Friday, May 31, 2013


At the time the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation, there were thousands of churches, and yet, Jesus selected just seven churches in Asia Minor to receive His letter of encouragement.  Five of the seven were encouraged to change (that is, repent:  Ephesus - 2:5; Pergamos - 2:16; Thyatira - 2:21-22; Sardis - 3:3; Laodicea - 3:19), and the other two were encouraged to continue, as they were pleasing to their Lord (Smyrna - 2:8-11; Philadelphia - 3:1-13).  Not only were the Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia pleasing Christ, their main opposition came from Jews, who's synagogues were called "the Synagogues of Satan" (2:9; 3:9).  All seven letters reveal two things the churches have in common (whether they are encouraged to change or encouraged to continue) when it comes to their relationship with God: Jesus knows their works (2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15), and the Holy Spirit is speaking to all those who will listen (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:5, 13, 22).

Some Bible scholars believe that these seven churches were selected by Jesus because they not only existed during the time of the writing of Revelation, they also believe He chose them because they would picture historical periods from the time of the Church's beginning at Pentecost, until the Lord returns to meet His followers in the air (Acts 2:1-4; 1 Thes. 4:13-18).  Although the periods represented by each of the seven churches differs somewhat among the scholars, most would agree that each church appears to coincide with the experience of the Church throughout its existence:

Ephesus - Apostolic Church (30-100) - Busy organizing the Organization.
Smyrna - Persecuted Church (100-300) - Busy spreading the true Gospel of grace.
Pergamum - State Church (300-600) - Busy gaining political power.
Thyatira - Pagan Church (600-present) - Busy spreading a false gospel of works.
Sardis - Dead Church (1500-present) - Busy being divided / decomposing.
Philadelphia - Living Church (1800-present) - Busy being a faithful witness.
Laodicea - Apathetic Church (1900-present) - Busy playing church without Christ.

Ephesus lost its focus upon Jesus (2:1-7).
Smyrna was persecuted by Rome and the Jews (2:8-11).
Pergamum persecuted the Jews (2:12-17).
Thyatira is committing adultery with the government until Jesus returns (2:18-29).
Sardis is religious but spiritual dead; Jesus' return will catch them off guard (3:1-6).
Philadelphia is obedient to the Lord, who will return to "catch them away" (3:7-13).
Laodicea is a religious business exploiting the name of Jesus (3:14-22).

If you do not attend a "Philadelphia Church," you need to find one now!      


Thursday, May 30, 2013


As a former Roman Catholic, it hurts me when people attack the church, especially when they are so venomous toward the Pope, whom they say, is the Antichrist.  I know the RCC teaches a false gospel when it adds the need for works (church attendance and the sacraments) for salvation, and that is why I no longer claim to be Catholic.  Now, recently, with the election of Pope Francis I, and in light of the prophecy of St. Malachy concerning him, the criticism is stronger than ever.

Another error of the RCC is their insistence that the Apostle Peter was the first Pope, and that Apostolic Succession has brought us to the current Pope.  Here are a few facts which should be considered as evidence that Peter was never a Pope:

*  Peter is not mentioned in the Book of Acts after the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:7.
*  Peter's name occurs only seven times in the Bible after Acts 15:7.
*  Paul did not recognize the "Twelve" as being in authority over him (Gal. 2:1-10).
*  Paul openly rebuked Peter for hypocrisy (Gal. 2:11-21).

In addition to Peter not being mentioned as the first Pope, Rome itself, plays a very insignificant part in the first century Church:

*  Peter's name is never mentioned with regards to Rome.
*  Roman Jews were present at Pentecost (Acts 2:10).
*  Aquilla and Priscilla were run out of Rome (Acts 18:2).
*  Paul desired to preach the Gospel in Rome (Acts 19:21; 23:11; Rom. 1:7, 15).
*  When Paul arrived in Rome, he called for the Jews (Acts 28:14-20).
*  Onesiphorus ministered to Paul in Rome (2 Tim. 1:16-17).
*  Christianity was still considered a Jewish sect at that time (Acts 28:22).
*  Rome is mentioned as the place of origin of Paul's letters to the Galatians (Gal. 6:18); to the Ephesians (Eph. 6:24); to the Philippians (Phil. 4:23); to the Colossians (Col. 4:18); to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:22); and to Philemon (Phile. 1:25).

So how is it that the RCC supports its claims?  Believe it or not, other than church tradition, there is only one piece of evidence upon which they might base their claim.  Some have pointed to a statement in 1 Peter 5:13, suggesting that "Babylon" is another name for Rome.  Many have interpreted the use of the name "Babylon" in Revelation to be referring to Rome as well (14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21).  If it is true that John meant Rome when he wrote Revelation, he certainly did not paint it as being the Seat of Power for the first century Church!
Be careful that tradition does not acquire equality with the Word of God!   

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


The number seven appears fifty-four times in thirty-one verses of the Book of Revelation.  Ironically, "seven" also appears fifty-four times in the Book of Genesis, but in forty-six verses.  The only other books of the Bible which come close to the fifty-four times, are Leviticus and Numbers, both of which have "seven" forty-six times. 

In Revelation, there are seven:
*  Churches/Golden Candlesticks - 1:4, 11, 13, 20; 2:1.
*  Angels/Stars - 1:16, 20; 2:1; 3:1; 15:1, 6, 7, 8; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9.
*  Spirits of God/Seven Eyes - 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6.
*  Seals - 5:1, 5.
*  Horns (Jesus) - 5:6.
*  Trumpets - 8:2, 6.
*  Thunders - 10:3, 4.
*  Slain - 11:13.
*  Heads/Crowns/Mountains/Empires (Beast) - 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 7, 9, 10, 11.
*  Vials/Plagues - 15:1, 6, 7, 8; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9.

Revelation 1:19 divides John's vision into three time periods:  that which he has seen (Ch. 1), that which he sees at the time of his vision (Ch. 2 - 3), and that which God will show him concerning the future (Ch. 4 - 22).  Chapters 4 - 5 describe the throne and the book in heaven.  Chapters 6 - 11 describe the first three and a half years of the seven-year Tribulation.  Chapters 12 - 13 describe Satan's fall from heaven, his war with Israel, the rise of the Beast (Antichrist), and the rise of another Beast (False Prophet).  Chapters 14 - 18 describe the second half of the seven-year period which is called the Great Tribulation.  Chapter 19 describes the Second Coming of Christ.  Chapter 20 describes the 1000 year reign of Christ known as the Millennium.  Chapters 21 - 22 describe the new heaven, the new earth, and the beginning of Eternity.

The middle of the seven-year Tribulation (Ch. 12 -13) is when the Antichrist, empowered by Satan, declares himself to be god, and in so doing, commits the Abomination of Desolation.  This is pictured in Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; and Revelation 13:1-18.  These two chapters separate the first half of the Tribulation (6 - 11), from the second half (14 - 18), and they contain seven different personages:
*  The Woman/Israel - 12:1.
*  The Child/Jesus - 12:2.
*  The Dragon/Satan - 12:3.
*  The Archangel, Michael - 12:7.
*  The Brethren/Remnant - 12:10, 11.
*  The Beast/Antichrist - 13:1.
*  The Second Beast/False Prophet - 13:11.

I hope this material will be of use to you as you study God's Revelation!     

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


For years, I have taught that Bible Prophecy must be interpreted literally.  In fact, I believe every fulfilled prophecy has been fulfilled literally.  However, we only know this because the prophecies and their fulfillment have already occurred.  For example, when Isaiah wrote, "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel." (Isa. 7:14), no one had a clue as to what he meant until Jesus was conceived by a virgin named Mary (Mt. 1:18-25).  No one comprehended what the psalmist was saying in Psalm 22, until it was fulfilled in the trials and crucifixion of Jesus.

I believe this is true of the Book of Revelation as well.  "Prophecy experts" read what the Apostle John wrote concerning his vision, and they tell us what the text means.  Oddly enough, those same experts seem to be continually "adjusting" their interpretation, so that what they were certain of five years ago, is now obsolete.  That is why you and I need to buy their latest book; it contains the truth!  The fact is, ALL prophecy teachers are simply making educated guesses as to what the text means!

Much of John's Book of Revelation contains symbolic language.  For instance, John uses the term "as" sixty-eight times in describing what he sees in the vision.  He uses "like" twenty-one times.  So in other words, he uses a simile in trying to share what he sees and hears, eighty-nine times.  It is not too difficult to understand that he did not know what lasers, tanks, helicopters, etc. were, so he did the best he could in sharing what he saw.

Interpreting Revelation has been made somewhat easier by God's unsealing the Book of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27; 12:4, 9).  Revelation 1:19 helps as well.  "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter," tells us that what John writes has to do with what he has already seen in his past, what he presently sees, and what the future holds for this world.  He has seen Chapter 1, he sees Chapter 2 - 3, and the rest of Revelation has to do with the future.  Chapter 4 begins with John "leaving his present world, and in heaven, he is shown the future.

Based upon Daniel 9:24-27, and Matthew 24:3-29, we understand that Chapters 6 - 18 of Revelation deal with the seven year period known as the Tribulation, Daniel's Seventieth Week, and The Time of Jacob's Trouble.  The middle of this seven year period is marked by the Antichrist breaking the treaty/covenant he made with Israel (Dan. 9:27; Mt. 24:15; Rev. 12 and 13).  I believe the first half of the seven years is described in Chapters 6 - 11, and the last half is covered in Chapters 14 - 18.

We should not be dogmatic about Revelation, but we can be absolutely sure that it will be fulfilled literally!  God bless you in your study of His perfect Word!             

Monday, May 27, 2013


It has been a few years since my wife and I travelled to Hillsboro, Illinois to visit the graves of my Grandpa Clayton H. Cory and my Grandma Vena Ross Masters Cory.  I was not sure in which cemetery they were buried, so we went to the shop of the man who made tombstones for Hillsboro and some of the other small towns in Montgomery County.  He told me they were buried in Butler Cemetery, and we found them after much searching.  I remember missing them that day, even though they had been gone since 1960.  I also remember feeling that they somehow knew I was there to honor their memory.  Strange, isn't it?  My understanding of what the Scriptures have to say about such knowledge on the part of those who have died, didn't seem to matter; I felt they were happy we were there.

In reality, I can only assume they were both born again believers in Jesus Christ, because, for one thing, it is impossible to know who is saved, and who is not.  We can observe the "fruit" of others and make an educated guess, but we really won't know for certain until we get to heaven.  The only person I am absolutely certain that is born again, is me, and based upon my "fruit," I sometimes even wonder about myself.  When I do question my relationship with my Creator, I remember what He did, and is doing, for me.  He began changing me into the Lord's image on January 31, 1971, and I am literally forever grateful!

There are many people who will be shocked that they are not allowed into heaven when they die.  We read in Matthew 7:22-23,  "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."  I am sure those who knew them would see their religious works and be convinced of their eternal home, but they would be wrong.  Those "righteous" men were religious, but had no Father/son relationship with God.  They were "doing" instead of "trusting."

To the born again believer, there are many "Memorial Days" each year, and they are far more important than the one we celebrate today.  The Apostle Paul wrote, "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. 11:25-26).

For the believer, the Lord's Supper IS Memorial Day!  But only until He returns!    

Sunday, May 26, 2013


If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know that I consider grace as receiving what one does not deserve. It is not earned. It is a gift. And, it tells us much more about the Giver than it does about the one receiving it. Gifts, by their very nature, are most often motivated by love. When He gave His Son to die for all of creation, He did it out of love. He revealed through His Word that He was the One Who provided reconciliation between His estranged creation and Himself. He wanted to share with mankind His friendship and give us the joy of knowing Him. He loves the sound of our hymns of praise because He knows that our hearts "swell" when we consider His majesty and His love for us. He is a Father watching His children play and laugh and sing.

God's grace is awesome and complex. It is the basis for the following:

*  God draws mankind to Himself - John 6:44
*  God convicts us of sin - John 16:7-11
*  God gives us faith to believe - Ephesians 2:8-9
*  God regenerates us with the new birth - John 3:3-8
*  God changes us into His likeness - 2 Corinthians 5:17
*  God disciplines us in love - Hebrews 2:3-11; Philippians 1:6; 2:13
*  God completes the transformation - Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 15:49;
    Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2:13; and 1 John 3:2

Because all the work involved in our redemption, sanctification, and glorification is done for us by God, the most obvious characteristic of those who understand His completed work on their behalf, is humility. God must receive all the glory for our salvation. Otherwise, we are taking credit for what He has done and is doing. Such is blasphemy and arrogance. What we received as a gift is to His glory alone. Praise Him!

This year, as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays approach, instead of focusing upon the giving of gifts, why not give something that directs the recipient's attention toward the greatest Gift ever given: Jesus. He was given for us by God the Father, and He gave Himself through obedience to the Father's will. Be sure to thank Him and share what He has done with those you love. In fact, share Him with those you have trouble loving. Who knows, you might see a change in them that will make them easier for you to love. Remember, God loves them, too.
Freely, you have received; therefore, freely give:  pass it on!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Let's say that you are a very skilled forklift driver, and you decide to show up at the docks everyday for a week.  You follow the instructions of the foreman, and you load pallets of materials being shipped overseas.  You never damage a single item.  You are always there first and leave last.  You get along with the rest of the dock workers.  You actually might be the best forklift driver your supervisor has ever seen.  But when payday rolls around, you find there is no paycheck waiting for you!  You sprint over to the accounting office, and ask why you didn't get a paycheck.  What do you think the accountant is going to tell you?  You have no relationship to the company! 

That is an illustration of what Jesus was saying to those who are religiously doing good works in order to "get a paycheck."  He said, "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" (Mt. 7:21-23).

It seems that the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians, seem to think that by their church attendance, their witnessing, their tithing, their feeding the poor, etc., that they somehow qualify to get into heaven.  They are sorely mistaken!  They err in believing that their works qualify them, when there is only one work that opens the door to heaven:  believe on, or trust in Jesus!  Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him (Jesus) whom He (the Father) hath sent" (Jn. 6:29).  The most famous verse in all of Scripture says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (Jn. 3:16). 

I know I am presenting the fact that salvation is a free gift, that it cannot be earned, over and over again.  To those who are genuinely born again by faith in Jesus alone, I apologize.  It just seems quite clear to me that the vast majority of people calling themselves Christians, are going about doing "good works" with the idea that their salvation depends upon it.  In reality, the "saved" obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, and cheerfully do so out of gratitude for what the Lord did for them on Calvary!  We don't just say, "Lord, Lord"; Jesus really is the Lord of our lives!
If you are doing religious works to be saved, or to stay saved, you are wasting your time!

Friday, May 24, 2013


There has been much criticism of Pope Francis for his recent proclamation, in which he said:  "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all!”  He is both right and wrong!

The Pope is correct, in that, Jesus Christ did die for the sins of the whole world, or in other words, He redeemed us all from the penalty of our sins.  Here is what the Apostle John had to say about the scope of Christ's payment for the sins of mankind:  "My little children, these things write I unto you, that...Jesus Christ the the propitiation for our sins:  and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world" (1 Jn. 2:1-2).  The Apostle Paul compared the number of souls condemned due to Adam's sin, to the number of souls redeemed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:19).

However, when the Pope states that the redemptive work of Christ makes everyone, including atheists, children of God, he is one hundred percent wrong!  Here is what the Word says on becoming a child of God:

*  "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (Jn. 1:12).
*  "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24).
*  "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30).
* "For we are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:26).
*  "In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7).

Only those who believe, accept, trust in the risen Jesus, are the children of God!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Have you ever played the game where several of you sat around in a circle and whispered a message into your neighbor's ear, only to find out when the message returned to you, that the message at the end barely resembled the original?  We would laugh and laugh.  It was so funny.  But then, years later, when you are trying to share God's Word with someone, they remind you of how that game "butchered" the original message; then, it is no laughing matter. 

Atheists, members of cults, and members of most denominations, are quick to point out that the Bible was written by fallible men, all the while ignoring that those men were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21).  Not only do they doubt the authenticity of the oldest copies, they are quick to point out that they were also translated into our language by imperfect human beings (there are over 5000 copies of the original Greek manuscripts from all over Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, that have been found to be nearly identical to one another; and the Dead Sea Scrolls have confirmed the authenticity the Old Testament).

There are several "proofs" that the Scriptures are "God-breathed" (the definition of inspiration):

1)  The Bible has been protected throughout the centuries, from those who would destroy it.  Diocletian (245-313) tried to do so, but his successor, Constantine, defended it.  Voltaire (1694-1778) declared it doomed, but twenty years after his death, his house was turned into a print shop, where the Geneva Bible Society printed Bibles!  The ACLU has fought to keep the Gideons from distributing Bibles, but last year, over 84,000,000 Bibles were handed out! 
2)  There are scientific revelations in the Bible which were not discovered by man until centuries after they were written, such as "the water cycle" (Eccl. 1:7); the Earth is a sphere (Isa. 40:22); the Earth rotates on its axis (six times in Gen. 1:5-31); the Earth is suspended in space (Job 26:7); the atmosphere has weight (Job 28:25); the stars make sound (Job 38:7); life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11); and the Universe is "running down" (Ps. 102:25-26); to name just a few.

3)  The Bible is historically accurate.  For years, historians have challenged the existence of the Hittite Kingdom, but in 1906, Hugo Winkler discovered the ancient Hittite capital city.  Another example is Belshazzar, king of Babylon, was not listed in ancient records, and yet, the Bible says he ruled; come to find out, he ruled in his father's place.  Nabonidus, son of Nebuchadnezzer, did not want to rule after his father died, for whatever reason, and so, Nebuchadnezzer's grandson, Belshazzar ruled.  That is why he was only able to appoint Daniel to be "third ruler in the kingdom" (Dan. 5:16, 29).

4)  Perhaps the most solid evidence that the Bible is God-inspired, is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.  Daniel prophesied that the Medes would conquer Babylon, the Greeks would conquer the Medes, and the empire which would kill Israel's Messiah would defeat the Greeks.  Of course, that would be Rome!  Speaking of Israel's Messiah, His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection literally fulfilled hundreds of prophecies!

If the Bible is not true, then no one can be saved from their sin (Rom. 10:9-17)! 



Wednesday, May 22, 2013


"They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man" (Lk. 17:27-29).

Before God decides to pour out His wrath upon mankind, He does two things:
1).  By His grace, He declares some to be righteous.
2).  He lifts the righteous up above those upon whom the wrath is intended.

Noah:  A Gentile
*  Noah was a man, so his every thought was evil continually (Gen. 6:5).
*  Noah received his righteousness by the grace of God (Gen. 6:9).
After God changed Noah, he walked with God (Gen. 6:9). 
*  Noah was removed, taken up in the ark, before God destroyed the earth below (Gen. 7:17).

Lot:  A Jew
*  Lot was respected by the men of Sodom; he sat at the gate (Gen. 19:1).
*  Lot called the men of Sodom his brethren (Gen. 19:7).
*  Lot found grace in God's sight (Gen. 19:19).
*  Lot was removed, taken up into a mountain, before God destroyed Sodom (Gen. 19:17-30).

Rapture of the Church:  Born again Gentiles and Jews
*  Born again believers are saved by the grace of God (Jn. 1:17; Acts 15:11; Rom. 3:24; 5:1-2; Eph. 2:8-9; etc.).
* The Church will not experience the Tribulation (Rom. 5:9; 1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9; Rev. 3:10; etc.).
*  Jesus will come, and we will be taken up into heaven before God's wrath is poured out on the earth (Jn. 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:49-53; 1 Thes. 4:16-17; etc.).
* The time of God's wrath is appointed unto Daniel's people, the Jews (Dan. 9:24-27; Jer. 30:7; Mt. 24:3-29; Rev. 6 - 18; etc.).

Believe God:  if He says build a boat, if His messengers say run, or if His Word says your salvation has been paid-in-full by His Son; know this:  God can be trusted!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I am constantly hearing of born again believers who are being enticed to "come away to the truth" of some cult, or some "more enlightened" group.  And inevitably, the "new truthers" have two major flaws:  for one, they believe only they have the "true light," and everyone else is deceived; and two, they seek to subjugate proselytes to either the Law of Moses, or to a Law unique to their own particular cult or denomination.  Mormonism immediately comes to mind, but there are also many churches that present the Gospel, only to add membership and works as conditions necessary to maintain one's salvation:  Roman Catholicism, Churches of Christ, and most of the Protestant churches that teach one can lose their salvation, fit into this group.

The fact is, salvation is based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ for our sin; and it is a free gift to all those who will believe (Jn. 3:3-18; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9).  Salvation, itself, is the work of God from beginning to end (Rom. 8:28-29; Phil. 1:6), and born again believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of our redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).  We who believe in Jesus Christ are not religious, but are in a relationship; we know we are God's children (1 Jn. 3:2; 5:13)! 

False teachers, cult leaders, and Satan himself, want nothing more than to get you to trust in your own works in order to become "worthy" of heaven.  They are quick to point out the hypocrisy of those who declare themselves free from the bondage of the Law, because we are not sinless  (ironic, since neither are they)!  Our answer to them should be what Paul wrote to the Galatians:  "Be led by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh" (see also Rom. 7:14 - 8:14)!   

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses" (Gal. 5:16-18 NLT).

The only yoke one should accept is the one with Jesus on the other side!

Monday, May 20, 2013


The Bible, for the most part, has to do with the history of God's interaction with His creation, but approximately twenty-seven percent of the Bible is prophecy:  what God will do in the future.  It begins with His description of how He created the Universe (History - Gen. 1 - 2), and it ends with John's vision describing, what could be called, the beginning of eternity (Prophecy - Rev. 21 - 22).

Bible prophecy can be divided into two categories:  prophecies that have been literally fulfilled, most of which were fulfilled by Christ's First Advent; and those prophecies yet to be fulfilled.  I have no doubt that those prophecies which describe Christ's Second Advent will also be fulfilled literally.

There is a phrase in the Scriptures which appears only in the Book of Matthew:  "that it might be fulfilled."  Matthew's Gospel is a transitional book, connecting the Israel of the Old Testament, with the introduction of their long-awaited Messiah.  This connection is obvious in that it begins with the genealogy of Jesus, starting with Abraham (Mt. 1:1-21).  Below are the nine occurrences of the phrase:

*  "A virgin shall be with child, His name Emmanuel..." (Isa. 7:14; Mt. 1:22-23).
*  "Out of Egypt have I called My Son" (Hos. 11:1; Mt. 2:15).
*  "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Lk. 1:26; Mt. 2:23).
*  "The people which sat in darkness saw great light..." (Isa. 9:1-2; Mt. 4:14-16).
*  "(He) Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses" (Isa. 53:4; Mt. 8:17).
*  "He shall shew judgment to the Gentiles" (Isa. 49:5-6; Mt. 12:17-18).
*  "...I will open My mouth in parables..." (Ps. 78:2; Mt. 13:35).
*  "Thy King cometh...sitting upon...a colt the foal of an ass" (Zech. 9:11; Mt. 21:4-5).
*  "And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots..." (Ps. 22:18; Mt. 27:35).

As can clearly be seen by comparing the Old Testament prophecies, with the New Testament fulfillment of those prophecies, God was letting us know ahead of time, what would happen, so that when it occurred, we would trust Him.  What was true of those prophecies concerning Christ's First Advent, will also be true concerning His Second Advent:

God said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me; how about for you?      

Sunday, May 19, 2013


There are several words church members use to identify themselves, when they are asked what it means to be a Christian.  Words like "saved," "born again," "believer," and "child of God," are the most common answers, and if those answering have a correct understanding of the biblical definition for their answer, they would all be right.  For instance, "saved" means the person has been rescued from the penalty of his sin.  The Bible says all are guilty of sin and worthy of death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23a).  But Romans 5:8-9 says, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."

The persons answering "born again," would be correct if they understand the process of being "born again" is 100% the work of the Holy Spirit.  John 3:6-8 says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  The wind bloweth where it listeth (the Greek θέλω (thelō), meaning "where it wants to"), and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."  Note that our physical birth has nothing to do with our actions or will; so it is with our Spiritual birth. 

For those who answer "believer," even the Scripture says that simply believing does not make one a Christian; the devils believe (Jam. 2:19)!  However, if their answer is based upon believing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17), which presents the Gospel message that Jesus died for our sins, that He was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead to be Lord of our lives (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 10:8-10), then they would be right.

As for those who answer a "child of God," here is what the Word says about that:
*  John 1:12  "But as many as received (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
*  Romans 8:14  "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
*  Philippians 2:13, 15  "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God...."
*  1 John 3:1-2  "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.  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."
A genuine relationship with God is 100% grace, 100% His doing, and 100% faith in Christ!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Could the writer of the Book of Hebrews have crammed any more doctrine into just two verses?  Maybe, but if so, I don't know how!  In Hebrews 13:20-21, he wrote,  "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen."  What a prayer, and what a close to his marvelous epistle!

Foundational to our understanding of God is that He is a God of peace.  The Apostle Paul used that exact phrase to describe our Father four times in three of his epistles (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thes. 5:23)! 

Foundational to our faith in His love for us, is the Resurrection of Jesus three days after He allowed His only begotten Son to die on a cross for our sins.  Without His Resurrection, salvation would not be possible, but thanks be to God, He is risen (1 Cor. 15:12-20)!

Foundational to our understanding of the relationship born again believers have with Christ, is that He is our Shepherd (Jn. 10:11-16); that is, He is our Leader (Ps. 23:2-3), Protector (Ps. 23:4), Provider (Ps. 23:1, 5); and we are His sheep.  In other words, He owns us!

Foundational to our being saved from "the slave-market of sin and death," is that we have been bought by an incomprehensible price, the blood of the Creator of the Universe (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 7:21-23; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2; etc.)!

Foundational to our being able to rest in our relationship to our Father is that He provided the sacrifice, the blood of the Lamb of God, to seal the everlasting covenant between the born again believer and Himself (Heb. 9:22; Jn. 1:29, 35; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Heb. 10:12-14).  Everlasting life has no end; the covenant is forever (Dan. 12:2; Jn. 3:16; 5:24; 6:40, 47; etc.)!

Foundational to our being made like Jesus, is for us to know it is HIS JOB to perfect us, and to use us, for His eternal glory (Rom. 8:28-29; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:11-13; Phil. 1:6; 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 5:10; etc.)!

We who believe can trust Him to complete what He has started in us (1 Jn. 3:2)!


Friday, May 17, 2013


At the moment Jesus died on the cross, our Father did some miraculous things that hardly ever get discussed.  The order of these events is not clear to me, and it is even possible that they happened simultaneously.  Here is what Matthew wrote concerning that horrible, yet awesome moment in time:
"Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.  Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God" (Mt. 27:51-54).
The Temple "Veil" is the Old Testament Hebrew פָּרֹכֶת (poreketh), where it is translated "vail" 25 times.  The Greek word, translated "veil" is καταπέτασμα (katapetasma), and it appears 6 times in the New Testament.  I found various descriptions of its thickness, from four to six inches, but regardless of the thickness, the fact that it was torn "from the top to the bottom," tells us it was the work of God; the vail/veil was about thirty feet tall.  
The Earth Quake was strong enough to open several of the sealed graves, and strong enough to cause the onlookers to proclaim of Jesus:  "Truly this is the Son of God."  Mark 15:39 and Luke 23:47 attribute the comment to the Centurion alone, but Matthew uses the pronoun "they" meaning those who were with him were in agreement.  It is interesting to note that, although the graves were opened at the time of Christ's death, the resurrected bodies did not arise until after Jesus arose.  That is because Jesus was to be the "firstfruits" from the grave (1 Cor. 15:20-23).  And since the explanation of when they arose clearly tells us they were resurrected, and not raised like Lazarus, they must now be in heaven with Jesus.
The Darkness departed.  According to Mark, Jesus was crucified at the third hour (9:00 a.m. - Mk. 15:25).  Matthew wrote, "Now from the sixth hour (noon) there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour (3 p.m.).  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?  Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.  And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink.  The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save Him.  Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost" (Mt. 27:45-50). 
Note that the darkness only occurred the last three hours Christ was on the cross.  So, from about 3 p.m. unto sunset (perhaps around 7 p.m.), there had to be normal daylight.
Those present at the cross were given plenty of evidence that Jesus truly is the Son of God! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013


There are many words in the Bible which have a different meaning today than they did when the Word was written.  A perfect example is the word "charity."  Today, we see it as taking pity on the poor, or supporting research or some other cause.  The Bible's use of the word means "love."  "Charity" is from the Greek ἀγάπη (agapē), which is translated "love" 86 times, and "charity" 27 times.  "Agapē" speaks of the heart of the person showing charity, rather than describing a mutual relationship. 

"Hope" is the same way.  Today, when one thinks of the word "hope," he is sort of "betting on the odds" that something will occur.  According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the modern use of the word does not express a total confidence, but rather, more of a "hope so" connotation.  The dictionary also agrees that the archaic definition of the word focuses more on trust.    

"Hope" is translated from two Greek words:  ἐλπίς (elpis), translated "hope" 53 times and "faith" once; and ἐλπίζω (elpizō), which is translated "hope" 10 times and "trust" 18 times.  Both words involve faith, that is, a confident expectation of something promised by Someone whose character is above reproach, and in His ability to make the thing hoped for, happen.  Notice that both Greek words involve faith and trust; in other words, both have to do with believing.

While witnessing to a young man, I asked him where he thought he would go when he died.  He responded, "I hope I will go to heaven."  I then asked him upon what he was basing his hope.  His response was a list of good things he had done.  In other words, he was basing his hope on his works.  When I told him that the Bible says that salvation cannot be attained by works, but that it needed to be accepted by faith (Eph. 2:8-9), he was willing to listen to the Gospel, the good news that Jesus died for his sins, that He was buried and rose again according to the Scriptures, and lives to be his King of kings, and Lord of lords (1 Cor. 15:1-7; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 19:16)!  I shared that one becomes a genuine Christian by simply believing, and that the Word must be the foundation for our faith in Jesus Christ.  The Apostle John wrote:  "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...."
Is your hope in going to heaven a hope-so, or a know-so?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


If you are familiar with what your Bible says about the conditions that will exist prior to the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Coming, the Millennium Kingdom, and the Great White Throne Judgment, you probably do not need to turn to these references to the "last days."  However, just to make sure your understanding of the "last days" is correct, you might want to look at what follows the eight verses in which the words, "last days" are found.  There are only eight of them.

1)  "And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days" (Gen. 49:1).

2)  "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it" (Isa. 2:2).

3)  "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it" (Mic. 4:1).

4)  "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 2:17).   

5)  "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (2 Tim. 3:1).

6)  "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. 1:2).

7)  "Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days" (Jam. 5:3).

8)  "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts" (2 Pet. 3:3).

Note that Israel will still exist in the "last days" (#1); that the Lord's Kingdom is included in the "last days" (#2, 3); that the Church exists in the "last days" (#4, 5, 6, 8); and that the Tribulation is included in the "last days" (#7)!  The "last days" cover three dispensations:  The Law, The Church, and The Millennium.  Therefore, one might say that the "last days" are three in number.

At the end of the first four "days" of God's revelation (4000 yrs.), The Church began; it has lasted 2000 years.  The Millennium lasts 1000 years.  You do the math!   

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


TITUS 2:11-15

"For the grace of God
(His unmerited favor - Eph. 2:8-9) 
that bringeth salvation
(the gift of His Son as an atonement for our sin - Jn. 3:14-17)
hath appeared to all men
(young, old, men, women, boss, employee, etc. - Titus 2:1-10), 
teaching us
(by faith in Christ, we have received the Teacher, the Holy Spirit - Jn. 16:7-15), 
that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts
(thinking like Jesus - Rom. 12:2; Phil. 2:5),
we should live soberly
(being of a sound mind, vigilant, focused - Rom. 12:3; 1 Pet. 5:8),
righteously and godly
(doing the right thing according to God's Word - 2 Tim. 3:16),
in this present world
 (don't waste the time God has given you - Eph. 5:15-16; Col. 4:5);
looking for that blessed hope
(the return of Christ - 1 Thes. 2:19; 1 Tim. 1:1),
and the glorious appearing
(when He shall appear, we shall be like Him - 1 Jn. 3:2)
of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ
(He is both - Titus 3:4; Jude 1:25); 
Who gave Himself for us
(He was in agreement with His Father - Jn. 3:14-17; 10:11-18),
that He might redeem us from all iniquity
(He came with a purpose - 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23),
and purify unto Himself a peculiar people
(Acts 15:8-9; Heb. 9:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:9),
zealous of good works
(we are saved to do good works - Rom. 8:29; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:13). 
These things speak
(do and pass on - Phil. 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:2),
and exhort
(the same root as "Comforter" - parakaleō - comfort and encourage),
and rebuke
(to correct as God corrects, in love - 1 Tim. 5:20; Rev. 3:19) 
with all authority
(while Jesus is in heaven, we have authority - Mk. 13:34).
Let no man despise thee"
(Rom. 12:18; 14:19; Heb. 12:14). 

Monday, May 13, 2013


When the crowd wanted to know what works they could do to be saved, Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him (Jesus) whom He (the Father) hath sent" (Jn. 3:16; 6:29). 

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"; "...they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:30-31). 

Just as when Abraham believed God, and the righteousness of Christ was imputed unto him, so to us also " shall be imputed, if we believe on Him (the Father) that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Acts 13:30; Rom. 4:13-25). 

"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9).

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.  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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thes. 4:14, 16-17).

B - Base your life now, and for eternity, upon Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior!

E - Enthusiastically study "God's Manual for Life":  the Bible!

L - Live every moment in gratitude to God for His free gift of salvation!

I - Invest in souls, not in things!

E - Endeavor to be a Christ-like role model!

V - View the world through the eyes of Jesus, who willingly gave up His life for it!

E - Expect trials in this life, and the return of your Lord at any moment!

"Believe" is always present tense.
You know you are saved if you are believing in Jesus!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


In a day and age when morality has taken a backseat to political correctness (which of course, in the case of homosexuality, has to be an oxymoron), to write "A Tribute to my Mothers," could be an indication that I have gone over to the dark side.  Please read the whole post before getting firewood to burn me at the stake. 

My birth mother, Pauline Cory, loved me very much.  When I was six years old, she, with the help of my dad's brother, "ran away" to Denver, Colorado.  We stayed with Uncle Bill for a short time, and then, Mom and I moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming.  We were living in Cheyenne for about a month, when my dad showed up.  He had a friend in the Post Office watch my grandfather's mail, and got our return address off of my mom's letter.  I did not see my mom again until I was twenty-six years old.  I had been told that she wanted nothing to do with me, so I made no effort to contact her.  At twenty-six, I had the opportunity to play in a football tournament near St. Louis where she was living.  On a whim, a friend and I visited her.  I am so glad I did!  My mother loved me!

Not long after my dad had "retrieved me" from my mother, he met a widow named Eloise McArthur.  Eloise had two sons, Mac who was three years older than me, now seven, and Newell who was a year older.  They married, and I became the youngest of three.  Eloise was very welcoming to me, and would sit on the side of my bed and teach me to pray the "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer; she would read me to sleep; she made sure my new brothers were as welcoming as she.  But, things went down hill from there.  At sixteen, my parents made the decision to remove me from school and I was to join the Navy.  At the time, I was devastated, but now, at the age of seventy, I have to say they made a really good decision.  I was a troubled youth, arrested by the F.B.I. at twelve, and destined to end up in prison had things continued as they were.  My stepmother loved me!

Not long after entering the Navy, I met a sweet, young, sixteen year old Hoosier girl named Judy.  A year and a half later, we were married.  At nineteen, I had a new mother, a mother-in-law.  Dorothy was nice to me, and even though I was an alcoholic atheist, she never once showed what had to be great concern for me, and fear for her daughter.  Judy and I have been married for fifty years, and what was true of Dorothy then, is still true today.  I do not know if I am her favorite son-in-law or not, but by the way she treats me, I have to say that I am sure I am!  My mother-in-law loves me!

My hope is that my mother and my stepmother are young again, walking heaven's streets of gold.  I do not know for sure, but I suspect that they are.  My mother-in-law is here with us, and very much a part of our lives today.  At ninety, she still goes square dancing on occasion, and mows her own yard (due to health problems, I cannot even do that)!  And today, Lord willing, she will attend church, as she always does, and since it is Mother's Day, she will probably win a flower basket for being the oldest mother present, or for having the most "offspring" present.  My prayer for her is that she will live long enough to be in the Rapture, the rising in the air to meet Jesus!  I don't think I could stand it if I had to lose Dorothy.  I love her very, very much!
Happy Mother's Day to Dorothy, Judy, Laurie, Dawn, Cheryl, Hope, Bethany, and Jenna!   

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Recently, my health has been deteriorating, and while none of my family seems to believe me, I do not think I have long to wait for my change (2 Tim. 4:6-8).  In 1966, John Denver wrote and performed a song entitled "Leaving on a Jet Plane."  While I do not recommend the whole song because of its overall message, part of it seems to say what I would like my family to think about when I am gone.  I have altered it "slightly" to fit how I feel:

                                                       My sin's forgiven, I'm ready to go.
                                                    I'm standin' here looking out our door.
                                                  No need to wake you up to say goodbye.
                                                     The sky is partin' and it's early morn.
                                                     Jesus is waitin'; He's blowin' His horn.
                                                      I'm so excited, I can't wait to die!

                                                     Now the time has come to leave you;
  One more time, just let me kiss you;
  Close your eyes, I'll be on my way.
Dream about the days to come,
When you won't have to be alone,
  About the time of God's endless day.

So kiss me and smile for me;
Tell me that you'll be with me.
  Don't hold me, I really want to go;
  'Cause I'm leavin' on a "jet plane."
Don't know when I'll be back again.
Oh baby, I'm glad to go.
I have had heart problems for over fifty years, and on many occasions, I thought I was dying.  Recently, my congestive heart failure has my legs blood-red up to my knees, and I have had to sleep in a recliner because of the fluids building up in my lungs.  Of course, since I have spoken about my demise, my being prepared and longing to meet my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for years, my wife and kids have made a joke out of my "preoccupation with death."   To be quite honest, I agree that it is funny, and I laugh with them (sometimes).  But I tell them, and anyone else who feels I am nuts, that the Apostle Paul (not named after me) longed for the same thing (2 Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:19-23; 2 Tim. 4:6-8). 
My "Jet Plane" has a perfect record of getting His "passengers" home!


Friday, May 10, 2013


In a day and age, when lying, deceit, and "putting a spin on the truth" are a way of life for our politicians; when the Internet and Facebook are often filled with distortions and untruths; when stores take off a large percentage of the sale price which had been inflated for just that purpose; etc.; it is easy to see how one would become cynical!  Our schools refuse to acknowledge the true Creator, and instead, substitute a couple of "theories" (Big Bang; Evolution). 

And what about churches which claim to teach the truth?   The vast majority teach a false Gospel, adding works as a requirement for salvation (Gal. 1:6-9; Eph. 2:8-9).  And we should never forget the Parable of the Tares, which teaches there are false believers in the churches (Mt. 13:24-30, 37-43); the Parable of the Mustard Seed, which teaches that the church will grow so large that Satan's minions will "nest in its branches" (Mt. 13:4, 19, 31-32); the Parable of the Leaven, which teaches that eventually, false doctrine will permeate the visible church (13:33; 16:11-12); and the Parable of the Net, which describes the gathering of the members of the churches and casting out those who are like the "tares" (Mt. 13:47-50).  It seems that "truth" is more rare than gold, silver, or precious stones (1 Cor. 3:8-15). 

And yet, the search for the truth is not new.  When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, "Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the Truth. Every one that is of the Truth heareth My voice.  Pilate saith unto Him, What is truth?" (Jn. 18:37-38).  I would ask you the same question.

The Word of God answers the question, at least for the born again believer:

*  The Father is true (Jn. 3:33; Rom. 3:4; 2 Cor. 1:18)!
*  The Son is true (Jn. 1:17; 14:6; Eph. 4:21)!
*  The Spirit is true (Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1 Jn. 2:27; 5:6)!
*  The Word is true (Ps. 119:160; Jn. 17:17; Rom. 10:17)!
*  The genuine Prophets of God spoke the truth (1 Kg. 17:24).
*  The true Apostles of God spoke the truth (Eph. 4:11-15).

When Adam sinned, his sin was in his failure to believe God.  He let Satan cause him to doubt God's Word.  Nothing has changed.  Satan, and all that are his, make every effort to get mankind to doubt God's Word.  You need to know the Truth, for only the Truth can set you free (Jn. 8:32)! 

Thank God that we, born again believers, have the Spirit of Truth living in us!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


What is the first thing the disciples did when they were filled with the Holy Spirit?  My Charismatic brothers and sisters a quick to say that they spoke in tongues.  But is that what they really did?  Yes, of course, but that is like saying Babe Ruth swung the bat; it means nothing if he did not hit the ball, right?  The same is true of what happened on the Day of Pentecost. 

According to the Book of Acts, the disciples, numbering about 120, were gathered together in one accord, and in one place (2:1).  When they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, they did begin to speak in "other tongues," meaning other languages (2:4-11).  And what did those from the other nations hear them say?  They heard them speak the wonderful works of God (2:11).  I would suggest to you that what they said was much like what Jesus said to the two travelers on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-27).  If they had merely spoken of Creation, the Exodus, or the Commandments, I doubt many would have gathered; they had heard all that many times before.  Regardless, Peter preached the Gospel to them; he preached Christ's Death, His Burial, His Resurrection, and he included His Ascension (Acts 2:14-36; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Later in the Book of Acts, Saul of Tarsus met the Lord on his way to Damascus to capture Christians (Acts 9:1-20).  Luke wrote, "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God (9:20). 

On January 31, 1971, an atheist awoke, ate breakfast, and by noon, he had knelt in his living room and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  And what do you suppose was the first thing he did?  With zero Bible knowledge, he began telling everyone he met that he had accepted Jesus.  He told them that God had captured his attention through a "coincidence," and that after hearing the Gospel preached by the preacher God had used to get his attention, the "light bulb went on," and he believed.  He believed he was a sinner (not news to him, by the way).  He believed Jesus died for his sin.  He believed that three days after Jesus was buried, He rose from the dead, to ever be the Lord of all who would put their trust in Him.  He believed the Bible was the Word of God, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life telling people about Him. 

Now, forty-two plus years later, he still believes and serves.  Because of health problems, he is limited to writing a blog about his daily Bible study.  He is not famous.  He is not anything special.  He is just a man who fell in love forty-two years ago, and his love has never waned! 
That is how you can be sure you are saved; God has become the focus of your life! 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Because of the fall of Adam, man has not been born in God's likeness, but we have been born in the likeness of Adam (Gen. 5:3).  That is the bad news, in that, the Bible says, "For as in Adam all die. . . " (1 Cor. 15:22).  However, there is good news!  The same verse continues:  "even so in Christ shall all be made alive."  To all those who believe the Gospel, and put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, God has promised that they will one day be change into the image and likeness of His Son; they will become His adopted children (Jn. 1:11-12; Rom. 8:15, 23; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5; etc).

Here is what God's Word says about our change:   
*  "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness" (Ps. 17:15).
*  "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
*  "And as we have borne the image of the earthy (Adam), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (Jesus)" (1 Cor. 15:49).
*  "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself" (Phil. 3:20-21).
*  "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).

And here is how God's Word describes what we will be like:  
*  "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light" (Mt. 17:1-2).
*  "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength" (Rev. 1:13-16).
*  "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.  And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are One" (Jn. 17:5, 22).

Christians are not like Jesus now, but God guarantees we will be (Eph. 1:13; 4:30)!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Whenever I find something written by others that blesses me, and I feel the Lord directing me to share it, I do.  Below is today's devotion from Our Daily Bread.  I hope you are touched by the writer's beautiful description of the fire which burns within born again believers to share the Good News about Jesus with others.  If you have no desire to "rescue the lost," then perhaps it is time to ask yourself:  Am I born again, and upon what have I been basing my salvation?  While we cannot get saved by works (Eph. 2:8-9), those who are genuinely born again, do works of the Lord (Eph. 2:10)!  And what is the root of all works done in obedience to God's will?  Our love and concern for our fellow man; both the saved and unsaved!  Police and firefighters are heroes for saving people from physical death; can you imagine what God thinks of us when we are burdened to encourage the brethren, "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 1:23)?!  Being a soul winner is wise (Prov. 11:30)!

I know very little about persecution. My physical well-being has never been threatened because of what I believe or what I say. What little I “know” about the subject comes from what I hear and read. But that is not true for many of our brothers and sisters around the world. Some of them live in danger every day simply because they love Jesus and want others to know Him too.

There is another form of persecution that may not be life-threatening, but it is heartbreaking. It’s the persecution that comes from non-Christian family members. When loved ones ridicule our faith and mock us for what we believe and how we express our love for God, we feel rejected and unloved.

Paul warned believers that following Jesus would result in persecution: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12), and we know that sometimes rejection will come from those we love (Matt. 10:34-36). But when people we love reject the God we love, the rejection feels personal.

Jesus told us to pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44), and that includes more than strangers who hate us. God is able to give us grace to persevere through persecution even when it comes from those we love.
Lord, give us grace to pray for those
Who seek our harm and not our good;
And teach us how to show them love
In ways that will be understood. —Sper
People may mock our message but they can’t stop our prayers.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Let me begin by saying this is not about Christians speaking in tongues, so if that is what piqued your interest when you read the title, I want to save you from "wasting your time" by reading this.  My blog posts are only one page long, and the topic of speaking in tongues would require many, many posts.  Rather, my intent here is to look at what God's Word says about the purpose of one being filled by the Holy Ghost / Holy Spirit (both words, "ghost" and "spirit," are translated from the Hebrew רוּחַ (ruwach), and the Greek πνεῦμα (pneuma), meaning "wind, breath, mind, or spirit.").  When the word "Holy" is attached, it always refers to God, that is, to the third Person of the Trinity(Acts 5:3-4).

In Exodus 28:1-43, God "filled" the craftsmen for the purpose of preparing the priestly garments for Aaron and his sons, who would serve as Israel's first "priests unto the Lord."  In Exodus 31:1-11, we are told the name of the person who was apparently in charge of those craftsmen, was Bezaleel.  In this passage, we learn that the craftsmen were also responsible for the Tabernacle and its contents, as well.  A more detailed description of the work of Bezaleel's "team" is recorded in Exodus 35:1 - 39:43.

In the New Testament, when a person was filled with the Spirit, he or she was given the wisdom and ability to speak for God (Lk. 1:15-17, 39-45, 67-80; Acts 2:1-43; 4:8-12, 31; 9:17-20; 13:9-12; 13:52 - 14:1).  The Apostle Paul encourages believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which will result in:  "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (Eph. 5:17-21).

Paul also wrote that when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, he or she will produce spiritual fruit; that is, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23).  In the Scripture, "fruit" always refers to "that which reproduces whatever is bearing it."  If we, as born again believers, bear the fruit of the Spirit, "our source" will appeal to those around us.  Have you ever had someone come up to you and say something like, "I have been watching you, and I want what you have!"?  Knowing that what he or she sees is the outworking of the Spirit, we are quick to testify as to our "Source." 

Being filled with the Spirit always opens the door for our testimony! 


Sunday, May 5, 2013


I was born again January 31, 1971, and ever since then, all I seem to hear about, especially from other Christians, is that we are living in the last days.  So I decided to see what the Bible has to say about the "last days."  The phrase appears eight times in the Word, and I was surprised to find that the first instance was recorded in the Book of Genesis! 

In Genesis 49:1-28, Jacob calls his sons together to prophesy to them about the future of each of the twelve tribes.  Jacob is clearly using the phrase "last days" in the same way the Apostles would use it over a thousand years later.  In verse ten, he referred to the Second Coming of Christ, although, to the Jews, the fact that there was to be a Second Coming was, and still is, a mystery.   Verse ten reads, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be."  "Shiloh" appears only once in the Bible, and it means "the peaceful One."  Because He shall gather Israel, this is clearly a reference to Christ at His return.  The events surrounding His return are also described in Isaiah 2:1-22 and Micah 4:1-13.

The Apostle Peter, preaching on Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, began by giving a brief description of the "last days" (v. 17), which are, in fact, the Church Age (Acts. 2:14-21).

The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy concerning the "last days" (2 Tim. 3:1 - 4:1), and again, he is describing the Church age.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" Heb. 1:1-3).  This is a description of the time between Christ's two Advents:  the Church Age.

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote of the "last days," focusing upon the return of Christ as the Judge of the world (Jam. 5:1-9).  Again, the time between Christ's two advents:  the Church Age.

The final use of the phrase, "last days," is found in Peter's second epistle.  He wrote, "Knowing this first, 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 Pet. 3:3-4).  Is this not what unbelievers have been saying to Christians for two thousand years?  Remember, to the Lord, a day is as a thousand years (2 Pet. 3:8)!   It is the same chapter!

 Eight references to the "last days," each pointing to Christ's return; are you ready?


Saturday, May 4, 2013


If I were to say to you, "Love others; forgive those who do not love you; and acknowledge the fact that your relationship with God is 100% based upon His grace and not your merit."; what Bible verse immediately comes to mind?  There may be more than one correct answer, but for me, the answer is clearly Micah 6:8, which says, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

BE JUST:  In this context, the word "justly" means "to do what is right according to God's Law."  When we obey God's Law, we are, in actuality, obeying God's will for our lives.  And what is God's will?  It is stated in Galatians 5:14:  "For ALL the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."   If we truly love someone, we will not murder them, steal from them, lie about them, etc., but we will treat them as we ourselves wish to be treated.  Being just is obeying God's Golden Rule!  We need to be more like Jesus!

BE MERCIFUL:  "Mercy," as it is used in this verse, means "to have pity" (see Mt. 9:27; 15:22; 17:15; 20:30-31; etc.).  Here again, God's Golden Rule applies.  Jesus spoke of our treating others with mercy (forgiveness) because we have received His mercy, that is, His forgiveness (Mt. 6:12-15; 18:21-35; etc.).  Most of us eventually forgive someone who has wronged us, but few, if any, actually "love" forgiving; our natural inclination is resentment at our best, and revenge at our worst.  We need to be more like Jesus!

BE HUMBLE:  Here, the word "humbly" means "to walk or live modestly, or to recognize one's lowly estate."  If we compare ourselves to those around us, we usually feel we fall somewhere between those who appear to be the most spiritual, and those who appear to be down-right evil.  But, when we recognize our lowly estate, that there is nothing good about us, that our salvation is a gift and not something we have earned (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9), we cannot help but be humbled! We certainly will not think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Rom. 12:3).  And, we WILL BE more like Jesus (Phil. 2:3-8)!

What is God's will for your life?  Be like Jesus! 

Friday, May 3, 2013


In the Bible, each of the members of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), are said to have written something with His finger.  Daniel 5:1-31 tells of how God wrote a prophetic message on Belshazzar's wall, which revealed Belshazzar's crimes, and his sure punishment.  It is ironic that "God's finger," not only wrote Belshazzar's sentence, but His finger was also used to write His Law (Ex. 8:19; 31:18; Deut. 9:10)!  "God's finger" is also a metaphor for the working of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 11:20 - compare with Mt. 12:28).  And finally, the "finger of God" can be seen in John 8:1-12, where Jesus took His finger and wrote in the dust of the ground.

When God writes something, it is always the truth.  And, if it is prophetic, it will literally come to pass.  Below, I have provided verses from the Book of Revelation, addressing some very important things which God has written to you and me:

*  "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Rev. 1:3).
*  "And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals" (Rev. 5:1).
*  "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).
*  "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is" (Rev. 17:8).
*  "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" (Rev. 20:12).
*  "And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire" (Rev. 20:15).
*  "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Rev. 21:27).
*  "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Rev. 22:18-19).

"God's finger" reveals the Law (our need of a Savior - Gal. 3:19-25)!
"God's finger" provides evidence (for faith in The Savior - Mt. 12:22-30)!
"God's finger" reveals His character (The Savior is merciful - Jn. 8:1-12)!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


When it comes to the role God's Commandments play in one's salvation, there are three views:
*  The "Jewish View"  (keeps the Commandments in order to be saved). 
*  The "Judaizer's View" (keeps the Commandments in order to remain saved).
*  The "Justified View" (keeps the Commandments out of gratitude for having been saved).

"Jewish View" - To the Jew, the Old Testament contained 613 Commandments which needed to be obeyed in order to stay in God's favor.  When a Jew broke any of the 613, he was required to have the Jewish priests offer a sacrifice for the forgiveness of his sin.  The Word says that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22).  What the Jews have never learned, is that no one can be saved by doing the works of the Law (Gal. 2:16)!  The purpose of the Law was to serve as a "schoolmaster," that is, to teach man that he needs a Savior (Gal. 3:24)!

"Judaizer's View" - The Judaizers were believers in Christ, but because of their errant theology, they believed a Christian is bound to live according to the Jewish Law.  Hence, they believed a Gentile who had come to faith in Jesus Christ was required to be circumcised.  They were even described as being "of the circumcision" (Acts 10:45; 11:2; etc.).  Acts 15:1-29 describes a meeting of the Apostles, at which they ruled against the legalism of the Judaizers.  Believe it or not, there are still Judaizers in the Church today who teach that the Old Testament Commandments are binding on Christians.  Paul called what they teach, a false Gospel, a Gospel of works salvation, and he said, "Let them be accursed" (Gal. 1:6-9)!

"Justified View" - Born again believers are said to have been justified by the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9).  "Justified" is from the Greek δικαιόω (dikaioō), which means "to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be."  The born again believer is justified, not by works, but by God's grace (Acts 13:39; Rom. 3:20, 24, 28; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:11; Titus 3:7; etc.).  It is clearly stated in Romans 8:30:  "Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified."  

As born again believers, in order to please God, we obey the Commandments because they serve as "God's Instruction Manual" on how we are to love our brethren.  God's Commandments are summed up in just one Commandment:  we are to love one another (Gal. 5:13-14)!

We show our love for God when we love one another!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of "Roe" in Roe verses Wade (1973), American women, with the help of their physicians, have chosen to kill the child or children in their wombs, over 55,000,000 times.  By comparison, Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler might be considered "choir boys!"  Now, a physician is on trial for killing children after they are born.

Jurors in the murder trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit B. Gosnell began deliberations Tuesday (April 30, 2013) in what will likely be a long process due to the fact he is charged with five murder counts.  He is on trial for inserting surgical scissors into the base of the newborn's skull, severing the spinal cord from the brain stem.  Ironically, many states allow the same procedure to be performed while the baby is still partially within the birth canal, labelling it "partial birth abortion."

Before I share what God's Word has to say on the subject, here is how Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines the living being inside its mother's womb:  "CHILD" - "an unborn or recently born person."  I realize that this is not a legal definition recognized by our courts, but it is the definition of "child" found in the most respected American dictionary, and that ought to count for something!

The Bible describes a pregnant woman as being "with child."  This exact phrase appears twenty-five times from the Book of Genesis (16:11) to the Book of Revelation (12:2).  Of course, the most famous case of a woman being with child was the Virgin Mary (Mt. 1:18-23; Lk. 2:5)!  And if there was ever a doubt that the Bible teaches the child in the womb is a person, read what God told Jeremiah:

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" (Jer. 1:5).

Notice that Jeremiah was considered a person even before he was conceived!  Notice it was God who formed Jeremiah!  Notice that God had a plan for Jeremiah's life even before he was born! 

God's Word says that before He created the world, long before He created you and me, His plan for mankind was that we could be saved from the penalty of their sins (Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8; etc.).  He sent His only begotten Son to pay for our sins, because He loves us!  In fact, He loves us just as much as He loves Jesus!  Don't believe me?  Read John 17:23!

And if He loves the likes of us, how much do you think He loves the unborn?