Saturday, December 31, 2011


As I wrote yesterday concerning Psalm Twenty-two being fulfilled literally by Christ's First Coming, the same is true of Isaiah Fifty-three. Within just twelve verses, I have shown fifteen examples of how Jesus fulfilled this Old Testament prophecy written over six hundred years before Christ's birth. Again, I believe these verses prove that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel.

*** Who has believed our report? (v. 1; Jn. 12:37-38; Rom. 10:16).

*** He was despised and rejected. (v. 3; Mk. 9:12; Jn. 1:10-11; 1 Pet. 2:4).

*** He has borne our infirmities. (v. 4; Matt. 8:16-17).

*** He was considered smitten by God. (v. 4; Matt. 27:38-44; Gal. 3:13).

*** He was wounded for our transgressions. (v. 5; Rom. 4:25).

*** By His stripes we are healed. (v. 5; 1 Pet. 2:24).

*** He was flogged. (v. 5; Mk. 15:15; Lk. 22:63-65; Jn. 19:1).

*** He was silent before His accusers. (v. 7; Jn. 19:9; Acts 8:32-33).

*** He died for our sins. (v. 8; 1 Cor. 15:3).

*** He died with the wicked. (v. 9; Matt. 27:38; Lk. 23:32-33).

*** He was buried with the rich. (v. 9; Matt. 27:57-60; Jn. 19:38-42).

*** He was sinless, totally innocent. (v. 9; 1 Pet. 2:22).

*** He was our Passover offering for sin. (v. 10; 1 Cor. 5:7; 15:3; Heb. 10:12-14).

*** His death would justify many. (v. 11; Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 5:17-19).

*** He would make intercession for sinners. (v. 12; Lk. 23:34-43; Rom. 8:34).

May you allow Jesus Christ be your Lord throughout the New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011


All fulfilled prophecy has been fulfilled literally. The odds of ten Bible prophecies being fulfilled by one Person at His death, are absolutely unfathomable. And yet, there are twenty-two fulfilled prophecies about the Crucifixion of Jesus in one Psalm: Psalm 22. There is absolute proof that Jesus is the Christ!

The Messiah would cry out to God. Psalm 22:1a Matthew 27:46
The Messiah would be foresaken by God. Psalm 22:1b Mark 15:34
The Messiah, anguished, would pray without ceasing. Psalm 22:2 Matthew 26:38-39
The Messiah would be despised. Psalm 22:6 Luke 23:21-23
The Messiah would be mocked by people shaking their heads. Psalm 22:7 Matthew 27:39
Mockers would say of the Messiah, "he trusted God, let him deliver him." Psalm 22:8 Matthew 27:41-43
The Messiah would be aware of his Father from his youth. Psalm 22:9 Luke 2:40
The Messiah would be called to God's service from the womb. Psalm 22:10 Luke 1:30-33
The Messiah would be abandoned by the disciples. Psalm 22:11 Mark 14:50
The Messiah would be surrounded by evil spirits. Psalm 22:12-13 Colossians 2:15
The Messiah's heart would burst, flowing with blood & water. Psalm 22:14a John 19:34
The Messiah would be crucified. Psalm 22:14b Matthew 27:35
The Messiah would thirst. Psalm 22:15a John 19:28
The Messiah would thirst shortly before his death. Psalm 22:15b John 19:30
The Messiah would be surrounded by Gentiles at his crucifixion. Psalm 22:16a Luke 23:36
The Messiah would be surrounded by Jews at his crucifixion. Psalm 22:16b Matthew 27:41-43
The Messiah's hands and feet would be pierced. Psalm 22:16c Matthew 27:38
None of the Messiah's bones would be broken. Psalm 22:17a John 19:32-33
People would stare at the Messiah during his crucifixion. Psalm 22:17b Luke 23:35
The Messiah's garments would be divided. Psalm 22:18a John 19:23-24
Lots would be cast for the Messiah's clothes. Psalm 22:18b John 19:23-24
The Messiah's atonement would enable believers to be his brethren. Psalm 22:22 Hebrews 2:10-12

Thursday, December 29, 2011


There have been many "prophets" in recent times predicting the time of the Rapture of the Church; the Tribulation, with the identity of the Antichrist and the meaning of the "mark of the beast (666)"; and the Second Coming of Christ. We are inundated with dates, talk of the Mayan calendar, and we are surrounded by those who believe every earthquake is the "big one" described in the Word. For some strange reason, today's Christians seem to think they have the biblical prophecies all figured out. Somehow, we believe we are wiser than the ancient Hebrews who had to see prophecies fulfilled before they could understand them. It seems to me that Christians who are dogmatic when it comes to God's prophetic timetable are, for all practical purposes, claiming to be prophets. Where is the humility? Where is the proof? Where are "the stones" needed for when they are wrong? There are times when I wish we were still under the Mosaic Law; I am sure the threat of being stoned to death would cut down on the number of "experts."

However, Christians do have one advantage over their Hebrew brothers; we have the knowledge, based upon the fulfilled prophecies of the Old Testament, that God literally accomplishes what He declares ahead of time through His prophets. Every prophecy fulfilled by Christ was fulfilled literally! The First Coming of Christ was clearly pictured in the first three Feasts of Israel: Jesus is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7); Jesus, the Bread of life (Jn. 6:35); died and was buried (the Unleavened Bread represented the sinless Savior - Heb. 4:15); and Jesus rose from the dead, the "First Fruits from the grave" (1 Cor. 15:20).

As a result, most students of the Bible believe that Jesus will literally fulfill the last three Feasts of Israel at His Second Coming: Jesus will gather Israel (the Feast of Trumpets); Israel will experience God's chastisement during the Tribulation (the Feast of the Atonement); and Jesus will rule with Israel during His Millennial Kingdom (the Feast of Tabernacles). The problem is, we do not know when these events will occur.

Perhaps the key to God's future timetable will be an event represented by the fourth Feast of Israel, the Feast of the Wave Loaves (Lev. 23;17). It is celebrated on the fiftieth day after the first three feasts, and Christians understand it to represent the birth of the Church. The two loaves, made with leaven (always a picture of sin), represent the Church composed of sinners from both the Jews and the Gentiles. The birth of the Church was on the same day that Israel celebrated the feast: Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47).

Because the first three feasts and the last three feasts clearly represent Christ's First and Second Coming, and because the two groupings of feasts are separated by the feast representing the Church, we believe that the Church will be removed, via the Rapture (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18), prior to the gathering of Israel which will mark the beginning of the Tribulation. The Tribulation is to be a seven year covenant between the Antichrist and Israel (Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 6 - 18); the Church is not mentioned in those chapters. So, until the Rapture of the Church takes place, the Tribulation cannot begin. Therefore, to try to set dates for the future events prophesied in the Bible when we do not know when the Rapture will occur, is simply foolish and arrogant. Humbling, isn't it?!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This morning, I read a Facebook article attacking several prominent preachers for their stance on the doctrine of salvation. The author claimed to be "speaking in love," while he says things like "Billy Graham is of the Devil." In addition, he stated that the Southern Baptist Convention is an apostate organization because they teach a false Gospel.

My first reaction was anger. After all, I was ordained a minister by a Southern Baptist Church and I served as Pastor of one for two years. Once I "calmed down," I realized that the person's view was, at least partially, based upon ignorance. Of the 35,000 or so Southern Baptist Churches, I feel quite comfortable stating that there is a distinct possibility there are no two alike! Of course they are similar in doctrine, in practice, and in organizational structure, but each has its own uniqueness, its own identity.

As for his comment about Billy Graham, he bases his attack on Graham's Masonic membership, his willingness to discuss theology with the Pope (which he describes as Satanic), and the fact Graham claims to have "gay" friends. While I would agree with his concerns about Graham's association with the Masons, if they are true, I would think the fact that Graham's Crusades had reached millions with the Gospel would outweigh one area of his life. As for Graham's associating with the leader of the world's largest religion, a religion which, although preaching a false Gospel, presents Jesus as a member of the Trinity, virgin born, crucified, buried, and risen to reign over creation one day, I would remind him that Jesus constantly associated with the Pharisees and Sadducees. And, how are we supposed to lead homosexuals to Christ if we refuse to love them? It is almost as though the author believes he is to have no contact with anyone who does not agree him on virtually every area of doctrine.

The Bible teaches a totally different view. Luke wrote: "These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11). They were noble because they were willing to listen.

Paul wrote: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8). In other words, "filter out" the "dross," and keep the "gold." Paul also wrote: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thes. 5:21).

From what Luke and Paul wrote, I believe we are to listen to the message; compare what is said with the Word of God; accept what matches; reject what does not match; and correct the messenger in humility and the love of Christ. We should always be "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Being a Christian mentor is modeling and teaching other Christians, the precepts of the Bible concerning the Christian life. It focuses mainly on worship, prayer, doctrine, and the proper relationships we are to have with both believers and unbelievers. It is the practicing of what the Apostle Paul called "mutual faith" (Rom. 1:12). He described those who established the Church, and the purpose of mentoring in Ephesians 4:11-16:
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
This is the strength of the Church; without it, we will fail, both personally, and collectively as the Body of Christ. Mentoring has two main aspects: first, we must submit to the mentoring of others, and then, when our mentors tell us we are ready, we are to "pass it on." Paul said it this way: "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:1-2).

The concept of mentoring has been lost in the American Church today. First of all, new converts are not taught that they are "baby Christians," and that they need to be trained in the ways of the Lord. In 1 Corinthians 3:1, Paul wrote: "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ." The Apostle Peter wrote: "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Pet. 2:2). New believers must be changed, before they should attempt to change others!

The second reason Christian mentoring has become a lost art, is because "babes in Christ" do not grow up! By failing to mature as Christians, they tend to do more harm than good when it comes to sharing the Gospel with the lost. Immature Christians often deserve the label "hypocrite" because they have not learned self-discipline, and as a result, do not "practice what they preach." Hebrews 5:12 says, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."

The true test of my preparedness to be a mentor for Christ can be determined by my answer to one question: "Do I want to influence others to be like me?" If the answer is yes, go for it; if the answer is no, repent!

Monday, December 26, 2011


Christmas was His First Coming; now we await His Second Coming!

*** (1 Cor. 1:7) "...eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ."

*** (Phil. 3:20) "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior...."

*** (Col. 3:4) "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."

*** (1 Thess. 1:10) "...and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead...."

*** (1 Tim. 6:14) "That you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing."

*** (2 Tim. 4:8) "Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."

*** (Titus 2:11-13) "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."

*** (Heb. 9:28) "So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."

*** (Heb. 10:37) "For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry."

*** (Jam. 5:8) "You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."

*** (1 Pet. 1:13) "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

*** (1 Jn. 3:2) "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

*** (Rev. 22:20) "He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming quickly.'

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

Sunday, December 25, 2011


The Word of God tells us of at least three occasions at which the angels of heaven rejoiced. One is found in Job 38:7 which describes the reaction in heaven to the beginning of creation: "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Another occasion is at the Incarnation of Christ. The Gospel of Luke says, "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Lk. 2:13-14). God's only begotten Son is so awesome! The heavenly host could not contain themselves when He "humbled Himself." Paul wrote:

"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 (the Incarnation), He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (the Crucifixion). Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him (the Resurrection), and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (the Glorification), of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:6-11).
And, as far as I am concerned, the most fantastic time the heavenly host celebrated the work of Christ was the moment I placed my trust in Jesus. The Scriptures says, "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth" (Lk. 15:10). God's Word says, John 17:23, that He loves me with the same love He has for Jesus! And since God is no respecter of persons, He loves everyone reading this just as much (Acts 10:34).

Today, consider your response to Jesus’ arrival on earth. Are you able to celebrate the arrival of your King? Is He the Lord of your life? Will you be even more joyful when He returns for you? My hope for you this Christmas is that you have made room in your heart for worship on this day we celebrate His birth.

Grant us, Father, hearts of worship
At this time of Jesus’ birth;
We would see anew His glory
Shine throughout this sin-cursed earth. —D. De Haan

Heaven’s choir came down to sing
when heaven’s King came down to save.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost. [19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. [20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [21] And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. [24] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the Angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: [25] And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name JESUS.

[1] And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. [2] (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) [3] And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. [4] And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) [5] To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with Child. [6] And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. [8] And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. [9] And, lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. [10] And the Angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. [12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. [13] And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, [14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. [15] And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. [16] And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. [17] And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child. [18] And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. [19] But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. [20] And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Friday, December 23, 2011


When I think of someone jumping, many varied images come to mind, both good and bad: jumping rope, the long jump in track, trampolines, volleyball, fearful reactions, and even suicides. But the "jumping" that seems to be universal is "jumping to conclusions." "Jumping to conclusions" refers to our tendency to make faulty assumptions based upon incomplete or inaccurate information. We are all guilty.

A biblical example is found in Acts 3:1-16. The Apostle Peter was used of God to heal a crippled man. The healed man had no problem recognizing that it was God who had miraculously healed him (v. 8), but the crowd, seeing what had happened, assumed that it was Peter's doing (v. 12). Peter not only corrected them for their misplaced credit, he used the situation to present the Gospel to those who were responsible for the death of Jesus just a few weeks earlier (v. 12-26). Peter's version of the Gospel included: 1) their responsibility for Christ's death (v. 13-15); 2) that the Lord's death was foretold by the prophets (v. 18); and 3) that God raised Jesus from the dead (v. 15, 26). Peter's "sermon" matches the Apostle Paul's description of the Gospel:
"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).
I love how the Bible describes the healing, and while I do not remember ever using the New Living Translation of the Bible, I found its rendering of the healing of the crippled man to be a more logical description of the progression that took place in the man's realization that he had been healed. It says, "He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them" (Acts 3:8 NLT).

One cannot prove that the Gospel is true, for if it could be proven, then no faith would be required. However, faith itself is proof to the believer. The great philosopher Voltaire said, "Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe." Pascal said, "Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them." Gibran said, "Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof." Trueblood said, "Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation." And the writer of Hebrews said, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).

Rather than foolishly "jumping to conclusions," take the "leap of faith."

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Christianity's most popular display during the Christmas celebration of the birth of Christ is the Nativity Scene. Believers see it as evidence of the humility of Jesus. After all, the Creator of the Universe chose to be born a helpless child, instead of coming as a conquering king. He chose to be born of a virgin, to be the offspring of the seed of a woman who had not known a man (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23).

Mary found favor in God's sight (Lk. 1:30). The word translated "favour" is from the Greek χάρις (charis), which means "grace" or "unmerited favor." Just as Noah before her, Mary was not picked by God because she was righteous; she was picked because God decided to pick her. And just like the rest of humanity, Noah and Mary were sinners in need of a Savior (Gen. 6:8; Lk. 1:47; Rom. 3:23).

No mention of Joseph is found in Scripture after the occasion where Jesus was left behind at the age of twelve (Lk. 2:42). The last reference to Mary, the Lord's mother, was on the Day of Pentecost, when she was with the rest of the disciples in the upper room (Acts 1:14). We have no record from Scripture of the death of either Joseph or Mary. I believe the reason is simple: they were "instruments" God used to raise His only begotten Son. The Bible is about Jesus.

Mark Lowry wrote an accurate picture of Mary in his song, "Mary Did You Know?" which can be seen and heard at: I hope you enjoy it this Christmas.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Have you ever wondered why Christmas is celebrated with lighted trees? Why folks risk their lives hanging "icicles" around the edges of their roofs? Or why municipalities have "light up ______ celebrations?" After all, there is no such focus on other religious holidays; there are no "Easter Lights," "Thanksgiving Lights," etc. The closest thing to the Christmas lights is the Menorah of the Jewish Hanukkah. And, purely by coincidence, today is the first day of Hanukkah this year.

Jewish tradition says that when the Second Temple was desecrated by Anitochus Epiphanes in 167 B.C., the Jews, in what has become known as the Maccabean Revolt, successfully took control of Jerusalem. The Temple was liberated and rededicated. The Festival of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, was instituted to celebrate that event. According to the Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus, a miracle occurred when, having only enough oil for the Golden Lamp for one day, the oil lasted for the entire eight nights and days of the festival. The Festival of Lights, which begins at sunset on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev, usually occurs in December.

Another theory concerning Christmas lights has to do with the "Star of Bethlehem." Those familiar with Jewish tradition, which apparently included the Magi, were looking for the "Star of Jacob" (Num. 24:17; Matt. 2:1-2, 9-10). I seriously doubt that the light they saw was actually a star, in that, stars do not travel and make ninety degree left turns (Bethlehem is almost due south of Jerusalem). However, what they believed to be a star could have been an angel sent to guide them. Angels are sometimes known as "stars" (Rev. 12:4, 7-9; 18:1).

My favorite explanation for Christmas being celebrated by lots of lights has to do with the "Light of the World." John's Gospel says this: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I AM the Light of the World: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life" (Jn. 8:12). In the next chapter, the Lord again describes Himself as the "Light of the World": Jesus said, "As long as I AM in the world, I AM the Light of the World" (Jn. 9:5). Matthew wrote: "The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up" (Matt. 4:16). In Acts, Luke, writing of Paul's conversion, said this:
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he (Paul) fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?' And he said, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I AM Jesus whom thou persecutest..." (Acts 9:3-5).
The great invitation of Christmas is to open our hearts to the Savior who came to end our darkness. I have spoken of His first Advent being celebrated by Christmas lights, but a much greater light is yet future, and it has to do with His second Advent. In John's vision of Him, he said "His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And the light of His Second Coming will not be welcomed by some: "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming" (2 Thes. 2:8). Are you ready for Jesus, the Light of the World?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Exodus 3:14 - And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

NOTE: I AM...The Resurrection and The Life; Master; The Door; The Bread of Life; Alpha and Omega; The Beginning and The End; The Light of the World; The Way, The Truth, and The Life; The Christ; The Son of God; The True Vine; The King of the Jews; The God of Your Fathers; The Living Water].

Isaiah 7:14
- Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

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 (The) Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

[NOTE: 1 Tim. 3:16 - God was manifest in the flesh; Col. 2:9 - For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; Jn. 10:30 - I and My Father are one; Jn. 14:9 - He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; Jn. 1:1, 14 - 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]

Matthew 1:21
- And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:23
- Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:25
- And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called His name JESUS.


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).

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).

Monday, December 19, 2011


As the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus quickly approaches, music fills the air, Christmas movies and cartoons flood the airways, and the living room furniture is forced to yield to an attention-getting tree that seems to be shedding colorful, shiny, bow-topped boxes. There is joy at the prospect of seeing family and friends, of watching children rip into carefully wrapped treasures, and as was the case merely a month before, of feasting and an afternoon nap. Christmas is a time of giving. It is in honor of the Gift God gave the world that first Christmas: His only begotten Son (Jn. 3:16).

Ironically, Jesus never mentioned His birthday. There is not a single verse in the Bible that speaks of celebrating His birthday. Perhaps that is why no one actually knows when Jesus was born. Not only do we not know the month and day, we are not even sure of the year. On the other hand, Jesus does want us to remember His death. And, as a result, thought we do not know the year, we do know the month and day: the fourteenth of Nisan (Lev. 23:5; Jn. 1:26; 1 Cor. 5:7). Why do you suppose He wanted us to emphasize His death and not His birth? Could it be that His birth was prophesied to be the beginning of much sorrow? The first mention of Him speaks of His suffering (Gen. 3:15), and His end was known from the beginning (Ps. 22; Isa. 53; Lk. 2:34-35; Rev. 13:8).

No, it is not in His birth, but in His death that we have hope. The Apostle Paul wrote:
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming" (1 Cor. 15:20-23).
"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This is the cup of the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come" (1 Cor. 11:23-26).
So you see, it is in remembering His death that we find hope! Notice the last three words of the quote: "till He come." Jesus did not remain in that borrowed tomb; He rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Not only was He raised from death, He is alive, and He promises to return for us (Jn. 14:1-6). It is in Him that we have the assurance that we will see our loved ones again, not just a couple of times a year, but for eternity.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote "Twas the Night Before Christmas," also called "A Visit from St. Nicholas," in 1822. His "Norman Rockwell-like" poem has absolutely nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, only the first and last lines of the fifty-six line poem even have a vague reference to Jesus, where His title, "Christ," is included in the word "Christmas." It is really sad that most Americans know more about the traditions described in Moore's poem than they do about the true meaning of Christmas.

Long before the "night before Christmas," long before the "first Christmas" as the birth of Christ is called, Jesus existed. In fact, there never was a time when He did not exist. Following Christ's creation of everything in the universe (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2), He heard His Father say, "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). You see, God's plan was already "a done deal." He knew what all that we call "history" would entail. The yet to be born, the future incarnate Son of God, was already deemed rejected and crucified (Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Lk. 11:50; Jn. 17:24; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 4:3; 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8; 17:8). In His prayer just prior to being arrested, Jesus said, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (Jn. 17:5).

The Psalmist wrote, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God" (Ps. 90:2). The prophet Micah foretold that the Messiah would be born in the little town of Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2). Who is this One that should be born? He is the One "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Mic. 5:2).

John (the Baptist) clearly pointed to the fact of the pre-existence of Christ: "John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me" (Jn. 1:15). This paradoxical statement can be understood only as we distinguish between the two natures of Christ. When viewed from the standpoint of His humanity, He came after John (the Baptist). Mary gave birth to Him six months after Elizabeth had given birth to John (Lk. 1:26).

Jesus, Himself, made the clearest statement of His pre-existence. Speaking with a group of unbelieving Jewish religious leaders, He said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad" (Jn. 8:56). "Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?" (Jn. 8:57). They were shocked and angered by the Lord's final words: "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am" (Jn. 8:58). They considered this to be ultimate blasphemy and they "took up stones to cast at Him" (Jn. 8:59).

Perhaps if Moore had written a poem about Jesus instead of one about Santa, more of mankind would be focused upon His Second Coming. "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Unlike the character who uttered the famous line from the movie Titanic, the rightful "King of the world" did not enter history proclaiming anything about Himself. How could He? After all, He was a newborn baby. But He was not just any baby, He was the manifestation of God in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16).

His birth narrative does not include Emperors, High Priests, or the "rich and famous." Instead of being born in a palace suited for a king, He was born in a stable (Lk. 2:7). His first visitors were poor shepherds (Lk. 2:8-18).

He was born in poverty - Joseph and Mary were so poor they could give only a pauper's offering at His circumcision (Lev. 12:8; Lk. 2:24).

He was born in obscurity - Of all places in the vast Universe He had created (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2), He chose a small town (Mic. 5:2), in a small, occupied country (about 8000 sq. mi. or smaller than the state of New Jersey), on a small planet (Earth is dwarfed in size by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune); in a small solar system; etc.

He was born in humility - His "parents" were not officially married as yet. They were "espoused." The Greek word, μνηστεύω, means "to be promised in marriage," "betrothed," or "engaged" (Matt. 1:18; Lk. 1:27; 2:5). The Pharisees appear to have believed Jesus was illegitimate, because they used the emphatic "WE" in describing a contrast between themselves and Jesus (Jn. 8:41).

He was born a human being - He hungered (Jn. 19:28), He thirsted (Jn. 4:7), He tired (Matt. 8:24), He had limited knowledge (Mk. 13:32). He chose to be born "lower than the angels" (Heb. 2:7-9). He chose to be a mere human being - "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. 2:7-8).

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. 1:18). And before her Child was through, the sins of mankind had been paid in full (1 Jn. 2:2), His murderers called Him "the Son of God" (Matt. 27:54), He had risen from the grave (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rev. 1:18), and His disciples went from being cowardly fishermen to being the courageous "fishers of men" (Mk. 14:50; Acts 5:29).

No, Jesus didn't stand on a mountain top and proclaim, "I Am the King of the world," that is yet future (Zech. 14:4). Jesus did not come to be bowed down to, that is yet future (Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11). Jesus did not come to be God, He always was God (Jn. 1:1), He is God now (Jn. 20:28), and He will always remain God (1 Jn. 5:11).


Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Matthew 25:14-30, The Parable of the Talents, is similar to that of The Parable of the Pounds (Lk. 19:11-27), except there, each servant was given the responsibility as stewards over the same amount. In that parable, faithful servants received their rewards in proportion to their level of productivity. There, the Lord was testing to evaluate their capability. In the Parable of the Talents, however, the Lord revealed He already knew their capabilities, and He gave them differing amounts accordingly (Matt. 25:15).

Both parables clearly represent Jesus as being the Man or Nobleman, setting His things in order before going to "a far country" (25:14; 19:12). What often gets lost in trying to understand these two parables, is that Jesus was wanting His disciples to understand His Kingdom was going to be delayed. Luke wrote, "...because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear" (19:11). The Lord wanted them to know that He would be gone "a long time" (25:19).

In addition, His disciples thought that He would rule as King over the nation of Israel, which He will, but His Kingdom is to be much greater than an earthly domain. Six times in the Word of God, we are told that Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father in heaven, waiting until His enemies are made to bow before Him (Ps. 110:1; Matt. 22:44; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:43; Acts 2:35; Heb. 1:13). He had to go to a "far country" in order to receive His Kingdom (19:12; 25:14). That Kingdom is described in hundreds of verses, but none more beautiful than Revelation 11:15: "...The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever." He is not Israel's King alone, but He is King over every king and Lord over every lord (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16)!

So, what are the pounds and the talents? Of course, they were both amounts of money, but what did they represent? There are many theories, but the one I believe is most likely, is that they represent His sheep. Remember, Jesus told Peter that if he loved Him, he should feed His sheep. A faithful shepherd, not only protects and preserves the sheep over which he has been given oversight, he provides the conditions necessary for their "reproduction." A clue to this being the case is found in how the Lord rewarded faithful service. In Luke, the reward was to rule over cities; cities have large populations "of sheep." In Matthew, the reward is to be given authority over a larger amount; in this case, more "sheep."

However, the bottom line is that our Lord has deliberately chosen to "delay His return" in order to allow time for testing our faithfulness. Since God is Omniscient, and therefore already knows how we will respond to His "assignment," it is obvious that the results are for our own understanding. We will know that God's judgment is just. We will have no right to complain. "For God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man seweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7). "He will render to every man according to his deeds" (Rom. 2:6). "For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10). "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Yesterday, I said that all believers are preachers. All of us have been commissioned to serve as ambassadors for our King, to a lost world (2 Cor. 5:20). An ambassador's primary function is to communicate his government's message to those to whom he was sent. Jesus is our King, and He has given us His message, the Gospel. But in order for us to relay His message, we must understand exactly what His message is; we must know what the Gospel is.

The Gospel begins with "In the beginning" and it ends with "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen" (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 22:21). Of course, the "skeleton" of the Gospel is that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). But that doesn't explain why He died, was buried, and rose again. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, explained the importance of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. He said that we are all guilty of sin, that is, we have failed to obey God (Rom. 3:23). He said that God's justice, in dealing with our rebellion, requires the sentence of death (Rom. 6:23). Christ's death, burial, and resurrection occurred for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). Paul emphasized Christ's resurrection from the dead because it is through our faith in the risen Lord that we receive salvation. He wrote: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9). Paul summed it all up in his letter to the Corinthians.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:17-21).
Of course, the long, detailed version of what this all means is found in the entire Bible. Sixty-six books, covering from the day of creation until eternity, tell us of God's desire to share Himself with mankind. That God, being Holy (Ps. 99:9), could not have fellowship with unholy man. Because He is Love (1 Jn. 4:16), He was willing to show us mercy (Ps. 117:2), and give us what we do not deserve: grace (Jn. 1:14, 17).

As ambassadors, we may not have but a short audience with "foreign kings." In that case, we should whet their appetites with the short version. Some will show interest in hearing more, so then we can give them the "Apostle Paul's version." If there are some that want the "unabridged version," we can hand them a Bible, and spend as much time as they will allow us to share it glorious message. Should they accept the Gospel as truth and receive God's gift of salvation through faith in Christ, we will need to "commission them" to take our King's message to others. Spread your King's message today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


While studying today, I noticed something quite amazing. In Young's Analytical Concordance, the word, "preach" is preceded by the word "prayer." And even though that same combination may not appear as such in other languages, it does in English. I find, in the order, a clear warning to the wise; before you preach, you had better pray. First, we need to pray about any unconfessed sin, that the Lord might restore us to a state of righteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). Second, we need to pray for direction as to whom the Lord wants us to preach. Third, we need to pray for wisdom concerning what to say, and perhaps more importantly, what not to say. And finally, we need to pray for protection from Satan and his minions who desire to silence God's messengers.

When Jesus first sent out His disciples to preach (Matt. 10:7), the word Matthew used was κηρύσσω (kēryssō), which means: 1) to be a herald; 2) to publish, proclaim openly; 3) make a public proclamation. They were to be witnesses of Christ to the whole world (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8). They were to go tell others about what they had heard, seen, and physically touched; they were to tell others about Jesus, the Word of life (1 Jn. 1:1).

Some might say, "Of course He sent His Apostles to preach, but I am not a preacher; that command was to them specifically, and does not apply to every believer." My answer to that argument is found in Matthew 28:20. JESUS TOLD THEM TO TELL US TO OBEY ALL THAT HE COMMANDED THEM TO DO! That means, you and I are to go tell others what we have witnessed in our relationship with Christ. WE are to PREACH (proclaim the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation - Rom. 1:16), WE are to BAPTIZE (those who accept Jesus as their Lord), and WE are to TEACH them to observe ALL of Christ's commands (Matt. 28:19-20).

If that is true, why is it that the vast majority of born again believers fail to preach, baptize, and teach? The answer, I believe, is the Church's failure to carry out its mission. In Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul wrote, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Church leaders are not to serve primarily as soul-winners; they are to train those under their care to do the work of minister, to GO TELL SOMEBODY! Their ministry begins when a new believer "shows up on their doorstep." The shepherd's ministry to that new believer will never end. They are to continue teaching their sheep until they "all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). I don't know about you, but I have never met a believer who "had completed the metamorphosis into the likeness of God. My understanding is that "our completion" will occur as we leave this life (1 Cor. 15:50-54; 1 Jn. 3:2).

So, let's let those responsible for feeding and protecting their sheep, do their job, and let us continually do ours. OUR JOB IS TO GO PREACH, PROCLAIM, WITNESS, SHARE ALL THAT THE LORD HAS DONE FOR US. IF WE DON'T, THE STONES WILL (Lk. 19:40)!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Have you ever heard the saying, "Ignorance is bliss?" How about the saying, "History always repeats itself?" I am sure most of you have heard both, and perhaps even used them to get across a point you were trying to make. Well, today, I hope to use both sayings to "sound the alarm" of a rapidly approaching, world-wide cataclysm. Honestly, I fear what would happen to me if I did not warn mankind. Ezekiel 33:6 says, "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." All who read this are responsible for passing this message on (that, too, is a warning).

The Bible describes two times in our world's history (one past and one future), as times when "God has seen enough." The first happened about five thousand years ago, when mankind had become so evil that God said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them" (Gen. 6:7). Apart from eight people who found grace (unmerited favor), all of mankind was destroyed (Gen. 7:21).

The second time is yet to come, but just as with all Bible prophecies, those things spoken of by the prophets, will come to pass. Peter, in his second epistle, uses the example of Noah's flood to describe magnitude of this world's pending destruction. Just as God did with water, He will ultimately do with fire (2 Pet. 3:1-12). Verse ten says, "But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." The "Day of the Lord" is not a specific day, but refers to all of the end-time events over a span of time, during which God personally intervenes in history. In other words, when He, once again, has had enough!

It is very clear from Scripture that when the end-time series of events begins, it will be too late for our lost world. The Rapture (the removal of the Church), the Tribulation (Daniel's Seventieth Week), and the Millennium (the 1000 year reign of Jesus), are stages in the future Day of the Lord, all of which lead up to the destruction of our planet. Revelation 21:1 says, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." Unfortunately, just as it was with Noah's preaching, scoffers mock our warnings of the world's pending doom (2 Pet. 3:3). Jesus said, "But as the days of (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that (Noah) entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt. 24:37-39).

What are your plans for the holidays? Will you and your family be celebrating according to your family's traditions? Will you be eating, drinking, and exchanging gifts? What if the Lord, whose birth Christians honor every year, returns? What if you are not ready? Well, if that should happen, you will not be able to claim ignorance as an excuse; both history and prophecy have warned you! You may never have another day in which to accept Jesus as God's gift to you (Jn. 3:16). Because we are all sinners, we all need a Savior (Rom. 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 10:9-10). God's offer is to "whosoever will," a phrase appearing ninety-three times in the New Testament, none more important than that found in Romans 10:13, which says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." You have been warned!

Monday, December 12, 2011


I have heard it said, "Never let the good be the enemy of the great." The idea, when applied to the Church, is that many Christians become satisfied with making it through this life unscathed, and fail to live their lives rescuing others. How many times have you heard a sermon on Ephesians 6:10-17, which speaks of "the armor of God?" The preacher reminds us that we are involved in spiritual warfare (v. 12), and we need to "be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (v. 11). He explains each piece of our armor, and emphasizes that we are to stand against Satan's attacks. Unfortunately, because Paul used the words "stand" and "withstand" three times (v. 11, 13, 14), many get the impression that we are to "hold our ground" while Satan attacks us.

In reality, Satan's attacks should be "counter attacks." Jesus said, "... I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). Gates are meant to serve two purposes: they allow those within to exit, and they are meant to prevent outsiders from entering. I think we can all agree that born again believers are not "residents of hell." The Church is not attempting to escape. We are on the outside, and Satan does not want us to have access to those he has deceived. He uses the gates to protect his "possessions." Christians are to attack the gates in order to rescue those blinded by Satan's "wiles."

To support my view, let's take a look at the pieces of armor.
1) We are to have our loins gird (be prepared to advance - v. 14).
2) We are to have a breastplate which protects only our front, not our backside (v. 14).
3) We are to have shoes on and be ready to advance (v. 15).
4) We have a shield which protects only our front (we must face our enemy - v. 16).
5) We are to protect "our head" with a helmet (our mind must be focused upon our standing with Christ - we are saved, and therefore, will never die - v. 17 and Jn. 11:26).
6) We are to have a sword, which is an offensive weapon (v. 17).
7) We are to pray (cast all our care upon Him - v. 18; 1 Pet. 5:7). Although prayer is not preached as part of our armor, it is clearly the most important weapon available to us. "Sevens" in our relationship with God, like this seventh "weapon," is the number of rest. It was the day God rested (Gen. 2:2). It is the day believers are to rest (Lk. 13:14). It is a picture of the seventh dispensation, the Millennium, in which believers will rest in the presence of God (Rev. 20:2-4).

I do not believe Christians are to prepare for life's battles simply to survive, simply to remain undefeated. I believe we are to be prepared to storm the gates of hell. If we focus upon our eternal destiny, as believers, we fail to accomplish the work God has saved us to do. We are to take the Gospel to every creature that is held captive inside Satan's gates. We are to attack with the Sword, the Word of God, the Gospel of salvation. Our "works" are to glorify God (Matt. 5:16). Nothing glorifies God more than to bring others to Him. We can stand still and be undefeated, or we can attack the gates of hell and be conquerors.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Why are the last days going to be so perilous and difficult (2 Tim. 3:1)? Is it because the government is so bad? Is it because our rulers and leaders are so bad? Is it because Russia or Iraq or China or North Korea or some other country is so bad? Men always try to blame someone or something else for the difficult days we live in, but the real reason is found in 2 Timothy 3:2-4. Why are the last days so difficult and hard? It is because of sinful, selfish men and women!

Look around; does this not describe the world today? Look up; man's character caused Noah's flood, and today, man's character will be exactly like theirs when Christ returns (Gen. 6:5; Matt. 24:37-39)!

  1. lovers of themselves--selfish, self-centered, seeking to please self
  2. covetous--lovers of money, greedy, worshiping the dollar bill
  3. boasters--those who love to brag about themselves and about what they are going to do
  4. proud--a person who considers himself above others and tries to lift himself above others, even if it means stepping on others
  5. blasphemers--those who speak against God, and drag His good Name into the mud, and speak of God in an irreverent way
  6. disobedient to parents--those who do not obey or honor their parents, those who are rebellious in the home
  7. unthankful--ungrateful, not appreciating all the blessings received, not thankful for all of God’s goodness (Rom. 1:21)
  8. unholy--no respect for anything that is sacred
  9. without natural affection--without that love and affection that should be shown in the family (the love that a mother has for her child, that a father has for his son, or that a young person should have for his brother or sister or parents)
  10. truce breakers--those who refuse to make peace, who would rather be at war with you, who would rather be your enemy than your friend
  11. false accusers--those who say false things about a person
  12. incontinent--not having self control
  13. fierce--savage, brutal, untamed like a wild animal
  14. despisers of that which is good--no love for what is good and right
  15. traitors--one who betrays another (like Judas), pretends to be your friend but later he lets you down and is not your friend at all
  16. heady--those who do things in a hasty way without much thinking; they will act first and think later
  17. high minded--puffed up, swollen with pride, conceited
  18. lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God--pleasure seekers rather than God-seekers

Saturday, December 10, 2011


In sports, an undefeated team is very rare, especially at the higher levels of competition. In 1972, the Miami Dolphins (16-0) played the Washington Redskins (13-3) in the Superbowl. Miami's victory made them the only undefeated team ever to win a Superbowl. In a game that ended with the score 14-7, the Redskins only points came on a fumble by Miami kicker Garo Yepremian into the hands of Mike Bass, who ran it back for a touchdown with about two minutes left in the game. Miami didn't just win every game, they scored a total of 430 points to their opponent's combined score of only 219.

Whenever a team dominates their opposition, sports enthusiasts, and especially coaches at all levels, want to know how they achieved such a remarkable, record setting season. There are several factors: less mistakes, less penalties, healthy players, and most of all, preparation. Coach Don Shula has written three books, and has spoken to hundreds of audiences about winning. But he has never focused upon staying undefeated. His focus has always been on preparation; the team that is best prepared will almost always win. Preparation means knowing one's opponent so well, that you know what he will do before he does. That is how one remains undefeated.

Christians have to be ready for whatever their opponent throws at them. First, we need to identify the opposition. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Eph. 2:2-3).

Satan's main weapon is deceit; he lies to cause us to doubt God and His Word (Gen. 3:3-4; Lk. 4:2-7; Jn. 8:44; Eph. 6:11-17; Rev. 20:8-10). The best way to protect yourself against a liar, is to know the truth. Jesus said, "I Am...the Truth..." (Jn. 14:6). Jesus said to the Father, "...Thy Word is truth" (Jn. 17:17).

The world is filled with temptations; its things are to be desired, its positions of prestige and power appeal to our vanity, its wealth causes man to count on himself instead of being dependent upon God (1 Jn. 2:16). In Matthew 4:3-9, Satan appeals to the Lord's physical need, to His "lust of the flesh" (His need for bread - v. 3), His "pride of life" (His identity as God's Son - v. 6), and the "lust of the eye" (he shows Him all that he would give Him - v. 8-9). Satan even uses the Scriptures to try to deceive Him (v. 6). But Jesus considered all that the Word had to say, instead of being tricked by a single verse taken out of context.

Bottom line: Know your opponent and you will stay undefeated! Forewarned is forearmed.

Friday, December 9, 2011


To me, the greatest sin, the foundation of all sin, is pride. The Word of God states that it is pride that leads to one's fall (Prov. 16:18; Ezek. 30:6; Hos. 5:5; 1 Tim. 3:6). Satan's fall was due to his pride (Isa. 14:13-14). Adam and Eve wanted to be like God, and so they ate the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:5-6). Satan's temptation of Jesus was an attempt to appeal to His pride, but the most humble Man that ever lived did not take the bait (Matt. 4:3-10; Phil. 2:3-8). God hates pride, and He tells us it is an abomination to Him (Prov. 6:16-17; 16:5). In fact, God's will for mankind is clear: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God" (Mic. 6:8). That being said, why then does God focus upon Himself? Why does He make statements like:
  • "I am the LORD: that is MY NAME: and MY GLORY will I not give to another" (Isa. 42:8).
  • "Even every one that is called by MY NAME: for I have created him for MY GLORY" (Isa. 43:1).
  • "This people have I formed FOR MYSELF; they shall show forth MY PRAISE" (Isa. 43:21).
  • "I will not give MY GLORY unto another" (Isa. 48:11).
On the surface, it seems that God is inconsistent; He wants us to be humble, while at the same time, He wants us to be like Him. How is it possible when He wants all the praise and glory? And while the three Persons of the Trinity are of one mind and character, the Father wants praise, the Son wants praise for the Father (Jn. 17:4), and the Holy Spirit seeks only to praise the Son (Jn. 16:13-14)?

I believe I have an answer that makes sense, at least to me. God is love, and everything He does, or allows to occur, is motivated by love. We are told that love does not seek its own glory, but what is best for others (1 Cor. 13:4-7). That being said, God, in seeking praise, is doing so for our benefit. He wants His creation to know who He is. John 17:3 says, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God; and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." Unless we know Him, we cannot have eternal life! We must understand that He is holy; that in order to have fellowship with Him, we need to be holy; and that He has provided for our holiness (our eternal life) through faith in the death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. Because I believe this, I have absolutely no problem with God focusing man's attention on Himself! Praise the Lord!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


When Jesus told His disciples to "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16:15), He did not say, "Go correct the ills of society." Do you know why? The answer is simple. Man cannot change his environment, until he is change by the Creator of that environment. It is when a person, by faith, accepts God's free gift of salvation (His grace), that he begins to see his environment as God sees it; he actually becomes a "new creature" (Jn. 1:12; Rom. 6:23; 8:14-17; 10:9-10, 13; Eph. 2:8-10; Phil. 2:15; 1 Jn. 3:1-2). A Middletown Bible Church document quotes Dave Hunt on this subject:
"Increasing numbers of Christians are engaging in social and political 'activism' for the astonishing purpose of attempting to coerce an ungodly society into adopting Christian standards of conduct. 'Operation Rescue' is one example. Its founder, Randall Terry, explains that its purpose is to create social upheaval and thereby pressure government into changing the abortion laws.

No matter how commendable the goal of such tactics, there is not one example in the entire Bible of political or social 'activism' ever being advocated or used by God's people. There are numerous cases of civil disobedience in Scripture (the Hebrew midwives, Daniel, Daniel's three friends, etc.), but it was never engaged in for the purpose of forcing an ungodly society to obey Biblical principles.

'Christian Activism' involves the well-meaning but foolish attempt to force 'Christian principles' upon a godless society through more effective lobbying, larger demonstrations, and greater 'social upheaval' than the homosexuals, abortionists, or pornographers can produce. But rather than pressure the ungodly to live like saints, we must win them to Christ that they might live wholly for God.

We must denounce sin, call for repentance, and preach the gospel in convicting power. Yes, Christians should call for repentance from homosexuality, child abuse, pornography, and abortion, but we should primarily be calling for repentance from rebellion against God and rejection of Christ. Rather than indicting the church for its lack of 'social concern,' it should be held accountable for its heresies and failure to preach the truth. It is hypocritical for the church to protest the world's sins while tolerating and honoring those who preach a false gospel and are the enemies of the cross of Christ.

Instead of PROTESTS, we need PROPHETS who call the world to repentance. We need Enochs who walk with God and warn of judgment (Jude 14-15) and Noahs who preach righteousness and warn of judgment to come (2 Pet. 2:5).

'Christian Activism' is not Christian, and represents a detour from the straight path the church is to walk before the world. It can confuse the real issues, lead to compromise and unholy alliances, and divert time and effort that would be better used in proclaiming the gospel...Be fully engaged in rescuing souls for eternity."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Today's blog has a really strange title, I must admit, but I have chosen it to make a point. Christians are to spread the word (the Gospel) about what the Word of God (the Bible) says about the Word (Jesus - Jn. 1:1, 14). What is the Gospel? It is the message that has the power of God to save souls (Rom. 1:16). The Gospel is the good news that God loves us and He sent His Son to die for us, to be buried for us, and to be raised from the dead for us, all according to those things prophesied of Him in the Scriptures (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Jn. 6:47; Lk. 24:25-27). The true believer in Christ wants nothing more than to do the will of God. It is the will of God that all should hear the Gospel and have an opportunity to be saved!

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

Matthew 28:19-20 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

John 20:21 "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent Me, even so send I you."

Acts 1:8 "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Romans 10:12-15 "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach (proclaim), except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."

Last week in our church's Wednesday night Bible study, our pastor asked us the following question: "Everyone, including born again believers, will be surprised when this Church Age ends with Christ's return to take believers, dead and alive, up to heaven (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18). If you had five hours warning before the Lord returned, what would you do?"

Amazingly, everyone had the same response. Every single person said that they would spend their last five hours on earth telling family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even their enemies, the good news that God loves them! And even though they are sinners, Christ paid for their sin on the Cross (Rom. 3:23; 5:8; 6:23). They need only trust the God who raised Him from the dead, and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Salvation is a free gift! Now that is a message worth sharing! So today, SPREAD THE WORD OF THE WORD OF THE WORD!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Watching the news, reading newspapers, or simply listening to people discuss "the state of the world," one realizes that life on our planet is extremely fragile. We are bombarded with news of wars, atrocities (such as ethnic cleansing), famines, diseases; "acts of nature" (such as weather related disasters and earthquakes); and man-made disasters (such as abortion, lawlessness, and global warming). Is it any wonder that, according to "How to Get Anxiety Medication" by Heather Grenier, approximately forty million Americans, eighteen or older, suffer from an anxiety disorder?

What is worse is that all of those sources of anxiety are like the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the problems of mankind! Lying "beneath the surface" is a danger which dwarfs all of those stressors combined! Each of us has a "death sentence hanging over our heads." The inevitable is going to happen, and then the "rest of the iceberg" is going to be revealed: we must face God. We will discover that in the eyes of God, man is totally depraved, and he is utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23; Eph. 2:1-3, 12).

But I have good news! While in this life we cannot escape life's difficulties, there is a way to escape man's greatest threat of the eternal damnation of God's righteous judgment. Not only is there a way, it is the only way (Jn. 14:6). Man must accept the free gift of salvation offered by God Himself. Yes, salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace. It can be received by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Jn. 1:12; 19:30; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Pet.1:18-19). Man simply needs to trust Him.

When a person accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord, unfortunately, he does not become perfect. Every saved person still possesses two natures. But even so, God has made provision for the victory of man's new nature over his old nature, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:13; 7:1-23; 8:12-13; Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:10; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 1 Jn. 3:5-9).

The redeemed man will often fail in his effort to live a righteous life, but God has provided even for that (1 Jn. 1:9)! And the good news doesn't end with our salvation; once we are saved, we are kept by God's power, and we are secure in Christ forever (Jn. 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1, 38-39; 1 Cor. 1:4-8; 1 Pet. 1:5). Born again believers can rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word. However, God clearly forbids our use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).

Praise God, mankind's greatest problem has a solution which is available to any and all who will simply trust Him and His "Solution": Jesus Christ!

Monday, December 5, 2011


Contemplate the wonder of the Incarnation. The Bible describes it in very simple language: "The Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn. 1:1, 14). The Son of God became a Man, and stepped into time (Gal. 4:4). He who never had a beginning and who always existed as eternal God, was born an Infant (Mic. 5:2; Isa. 7:14; 9:6). The Creator of all things was born in a stable made for animals (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; Lk. 2:12).

Perhaps the most wondrous fact of the incarnation is that it made it possible for the Immortal One to die! The eternal God could not die. But man’s sin had to be paid for by death (Rom. 1:32; 6:23), thus dooming man to an eternal destiny separated from the God (Isa. 59:2; 2 Thes. 1:8-9). God, out of His divine love, devised THE WAY of salvation (Jn. 14:6) for sinful man, without compromising His own just and righteous Character. Serving as man’s Substitute, He would pay the death penalty for sinful man. In order for this to be done, God had to become a Man "that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). The Immortal One took upon Himself our humanity, and the God-Man, not only could die, He did die for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Pet. 3:18).

Yes, He was born to die. His very purpose for coming into this world was to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15; Jn. 3:17), and this saving work was accomplished, not in Bethlehem’s cradle, but on Golgotha’s cross. His birth made His death possible; His death made the new birth possible (Jn. 1:13; 3:3-8; 1 Pet. 1:23). The Bible describes it this way: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9).

The Lord Jesus once posed a question to the Pharisees which they could not answer. He said, "What think ye of Christ (the Messiah)? Whose Son is He? They say unto Him, The son of David. He saith unto them...If David, then, called Him Lord (Ps. 110:1), how is He his son?" (Matt. 22:42-45). The Pharisees were silenced by this question, and yet, years later, another Pharisee whose eyes had been opened by God’s grace: the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote, that in His humanity ("according to the flesh") He is the Son of David (Rom. 1:3). In His deity, He is the Son of God (Rom. 1:4), and thus, He is David’s Lord.

Jesus did not become God at the incarnation, nor did He become the Son of God. The incarnation was when the eternal Son assumed our humanity without ceasing to be God. The Son of God became the Son of Man, that we, the sons of men, might become the sons of God (Jn. 1:12; Gal. 3:26).

May we ever be filled with wonder and praise for His condescending love and grace, by which He stooped so low in order to raise us so high! "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 Jn. 3:1).