Monday, December 31, 2012


Have you ever noticed, at this time of year, that the News media tend to forget that they are the "news media," and spend much time and space on the past?  They have names for it like "the year in retrospect," or "the year in review," and most of their recollections are focused upon tragedies like flood, hurricanes, mass murders, etc., instead of ending the year on a positive note.  Meanwhile, we get few current events, and what we do get has to do with fiscal cliffs, shootings, our local team's recent losses, and bad weather forecasts.  Is it any wonder why people want a new year to begin?
Well, for my last post of this year in which the world did not end (I realize it is only 3:44 a.m. on December 31st, and there is still time for it to do so), I would like to remember the "good stuff" the Lord has allowed me and mine to experience.  Remember, if I forget something that was important to you this past year, I am seventy; my memory is not as good as yours.  And that usually is a good thing! 
This year, we saw our sixth great grandchild born, and it seems that with each addition to the family, they get prettier.  Of course, her parents are not hard on these old eyes, so of course she is beautiful.
This year, we saw our fourth grandchild get married to our beautiful Samantha, and I expect their first child, "whenever she finally gets around to becoming "with child," will be even better looking than our beautiful Audrey.
This year, my wife and I celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary by going on a Caribbean cruise paid for by our oldest daughter and her husband.  In addition, they went with us to insure that their "senile parents" would be able to "navigate" (pun intended) the complicated requirements of our government's "red tape," and the proper etiquette of ship-board life.  We were grateful for both!  And, although our time in the Bahama's was cut short by hurricane Sandy, we still were able to enjoy the entire cruise experience the full five days.  And, praise the Lord, none of us got sea-sick!
This year, our family get-to-gethers were civil and very enjoyable (which has not always been the case).  None of our family left us, and the Lord continues to grant us all new days in which to praise Him for sending His Son, Jesus, that we might have eternal life when this sojourn is over.
I don't know what 2013 holds for me and mine, but I am 100% confident that the One who holds us in the palm of His hands, will work ALL things together for good because I love Him!  My hope and prayer is that all are ready for His Son's return, because, believe it or not, we are one year closer to that glorious day!
We can't change the past.  We can't control the future.
     But we can offer every day we have left to the Lord!     

Sunday, December 30, 2012


In the movie The Lion King, there is a reoccurring theme that seems to suggest some form of reincarnation.  The animal dies, the carcass fertilizes the soil, the soil produces plants, herbivores eat the plants, carnivores eat the herbivores, and so on.  In some ways, the movie sort of reminds me of the New Age philosophy of karma:  "what goes around, comes around."  We as Christians do not believe in karma, and yet, the Apostle Paul said something like that when he wrote, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7).  In Paul's case, karma simply meant we are accountable to God for what we say and do.

In reality, our salvation is sort of the result of a circle of life.  God decided to create the human race (Gen. 1:26-27), but before Jesus created the Universe (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; etc.), God, being Omniscient (Ps. 147:5; 1 Jn. 3:20), knew the consequences of making man, in that He knew man would sin and in order to pay the penalty for sin, Jesus would have to die (Jn. 3:16; Rev. 13:8).  He knew that man would not seek Him, or care about the things of God (Rom. 3:11).  He knew that He would have to draw man to Himself (Jn. 6:44).  He knew that in order to do that, the Holy Spirit would have to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (Jn. 16:7-11).  He knew He would have to provide man with the faith necessary to trust Him (Eph. 2:8).  He knew that in order to do that, He would have to demonstrate His trustworthiness; He knew that for man to know about His trustworthiness, He would have to record evidence of it in a book, in the Bible (Jn 20:21).  He knew that when some men heard what the Bible said about Him, they would place their trust in Him (Jn. 1:11-12).  He knew that when they placed their trust in Him, He would make them "new creatures" (2 Cor. 5:17).  And, He knew His new creatures would sin (Rom. 7:15-29).  He knew that born again believers would confess their sins and that He would again make them as righteous (1 Jn. 1:9)

The true circle of life summed up in one verse:
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 Jn. 5:13).   


Saturday, December 29, 2012


Today, I read a quote from Betty Draper on Facebook, of a poetic, prayerful statement by Nancy Guthrie, and I was taken by its beauty and humility.  I have changed it some in order to personalize it to express my heart's desire, and the frustration I, as a born again believer in Jesus Christ, feel being limited in this mortal shell.
                                     "I don't want to try to change God's mind---
                                     His thoughts are perfect.
                                     I want to think His thoughts.
                                     But alas, my mind is incapable of it. 
                                     I don't want to change God's timing---
                                     His timing is perfect.
                                     I want the grace to accept His timing.
                                     But alas, my patience is incapable of it. 
                                     I don't want to change God's plan---
                                     His plan is perfect.
                                     I want to embrace His plan.
                                     But alas, I will only see it when I finally see Him!"
I rejoice in the knowledge that, at the age of seventy, I do not have long to wait until I am no longer limited in knowing His thoughts, knowing His timing, and seeing how it all works together for His glory, revealed in His wonderful plan!  1 John 3:2 says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."


John H. Gerstner, in his book Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth:  A Critique of Dispensationalism, wrote, "What is indisputably, absolutely, and uncompromisingly essential to the Christian religion is its doctrine of salvation.... If Dispensationalism has actually departed from the only way of salvation which the Christian religion teaches, then we must say it has departed from Christianity.

My response to Gerstner's statement is that he obviously does not understand what Dispensationalists teach.  For example, C. I. Scofield's New Scofield Reference Bible (p. vii) states "As a further aid to comprehending the divine economy of the ages, a recognition of the dispensations is of highest value, so long as it is clearly understood that throughout all the Scriptures, there is only one basis for salvation."  Charles Ryrie, author of Dispensationalism, has a whole chapter addressing the false claim that Dispensationalism teaches more than one way of salvation.

"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).  And yet, there were many Gentiles and Jews who never heard of Jesus, and yet, they are viewed as righteous by God.  The first chapter of the Book of Hebrews declares that the Creator of the Universe, Jesus (v. 1-2), paid for the sins of mankind (v. 3).  In the eleventh chapter, the writer lists the "heroes of the faith"; that is, those who, BELIEVING AND TRUSTING IN GOD, demonstrated their faith by their actions.

In addition, Abraham, a Gentile chosen by God to be the father of the Nation of Israel, is declared to be righteous three times in the New Testament.  Romans 4:3 says, "For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."  Galatians 3:6 says, "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."  And finally, James 2:23 says, "And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."

It was his failure to believe God that caused the fall of Adam in the first place, and through him, the fall of all mankind (Gen. 3:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:22; etc.).  Throughout Scripture, the use of the word, "believe" when it comes to saving faith, is always present tense.  Those who are "saved" believe in God.  Those of us who have been born again by faith in Jesus Christ, remain saved because it is God's work in us that brings us into Christ-likeness (Phil. 1:6; 1 Jn. 3:2).
The Bible gradually reveals God's truth (Heb. 1:1-2).
Those who believe the light they have are saved - period!

Friday, December 28, 2012


One of the studies on Dispensationalism found in the vast resources of Middletown Bible Church's web site (, opens with this statement: 

"THE SCRIPTURES, when interpreted in their natural, literal sense, reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these—the dispensations of law, grace, and the millennial rule of Christ—are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (Jn. 1:17; 1 Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:24-25; Heb. 7:19; Rev. 20:2-6)."

I have a couple of problems with this statement, should someone present it out of context.  For one, a person unfamiliar with the seven dispensations (Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, and The Kingdom), may be confused by the paragraph's focus on Law, Grace, and the Millennium.  When one thinks about it, it is obvious that man was accountable to God long before Moses was given the Law.  Key figures in the four dispensations prior to the Law were Adam (the Fall), Noah (the Flood), Nimrod (the Failure to disperse), and Abraham (the obsession with a Foreign land - Egypt). 

In addition, the first 2000 years prior to Abraham being born, involved only Gentiles.  The 2000 years between Abraham and Christ, focused upon the Jews.  The 2000 years from the Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus until today (1 Cor. 15:1-4), focus upon the Church, which consists of both Gentiles and Jews who have come to faith in Christ.  That totals 6000 years of man having the responsibility of governing themselves.  The next 1000 years will involve the Lord Jesus Christ governing man upon this earth (Rev. 20:1-7).

On a positive note, the statement makes it clear that:
1)  The Scriptures must be interpreted literally in order to properly understand them.
2)  There are rules of life given to man by God.
3)  Man is responsible to obey God according to "the light" He has revealed to them.
4)  Salvation was, is, and always will be based upon faith in God's provision:  Jesus!

There is a literal God, who has literal rules to be followed by literal man.
Because we all literally fail to obey God, He has literally provided His Son.
Jesus literally died, was buried, and rose again to rule over all His creation.



Thursday, December 27, 2012


In yesterday's post, I tried to show Luke's use of different Greek terms to describe Jesus Christ's progression from the womb, to being a new born, to being a young child, and to finally, at the age of twelve, being a family servant (belphos; paidion; pais); that was because "pais" is translated as "servant" more often than it is "child."  I had suggested that the Apostle Paul taught that a child was viewed as a family servant until his father decided he was of age to be considered a heir (Gal. 4:1-2). 

After I had posted it, I remembered other verses which support the "family servant" roll of Jesus.  In Luke, following his use of "pais" (2:43), he wrote, "And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart" (Lk. 2:51).  In this verse, the word "subject" is the Greek ὑποτάσσω (hypotassō), about which one source said, "This word was a Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".  This same Greek word is translated "put under" 6 times, "be subject unto" 6 times, "be subject to" 5 times, "submit (one's) self unto" 5 times, "submit (one's) self to" 3 times, and " be in subjection unto" 2 times in the KJV.

One cannot help but think of the passage in Philippians that describes the thinking of Jesus while on earth.  Paul wrote, "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).

Jesus described Himself as a "minister," in Mark 10:45; "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."  The Greek word translated "minister" is διακονέω (diakoneō), meaning "to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon," and it is the same work from which we get the word "deacon."  Contrary to the belief of most deacons, they are to see themselves as servants and not see themselves as authority figures.

The Creator was willing to humble Himself and die for us.
Our gratitude should result in serving others for Him!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Following the Lord's birth, we are told that Jesus "grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom" (Lk. 2:40), and that He "grew in wisdom and in stature" (Lk. 2:52).  Perhaps this can also be illustrated by the Greek words Luke used in describing the maturing process of Jesus.

In Luke 1:41, 44; 2:12, 16, we find that the Greek word translated "babe" is βρέφος (brephos), and in these verses, the meaning is either "an unborn child" (1:41, 44) or "a new born child" (2:12, 16).  But in recording Jesus' circumcision when He was just eight days old, which was according to the Law (Lev. 12:3), Luke used the Greek word παιδίον (paidion).  He wrote, "And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called JESUS, which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb" (Lk. 2:21).  Here, the obvious meaning is "a young child," as it is translated seven times in Matthew 2 (8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 20, 21).

Luke still uses the Greek παιδίον (paidion) to describe Jesus as He grew older, but at the age of twelve, he suddenly uses the Greek παῖς (pais), which is translate "servant" more often than it is "child."  He wrote, "And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the Child (paidion) grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.  Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.  And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.  And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the Child (pais) Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it" (Lk. 2:39-43).  Jesus was now a servant within His family (see Gal. 4:1-2).

We know nothing of the life of Jesus between the ages of twelve and "about thirty" when He was baptized by John (I believe He was anointed for ministry) and confirmed by the Father Himself (Lk. 3:21-23).  I believe that at the age of thirty, Jesus was, according to the Law, qualified to serve God as is seen in Numbers 4:3, 23.  Jesus had "paid His dues."  Hebrews 2:17 says:

"Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren,
that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God,
to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."

Monday, December 24, 2012


Be the seed of a woman who would bruise the head of the serpent 
Gen 3:15 with Gal 4:4; 1 Jn 3:8
Be descendant of Abraham
Gen 12:3 with Mt 1:1; Acts 3:25; 18:18; 22:18; Gal 3:16
Be descendant of Isaac
Gen 17:19; 21:12 with Mt 1:2; Lk 3:34; Heb 11:17-19
Be descendant of Jacob
Gen 28:14; Num 24:17 with Mt 1:2; Lk 3:24; Rev 22:16
Be descendant from the tribe of Judah
Gen 49:10 with Mt 1:2-3; Lk 3:33; Heb 7:14
Be descendant of David and heir to his throne
2 Sa 7:12-13; Isa 9:6-7; 11:1-5; Jer 23:5 with Mt 1:1; Lk 1:32; Acts 11:23; Rom 1:4 
Be anointed and eternal
Ps 45:6-7; 102:25-27; Mic 5:1-2 with Jn 8:58; 11:14; Eph 1:3-14; Rev 5:11
Be anointed with the Spirit of God
Ps 45:7-8; Isa 11:2; 61:1 with Mt 3:16

Be born in Bethlehem
Mic 5:1-2 with Mt 2:1; Lk 2:4-7
Be born at a specific time
Dan 9:25 with Lk 2:1-2; Gal 4:4
Slaughter of the innocent children
Jer 31:15 with Mt 2:16-18

Flight to Egypt
Hos 11:1 with Mt 2:14-15
Be born of a virgin
Isa 7:14 with Lk 1:27-35
Declared the Son of God
Jer 23:5-6 with Acts 2:34; Heb 1:8
The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world He created
still loves you!



Have you ever noticed that most witnessing involves travel?  The Lord told His disciples to go (Mt. 28:19).  If we are to be witnesses for Jesus, we will have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel (Eph. 6:15)!  And if we are to be His witnesses, we ought to know the truth about our Lord's miraculous birth. 

Jesus, the Savior, was born in the City of Bethlehem, "a little town" in Judea, to Mary, a virgin (Mt. 1:23; Lk. 1:27), who was from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, approximately seventy miles due North "as the crow flies."  Joseph, the Lord's soon-to-be stepfather, had accompanied his espoused wife on the arduous journey which must have taken several days (Lk. 2:4-5).  I am not sure of the route they took, but looking at a map of Israel, it is likely that Joseph and Mary travelled via the Jordon River Valley Road, east of the mountain range which runs the entire length of the country.  They could have travelled west of the range, but that would have taken them through the much-hated Samaria (Mt. 10:5; Lk. 9:52-53; Jn. 4:9).

Near the City of Bethlehem, there were shepherds tending their flocks (Lk. 2:8-20).  On the night He was born, the Angel of the Lord told them of the Savior's birth, and they left their flocks and travelled to see Him.  The Scriptures say that after they had seen Jesus, they became His witnesses (testified about Him to others), and returning to their flocks, they glorified and praised God (Lk. 2:17, 20)! 

On the eighth day, Joseph took Jesus and Mary from the place they were staying in Bethlehem, and travelled to the temple in Jerusalem so that He could be circumcised according to Jewish Law (Lev. 12:3).  There, two witnesses saw the fulfillment of prophecies given to them by the Lord:  Simeon and Anna (Lk. 2:25-38).  Following their blessing of Jesus, Joseph took Jesus and Mary to live in Nazareth, their home (Lk. 2:39).

Some time must have passed before the wise men arrived to make their offerings to the King of the Jews, because by the time they arrived, the family was staying in a house in Bethlehem (Mt. 2:2, 11).  It is very likely that these travellers had arrived on the first of one of the Lord's yearly trips to Jerusalem for the seven day Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, where His family would have been staying with family or friends (Lk. 2:41).  Based upon the fact that Herod had all the children of Bethlehem killed up to the age of two (Mt. 2:16), and that Jesus was no longer called a "babe" but was now called a "young child," it is likely that Jesus was about a year old when the wise men arrived with their gifts.  Fearing Herod's wrath, the wise men return home via a different route than the one they had used to get to Bethlehem (Mt. 2:12).   Although it is not stated, there is little doubt, that in explaining their long journey, they were witnesses for Jesus

Following the Angel of the Lord's warning and their sojourn in Egypt, most likely financed by the gifts of the wise men, Joseph took his family back to Nazareth (Mt. 2:21-23).  We have no indication that anyone in Egypt had a clue who was living in their country, so, it is doubtful that any of them became His witnesses.  Just as the wise men had done before, Joseph took an alternate route on his return to Nazareth (Mt. 2:22-23).
Like the wise men, you and I are not witnesses of the Lord's birth.
        But if we truly believe in Him, our birth will be a witness for the Lord!         


Sunday, December 23, 2012


Ever wonder why there are two different spellings of the word meaning "God with us?"  Did you ask someone?  Did you try to find out?  Or, are you like me and simply accept it as two spellings of the same word?  For example, Isaiah's name is translated "Esaias" (Mt. 3:3; etc.), and Jeremiah's name is translated "Jeremias" (Mt. 16:14; etc.).  By looking at the quote of a verse in Isaiah, it is obvious that Matthew was referring to the same prophet.   

"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel"
(translated from Hebrew עִמָּנוּאֵל (`Immanuw'el),  to English - Isa. 7:14)! 

"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.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.  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.  And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 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"
(translated from the Greek Ἐμμανουήλ (Emmanouēl), to English - Mt. 1:18-23)!

What is important, is that Jesus was the "God (who is) with us."  We know Jesus taught that only God was to be worshipped.  He said,  "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Mt. 4:10).  And yet, He accepted the worship of the Maji (Mt. 2:11); the leper (Mt. 8:2); the ruler (Mt. 9:18); those in the ship (Mt. 14:33), the mother of a possessed girl (Mt. 15:22-25), and "Mrs. Zebedees" (Mt. 20:20; etc.).  Jesus knew He was the Immanuel of the prophet, and the Emmanuel of the Apostle!

If you know He is the God who is with us,
then be the person in whom others see as being with Him!  

Saturday, December 22, 2012


The Bible speaks of five judgments.  They are:

God is holy, and as such, He must judge and punish sin.  The Bible tells us the good news that "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).  This means that Christ was punished instead of us!   As a guilty sinner, I am the one who deserves God's judgment, but God's judgment fell upon my Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ.   "Christ died for the ungodly" and "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:6, 8).

God's Word says, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (1 Cor. 11:31-32).  God wants believers to deal with sin in the right way. When there is sin in my life, I should not ignore it, pretend that it is not serious, or try to cover it over. Sin is something that should be acknowledged and confessed to God (1 Jn. 1:8-10).

This judgment has nothing to do with the our salvation because that has already been settled.  The issue involved in this judgment will be the our works: "For we (believers) must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). This judgment has to do with rewards for faithfulness.

This important judgment is often confused with the fifth judgment:  the Great White Throne Judgment.  These two judgments are not the same.  The Judgment of the Nations occurs on earth at the Lord's return (Mt. 25:31-46).  It is totally based upon how those being judged treated Israel during the Tribulation (Mt. 24:4-29).  This judgment takes place prior to the 1000 year reign of Christ.

This is the great final judgment for all unsaved people who have ever lived (Rev. 20:11-15).  Peter called it "the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Pet. 3:7).  Read Revelation 20:1-10. This judgment takes place after the thousand year kingdom, after the final rebellion (verses 7-9), and after Satan has been cast into the lake of fire.

I am thankful for No. 1!  I am humbled by No. 2!  I long for No. 3! 
I am warning the unsaved to accept Christ and avoid No. 4 and No. 5!

Friday, December 21, 2012


I suppose all societies have a system of determining time in a relationship between the past, present, and future.  Primitive cultures know there is a sequence of seasons.  Advanced cultures use their clocks, calendars, and historical records.  And in societies where the Bible is believed, everyone knows the purpose of the Sun, of the Moon, and of the Stars, is to "be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen. 1:14). 

It would be nice if all the systems for time matched, but unfortunately, they do not.  Atheists, most scientists, and those who do not believe the Bible, generally believe that our present world began between 3,114 B.C. (the Mayans) and 158 trillion years ago (Hindu "50 years of Brahma").  To the Jew, our present year is 5772-5773.  Based upon the dating of a Christian Bishop by the name of James Ussher (1581 – 1656), who, using the life-spans given in the Bible, determined that Creation occurred in 4004 B.C., our calendar year of A.D. 2012 would make the world 6,016 years old. 

According to the "experts," the Mayan Calendar predicts the end of the world today!  Unfortunately, the "experts" are apparently unfamiliar with how the Mayan Calendar works.  What has been interpreted as the "end of the world," is merely the end of an epoch.  The Mayan's believed that every 5,125 years, a major change occurred in the Universe.  Hence, on December 21, 2012, the world, as we know it, would end, and a new world would begin. 

It is absolutely amazing to me that a culture, which for all practical purposes ceased to exist about one thousand years ago, could be considered such great prophets of the future.  They obviously didn't foresee their own demise, so why do so many believe that their prediction of today being the world's last day?  The strangest thing is, many professing Christians believe it!  Unbelievable!

Jesus said, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mk. 13:32).  The context is the Lord's Second Coming.  Before that occurs, the Church will be removed via the Rapture (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; etc.), and the seven years of the Tribulation must happen (Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 6 - 18; etc.).  Even after He returns, there will be at least a thousand years before there is an end to the world as we know it (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 20:1 - 21:1; etc.). 

But do not relax.  Just because the world will continue to exist, that does not mean you will!  There is no way of knowing if we will live another day; today may actually be our last day!  That is why the Word says, "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2)!
The world will not end today, but your world may!  Are you ready?

Thursday, December 20, 2012


It has always been difficult for me to understand why the Apostle Paul, after describing Jesus Christ as our Redeemer (Col. 1:12-14), the Creator (Col. 1:16), the Sustainer of the Universe (Col. 1:17), and the Reconciler of us to the Father (Col. 1:20-22), could then suggest that work of Jesus on our behalf was incomplete in some way (Col. 1:24).  He wrote, "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind (translated "lacking" in the NKJV, NIV, ESV, NASV, etc.) of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the church."  Clearly, the work of redemption was completed with Christ's atonement for our sins on the cross; He said, "It is finished" (Jn. 19:30)!  The Gospel declares it so.  Paul wrote, "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 . . . 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).

So then, what did Paul mean by his ministry completing what Christ's "left incomplete?"  I believe he was referring to the communication of the Gospel, the "Good News," to those who need to hear it in order to be saved.  Jesus completed the efficacious work of Salvation, but unless that information is given to lost mankind, souls cannot be saved.  Paul wrote, "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).  Again, he wrote, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). 

Christ's death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf completed the work necessary for salvation, but unless a man believes that, and places his faith in Christ, he is doomed to an eternity separated from God.  The Apostle John wrote:  "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.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.  He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (Jn. 3:15-18).

All born again believers have a part of the work of Christ in reaching the lost.
So, are you doing your part in sharing the "Good News?"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


There are several references to the blind being healed in the Bible; some are prophetic (Ps. 146:8; Isa. 29:18; 35:5; 42:7, 16, 18; Jer. 31:8; etc.), and some describe the actual events (Mt. 11:5; 12:22; 15:30-31; 20:30-34; 21:14; etc.).  Unless one looks at the context of the passage, it is often difficult to determine if the blindness has to do with a person being able to see with his eyes, or with a person who can see perfectly well with his eyes, but be totally blind to spiritual truth.  Spiritual blindness is a far more serious malady, in that there is danger of eternal consequences (Mt. 23:14-39; etc.).

As is clear from Scripture, Jesus healed both forms of blindness.  In fact, one of our favorite hymns says, "I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see."  What is seldom discussed by believers is the fact that God claims to be responsible for one's physical blindness.  Exodus 4:11 says, "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?"

Spiritual blindness, on the other hand, is the work of Satan.  Paul wrote, " 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. 4:4).  God has allowed the temporary spiritual blindness of Israel in order to provide redemption to the entire human race (Jn. 1:11-12; Rom. 11:25; Eph. 4:18).   

In John 9:1-41, Jesus confirmed that God was responsible for a man's physical blindness, but that His Father has a good purpose for all He does.  Jesus told His disciples that the man was born blind so that the seeing could have their eyes opened to see the Son of God!  The healing of the blind was one of the signs that would identify Him when He came, and as a result, there were several instances where He gave sight to the blind.  In this particular case, the blind man received both his physical sight and his spiritual sight (Jn. 9:7, 35-38)!

I noticed in today's Our Daily Bread devotion, that Bartimaeus, though physically blind, had great spiritual insight as to the identity of Jesus (Mk. 10:46-52).  He knew He was a healer, that He lived in Nazareth, and yet, he knew He was from the lineage of David; Bethlehem, not Nazareth, was the city of David (Mic. 5:2; Lk. 2:4).  I find it very interesting that Bartimaeus, when told to go his way, chose to follow Jesus, THE WAY (Mk. 10:52; Jn. 14:6)!

When Jesus truly opens your eyes, you will choose to follow Him!  


Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Psalm 111:  The God of Man.

"Praise ye the LORD.  I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.  The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.  His work is honourable and glorious: and His righteousness endureth for ever.  He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered:  the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.  He hath given meat unto them that fear Him:  He will ever be mindful of His covenant.  He hath shewed His people the power of His works, that He may give them the heritage of the heathen.  The works of His hands are verity and judgment; all His commandments are sure.  They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.  He sent redemption unto His people:  He hath commanded His covenant for ever:  holy and reverend is His name.  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments:  His praise endureth for ever."

Psalm 112:  The Man of God.

"Praise ye the LORD.  Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in His commandments.  His seed shall be mighty upon earth:  the generation of the upright shall be blessed.  Wealth and riches shall be in his house:  and his righteousness endureth for ever.  Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.  A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth:  he will guide his affairs with discretion.  Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.  He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:  his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.  He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.  The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish."

It is amazing that Psalm 111 describes Jesus as the Son of God.
Equally amazing is that Psalm 112 describes Jesus as the Son of Man.

Monday, December 17, 2012


There are times in a person's life when, no matter how devoted he is to living for Jesus Christ, no matter how hard he tries to get along with his fellow man, he will fail miserably to be Christ-like!  The sad thing is, having dedicated my life to Christ for over forty years and expecting that I would be farther along spiritually, I still see a whole lot more of me than I do Jesus when I look into "life's mirror."  James wrote concerning the "mirror":  (my notes throughout are in italics)

"But be ye doers of the Word (God's will for individual believers in each and every circumstance), and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass (that is, in a mirror which reflects the kind of person one is):  For he beholdeth himself (a sinner saved by grace), and goeth his way (note it is not God's way, but his), and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was (away from the mirror of God's Word, he forgets there is nothing good within him except the Holy Spirit, and he wants others to respect him as though he was something special).  But whoso looketh into the perfect Law of Liberty, and continueth therein (he lives his life according to God's will for each step he takes), he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (the things he says and does please the Lord)."  (Jam. 1:22-25).

The Apostle Paul wrote, "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more . . . To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:19-22).  In another place, he wrote, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom. 12:18).  It takes humility to live one's life according to the customs of others, and while we do not necessarily understand why they do what they do, if it does not contradict God's Word, I believe we should comply to their traditions. 

I found this out recently when I went to a family member's wedding.  When told I was not properly dressed for the occasion, and that my attire was "showing disrespect" to the wedding party, at first, I thought the comments being made to me were disrespectful.  Perhaps the tone gave me that opinion.  Regardless, after about three or four folks mentioned it to me, I swallowed my pride and bought the proper "wedding garment."  It is amazing how quickly my anger left me as I realized I had brought joy and peace to those whom I love.  I was so glad I did not say what I thought, nor refuse to attend the wedding as my "flesh" wanted so much to do.  Instead, I remembered those verses above, and genuinely enjoyed the wedding and the fellowship my "new threads" afforded me.
When it come right down to it, Jesus became human to bring peace and joy;
We can bring peace and joy by becoming less human and more Christ-like! 


Friday, December 14, 2012


Who is God?

The living God is HOLY (Isaiah 6:3; 57:15; 1 Peter 1:15; Revelation 4:8) and thus He is absolutely set apart and separated from all that is sinful (Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 24:3-4; Isaiah 6:3-5). The Bible teaches me that God, in His absolute holiness and unfailing mercy, has provided a way for me to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:3-6).

Who am I?

I am a lost sinner (Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:10-18,23; Isaiah 53:6; Psalm 51:5; 1 Kings 8:46), and my heart is wickedly evil (Jeremiah 17:9-10; Mark 7:20-23; Matthew 7:11). Thus I stand guilty before the righteous Judge of all the earth (Romans 3:19), and I am under the wrath and condemnation of a holy God (Romans 1:18; 2:1-9; John 3:18,36).

What Do I Deserve?

Because of my sinful and wicked condition, I deserve the death penalty (Ezekiel 18:4; Genesis 2:17; Romans 1:32; 6:23) which involves eternal separation from God and eternal punishment by God in the lake of fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Matthew 25:41,46; Mark 9:42-48; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).

What is the Gospel (Good News)?

Because of His marvelous love and mercy, God sent His beloved Son into the world (John 3:16-17; Matthew 1:21-23; Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 1:15). The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the everlasting God (John 1:1; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2; Titus 2:13) and the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:13-16), died on the cross in MY place and as MY Substitute and He thus paid the death penalty for me (Isaiah chapter 53; Romans 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 2:2; 3:16; 4:10). He also rose again from the dead as proof that God the Father was pleased and satisfied that the death penalty was paid in full by God the Son (1 Corinthians 15:4-20; Romans 4:25), and to demonstrate that He (Jesus Christ) was, and is, all that He claimed to be (Romans 1:4).

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

In view of who Christ is and what He has done for me on the cross, it is my responsibility to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31; John 3:16,18,36). This means I must come to Christ (John 6:35-37) and receive Him as my personal Saviour and Lord (John 1:12; Romans 6:23), realizing and believing the following facts:
  1. The Lord Jesus died and rose again for my salvation (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
  2. The Lord Jesus wants to save me (Luke 19:10). 
  3. The Lord Jesus is able to save me (Hebrews 7:25).
  4. Faith in the Lord Jesus saves me (Acts 4:12; John 10:9; 14:6; Romans 10:9-10).  
It is not what we do that saves us; it is faith in what He has done for us!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I don't know if any of you have noticed, but there seems to be a slight hesitation, among born again believers, when it comes to declaring that the Bible teaches us that Jesus is God.  While it is difficult for me to imagine how a true believer could doubt the fact, I suppose a baby Christian might not be certain.  After all, the Word of God does say to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).  But more likely, the hesitation may be the result of a fear of ridicule, or of a fear someone will ask us to prove our statement from the Scripture.  I doubt that I can do much to alleviate one's fear of ridicule, but I can provide a good proof from God's Word.

The first verse of the Bible is foundational in proving the Bible teaches Jesus is God. "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth."  Clearly, the Creator is God.  Make a copy of the following verses, and carry them with you as you share your faith in our Lord. 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made" (Jn. 1:1-3).  If someone has any doubt about the identity of the person call the "Word," show them  "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us . . ." (Jn. 1:14).

"For by Him (the context is Jesus) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him:  And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:16-17).

"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ" (Eph. 3:9).

"For by Him (again the context is Jesus) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  all things were created by Him, and for Him" (Col. 1:16).

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds" (Heb. 1:1-2).

There are many other proofs, but Jesus being the Creator is my favorite!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


There are twelve consecutive years in each new century in which there is a triple date within each year.  This century, we have had 01-01-2001; 02-02-2002; etc., and today, we have the final one for the twenty-first century:  12-12-2012.  This will not occur again until the first day of the first month of the year 2101.  That means, a person born on such a day will likely never experience it again.  A person living for more than one hundred years could experience it, but only if he was born on a triple date day, and that would mean it would be impossible unless they were born in the first twelve years of a century.  So, if you have a child born today, and if he lives over one hundred years, he could experience the occurrence twice in his lifetime.  Whoop-tee-do!  So he has something unique about which to brag.  What is so special about that?  Nothing!

There is also the rare possibility that a person could come to faith in Jesus Christ today and be born again on 12-12-2012, live over one hundred years from today, and be able to praise the Lord on 12-12-2112.  However, he would be one hundred years plus the age at which he accepted Christ, and since few people, at least since Moses, have lived to be 120 years old, he would have to accept Christ within the first twenty years of his life.  Now, he possibly could have something to brag about!

I said "could," because what if he lived those one hundred years as a born again believer like you are living today?  Would he be able to look back over his century of serving his Lord with joy, or with grief?  If he lived every day the way you are living, would he be ashamed when he finally meets Jesus face-to-face, or would he be able to hear Jesus say, "Well done, My good and faithful servant?" 

What if he drank, smoked, used drugs, lied, stole, etc. and ruined his witness before those who were lost?  Would he be able to look Jesus in the face?  On the other hand, if he were to deny himself the "pleasures" of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and he shared his faith in Jesus Christ with those the Lord brought across his path, he would be able to rejoice at the sweet sound of the Lord's voice as He spoke his name!  Oh, I know, no one is perfect.  But, when we look at the life of a believer, we will see that his life is either marked by sinful selfishness, or he will be recognized as one who made every effort to serve his Lord and Savior.  So, no matter how many years you live after being born again, one or one hundred, it is how you lived those years that counts.  Think about it!
If you accept Christ on 12-12-12, praise the Lord!
        When you stand before Him, make sure He can praise you!           

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


We all know that it is God's will that born again believers think, speak, and act like Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5-8).  In fact, the Holy Spirit uses His shepherds to make us like Him.  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:  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" (Eph. 4:11-13). 

Unfortunately, the process of being made into the likeness of Christ is a life-long work of the Holy Spirit in us (Jn. 16:13-14).  John wrote, "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).  Paul knew the work of making us like Him would continue until our very last breath.  He wrote, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). 

Paul wrote to believers, "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing" (Phil. 3:16).  If we are walking faithfully, according to the level of maturity the Lord has worked in us, we should be able to say, "be like me."  If not, then we need to repent and begin doing so!  Yes, we are all in the process; some are further along than others, and yet, all of us should be living in such a way that we can say to our children, "be like me."      

Paul admitted he still "needed work" when he wrote, "Not as though I had already attained, were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12).  Paul was very clear that he struggled with sin every day (Rom. 7:14-25), and still, he could say, "Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am . . ." (Gal. 4:12).

If you are born again, if you are trying your very best to be like Jesus, then know this. 
You are someone worthy of being a spiritual role model to others!

Monday, December 10, 2012


When God created mankind, His desire was for man to be like Him.  He said, "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness," and that is exactly how He created us (Gen. 1:26; 1:27 w/ 5:1).  Just as God is a Trinity consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Mt. 28:19; Jn. 20:17; Acts 5:3-4; Heb. 1:1-8; etc.), so also was man create a triune being.  The Apostle Paul, in writing to born again believers, to those who had been made alive spiritually, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jn. 5:24; Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13; 1 Thes. 5:23; etc.).

It was not long after Adam was told not to eat of the forbidden tree, that he ceased to like God.  God is holy (Ps. 99:9), and when Adam sinned, he not only ceased to be holy, he ceased to be alive spiritually.  God had told him that the day he ate of the forbidden tree, he would die.  When we look at the life of Adam, we find he lived several days after he ate; in fact, he lived to be 930 years old (Gen. 5:5)!  Was God wrong?  No!  The day, in fact the instant he disobeyed God, he died spiritually. 

Paul wrote, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12).  Like Adam after he sinned, unsaved man is alive physically, but he is dead spiritually (Eph. 2:1, 5).  That is why we need to be born again of the Spirit of God!  Those who have been born again, have been born again spiritually by the work of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3:3-8).  Because born again believers have been made alive spiritually, Paul could describe us as being, once again, a triune being like God (1 Thes. 5:23).

The truly sad thing is, the vast majority of mankind is not aware that they are dead!  They have no idea that there is more to life than the physical.  Oh sure, nearly all individuals believe in some form of god, and they believe that if they do certain things, and avoid doing other things, they might appease their version of god.  In fact, that is the very definition of religion.  But what they miss is the fact that they are spiritually dead, and that they, in and of themselves, cannot change that.  Only God can provide the new birth necessary for man to be, once again, like his Creator!

All the works in the world cannot make a dead man live; only God can!


Sunday, December 9, 2012


All human beings are created in the image of God, but following the Fall, man is never said to be "in the likeness of God" again.  The word "image" is from the Hebrew צֶלֶם (tselem), meaning "to resemble in appearance or look like someone or something"; the word "likeness" is from the Hebrew דְּמוּת (dĕmuwth), meaning "to resemble in character or to be like someone or something."  By comparing Genesis 1:26-27 and 5:1, we see that Adam was created in both God's image and His likeness.       

"And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Gen. 1:26-27).  "This is the book of the generations of Adam.  In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him" (Gen. 5:1).   However, after Adam sinned, he no longer was like God. He still resembled Him, that is, one could say Adam was "the spittin' image of his Father," but he certainly could not be considered to be holy like Him.

That Adam was no longer like God, is seen in the description of the birth of Seth.  "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth" (Gen 5:3).  Notice that Seth was begotten in the image and likeness of Adam, not God.  Adam was still made in the image of God, but he was no longer like Him.  Man is also said to be made in the image of God after the flood.  Moses wrote, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man" (Gen. 9:6).
I would ask you:  Do you resemble Jesus physically?  Yes, we are all human beings.  Do you resemble Jesus spiritually?  No, that will not occur until we meet Him; He will change us at that very instant.  Praise God!  The Apostle John wrote, "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).

I don't know about any of you, but I can't wait!!!!!!! 


[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king (Herod the Great who died in 4 b.c.), behold, there came wise men (the number is not given) from the east to Jerusalem,
[2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
[3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
[4] And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
[5] And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
[6] And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
[7] Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
[8] And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child (no longer a babe but by now, He is a young child - v.11); and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
[9] When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
[10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
[11] And when they were come into the house (Jesus no longer in a manger), they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
[12] And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
[13] And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
[14] When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
[15] And was there until the death of Herod (4 b.c.): that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
[16] Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under (he was not sure of the age of Jesus so he bracketed the approximate age), according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
[17] Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
[18] In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
[19] But when Herod was dead (again, 4 b.c.), behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
[20] Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
[21] And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
[22] But when he heard that Archelaus (Herod Archelaus) did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod (Herod the Great), he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
[23] And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth (where Joseph and Mary were from - Lk. 2:4): that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene (because Nazareth became the home town of Jesus).

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Born again believers are constantly seeking to know God's will in order to please Him.  By accepting the Lordship of Jesus, we have declared ourselves to be His servants.  In fact, our willingness to surrender to Him as our Lord and Savior, appears to be a key to our being born again.  Our believing what the Word of God has to say about Jesus, will result in our submission to Him!  I believe this is true because of how Paul described unbelievers in Romans 10:3.  He wrote, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." 

The Gospel message, on the other hand, is clear in that it declares that all men are sinners (Rom. 3:23); that the wages for sin is death (Rom. 6:23); but while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8); and so, we might freely receive His righteousness and eternal life by faith in Him (Rom. 5:18; 6:23; 10:8-13; 2 Cor. 5:21).  The first act of submission is for man to come to God on God's terms, and not on his own.     

Jesus is not asking us to do what He, Himself, did not do.  His whole Incarnation was an act of submission to the will of God (Jn. 4:31-34; 5:30; Phil. 2:5-8; etc.).  And, like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is of the same mind in that He submits Himself to doing the will of Jesus (Jn. 15:26; 16:7, 13-14). 

Born again believers are called upon to submit, not only to God but also to other imperfect human beings.  Christians are to be submissive.  We are to submit ourselves to church leaders (1 Cor. 16:15-16; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:5; etc.).  Husbands are to submit themselves to the Lord (Eph. 5:25-33; 6:4).  Wives are to submit themselves to their husbands (Eph. 5:22-24).  Children are to submit themselves to their parents (Eph. 6:1-3).  Servants (employees) are to submit themselves to their masters (bosses) (Eph.6:5-8).  Masters (bosses) are to submit themselves to God, for they will answer to Him for how they treat their workers (Eph. 6:9).  And all are to submit to governmental leaders (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13). 

Submission, the mark of a believer, is humility in action. 

Friday, December 7, 2012


In yesterday's blog; I summarized the four categories of works found in the Book of Ephesians:  God's works; Satan's works; the religious works of the lost; and the works of the born again believer following salvation.  Lost man works to try to earn what God offers freely to those who place their faith in Jesus, while the saved man works to show his gratitude for gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8-10).  Today, I want to share some of the wisdom God gave my Pastor which he passed on in our Wednesday night Bible study.  Ephesians should be seen as a book of two themes: 

The Works of God

Chapters 1-3 contain teaching on God's free offer of Salvation which should result in our humility: 

*  Paul's salutation to the Church at Ephesus (1:1-2);
*  God chose to save us in Christ (1:3-1:16);
*  God revived us by Christ (1:17-2:10);
*  God reconciled us through Christ (2:11-3:11); and
*  God produces humility in those who believe in Christ (3:12-3:20).
*  Glory to God.  AMEN (3:21)!

The Response of God's Children
Chapters 4-6 contain teaching on God's work of Sanctification in His humble servants:

*  Paul's humble call to be like minded (4:1-3)
*  Humility will show when we relate to other believers (4:4-4:16);
*  Humility will show in our life choices (4:17-5:21);
*  Humility will show in our family relationships (5:22-6:9); and
*  Humility will show in how we face our enemies (6:10-23).
*  Grace to believers.  AMEN (6:24)

The Word of God teaches us that we can recognize those who belong to the Lord, and those who are pretending to be His.  Jesus said that we shall know false teachers by their fruit (Mt. 7:15-23).  Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.  And if I might "add my two cents worth," we will know those among the brethren who are worth following because they are "walking in the Spirit," evidenced by their humility!

We ought not think of ourselves as being a gift to God;
We ought to be a gift from God to others!


Thursday, December 6, 2012


Ephesians does teach works as being necessary for our salvation!  Oh, I know, you and I have quoted Ephesians 2:9 so many times to those who are trying to work their way to heaven, that we have failed to notice what the Book of Ephesians actually says about works. 

I have found (so far) that there are at least four types of works described in the text: 
1) the works of God (1:11, 19; 2:10; 3:7, 20; etc.);
2) the works of Satan (2:2; 3:10; 6:11-12; etc.);
3) the works of the lost (2:9; 4:19; 5:11; etc.); and
4) the works of the born again believer (2:10; 4:12, 16, 28; etc.).

Today, I want to focus upon the works of God as described in the first fifteen verses of the book.  By looking at just these few verses, we can see why God is to be praised, why Satan is the ultimate fool, why the lost will die in their sins, and why we ought to spend our lives in humble gratitude before Him!

1:1   God chose men to win and educated those who believed their message.
1:2   God uses us to bless each other.
1:3   God has already blessed us in Christ.
1:4   God has chosen us in Christ (while we were yet living in sin - Rom. 5:8).
1:5   God has adopted us, in Christ, to be His children, His heirs.
1:6   God has done the work of making us acceptable in Christ.
1:7   God has redeemed us and forgiven us in Christ.
1:8   God has given us His abundant grace.
1:9   God has revealed His will to us.
1:10 God will gather us to Himself when the time is right.
1:11 God predestined us to be His inheritance.
1:12 God reveals His glory through us.
1:13 God uses the foolishness of the Gospel to save us (1 Cor. 1:21-23).
1:14 God guarantees our inheritance until the time to receive it.
1:15 God works His love through us to the entire Body of Christ.

When all is said and done, it is God who will get all the glory for our salvation, for the works He does through us, and for our eternal relationship with Him!  His mercy keeps us from getting what we truly deserve, and His grace has provide the Savior, the Comforter, the Gospel, and the fellowship we have with Him and with all who believe in Him.  We have nothing to glory in.  In fact, our genuine response for what HE has done, will be humility!

To God be the glory; great things HE has done!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


How many times have you heard a brother or sister in the Lord say, "Because of a lack of knowledge, the people perish."?  I have not only said it, I have preached it!  However, I have never paid much attention to the rest of the verse, and consequently, I missed its most important context.  And yet, I cannot count the times that I have stressed the importance of the context of a verse in understanding what it is teaching.  Bible study can certainly humble a person!

But the Bible does say it, right?  Well, sort of.  What the Word of God actually says is, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the Law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hos. 4:6).  Notice first of all, that the people were God's people, and in this case, Israel.  Through the Law and the Prophets, God had provided His chosen people with all that they needed to know in order to live a peaceful, prosperous, and God-pleasing life on earth.  But they had rejected it!  They were not ignorant due to never having been exposed to the truth; they had the truth and they chose to ignore it.  There is a huge difference. 

In the Gospels, Jesus clearly understood the difference between those having never heard the truth and those who heard it and chose to ignore it (Mt. 10:15; 11:22).  Some even memorized it and taught it, but never applied it to their own lives; He called them hypocrites fourteen times in Matthew alone (Mt. 6:2, 5, 16; 15:7-9; 16:3; 22:18; 23:13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29; 24:51)!  I think Matthew 15:7-9 says it best:  "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.  But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."  Their destiny is described in Matthew 24:50-51 which says, "The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Bible ignorance is bad, but ignoring it can be fatal!   

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Satan, his demons, and the vast majority of fallen men desire to do harm to born again believers.  Evil likes darkness and detests the light.  But no matter how elaborate their schemes and how hateful their intent, I have read the last chapter and we win!  Why?  Because we are good?  No!  It is because God has determined the outcome for His glory!  Wherever evil aspires to destroy, God limits them as He did for Job (Job 1:10).  The New Testament repeatedly tells us that evil exists, but God has a solution.

* Lk. 12:20  "But God said unto him, thou fool. . .."
* Lk. 16:15  ". . . But God knoweth your hearts. . .."
* Acts 7:9  ". . . the patriarchs . . . sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him."
* Acts 10:28  Peter was prejudice, ". . . but God shewed (him) . . .."
* Acts 13:30  "But God raised Him from the dead."
* Rom. 5:8  "But God commendeth His love for us. . .."
* 1 Cor. 1:27  "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world . . .."
* 1 Cor. 2:10  "But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit . . .."
* 1 Cor. 7:15  ". . . but God hath called us to peace."
* 1 Cor. 10:13  ". . . but God is faithful . . .."
* Gal. 3:18  ". . . but God gave it to Abraham by promise."
* Eph. 2:4-5  "But God, who . . . loved us . . . quickened us . . .."
* Phil. 2:27  ". . . but God had mercy on him . . .."

Notice that the norm, the natural, the evil of this world, is miraculously superseded by God.  His plans are greater, His knowledge of man is greater, and His will is always accomplished.  Man is foolish if he thinks his plans, his knowledge, his strength, and his own righteousness is real.  God loved us in spite of our unrighteousness, He revealed the truth to us by His Spirit, He has given us a new birth making us alive spiritually, all because of His plan to share Himself with us.  It is He who is faithful.  It is He who "makes silk our of a sow's ear."  It is He who loves those who only love themselves. 

You may choose to die in your sins, BUT GOD offers life through faith in Christ!  

Monday, December 3, 2012


God's wrath is promised upon all those who reject Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!

* It is coming - Mt. 3:7
* It will include Israel - Lk. 21:23
* It applies only to those who deny Christ - Jn. 3:36
* It is not a secret; it has been revealed throughout time - Rom. 1:18
* It is the righteous judgment of God - Rom. 2:5
* It is for the ones who are known by their unrighteousness - Rom. 2:8
* It is delayed by God's long suffering - Rom. 9:22
* It is "payback" for what the world has done to us - Rom. 12:19
* It is a certainty for those who are unsaved - Eph. 2:3
* It is coming - Eph. 5:6
* It is the justice of God - Col. 3:5-6
* It is for the disobedient - Heb. 3:11
* It will come on time - Rev. 6:16-17
* It will culminate in the Lake of Fire - Rev. 14:10
* It is the purpose of the Tribulation - Rev. 15:1
* It is the expression of Christ's Second Coming - Rev. 19:15

But I have good news for all who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!

* We will not experience the wrath of God - Rom. 5:9
* We have been delivered from the wrath of God by Jesus - 1 Thes. 1:10
* We have not been appointed to suffer God's wrath - 1 Thes. 5:9
* We will experience God's rest instead of His wrath - Heb. 4:1-3

If your life belongs to Jesus Christ, the One who bought you through His blood, you have nothing about which to worry!  If you have not yet place your trust in the finished work of Christ on your behalf, confess His as your Lord, trust Him, and you will be saved from the wrath to come.  Romans 10:8-10 says:
"But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the Word of faith, which we preach; 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."
What you believe today will determine the look on Christ's face when you meet Him!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Repentance is absolutely necessary in order for a person to be saved.  In Luke 13, Jesus, in a conversation with some self-righteous Jews who thought they were better than the Galalileans who had been killed by Pilate (v. 1-2), and the eighteen who died "accidentally" in Jerusalem (v. 4), twice said, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Lk. 13:3, 5).

Repentance, here, comes from the Greek μετανοέω (metanoeō), which means to have a change of mind.  It is not a conscience decision to think differently, but it is what the Holy Spirit does to make a sinner realize his condition (Jn. 16:7-11).  It is what it takes to be saved:  trusting in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).   Repentance is similar to the Gestalt Switch which takes place when one looks at the drawing by Toulouse-Lautrec, of the ugly old woman who suddenly "changes" into a beautiful young girl.  When one hears the Gospel message, and believes that his sin was the reason God sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross to pay for his sin, repentance occurs.  He doesn't "turn over a new leaf."  He doesn't determine to live the rest of his life according to a religious teaching so that he can earn salvation through good works.  He turns from being the one making life-choices, to wanting to please God out of pure gratitude for what His Son did for him!

In Luke 13, Jesus was speaking to Jews.  He was telling them that the tragedies did not signify that those who perished were especially evil, but that they too were sinners and subject to death at any time.  Notice He said all of them needed to repent, and that without repentance, they would all perish.  The Apostle Paul wrote that all men sin, and the Apostle Peter wrote that God wants "all to come to repentance" (Rom. 3:23; 5:12; 2 Pet. 3:9). As I understand the passage, Jesus was saying that the men who had died, had not repented of their sins, and therefore, they died in their them.  John 8:24 says, "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins."

Repentance is what happens to you when you come to faith in Jesus Christ!  You have a change of mind.  Have you turned from controlling your life according to what pleases you, to allowing the will of God to guide your decisions?

Don't allow "a Pilate" or "a tower" to end your life while you are living in sin!
"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2)!  

Saturday, December 1, 2012


The other night at our church Bible study, we opened by singing "Silent Night."  By the time we came to the last verse, my stamina had given out, and I listened to the others end the hymn with the words, "Jesus, Lord at Thy birth; Jesus, Lord at Thy birth."  For some reason, I am not exactly sure why, my mind changed the words to "Jesus, Lord and MY birth; Jesus, Lord at MY birth!"  That happens fairly often when I think of my relationship to God.  Instead of "Our Father which art in heaven," I find myself saying, "MY Father which art in heaven."  I wonder if anyone else experiences that Gestalt Switch when it comes to things spiritual? 

This reminds me of how Jacob spoke of God as being the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, and yet, he had not spoken of God as being his God until after his dream in Genesis 28:10-15.  In verses 16-22, Jacob acknowledges God is "in this place," and called the place "Beth-el" which means "the house of God."  He stated that if the Lord would preserve his life, he would recognize Him as his God (v. 20-21). 

It is not clear, to me at least, when Jacob came to claim the God of his fathers as his own God, but it is clear he had when he blessed the sons of Joseph.  The Word says, "And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth" (Gen. 48:15-16).  From that point on, whenever the names of Abraham and Isaac were given, Jacob's name was included (Gen. 50:24; Ex. 3:6, 15-16; Acts 3:13; etc.).

When I came to believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, I experienced what the Bible describes as being "born again" (Jn. 3:3-8; 1 Pet. 1:23).  As an atheist, He went from being a myth, to being my God!  For me, it was at MY birth that He became MY Lord!

If Jesus is your Lord, try inserting the word "MY" in the Word and song!   

Friday, November 30, 2012


When I think of what the Bible has to say about principalities and powers, I usually think of Satan and his minions.  But there appears to be much more to the phrase than just the realm of evil.  The word "principalities" is from the Greek ἀρχή (archē), which occurs 58 times in the KJV.  Of those, it is translated "beginning" 40 times, and "principalities" 8 times.  It is define as being the "leaders, the first ones, those holding the first place, or who rule."  Examples are found in the persons of Adam having dominion (Gen. 1:26; Mt. 19:4), and Jesus being the Creator (Jn. 1:1-3; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2).  Perhaps that is part of the reason Jesus is called the "last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45).

The word "powers" comes from the Greek ἐξουσία (exousia), which occurs 103 times in the KJV.  Of those, it is translated as "powers" 69 times, and "authorities" 29 times.  Examples are found in Jesus (Mt. 7:29), Caesar and the Centurion (Mt. 8:9), the Father (Acts 1:7), and Saul of Tarsus (Acts 26:12).  We also see from Hebrews 2:14 that Satan has the power and authority to take human life.  And in Revelation 6:8, the "fourth horseman," death, has that same power.

The phrase "principalities and powers" appears three times in the Word of God.  They read as follows:    

"To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:10).

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15).

"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work" (Titus 3:1).

In the first example, the phrase refers to angelic beings (1 Pet. 1:12).  The second refers to Satan and his demons (Gen. 3:15; Ps. 68:18; Isa. 53:12; Mt. 12:29; Rev. 20:10).  And the third refers to human government (Rom. 13:1; Col 1:10).  Born again believers serve to educate Angels, to testify against Satan, and to be an example before those in authority over us. 
I have to ask, "How successful are you and I (God's salt and light) doing at this?"