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Archive for March, 2011

And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven….But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. Matthew 8:11, 6:20-21; Philippians 3:20; John 14:1-3

I didn’t feel like going to the train station today. I shot-up one of those quickie prayers and asked God to guide me in what I should do. I was kind of hoping He would tell me to go back to bed because I needed more rest. He didn’t. I was however drawn to His word and opened it to my Psalm reading for the day; Psalm 81. Verse one read:

Sing aloud to God our strength; Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob.

To the Train Station I Go!

I stopped to pray before I left and asked the Lord for some divine appointments (as usual), and added, “It would really be cool if I could lead a person to Jesus today.”

I drove the five miles or so to the train station, took up my usual spot, and began to play my guitar.

Mario

I was playing an hour or so before I saw Mario. He was talking to another fellow on the bench next to mine. When I looked up at him our eyes met and he said hello. I stopped playing and said to him, “You’re a pastor, aren’t you.”

He said yes and asked how I knew.

I said because he was wearing those hip eyeglasses that most pastors are wearing these days.

He laughed, but I sensed something about him that wasn’t right. Oh, he was smiling, and seemingly happy, but I felt this negativity. When he spoke again the pieces fell into place. “I’m a pastor and a Jehovah Witness.”

He caught me a little off guard, so I reached into my coat pocket, pulled out one my ‘Trillion Dollar’ tracts, and handed it to him saying, “How would you like a trillion dollars?” When he reached for it, I teasingly pulled it back and said, “But first you have to answer the trillion dollar question.”

“What’s the question?” he asked.

“Are you going to heaven?”

“No”

That of course set off our Biblical discussion. Mario didn’t have his fake bible, but I had my real one with me. When I (lovingly) told Mario why his bible was bogus, he replied, “There are many Bibles written today where men have changed the words or have taken words out.” As he spoke the words it seemed he realized that the negative tone of his remark cast a dark shadow over his JW translation, so he changed the topic.

We probably spoke about 20 minutes. I brought him to places in the Bible, but Mario wasn’t going to budge off his false doctrine, so I told him it was probably best we end our discussion. It was a friendly separation, but nevertheless I was saddened by how deceived this man is and also that he is leading sheep astray in the same station as me. The Bible montage (above) about Heaven is for Mario–If he continues down his path, his remark about not going to Heaven will be quite prophetic.

Millie

I played about another hour before packing up my guitar and leaving. As I walked to my car I was drawn to the bench where Millie was sitting. “Wanna answer the trillion dollar question,” I asked as I handed her and the guy sitting next to her, one of my tracts.

“Sure,” she said, “What’s the question?”

So I asked her if she was going to Heaven and she replied that she probably was not. Joe said he probably was because he was a good guy. Meanwhile, Millie told me the gospel message from memory, but she hadn’t yet received Jesus as her Lord and Savior. By the time we had parted ways, Millie did receive Jesus – praise be to God.

Then Things Got Ugly

As we chatted some more I revealed that I used to be a cop in the town where she lives. “Oh, what’s your name,” she asked. When I told her, her countenance dropped.

“I remember you now. You once arrested my son; you tackled him in the street and held a gun to his head. I’ve got it on tape.”

Umm…

I told her I didn’t remember doing that, but if I did I was sorry it happened.

“Anyway,” she said, “I forgive you; I am a Christian now!”

Praise be to God!

Joe

“So Joe, how bout you, do you wanna accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior,” I asked?

He said that he wasn’t ready, but he would read the other tract I gave him (with the Romans Road on it) when he got to work.

The bus came and Millie and Joe had to leave to catch it.

Please Pray

Please remember Mario, Millie, and Joe in your prayers — Mario is deceived, Millie is a new believer, and Joe is somewhere in the middle.

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:37-38

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Rob Bell is a Universalist

I just heard him say it on the ‘Live Stream‘ (recorded) of his ‘Love Wins’ interview. When asked if he was a universalist, BELL said, “No, if you mean by universalist there is a giant cosmic arm that sweeps you in (to heaven) whether you want to be there or not…(but) if you mean…all sorts of people (religion/beliefs) who want to be there, (then) yes.”

He said yes.

Bell then manipulates the words of Christ to say that Jesus would agree with his preposterous statement, saying, “This was central to His (Jesus’) teaching.”

Towards the end of the interview Bell alludes to a Bible passage regarding a gate (to heaven) that has been left open and, “Wink, wink, nudge, nudge,” there’s another way to get into Heaven besides absolute faith in Christ Jesus.

What Bible is Rob Bell reading?

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8-9

There you have it folks, Rob Bell is a false teacher — wildly popular, but nevertheless, a false teacher. The Bible could not be any clearer — only those who believe and follow Jesus the Christ get to Heaven. To make matters worse, Bell claims the reality of a hell ‘right now’ on earth saying, “We see hell on earth all around us all the time.” Later on in the interview he adds, “Hell is real…we see it (on earth) everyday.”

Things might be awful (at times) Mr. Bell, but this is NOT hell.

Later on, an audience member (a pastor) was confused if Bell meant there was no real hell (not on earth, but a place of condemnation), and Bell completely side-stepped the question, only making a reference to his ‘hell on earth’ conception (Bell took a moment to talk about a group at his church where people can freely discuss their stories of the earthly hell that they have gone through).

The interviewer then puts to Bell the hypothetical scenario that she is an atheist, albeit a ‘good person;’ “Am I going to heaven?” she asks.

Bell answers the question by proclaiming, “The essence of His (Jesus) Gospel is, ‘Trust Me, I’ll take care of it.'”

He adds, “Jesus is exclusive,” citing John 14:6, where Jesus says, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,’ but then says that Jesus is also inclusive (speaking for Jesus now), “Be careful, I’m doing something for everybody.”

That’s heresy folks — he essentially just called Jesus a liar.

The interviewer, a Jew, shares that she is offended by the concept of Jesus being the only way (the mechanism, as she puts it), to which Bell responds that there is a lot of ‘space’ in the Bible (unsaid things) where (the implication is) we can fill in the blanks.

It seems apparent that Bell spends more time reading the white parts of the Bible then the black parts.

Bell is then asked if it is works or grace that gets a person to Heaven. Amazingly (and inaccurately) Bell responds, “Ultimately, we’re all okay.”

When asked why others thinks his latest book is so controversial, Bell says, “As soon as you say to this little club, the orthodox ones, ‘I think it (the path to salvation) might be a little wider than that,’ you’re threatening whole systems…the Christian (path) is wide and leaves lots of room for variant perspectives…it’s very diverse and wide.”

Not according to my Bible…

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

Bell then said that the way the Christian thinks and the way that he lives, that’s the good news (the Gospel). No it’s not. The Gospel message is all about Jesus, His dying on a cross for our sins and His resurrection–it has nothing whatsoever to do with what we do and everything to do with what He did!

Finally, another member of the audience raised yet another question about hell. Bell puts forth a scenario where a person (at an altar call) rejects an offer to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and then leaves church and gets run over by a car. Bell says that its a common belief that God would then condemn that person. He adds that if this were true and if God were a man, “We would have Him arrested,” implying that a loving God would never do such a thing.

Folks, I didn’t want to watch this interview. I already sensed that Rob Bell was a liar and a false teacher, but in fairness, I had based my opinion on what other scholars had said about him. I thought it was best that I check it out for myself. So I did.

Bell’s own words condemn him.

Don’t take my word for it, watch the interview yourself HERE.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

I would recommend that we shun Rob Bell. His teachings and his books have no place whatsoever in the Christian realm or the body of Christ, His church. Ignore him and pray for him.

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

What is repentance, why is it important, and who preached on the topic?

Webster’s 1828 records that, “Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.” I would agree, but add that cessation alone is not enough; one must turn away from sin and turn towards Jesus. Quite frankly, if you have no intention of believing in Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you might as well just keep on with your abhorrent behavior.

When Holy Spirit conviction gives birth to Godly repentance, the recipient knows full well that a life or death situation exists. To purposely disregard this divine directive is to set a soul on a hellish spiral. The fanatical Christian with his, “REPENT or GO TO HELL” sign might be a little short on love, but his information is nevertheless completely accurate. I suspect that a believer walking more closely with Jesus would not be as harsh, but hopefully would get the same point across.

Who in the Bible preached the need for repentance? Well here’s the short list:

John the Baptist

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’” Matthew 3:2

Jesus

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

The 12 Disciples

So they (the disciples) went out and preached that the people should repent. Mark 6:12

Peter

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

Paul and God

Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious…Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” Acts 17:22 + 30

What does true repentance look like? According to the scriptures three characteristics will be apparent. First, there will be Godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:9-10), second, there will be humility (Luke 18:9-14) and finally there will be the obvious rejection of the former ways and the turning to God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). These three attributes reflect a godly change of mind, of heart, and of will. Soon after, there will be fruit!

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses to all these things.” Luke 24:45-48

What are your thoughts?


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight– That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Psalm 51:4

This is one of those verses that I always use to struggle with. The Psalm was written by David concerning the incident he had with Bathsheba, her husband Uriah, and the confrontation afterwards with Nathan the prophet. As a result of the incident, Bathsheba became pregnant and Uriah was murdered. So when we read David’s declaration to God, “Against You, You only, have I sinned,” some folks wonder, “What in the world is going on; what about Bathsheba and poor Uriah?”

It’s here that some pastors teach that Bathsheba was partially at fault for bathing nakedly on the roof, the implication being that she knew exactly what she was doing. I might agree with that, but we must keep in mind that the text doesn’t say that’s what she did. Frankly, it’s unfair to place any guilt on Bathsheba’s head [regarding what happened that day], because the Bible does not provide us with that information. Her guilt [if any] is speculation on our part.

And what about Uriah? What part did he play; can anyone say he is partially at fault for his own murder? You would probably agree that it would be a stretch to make that accusation.

Or Would It?

The truth of the matter is that while we don’t have any evidence to link Bathsheba and Uriah to the crime, [thus making them the clear victims], they are not innocent. What do I mean by that? I mean that while they did nothing (apparently) to bring about David’s sin, they themselves are still sinners. Fact is, we’re all sinners from the moment we are conceived. Later on in this same Psalm, David points that out.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.. Psalm 51:5

So what is David actually saying when he boldly declares to the Father, “Against You, You only, have I sinned.”

David is acknowledging three things. First, that crimes are committed against the innocent. Second, that nobody is completely innocent except for God. And finally, only the innocent (in this case God) can declare judgment.

There is none righteous, no, not one …They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Romans 3:10

But wait you say, “That’s not true. I went to court and was judged for an offense and that judge (according to what the Bible says) was not innocent!”

True, but the ruling of that judge was not to condemnation. In other words, that judge (no judge) can say, “Bailiff, take that man directly to Hell!” Read the verse again.

Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight– That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Psalm 51:4

The key point David is making is not that his sins are against God alone, but rather that because of God’s perfect innocence; His perfect blamelessness, He alone is just to speak and impose punishment. Bathsheba, Uriah, Nathan, or anyone else for that matter ~ because of their sinful condition ~ cannot judge another unto condemnation. Let’s face the reality of Uriah’s death—because he was born a sinner, he deserved to die.

There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? James 4:12

WHAT?!

Am I saying that David had the right to murder Uriah? Not at all. I’m saying that we’re all sinners and we all deserve to die. Thankfully, and graciously, Jesus stepped in and paid the price for our sin and died in our place. All anyone must do is believe in Jesus and what He did on the cross.

For the Lord is our Judge, The Lord is our Lawgiver, The Lord is our King; He will save us Isaiah 33:22

There is only One who has both the power and authority to judge and the power and authority to save. David recognized this, pleaded for mercy before the Judge, and received it. What about you—do you recognize Jesus as the only One who can both judge and save?

What are your thoughts?


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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I write about Jesus and the Christian walk. But if I want a lot of visitors, all I have to do is mention Oprah Winfrey, abortion, homosexuality, or for some strange reason, saxophones. It just goes to show ya that sin is more attractive to sinners than righteousness is. Oh well, be that as it may, today…I got nothin.

I woke up this morning, did a little ministry work and a little worship, but I never got around to opening the Word. As a result, there is no blog today. I was planning to unravel Psalm 51:4, but maybe I’ll get around to it tomorrow or Thursday.

Here’s the verse:

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest.

What are your thoughts on the verse?

If you give me something good (and brief), maybe I’ll use it.

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Overcoming The Times

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Whosoever Believeth in Him

Whosoever believeth in Him (Jesus Christ) should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Dedicated 2 Jesus Christ and Jesus said, Take Heed that No Man Deceive You

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

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