to know." The Bible, God's revelation to man, sets the boundaries of our knowledge. To speculate about things of God, beyond that which is revealed in Scripture, is vanity, nothing more than pride (1 Cor. 3:18-20: Col. 2:8, 18; 1 Tim. 1:6-7; 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16; Titus 3:9; etc.).

Our knowledge of God produces humility. Our trust in God produces contentment and hope, contentment in this life (Phil 4:11; Heb. 13:5; etc.), and hope for the next (Rom. 15:13; Titus 2:13; Heb. 6:18; etc.).

Thursday, October 27, 2011


The third chapter of the Gospel of John presents the Gospel in its simplicity. The following outline of the chapter shows this.




First, a religious leader (religion is a works-based attempt to find favor with God) approached Jesus under the cover of darkness so that he would not be seen talking to Him. He was interested in what Jesus had to say, but not at the expense of losing the respect of his peers. Before he could get to his point in coming, Jesus told him that he needed to be "born again." Nicodemus, thinking of birth as a physical event, was astounded. Jesus told him there are two kinds of birth: a physical birth (coming forth out of the water of the womb, physically alive), and a spiritual birth (the total result of the work of the Holy Spirit making man spiritually alive). Both produce life, and neither of them is the result of work on the part of the individual. Just as the child of his parents had no part in his physical birth, he has no part in his spiritual birth. When the Gospel is presented to him in such a way so that he believes it, believing being faith, he is born again.

Second, the Gospel presents Jesus as coming from heaven, sent by the Father to die on a cross, so that when I believe He loved me, and that He died in my place for my sin, I am saved, and I am made alive spiritually. I have been given new life, spiritual life, eternal life. In order for Jesus to provide believers with eternal life, He must be, Himself, eternal. Our faith is not in a dead man, but in the living God, Jesus Christ!

Lastly, the new birth will result in my willingness to give Christ preeminence in my life; I willingly acknowledge (confess) Jesus as being the Lord of my life, and at the same time, I, by acknowledging His Lordship over me, live my life as His servant. He increases, and I decrease. I did not get saved by serving Christ, but I serve Him because He saved me. His gift to me was salvation; my gratitude to Him is expressed in my desire to do His will. The chapter ends with these words:
"He that hath received His testimony hath set to His Seal (Eph. 1:13; 4:30) that God is true. For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (Jn. 3:33-36).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2 Cor. 4:5).

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

“To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

“For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake” (1 Thes. 1:5).

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23).

“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15).

“But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (Jn. 15:18-19).

“[The Gospel] which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth” (Col. 1:6).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


As religious zealots martyr themselves on a daily basis around the globe, seeking to terrorize humanity, they have one goal: to create a Muslim world. Their stated objective is based upon that goal, which basically says, "either accept Islam, or die." As a result, many world leaders, motivated by fear, are increasingly clamping down on those who express a belief that their faith is the only truth, and all others will lead people to hell. This belief has been called "hate speech," and many nations have recently begun imprisoning pastors for preaching Christianity is the only way to go to heaven.

Another response has been the recent efforts on the part of a few influential politicians and an increasing number of religious leaders to combine the religions of the world into one world religion. Tony Blair and Bill Clinton are involved in establishing "Face to Faith" courses in universities and public schools. These courses are aimed at removing barriers between the different faiths of the world. Rick Warren has been accused of openly spearheading a move to join Christianity with Islam, which has been called "Chrislam."

Such efforts to bring peace between differing faiths are not new. For years, the Roman Catholic Church ("catholic" means universal) has been the force behind the Ecumenical Movement. The word is derived from Greek οἰκουμένη (oikoumene), which means "the whole inhabited world", and was historically used with specific reference to the Roman Empire. The ecumenical vision comprises both the search for the visible unity of the Church (Jn. 17:11, 21-23; Eph. 4.3) and the 'whole inhabited earth' (Matt. 24.14) as the concern of all Christians.

This should be no surprise to Bible-believers. Scripture speaks of an apostasy or falling away within the church in the end-times (2 Thes. 2:3). Revelation describes the last period of Church History as being "lukewarm" (Rev. 3:16). Revelation also speaks of a one-world religion, controlled by the False Prophet, as he supports the world-wide dictatorship of the Antichrist (Rev. 13:11-12). And as the "signs of the times" increase, whether they are actually increasing or the worldwide communication makes them universally known, there is great interest in prophecy and much talk concerning the end of the world. The 2012 phenomenon, a subject of much interest, involves a wide range of eschatological beliefs concerning cataclysmic or transforming events based upon the Mayan calendar ending on December 21, 2012.

But there is good news. Born-again believers will not be here when the events described in Revelation chapters four through eighteen take place. We will be "raptured out" before the Tribulation (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18). Besides, we have a child/Father relationship with God, not a religion! Praise the Lord for adopting all who believe in Jesus into His family (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5)!

Monday, October 24, 2011


When Christ is presented to the unsaved, should He be proclaimed as Savior only, or should He also be proclaimed as Lord? In sharing the gospel, we must never misrepresent who Jesus is. He is Christ the Lord, as can be seen in the following verses:

***"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake" (2 Cor. 4:5).
***"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
***"The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all" (Acts 10:36).

What is the significance of the following verses when discussing the Lordship of Jesus?
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9-10).
First of all, verse nine could be translated in this way: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is Lord . . ." (same Greek construction as in Phil. 2:11). This verse is teaching that a true believer will confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Notice that when one believes, he confesses (shares his faith in) the Lord Jesus. Just as good works are faith "made visible" (Jam. 2:14-26), so confessing Christ as one's Lord is faith "made audible." Confessing Christ is not a condition of salvation, but the natural result of salvation: "For whosoever shall believe on Him shall not be ashamed" (Rom. 10:11).

The true believer confesses Christ as Lord. Many who are opposed to "Lordship salvation" argue that what the person is confessing is Christ’s deity, not His Lordship. They understand "Lord" in Romans 10:9 to be equivalent to "Jehovah," the name exclusively used of the true God, and translated "LORD" over six thousand times in the Old Testament. The fallacy of that argument is that it suggests a saved person must recognize Jesus is God, but not necessarily recognize or acknowledge His Lordship. That argument does not carry much weight for the following reason: If Jesus Christ is truly GOD (and He is), then He must be Lord also. If He is God—the supreme, all powerful Creator (and He is)—then He must have absolute authority over all His creatures. That is, He must be Lord. If He is God (and He is), then He must be Lord also. The two titles go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. If He is Lord at all, He must be the Creator-God. If He is the Creator-God, then He rightfully must be Lord. It would be foolish for a person to say, "I acknowledge Him as Deity, as my Creator-God, but I reject Him as my Lord."

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The Gospel, stated in its simplest form in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, says that Jesus died on a cross according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again according to the Scriptures. The Gospel is the good news that God recognized mankind's need for a Savior, and as planned before the foundation of the world, Jesus offered Himself to be our Savior (Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:19-20; Rev. 13:8).

So, if there is only one Gospel, what about Mark 1:1 which declares that Mark's Gospel, in its entirety, is the Gospel? Or what about Matthew and Mark writing of the Gospel of the Kingdom? And, what about Paul having a Gospel to the Gentiles and Peter having a Gospel to the Jews?

It is quite simple. Mark's Gospel is a witness to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; it is the Gospel "fleshed-out" in the life of our Savior. The person Matthew and Mark present, is in fact, the King of the Jew's long-awaited kingdom; He is their Messiah, their Anointed One, their Christ. And as for Paul and Peter, they preached the same message to those to whom they were sent. There is only one Gospel. It involves God's love, man's need, and the Solution, Who is both the Lamb, and the soon-coming Lion (1 Cor. 5:7; Rev. 5:5).

The one Gospel is called:

***The "Gospel of God"" (Rom. 1:1; 15:16).
***The "Gospel of His Son (Rom. 1:9).
***The "Gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:16; 15:19, 29).
***The "Gospel of Peace" (Rom. 10:15).
***The "Gospel" (Rom. 1:15; 10:16; 11:28; 15:20).
***Paul called it "My Gospel" (Rom. 2:16; 16:25).
***The "Gospel of the Kingdom" (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mk. 1:14).

If you fail to accept salvation as a gift by adding anything to it, what you are trusting in is not the Gospel, but a lie (Gal. 1:6-11). "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (Jn. 6:29). "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). "Jesus saith unto him, I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (Jn. 14:6). JESUS IS THE GOSPEL.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


The New Testament has 98 verses in which the word, "Gospel" appears:
*Matthew mentioned the Gospel 5 times, 3 of which are "the Gospel of the Kingdom."
*Mark mentioned it 8 times, 1 of which is "the Gospel of the Kingdom."
*Luke mentioned it 10 times, 4 in his Gospel and 6 in Acts, none include "the Kingdom."
*John mentioned it 1 time; it was in Revelation, and it does not include "the Kingdom."
*Paul mentioned it 69 times, none of which include "the Kingdom."
*Peter mentioned it 4 times, none of which include "the Kingdom."
*The writer of Hebrews mentioned it 1 time, and it does not include "the Kingdom."
*Jude did not mention the Gospel.

Some "theologians" believe that Matthew (and possibly Mark) presented the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews, who were expecting their Messiah, their King, to come and establish His Kingdom. They suggest that by the time Luke wrote his Gospel, Christians understood that Christ was to appear twice, once as "our Passover, the Lamb of God" (1 Cor. 5:7; Jn. 1:29, 36), and a second time as "the Lion of the Tribe of Juda" (Rev. 5:5). They site John 1:11-12 as evidence that the intended audience changed from Jews to Gentiles. And, they site Galatians 2:7 to support their view that there are two different Gospel messages. Paul wrote, "But contrariwise, when they saw that the Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the Gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter."

I can think of two reasons that their view can not be valid: one is that both Matthew and Mark include the understanding that Christ was to make two "trips" to our world; and two, the Apostle Paul clearly taught that there is only one authentic Gospel. He wrote:
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-9).

So what is the Gospel? First, it is the good news that God loved us enough to send Jesus to die for our sins (Jn. 3:16). 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 says:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
To be continued, Lord willing.

Friday, October 21, 2011


THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE BELIEVER from God's Word (2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 2:15; 3:1-4; 2 Tim. 2:4).

Mine eyes have seen the splendor of the glory of the Lord,
We behold Him in the mirror of the Word, the Spirit’s sword,
Christ the God-Man now in glory, is forever more adored,
Christ is our victory!

As we dwell upon the Savior and the cross-work He's performed,
We from glory unto glory in His image are transformed,
To the world we died with Jesus; we refuse to be conformed,
Christ is our victory!

Christ arose and now is seated at His Father’s own right hand,
With Him risen, we’re positioned in that fair and heavenly land,
Looking always unto Jesus, we from heaven take our stand,
Christ is our victory!

Causing hearts to love the world and hoarding treasures here below,
‘Tangling soldiers in the earthly, ‘tis the tactic of our foe,
Though the battle for our hearts and minds still rages yet we know,
Christ is our victory!

On the cross our foes defeated, hardship gladly we endure,
Marching in His strength and power, for my weakness He’s the cure,
Christ in us the hope of glory, we in Him, the conquest sure,
Christ is our victory!


Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Glory, glory, hallelujah,
Christ is our victory!

To the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Words by James Delany, Pastor of the Salem Bible Church, Salem, NH.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


As Christians, we are often required to associate with groups outside of our church family. At work, in school, and even at family gatherings, Christians are usually in the minority. The positive way to look at those times is that they are opportunities to be "the light" in the darkness that engulfs the world. We can live in such a way that we stand out, and occasionally, we have the chance to share the Gospel with others. Unfortunately, for the majority of us, we don't want to "stand out." We prefer to blend in and avoid the possible conflict, rejection, or ridicule. In fact, many of us will do almost anything so that we don't appear as though we think we are "better" than the rest of the group. In other words, we become like them.

The Word says believers are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14). The Scriptures tell us to come out from among them (2 Cor. 6:17). We are to be "in the world," but "not of the world" (Jn. 17:14-16). Remember, the crowd is almost always wrong:

***In the days of Noah, the crowd perished and only eight survived (Gen. 7:13,21–23; 1 Pet. 3:20).
***After the flood, the crowd wanted to build a city and a tower (Gen. 11:1–9; 9:1,7).
***In the days of Abraham, the crowd wanted to worship idols, including Abraham’s family (Josh. 24:2).
***In the days of Moses, the crowd worshipped the golden calf (Ex. 32).
***In the days of Joshua and Caleb, the majority of the spies were afraid to conquer the land (Num. 13-14).
***In the wilderness, all but two adults died (Num. 14:29-32; Heb. 3:17–19; 1 Cor. 10:5).
***In the days of Samuel, the majority of Israelites wanted a king (1 Sam. 8:4–7).
***The entire Israelite army was afraid of giant Goliath (1 Sam.17:11,24).
***There were 450 prophets of Baal and only one prophet of the LORD (1 Kg. 18).
***Again, there were 400 false prophets and only one true prophet (1 Kg. 22).
***Only three men refused to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan.3).
***Jesus said that the majority of mankind is headed for hell (Matt. 7:13-14).
***It was the crowd that yelled "Crucify Him!" (Matt. 27:22–23).
***In the days of the man of sin (the Antichrist), the whole world will follow the beast (Rev.13).

Not only will the crowd usually lead the believer down the wrong path, those watching our participation in the activities of those who do not believe in Christ will assume we are "guilty by association." Remember Proverbs 13:20 which says, He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


There are two kinds of Law found in the Old Testament: the Law which is summarized by the Ten Commandments, and the Ceremonial Law. As I stated yesterday, the Ten Commandments apply to all of mankind, and are God's instructions on how we are to relate to Him, and to our neighbor. Commandments One through Four cover the special place God should have in our lives (Ex. 20:1-11; Deut. 5:1-15). Commandments Five through Ten state how God wants us to live with others (Ex. 20:12-17; Deut. 5:16-21). With the exception of the Fourth Commandment which addresses the Sabbath Day, God's Commandments are restated over and over again in the New Testament, and clearly apply to born again believers. Christians do observe a day of rest, but do so on the first day of the week in honor of the Lord's Resurrection, and also of the Day of Pentecost on which the Church was born (Mk. 16:2; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Acts 2:1-4). The Ceremonial Law applies to Israel, and covers its worship, its feasts or holidays, and its cultural way of life. The Church is a separate entity, and not subject to the Ceremonial Laws of Israel, nor are we expected to keep them (Col. 2:14-17).

While it is true that born again believers are not saved by obeying the Law, we maintain fellowship with God and with our fellow believers by living our lives by the principles of His Law (1 Jn. 1:1-10). Although the last five Commandments which address how we are to relate to our neighbor are stated in the negative, the New Testament defines and restates them in a very positive fashion. Matthew wrote:
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matt.22:37-40).
The Apostle Paul wrote the same thing, but condensed it into one:
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Gal. 5:13-14).

Apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Christian cannot even keep this one thing God desires for us. Paul wrote, "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not" (Rom. 7:18). As believers, we need the Holy Spirit to fill us so that we are able to express His nature in our relationship with others (Eph. 5:17-21). Being filled, or "walking in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25), allows God to show forth the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23). "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13:10).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


As Christians, we ought to live in such a way that pleases God, appeals to the lost, and encourages the brethren. But because we are so spiritually paranoid about being in bondage to the Law, filled with its dos and don'ts, we hesitate, and sometimes refuse to accept the fact that Law is a definition of what God would have His children to do! Somehow, the Church has focused so strongly on Paul's epistle to the Galatians, with his stinging attack on those who sought to make the Church simply another tribe of Israel, that we have forgotten the purpose of the Law. Yes, Paul wrote in Galatians 3:1-3:
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
But Paul also wrote in Galatians 3:23-26:
"But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
The Law was given to teach us the impossibility of being saved by "working our way to heaven." In other words, a person who lives without breaking a single law, is a person God calls righteous, and therefore, worthy of going to heaven. Since no one, apart from the Son of God, was able to live such a life, the Law actually showed man his desperate need for a Savior. By trusting in Jesus, we are considered by God to be righteous (2 Cor. 5:21). Righteousness is a gift.

Man does not have to keep the Law in order to become saved. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). But once a person has become a born again believer, he wants to live his life in a way that shows his gratitude to the God Who loved him enough to pay such a dear price for his soul. The Law, while not able to save man, does show him what pleases God. The Ten Commandments are not evil, but on the contrary, they are a picture of how man is to relate to his God, and to his neighbor.

To be continued, Lord permitting.

Monday, October 17, 2011


"But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, (who was) calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:55-60).

Have you ever wondered why this passage of Scripture describes Jesus as standing? After all, the Word of God repeatedly says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Acts 2:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). I cannot help but wonder why this is the only time Jesus is said to be standing when seen in proximity of the throne of the Father. I have two theories, admittedly not supported by Scripture, but each helps me make sense of it.

My first though is that Jesus, seeing His faithful servant Stephen being stoned to death, stood up in anger, and thought about "coming to his rescue." I have always imagined the Father saying, "Not yet, My Son, it is not time to keep My children from harm. That will be done to save the Church from the Tribulation and My wrath, which will chastise the whole world." Remember, as a man, Jesus said He did not know the specific time that would occur (Mk. 13:32).

There are probably several reasons that thought is ridiculous, but I can think of a couple. One, Jesus is God, and as God, is of one mind with the Father and the Spirit. Because Jesus chose to take on human flesh and to live as a man, He chose to put aside His attributes of Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and Omniscience during His time on earth. During that time, He, as a man, did not know. But, since He had returned to His rightful place as God, He obviously knew it was not time for His return when Stephen was being stoned. Also, Jesus, now sharing the glory He had with the Father prior to His Incarnation (Jn. 17:1-5), knew Stephen would be stoned, and knew his attitude in death would bring conviction on those stoning him. I guarantee that if Jesus did not want it to happen, it would not have. Period!

My second theory, one that I believe is consistent with the character of God in His relationship with His children, is that Jesus stood to welcome Stephen home. Jesus knew, and so do we, that to be absent from the body is to be present with Him (2 Cor. 5:8). I can just picture Jesus standing with open arms, and saying to Stephen, "Welcome home My child. Well done My faithful servant!" I can't wait!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Try to picture the scene. Actually, at that "time," there is only one scene existing. It is heaven, wherever that is, and the Father, His Son who will one day be named Jesus, and the Spirit are talking. They are surrounded by angels, but no other beings exist as yet.

The Father says, "I Am feeling creative today."

The Spirit snickers and says, "I think your last creation turned out okay, but I could only give You a grade of 66%" (Rev. 12:4).

The Father sheepishly replies, "Yes, you would think My being God, I would always shoot an 18 at golf, but I made the mistake of including hazards in My course. You know, it is kind of like creating a rock so heavy that I cannot pick it up." Heaven is filled with laughter!

The Son asks, "What do you have in mind?"

So the Father shares His vision of a material universe consisting of an innumerable galaxies of stars, a sun with a few planets orbiting it, one of which will be inhabited by beings that are modeled after Him (Gen. 1:1 - 2:25). He then tells them of some "hazards" He intends to include which will make it appear as though His creative ability has not improved, but this time, He says, "I AM going to build into My creation, a Solution. I just need to cast Someone to fill the role of Savior. He will need to be a common man of humble lineage, Who will be tortured and killed as payment for the rebellion of His fellow human beings." He continues, "My plan is to raise Him from the dead, and, in the end, make Him to be King of kings and Lord of lords!"

Jesus is silent for what seems an eternity, and then says, "Father, I will volunteer to play the part of the Savior. I really am not looking forward to the death scene, but there is no one else that could play that part."

The Father smiles and says, "I knew You would, My Son." And so, before the creation of the Universe, it was already determined by the Trinity that Jesus, the Son of God, was to die, be buried, and be raised from the dead for the salvation of all those who would place their trust in Him (Rev. 13:8; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rom. 10:8-13).
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:5-8).

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Many groups deny the doctrine of eternal punishment, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, followers of Herbert Armstrong, some ultra-dispensationalists, etc. They claim that this passage is a parable because they do not like what it teaches about Hades. This passage clearly teaches that Hades is a place of conscious torment and suffering for the wicked. They think that if this passage is only a parable, then they do not have to accept what it teaches about the condition of men following death. You will notice that the Lord did not say that it was a parable, nor did Luke. Even if it were a parable, it would indeed be a unique parable for the following reasons:

1. It would be the only parable in the Bible that describes certain things that are outside of the realm of human experience. All the other parables talk about things with which man is familiar, such as birds, seed, fields, pearls, wheat, barns, leaven, fish, etc. This passage is different because it talks about what happens to two men after death, and this is a realm with which none of us have had any personal experience. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual significance, but Luke 16 transcends the realm of the earthly.

2. It would be the only parable in the Bible that uses a proper name; the beggar is named Lazarus.

3. It would be the only parable in the Bible that makes repeated mention of a historical person, Abraham. Moreover, this historical person actually carries on a dialogue with the rich man! Indeed, mention is also made in this parable of Moses, another historical character. What other parable speaks of real, historical persons?

4. It would be the only parable in the Bible that describes the places where the dead go. It is called Hades, and it is divided in two sections: Abraham's bosom, and a place of torment.

5. It would be the only parable in the Bible that makes mention of angels. Compare Matthew 13 verses 24-30, 36-43, and 47-49, where angels are mentioned in the explanation of the parable, but not in the parable itself.

6. If Hades is not really a place of torment, then this would be the only parable in the Bible where the Lord Jesus taught error instead of truth. GOD FORBID!

As I have shown in other posts, Jesus descended into Paradise accompanied by the "good thief." When He arose three days later, I believe He "led captivity captive," and those souls had their part in the first Resurrection. Jesus, the First Fruits from the grave, then those souls mentioned in Matthew 27:52-53. Today, there is no need for a place called Paradise, because when believers die, they are immediately present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). Amen!

Friday, October 14, 2011


The problem with religion, all religion, is they refuse to accept the concept that salvation as a gift without strings. I mentioned yesterday that Roman Catholicism adds "the sacraments" to the equation. Any denomination that says one must do something to qualify to receive the gift of salvation, whether it be baptism, speak in tongues, become a member in their "only way to heaven club," etc., nullifies the fact that salvation is a gift. Salvation is found in Jesus. God gave us Jesus. All you and I have to do is believe it.

The Word says: "That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins" ( Jn. 3:15-16; Acts 10:43). Salvation comes when a man understands and believes what the Bible says Jesus did for him. He has a new way of thinking. He has had a change of mind (which is the definition of repentance).

The religious of this world find it impossible to believe that a man does not have to do anything in order to become worthy of heaven. Their thinking is faulty, because it is based upon a misconception. They believe that following a man's salvation, he is then worthy to enter God's presence. He is not. The born again individual remains the man he always was: a sinner. He is permitted to stand accepted before God because he has been given a robe of righteousness to cover him. Isaiah 61:10 says, "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for HE HATH CLOTHED ME with the garments of salvation, HE HATH COVERED ME with the robe of righteousness...."

Man can not earn his own garment of righteousness which is necessary to stand justified in the Lord's presence. That is why Jesus has made His available to all those who place their trust in Him. Revelation 1:5 says, "And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood." Our garment of righteousness, the robe we will wear before Almighty God, was made holy by being washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14)! OUR SALVATION IS A GIFT FROM GOD! Amen!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Wait a minute! In Part One, I listed five things that the Word says are the "gift of God": 1) Everlasting Life; 2) The Holy Spirit; 3) Justification; 4) Eternal Life; 5) Jesus. In Part three, I wrote that Salvation is the "gift of God." And in Part Five, I wrote the Jesus is the "gift of God." For those unfamiliar with God's Word, I must seem to be continually contradicting myself. I can almost hear them screaming, "Make up your mind. Which is it?" The answer is, all of them are the "gift of God." Of course, grammatically speaking, that would seem impossible because of the use of the definite article with each. Let me explain.

First, let me say that I am not the one who says each of the five is the "gift of God," the Bible says so. Does that mean the Bible is wrong? No! What it means is, the "gift of God" is a "packaged deal." It consists of those five things, and more. In Part One, I made it clear Ephesians 2:8 states that salvation is the gift God graciously offers to mankind. That being true, how does one explain the apparent contradiction? The answer is that the Bible, the Word of God, with all of its sixty-six books, reveals God's plan for saving His lost creation.

In Genesis, God reveals man's need to be saved. And in Genesis through Malachi, God reveals His preparation for providing salvation to fallen man. In the Gospels, God reveals His method of providing salvation: Jesus. In Acts through Revelation, God reveals His offer of salvation; He reveals the "gift" He chose to give mankind "before the foundation of the world" (Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 4:3; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8; 17:8). One might say that the Bible is the "word picture" God has used to describe His "gift." It is "opened for us" to see before we are asked to accept "it." We do not need to accept "it" before we know whether or not we want "it." He offers Jesus, the Creator, the Son of God, the sacrificial Lamb of God, and the One resurrected to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords! When one chooses to accept Him, he receives 1) Everlasting Life; 2) The Holy Spirit; 3) Justification; 4) Eternal Life; 5) Adoption as a Child of God; 6) Salvation; and possibly the most important thing, he gets 7) Rest from Religion!

As I mentioned in Part Three, religion is the largest obstacle to being saved. Many "Christian" religions, such as Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the vast majority of mainline denominations add, take away, and/or distort salvation. Roman Catholicism states, “In recent years the church has reiterated again and again that we are saved by faith AND the sacraments of faith. BOTH ARE NECESSARY” (J.D. Crichton, Christian Celebration: The Sacraments, p. 65). This sounds more like a list of conditions than it describes a "free gift." The Apostle Paul said that those who "preach another Gospel" should be cursed for doing so (Gal. 1:1-9)!

To be continued, should the Lord permit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Let me begin with a summary of what I have written so far. Part One explains why Ephesians 2:8 does not say that faith is a gift of God, but that salvation is the gracious gift of God to man. Part Two discusses how faith is necessary for one to be saved. Part Three presents the necessary of Jesus being the object of one's faith in becoming a child of God. Part Four began our study into the identity of the biblical Jesus, the Savior. Part Five is a continuation of our look into Who the biblical Jesus really is.

*Jesus was, is, and always will be the Son of God (Rev. 4:8).
*He is eternal (1 Jn. 5:11).
*He is the Creator (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2).
*He humbled Himself and died for the sins of the world (Jn. 1:29; 3:16; Phil. 2:8).
*He is the Son of God, demonstrated by His resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).
*He is with God in heaven making intercession for us (Col. 3:1; Heb. 7:24-28).
*He is awaiting the time to gather His Church (Mk. 13:32; Jn. 14:6; 1 Thes. 4:13-18).
*He will return to rule this world for one thousand years (Rev. 19:11 - 20:7)!
*He will judge the living and the dead (Rev. 20:11-15).
*He will create a new heaven and earth (Rev. 21:1, 23).

Notice that when we describe Jesus, we say that He is the eternal Son of God. The rest of what we say identifies Him by His actions: what He has done, is doing, and will do in the future. In other words, most of what we really know about His identity is recognized through the description of His actions in relationship to mankind.

The Bible is our source for, not only understanding who Jesus Christ is, but it is the source for our true understanding who we are. It is how we know we were created as a triune being, having a body, soul, and spirit (1 Thes. 5:23). It is how we know that when we sin, we die spiritually (Gen. 2:17; Jn. 3:3-8). It teaches us that, as sinners, we are in need of a Savior (Rom. 3:23). And, praise God, it reveals to us that Jesus freely offered Himself to be the Savior to all who "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Jn. 1:12; Acts 16:31; Rom. 6:23; 10:9-10; Eph. 1:13).

The "gift of God" spoken of in Ephesians 2:8, like any other gift, is given out of the love of the Giver. God loves us, so He GAVE us His Son (Jn. 3:16). Salvation is not earned by works, for then it would be our "wages" rather than a gift (Rom. 6:23). God offers us salvation, He "holds it out for us to accept." It is when we recognize our need for what He offers, when we believe His offer is genuine, and when we are choose to accept it, that we are saved! We become a child of God! We are born again! JESUS IS THE GIFT OF GOD!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Yesterday, I began by saying that "the significance of faith is determined by its object." All forms of Christianity, including those groups considered cults by mainstream Christianity, profess to believe in Jesus. That is true. I closed with the statement: "It (our Father, child relationship with God) comes from believing in Jesus (Jn. 3:16), the Jesus of the Bible." That is also true. So let's look at what the Bible says about the identity of Jesus. The Bible reveals that Jesus is God:

JESUS SAID SO: “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (Jn. 5:17-18). “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (Jn. 8:58-59). “I and My Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him” (Jn. 10:30-31). Note: The Jews believed that for a mere man to claim to be God was blasphemy and worthy of death, and this explains the thrice repeated reference to the Jews seeking to kill Jesus after He had made such remarkable claims.

ISAIAH SAID SO: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). Note: "Immanuel" is defined in Matthew 1:23 as "God with us." Isaiah wrote, “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” (Isa. 9:6).

"DOUBTING THOMAS" SAID SO: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28).

THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID SO: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Rom. 9:5).

THE WRITER OF HEBREWS SAID SO: “But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom” (Heb.1:8).

THE APOSTLE JOHN SAID SO: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was 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" (Jn. 1:1, 14). “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:20).

So the object of a true believer's faith has to be the Jesus of the Bible, the Son of God. To be continued.


The significance of faith is determined by its object. Everyone demonstrates faith every day by the way he or she lives. When you sit down in a chair, you have faith in that chair's ability to hold you up. When you drive in your car, you place your faith in its ability to get you to your destination safely. If you fly from one location to another, you are expressing faith in the plane and the pilot. Basically, our whole life is lived out by expressing faith in people and things to perform as expected. We place our trust in them. We believe in them. And when it comes to religion, the world is filled with believers; filled with individuals of faith. The problem is, in what or whom have they placed their faith?

As I mentioned yesterday, all religions are faith-based. Adherents believe what their religion teaches. All are based upon the principle that if one's good works outnumber their sins, they will be admitted to heaven. They believe, but their faith is based upon a lie. It is the same lie Satan told Adam and Eve, when he said that by doing something (eating of the forbidden tree), they could be like God (Gen. 3:1-5). If heaven is the domain of God, and we can be like God by doing something, then we simply have to find out what it is we are to do to qualify us. All religions offer a "formula" for achieving worthiness. "Do these things and avoid doing those things" and God will have to allow you into heaven. Unfortunately, all religions deceive their followers. They focus on correcting sinful behavior, but sin is not the greatest obstacle to salvation; the greatest obstacle is religion!

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (Jn. 14:6). In other words, if you want to go to heaven, you must have faith in Jesus. That brings us to the obvious question; if over a third of the world's population belongs to various forms of Christianity, does that mean they are saved? The answer is no! Every single one of those "forms" bases their faith upon an individual "qualifying for heaven." If you ask them in what they believe, they will answer, "I am a Catholic," or a member of another denomination such as the Church of Christ, Baptist, Pentecostal, etc. They may even say, "I committed my life to Jesus." But notice, they all respond by saying what they have done. They are trusting in their actions, either at some point of time in the past, or by continuing to follow their denomination's "list of qualifications." Ultimately, they miss the message of the Gospel; salvation is "the gift of God" (Jn. 4:10; Rom. 5:15-17; 6:23; Eph. 2:8)!

John wrote that when one believes in Jesus, he becomes a child of God (Jn. 1:12). Paul wrote, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26). In his first epistle, John wrote, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God..." (1 Jn. 3:2). Salvation, the "gift of God," is a relationship between God, our Father, and us. It comes from believing in Jesus (Jn. 3:16), the Jesus of the Bible.

To be continued, Lord willing.


Saturday, October 8, 2011


Yesterday, I presented grammatical evidence that the "gift of God," spoken of in Ephesians 2:8, is salvation and not faith, as I had previously believed and taught for my forty years as a Christian. My "enlightenment" came from reading a Bible study on the Internet at: As with every study of theirs that I have used, I am convinced they have been faithful stewards of God's Word. For those who know me as the stubborn Missourian that I am, changing my mind about something requires overwhelming evidence for me to believe differently; some might say it takes a miracle. They would be right.

So, if Paul was saying "salvation" is the "gift of God" and not "faith," what is "faith," and how does a lost person come to possess it? The writer of the Book of Hebrews defined "faith" as: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). As I understand his definition, "faith" is equal to substantive, material evidence. Paul wrote: "Knowing...we have believed in Jesus Christ..." (Gal. 2:16). "Knowing" something requires evidence. "Faith" is that evidence.

The Scripture says that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). As I mentioned yesterday, the Holy Spirit "convinces" the lost soul that he is a sinner, that Jesus is righteous, and that he will one day face God's judgment (Jn. 16:7-11). "Faith" is simply agreeing with God's Word; it is recognizing it to be absolute truth. We sometimes us the phrase, "it dawned on him," or "he has seen the light," to describe a sudden awareness of a fact. "Faith" begins with understanding the Gospel is true.

Faith is when the sinner humbly recognizes his desperate need and acknowledges that God must do all the saving. Salvation is wholly the work of God; faith is wholly the responsibility of man. Man does not contribute to his own salvation. It is the work of God. God alone must do the saving; man must do the believing (Acts 16:31). Those who are saved have only God to thank; those who are lost have only themselves to blame. God gets all the credit for man’s salvation; the unsaved man must take full blame and responsibility for his eternal damnation. The saved person thankfully says, "I’m in heaven because of God!" The lost person must truthfully say, "I’m in hell because of me." His damnation is based, not on God’s rejection of him, but upon his rejection of God (Mark 16:16; 2 Thess. 2:10,12; John 5:40).

The obvious question is, does having faith save you? It depends upon what your faith is based. Some people have faith that they live a good enough life to qualify them to spend eternity with God. Others believe they can make up for their sin by doing good works. Still others choose to focus upon God's love for man, while ignoring His demand for righteousness (holiness). They all believe, but does that mean they are saved?

To be continued, Lord willing.


What is "the gift of God" which is referred to in Ephesians 2:8-9? Is it faith or is it salvation? For years, I have believed and taught that man's ability to believe the Gospel was a God-given gift. I believed that the Father draws man to His Son to save him (Jn. 6:44), that Jesus, God's Son, provided the means of salvation through His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4), and that the Holy Spirit "convinces" man that he is a sinner, that Jesus is righteous, and that judgment awaits those who reject salvation through Him (Jn. 16:7-11). Of course, all those things are still true, but I had interpreted the Holy Spirit's work as being the imparting of the faith necessary to believe. I was wrong.

The key to understanding Ephesians 2:8-9 is to correctly identify the antecedent of the pronoun "that." Does the pronoun "that" refer to faith, or does it refer to salvation? Here is the correct rule that Greek grammar demands be followed: Pronouns agree with their antecedent in gender and number. Their case is determined by their use in their own clause. This rule argues forcefully against the identification of "faith" as the antecedent because "faith" does not agree with the pronoun in gender. The pronoun "that" is NEUTER, and the noun "faith" is FEMININE. If Paul wanted his readers to understand the pronoun as referring to "faith," then there is no reason why he would not have used the feminine form of the demonstrative pronoun. This would have settled it. However, Paul did not use the feminine pronoun.

Why then did Paul use the neuter pronoun? Paul was referring to the idea contained in the main verb, the idea of being SAVED, which is NEUTER in gender. In other words, Paul was saying that it is salvation that is a gift. This interpretation is consistent with the follow verses:

--John 4:10-- (the gift of God is everlasting life; compare verse 14).

--Acts 2:38; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17-- (the gift of God is the Holy Spirit).

--Romans 5:15,17-- (these verses speak of the gift of justification).

--Romans 6:23-- (the gift of God is eternal life).

--2 Corinthians 9:15-- (this verse speaks of God's gift, which is Jesus Christ).

Apart from the misinterpretation of Ephesians 2:8, please note that this word is never used of FAITH.

To be continued, Lord permitting.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Yesterday, I said that Christianity is not a religion, but a family relationship with God Almighty. Religions, all religions, have a "set of instructions for assembling a man worthy of spending eternity with God." In a sense, religions are a lot like marriage; every wife has two lists: a "honey, do" list, and a "honey, you had better not do" list. "Love" is based upon how well the husband is doing (or not doing) at any given time. Hence, "the husband" can not be sure he is "worthy of his wife's love," as his status with her changes based upon how hard he is trying to comply with her lists. In religions, the same is true; a person "qualifies for heaven" based upon how hard he is trying to live according to his religion's lists. He must work diligently to qualify.

Christianity is different. One's relationship with God is not determined by what a man does or does not do. It is determined by whether or not he believes in what Jesus did. Our relationship with God is based upon our faith in the Gospel which is the only message from God that has the power to save us (Rom. 1:16). It is our faith, the faith given to us by God (Eph. 2:8-9), which results in our becoming a child of God (Gal. 3:26). The Gospel is explained in the following verses:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
Jesus finished the work necessary for you and me to "quality" to become children of God (Jn. 19:30; Rom. 4:24-25).

There is only one road that leads to a relationship with God, and that is Jesus (Jn. 14:6). There is great irony in that fact, in that, the "map" for that road is found in the Book of Romans! It is called "THE ROMANS ROAD" to salvation.

1. Rom. 3:23 - “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
2. Rom. 6:23a - “The wages of sin is death....”
3. Rom. 5:8 - “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
4. Rom. 6:23b - “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
5. Rom. 10:13 - “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
6. Rom. 10:17 - “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
7. Hebrews 4:3 - "For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."

Thursday, October 6, 2011


How often have you heard people say something like this:
“All roads lead to Rome. There are many religions in the world, and there are many ways to God. Some call God by the name ‘Allah,’ others by the name ‘Jehovah,’ and still others by a plethora of names. All religions have the same goal, namely, to get to heaven. It really does not matter what a person believes, as long as he is sincere.”
Unfortunately, there is a problem with this philosophy; what if does matter? What if the god being worshiped does not exist? Or, even if it did exist, would you want to spend eternity with a god who would allow someone like you into heaven? Wouldn't a heaven with you in it be just like this world, with all of its imperfections? Obviously, a religion that judges the acceptability of its members by using a "scale" that measures one's good qualities against one's bad qualities, is willing to accept people into heaven that were "good" only fifty-one percent of the time. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like heaven to me.
And yet, that is what every religion in the world teaches.

There is a way that leads to heaven which, although called a religion, is better described as a family. Christianity teaches that God, the One and only God, desires to spend eternity with His children. In fact, the only folks who will be in heaven will be members of His family. John 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons (children) of God, even to them that believe on His name." There are dozens of passages that speak of believers in Jesus Christ as being the children of God, but three of the most important are found in the Books of Romans, Galatians and 1 John:
"The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..." (Rom. 8:16-17). "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26). "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)
Notice that we are now a child of God because we have "faith in Christ Jesus." We do not earn a relationship by following a religious set of rules and regulations; we simply believe in Jesus. Paul wrote that even our faith in Jesus could not be counted as "works," because the faith, itself, was a gift from God: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).

To be continued, Lord willing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


The purpose of this study is to see what God has said about salvation. Just reading these statements is not enough. Please take time to look up each Scripture references to see for yourself that the Bible really teaches these truths (Acts 17:11).

God is Holy (Isa. 6:3; 57:15; 1 Pet. 1:15; Rev. 4:8), and thus He is absolutely set apart and separated from all that is sinful (Isa. 59:2; Ps. 24:3-4; Isa. 6:3-5).

I am not holy, but a sinner (Rom. 3:10-18, 23), my heart is wicked and evil (Jer. 17:9-10), and I therefore cannot trust in my feelings or emotions.

Because I am not holy but a sinner, I deserve death (Rom. 1:28-32; 6:23), which involves eternal separation from God and eternal punishment by God, even the lake of fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 20:11-15; 21:8).

But because of His marvelous love and mercy, God sent His beloved Son to offer salvation to the world (Jn. 3:14-18). Jesus, who is God (Jn. 1:1; Isa. 7:14; 9:6), and the Creator (Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2), died on the cross in my place, as my Substitute (Ps. 22; Isa. 53; Rom. 5:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18; 1 Jn. 2:2; 3:16; 4:10). He also rose again from the dead proving that God the Father was pleased and satisfied that my death penalty had been paid in full (1 Cor.15:4-20; Rom. 4:25).

When I believe that Christ is the Son of God, and place my trust in Him because of what He has done for me on the cross, the Bible says I am saved (Jn. 3:17; 10:9; Acts 2:21; 16:31; Rom. 10:9), I am born again (Jn. 1:13; 3: 1 Pet. 1:18-23), I am a child of God (Jn. 1:12).

I am not saved by works, but by the faith God graciously has given me (Eph. 2:8-9). However, the natural result is that I want to please Him and obey Him (Ps. 19:14; Matt. 28:18; Jn. 13:13; Acts 9:6; Rom. 10:9; Eph. 2:10; Jam. 4:7).

God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34); what He has done for me, He wants to do for you (2 Pet 3:9). Place your trust in Jesus today, so that you can join me in saying, "To God be the glory for the things He has done!"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


This is one of the vast number of resources available to Christians from
I highly recommend the study and the sharing of their Bible materials. Here is "The Christian Life." is not about you; it’s about Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:20-21; Jer. 9:23-24). is not about your glory; it’s about God’s glory (1 Cor. 1:31; 10:31). is not about your merit and resources; it’s about God’s grace and provision (Jn. 1:16; Rom. 5:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:10). is not about your wisdom; it’s about God’s Word (Isa. 55:8-11; Ps. 1:1-3). is not about your will; it’s about God’s will (Matt. 26:39; Rom. 12:1-2). is not lived through your strength; it’s lived by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 7 & 8; Zech. 4:6; Eph. 5:18). is not lived on your terms; it’s lived on God’s terms (Rom. 6:11-13; 12:1-2). is not about service first; it’s about spirituality first (Jn. 15:1-5). is not about pleasing yourself; it’s about pleasing God (2 Cor. 5:8-10). is not about walking by sight or by feelings; it’s about walking by faith in Christ (Col. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:6). is not about covering your sins; it’s about confessing your sins (1 Cor. 11:28-32; 1 Jn. 1:5-10; Prov. 28:13).

The key to living in horizontal relationships is trusting in my vertical relationship (Ps. 127:1; Gal. 3:1-5; Jn. 15:1-5). There is suffering in this life, but there will be glory in the next (Rom. 8:18-25; 2 Cor. 4:16-18). I must keep our eyes upon the Lord and His faithfulness, and not on people and their failings (Heb. 12:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:13; 1 Thes. 5:24; Lam. 3:22-24). My greatest problem is me, and my independence and unbelief; it is not because of circumstances or the fault of others (Rom. 7:14-18; Jam. 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-7). To be disappointed in myself is to have believed in my self (2 Cor. 3:5-6). The way up is down, for He must increase, and I must decrease (2 Cor. 4:8-11; Jn. 3:30). God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble! (Jam. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5). God's grace is sufficient for me, for when I am weak in myself, I am strong in the Lord (2 Cor. 12:7-10). It's better to be a "fellowshipping Mary" than to be a "busy Martha" (Luke 10:38-42).

Monday, October 3, 2011


It is a deadly error of legalism which teaches that justification or salvation is by the works of the law. The legalists of Judaea said in their challenge of Paul's teaching, "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1). But Paul's doctrine prevailed: "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Acts 15:2-4; Gal. 2:16). The law can show us how unjust we are, and thus it can show us our need for justification, but the law can never justify: "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight" (Rom. 3:20). "If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21).

The law cannot justify; neither can it sanctify. The law can show us that we are unholy, but it can never make us holy. The difference can be illustrated by two mountains: Mount Sinai and Mount Calvary. On Mount Sinai, God gave Moses His Law amid thunder and flame (Ex. 19-20). On Mount Calvary, amidst the horror of a great darkness, the Son of God paid the full penalty for our breaking of the Law (Matt. 27:32-50; 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 John 3:4). Mount Sinai shows us our dire condition as lawbreakers (Rom. 3:20). Mount Calvary reveals our Savior. Without the cross, the Law brings hopelessness. Without the law, the Gospel is meaningless. Thus both are essential, and inseparable. The key to living the Christian life is not found at Mount Sinai, but it is found at Mount Calvary.

Paul argued strongly that the Christian life is to be continued based upon faith, not on the Law: "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:2-3). The Christian life is to continue just as it commenced! "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6). Holiness does not come by seeking to keep the law in the energy of the flesh. Legality has been defined as "the flesh attempting to carry out the precepts of God." How successful is the flesh? Paul wrote, "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not" (Rom. 7:18, 24).

However, the Believer does have a relationship with the Law. While the believer is not under the law (Rom. 6:14), the believer is not lawless (Rom. 6:1-2). We died to the law so that we might be married to Christ, and out of this relationship we bring forth fruit unto God (Rom. 7:4). The life of a true believer should manifest fruitfulness, not lawlessness. Legalists who try to put themselves under the law do not keep the law (Gal. 6:13; Acts 15:10), but those believers who walk in the Spirit do keep the law by way of the fruit of the Spirit: "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:22-23).

Sunday, October 2, 2011


As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and based upon the facts of God’s Word, I DECLARE MY FREEDOM (Jn. 8:36). My liberty is seen in three realms:

1) Having once belonged to the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), I HAVE BEEN DELIVERED from the power of his darkness, "into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). I have been translated into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13), being turned from the power of Satan unto God (Acts 26:18).

2) Concerning my relationship to this world system, my Savior gave Himself for me that He might deliver and rescue me from this present evil world (age), according to the will of God my Father (Gal. 1:4).

3) Concerning the terrible slavery of sin, the Scriptures declare that though I once was the slave of sin, I am now the servant of God (Rom. 6:17-22). I am now subject to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, making me free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).

The source of my liberty is found in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ in which I truly boast (Gal. 6:14). The cross is my "Statue of Liberty," as it were. It was there that my soul was set free. In Christ’s death I died, and in Christ’s life, I now live (Rom. 6:4). Based on the unchanging facts of God’s Word, I joyfully declare myself to be dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God in Jesus Christ my Lord (Rom. 6:11). I am not free to live as I please, but I AM FREE TO SERVE CHRIST and do as He pleases (Gal. 2:20).

My Declaration was not written by men, but written by the living God. It was not signed by men, but signed by the Lord Himself, and sealed with the blood of Christ. God has declared me to be FREE INDEED and I am to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made me free (Cal. 5:1). My Declaration is not a Declaration of Independence, but rather a "Declaration of Dependence." I declare myself to be totally DEPENDENT upon my God. Of myself, I cannot keep the law. I cannot measure up to God’s righteous standards. "How to perform that which is good I find not" (Rom. 7:18). The more I try, in and of myself, the more I fail, "for the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (Rom. 7:19). I therefore acknowledge that Jesus Christ is my only deliverance from my wretched self (Rom. 7:24-25).

The Lord Jesus Christ is my Vine and life source (Jn. 15:1-8). Apart from Him, I can do nothing, because HE IS MY LIFE (Col. 3:3-4). The battle is the Lord’s! He shall fight for me. The life is the Lord’s! He shall live in me (Gal. 2:20). "For to me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). I can’t, but He can. Whenever I try, I fail; but whenever I trust, He succeeds. Thus, with a firm dependence upon my God, I will claim the victory which He won, and which He gives to me: "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57). From

Saturday, October 1, 2011

DO VERSES DONE: By C. H. Mackintosh

When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, He cried out, "It is finished" (JN. 19:30). The work of our salvation was FINISHED, DONE, ACCOMPLISHED and COMPLETED. We simply need to trust and rest in what the Savior has accomplished.

Salvation is not working; it is RESTING on the WORK of Another, even the Lord Jesus Christ: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:5).

Religion is man trying to bring himself to God by human effort, by good works, by ritualism, by traditionalism, by sacraments, etc. Salvation is Christ bringing us to God on the basis of what He did for us on the cross: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Pet. 3:18).

God's holiness utterly condemns the best man ("As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one"--Rom. 3:10), and God's grace freely justifies the worst ("For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"--Rom. 3:23-24).

The Gospel message brings to man, not A WORK TO DO, but A WORD TO BELIEVE about THE WORK HE HAS DONE: "But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you" (1 Pet. 1:25).

We are saved, not because of what we have done, but because of the MERCY OF GOD based upon what Christ has done on the cross: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5).

A person can never be saved by his own good works: "For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).

Good works done by sinful man can never please Holy God. The only genuinely good work is GOD'S WORK accomplished by Jesus Christ who offered Himself on the cross as the sinner's Substitute. Thus we are not saved by good works, but we are saved unto good works: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

Are you resting fully in the finished work of Christ? Are you trusting in Jesus Christ, WHO HE IS, WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR YOU and WHAT HE HAS SAID IN HIS WORD? "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa. 45:22).


Yesterday, I briefly mentioned five audible encounters with the Lord. I hope this post sheds a little more light on some of the specifics.

Recently I have been feeling guilty because I struggle with prayer. I guess it is a combination of things, but I find it difficult to talk to Someone Who doesn't usually answer. And, since God knows our thoughts even before we think them, it seems unnecessary to verbalize them. Billy Graham said that prayer is us speaking to God, and the Bible is Him speaking back to us. What about before there was a Bible? Of course, there are many instances in the Old Testament, and a few in the New, that tell of God speaking audibly, but today, if someone suggests that God speaks to them, most people think they might have a problem.

The philosophical say that God speaks through nature. Others believe He speaks through circumstances. Still others are convinced that He speaks in an unlimited variety of ways. He has used donkeys and bushes, after all. I agree with the last group, mostly because I have experienced "hearing Him" on more than one occasion. In my Christian life of forty years, God has spoken audibly to me at least five times. While I did not hear His voice with my ears, I heard Him speak to me in my mind. Some of His more bizarre statements to me were while I was in the bathroom, once in the shower, and once while using the toilet. I know what you are thinking, but I really don't care. It happened. He said to me, "Jesus wept." while I was dealing with my emotions over a daughter getting pregnant. It was immediately understood to mean that it was alright that I felt so betrayed and hurt, as His Son felt the same thing about Jerusalem.

The other bathroom experience was during severe depression. He said, "Turn September Second." I had picked up an Our Daily Bread that November day, looking for solace. He repeated it three times. I finally turned there and the title of the devotion was "God's Love Softens Hearts." Instantly I remembered that two months earlier, while in chapel my first day of Seminary, I had what I thought was a nervous breakdown. I began sobbing uncontrollably. Until I read that title, I never understood what had taken place. Now I remembered; it was all so clear, and realized that the love of God had broken my rebellious spirit. I became teachable.

Which brings me to the tee shirt. I was at a four day retreat, and after going to the altar and praying for God to forgive my lack of spirituality, I returned to my seat. I had tried to pray Philippians 3:13-14, but I couldn't remember exactly how it went. As I stood there, I looked at the man standing in front of me, and his shirt had those exact verses printed on them! Not the references, the verses! I assume he had four shirts with him, and that he could have stood anywhere among the eighty or so there. But on that day, at that time, when I was trying to pray that prayer, he stood before me and gave me the words to speak to God. Yes, God speaks! We just need to look and listen. What is He saying to you right now? What ever it is, it is being said in love. After all, He really does love you.