Posts Tagged ‘theology’

So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5

A Good Thing

goodThe moment we read a title like ‘Courtyard Christianity’ we tend to think the worst, “Oh great, another dissertation on the reasons why I am a bad Christian,” but that is not the case here. Let me tell you right-up front, if you are a courtyard-Christian, it is a good thing.


It is not the best thing.

Let me explain.

When I think courtyard, I think ‘Tabernacle’; that one hundred and fifty-foot, by seventy five-foot chunk of land set aside as God’s meeting place. A space that you and I might say would be too small for two million desert-roaming Jews, but God might have said, “Don’t worry, it’s big enough; not everyone will be interested.”

Bottom line (and as far as this pertains to the Christian life), if you are in the courtyard of the tabernacle, you are saved. Celebrate! But know this: you can go deeper. Going deeper doesn’t save you; remember: if you’re in the courtyard, figuratively speaking, you are saved.

Sanctuary Christians

There are two types of sanctuary Christians; both are saved, but one is better off than the other. (Please note that I am not saying one is better, but rather that one is in a more favorable position, spiritually speaking). The sanctuary of the tabernacle was the forty-five foot by fifteen foot tent that had two compartments within. The first room of the sanctuary housed the lampstand, the table of show-bread, and the golden censer. If you have left the courtyard and entered this first room of the sanctuary you are in a better place, for you have entered the realm of Christian service.

How So?

The utensils of the sanctuary are symbolic of (they picture) Christian service. A person who trims the wicks of a lampstand is concerned with the light going forth. The one who daily changes the show-bread is interested in feeding the flock. And finally, the one who tends the incense is steeped in intercessory prayer, offering petitions, pleas, and praises as a sweet-smelling fragrance to the Father.

But deeper still are the…

Mercy Seat Christians

maryEntering into the Holy of Holies is to sit at the feet of Jesus. The difference between this best place and the place of service is revealed in the story of Martha and Mary. We know from that account, Mary chose the best seat in the house; the mercy seat. This inner sanctum is the greatest place to be for it is here we are closest to Jesus. And what makes the space so uniquely special is it is a place of refinement and restoration. The veil has been torn, so we should take advantage of the opportunity!

Consider the Ark

The Ark of the Covenant held three things: manna, Aaron’s rod, and the Law; three things that are symbolic of man’s fallen condition. Covering the box (and more importantly these three items) was the mercy seat, symbolic of Christ’s mercy and the covering of our sins. It is in His Holy presence He can do what He desires to do. At this point, we are free to roam and function within the tabernacle!


Simply put, in the tabernacle, all are saved, but perhaps not all are fulfilled. There is always more to be had if the believer is willing; there is always a deeper experience.

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart–These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17

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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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“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

Prayer Warrior

It’s a term we all recognize. I have used it, my pastor has used it, and probably every Christian I’ve been blessed to schmooze with through the years, has used it. We use the expression because it best prayerwarrior7describes the actions of those of the faith who earnestly lift others in prayer; who consistently and persistently go before the Lord with all requests, supplications, intercessions, and thanksgivings, and often time while possessing prayer lists and maintaining prayer logs. They are classified as our  ‘go to’ people within the body of Christ when an appeal, a plea, or petition is desired. That brings me to a twofold question:

“Is the label right (and by ‘right’ I mean Biblical), and is it harmful?”

I’ll explain. First…

Is it Biblical?

The short answer is, I don’t believe so. While there are certainly folks in the church who fit the definition, I’m not convinced God would concur that a special designation is called for. Is being a prayer zealot a gift of the Holy Spirit? If so, I’m not seeing it. The Bible records three main passages regarding spiritual gifts: Romans 12:6-8;1 Corinthians 12:4-11; and 1 Corinthians 12:28. According to the list, we see…

Prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, mercy, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues, helps, governments, and diversities of tongues.

But, I don’t see prayer warrior on the list.

I suppose you could make an argument that tenacious prayer falls under one (or more) of these categories, but I sense that’s when we begin to stretch the doctrine a little too thin. Let’s be honest, prayer is a vital component of each of these giftings, but is not the actual gift.

Is it Harmful?

Yes, I believe it is, and I’ll tell you why — our Father in Heaven desires that we all pray in this manner. Could we really believe that the Lord would want us to delegate our conversation to somebody else; someone who we perceive is better at it then we are? Where in the Bible does God suggest to us to go find a prayer warrior, or even to make a separate distinction? Nowhere that I can find, but I do see this…

“In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” Acts 10:34

Elevating someone to the status of prayer warrior may encourage the believer who happens to fit the mold, but it simultaneously sends an erroneous message that this person is gifted in a way that we are not, and therefore, we have been relieved of this duty. Do we really believe that? Aren’t prayer warriors doing the very thing that we are called to do? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that prayer warriors are obedient, rather than gifted? Finally, should we be seeking out a prayer mediator when the Father has already provided us one?

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” 

Haven’t we also been given a Helper in our pursuit of prayer?

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

Here’s the truth — God desires all His children pray in this manner! The fact that you don’t now is not the point. God never intended that in your discouragement (in this regard) you turn to another Christian, but rather you turn to Him. Therein lies the point!

Look at these directives from God’s word…

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

There is nothing in there that remotely suggests we find a prayer warrior to do this for us.

Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19

Do you see anything in there that implies this is somebody else’s job? Me either. The one thing that does jump out at me [is] that if we’re not praying like this, we’re throwing water on the fire that is the Holy Spirit. That cannot be good.

One more…

“Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:17-18

The Last Word

Try to look at like this — it’s the church (not God) that has created a prayer warrior status. When we serve to encourage others with the moniker, it is a wonderful, Christian gesture, but what we’re really saying (when we use the term), is that we recognize there is a great void within the body Christ that only very few are filling. It might be better to recognize this Christian’s faithful obedience instead. May I suggest that the next time we sense the need to identify another believer in this manner, that we also ask the Lord to examine our own hearts to determine why the title is not befitting for us. The question should not be, “Lord, why am I not a prayer warrior,”  but rather, “Why am I not submitted to Your will in my life?”

Am I suggesting we should not seek out others to pray for us?

Heaven forbid!

We are called to pray for one another. I’m saying that there is not a circumstance to ever shy away from being the type of communicant the Lord wants us to be or to relegate the duty to someone else. God wants to talk with us directly and has fully equipped us to be fervent communicators.

Talk — God is listening.

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Jim-Elliot-and-FriendsJim Elliot, (October 8, 1927 – January 8, 1956) was an evangelical Christian who was one of five missionaries killed while participating in Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Waodani people of Ecuador. He once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” 

So profound.

Jim Elliot wound up being murdered by the very same people he was attempting to share the Gospel with. After his death, and the deaths of fellow missionaries, their wives returned to these jungles and continued the Lord’s mission. As a result, the tribesmen responsible for the murders received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.


When I read Jim’s quote today, the Holy Spirit moved me to consider time. The first thing that crossed my mind is the obvious — it is something we spend regardless if we desire to or not. Time is not a thing that can be hoarded, for it is constantly being taken away. Despite the world’s claims to the contrary, we cannot keep it or save one bit of it. As we reckon and reason with time, the most effective thing we can do with it is first recognize its true owner.

Is it my time, is it the boss’s, is it the spouse’s or the family’s, or is it all really just God’s time?

I believe it is this recognition that will ultimately determine the eternal worth of the time we clockinescapably spend. We’re going to give it whether we want to or not, so should we not capitulate wisely? Before it flies, can we not determine its direction and course?  More accurately, should we not submit to the direction and course our Father wants it to go?

We should submit, and for at least two very good reasons: it pleases the Owner and He is taking notes. In light of how Jesus Christ spent His time on the cross, spending our time wisely is our reasonable service.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

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Please STOP telling people that being a Christian is hard.

If you feel your walk with Jesus is hard or your calling is a heavy burden, ‘you ain’t doin’ it right.’ It was Jesus who proclaimed, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

Take a step back — allow Jesus to search your heart as only He can and trust He will let you know wherein your problem lies. If you’re suffering so, there is a good chance you’re operating in the flesh, and not the Spirit.

Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

dogQuestion: If two dogs have a fight, which one is going to win?

Answer: The one you feed the most.

So it is with the flesh and the Spirit. If we feed to the Spirit, the Spirit wins. If we feed to the flesh, the flesh will win. But what happens if we feed them equally? Frankly, it’s the worst possible scenario — the fight lingers on and on.  This kind of fight is going to be a ‘hard‘ and ‘burdensome‘ match, quite contrary to what Jesus taught us.

Consider what Jesus meant when He spoke these words in Luke 9:23,

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Our daily struggle is between our flesh and our Spirit. For this reason, Jesus reminds us that at the start of each day, we must remember our baptism. That is to say, our flesh was ceremoniously crucified and we now desire to walk in the Spirit. As we daily pick up our cross, we are reminded of at least two very important things: we have reckoned our flesh dead and that feeding a corpse is imbecilic and ill-advised. And lest we forget, the power to achieve this is from God, through the Spirit.

The reality is that those who continue to pronounce that Christianity is a hard discipline and a heavy burden, are likely feeding their flesh far too much or they are having difficulty in distinguishing flesh from Spirit and visa versa. Again, these folks need to stop. The fact that they are saying something converse to what Jesus has taught demonstrates that they are actively feeding their old man.

Listen, we’re all guilty to some degree (again, which is why Jesus wants us to hoist our cross daily), but have we not been taught…

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

If you find this scripture lesson to be a hard teaching or a heavy burden to bear, there’s a very good chance your flesh is sated today. Two things: stop feeding your flesh and stop telling everyone the Christian walk is difficult.

Walking in the flesh is difficult. Period.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent. Revelation 2:5

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“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 10:3)

Sympathy, fervor, passion, or grief, if not inspired of the Holy Spirit, serves only to quench the work of the emoteHoly Spirit. Feelings must not captain our course, as that position (if you are a Christ-follower) has been ceded to Jesus. Emotions must remain those things bared in the wake of obedience to Christ, lest they lead us astray and undermine the truth. Emotions are not bad, they are secondary. For this reason Christians must never go to battle with an effusive guide.

In that light we can more effectively address the following portion of scripture:

“For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:6-7)

We need to back up to the beginning of this chapter to fully grasp what the Apostle Paul is referring to. Starting in verse 1, Paul is issuing a warning to Christian men in particular, but not exclusively, to be on the look out for creeps; that is, those who are not of the Christian faith, who desire nothing more than to destroy the followers of Christ Jesus. Paul then moves forward to describe what these folks typically look like.

Let’s examine their traits:

“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

What does this have to do with being misled by our emotions?

For that answer we need to go back to the terminology Paul utilized in verse 6 where he declared women to be gullible Don’t be offended. Paul is expressing a reality that men must grasp in order to protect women from those who want to creep in and destroy. In other words Paul is saying women are susceptible because they are emotional, or more accurately, apt to be misguided by their emotions. That’s not to say that men are not [emotional], but that across the board, emotionalism is a common enough characteristic of women that makes them vulnerable to deception by the enemy.

With men, the tendency more often is that we succumb not to our emotionalism, but that of our wives. Rather than lovingly correcting them (so as to turn them away from danger), we acquiesce in order to maintain peace or a selfish motive. Paul would have men know that when this occurs, we are the ones in error, not our wives.  The events within the Garden of Eden bear witness to this actuality.

 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Timothy 2:14)

The serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness… (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Sin was imputed to Adam because he knew what he was doing, while Eve was tricked into believing that her sin was no sin at all. That’s significant. Eve was guilty of a sin, but mankind’s fallen nature will forever be attributed to Adam because he knew the truth and purposely ignored it. Faced with a choice, he knowingly and selfishly made the wrong decision; he was not deceived. However, this does not mean men cannot be misled by their emotions.

Case in Point:

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OH).

It has been widely reported that United States Senator, Rob Portman has become a supporter of equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians because he learned that his son is a homosexual. Portman wrote that he, “Wrestled with how to reconcile (his) Christian faith with (his) desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister.”  Previously, as a congressman, Portman had voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act.

We need not look too far to see that emotionalism (or selfish conformation) is likely the cause behind Senator Portman’s decision to change his beliefs in regard to Biblical marriage.  Portman loves his son Will and rightfully so, but he has allowed emotions to get the better of him. Worse than that, he has given emotion supremacy over truth. Misguided by sentiment, Portman has pushed aside God, the inerrancy of His word, his constituents, and yes, even his own son Will, because he now feels it’s the proper thing to do. The Senator has exchanged the truth of God for the lie.

This is the very thing the Apostle Paul is warning us to turn away from. Portman is essentially creeping into our households with an emotional, and now government-backed agenda, while trampling God’s truth with each step he takes. Sad to say, but emotionalists will likely rally around his new-found cause.

Sign of the Times

As we draw closer to the end of a prophetic chapter in history, this bold admonition from the Apostle Paul is most relevant. It should cause every faithful follower to pause and examine their relationship with Jesus Christ, continually asking if they’re being led by the Lord’s Holy Spirit or by heart-felt emotions.

Again, emotions are not evil; they are in fact God-given. However, they are not the vehicle by which Christians are to effectuate doctrine — God has already established a doctrine and it is forever true. Emotions are rather to be the catalyst towards the throne room of our Lord. It is there, with emotions laid out, we seek the Lord’s will in all things. We should not dismiss the love that Senator Portman has for his son. Frankly, his love, commitment, and compassion is admirable and his anguish is palpable, but it’s these very things that Jesus wants us to bring to Him. In this way, as we obediently submit to His authority, His will and truth will preside.

Let’s consider 2 Corinthians 7:10

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Godly sorrow is the kind of emotion that has been saturated in God’s truth. It’s the kind of emotion that says, “I love you son, but it serves no good purpose to lie to you; sin is a sin;” these are the actions whereby a person may be eternally saved. Worldly sorrow is not so. It is void of this truth and as the scripture says, it leads to death. Let us heed Paul’s warning.

The Apostle Concludes:

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (1 Timothy 3:14-17)

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“For (the Lord God) formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)


What part of ‘Thou Shall Not Murder‘ do you not understand?”

I pose this question not to the run-of-the-mill pro-choice advocate, for your problem is much larger than murder — you need to get right with Jesus. Some even suggest that you’re inculpable since you haven’t been born for the second time; that the Holy Spirit has not provided you with a specific-enough discernment equipping you to fully understand that the killing of a blameless, unborn child is a heinous, sinful act unpleasing to the Lord. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but nevertheless I extend this question not to you, but to the Christian pro-choice proponent who has somehow arrived at the false conclusion that abortion is okay. If I may be so bold…

How Dare You!

What gives anyone the right, let alone a follower of Jesus Christ, to destroy God’s marvelous work; a baby that angryGod fearfully and wonderfully made; a child whose days have been written in God’s book before he or she was even born. How dare you presume that you can selfishly murder this infant in the womb. How dare any Christian believe that God would bless murder! I cannot help but think that the born-again believer who murders the most vulnerable and the most innocent of human beings is perhaps the most deceived sinner on the face of the planet. Frankly, I’d question whether of not you even are saved. You should question that notion as well.

To Ponder Upon

If you’re a Christian and you support abortion (murder) as a God-given choice, would you please open your Bible and seek out the answers to these questions:

  1. How is God pleased by these murderous actions?
  2. Where in God’s word does it say murder is acceptable to God?
  3. Where can you find that you have been given special rights to murder the unborn?
  4. Where in the Bible has your choice been given priority over God’s commandments?
  5. What Biblical passages do you commonly use to support your position on murdering babies?

A thousand apologies if you think this post too bold, but I am angered that children are being needlessly fingermurdered (55 million dead so far) by those folks who should know better. I certainly do not hate you, but love you enough to concisely inform you that you are being greatly deceived. This is probably a good place to tell you that I too once endorsed the pro-choice agenda, as a backslidden Christian that is. Oh how I wish some bold and loving Christ-follower got in to my face and told me I was in sin.  I’m not suggesting that my sin is somehow their fault (that would be ludicrous), but rather that a firm rebuke may have gotten my attention before any harm was incurred.

For that reason I’m telling you to please repent, confess your sin to the Lord, turn away from this evil, and turn to Jesus to receive your forgiveness and inheritance. There is absolution for you, but do not continue to manufacture a god of your own liking.  Endeavor to pursue the One and only living God who created you and the unborn, in His image — any god who you would imagine would support murder, is a phony god.

There is no salvation in a false Jesus.

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Jude 1:21-23

I am blessed that you took some time to read the blog. If you were somehow blessed would you please share it, like it, subscribe to it or leave a comment below. If I have angered or offended you, that was not the intent — the purpose was to garner your attention towards the Lord. To Him be the honor, glory, and praise, and to Him we must submit.

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“Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22)

Recently I found myself in the middle of a discussion regarding Carl Sagan, the astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and former host of the 80’s television series called Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.  As a young adult I vividly recall watching these programs and being captivated by what this seemingly brilliant man was teaching. Then something truly astonishing occurred in my life – I discovered Jesus Christ. Actually, Jesus discovered me. I was lost and Jesus found me, cleansed me, healed me, redeemed me, and all of it He did because He loves me.

It took some time, but slowly Jesus began to reveal to me that everything Carl Sagan taught pertaining to the origin of the universe was an absolute lie. Whether Sagan knew it or not (he died in 1996), every word that poured out of his mouth in this regard was demonic; satan’s only purpose being in these matters to convey (by means of imaginative logic), that God is a fairy tale. At this point it almost goes without saying, Sagan did not believe in God. Today, and with all due respect to my fellow-man, I have no use for anything this vehemently anti-Christian and ardent evolutionist had to say .

Back in our conversation, one person had shared that although Sagan was wrong [about God], she saw ‘no contradiction in believing in evolution as part of God’s plan‘ (adding) that my views were only negative. Another person offered, ‘God knows his heart.’  Someone else added, ‘Sagan pointed us to the awe of creation…whether he knew it or not.’ Yet another, ‘God uses you…He can use anybody.’ The dialog ended with, ‘God spoke through a donkey, right?

Back to the Bible

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Clearly some of those notions are flawed, but others don’t seem to be too far-flung. Why shouldn’t we be drawn to the rants of an atheist if he is able to bring our attention to the Creator? Is there any danger whatsoever in cozying up to the likes of a Carl Sagan in order to appreciate that which God hath wrought?  

The short answer is yes, there is a danger.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

First things first — the church is not starving for Christian resources or teachers, so why should we opt for one who ridicules the God of the Bible. Giving atheist Sagan undeserved recognition or portraying him in a positive light, could cause someone (an immature believer perhaps) to stumble. The thought of defending Sagan, or some similar atheist authority, because they’re nice guys with plausible intellect, boggles my mind. Personally, I’d rather defend the position of a brother or sister in Christ, then defend the position of a non-believer, especially one who mocks Christians.

Carl Sagan’s own words in regard to God, the Bible, and Christians:

There is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence…Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy…A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.” [Carl Sagan’s Billions and Billions, page 215, random quote, & Contact, pg 244]

Sagan believed Christians were fanatical nuts, so tell me why we should want to embrace him?

Sometimes Donkeys Do Speak

I recently read an article about a man named John Joseph who, while listening to Bill Maher (a crude, arrogant, atheist comedian), gave his heart to Jesus. So it’s true, God can use anyone He desires, but I hesitate to believe assthat God would recommend ‘atheist Maher’ to John Joseph as a mentor, adviser  or counselor. The donkey as it turns out was just a doltish messenger, but otherwise not a reliable source of information. Having heard Joseph’s testimony, I assure you that when Maher’s name is mentioned, it is not in a positive light. Balaam’s donkey was never lauded as something great — that honor is God’s alone. As Christians, we need to be able to make a distinction between the fool (those who reject God, but otherwise seem okay) and those like us who were once foolish, for whether we realize it or not, our words and actions are being scrutinized.

“The fool (the atheist) has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.” (Psalm 14:1, emphasis mine)

But God has chosen the foolish things (born-again believers) of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27, e. m. )

At the end of the day, a follower of Jesus Christ does not need anyone to point to the Heavens and suggest, imply, or proclaim that, “God did that!”  The Creator Himself has pronounced, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

Let’s leave Sagan and his like for the atheists and let us embrace the Word of God, Jesus Christ, and those who follow Him, lest we be led astray or lead another astray.

If you enjoyed the post please share it on Facebook or Twitter (etc), or like it, subscribe to it, or leave a comment (but be nice). I am blessed that you took the time to visit and read the blog, and I hope you were somehow blessed too.

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“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:5)


This was Christ‘s message to a particular Church, but we shouldn’t err and think that there isn’t an application for the individual Christian as well — this admonition is not something that we can merely lay at the feet of our church leaders, even if the church as a whole has fallen. If that has occurred, then our first response should be to ask the Lord how we have contributed to the problem and how we (through Christ) might set the course straight.

First Works

Gratefully, Jesus already answered the second part of the question — do the first works. That leaves us to ask what are the first works Jesus is referring to? Is it merely that we have fallen out of love with Jesus; or that we have neglected our relationship with our Lord and Savior; or that we have taken our God for granted? The short answer — it’s probably one or more or all of those, but we want to be precise.  The Revelation verse, “Remember therefore form where you have fallen,” implies that the place where we fell is significant; we need to go back to where it happened and identify the problem that caused it to occur.

In regard to the church of Ephesus, we’re told what they were doing right, but more importantly we see how their pursuit of works caused them to ignore the passion; their fist love Jesus. Don’t misinterpret what’s being said — the works of the church are essential, but maintaining a consistent, faithful, and obedient  relationship with Jesus is of utmost importance. If we’re not dedicated to stoking this flame, the fireplace will dwindle to embers. When this occurs, and it typically does for all of us at one time or another, we must think back to the time and place where we were last going full-bore for the Lord, and then determine what work drew us away from our relationship, asking…

What was that holy (or unholy) distraction that loosed our bonds?”

All Aboard!

Imagine for a moment you’re an engineer on a locomotive and it’s your duty to shovel coal into the boiler to keep it steaming. If you should stop, the fire shrinks, the engine cools, and the train slows. The problem is that the train can engkeep going for miles without adding fuel, and we can become so caught up in the momentum of a good work, that we might not notice we’re decelerating. What does get our attention is when the train comes to a complete halt in the middle of nowhere! We scratch our pointy little heads and wonder how in the world this happened. It’s at this venue Jesus doesn’t say, “Start fueling that furnace again!” but rather counsels, “Remember where you have fallen.”  Ultimately, Jesus will have us re-kindle that fire, but first He desires we identify the problem that caused it to go out in the first place, lest we make the same mistake again.

What does it mean, Jesus will remove the lampstand?

First of all, Jesus’s warning to take away His lampstand is not a threat, but a reality. The function of the church corporately, and the divine purpose of the Christian individually, is to go and make disciples to Christ. Everything we do should serve to turn people towards this vocation. We’re to always act as Jesus would expect His followers to act, wherever we find ourselves. That doesn’t mean we’re straightforwardly evangelizing all day long. Our behavior though is to always be Christ-like, our time dedicated to pursuits pleasing to the Lord, submitted to obedience in Christ, and not quenching the work of the Holy Spirit.

If the train we’re on has stopped moving in this manner, then obviously we’re not going anywhere, therefore Jesus has no cause to keep a lampstand (His light) upon a stalled vehicle or vessel. Losing the light is a very bad thing, and it’s definitely something that should be corrected, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a person’s salvation is lost, but rather, it’s indicative of a Christian who is not functioning for the purpose in which he or she was designed.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

What are the first works?

That’s between you and God. I can’t tell you the mile-post where you decided to stop tossing coal into the stove and you probably won’t be able to find that spot on your own. Our hearts, outside of a connection with Christ Jesus, are deceitful, desperate, and wicked. The only solution is allow God access to your heart and trust that every stone will be overturned in His search for the truth. Saying the following verse as a prayer, at least once a day, and as needed throughout the day, will get you going in the right direction.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Then What?

When you find what you’ve been looking for, then stoke the fire! Do the things that by God’s mercy and grace, you get to do. Pray! Worship! Read your Bible! Be in Christian fellowship! Be alone with Jesus! Do whatever He tells you to do and persistently ask for His help and Helper (the Holy Spirit) to accomplish it. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 reminds us to be ready in any season to preach the word. In every secular conversation there’s an opportunity to bring it back to Jesus. Our voice should consistently serve to patiently convince, correct, and encourage others, while keeping a keen eye out for things that are not true.  We might not be evangelists, but nevertheless we have been called to do their work.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ‘ Revelation 2:7

I am blessed that you have taken to time to visit and read the blog. I pray that you too were somehow blessed. If you liked to post please share it, like it, subscribe to it, or leave a comment. God bless!

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For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother. Mark 3:25

What is God’s will for you?

I don’t have any statistics to show you, butWhat is God’s will,’ is arguably one of the most frequently asked questions by Christians, regardless if they are mature believers or young in the faith. It’s a great question to ask by the way, as it hairdemonstrates the disciple’s desire to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, and not the ways of the world or their own flesh. Many who ask the question are looking for a specific directive from the Lord; should I go here, should I purchase that, or should I marry so-and-so. What might surprise you is that finding the answers to those questions, and many more, are found in God’s word. Perhaps I should qualify that last sentence – the answer to any specific question pertaining to the will of God, begins in the Bible.

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

We could really end the post right here, with Matthew 6:33  — seek God first, and in His perfect timing, He’ll provide His response. However we might now ask what it means to seek according to the Bible.

Seeking God’s Will

Here’s a collection of passages from the Bible that are relevant to the subject. It’s not an exhaustive list, but nevertheless, by consistently putting these God-breathed principles into practice, we will situate ourselves beneath the spout where God’s blessings pour out. After all, the best place to seek water is at the water’s source — ascribing to these tenets  puts us in a superior position to receive abundantly from the Lord. Simply put, the closer we are to Jesus, the better we’ll hear what He’s saying.

“Now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.” Romans 1:10

This is as good a place as any to start this quest.  The Apostle Paul prefaced this [Romans 1:10] verse by telling us a little bit about his walk with Jesus Christ and what seeking looks like to him. He begins his epistle to the Romans by telling us that he is a bondservant to Christ. That’s huge. Paul is saying,

I’m all in for Jesus. He is my Master and I am his willing servant. Whatever He says, I am going to do.”

Are you all in?

If you’re not, then you need to know right now, that you’re not going to hear His voice very clearly. Being all in does not mean that you will be perfect. Paul wasn’t perfect and this side of Heaven, neither will you be. But if it is your desire to be perfect, God will pick you up each time you stumble and give you another opportunity to improve. Paul tells us what all in looks like — he was a born-again believer, separated to the gospel of God (not distracted by worldly things), obedient to God and the call He placed on his life, grateful to God, subject to God, and persistent in prayer to God. “Do these things,” Paul might say, “and you’re all in.” Truth be told, you will be doing God’s will also.”

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Whose image are you conforming yourself to: Christ’s or the world’s?

Again, the more we’re in the world and practicing what the world does, the further away we are from the counsel and wisdom of Jesus. Obviously we’re all in the world, but the question  is, how much of the world is in us? How much are we  influenced by television, movies, video games, magazines, sports, fashion, food, and the like?  It’s not my intent to be legalistic, but as a matter of confession I’ll tell you I removed cable TV from my home. I wasn’t watching porn, but what I was watching was not pleasing to the Lord. Furthermore, I gave up an obsession for golf, secular music and media, drinking, gossip, some acquaintances, and a bunch of other unhealthy stuff, not because I was into legalism, but because they were making me deaf. I wanted to hear Jesus better.

Do you?

“Be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” Ephesians 6:5-7

This passage has much to say about our attitude towards God and to those who have authority over us, whether it be a parent, a boss or co-worker, or government official. It begins by reminding children to obey their parents because it’s right in the eyes of the Lord. We’re also reminded that honoring our parents comes with the promise of living well and living long. Additionally, parents are admonished to not purposely aggravate the kids, while at the same time raising them in accordance with God’s teaching. In regard to our employers, we’re to be obedient and sincere in the work that we do for them, not because they’ll like us, or we’ll get a raise, or  maybe some extra time off, but because it’s pleasing to God. If we’re not doing these things, it’s going to interfere with what God is desiring to tell us.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from sexual immorality.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Hopefully you’re already in abstinence-mode, but you need to make sure. What types of imagery do you allow to cross your eye and ear gates? For instance, do you think it’s of no consequence to watch an R-rated movie? Well, it might not keep you out of Heaven, but it will affect your hearing. Jesus wants us to take possession of our vessel and put it aside for His good purposes. If we’re lusting after anything, we’re seeking inappropriately. Christ cleansed us as a major part of His redemption process, and He wants us to stay that way. Dirty ears hinder our hearing.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10-22

This passage is the familiar portion of a larger twelve-verse section that we need to tackle. It addresses how we should live in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ, comfort and edify one another, recognize each other’s efforts, warn others, esteem others, support the weak, and demonstrate patience all the while. We’re to Father-filter everything – if it smells bad (from a Biblical perspective), we aren’t to do it, and if it smells good, we’re to latch on to it. The passage continues — rejoice always, pray always, be grateful always, and above all, don’t reject the work of the Holy Spirit. Don’t snub God! If you do that, you’re essentially sticking your fingers in your ears when He speaks.

“For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” 1 Peter 2:15

Do good?

Yes — do the good things we’ve been talking about. The Bible teaches that in us (that is, in our flesh) nothing good dwells. That’s why we’ve died to our flesh and long to do the good things God has instructed us to do. Why do we do them? Because it’s His will that we do them and we want to please Him! When we do this, our hearing improves, and the reason for that just might be because our behavior has silenced God’s enemies.

“For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:17

Are you suffering any kind of persecution for actively and obediently walking with Jesus? Are you teased or mocked when you share your faith? Have you ever been told to stop? Have you ever been arrested, beaten up, stoned, or martyred? Good! Keep it up! It demonstrates that you’re doing something right. If you should ever stop ‘acting like a Christian,’ because of these things (aside from martyrdom of course), you’ll notice that your ability to hear God has diminished.

“Stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”  Colossians 4:12b


Is that too much to ask for?

We’ve already established that we’re not perfect, nor are we complete.  But you know what? Technically we’re not saved yet either. What I mean to say is, we are saved (that is, we’ve been pulled into the SS Salvation lifeboat), but as passengers, we haven’t been picked up yet. Does that make sense to you? The same can be said about our health – we are all healed by the stripes Christ sustained on our behalf, but we’re not all healed yet. In one sense it’s ours, we own it, but we’ve yet to catch up to it. We’re healed, we’re saved, and we’re standing perfect, because by His grace we have received it, and we will take full delivery when we cross over to be with Jesus forever.

So what is God’s will?

His will is to give to His children when they ask, to reveal Himself, to judge the secrets of men, to destroy those who defile, to bring us home, and to dry our tears. Follow Jesus closely, and when you have a specific question regarding His will for your life, you’ll hear His answer. As I said at the beginning, this is not an exhaustive list. The overall theme I was hoping to convey can be summarized in one word — obedience. If it is our desire to be obedient to God in all things, especially those directives revealed in His word, then we will be well on our way towards recognizing the voice of God when He speaks.

This is God’s will for you.

Did you enjoy the blog? I am blessed that you stopped in to read it and I pray that you were blessed as well. If you liked the post, please share it, like it, subscribe to it, or leave a comment. God bless.

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