Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

I got the love of woodworking from my dad. He was not a skilled carpenter by any stretch of the imagination, but he enjoyed making things and I enjoyed making things with him. He would put on some work clothes and then make the announcement:

“I’m going out to the garage to do some work, if anyone wants to help me!”

I always jumped at the opportunity.

It’s not that I was ever much help, but my dad would let me hammer a couple of pieces of scrap wood together, or try my hand at sawing a 2 x 4 in half (no power tools, of course). It was during one of these sessions my dad gave me my first hammer, a hammer I still have today.

I’m so glad that I never missed the signs: his donning of work clothes, the house-wide announcements, or coming home to the sounds of construction coming from the garage. I could have ignored those signs and our father-son relationship would be still be intact (my rejection would not affect dad’s love for me), but at the end of the day, he would be working alone.

So it is with God.

Our Father in Heaven also gives us signs. He doesn’t need us, but He wants us to be a part of what He is doing. Sometimes we’re too busy to notice them and other times we outright ignore them. It doesn’t mean we’re not saved and it does not affect His love for us, but we will have missed a valued chance to work with and learn directly from the Father, and I suspect that saddens Him.

Signs. Look for the signs.

It shall be when these signs come to you,
do for yourself what the occasion requires,
for God is with you.
(1 Samuel 10:7)

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As much as we might want to identify with people (friends or family) in the unbelieving world, they will never fully accept us unless we abandon or compromise our faith. If and when we do exercise our spiritual values, it brings conviction, and they often distance themselves or disown us entirely. In thinking we can find common ground through compromise, we are the ones who are fooled.

Lot is our example.

In Genesis 19, he begs for the lives of two angels quartered inside his home, “Please, my brothers,” he begged, “don’t do such a wicked thing.”

“Stand back!” they shouted. “This fellow (Lot) came to town as an outsider (an alien), and now he’s acting like our judge! We’ll treat you far worse than those other men!”
(Genesis 19:7 + 9)

Lot calls them brothers, thinking them his friends, but they call him an alien.

So it is when we are friends with the world in a compromising manner. When that moment of clarity comes and we attempt to regain our spiritual footing, we will be summarily rejected. Truth be told, we ARE aliens and we should never pretend we are something other than that.

“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy…I warn you as ‘temporary residents and foreigners’ (aliens) to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” (1 Peter 2:10-12)

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God’s primary method of communication to His children is through His word, the Bible. Nevertheless, God does speak to us personally. For me God’s voice is not audible, nor does He speak to my heart; God (by means of His Holy Spirit) invades my thoughts, and mostly when I am in prayer or in His Word.

How do I know they’re God-thoughts?

Well for the most part, these thoughts are not something that I would have come up with on my own. My thoughts are typically egocentric, self-serving, and oft-times sinful, while God-thoughts are polar opposites. They are good, perfect, loving, and true.

More importantly, these Divine impressions do not contradict the Word of God, nor do they add or subtract from Scripture.

Thirdly, they must pass the smell test from my brothers and sisters in Christ. If I share a thought (which I often do), the saints will be quick to point out a Biblical error or proffer an appropriate ‘tweak’ so that the message is properly conveyed. If we’re not willing to submit to peer-review, our thoughts may not be of God.

Finally, it has to pass the T.H.I.N.K. test:

T: is it biblically TRUE

H: is it HELPFUL
K: is it KIND

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Do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man — Proverbs 3:1-4

There is no sense in rehashing all that’s been said regarding the Duck philDynasty, Phil Robertson, and A&E debate. If by some chance you don’t know what the fuss is all about, just Google the last half of the previous sentence and you’ll be up to date. What I wanted to address is how this event is going to effect your faith walk. In other words, what can we as followers of Jesus Christ glean from our brother Phil? I believe the answer to that question is found in the following sentence, spoken by Phil Robertson in a recent prayer.

“I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions.” 

I’d like to share with you what I took away from this historical event (yes, I said historical) and of course, preface my remarks (as Phil did), with the Word of God.


Since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech — 2 Corinthians 3:12

Anyone can be bold. Boldness is a unique trait in that it requires fuel to function. What is fueling your boldness? Is it arrogance, anger, or hatred? They can fuel boldness, but when they do they manifest themselves in ugly ways, such as ‘Westboro Baptist‘ rallies that only succeed in spewing the very things that sustain them: arrogance, anger, and hatred.

Not so with Phil’s example. His boldness is fueled by his hope in Christ. Oh not a worldly version of hope; the wishing for and yearning, without certainty or assurance of getting that which you ‘hoped’ for. No, a Christian’s hope is much different. It can be described as a strong and confident expectation. We know, based on the past performance of our Lord and Savior, that He will faithfully provide everything He has promised. Jesus isn’t our insurance policy, He’s our assurance, positively.


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes — Romans 1:16

Phil is quite obviously not ashamed of Jesus Christ or his faith. This is apparent because he openly shares about Jesus on a regular basis. There are no apologies either, because there is this recognition that when Biblical truth is shared, there exists the opportunity for salvation. Phil would likely remind us that saving a man’s soul trumps everything else.


Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth — John 17:17

Bible truth will always be perfect, proper, and pure. Some folks might not agree that the Bible is truth, but that does not negate the fact that it is. Jesus said that He is truth and that obedience to truth is the only way that leads to life everlasting. When Christians share the truth, we don’t do so to win debates, but to win souls. For this reason we must leave our opinions at home and rely solely on the Word of God, lest we muddy the waters.


For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith — Romans 12:3

Obedient Christianity cannot operate effectively in arrogance. Anyone who took Phil’s comments to be arrogant surely took them out of the context of love and lowliness he presented them.  For this reason, knowing the Gospel message and sharing our testimonies are vital. The Word mirrors God’s love and our witness reflects servility.


Let all that you do be done in love — 1 Corinthians 16:14

If we hated those who hate Jesus, Christians would remain quiet, but it’s because we love that we boldly share the truth. We view communication as an expression of love and silence as the language of hate. Silence is also cowardly; if we hated sinners, we would not subject ourselves to ridicule, insults, and exclusion. We love because Jesus first loved us to salvation; we were hopelessly lost when Jesus reached out His scarred hand to us. We were dead in our sins and Christ’s work on the cross revived us. It’s our desire to share, not shatter.


If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land — 2 Chronicles 7:14

Here’s the sad truth: the Body of Jesus Christ, His church, has by in large fallen asleep. Don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of Christians across this great land of ours who are boldly, shamelessly, lovingly, and humbly sharing the Gospel message. But friends, there are literally millions of people in America who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior who sit idly by. In love, I question their allegiance.

Consider that on September 11th, many souls were aroused and we gathered in the public square professing Christ’s name, crying out to Jesus in our anguish, but we soon relapsed. Since then we have witnessed hurricanes, wars, mass-shootings, and bombings that have brought us back to our knees, but again, when there were signs of recovery, we fell back.

We properly rallied around Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A, buying many knickknacks and chicken sandwiches in support, but yet again we slumbered. Now today, God has allowed yet another event to occur that has caught our attention. In peculiar fashion, American Christians everywhere have become part of reality TV when we opted to stand with Phil Robertson and his right to speak openly about Jesus Christ and all things Biblical, but where will we be standing next week?

Are we poised to fall away once again or this time will we put a death-grip on our revival? Will we embrace boldness and love or return to complacency and compromise? How soon will we forget that thousands of souls are being lost everyday and that God has positioned each of us to make a difference. I submit to you that this is the biggest thing we can take away from the Duck master episode.

Be ye revived!

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14

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For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

Persuading Others

This clip reminds me of the coming judgment.  Did you know judgment is coming? Did you know there are two separate judgments for two separate groups of people? When you mention biblical judgment, many people think of the Great White Throne judgement (although they may not know that is what it’s called). You should know that if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, this is not the judgment that you will receive.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

Perhaps you have heard it said, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess.” Well I believe this will occur at the White Throne Judgement. Everyone who stands before Jesus on that day will bow and proclaim that Jesus is Lord, but sadly, it will be too late for them.

Not so for you, Christian.

Your name is written in the book of life, therefore, you aren’t going to hell. However there is another judgment spoken of and believers refer to it as the Bema Seat judgement. I’d like to say it’s more akin to an awards ceremony for Christians, but I don’t believe that’s a fair assessment, despite the fact that there will be awards (crowns) presented.

The Apostle Paul speaks of that judgment day:

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Bema Seat

While searching for intelligence on the Bema Seat judgment, I happened upon these two paragraphs from the ‘Got Questions.org‘ website. Frankly, it was easier just to cut and paste their explanation, then to re-absorb the data and put it into my own words.

They say (and I concur):

Romans 14:10-12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…so then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In the context, it is clear that both scriptures are referring to Christians, not unbelievers. The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the judgment seat of Christ.

At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27;2 Timothy 2:5). Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27;2 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:5,2 Timothy 4:8,James 1:12,1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10.James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

What does any of this have to do with the Schindler’s List clip?

Glad you asked.

Well first it reminds me that I can always do more. And just so we’re clear, I’m not referring to a ‘in-my-own-flesh’ kind of approach (Heaven forbid). No, I’m talking about in an ‘obedience to the Holy Spirit’ way.

Looking back over my [personal] Christian history, I know my stewardship-efficiency-ratio (SER), if there is such a thing, has been substandard. I’m not comparing myself to anyone else; I perceive because the Holy Spirit has revealed it. So at this juncture please do not accuse me of that, or worse, of beating myself up over my past. That is not what I am doing. I am merely reflecting upon my past in order that I might do better; that I might learn from my mistakes. I fully understand that I will fall short in the future, but it is my desire (placed there by God), to improve my performance, knowing full well I’m not earning my salvation, for that is a done deal, all praise be to Jesus.

schThe video clip also reminds me that there will be tears in Heaven. Just like the movie portrayal of Mr. Schindler, when the Heavenly books are opened and I see all that I’ve done in Christ’s name compared to what I could have done, there will be great remorse. Oh, I’m still going to Heaven, but this revelation will be gut wrenching. The only question that remains is,

“How gut wrenching do I want it to be?”

When I watch the movie clip, that’s what goes through my mind.

Heaven’s Gate

I envision it all going down like this:

I stand before the Bema Seat and watch in astonishment as most of my works burn-up before my eyes; praying, hoping that something survives the furnace. Sweat pours down my face, but it’s not due to the torridity of the blaze. Then Jesus turns to me and opens the book and shows me all the opportunities I’ve willingly and knowingly squandered. I want to protest and defend myself, except, “But, but, bu…” is about all I can say. Then it happens: perfect realization.  It will be the first time that the word perfect will be applicable to me, for with perfection I will fully understand how I quenched the Holy Spirit so much more than obeyed Him. With that, the tears will begin to flow and I sense this sobbing will be truly uncontrollable. There is no time in Heaven (so I have heard), but I picture this examination going on for decades, as every second of my Christian life is replayed with not one event being omitted.

Finally, mercifully, this occurs…

God (wipes) away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:4-5

Then I hear these words…

‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Matthew 25:23

Hearing this pronouncement, I want to cry again, but I can’t! There is abundant joy and crying is now impossible for me!

I’ve made it home!

So why do I fret over a silly video clip? Well I’m not fretting over it, it merely serves to remind me that Jesus has work for me to do, or more accurately, Jesus has more work that He wants to do through me. The Holy Spirit, working somehow through the clip, prompts me to be tuned-in to His will, submitted and obedient to all this Kingdom stuff that’s going on.

I was thinking that you might want to be tuned in as well.

When the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.1 Peter 5:4

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“I (Jesus) warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

Current Events

This post comes on the heels of an incredible remark proffered by Pope Francis in an open letter to the founder of La Repubblica; a newspaper in Rome, Italy. The Pope’s opinion (below) falsely implies that people don’t have to believe in God in order to get to Heaven.

Francis wrote:

pope“You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience…Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.” 

The fact remains that there is nothing found within the canon of Scripture that remotely suggests that faithless-ness will get you to Heaven. The Pope’s commentary brings into question what is needed to correctly interpret the Bible.  While researching the matter, I discovered a post compiled by Ron Rhodes and Richard Anthony on this very issue. These men logged some specific points that aid the Bible student or teacher in properly interpreting the Bible, although I am not dogmatic about this being an exhaustive list. Be that as it may, I agree with the points they’ve  raised.

#1 Dependence upon the HOLY SPIRIT

There are portions of the Bible whose meaning are clear, even to the unbeliever, while others portions require the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit. Regardless, without the Holy Spirit there is a certain risk that even the simplest of passages will not be applied appropriately. We see this over and over again when non-believers attempt to quote Bible passages to bolster their particular opinions or their own personal agendas.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-1

#2 Definition

What are the definitions of the words being used in the text? Good bible interpreters define the terms and then keep to the terms they have defined, understanding that oft-times word meanings change according to the context of which they are used.  It is for this very reason some texts are a challenge to interpret, resulting in disputes that have lasted thousands of years. However, often times these debates are not over critical doctrines such as salvation in Christ Jesus, but other issues that may not be relevant to the basic doctrinal truths ALL Christians must adhere to.

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

# 3 Usage and Context

Although the entire Bible is applicable to all people of all times, the Old Testament and New Testament were written for all mankind, but also to specific people groups at specific times. When we look at Mosaic law for example, we understand that these rules were implemented for the nation of Israel as a way for them to maintain their holiness (i.e., their set-apart-ness to and for the Lord). So while we’re not tied to them in a legal sense, adhering to them might be considered sensible.

Jesus spoke of our taking His yoke upon ourselves, so while we immediately think of the device that join two oxen together for plowing, it’s understood that yoke [here] means to be under a rabbinical teaching.

Contextually, we must examine how one bit of Scripture lines up with similar passages. We should remember ahead of our Bible studies, that God cannot lie, He will not contradict Himself, and that He is a God of order, not disorder.

Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might[e] have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:17-18

#4 Historical Background

It helps to know our history and the cultural realities in operation when the texts were recorded. For example, when we’re told by Jesus to “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s,” and later on to ‘submit to the authorities’ placed over us, it helps to know that Jesus was making reference to one of the world’s most brutal dictators. Or when Jesus met with the ‘woman at the well,’ it helps us to understand how woman (even adulterous women) were regarded in the times of Jesus. In both these instances, it’s not the application of the teaching that necessarily changes, but the impact of the message.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

#5 Logic

Does the interpretation make sense? Would a reasonable person come away with the same understanding? More importantly, does the general consensus of the church, particularly those mature in the faith, agree with the interpretation, or is this something ‘new’ that no one else has stumbled upon before. Beware of those interpretations.

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

#6 Inference 

An inference is a fact reasonably implied from another fact or group of facts. Jesus used this rule when He proved the resurrection of the dead to the unbelieving Sadducees in Matthew 22:23-33.

The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.” Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

#7 Literary Genres

The Bible contains parables, teachings, poetry , prophesy, and history. While all of these contain truth, not all the words expressed are to be taken literally all the time. For example, when Jesus said He was a door, He was not speaking literally, but figuratively. Having said that we do know (contextually) that Jesus was literally saying that He is the only Way, hence a ‘door’ to salvation.

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

John 14:6 brings us back to where this blog started, for it unquestionably cripples the Pope’s false conclusions in the newspaper article. chooseThis is why it is critical that every commentary we read about Jesus and His word, every Bible lesson we’re taught, MUST BE Father-filtered. No longer can we assume, “Well, he’s the Pope,” or, “he’s a famous TV preacher, so he must know what he’s talking about.” The evil one is hoping that we will buy into anything that tickles our ears. Don’t be foolish.

For this reason you must know your Bible and for this reason Christians have been called into discipleship.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

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The following passages would have been a part of my Bible study on September 11, 2001

” Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah You love all devouring words, You deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy you forever; He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, And uproot you from the land of the living.” (Psalm 52:1-5)


“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no *God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon God? There they are in great fear Where no fear was, For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you; You have put them to shame, Because God has despised them.”
(Psalm 53:1-5)

*Please take note…

Some will read Psalm 53:1 and protest that Muslims do believe in God. Yes they do. But please know that the god of Islam is a false god. The false prophet Mohammad worshipped a moon deity and took the God of the Bible and perverted Him into a god that does not exist. It would be like me saying, “Mohammed was a woman dentist.” That’s just not true.

Pray For Our Enemies

oneWe can debate it all we want, but praying for our enemies is what Christians are commanded to do. Does this mean we cannot defend ourselves? No, that’s not what it means. We’re called to love our enemies too, but again that does not mean we’re to be defenseless.  So love and pray!

What then should we pray?

That Muslims would come to know the One true and Living God, and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is their only hope (and our only hope) for peace. And please don’t say this will never happen, for it will happen. It is happening. Thousands of Muslims; millions of Muslims have come to know Christ Jesus in a personal and saving way! Be persistent in prayer. The Jesus that went to the cross for your sins went to the cross for their sins too.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

I understand that’s a tough message to swallow on 9/11.

Do it anyway and bless God.

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And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:46

Heaven and Hell

What do we really know about these two places called Heaven and Hell? The Bible has much to say about each, but at the end of the day we truly don’t know a whole lot. God has provided us just enough information whereby an intelligent person would choose the place where God dwells over the place where He dwells not. I raise the signissue here, because it came up once again in a discussion with a non-believer. “The God I believe in is not mean,” our dialogue began, “God allows everybody into Heaven.”

To refute that claim, I pointed out that if God were mean, He would send people to Hell. However, that’s not what He does. Our God is loving! So much so, that He sent His Son as our surrogate. Jesus stood in our place — in the place of all sinners, so all could be saved from a horrible fate. There is but one string attached; a scarlet thread as it were — the sinner must believe this to be true. To deny the Son is to deny the only solution the Lord will ever offer. Rejection, not God, is what dispatches a man to Hell.

I went on to tell him how God’sone solution is the most loving gesture. Can you imagine, I told him, how confusing it would be if God had proffered just one more option in addition to Jesus? Making a decision for Christ is hard enough for most folks. Adding a second or a third choice would only serve to muddy the waters and create intense havoc. Point of fact: this is precisely where satan enters the picture, for in his attempt to usurp God’s authority and simultaneously destroy humanity, he has introduced into various cultures thousands of ways to be saved — all false, all deadly.

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

God kept it simple. His remedy, His fix, His counteractant is obvious.  It’s as plain as day and night, light and darkness, good and evil: receive the Son and be saved eternally — reject Him and be lost forever. No fluff, no gimmicks, no hoops to launch ourselves through. So straightforward and loving! Jesus did the work, do you believe it — that’s it. A yes or a no determines your fate. Don’t be angry that God has given you such a limited offer, but be grateful that He has given you any offer at all.  Think about it — has anger ever led you to a good place? God knows that an intelligent person will choose wisely.

At this point I had to confess that I too had once thought every soul went to Heaven.  As I made this disclosure, it occurred to me why I had held so firmly to that delusion  — to abandon it was to admit that many of my friends and family were in Hell. Somehow, I thought, if I believed my fantasy hard and boldly enough, these loved ones of mine were in a better circumstance. I came to understand that believing and promoting a lie cannot save the dead, but only hurt the living. To my shame, maintaining a myth for my own emotional well-being, was at the expense of those who needed to hear the truth.

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.” Ezekiel 3:17-18

I also had to concede that believing in Jesus did not ease my pain for the lost. My hearts aches. At this juncture I am thankful God has not revealed to us in totality the terror and magnitude of Hell. I’m sure if He did, I would not be able to function as a Christian. The portrait He has painted is sufficient.  The reality that people I know are likely there, compels me to scare the Hell out of those who still have breathe in their lungs. Yes, the love of Christ also strongly compels me, but so does this pain. I have blood on my hands and I do not want anymore.

Do You Believe?

That’s the most important question you will ever be asked. How you respond will alter your eternity. May I encourage you to put all your un-biblical notions and unanswered questions aside for a moment and consider whether or not you are going to Heaven. To begin this journey, trust two things by faith: Jesus is the only way and all these other things will be answered when you believe.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

There is a road that leads to salvation. If you want to know more? Click HERE or ask a question below in the comment section.

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Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:1-5


Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:14

Living Stones – Narrow Paths

Can a  narrow path and a living stone find common ground, and if so, how and where do these analogies merge? Can there be mutuality? Yes! With God all things are possible!  His Word (the Bible) is the contextual masterpiece in which we find cohesion. It’s a tapestry so complex only God could weave it, yet so simple it’s but of a single thread. Our Father has created these beautiful landscapes, whereby His children may prosper and grow — with divine purpose — as they’re submitted to being grafted into the picture by a Loving and Faithful Hand.

Consider this snapshot. If you’re a Christian, it means you’re walking the straight and narrow path. If you’re walking the straight and narrow path, it means someone is in front of you and someone is behind you. If someone is in front lineof you and someone is behind you, it means you’re always a follower and always a leader. The image is that clear.

So it is with our spiritual house, for the living stone (the Christian) is also on a narrow path. We are to be cozied on either side by our brothers and sisters in the Lord. As one stone is positioned, so then is another, and then another. We’re lined-up in accordance to where the Lord has placed us. But Christians take notice: we are not stationary — we are alive. We are by God’s grace moving minerals, breathing boulders, and ready rubble; it’s our God-given nature.  In our redeemed condition, we cannot be inert, immobile, or inactive.

Therefore, let us not be the ones who declare, “I am a leader only,” or “I am but a follower.”  That only serves to distinguish ourselves in such a manner that sets us apart from the other stones, the church. If you find that there’s no one in front of you or behind you, then you’re either off the path or off the wall. In a very real sense, you’re not in the picture.  Oh, that doesn’t mean you’re not saved necessarily, but that you’re not functioning properly.

Jesus is our Leader!

And we are His followers. But take note: Jesus is not on the path, He is the path! He is the rock beneath our feet. This Rock of ours is not a puny pedestal upon which we pontificate, but the pervading platform upon which we proudly ply. Our Jesus is not fallen or fallow — He’s the Living Cornerstone of infinite dimension and we were quarried to be living stones grafted upon this sure foundation. His Holy attributes and accomplished work pave the Way and His perfect example guides us.

And while we could say He is in front of us, that would not be entirely accurate, for our God is not bound by our limited perception. He envelops us inside and out. Look around! Jesus endures in the stone before you and the one behind, while also abiding in you! Fore and aft, this is our Christian posture. We are called to both lead and follow! Never consider yourself so novice that another cannot glean, or so advanced that you cannot learn. The hearer and doer of God’s word is simultaneously a follower and a leader.

We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:14-16

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This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

I am continually using things for purposes other than what they were designed. Hammering a nail with half a brick, cleaning my ears with any sharp object, or my personal favorite — driving my vehicle backwards and slamming on the brakes in order to close the passenger side door or empty the truck bed. It’s no wonder why I have bruised thumbs, infected ears, and dented doors.

Having a Bad Day?

If you are having a bad day, then there is a good chance you’re not using it for what it was intended. Have you ever stopped to consider that God made this day and that He designed it for a very specific purpose? Well He did; and you know what else? He designed you in the same fashion. This day, you, and everything else for that matter, were made by God and for His purpose. Don’t believe it? Check out this verse:

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16

So the likelihood of your having a rotten day is magnified if you are working outside of the will of the One who created it. How can any person possibly feel fulfilled if they are striving to please themselves and not the Creator? Show me an individual who only recognizes God as Creator for one hour on Sunday morning and I will show you a despondent and confused person. Fulfilled Christians are those who are seeking to fulfill the will of Christ Jesus.

Consult Your Owner’s Manual

I once ruined a transmission because I towed a camper that was beyond what the vehicle was capable of pulling. I’d like to say that I didn’t read the owners manual, but the sad truth is that I did read it — I just chose to ignore the instruction that it provided.

The Bible tells us all things, including mankind, were made by Christ Jesus and because our Lord is so loving, so faithful, and so providing, that He gave us an owner’s manual, His Word, the Bible. It stands to reason that if we are not running well; if we are hesitating, stalling, or just stuck in park on the side of the road, then we are not following the instruction He has supplied. Smooth performance comes as a result of operating within the Makers mandated (not recommended) specifications.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

We are blessed by God not for our pleasure, but for His.

  1. Are you depressed?
  2. Have you identified the root causes?
  3. Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior?
  4. What have you done today to satisfy His will?

~ ~ ~

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