Thursday, September 4, 2008


Hope and Holiness and Ethics in our world today

"There's a storm out on the ocean, and it's moving this way.If your soul's not anchored in JESUS, you will surely drift away." Words from an old song. We serve a holy God, and He wants us to be holy too.

1. Basic message of Hope!

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17

"By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:13-16 [love = agape - the kind of love God has for us.]

a) Are you stretching far enough? We are indebted to the world to bring not only the message of God but also an encounter with God. There is no better way to do this than to live a holy lifestyle ourselves as we serve people with the delivering power of Christ's love.

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:14-15

"for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:" Acts 17:23

"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent," Acts 17:30

b) Cleansing the Body first. Spiritual lather isn't just to stir hunger and excite the spirit, but to propel us toward cleansing. If you're not willing to be cleansed, soap is pointless.

"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:16-17

c) Where is the fruit? In the NT fruit is almost always personal holiness. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Gal 5:22-23

2. Dying in the Lord.

a) "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." Rev 14:12-13

"and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels," 2 Thess 1:7

b) Righteous by faith - trusting in God and walking with Him.
We sing: "Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe! Sin had left a crimsons stain, He washed it white as snow."

"who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," Heb 1:3

"just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." Romans 4:6-8

"Our nature, as guilt-laden, could not, without our great High Priest's blood of atonement sprinkling the heavenly mercy seat, come into immediate contact with God."—Jamieson- Fausset- Brown Bible Commentary

We sing: "Trust and obey, for there's no other way."

"Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance." Acts 26:19-20

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Hear and Believe - Trust and Obey

"And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." 1John 3:23-24 (NKJV)

And this is his commandment -- singular: for faith and love are not separate commandments, but are indissolubly united. We cannot truly love one another without faith in Christ, nor can we truly believe in Him without love."
—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

1. "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel."

a) God did speak by the prophets. Peter here at Pentecost quotes what God spoke through Joel about what would happen at the right time. This is the Day, Peter was saying. Perhaps 2-million Jews were gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

The prophecy is in Joel 2:28-32.

in the last days -- meaning, the days of the Messiah (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1-2); the final dispensation of God's kingdom on earth.

pour out of My Spirit -- in contrast with the mere drops of all preceding time. upon all flesh -- hitherto confined to the seed of Abraham.

sons . . . daughters . . . young men . . . old men . . . servants . . . handmaidens -- without distinction of sex, age, or rank.

see visions . . . dream dreams -- ways in which the Holy Spirit operated in the Book of Acts.

b) Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Salvation was the result of God's Great Act in Jesus Christ to Save the World. Salvation has been brought down!

"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 (NKJV)

HEAR. "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it." Acts 2:22-24 (NKJV).

BELIEVE. "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear." Acts 2:32-33 (NKJV)

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:36 (NKJV)

REPENT. "Godly sorrow worketh repentance." 2 Cor. 7:9-10. Repent = turn to God, reform. Both their repentance and their confession of faith is implied in what they did in response to Peter's challenge to them in v 36.

CONFESS JESUS. "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Acts 2:37 (NKJV)

BE BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." Acts 2:38-39 (NKJV)

"But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord," Acts 3:18-19 (NKJV)

"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-7 (NKJV)


Cornelius - the Gentile Pentecost

We listen closely to what the Bible says.

"And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God." Acts 10:30-31

" And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning." Acts 11:15

1. The Simple Gospel.

The one practically certain thing about the early Church is that all the Churches, by whomever founded or taught, largely agreed upon the Fact. And they seem to have echoed Paul about the explanation as much as he agreed with them about the Fact (Death, Burial, Resurrection of the Christ). Romans 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:1-4.

a) Peter preached Christ (the Fact) to Cornelius.

"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;" Acts 10:38-40

b) Paul said: "Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." Acts 26:17-18

Paul added: "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:"

2. The Holy Spirit proved that God had accepted Cornelius.

a) "Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" Acts 11:14-17

b) "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 10:45

On the Day of Pentecost those present "heard them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God" Acts 2:11. In the same way here Cornelius and the others spoke with tongues and magnified God. But these are Gentiles who would not have the same knowledge of the Old Testament songs and words.

c) "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

"Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;" Zech. 9:12

d) "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." 2 Cor. 13:14

"The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you." Petersen on 2 Cor. 13:14

"Whoever has 'the fellowship of the Holy Ghost,' has also 'the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,' and 'the love of God'; and vice versa. For the three are inseparable, as the three Persons of the Trinity. [CHRYSOSTOM]—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Saturday, August 9, 2008


LORD, Send Us A Burning Bush

"And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed." Exodus 3:2

"And of the angels He says: 'Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.'" Heb 1:7; Psalm 104:4

Wanted - A Burning Bush
The angel of God appeared to Moses
in flames of fire blazing out of a bush.
The bush was blazing away but it didn't burn up.
"What's going on here? I can't believe this!
Amazing! Why doesn't the bush burn up?"
God saw that Moses had stopped to look.
God called to him from out of the bush,
"Moses! Moses!" "Yes? I'm right here!"
"Hold it! This is sacred sand.
I want your shoes off and I want your head straight.
I AM God! I AM the God of your fathers!
Abraham saw Me, Isaac saw Me, Jacob saw Me,
I AM The Awesome God."
Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God.
"I've taken a good, long look at the affliction
of My people in Egypt. I've heard their cries for
deliverance from their slave masters;
I know all about their pain."
"I have a plan," God was saying, "a plan
to set My people free, and Moses - YOU
just volunteered to do the job."
God, speak to me, show me the way.
Lead me in Your paths of righteousness.
Give me a relationship with You, O God.
Blessed be Your Holy Name.
[Exodus 3:2-7]

"There is in every common bush the light of God, and only those who see it draw off their shoes. It is the old story again. God is near, God is in this place, and we knew it not." Boyd Carpenter

1. Moses - two great streams of power.

a) Egypt. "Out of Egypt have I called my son." Matt. 2:15; Hosea 11:1.

b) Hebrew. "Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?" Exodus 2:7

Oh LORD, You are the Great Power!

Matthew 22:31-33 "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine."

2. God shakes His Church by sending Power. Acts 4:23-31

"And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." Acts 4:31 "With great power" Acts 4:33.

"The Spirit rested upon the entire community, first, in the very way they had asked, so that they "spake the word with boldness" (Ac 4:29, 31); next, in melting down all selfishness, and absorbing even the feeling of individuality in an intense and glowing realization of Christian unity. The community of goods was but an outward expression of this, and natural in such circumstances."—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. What does the future hold???

Often we are led through unfamiliar waters, where the course of life is uncertain. Be not discouraged. Faith plans anyway and reaches forward to the goal. Our Father continues to work in our world. "But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." John 5:17

a) Paul said: I trust in the Lord [Phil. 2:23-24].

"Therefore I hope to send him [Timothy] at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly." Phil 2:23-24

He had confidence even when the path of life was not clear at the moment. We "reason after a godly manner" even if our thinking is not precisely correct. Paul placed his plans in the Lord's hands. He wanted God's will to be done - whatever that might be. He joyfully trusted in the love His Father had for him. And so should we.


All of the Dead Shall Rise!

1. A politically correct church.

Sixty yeas ago while in college I had thoughts of going to China as a missionary. But the door was closed against foreign influences. Mau Zedong was in many ways extreme, yet he did some things that were good. He forced the population to learn to read & write. This was so they could read his propaganda, but it enabled them to read other things also. And Mau sent out "barefoot doctors" (we call them PAs) to bring medical care to the countryside.

In 1951, a Chinese man initiated the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, in order to remove foreign influences from the Chinese churches and to assure the government that the churches would be patriotic to the newly-established People's Republic of China. The movement allowed the government to infiltrate, subvert, and control much of organized Christianity. Mau opposed all religions, but Christianity is very tough and resilient. "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Jesus Himself is God The Son, Redeemer, Liberator, High Priest, Sacrifice, Alive Forever, Coming Again.

This year's Beijing Olympics will be very different for many Christian ministries. The Chinese government has placed a ban on foreign missionaries and will only allow Chinese chaplains approved by the government into the Olympic Village. Despite these restrictions, many Christian ministries, athletes and coaches, are preparing to share the gospel in more subtle ways at the Games. Published reports indicate the Chinese government- approved church plans to distribute 20,000 Bibles in English and Chinese to Olympic athletes and visitors. More than half a million people are expected to attend the Games— including 10,500 athletes representing over 200 nations.

Pray God to open a Door by these things. "Then He said to them, 'The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'" Luke 10:2 (NKJV)

2. Essential truth.

Two doctrines the Chinese Government (political church) seem to object to are: 1) the Second Coming of Christ; 2) the Resurrection of the dead. But these are two essential doctrines of Christianity.

a) Christ is LORD and will Come Again with great power and glory.

"But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, 'I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!' Jesus said to him, 'It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" Matt 26:63-64 (NKJV)

b) We are to receive new life.

Paul wrote: "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Cor 15:51-52 (NKJV)

Jesus said: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." John 5:28-29 (NKJV)

"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thess 4:16-18 (NKJV)

c) The Apostles continually preached about Christ's death and resurrection.

"Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.'" Acts 17:2-3 (NKJV)
"Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him....." Rev 1:7 (NKJV)

d) Christ Jesus is the Second Adam.

"For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again." 2 Cor 5:14-15 (NKJV)

We recognize that One Man died for all men. Which means Christ’s death was for all. Verse 15 explains this. All men take part in his death, (but this does not mean that all will be saved). Compare Romans 5:18-21. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

If you take Christ-on-the-cross seriously, you will see that Jesus died for all, Jew and Gentile. If you imitate (emulate) Christ, you will no longer live for yourself, but you will live for Christ. For this reason, you become a Christian by being baptized into Christ’s death. "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses," Col 2:12-13 (NKJV)



Pray for the Olympic Games in China. Pray God will open doors with these. Even in communist China, Christians are quietly sharing the message of Christ behind the scenes during the Olympics. China officially forbids evangelism. But there's not a lot the Government can do against the Olympics just now. Only the Lord knows how many Christians are in China. Estimates are at least 85 million, mostly in house churches.

"There are moments in history when a door for MASSIVE CHANGE opens. It is in these moments that key men and women risk everything to BECOME THE HINGE OF HISTORY. That pivotal point determines which way the door will swing." Lou Engle. It is the Lord's work to CHANGE and TRANSFORM people. But He works through individuals. Some trust Him to the point that they will give themselves and everything to accomplish His Purpose.

What The Olympic Games Teach Us.

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12:1-2 (NKJV)

"To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things which angels desire to look into." 1 Peter 1:12 (NKJV)

1. Olympic Games in Paul's Day.

"By representing them as contestants in a racecourse, surrounded by all the faithful ones referred to in the preceding chapter (ch 11); who, as a cloud of witnesses for the truth, are represented as being also anxious spectators of the great contest for the crown of life. The imagery is drawn from the foot races then celebrated in Palestine, Greece, Italy, and other provinces of the Roman empire." Robert Milligan (Restoration pioneer)

In an outburst of joy the author of Hebrews contrasts the gloom and terror of Law, with the light and liberation of God's faithful people and the vision of the New Jerusalem as the climax of our journey of life. The Olympic Games were in some sense a celebration of humanity and victory.

2. Refined and purified.

"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10 (NKJV) compare Psalm 78:38-39.

"You're standing there, all confident; then, from nowhere, DUCK! - too late, you're flat on your face. All these dark things that suck you in just prove you are human. God's not gone AWOL. HE won't let them turn up the magnetic force of temptation past your personal capacity. You'll be getting drawn in, and HE will make sure there's a door within arm's reach for you to step out of the pressure and keep your integrity. You've just got to use it!" Lacey on 1 Cor. 10:12-13.

"The most eminent of God's saints were the. most afflicted. God leads them by a way they know not (Isa 42:16). We too must look at each trial by itself, instead of taking it in connection with the whole plan of our salvation, as if a traveler were to complain of the steepness and roughness of one turn in the path, without considering that it led him into green pastures, on the direct road to the city of habitation." —Jamieson- Fausset-Brown Commentary

3. Run to win!

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." 1 Cor 9:24-25 (NKJV) [temperate - submits to training and discipline.]

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." Col 3:12-15 (NKJV)

"For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Heb 6:10-12 (NKJV)

"Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:" Heb 10:35-36 (NKJV)

Hebrews 10:35-36 (MsgB) "So don't throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It's still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God's plan so you'll be there for the promised completion."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008



"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

1. Fear is part of our world.

"Troublesome times are here, Filling men’s hearts with fear, Freedom we all hold dear Now is at stake . . ." song #351

F.D.R. used to say: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

"The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion." Prov 28:1

"A Psalm of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalms 27:1

"And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!" Luke 12:4-5

2. This present distress. Paul wrote: "I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress--that it is good for a man to remain as he is:"
1 Cor 7:26

The world was aflame with tribulation as Paul wrote. Events were leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem. God was judging His people Israel. Compare Matt. 23:37-39.

a) No matter what may be going on all around you today, you can still live in peace. The scripture encourages us to not let our hearts be troubled. In other words, don’t meditate on all the negative things in this world to the point that it steals your peace. Compare Luke 21:8-22.

b) If you have fear, worry or anxiety about anything, recognize that those feelings aren’t from God because He has promised to give you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Tim 1:7

3. There is tremendous power in peace.

a) Peace is an attitude. Compare Romans 5:1-8.

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us... But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

b) When you are at peace internally, you can think more clearly. You can hear the voice of God more easily. You’ll make better decisions. Even your physical body responds to peace. The enemy knows this, and his goal is to steal your peace. Satan tries to set you up to get upset. But when you choose to receive God’s peace, then no weapon formed against you shall prosper. You can live in peace, you can live in joy, and you can live the abundant life God has for you.

"for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Romans 16:20

"Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:7-8

"Heavenly Father, thank You for Your gift of peace in my life. I choose to receive Your peace in my heart and hold it close to me always. I receive Your Word as truth and life to my soul. In Jesus’ Name. Amen."

"Oh Lord, I know that You cause all things to work out to the good for those who love you. I love You and I am persuaded that You are working out the details of this distressing situation for my good and to show Yourself powerful on my behalf… confirming Your Covenant with me through Christ Jesus. Therefore, I walk forward in strength and confidence. Alleluia!" (Mark Hicks adapted from Romans 8:28, Romans 6)

Monday, June 30, 2008



When you look at a woven tapestry, you see a beautiful picture. But if you turn it over and look at the other side, you see a jumbled mass of threads. This is a parable. From our side things seem so confused and out of place. But God sees His church, made up of living stones, formed into a beautiful temple which He indwells through His Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).

Pentecost in Acts ch 2 was a celebration of victory. God The Spirit did great things. Yet Satan immediately began his destructive efforts. We find already in New Testament times while the apostles were still living, that the church faced extreme challenges from within. Let’s look at some of these.

Challenge 1. Jesus wore a disguise and was not really flesh & blood.

John says: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." 2 John 7

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:1-4

Challenge 2. Jesus did not really die.

Paul said: "But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block (offensive) and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Cor. 1:23-24

John said: "This is He who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth." 1 John 5:6

Note it was Jesus Himself in the flesh who came by the water of His baptism and the blood of His death. Lacey wrote: Jesus the Liberator - two lasting images: soaking wet at His baptism, soaked in blood at His execution. But HE didn't stop short at the water. NO, HE went through with the Water AND the Blood."

Challenge 3. Jesus was not raised from the dead.

Paul wrote: "Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen." 1 Cor. 15:12-13

Challenge 4. Ignorance of the Holy Spirit.

Paul said: "And finding some disciples he said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' And they said to him, 'We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.' And he said to them, 'Into what then were you baptized?' So they said, 'John's baptism.'" They were then baptized with Christian baptism - water & Spirit.

Paul said: "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." Romans 8:9

Paul said: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Cor. 12:13

Challenge 5. Jesus lived under the Law, therefore we should ignore all that He said.

"God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds..." Hebrews 1:1-2.

Jesus said: "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak." John 12:48-49

Challenge 6. The Old testament should be discarded.

Jesus said: "Then He said to them, 'These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.' And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures." Luke 24:44-45

Paul said: "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." Romans 15:4

The New Testament writers made extensive quotations from the Old Testament as they were led by the Holy Spirit. Note Peter's sermon in Acts 2 and Paul's sermon in Acts 13. The record of our wrongdoings was nailed to the Cross, Col. 2:13-15.

Challenge 7. We can be saved simply by our own obedience to law.

Paul wrote: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

"I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." Gal. 2:21

James wrote: "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10

John wrote: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."
1 John 1:10

Paul wrote: "And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith." Phill. 3:9

Challenge 8. Christian love is not important.

Paul wrote: "For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." Romans 10:2

John wrote to Ephesus: "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love." Rev. 2:4

Again: "And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment." 1 John 3:23

Paul wrote: "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
1 Cor. 13:13

The earliest form of what later became creeds was a set of questions based on Jesus' command to baptize disciples in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). These creeds were staments of The Faith intended to be a shortcut to reaching a true basis of relationship to Jesus. Early Restoration leaders said: No Creed But Christ. No Book But The Bible. No Name But The Divine. And these slogans were intended as a statement of their Faith.

Thursday, June 26, 2008



When Adam was put out of the Garden, he was told that thorns & thistles would grow, but only by hard work would he wrestle a living from the ground. Many of life's problems come under this heading. Flooding, drought, earthquakes, volcanoes, and on and on. We are in a battle for life with Nature. This is going on all around our world. Yet this is part of God's blessings. We struggle, we experience, we learn. But especially we TRUST GOD. Compare Hebrews 12:5-13. We discipline and train our children because we want them to grow up and to succeed in life. So does our Heavenly Father wish us to do so. This is love in action.

RIVER OF MUD - we care because God cares. Churches of Christ are helping in this time of crisis in Iowa and other States. We can help to relieve this great loss. Money can be sent to:

WFR Relief Ministries; White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ; P O Box 35801; West Monroe LA 71294-9951.

Church of Christ Disaster Relief Effort, Inc.; 410 Allied Dr; Nashville TN 37211-3304.
Both are under the direction of elders.

What Do I Do Now? Sorrowing Without Losing Faith.

"The key to being a faithful Christian is not avoiding tests of faith; it is handling those tests appropriately." Andrew Phillips

Three Books stand out: Job, Lamentations; Psalms. Read Job 1:13-22; 2:7-10; Lamentations 5:19-21 Suffering is real, but we reach beyond that. The true answer is to Look to God and His Glory!

1. It is all right to ask questions of God. But it would be wrong to murmur against God.

a) Job’s testing.

"Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips." Job 2:10 (NKJV)

"Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed? Why should a living man complain, A man for the punishment of his sins?" Lamentations 3:38-39 (NKJV)

"Hear my prayer, O Lord, And let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, And my bones are burned like a hearth. My heart is stricken and withered like grass, So that I forget to eat my bread." Psalms 102:1-4 (NKJV)

2. Don't deny God's existence. Job never once denied God's existence. He questioned God's justice and His timing of things, but never the fact that GOD IS.

a) Do not deny faith.

The Book of Job teaches us that when we suffer, there may be reasons behind it that we will never know. Our response should be faith. Biblical laments uphold the importance of faith in Him.

b) Allow emotion and feelings to work through.

Job did not speak for a week. When he finally spoke, his anguish was clear. "Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself?" Job 7:20 (NKJV)

"Oh, that I were as in months past, As in the days when God watched over me;" Job 29:2 (NKJV)

"You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." Job 42:3 (NKJV)

c) Allow events to finish and bring closure.

Our loyalty to God is greater than our loyalty to our friends. But we love God by loving our friends first. However, even though we may overlook their faults (as God overlooks our faults), we may still keep them as friends even while refusing to participate in their mistakes.

"It is not wrong to ask tough questions as long as we prayerfully deal with them through reading God's Word (letting God remind us of His power as He did with Job); praying honestly about our struggles, and asking others for help. If we leave tough questions unresolved, they can chip away at our faith. Biblical laments openly articulate difficult issues, but they do come to a conclusion." Andrew Phillips

"We cannot produce pat answers to solve someone's serious problems in a few short minutes. What we can do is walk alongside our hurting friends during the biblical lament process. That experience will not be quick, easy or simple, but it will bring the comforter and the comforted closer to God." Andrew Phillips

d) Our weakness is God's power.

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Cor 12:9 (NKJV)

"My grace is sufficient for thee. The Lord answered his prayer, not by removing the thorn, but by giving grace to bear it, and by the assurance that Paul's sense of weakness, caused by it, fitted him to receive the divine strength." —People's New Testament, (Johnson's Notes)

It is not wrong to lament and ask questions (but not murmur against God). Lament (sorrowing, grieving, mourning) is part of our life here on earth. But for this process to be healthy, we must follow the biblical pattern.

"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." 1 Cor 12:26 (NKJV)

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15 (NKJV)


Eternal Life In God The Son

"And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." 1 John 5:11 (NKJV)

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." 1 John 5:20 (NKJV)

1. Church is a Family of Live People!

"One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always." A.W. Tozer

a) Jesus gives Life.

"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matt 18:20

"As His name would prove a time to draw together many clusters of His dear disciples, so if there should be but two or three, that will draw Himself down into the midst of them; and related as He is to both the parties, the petitioners and the Petitioned -- to the one on earth by the tie of His adopted flesh, and to the other in heaven by the tie of His eternal Spirit -- their prayers on earth would lift upward through Him to heaven, be carried by Him into the holiest of all, and so reach the Throne. Thus will He be the living Conductor of the prayer upward, and the answer downward." —Jamieson-Fausset-Brown

Compare Rev. 5:8; 8:3-5.

2. First Prayer of the Morning (Baillie)

Eternal FATHER of my soul, let my first thought today be of Thee, let my first impulse be to worship Thee, let my first speech be Thy Name, let my first action be to kneel before Thee in prayer. For Thy perfect wisdom and perfect goodness: For the love wherewith Thou lovest mankind: For the love wherewith Thou lovest me: For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life: For the indwelling of Thy Spirit in my heart: For the sevenfold gifts of Thy Spirit: I praise and worship Thee O Lord.

Yet let me not when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of Thee. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day; Keeping me chaste in thought: Keeping me temperate and truthful in speech: Keeping me faithful and diligent in my work: Keeping me humble in my estimation of myself: Keeping me honourable and generous in my dealings with others: Keeping my loyal to every hallowed memory of the past: Keeping me mindful of my eternal destiny as a child of Thine.

O God who has been the Refuge of my fathers through many generations, be my Refuge today in every time and circumstance of need. Be my Guide through all that is dark and doubtful. Be my Guard against all that threatens my spirit’s welfare. Be my Strength in time of testing. Gladden my heart with Thy peace; Through Jesus Christ my Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

[John Baillie - a Scotsman of the past.]

3. Jesus taught us to say God Our Father

"Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one." Luke 11:1-4 (NKJV)

a) The Holy Spirit’s role.

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11:13 (NKJV)

J.W.McGarvey: "Verse 12 is peculiar to Luke, and in verse 13 Matthew has "good things" where Luke has "Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit is the best of all gifts, being as necessary to the soul as food to the body." —Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus is Himself Paraclete (Advocate 1 John 2:1). God The Holy Spirit is another Paraclete (Comforter/Helper John 14:16; 16:7).

"At a particular moment, and by no means secretly, the heavenly Secret opened upon them, and there was communicated to them, in a rush of wind and a dazzle of tongued flames, the mystery of the Paraclete in the Church. Our Lord Christ had vanished in His flesh - our Lord The Spirit expressed Himself toward the flesh & spirit of the disciples. The Church, itself one of the Secrets, began to be." [adapted from Charles Williams)

Compare Romans 8:8-17; Gal. 4:6; Matt. 10:19-20.

Monday, June 2, 2008


We at the Union Church of Christ celebrate a Homecoming Sunday on Memorial Day Weekend. These are some things from our celebration. R.D.Ice.

PENTECOST REFLECTIONS -- May 11, 2008 was Pentecost Sunday. British teacher N. T. Wright preached that day on "The Stream, the Lake and the River," [Ezekiel 47:1-5] and his sermon ended with this challenge: "The Spirit of God longs to fill the whole earth with God’s glory, and our worship here today is supposed to be a sign and a foretaste and a means towards that end, as we celebrate the glory of Jesus and share in His Spirit and are thereby equipped to pour out, ourselves, from our own hearts, those rivers of living water to a world – God’s good world – which is once again in danger of dying of thirst." Read John 7:37-39. Jesus was glorified in the Cross & Resurrection.

I Want To Know Him!
Paul wrote: "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death..." Phil 3:10

"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 wrote: "By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God..." 1 John 4:2

JESUS is God's PLAN! ALL relates to HIM: Bible, church, forgiveness, salvation, precious promises, hope, eternal life, etc. "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself." Jesus is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." All "authority" and "power" derives from Jesus Christ [Matthew 28:18; Philippians 2:5-11].

Christ is the first priority of the church. Not people. Not ministry. Not growth. Not success. Christ and Christ alone occupies the place of ultimate and absolute priority in the church. If the church is once again to become salt and light to the world, SHE MUST PUT JESUS FIRST! Compare Rev. 2:4-5.

This world is the arena of God's redemptive work through Christ and His One Body. We need to be open to God's power at work among us. For the Brotherhood of Churches of Christ to survive after we older folk are gone, we must pray and work for Revival, Renewal, Spiritual Awakening! We must enlist the young people in the Army of God's Kingdom.

It's all about Jesus!
Everything in all of Creation has
Made By Jesus stamped on it.
And long before Earth's Foundation,
He had us in mind as the focus of His Love.
That we should be holy and blameless
by His Love and Mercy.
He wanted us to enter in the celebration
of the glory of His grace
by the Hand of His Beloved Son.
Christ was the Sacrifice -
His Blood poured out on the altar
of the Cross. We're now a free people -
free of sin & death, penalties and punishment.
It is in Christ that we find out who we are
and what we are living for,
that we should be to the praise of His Glory!
[Eph. 1:3-12; Col. 1:14-22; Romans 8:1-4]

Sometime around 1894, Elder Daniel Austin Preached a Gospel Meeting ( a church-planting revival in this case) in the one-room schoolhouse at the community known as Union. This was on a dirt road, about five miles SW from Philippi, WV. A coal mine & community called Lillian was down the hill at the bend of the river. A number of people lived on small farms on the fairly flat land around Union.

The original deed for the first schoolhouse at Union came from John A. Jones dated April 23, 1873. On December 25, 1918, the Union Congregation of the Church of Christ purchased the "old" schoolhouse in which they were meeting. A "new" schoolhouse had been built across the road and is still standing, although abandoned for some years now.

Elder Daniel Austin preached a number of Gospel Meetings around W.Va. On December 6, 1896, Kromer Ice [R.D.'s grandfather], received a request from Elder Daniel Austin, of Alpha, W.Va., to use Kromer’s school house at Rigan's Run, Doddridge County, to hold Preaching. Note that preachers in the Churches of Christ back then were called "Elder." David Lipscomb mentioned this in his book, "Questions and Answers."

There were few Churches of Christ in West Virginia at the turn of the century. Looking at our area, the church at Mt. Nebo at Brunner’s Ridge, dates from 1825. Union from 1894. Mt. Liberty from 1916; Belington, around 1942; Central in Clarksburg dates from 1938; Blueville at Grafton, 1911; Gladesville, 1908; Philippi 1945; Buckhannon, 1953; Elkins, 1952; Weston, 1956.
The Independence Church of Christ dated from the 1940s and existed for some years. In fact, Union & Independence were like one congregation with two buildings. Yet each was separate from the other and worked to proclaim Christ in their own way. In time deaths and finances caused the people to abandon their separate existence and to come to Union around 1994.

Following WWII, the Churches of Christ had explosive growth. Many who had been sent overseas with the military, came home with a vision of a world to be won to Christ! A period of great missionary activity was generated and many outreach ministries were begun. [Don Daugherty went from this area as a missionary to France.] Churches of Christ concentrated on lifting up Jesus Christ and proclaiming the Good News of God’s great offer of Salvation.


Like the Israelites of old, we need to be called back from time to time to the Ancient Order of things in the New Testament. We are to look to Christ Jesus and go straight to the goal! "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." Phil 3:20-21

Satan tries to distract our attention to other things. The Church at Ephesus was in danger of losing their candlestick because they no longer loved Christ as they did at first. Rev. 2:4-5. "that you have left your first love."

We can only share what we have ourselves. "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Cor. 12:13 We are God's Family and we share our life together.

All the SAVED have the same FATHER! Our UNITY helps promote the Cause of Christ Jesus. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread." 1 Cor. 10:16-17

The Great Commission requires that we make people disciples (students and followers) of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy." 1 Peter 2:9-10

Not the "End Time" (it could be) but John teaches us to live as though each hour were the Last One. "And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour." 1 John 2:17-18
Paul spoke of the "present distress" taking place in the world of his time. 1 Cor 7:17-26.

"And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all." Acts 4:33


Who Is My Neighbor Whom I Am To Love?

"So he answered and said, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27

The Jews interpreted neighbor very narrowly to exclude Samaritans and all Gentiles. But Jesus expanded this.

1. A neighbor is available.

Prov 27:10 "Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away." Your relative may be distant. Your neighbor is close at hand, and available to help you.

The scriptural principle is: "be loving to your neighbor." For if he loves his friend as he loves himself how much more would he love the Holy One who loves us without partiality, with a true compassion, for He is the Master of the world and everything is in His hand, may He be blessed. See then, "Be loving to your neighbor" is what causes "Be loving to God…

2. Love God by starting with your neighbor.

"If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." 1 John 4:20-21

3. A Commentary on the Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37.

Jesus taught in Parables using language as commonly understood. Lacey asks the question: how would the Lawyer react to these words which Jesus used? This is important to the impact of what Jesus said.

One of the Religious Lawyers tried to catch Jesus out. "But who is my neighbor?" Five Hebrew words are translated "neighbor." The Lawyer could have argued about each one. But Jesus was saying: Let Me show you what "neighbor" means. And He told a Parable to show the extreme feelings that "loving neighbor" can overcome.

Lacey restates the Parable to show the impact of what Jesus is saying.

There’s this man leaving Jerusalem by the Jericho Road, OK? He gets mugged by thieves, left in the gutter half-naked and two-thirds dead. One of the Rabbis is passing, sees him and crosses the road to avoid him! Then a Temple Servant goes past, sees him, and does the same. Next up a Palestinian (Samaritan) goes past, sees him, and what do you reckon? Note: Israelis would expect the Palestinian (Samaritan) to a) walk on past and ignore the wounded man; b) go over to see if they left any money; c) start kicking him to finish him off.

But Jesus shows something different. d) The Palestinian (Samaritan) cleans his injuries, lifts him on his donkey, takes him to the next country inn, pays for bed & board, promises to pay whatever extra might be needed. So, says Jesus, who’s the neighbor? The slick Lawyer mumbles, "The Sama- . . . the one who helped him." "So, go do the same," Jesus said.

God is love - God is action.
God’s world-shifting love for us
gave Him no choice but to send His Son
as a virgin sacrifice to purge the sin
that blocked us from God.
And if God Himself loves us that much -
we should love one another!
[1 John 4:7-21.]


We, like Peter, face times of testing.

"And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." Luke 22:31-32

A Prayer of Repentance and Returning.

O Lord our God, we bring ourselves to Your Throne of Grace, confident that You will accept our prayer of faith. We trust you as Abraham did, and You accounted him as righteous. Please forgive us and cleanse us from all sin with the blood of Christ’s sacrifice. We struggle with doubts and fears. We are tempted and tried. But as Jesus overcame the world, give us Victory in His Name. We pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen. [Heb. 4:15-16; 1 John 1:1-10; Matt 11:28-29]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Mean Times of Testing - the Four Horsemen of Revelation

Rev. 6. The Lamb opens the Seals. The deafening sound of millions of angels! Jesus is worth it! However much you give Him! It could never be too much! HE is LORD!

He takes the Scroll (the Script Book of the Plan) and begins opening the Seals.

First Seal: flash image of a tyrant riding on a white horse (but the real Conqueror is Christ!). Kings and kingdoms rise and fall. But God has already decided in heaven. Things must take place in real time. History is marching steadily toward the Climax God has put into place.

Second Seal: war images up on the screen. From the beginning, small kings have warred against each other. War is a fact of life. The human race is convulsed in continual struggle. Paul spoke of the "present distress" (1 Cor. 7:26-31).

Third Seal: raging famine. A quart of wheat for a whole day's wages. Starvation! People running for their lives cannot raise crops. And economic collapse creates calamity.

Fourth Seal: death for a quarter of earth's population. What is God allowing to happen?
Times of Testing for the whole earth! Note Rev. 3:10. Lacey understands this: "Since you've gone with My instructions to hang in there, I'll be your Minder come the Global Crunch Time. It's soon, and it'll push everyone way past their limits." [British. Minder: to attend to closely. Note Daniel 4:13; Psalm 103:19-21.]

Fifth Seal: picture of martyrs crying out to God for justice. White robes signify victory. They will not lose their reward. But first many more will become martyrs to the Cause of Christ. Even though Christ has already won the Victory, each of us much march through our allotted time here on earth as a good soldier of our King Jesus.

Sixth Seal: mass evacuations from the cities to the country bunkers. God's on the loose and The Lamb is seething mad! Compare Rev. 16:21. "And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great."

Rev. 11:13. "In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven."

But to build suspense, four angels hold back God's hurricanes while another sprays the foreheads (Seals them) of 144,000 Jews (symbolic of those faithful) who stay loyal to God through the Mean Time (tribulation). Rev. 7:1-4. Note all the Saved who are too many to count.

The Rest of the Story.

God hates sin - but He loves the sinner. From Adam & Eve to the End of Time, God holds out His offer to forgive and redeem everyone who will come to Him.

Read John 3:16-17. "Because God's so passionately in love with the planet, that He donated His one & only begotten Son. Whoever invests their life in His Son doesn't die, but gets this limitless eternal life. Do you think God sent His Son to slam people down? No! He sent His Son to liberate people." (Lacey)

Compare Jesus in Luke 4:16-21. "God's Spirit is on Me; He's chosen Me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent Me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, 'This is God's year to act!'" (Peterson MsgB)

And to Paul in Acts 26: 18. " 'I'm sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I'm sending you off to present My offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the Family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in Me." (Peterson MsgB)

Jesus said: "Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:31-33

Lump of clay mud, comb of honey.
Put them on a rock in the hot sun.
The very same sun hardens one
but the sun's heat melts the other.
And just so these tribulations of life
will cause some to curse God,
and yet cause others to praise Him!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Job said: "Though He slay me,
yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15)

Locating the Power of the Church.

a) 1 Cor. 1:22-26 "But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

b) 1 Cor. 6:2-3 "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?"

Compare Daniel 7:27. "Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.'"

c) The influence of the church has varied through the centuries. Compare Rev. 2:9-10 "I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."

d) The Power always remains. 1 Thess 1:5-7 "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe."

e). The law of Christian love is greater than the law of the anointing" See 1 Cor. 13:12-13. "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Compare Romans 15:30. "Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me . ."

Col. 1:8. "who also declared to us your love in the Spirit." (also Col. 3:12-14)

Jude 1:20-25. "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Five Finger Exercise For Today:

1. God is Real.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Gen 1:1-2

First off, nothing - but GOD. No light! No time! Nothing of creation at all! But God said the word - WHAM!!! CREATION came into existence! Day one: LIGHT. Day two: Firmament - a dome of sky. Day three: Dry Land, VEGETATION - a million shades of it. Day four: SUN, MOON, STARS. Day five: GOD said, ANIMALS - a whole caboodle of living things. Day six: PEOPLE - men and women. All made in the image of GOD. "Fill the earth with your families and run things well."

"God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands." Acts 17:24

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalms 27:1

2. Christ is Lord.

"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil 2:9-11; Col. 1:15-20 [note song # 858]

What's God like? Look at JESUS. We were at war with GOD - but now JESUS wrote the PEACE TREATY with His Blood! 2 Cor. 5:17-19 Reconciled! Romans 5:8; Col. 1:20.

3. Sin is Forgiven.

"who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." Heb 1:3-4

JESUS stepped in to take our mess of sins upon Himself! Then He took office right next to the KING of HEAVEN!

"Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens," Heb 8:1; 9:15; 10:12

4. Love is Supreme.

"And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16

How come we LOVE? HE STARTED IT! "We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5; John 7:38-39; Titus 3:5-6.

5. Life is Eternal.

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:11; John 14:19; 2 Cor. 4:14

"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." 1 John 5:13

Confidence is necessary to fight against defeatism and certain false doctrines. Note how John’s proof progresses: 1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:13-14; 4:12-13; 5:11-12. In the Name. See Matt. 28:19; Acts 4:12 and notes. The Name of JESUS includes everything that JESUS IS, WAS, HAS DONE and WILL DO!



Campbell said: Facts are stubborn things. Perhaps that is why the Bible describes many things that actually took place in real time. Words may have different meanings in different contexts. Facts stand out to speak reality.

Campbell wrote: "We have, in writing, all the Hebrew and Greek that is necessary to perpetuate to the end of time, all the ideas which the Spirit of God has communicated to the world; and these languages, being dead, have long since ceased to change. The meaning of the words used by the sacred penman, is fixed and immutable; which it could not have been, had these languages continued to have been spoken..." The Sacred Writings, A. Campbell, 1826

[Campbell's Living Oracles New Testament is online for all to read at:]

Many are not aware of the human effort used to translate the Bible into language and form we can understand. The Original Bible was written all in capital letters with no space between the words, and with almost no punctuation. Chapter and verse divisions did not come until the 16th century. In ancient times few could possess a Bible. Manuscripts had to be copied by hand. Printing introduced a revolution where the common man could have his own copy of the Bible.

It is the Spirit's Bible!
Copyright every word!
Only His thoughts are uttered,
Only His voice is heard!
[William Luff]

Some years after the KJV translators had "handled aright the word of truth," a major discovery was made of ancient New Testament manuscripts in the Greek. language. J.W.McGarvey, a highly respected scholar of the Churches of Christ made this comment at the Missouri Christian Lectures in 1883 concerning the "corrected Greek Text of the New Testament." [He was speaking of the Greek text that became the basis of what we call the American Standard Version - the "gold standard" of translation.]

"The Canterbury Revision of the New Testament should now totally supplant the King James Version, not only because it is a great improvement as a version, but because it is the only representative in English of the corrected Greek text. A man is not safe in venturing upon the exegesis of a single passage by the aid of the old version until he shall have compared it with the new; and rather than be continually making these comparisons, it is better to at once adopt the new into exclusive use."

By Canterbury Revision McGarvey meant the English Revised Version of 1880. It is the version used in the margin of Johnson's Notes - The Peoples' New Testament. And it was the basis of the American Standard Version of 1901.

When the work was begun on the Canterbury Revision in 1870, sixty-five scholars were selected to do the work. A year later an American committee of thirty-four was chosen to cooperate in this project. These scholars made changes in the interest of clarity [because words had changed their meanings, etc.]. But, it is worthwhile to notice that although they had in their hands no less than 2000 manuscripts of the Old Testament and 3000 manuscripts of the New Testament, they did not find changes necessary which would alter a single historical fact or essential doctrine of Christianity. In other words, the Hand of God has been active down through the ages, working through devoted men, to transmit to our age the Word in an unchanged form.

When the American Standard Version is used as a basis of comparison for recent new versions, they will be seen to be more accurate than some have said. You can read the ASV online at

If you want to read about Greek NT texts,

If you want to read Westcott & Hort's Greek NT Text in Greek::

Campbell used Griesbach's edition of the Greek New Testament. This text survives in the Wilson Emphatic Diaglott of 1864.
[note that the English subtitles reflect Wilson's opinions sometimes. He thought like a JW.]

On evidence for the longer ending of Mark see:

Note: When I graduated from High School my Grandmother Rosa gave me an American Standard Version Teacher's Bible and an Underwood Portable Typewriter. I used both to good effect. But the most valuable thing she gave me was her faith in Christ.

The Best Translation Of The Bible
Four preachers were discussing the merits of the various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version because of its simple, beautiful English. Another liked the American Standard Version best because it comes closer to the original Hebrew and Greek. The third liked Moffatt’s translation best because of its up-to-date words. The fourth preacher was silent. When asked to express his opinion, he replied, "I liked my mother’s translation best." The other three expressed surprise and wanted to know what he meant. "Well," he explained, "my mother translated the Bible into her everyday life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw." -- Attributed to William Barclay, via Mark A. Copeland.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008



I make no excuse for having "borrowed" some things from others, changed a word here and there, and added a few things. ["The cow grazes in many pastures, but the milk she gives is her own."] But I believe these speak truth about who we are in Christ Jesus. And so I pass them on.

"Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you." Galatians 5:1 (MsgB) But sometimes WE are the one who keeps ourself in slavery by REFUSING to be free.


We shout obedience, but whisper grace and repentance. When God's children left Egypt He let them wander in the wilderness for the rest of their lives because they began their trek with grumbling and complaining which never stopped. They went around the same old mountains and through the same old dry places year after year. Why?

They refused to flip the switch on their talk. It wasn't they wouldn't walk the talk. They refused to TALK the WALK. It was all about them and how bad they had it and how much they wanted God to bless…and how irritated with Him they were because He didn't. But what they couldn't figure out was they were their own Barney Fife, arresting themselves one crabby and sulking complaint at time.

What a tragedy to plant our own land mines and then step on them. How much sadder to find ourselves jailed and WE are our own jailer. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free..." Gal 5:1 "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:12-13 Petersen words it: "Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet." (MsgB)

WHO GOD IS! [Patrick Mead]

God can do all things by Himself, but He seems to be a God who relishes community and relationship. He didn't have to create us, but He did. He didn't have to leave His treasures in us "earthen vessels" but He did. He earnestly desires a working, loving, relationship with us; one that transforms us and makes us ready for eternity with Him. Even in heaven, He doesn't work alone. Again, it must be stressed that God could work alone. We don't want to fall into Zoroasterism or any other kind of dualism. Simply put, dualism says that there is a great cosmic war between good and evil and those two forces are roughly equal in power and influence. Humans are urged to choose good and work hard to tip the scales, even if ever so slightly, in the favor of goodness. This is NOT a Biblical way to view the cosmos. God is LORD, VICTOR, and ALL IN ALL. The only reason the battle with evil has gone on this long is because God loves us and wants to work with us to make us more like Him and He wants to give people more time to come to Him, so He delays the End.

MY LIFE FOR THEE! {Christmas Evans]

Mr. Christmas Evans [he was born on Christmas day.] now entered into a solemn covenant with God, made, as he says, "under a deep sense of the evil of his heart, and in dependence upon the infinite grace and merit of the Redeemer." [1 John 1:6-10] Some of this renewed determination can be seen in the following statements.

1. "I give my soul and body unto Thee, Jesus, the true God, and everlasting life - deliver me from sin, and from eternal death, and bring me into life everlasting. Amen."

2. "I call the day, the sun, the earth, the trees, the stones, the bed, the table, and the books, to witness that I come unto Thee, Redeemer of sinners, that I may obtain rest for my soul from the thunders of guilt and the dread of eternity."

3. "I do, through confidence in Thy power, earnestly entreat Thee to take the work into Thine own hand, and give me a circumcised heart, that I may love Thee, and create in me a right spirit, that I may seek Thy glory. Grant me that principle which Thou will own in the day of judgment, that I may not then assume palefacedness, and find myself a hypocrite. Grant me this, for the sake of Thy Most Precious Blood. Amen."

4. "I entreat Thee, Jesus, the Son of God, in power, grant me, for the sake of Thy agonizing death, a covenant-interest in Thy blood, which cleanseth; in Thy righteousness, which justifieth; and in Thy redemption, which delivereth. I entreat an interest in Thy blood, for Thy BLOOD'S sake, and a part in Thee, for Thy Name's sake, which Thou has given among men. Amen." [Christmas Evans]

"We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as His children, including the new bodies He has promised us." Romans 8:23 The Book Version

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Wisdom of God - the formerly hidden wisdom

In spite of the worst Satan can do, many celebrate the Birth, the Death & Resurrection of Christ Jesus - God The Son.

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." 1 Cor 2:7-8

None of the rulers. This points to the Jewish and Roman rulers who nailed Christ to the cross. They were completely ignorant of God’s wisdom and plan. The stupidity of the philosophers in rejecting "Christ on the cross" was only surpassed by the stupidity of the politicians who nailed Him there. No one ever expected God to act in history by sending the Eternal Word in human form and having Him die on the cross as the means of salvation! The TOTAL glory of God’s Act In Christ is still beyond human understanding!

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." John 10:17-18

This is the basis of the Gospel. (1 Cor. 1:18-25: 15:1-4). He gave His life on the Cross; He took it back when He raised from death. [In these first 18 verses of John 10, Christ is the Door, through whom the true shepherds must enter. Then He is the Good Shepherd, whose praises both David and Isaiah sung, who gives His life for His sheep.]

The rulers of this age

We look at three. Their desires are so familiar: One is looking for a place to belong. One is in a power struggle. And another wants to save his image. Sound like someone you know? These aren’t twenty first century stressed-out boomers - they are individuals who lived in first century Israel and had a life-changing encounter with Jesus the Savior. See how Jesus relates uniquely to each one, calling them to a new understanding and challenging them to take radical action. Some choose to serve Him, while others reject His invitation, yet all are changed in some way. Take a look:

• Zaccheus, the Jew who works for the Romans as a tax collector, is trying to figure out where he fits. Will anyone accept him?

"And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:9-10

• Annas, the former high priest, is looking to exert power by getting rid of the "trouble maker."

"And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people." John 18:13-14

compare John 11:49-52. "Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad."

• Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee with a fascination for spiritual matters, wants to preserve his image in front of the people.

"Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, "John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him." Mark 6:14

"Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other." Luke 23:8-12

"For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done." Acts4:27-28

Quotable. Poetry plays a role in the Bible. Read the Psalms. Charles Williams wrote: "But then poetry can do something that philosophy can not. For poetry, like faith, can look at the back as well as the front of Reason; it can survey Reason all around." "Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation." (Psalm 111:1) "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." (Psalm 20:7)


We celebrate This Every Sunday
In The Lord’s Supper!

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" 1 Cor 10:16; Eph. 5:30

"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 compare Rev. 5:5-14.

"For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:3-4 compare John 8:28; 12:32-33.


John wrote: All this happened!
We were there and we saw it! [1 John 1:1-4]
We know it’s the truth, nothing but the truth.
Jesus is back from the dead,
just like He said He would be.

And every time we eat the Lord’s Supper
we remember the death He died, and
that He Is Alive Forevermore!

So now I'm spending time with the Savior.
I'm desperate to experience the Power
that brought Him back from death.
I want to KNOW HIM! [Phil. 3:7-11]

Forgotten Miracles Concerning Jesus

"to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Acts 1:3

To the women: "And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him." Matt 28:9

To the disciples. "Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures." Luke 24:44-45

"Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen."
Mark 16:14

"After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep." 1 Cor 15:6; Acts 10:40-48.

1. Why did Jesus stay on earth 40 days before ascending back to heaven?

a) to show that He really was ALIVE!
"Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." Luke 24:39

b) to remind them of the Old Testament prophecies.
"And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures." Luke 24:41-45

c) to emphasize discipleship.
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matt 18:20 [Note Jesus is now outside of Time and can be everywhere at once.]
"Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually." 1 Cor 12:13,27.

d) to prove He had not rejected them for their failure. They must have felt shame and fear because they had abandoned the Lord at His crucifixion. Jesus needed to encourage them.
Peter had denied his Lord. He was forgiven, but could he ever be used again? YES! See John 21:1-19. Jesus was making sure Peter knew that he had been restored. [compare Matt. 18:22; Luke 17:3-4.]

2. Silent Sermon Preached By Christ On The Cross

The sermon of silence Jesus preached during His last hours on earth was the most powerful message of His ministry. "The cross stands for a deep-sacrifice. It was the greatest lesson of Jesus, and He died teaching it."

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:14-15


BY THY FAITH COMMAND THOU ME Eph. 3:20 (MsgB) "God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us." Petersen's Version

Did you know that your life will always go in the direction of your most prominent thoughts? In order to follow God’s plan, you have to think God’s thoughts for your life, which will encourage you and build you up.

God says: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you." Jeremiah 29:11-12; Isaiah 55:9

1. We walk by faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

a) Satan works to discourage us. We focus only on the bad things which overwhelm us at times. Yet James teaches us: "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. " James 4:2-3

I think MacKnight gives the key to this by viewing James as a unity. He says: "Next he told them, they never could succeed in converting the heathens, and destroying idolatry, because they did not use the methods proper for these ends [results]. They neither prayed to God for assistance and success, nor exercised meekness towards those whom they wished to convert."

The Jews still expected an earthly version of Messiah’s Kingdom, and they thought it would come by converting Gentiles to Judaism. Even many Christian Jews still thought this, and they expected to be able to live their lives wallowing in sensual pleasure when Messiah’s Kingdom came! The paradox is their mixed attitude, wanting to bring the Gentiles to Christ, but also to the Law of Moses (and their traditions). Rather than asking God’s guidance, they used ranting and raving, quarreling and fighting, to try to make converts, and were ready to kill when they failed to succeed!

2. "By thy faith command thou Me" is a Bible principle. God listens to His children. He sometimes gives, and sometimes withholds. Because He has given us free will, He will respect the choices we make even when they are not wise choices.

a) "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." James 3:16

b) "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." Matthew 13:58
So they rejected His claims without closely studying them. Miracles would not impress these people, because they had already decided not to believe.

c) "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Mark 9:24

d) "Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." Matthew 15:28

e) "Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you." Matthew 9:29

3. Satan asks to sift us.

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Luke 22:31-32; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6

a) It will happen again and again. The church at Ephesus "lost their first love" [of JESUS] and their "candlestick" was removed. But GOD continues to raise up new men & women who love Him and praise Him. Each one of us is "challenged" by the events of life. Yet we repent and claim the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST JESUS. What a wonderful GOD we have! We love HIM because He first loved us!

b) "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor 13:13

"Charity, or love, is connected specially with the Holy Spirit, who is the bond of the loving union between the brethren (Romans 15:30; Col 1:8). Faith is towards God. Hope is in behalf of ourselves." —Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Father in heaven, today I choose to believe that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf. I trust that You have a good plan for me and that You are leading and guiding my every step. Help me stand strong in You, today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.



Stop By The Church Sometime!
You ought to stop by the church sometime
Stop by the church sometime
Oh something may be said
To help you on your way
If you stop by the church sometime

Come out and sing a song
About what the Lord has done
Leave your burdens there
Every pain and care
Left behind, left behind
[from a song by Babbie Mason]

1. The Power of JESUS to Save.

The Bible says Jesus came so that the world through Him might be saved! I am not ashamed of the Gospel! There is POWER in the Blood! Jesus purged our sins! Jesus Saves!

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." Rev 12:10-11

2. Let's have CHURCH!

a) Unashamed! "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:16-17

b) With Power! "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Tim 1:7

c) Jesus-Worshipping! "And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Matt28:9

d) Sin-Busting! "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." 1 Peter 3:12

e) Devil-Chasing! "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:7-8

f) Bible-Loving! "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." 2 Tim 3:15

g) Saving! "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost." Matt 18:10-11

h) Renewing! Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalms 51:10

i) Praising! "So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God." Acts 3:8-9; Hebrews 13:15

j) With All The Joy The Holy Spirit Provides!" And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52

"were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost -- who not only raised them above shame and fear, as professed disciples of the Lord Jesus, but filled them with holy and elevated emotions."
—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Wednesday, January 30, 2008



"We are not under the Ten Commandments." Obedience to law is not a basis for salvation (Gal. 2:20-21; 3:10-14,21-22). Paul said: "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." Being "right with God" is a matter of faith in Jesus and His perfect work - His Doing & Dying & Rising Again (Phil. 3:7-12; Hebrews 8:12-13; 1 John 3:22-24).

(But, many people think the Ten Commandments represent GOD. Therefore some post them in their yards. The ACLU oppose them as "Christian." The Ten Commandments demand moral living. Therefore many good and honest people raise up the Ten Commandments.)

Jesus restated the Ten Commandments and changed "thou shalt not" into "thou shall." Jesus said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill ("to make their teachings come true"). Matt. 5:16-17; 1 Peter 2:12. Law serves as a "friendly guide" to help us "walk in newness of life" because we have been saved by faith in Christ. Compare Romans 12:1-2; James 1:17-27.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
Jesus said: "The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." Mark 12:29-30; Deuteronomy 6:4-5

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
Paul said: "...and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man - and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things." Romans 1:23; Deuteronomy 4:15-19
Jesus said: "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve." Matt. 4:10

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Jesus said: "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. But I say to you, do not swear at all: . . But let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." Matt. 5:33-37; Leviticus 19:12

4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
The Sabbath was a special reminder to Israel (Deuteronomy 5:15). The Christian's Sabbath will come in Eternity (Hebrews 4:4-11).
Jesus said: "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." Mark 2:27-28

5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
Jesus said: "For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother..." Mark 7:10-13
Paul said: "Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." Eph. 6:2-3

6. Thou shalt not kill. ["murder"]
Jesus said: "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment. . . First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." Matt. 5:21-24
John said: "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death." 1 John 3:14

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Jesus said: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Matt. 19:5-6; Hebrews 13:4

8. Thou shalt not steal.
Paul said: "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need." Eph. 4:28

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
Paul said: "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him..." Col. 3:9-10

10. Thou shalt not covet.
Jesus said: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Luke 12:15
Paul said: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10

"God has overlooked the times when people did not know Him, but now He commands all of them everywhere to turn away (repent) from their evil ways. For He has fixed a Day in which He will judge the whole world with justice by means of a Man He has chosen. He has given proof of this by raising that Man from death." Acts 17:29-31


To show us how to pray, Jesus gave His disciples the "model prayer" which many call the Lord's Prayer. This is not a formal prayer to be said always. John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. Jesus gave this as a guide to the right way to pray.

We do not need to try to overwhelm God with our prayers. He already knows what we will say, and He hears His own people (Matt. 6:7-8). Yet God wants His people to come to His Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16) and lift their prayers to Him.

Our Father.
a. relationship. God is our Father. 2 Cor. 6:18
b. we are His children. 1 John 3:1-3

In heaven.
a. God is outside our world of time. Acts 7:48-50;
1 Kings 8:27 "But will God indeed dwell on the
earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of
heavens cannot contain You. How much less
this temple which I have built!"

Your Name.
a. glorify Your Name. Rev. 15:3-4 "Great and
marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty
Just and true are Your ways, O King of the
saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and
glorify Your name? For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before
You, For Your judgments have been manifested."

Your kingdom come.
a. kingdom is loyalties and relationship. Col. 1:13
"He has delivered us from the power of darkness
and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of
His love."
2 Peter 1:11 "For so an entrance will be
supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting
kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Your will be done.
a. Jesus prayed: "O My Father, if this cup cannot
pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will
be done." Matt. 26:42
b. on earth as it is in heaven. Psalm 103:19 "The
Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His
kingdom rules over all."

Our daily bread.
a. feed me. Proverbs 30:8 "Remove falsehood and
lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor
riches - Feed me with the food You prescribe
for me."

Forgive us.
a. cleanse us from sin. 1 Cor. 6:11 "And such were
some of you. But you were washed, but you were
sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the
Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
b. I will remember no more. Hebrews 8:12 "For I
will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their
lawless deeds I will remember no more."
c. as we forgive others. Matt. 6:14 "For if you
forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father
will also forgive you."

Deliver us from evil.
a. from the evil one. John 17:15 "I do not pray that
You should take them out of the world, but that
You should keep them from the evil one."
b. from temptation. 1 Cor. 10:13 "but God is
faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted
beyond what you are able, but with the temptation
will also make the way of escape, that you will be
able to bear it."

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
a. You, Jesus, are worthy! Rev. 5:9 "You are
worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals;
For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God
by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue
and nation, And have made us kings and priests
to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."
b. Compare David's prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:10-13
"Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father,
forever and ever. Yours, O God, is the greatness,
The power and the glory, The victory and the
majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth
is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And
You are exalted as head over all. Both riches
and honor come from You, And You reign
over all. In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great and to give
strength to all. Now therefore, our God, We
thank You And praise Your glorious name."