Thursday, May 31, 2012


There has been much debate over the past twenty centuries since the Church was founded on the day of Pentecost, as to whether or not a born again believer still has a sin nature.  I find this incredible in light of what the Apostle Paul wrote in the seventh chapter of his letter to the Romans.  Paul, obviously a born again believer, repeatedly uses present tense verbs to describe the inner struggle he was experiencing.  Here is Romans 7:14-25 from the New Living Translation:

14 The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master. 15 I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. 16 I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things. 18 I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. 19 When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 20 But if I am doing what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it. 21 It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God's law with all my heart. 23 But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Paul wrote many other passages which indicate a believer does not become Christ-like the moment they become a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).  Paul, still addressing the Roman believers, wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2). Another verse in Paul’s writings describes the fact that a believer “has not yet arrived.”  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). 

Perhaps the best verse of Scripture to show believers have yet to achieve the total metamorphosis into the person God intends all of His children to be is 1 John 3:2 which says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”  In other words, while we are alive, we retain the nature of Adam, which is evidenced by the fact that we die (1 Cor. 15:22).  Paul describes this change as being instantaneous (1 Cor. 15:52).  It is also described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, which says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  

I thank God that I am not as bad as I once was, and that I will soon be like Jesus!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


How great is the One True God?  
*He is great enough to know exactly how many hairs are on every head, every second.  “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30)!  
*He is great enough to know before the creation of the world who would accept His Son.  “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” (Eph. 1:4)! 
*He is great enough to know every thought of every person in the world.  “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5)!    
*He is great enough to create every creature, and then create a man who could name them all.  “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof” (Gen. 2:19)!

                                                            HOW GREAT THOU ART
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hand hath made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Repeat Refrain:
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:
Repeat Refrain:
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:
Repeat Refrain:
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

It is easy to be grateful to a great God!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


1. SCOFFERS.  In 2 Pet. 3:3-4 we read: "That there shall come in the 'Last Days' SCOFFERS, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of HIS COMING? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."

2. APOSTASY.  In 2 Thes. 2:3, we are told that "THAT DAY (the Day of the Lord) shall not come, except there come a 'FALLING AWAY' first." This "Falling Away" is evidenced on every hand. 

3. FALSE TEACHERS.  In 2 Pet. 2:1-2 we are warned against "False Teachers" who shall privately bring in "damnable heresies." The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:3-4), saying: "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto FABLES."

4. SPIRITUALISM.  In 1 Tim. 4:1 we are warned of a departure from the faith. That in the "Latter Times" (the Last Days of this Dispensation), some shall "depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils."

5. PERILOUS TIMES.  Of these times Paul told Timothy. "This know also, that in the 'LAST DAYS' Perilous Times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection (for their own offspring), truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a FORM of godliness, but denying the POWER thereof." 2 Tim. 3:1-3.

6. HEAPED UP TREASURE.  In James 5:1-3, we are told that in the "LAST DAYS" there shall be a class of "rich men, " who shall have "HEAPED treasure together," and that by "FRAUD," and who shall use their ill-gotten gain in the pursuit of "pleasure" and "wantonness, " and that God will hear the cry of those who have been cheated of their just share of the profits, and will send a sore judgment upon the guilty.

7. A LAODICEAN CHURCH.  In the Message to the Church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-20) we have a description of the last stage of the professing Church on earth, It is described as neither "hot" nor "cold," but nauseatingly lukewarm, so that Christ says He will "spue it out of His mouth." It boastingly will claim to be "rich" and "increased with goods, " and to have "need of nothing, " not even of Christ, for He will be excluded and will have to knock for admittance.

If you "hear Christ knocking, you had better invite Him in!


On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, in dedicating the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, needed only 272 words to provide America with perhaps the greatest speech in our country’s history.
The Gettysburg Address
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

There is some debate as to when our nation first celebrated a day to honor America’s fallen heroes, but it is generally believed that what was originally known as “Decoration Day,” began shortly after the American Civil War (c. 1868).  It was first celebrated as “Memorial Day” on May 30, 1882, and is now celebrated on the last Monday of May.

Unlike our national holiday which honors millions of our nation’s fallen men and women, billions, known as the Church, hold a memorial service for One Solitary Man:  Jesus of Nazareth.  The Roman Catholic Church celebrates Holy Communion, or The Eucharist, every single day.  Protestant churches differ on when The Lord’s Supper is to be observed and how often.  Some do so every Sunday; others vary from monthly to quarterly.  Regardless of how often or what each church calls the celebration, it is a memorial to the Lord’s Death, Burial, Resurrection, and Second Coming.  Here is what the Apostle Paul had to say about it:

“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 cup is 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).

Memorial Day honors those who remain in their graves; The Lord’s Supper honors the Son of God, who like them, died, but unlike them, He rose from the dead!  Our Memorial Service not only honors His death on the Cross, it proclaims His return to rule the world He created (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; etc.). 

Unlike those who mourn the dead, born again believers joyfully anticipate their Lord’s return!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


How many times have you had someone advise you to “go with your gut,” or “follow your heart?”  Another one says, “Follow your heart, and your dreams will come true.”  In the Little Prince, there is a line that says, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”  One little couplet concerning this says, “Break the rules and stand apart; ignore your head and follow your heart.”  In other words, don’t let logic or thinking be the basis for your decisions, it is the heart “that knows what it wants.”  However, we get a small glimpse of the problem in this quote, "The heart wants what the heart wants," said Woody Allen in justifying his affair with Mia Farrow's adopted daughter.

The Bible tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it? (Jer. 17:9).  It also says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:18-19). 

Our nature is selfish, and if one looks at that list of things that our nature loves, we see they are the opposite of what God wants His children to desire.  In the Ten Commandments, He says, “Thou shalt not kill”; “Thou shalt not commit adultery”; “Thou shalt not steal”; “Thou shalt not bear false witness”; etc.  You see, they are the opposite of our heart’s desire.  That is why the lost world hates the truths of the Bible; they demand man quit serving himself, and begin serving God and his neighbor.

The Apostle Paul wrote of the conflict between the heart (the flesh), and the mind when it is Spirit led (Rom. 7:14 – 8:4).  He encouraged believers to “renew their minds” so that they would think like God thinks (Rom. 12:2).  He even went so far as to say we are to think like Jesus.  He wrote, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).  And how did Jesus think?  He humbled Himself, always doing the will of the Father, and gave Himself for the sins of the world (Lk. 22:42; Jn. 5:30; Phil. 2:6-7; etc.).  Paul actually told believers how to think.  He said, “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 this mornings sermon, Pastor preached for us to forget the offenses others have done, and forget the things about people that “bug us.”  He said to think instead, about how those persons have been a blessing to us.  For those is troublesome jobs, remember how you prayed God would help you get it?  It is His gift to you; see it as a blessing (especially with so many out of work, who would give anything to have your job).  For those in a troubled marriage, begin thinking about those things that caused you to either ask the other to marry you, or caused you to say yes when asked.  Make a list of the good things your kids do, and put it on the refrigerator. 

Finally, if you simply cannot find a single thing you appreciate in a person, think of your relationship with him as “iron sharpening iron” (Prov. 27:17).  Your association with him will eventually smooth and sharpen your character!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).
What do you want to be?  Think about it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


There is a popular board game that I have been told, is satanic in its nature.  It is called “Dungeons and Dragons.”  Here is what one paper, The Baptist Pillar, which calls itself “Canada’s Only TRUE Baptist Paper,” had this to say about the “game.”

“After an exhaustive research one commission, the Christian Life Ministries, tells the naked truth through these incisive comments:  Dungeons & Dragons, instead of a game is a teaching on demonology, witchcraft, voodoo, murder, rape, blasphemy, suicide, assassination, insanity, sex perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, Satan-worship, gambling, Jungian psychology, barbarism, cannibalism, sadism, desecration, demon summoning, necromancy, divination, and many more teachings, brought to you in living color direct from the pit of hell.’  Terrific words! Unbelievable, do you say? I thought so, too, until I made a study of these anti-Christ systems. It is as if Satan has waited until now to release his most damning assault against the human race, making the children and young people the prime target.”

Never having even seen the game, I do not feel qualified to judge its content.  However, I do believe there is some irony in the name itself.  The Bible speaks of the Dragon being cast into a dungeon called the “bottomless pit,” and being bound there for 1000 years (also known as the Millennium - Rev. 20:1-3).  He is freed for a short time, only to be defeated by “fire (which) came down from God out of heaven” (Rev. 20:7-10). 

In the Book of Revelation, there are twelve verses which refer to the Dragon (12:3, 4, 7, 9, 13, 16, 17; 13:2, 4, 11; 16:13; 20:2).  Two present him as also being known as “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,” (12:9), and “that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan” (20:2). 
He is described as being red, having seven crowned heads, and having ten horns (12:3).  He is said to have a tail with which he “drew the third part of the stars of heaven,” who fight with Michael, the archangel; losing, they are cast down to the earth (12:3-4, 7-9).  Angered by his expulsion, he attacks the pregnant woman (Israel), but fails to kill her Child, Jesus, who is whisked off to His throne in heaven (12:1-2, 4-6). 

For three and a half years, he empowers the Beast (Antichrist) to persecute Israel (12:13 – 13:10).  Another Beast (the False Prophet), speaking the same message as the Dragon, serves as the Beast’s enforcer in his war on Israel (13:11-18).  The forty-two months are described as ending with the Second Coming of Christ, and the Antichrist, with the False Prophet, being cast into the Lake of Fire (19:20).  As I mentioned earlier, there is a gap between the Antichrist and False Prophet being cast into the Lake of Fire, and when the Dragon joins them.  It is 1000 years plus a “little season,” whatever that is (19:20; 20:3, 7-10).

Messing with the game, Dungeons and Dragons, may affect one’s life. 
Messing with the Dragon destined for “the dungeon,” may affect one’s eternity!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Of all of the Bible’s forty or so writers, Luke is the only one who literally spells out the fact that repentance is connected with the application of forgiveness, or with the remission of sins.  “Repentance,” or “to repent,” is from the Greek μετανοω (metanoeō), meaning to change one's mind, i.e. to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence one's past sins.  “Remission,” from the Greek φεσις (aphesis), means the release from bondage or imprisonment; the forgiveness or pardon of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed, as in expunging one’s record).  φεσις is actually translated “forgiveness” four times in the KJV (Acts 13:38; 28:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14).   
Luke’s first such connection says, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Lk. 24:47).  Jesus, in John 16:7-11, tells us that the Holy Spirit will bring conviction of one’s sin, of Christ’s righteousness, and of God’s certain judgment.  When the Gospel is preached, the power of the message produces repentance in those who believe Jesus died for them, that is, He forgave or remitted their sins (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Luke also uses the two together in Acts 20:21, but this time, he replaces the word “remission” with the word “faith.”  One might suggest that since the two words are different, they do not teach the same truth.  The verse says, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”  However, it is clear throughout the New Testament that one’s faith is in the finished work of Christ on one’s behalf; faith is in His remission of one’s sins.  We do not simply have faith that Jesus existed; we have faith that His sacrifice paid for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3)!  Jesus traded His righteousness to us for our sins, and for the last three hours He spent upon the cross, He became sin (Matt. 27:45-50; 2 Cor. 5:21).  That was the only time between the eternities, Jesus experienced a total separation from the Father.  It was that separation that caused Him to cry out, “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me? (Matt. 27:46)!  It was at that time, that Jesus, the Creator (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2), was totally like His creation, totally separated from God by sin!

Acts 5:31 says, “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  Notice that repentance is a gift!  It is not a work that the individual does; it is the natural reaction to the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8)!  Some might say, “Sure, He gave repentance to Israel, but what about the rest of us?”  My answer to that challenge is, the same message was preached to both the Jews and the Gentiles (Acts 20:21), and in Acts 5:31, Peter is preaching to Israelites.  If one doubts the message of Christ is to both Jews and Gentiles, one need only to look up the ninety-three times the word “whosoever” is used in the New Testament.  Paul said, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).  We call because we believe He paid for our sins, and we call because we want to be cleansed from them; we have repented!

Jesus is calling you; why not return His call?

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Let’s say that today is the day you will draw your last breath on this earth; your number’s up; your time has run out; the grim reaper has come calling; etc.   You are standing before the throne of God, and He asks you, “Why should I let you into My heaven?”  Then He adds, you are only allowed to use one word in your answer.  What would you say?  Would you say, “Sorry?”  How about “Religious?”  Maybe you would say, “Please!”  Or perhaps, you would say, “Baptist,” or “Catholic,” or whatever religion of which you were a member.  You might even say “Loved,” or “Sacrificed,” or “Tried,” or “Worked.” 

Most of those are good answers.  I am sure God would be pleased that you were a member of a church, that you were repentant, that you were polite, that you religiously demonstrated your faith by your love, sacrifice, effort, and works.  But unfortunately, none of those answers are correct; none of them will “open the door to heaven.”  There is just one word that is “our key” to eternity with God:  Jesus.

The Apostle John quoted Jesus as saying, “. . . I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6).

The Apostle Peter, speaking of Jesus, preached, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Stephen, in his defense before the high priest, had this to say about Jesus:  “. . . the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:52).

“. . . Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them” (Acts 8:5).

Upon receiving his sight back, and filled with the Holy Spirit, Luke writes of the Apostle Paul “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).

The writer of the Book of Hebrews had this to say, “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

James called himself  “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jam. 1:1).

Jude also called himself  “. . . the servant of Jesus Christ. . .” (Jude 1:1).

With all these risking their very lives to proclaim Jesus as the Christ, as the resurrected Lord, is it any wonder that the Father wants us to offer His name as our answer?  But, there is a warning in Scripture to those who profess Christ and yet live as though He has no say in their lives.  Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46).  Matthew wrote, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:21-23).  Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him (Jesus) whom He (The Father) hath sent” (Jn. 6:29).

      When you meet God, tell Him the name He wants to hear?  Jesus!e will of my Father which

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The final judgment mentioned in the Bible is the Great White Throne Judgment (GWTJ) of Revelation 20:11-15.  Chapter twenty begins with a description of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Rev. 20:1-6).  The Millennium is followed by a “little season” (Rev. 20:3, 7) during which Satan gathers the armies of the world against Christ in Jerusalem (Rev. 20:7-8).  They are all killed by fire from heaven (Rev. 20:9).  Satan is then cast into the Lake of Fire to join the Antichrist and the False Prophet; thus ends the satanic trinity’s influence upon mankind (Rev. 19:20; 20:10).  The GWTJ is then described by the Apostle John: 

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15).   

In other words, those whose names were not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 13:8), spend eternity tormented by fire and with the awareness that they deserve to be there (Matt. 22:12; Rev. 20:12).

The GWTJ has three factors in determining the fate of each individual.  The “books” from which man will be judged are possibly the Scriptures, or they may be the record of the individual’s sins.  Either way, the actions (sins of commission) and the inactions (sins of omission) of the individual declare him guilty and worthy of death (Rom. 6:23a; Rev. 20:14).  Once found guilty, the Lamb’s Book of Life will be opened to see if his name is written there.  If it is not, that means he did not accept the gift of eternal life based upon the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ on his behalf (Rom. 6:23b).  Therefore, he will pay for his own sins, and be sentenced to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.  However, there are apparently varying degrees of torment, because Jesus taught that those who rejected Him were going to suffer more than those who had not seen Him work His miracles (Matt. 11:20-24).  I do not know how that will work, but I picture it as the Lake of Fire being “neck deep” in the middle, and “ankle deep” near the edges.  If a person rejected the preaching of Noah, they may be “ankle deep.”  If they rejected the preaching of John, the Baptizer, they may be “knee deep.”  But if they rejected Jesus, Himself, they will be “neck deep” in torment forever.

We all deserve to be in the Lake of Fire, but by the grace of God, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, those of us who have trusted in Jesus as Lord of our lives, will be forever grateful in His presence!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion . . . over all the earth. . . .”  God wanted man to be a reflection of Himself.  We might say that He wanted us to be made in the “spittin’ image” of Himself.  And in Genesis 1:27, God declared that He did just that; both male and female are made in His image. 

After the fall of Adam, He and Eve “. . . heard the voice of the LORD God (Jehovah Elohim) walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God (Jehovah Elohim) amongst the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8).  Jehovah Elohim refers to the Son of God, and not to the Father (see 02/07/12 JESUS IS JEHOVAH LORD GOD!).  The Word of God is clear; no man has ever seen the Father (Jn. 1:18; 6:46; 1 Cor. 2:29; 1 Tim. 6:16).  The Person Adam and Eve saw was the Pre-Incarnate Christ.  

Following their expulsion from the garden, lost human beings have been obsessed with knowing what God looks like.  From Genesis 31:19 through Revelation 20:4, mankind has repeatedly attempted to come up with an “image” to worship.  The Apostle Paul wrote that man has worshipped just about everything God created instead of worshipping the Creator Himself (Rom. 1:21-23).  Because we live and experience life through our senses, we want to see God.  Some say that if they could only see God, they would believe.  Unfortunately, that which could be seen of God was manifest, and man killed Him (Jn. 1:1, 14; 14:9; 1 Tim. 3:16; etc.).      

It is that desire in the heart of man which drives him to imagine what God looks like.  And, using his imagination, he “creates his own Creator” in the form of an idol.  God, of course knew this, and so the made His feelings known by forbidding the making of idols as part of His number one Commandment (Exod. 20:3-6):  “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exod. 20:4). 

A good example of how even the saved heart desires to comprehend God, is the song, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercyme.  One stanza says, “I can only imagine / What my eyes will see / When Your face / Is before me.”  Unlike the lost who cannot worship without seeing, the saved who worship God without seeing, are worthy of the praise of Jesus (Jn. 20:29)!

Seeing is believing, but believing does not always require seeing!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Matthew's strange genealogy of Jesus:  "{1} The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. {2} Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; {3} And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; . . . {5} And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; {6} And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; . . . {16} And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. {17} So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations" (Matt. 1:1-17).

While it is extraordinary that a Jewish “historian,” such as Matthew, would include four women in Christ’s genealogy in his Gospel account, it is even more amazing that he included those four.  Tamar “played the harlot” in order to get her father-in-law to get her pregnant (Gen. 38:6-30).  Rahab was not only a Gentile, she actually was a harlot (Josh. 2:1-21; 6:17-25).  Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, committed adultery with King David, and it not only resulted in the murder of her husband, and the death of her child, she ended up being just one of David’s many wives and concubines (2 Sam. 3:2-5; 5:13-15; 11:2 – 12:12). 

And finally, there is Mary who gave birth to Jesus (Matt. 1:16; Lk. 3:23).  She has been the subject of much scorn from those who do not believe she was a virgin when she conceived of the Holy Spirit; even Joseph did not believe her (Matt. 1:18-20).  And yet, the virgin birth of the Messiah was prophesied over 600 years earlier (Isa. 7:14; 9:6).

Had Matthew’s genealogy been like Luke’s, having gone all the way back to Adam (Lk. 3:38), he would have had to included Eve, not exactly the poster girl of spirituality.  And, he would have had to say something similar about Eve as he had about Mary.  You see, just as Joseph was not the father of Jesus, technically, neither was Adam part of the Lord’s lineage, unless of course, we include the “rib thingy” (Gen. 2:21-23).  Of course, Luke included Adam, so perhaps I am in error on this one (Lk. 3:38).  Nevertheless, Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”  In other words, all those “begats,” from Adam to Joseph, did not apply to Jesus; He was the only begotten Son of God (Jn. 3:16)!

When you think about it, no one in Christ’s genealogy is worthy, man or woman!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Believers are told to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).  There are two approaches to “rightly dividing” God’s Word:  by studying either the Covenants or the Dispensations.  Covenants are agreements or verbal contracts between two entities.  It is my understanding that there are seven covenants between God and man:  The Edenic Covenant, The Adamic Covenant, The Noahic Covenant, The Abrahamic Covenant, The Mosaic Covenant, The Davidic Covenant, and The New Covenant. 

Another way to “rightly divide God’s Word is by studying its Dispensations (specific periods of time in which God reveals man’s responsibility as stewards of new revelation).  Unlike the seven Dispensations, some of the Covenants overlap, and some are eternal in nature.  And, with Dispensations, man is accountable for knowing the “light” revealed in previous Dispensations as well as the one in which he is living.  The main difference between studying Covenants verses studying Dispensations is that the former focuses upon God’s role, and the latter addresses man’s responsibilities.     

Covenants are divided into two categories:  Conditional, and Unconditional.  A Conditional Covenant is a bilateral Covenant in which a proposal of God to man is characterized by the formula:  IF you will…, THEN I will….  An Unconditional Covenant is a unilateral Covenant, and it is a sovereign act of God whereby He unconditionally obligates Himself to bring to pass definite blessings for His people.

There are two Conditional Covenants between God and man:  The Edenic Covenant (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:15-17), and The Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 20:1 – Deut. 28:68).  The Edenic Covenant is also the Dispensation of The Age of Innocence (#1).  The Mosaic Covenant is also The Dispensation of The Age of the Law (#5).

The other five Covenants are unconditional; they are promises made by God which do not take into account man’s response.  They are:  The Adamic Covenant (Gen. 3:14-19); The Noahic Covenant (Gen. 9:1-17); The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3, 7; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21; 22:15-18; The Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:11-16); and The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; etc.).  These covenants relate to the dispensations thusly:  The Adamic Covenant with The Age of Conscience (#2); The Noahic Covenant with The Age of Nations (#3);  The Abrahamic Covenant with The Age of Promise (#4); The New Covenant with The Age of Grace (#6); and The Davidic Covenant with The Millennium Age (#7).

Regardless of which approach one takes to studying the Scriptures,
Studying will always be rewarded by giving the
Holy Spirit something to bring to your remembrance!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Of the thousands of religions in our world today, only three are monotheistic (believe there is only one God):  Judaism (2000 B.C.), Christianity (A.D. 30), and Islam (A.D. 600).  Of these three, only one believes God is a Trinity (a Tri-unity):  mainline Christianity.  Three groups, who claim to be Christian, do not believe in the Trinity as being three manifestations of one God:  Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Unitarians. 

A Jehovah's Witness brochure entitled "Beliefs and Customs that God Hates" includes the Trinity, saying:  “Is Jehovah a Trinity - three persons in one God?  No!  Jehovah, the Father, is "the only true God." (Jn. 17:3; Mk. 12:29) Jesus is His firstborn Son, and He is subject to God. (1 Cor. 11:3)  The Father is greater than the Son. (Jn. 14:28) The Holy Spirit is not a person; it is God's active force. Gen. 1:2; Acts 2:18.”  Without taking the time in this post to correct their obvious interpretive errors, I will just say that it is interesting that they have chosen to claim “Jehovah” as the one true God, when the name, Jehovah, appears only four times by itself in all of the Old Testament (Ex. 6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4).  In the KJV, the same Hebrew word, יְהֹוָה (Yhvh), is translated “I AM” in Exodus 3:14, and “LORD” nearly 8000 times, where it refers to the pre-incarnate Jesus (see my blog dated February 7 – “JESUS IS JEHOVAH / LORD / GOD!”).

While Mormons say they believe in the Trinity, their definition of the Trinity differs from mainline Christianity.  Mormons believe that the Godhead is made up of three distinct beings who are "one in purpose" but not in being.  Jesus is affirmed as Son of God, but not God himself.  He is a created spirit.  In the Mormon Doctrines and Covenants, Section 130 states:  “22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Was it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”  LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie wrote:  “Although it is not found in any of Mormonism's Standard Works, an expression which precisely defines the LDS teaching that men can become Gods was coined by fifth LDS President Lorenzo Snow.  In June of 1840, Snow declared, "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.  Thus those who gain eternal life receive exaltation…. They are gods.”  (Mormon Doctrine, p. 237)

“Joseph Priestley, one of the founders of the Unitarian movement, defined Unitarianism as the belief of primitive Christianity before later corruptions set in.  Among these corruptions, he included not only the doctrine of the Trinity, but also various other orthodox doctrines and usages (Earl Morse Wilbur, A History of Unitarianism, Harvard University Press 1952, pp. 302-303).”  While not officially included under the heading of Unitarianism, Oneness Pentecostalism (also known as Apostolic Pentecostalism or One God Pentecostalism) refers to a grouping of denominations and believers within Pentecostal Christianity, all of whom subscribe to the non-Trinitarian theological doctrine of Oneness.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God (Elohim – noun, masculine, plural – which in Hebrew means three or more) created the heaven and the earth.  Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear O Israel:  The LORD (Jehovah – noun, masculine, singular) our God (Elohim – noun, masculine, plural – which in Hebrew means three or more) is one LORD (Jehovah – noun, masculine, singular).”  New Testament references to the Trinity:  Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; Jn. 14:16-17; 2 Cor. 13:14; etc.  The Father is God (Rom. 1:7).  The Son is God (Rom. 9:5).  The Holy Spirit is God (1 Cor. 5:3-4). 

“For in Him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9)!

Friday, May 18, 2012


Psalm 37 has forty verses which reveal the benefits of being a child of God, and also the certain outcome of being a child of the devil.  The writer wanted his brethren to quit being jealous of the temporary success of the wicked, and to concentrate on the eternal reward awaiting the righteous.  Before you reject this understanding because “there is none righteous,” the writer explains why the child of God is considered righteous.  He states that salvation, the state of being righteous, is the work of God (v. 39).

Verse thirty-nine is one of nine verses which mention the righteous.  Because we have been made righteous (v. 39), we have the honor of representing the Lord to an unsaved world (v. 6).  Our portion may not be nearly as great as that of the wicked, but it certainly is better, and it is adequate (v. 16, 25).  We are protected by God (v. 17).  We have the character of God in that we are merciful and charitable (v. 21).  Our future includes our inheritance from our Father (v. 29).  We are given to speak wisdom (v. 30).  And, like the righteous Son of God, we are hated (v. 32).  That last one may not sound like a good thing, but when you think about it, one of the best ways to be sure you are a child of God is that, like Jesus, your are hated (Jn. 15:18-21).  Notice the last verse says, “…all these things will they do unto you for My name's sake….”  It is because you are living for Christ that you are going to be persecuted; not because you are a hypocritical, self-righteous jerk! 

The Psalm contains seven admonitions for the child of God:
1)     Trust God (v. 3).
2)     Delight in your relationship with God (v. 4).
3)     Commit your life to following the Lord (v. 5).
4)     Rest patiently in the One who promises good things for His children (v. 7).
5)     Repent and depart from evil (v. 27).
6)     Wait patiently for justice to be done (v. 34).
7)     Mark (set as your role model) the only perfect Man, Jesus (v. 37).

For the Jew reading this Psalm, the promises have to do with their reward while here on earth.  Notice that they would not go hungry (v. 25), and they will inherit the land (v. 29).  For the born again believer, the promises of God, concerning acts of righteousness, have to do with rewards we will receive in heaven; giving of alms, praying, and fasting, for the believer, will be rewarded in heaven (Matt. 6:1-21).  The key to receiving the blessings of God have nothing to do with living in order to receive them, and everything to do with living to glorify the “Blesser.” 

So, Trust Him, Delight in Him, Commit to Him, Rest in Him, 
Repent before Him, Wait for Him, and Live like Him.   
I promise you won’t regret it; your rewards will be eternal!


Thursday, May 17, 2012


It amazes me that those who question the validity of the Bible do not seem to challenge the various listings of the twelve disciples.  It is strange that the writers varied the order of them, and even more strange that Luke, who wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, did not list them in the same order.  And yet, in all four lists, Simon Peter is always listed first, Philip is always listed fifth, and James, the son of Alphaeus is always listed ninth.  In addition, the three names following the first, the fifth, and the ninth name are always the same three, although they do not appear in the same order.  Peter is always followed by Andrew, James, and John.  Philip is always followed by Bartholomew, Matthew, and Thomas.  James, (the son of Alphaeus), is always followed by Simon (the zealot, or the Canaanite), Lebbaeus, (whose surname was Thaddaeus, a.k.a. Judas, the brother of James), and Judas Iscariot (not mentioned in the Acts 1:13).

Matthew 10:2-4
[2] Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon (who is called Peter), and Andrew (his brother); James (the son of Zebedee), and John (his brother); [3] Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew (the publican); James (the son of Alphaeus), and Lebbaeus (whose surname was Thaddaeus); [4] Simon (the Canaanite), and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

Mark 3:16-19
[16] And Simon (he surnamed Peter); [17] And James (the son of Zebedee), and John (the brother of James; and He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder):  [18] And Andrew, and    Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James (the son of Alphaeus), and Thaddaeus, and Simon (the Canaanite), [19] And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed Him: and they went into an house.

Luke 6:14-16
[14] Simon, (whom he also named Peter), and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, [15] Matthew and Thomas, James (the son of Alphaeus), and Simon (called Zelotes), [16] And Judas (the brother of James), and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Acts 1:13
[13] And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James (the son of Alphaeus), and Simon Zelotes, and Judas (the brother of James).

Many have called Peter, Andrew, James, and John the “inner circle” for obvious reasons.  However, Andrew’s name does not appear in regard to the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-9), or as one of those with Jesus as He prayed in the Garden (Matt. 26:37-46).  The significance of Philip’s and James’ (the son of Alphaeus) foursomes is not clear to me.  The only thing that stands out to me is that the last foursome consisted of men whose names were the same as other members of the twelve.  There were two named James, two named Simon, and two named Judas. 

I don’t know about you, but the Bible is hard enough without aliases.
Maybe the reason skeptics don’t question these lists is that it takes too much work!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The Apostle Paul wrote an entire chapter on living a Christian life (1 Cor. 7).  He did not sugar-coat the difficulty of being faithful, nor did he ignore the intense persecution of believers at the time of his writing (v. 26). The chapter is a depressing picture of how difficult it was for the individual, especially when you take into consideration one’s obligations to God (v. 18-20, 32, 34-35, 40), one’s obligations to family (v. 2-5, 9-17, 27-28, 33-34, 36, 39), and one’s obligations to “a job” (v. 21-24). 

Regardless of the challenges facing the believer, Paul stated that they were not to be an excuse for failing to meet one’s responsibilities.  If one was called to faith in Christ, being circumcised or uncircumcised, he was to remain as he was when Christ called him (v. 18-20).  If he was called being either married or single, he was to remain as such (v. 1-17, 27).  If he was called while being a slave (indentured servant), he was to complete his obligation to those in authority over him (v. 21-24).    

Paul had several things to say about a believer’s responsibility to make wise choices.  First, to the single, he recommended they remain single (v. 7), unless they could not control themselves (v. 2, 9).  While that seems to contradict what God said about marriage (Gen. 2:18-25), Paul was taking into consideration the work of (v. 29-35), and persecution of the Church (v. 26) of his day.

When he spoke of a man remaining circumcised, he obviously was not referring to becoming uncircumcised physically.  I don’t even know if that is possible today, but I am sure it was not in Paul’s day.  I believe he meant for those Christians with a Jewish background, to continue honoring their Jewish heritage, such as celebrating the Feasts of Israel.  Similarly, those Christians who were from a Gentile background should not try to “become Jewish.”  He wrote elsewhere that neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision mattered for the born again believer (Gal. 5:6; 6:15; Col. 3:11).

To me, this chapter is teaching believers to consider the circumstances in which they find themselves when making plans and decisions.  What the Word teaches about things should be applied when the circumstances allow for such an application.  For instance, Paul wrote there is neither bond nor free in Christ (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11), and yet, in this chapter, he clearly states a bond servant should remain as such (v. 21-24).  As I pointed out earlier, there are times when marriage is appropriate, and times when marriage is counter productive (v. 26-40).  

Born again believers are supposed to walk in the Spirit, and in so doing, He will give us discernment to evaluate our circumstances, and the wisdom to apply the appropriate passages of Scripture to our lives.  As Ecclesiastes says, there is a time “for different stuff” (Eccl. 3:1-8).

Reading God’s Word will give one knowledge.
Walking in the Spirit will give one the wisdom to apply it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


The longer I study God’s Word, the more I realize how little I know of it.  Life was so simple when understanding Scripture meant realizing that I was a sinner needing a Savior, that God loved me enough to send Jesus to by my Savior, and that having place my faith and trust in Him, I was a child of God!  I was so hungry for His Word, and I read it as often as I could.  As I grew in my understanding, as I began “putting the pieces together,” something happened.  I could no longer just read the Scripture; every verse seemed filled with “gems” needing my attention.  I began to remember similar verses, and for some strange reason, I found I needed to connect them with notes in the margin of my Bible.  The best example would be my notes in the margin next to Galatians 5:13-14, which reference Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:43-48; 7:12; 22:40; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Thes. 3:11-13; 1 Tim. 1:5; and 1 Jn. 3:23.  The Apostle Paul’s “bottom line” when it came to the two Great Commandments was basically, if you are loving others, you are doing so as an act of love for God.

Another “discovery” I made early on, was that every Bible teacher, every preacher, every theology professor makes mistakes.  Part of my understanding of the flawed, imperfect teachings of man came when something one said did not harmonize with what I understood the Word to teach.  Somehow, it just did not resonate.  As a young believer, it bothered me that I felt as though I knew the speaker was mistaken; after all, such “arrogance” seemed to be nothing more that pride.  Who was I to question the validity of respected Bible teachers?  Still, I seemed to know when they erred. 

It wasn’t long before the Lord gave me peace about my “impudence.”  While reading the Book of Acts, I came across a verse that seemed to say, “It is not your pride that questions men, but the Holy Spirit protecting you from being deceived.”  I read that the Apostle Paul had a great deal of respect for those in the Synagogue of Berea because they did not take his word as truth, but they listened respectfully to what he had to say, and then they went home and compared it to the Scriptures.  Luke described the Bereans as being noble for doing so (Acts 17:11).  Can you imagine?  Paul was recognized by the Church at Jerusalem as an Apostle to the Gentiles, and carried his “credentials” given him by James (Acts 15:22-29; Gal. 2:7-8).  He was known as one who worked miracles (Acts. 13:11; 14:8-10; 20:7-12; etc.).  And yet, Paul respected them for not taking his word for truth.

I frequently discuss the Bible with other believers, and I have made two observations:  1) way too many “seem to know what the Word teaches,” but they cannot support their view with Bible references – in other words, they are little more than opinionated; and 2) many believers will refer to great Bible “experts” as evidence for what they declare as truth – in other words, they believe their “expert’s” opinion is equal to the Word of God.  And to add to the problem, God help anyone who questions their view or who suggests that the “names they dropped” may not be correct!  It seems they are not interested in other points of view, because they KNOW they are right. 

It amazes me that Bible teachers like Jack Van Impe, who repeatedly announces the number of verses he has memorized, the number of newspapers he reads every day, and that his latest C.D. is an absolute must for every believer, has changed his interpretation over the years I have listened to him.  Don’t get me wrong; he is a wonderful, knowledgeable Bible teacher, but he certainly is not perfect.  I have come to believe that when listening to him or other Bible teachers, I need to apply these verses:  Acts 17:11; Philippians 4:8; and 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

Born again believers need to keep a check on two things:
Bible teachers and their own humility!

Monday, May 14, 2012


The Bible teaches that due to the sin of Adam, God denied man access to the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22-24), and consequently, apart from His divine intervention (Gen. 5:24; 2 Kgs. 2:11; 1 Thes. 4:13-18),  all men die (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; Heb. 9:27).  But man’s physical death will not last, for our bodies will be raised again to life in one of two Resurrections:  the “Resurrection of Life,” or the “Resurrection of Damnation” (Jn. 5:28-29).  While the concept of a Resurrection is taught in the Hebrew Old Testament (Job 19:25-27; etc.), the word, “Resurrection,” itself, does not appear.  In the Greek New Testament, it is translated from νστασις (anastasis), meaning “raised again to life.”

This needs a little more explanation.  Unlike those miraculously raised from the dead to live again in their physical bodies, and then to die later (1 Kgs. 17:17-23; 2 Kgs. 4:32-37; 13:21; Lk. 7:12-15; 8:49-55; Jn. 11:43-44; Acts 9:37-40; 20:9-12), both Resurrections involve the raising of man to life in his eternal body.  Those whose names are found in the Lamb’s Book of Life will spend eternity with God (1 Jn. 5:5; Rev. 3:5); those whose names are not found there will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15), also known as “the second death” (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).

The “Resurrection of Life,” not only differs from the “Resurrection of Damnation” in a “good news/bad news” sort of way, it takes place over a long period of time.  Jesus was the first to be Resurrected from the dead, never to die again (Acts 26:23; 1 Cor. 15:20; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5).  The next persons permanently raised were those mentioned in Matthew 27:51-53.  Notice the great earthquake, which occurred at the time of Christ’s death, opened their graves, but it was not until after Jesus rose from the dead that they came forth. 

There will also be another group which shall be raised from the dead as part of the “Resurrection of Life.”  At the time of the Rapture of the Church, the bodies of those who are said to be “in Christ,” will be raised (1 Cor. 15:23; 52; 1 Thes. 4:16).  And finally, it appears that the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3-12 will have been Resurrected to die no more!

No one knows for certain what our Resurrected body will be like.
But we do know for certain that it will be like that of Jesus (1 Jn. 3:2)!