Monday, December 30, 2013


God’s Joy Came Into The World

    "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"  Luke 2:14 (NKJV)

    “The Christ comes to bring peace and goodwill toward men, for He is the incarnate love of God, reconciling humanity to God and people to each other.”  Wallerstedt


I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


I thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along th'unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


And in despair I bowed my head:

'There is no peace on earth, ' I said

'For hate is strong, and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.'


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to men.'


Till, ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


    Take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people.  It is a song for every man or woman who keeps watch through the night, who hopes for a better world, who cares for others while humbly seeking to do his or her duty.

Glory to God!

    Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  Above all else, this is what the birth of the Son of God bids us to do.  Give glory to God, for He is good, He is faithful, He is merciful.  Hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God, the Father who has given us Jesus.  Hope that everyone will feel God’s closeness, live in His presence, love Him and adore Him.  May each of us give glory to God above all by our lives, by lives spent for love of Him and of all our brothers and sisters.

Peace to mankind

    Dear brothers and sisters, today, in this world, in this humanity, is born the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. True peace - we know this well - is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not sweeping conflicts and divisions under the rug. Peace calls for daily commitment, but making peace is an art, starting from God’s gift, from the grace which He has given us in Jesus Christ.

    “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (NLT)

    “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”  James 1:2-4 (NLT)

    Look at the Child in the manger! The Child of peace.  Our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!

Christ lived compassion.

    “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Matt 9:36 (NLT)

    Let us pause before the Child of Bethlehem. Let us allow our hearts to be touched, and let us not fear this. Let us not fear that our hearts be moved. We need this! Let us allow ourselves to be warmed by the tenderness of God. God’s caresses do not harm us. They give us peace and strength. We need His caresses. God is full of love: to Him be praise and glory forever! God is peace: let us ask Him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.

    “And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.  For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”  As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?”
Hebrews 12:5-7 (NLT)

                “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Romans 2:4 (NLT)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mystery Of Death

Faith sheds light on mystery of death

Christian faith sheds light on the mystery of death and brings us the hope of Resurrection.

Paul says: "To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?" Acts 26:7-8 "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death." 1 Cor 15:25-26

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Heb 2:9-18

"At least four reasons why the Son of God became human are implied in this passage. First, it was only right: It is consistent with what we know of God's character that he would accomplish salvation in this way (2:10). Second, Jesus had to become human to die (2:14). Third, high priests, as detailed in the OT law, had to come from among God's people (2:17). Fourth, Jesus became a sympathetic priest, experiencing the suffering and testing we know as humans (2:18)." —NLT Study Bible

Without belief in God and a vision of life as something greater than earthly existence, death can seem like a tragedy that we misunderstand, fear and deny. Without faith death can seem scandalous, especially when children suffer and die. But as we know when we lose a close friend or family member, our human hearts rebel against this false vision and we yearn for the infinite, the eternal, the knowledge that life does not end with death.

This yearning for life finds its answer in the Resurrection of Christ, which offers both the certainty of eternal life and shows us the true meaning of death. Furthermore, those who show mercy to others need never fear death, but instead prepare themselves for death through prayer, the Sacraments and the practice of charity

If we remain close to God in our lives, especially in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable we need not fear death but rather welcome it as the door to heaven and to the joy of eternal life.

"Absent from the body and present with the Lord."

Job asks: "If a man die, shall he live again?"

"But when people die, their strength is gone. They breathe their last, and then where are they? As water evaporates from a lake and a river disappears in drought, people are laid to rest and do not rise again. Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep. I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed. But mark your calendar to think of me again! Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death. You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork. For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins. My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover my guilt. Job 14:10-17 (NLT)

We will all be transformed!

"What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 1 Cor 15:50-55 (NLT)

"For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 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 5:26-29

Monday, December 2, 2013

Trust the Lord

Trust the Lord even in extreme situations

Solomon said: "Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses." 1 Kings 8:56

1. The OT shows us faith in action.

"How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.35 Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons.37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us." Heb 11:32-40 (NLT)

The Lord is everything, and they trusted in the Lord. They didn’t do so because of some radical force, but because they knew that the Lord is faithful. They trusted in that faith which is always there because the Lord cannot be unfaithful, cannot deny Himself.

2. Christians are called to trust in the Lord, even in the most extreme situations.

Choosing to be faithful to the Lord is equally important in the little things, and in the most difficult situations. The men, women, old and young people who every day choose to be faithful to the Lord, who live as martyrs, are an example to us. When we read in the newspapers about Christians who are persecuted in our own times we must take their lives as an encouragement to offer the Church everything we have, our whole livelihood.

In the Book of Daniel, the young Jewish men living as slaves of King Nebuchadnezzar remain faithful to the Lord, even at risk of their own lives.

In the Gospel of Luke, the destitute widow who puts two small coins into the offering box is praised by Jesus, who says: "Those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

But let us also think about the many mothers and fathers who make small choices of faith every day, with their families and with their children. Let us ask the Lord for the grace of courage, the courage to go on with our Christian lives, in everyday life and in the most extreme situations.

3. God Himself has acted.

"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

a) "The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness".

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

b) "Our infinite sadness can only be cured by an infinite love".

"For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." John 1:17-18

c) "We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names!"

"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'" Matt 25:40

"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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

First Things First

First Things First, But Don’t Neglect The Others

1. "God never tires of forgiving us." Gospel truth.

"And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him." Luke 15:20

"If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared." Psalms 130:3-4

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." Heb 8:12-13

"My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world."  1 John 2:1-2 (NLT)

2. Jesus went about doing good.

a)What Jesus didn’t do. His public ministry only lasted three years, and in those years his sweep of ministry was incredibly narrow. He is God. Think about all the things Jesus didn’t do.

• He didn’t reform the government

• He didn’t solve orphan care

• He didn’t wipe out poverty

• He didn’t improve medical care

b) Jesus taught principles that applied to all of these situations. Though Jesus had the opportunity, resources and ability to address many needs He limited himself to a very narrow mission; "to seek and save the lost".    Everything He did pointed to that one task. He knew that in this fallen world there will always be hundreds of desperate needs screaming for attention, but only one can be the most important.

"For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always." Matt 26:11

3. Jesus did good and set people free

"The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ--He is Lord of all--that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." Acts 10:36-38

Although He healed people, fed crowds and occasionally raised the dead, Jesus didn’t make any of those the focal point of His time on earth. He knew the more time He spent focusing on secondary issues, no matter how desperate or urgent, the less time He had for the main thing.

a) Be ye warmed and filled.

"If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" James 2:15-16

As church leaders we believe our ministry or our church should be effective in a dozen or more areas. We feel obligated to meet as many needs, to fill as many gaps, to respond to as many crises as possible. How can we say we love God and not feed the hungry, care for the sick, educate the children, fight for the underdog, shelter the homeless, provide for the handicapped and adopt the orphans? All of this while we promote small groups, conduct church services, perform weddings and funerals, host VBS, send kids to camp, and counsel people in crisis.

b) Yet reaching out with Christ is still first priority.

"Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did." Acts 8:4-6

"Blessed are You, Lord our God: in Your love You create all things out of nothing through Your eternal Word. In Your love You redeemed the world through our Lord Jesus Christ. In Your love You empower Your people through the gift of Your Holy Spirit. For these and all Your mercies, we praise You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Blessed be God forever!" [Old Prayer]

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Come To The Feast

All things are ready, come to the feast!

"Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' " And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God." Rev 19:9

"Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Luke 14:23

"And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!" Luke 15:6

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me." John 6:44-45; Isaiah 54:13

At the heart of Christianity is an invitation to the Lord’s feast. The Church is "not only for good people;" the invitation to be a part of it concerns everyone. At the Lord’s feast we must "participate fully" and with everyone; we can’t pick and choose. Christians can’t be content with simply being on the guest list – not participating fully is like not joining in.

First of all, the Christian life is an invitation: we only become Christians if we are invited." It is a "free invitation" from God to participate. You can’t pay to get into the feast: "either you are invited or you can’t come in." If "in our conscience we don’t have this certainty of being invited" then "we haven’t understood what a Christian is."

A Christian is one who is invited. Invited to what? To a shop? To take a walk? The Lord wants to tell us something more: You are invited to join in the feast, to the joy of being saved, to the joy of being redeemed, to the joy of sharing life with Christ. This is a joy! You are called to a party! A feast is a gathering of people who talk, laugh, celebrate, are happy together. I have never seen anyone party on their own. That would be boring, no? You have to party with others, with the family, with friends, with those who’ve been invited, as I was invited. Being Christian means belonging, belonging to this body, to the people that have been invited to the feast: this is Christian belonging."

The Church is not the Church only for good people. Do we want to describe who belongs to the Church, to this feast? The sinners. All of us sinners are invited. At this point there is a community that has diverse gifts: one has the gift of prophecy, another of ministry, who teaching. . . We all have qualities and strengths. But each of us brings to the feast a common gift. Each of us is called to participate fully in the feast. Christian existence cannot be understood without this participation. ‘I go to the feast, but I don’t go beyond the doorway, because I want to be only with the three or four people that I familiar with. . .’ You can’t do this in the Church! You either participate fully or you remain outside. You can’t pick and choose: the Church is for everyone, beginning with those I’ve already mentioned, the most marginalized. It is everyone’s Church!"

Jesus said some who were invited began to make excuses: "They don’t accept the invitation! They say ‘yes,’ but their actions say ‘no.’" These people, he said, "are Christians who are content to be on the guest list: chosen Christians." This is the Church: to enter into Christ is a grace; to enter into the Church is an invitation." And this right cannot be purchased. "To enter into the Church is to become part of a family, the community of Christ. To enter into Christ is to participate in all the virtues, the qualities that the Lord has given us in our service of one for the other. To enter into the Church means to be responsible for those things that the Lord asks of us." Ultimately, to enter into the Church is to enter into this People of God, in its journey towards eternity." No one is the Star of the Church: but we have ONE," Who Has Done Everything. God "is the Star!" We are His followers . . . and "he who does not follow Him is the one who excuses himself" and does not go to the feast:

The Lord is very generous. The Lord opens all doors. The Lord also understands those who say to Him, ‘No, Lord, I don’t want to go to you.’ He understands and is waiting for them, because He is merciful. But the Lord does not like those who say ‘yes’ and do the opposite; who pretend to thank Him for all the good things; who have good manners, but go their own way and do not follow the way of the Lord: those who always excuse themselves, those who do not know joy, who don’t experience the joy of belonging. Let us ask the Lord for this grace of understanding: how beautiful it is to be invited to the feast, how beautiful it is to take part in it and to share one’s qualities, how beautiful it is to be with Him and how wrong it is to dither between ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ to say ‘yes,’ but to be satisfied merely with being a nominal Christian.

Monday, November 4, 2013


“Strange Fire.”  How is this to be understood?  We certainly do not want to find ourselves fighting against God.  Acts 5:34-39.  We should read the Bible as we do a newspaper to learn facts.  And we should read with a sense of the mystery which God is performing in this world. 


Nadab & Abihu were disobedient to God in an arrogant way.  They showed a contempt for holy and sacred things.  [Compare Acts 5:1-11 and what happened to Ananias & Sapphira.]  It is implied that they were drunk when they offered this strange­ fire.  It is also implied that they were in competition with Moses & Aaron and the Jehovah system.  Perhaps they were tainted with the idol worship of the Canaanites?  This must all be understood in view of the dedication of the Tabernacle.  God Himself had given the priesthood to Aaron, and it was not a family thing just because Aaron was Moses' brother.  This dedication was a very solemn thing and this had to be impressed on the people that it was Divine Authority in action.  God was speaking to these former slaves in ways that they could relate to and understand.


Note that Aaron and his other two sons were not punished.  They had done what they were told to do (Lev. 8:4-36; 9:1-24).  "But the offense was of a far more aggravated nature than such a mere informality would imply. It consisted not only in their venturing unauthorized to perform the incense service -- the highest and most solemn of the priestly offices -- not only in their engaging together in a work which was the duty only of one, but in their presuming to intrude (unauthorised entry) into the Holy of Holies, to which access was denied to all but the high priest alone. In this respect, "they offered strange fire before the Lord"; they were guilty of a presumptuous and unwarranted intrusion into a sacred office which did not belong to them. But their offense was more aggravated still; for instead of taking the fire which was put into their censers from the brazen altar, they seem to have been content with common fire and thus perpetrated an act which, considering the descent of the miraculous fire they had so recently witnessed and the solemn obligation under which they were laid to make use of that which was specially appropriated to the service of the altars, they betrayed a carelessness, an irreverence, a want (lack)of faith, most surprising and lamentable. A precedent of such evil tendency was dangerous, and it was imperatively necessary, therefore, as well for the priests themselves as for the sacred things, that a marked expression of the divine displeasure should be given for doing that which "God commanded them not."—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary


"And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.'  So Aaron held his peace."  Lev 10:3 (NKJV)   "Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and there it was--burned up. And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying, 17 "Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? 18 See! Its blood was not brought inside the holy place; indeed you should have eaten it in a holy place, as I commanded."  Lev 10:16-18 (NKJV)  But Aaron explained: "And Aaron said to Moses, 'Look, this day they have offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and such things have befallen me! If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been accepted in the sight of the Lord?' 20 So when Moses heard that, he was content."  Lev 10:19-20 (NKJV) 


"Aaron, whose heart was too much lacerated to bear a new cause of distress but his two surviving sons in the priesthood for the great irregularity. Their father, however, who heard the charge and by whose directions the error had been committed, hastened to give the explanation. The import of his apology is, that all the duty pertaining to the presentation of the offering had been duly and sacredly performed, except the festive part of the observance, which privately devolved upon the priest and his family. And that this had been omitted, either because his heart was too dejected to join in the celebration of a cheerful feast, or that he supposed, from the appalling judgments that had been inflicted, that all the services of that occasion were so vitiated that he did not complete them. Aaron was decidedly in the wrong. By the express command of God, the sin offering was to be eaten in the holy place; and no fanciful view of expediency or propriety ought to have led him to dispense at discretion with a positive statute. The law of God was clear and, where that is the case, it is sin to deviate a hair's breadth from the path of duty. But Moses sympathized with his deeply afflicted brother and, having pointed out the error, said no more."—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary.  NOTE THAT GOD ACCEPTED THIS.  They had acted in faith and not arrogance.  They were not arrogantly defying God as did Nadab & Abihu.  They had respected God even though they had omitted some of what they were told to do.  Note: "For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Romans 4:3 (NKJV)  Aaron and his remaining sons believed God.


"Moses rested satisfied with this answer. Aaron acknowledged that the flesh of the sin-offering ought to have been eaten by the priest in this instance (according to Lev. 6:19), and simply adduced (believed), as the reason why this had not been done, the calamity which had befallen his two eldest sons. And this might really be a sufficient reason, as regarded both himself and his remaining sons, why the eating of the sin-offering should be omitted. For the judgment in question was so solemn a warning, as to the sin which still adhered to them even after the presentation of their sin-offering, that they might properly feel 'that they had not so strong and overpowering a holiness as was required for eating the general sin-offering'" (M. Baumgarten).

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Life Is Stranger Than Fiction

Life is stranger than fiction

“Ordinary life is serious stuff.”

Remembering Harvey Pekar.  I thought this was worth passing on.

 [This is adapted from some things Harvey wrote in American Splendor, a cartoon strip in a magazine. He was a Jew with roots in Poland. The NYT Book Review: "Pekar lets all of life flood into his panels: the humdrum and the heroic, the gritty and the grand." The Chicago Sun-Times: "[Pekar] has a vision that makes daily city life – a ride on the bus, a run-in with a boss, or simply buying bread – dramatic.”]

I Gotta Work To Pay The Bills
It’s 5:15 AM, just before I HAVE to get up.
In a couple of weeks I’ll be Fifty-four.
One more year and I’ll be Fifty-five AND
I’ll have my thirty years in with the VA.

 But I can’t retire on that pension – 56%
of my present salary. Oh! Oh!
When I was Forty I thought I could do it.
Now the time is HERE and I CAN’T.

SO, what’s the end for me? WORK!
Work until I DROP! HAH!
My income as a writer isn’t good enough
to fill in the shortfall. Golden years!!!

 You get OLD, can’t rest. Work, work, work -
then the GRAVE!

Meanwhile, your health goes. CANCER.
A deteriorating hip. Oh I’m scared
of getting a hip replacement. A week
in the hospital with those antiseptic smells.
Crazy people screaming at night.
So you can’t sleep. And they wake you up!

 I’d rather keep on limping the rest of my life.
The pain’s not too bad. I can do my work.
But now I see the END!
You work – to keep alive – to DIE.

 You kid yourself into thinking that stuff matters.

I’m so scared to get up out of this bed.
I’m TERRIFIED. But there’s only one way
for me to go since I’m not gonna KILL myself.

 Push up outta this bed, and get inta the
dumb routine. Get involved in the boring work.
That way you don’t think about DEATH,
at least not for a while.

Get tired. Go home. Read a book.
(One you’re supposed to do a review on.)
Nod off at 7:30 with your CLOTHES on.

 The LUCKY ones think it means something.
Wish I did. Work – to live – to DIE.

But I got PUBLISHED! In a real magazine!
In the best Jazz magazine in the country!
A nationally distributed magazine!
Plus I wrote for Downbeat!

 It made me feel like something more than
a file clerk in Cleveland (which I am).

And record and CD reviews.
At least I get paid a reasonable amount.
And I still love listening to the music.

 The first writing I ever had published
was when I was 19, by the “Jazz Review.”
For the next 17 years I wrote for a variety
of American, Canadian, and English Magazines.

 I focused on great musicians who had been
ignored, but who were fantastic!

Well, let’s get this thing going.
I think if you feel rotten most of the time,
you’re always gonna feel lousy,
Your glass is always gonna be half empty.
Anyway, I look at it this way –
anything that doesn’t kill me
could be the basis of one of my stories.

[PS: Hope is why Jesus is important.  John 16:33.]

Jesus knocking at your door

This is JESUS knocking at your door.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." Rev 3:20

"And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house." So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully." Luke 19:5-6

Satan wants us to think that God has turned off His phone, closed His door, and written off the human race. But JESUS (who is God) is at our door, knocking and asking to come in to share Life with us.

1. Christ the Lord.
When Jesus decided to go over to Zacchaeus’ house, the crowd was appalled. They all "began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house.’" If Jesus had cared more for what people said about Him than for what God was asking of Him, Zacchaeus would have continued in his sin, and the countryside would have continued to suffer from his injustice. But Jesus knew His mission, and He didn’t let vain gossip and opposition deter Him from it. He is the Lord, and He will rule His Kingdom according to His own standards, whether or not everyone else is comfortable with it. True Christians will do likewise.

2. Christ the Teacher.
In this passage Jesus teaches us about Himself. He provides a living parable that illustrates the entire meaning of the Incarnation, and then, just in case we didn’t get the message, He summarizes it for us: "The Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost." Christ’s whole life while He was on earth was dedicated to bringing people back into friendship with God.

"So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!" For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." 2 Cor 5:20-21 (NLT)

3. Christ the Friend.
Zacchaeus was joyful because salvation came to his heart, but Jesus was even more joyful, because the shepherd loves the sheep more than the sheep can ever love the shepherd. Jesus brings joy to our hearts whenever we welcome Him into our home, our soul, and our mind. Jesus longs for us to reach out to Him in faith as we eat the Lord’s Supper. Now, in prayer we speak to Jesus of our plans, our hopes, and our struggles.

"I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." John 10:14-15

4. Christ in my life.
God, what did You create me for? You made me to live in communion with You. You want me to get to know You, more and more, for all Eternity, as best friends keep getting to know each other better – and the more they do, the more enjoyable the friendship becomes. I want that too. I want to share in Your work. Whatever You want me to do, I want to do, because I want to follow You…

"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him." 2 Cor 5:17-18 (NLT)

"And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." John 17:22-24

"You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
John 15:14-15

"Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah." Acts 3:19-20 (NLT)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thoughts on Halloween

Be Filled With The Holy Spirit

    Is Halloween just good fun or demonic?  Both - depending on how you use it.  In Christ we are free!  Romans 14:14.

    “AMERICANS are obsessed with the supernatural,” said Jeffrey J. Kripal.  Just look at the TV shows about vampires and zombies.  Supernatural themes sell well - as they did in the First Century.

    As the world thinks of ghost & goblins, remember the ONE who is HOLY.  "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."  [1 John 4:4]  Note Eph. 6:10-18.

    1. Has the church pulled the plug on God’s Spirit?

    “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." Acts 19:1-2   

    "For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection--and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both."  Acts 23:8

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

    In New Testament times the Holy Spirit is described as Someone who “annoys us” and “moves us, makes us walk, pushes the Church to move forward.”  Note Acts 16:6-10.

    2. Compel them to come in.

    “Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”  Luke 14:23

    The goal is not to abandon the world, but to keep ourselves IN CHRIST and salvage as much as possible from this evil world.  Christians do renounce the falseness of the world, but do not reject the Creation itself.  [note Romans 8:19-23.]

    “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.  Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city." Acts 18:8-10

    3. Christian Love, Holy Joy.

    “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.”  1 Thess 1:6-7

    "Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Eph 5:18-20(NLT)

    Following repentance (change your heart and life), a surge of Holy Joy springs up!  But a kind of joy can spring up from darkness also.  The temporary joy of wine will ruin your life.  For Christians the Holy Spirit gives true HOLY JOY.  This JOY is the New Testament worship of GOD who is Father, Son, Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).  In the Lord's Supper we give thanks to the Father through the Son.  Wine will ruin your life.  But he who is filled with the Holy Spirit is rooted in Christ and is gloriously sober.  Quoting Scripture and singing hymns would not be spiritual if there if not also humility, submission and the fear (reverence) for God.

    "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will."  Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)

    Helps. "He greatly assists or aids us."  [Often in ways that we are not aware of.]

    Our weakness. Assists us in our infirmities, or aids us to bear them. The weaknesses to which we are subject, and to our various trials in this life. The Spirit helps us in this ---

    (1.) by giving us strength to bear them;

    (2.) by encouraging us to make efforts to sustain them;

    (3.) by showing us power, and truth, and our Christian blessings, which help us to endure our trials.

    (4.) He will make a way to escape.  1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9

    For we don't know. This tells us of the aid which the Holy Spirit gives us. The reasons why Christians do not know what to pray for may be ---

    (1.) we do not know what would be really best for us.
   (2.) we do not know what God might be willing to grant us.            (3.) we are to a great extent ignorant of the character of God, the reason of His dealings, the principles of His government, and our own real needs.  Eccl. 8:16-17.

     (4.) we are often in real, deep perplexity. We are encompassed with trials, exposed to temptations, feeble by disease, and subject to calamities. In these circumstances, if left alone, we would neither be able to bear the trials, nor know what to ask at the hand of God.  John 16:33.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I wrote this for the Ensign in 1985. It reflects the problems in the church at that time. Christ's One Spiritual Church is indestructible! But local churches may lose their candlestick (Ephesus, Rev. 2:5).

"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" 1 Peter 4:17 (NKJV)

What Peter wrote was true even as he was writing. The destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD) followed shortly. God is prepared to judge His own people more severely than others. Compare James 3:1,13-14; 4:17; Ezekiel 9:6; Jeremiah 25:29. The perseverance of the church involves the promise of God's judgment on the church and its leaders for their unfaithfulness.

"The time will come when many people will gather around and say, 'Lord, Oh Lord, we sure did preach in Your name, didn't we? And in Your name we sure gave the devil a run for his money, didn't we?' We did all kinds of stunts and gimmicks in Your name, didn't we?' Then I'll declare right in front of everybody, 'I've never known you. Get away from Me, you wicked religious racketeers' (Matt. 7:21-23 Jordan's Paraphrase). [Note He is not talking to denominations.] HOW can our Lord say such things to good, faithful brethren who have devoted their lives to Him? The apostle Paul gives the answer in Romans 10:1-4; 2 Cor. 3:1-6. There is a way that seems so right, but it turns one away from the Spirit of God. Jesus warned about the leaven of the Pharisees. "Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Matt. 16:12 Compare Matt. 15:1-9.

Brother Guy N. Woods showed the spirit of a prophet when he wrote in the Gospel Advocate, 10-4-1979, about negativism in the non-institutional group. "It is this disposition which has led many churches, once great and active congregations, to wither on the vine. People cannot subsist on a diet of negativism and maintain robust spiritual life. We predicted long ago that just this result would follow. It is true that rubbish must be cleared away before a building can be erected, but no one ever built a house with a 'crowbar.'"

"The Churches of Christ are a dying institution." Respected brothers have said this. Now the specter of "Collinsville" has come to haunt us. Why? IF GOD WERE NOT ALLOWING IT, IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN. If God is judging "our brotherhood," it is a mistake to look for minor improvement and call them signs of hope. Yes, the judgment itself is a sign of hope - a sign of God's continuing love for His people (compare Isaiah 54:7-10). And if God is in fact judging us, the only way to respond is for "our brotherhood and its leaders" to repent where needed and to return to faithfulness in Him. If the church perseveres in faithfulness it will do so because of God!

Recent events at Collinsville and similar locations have raised some important questions which demand Bible answers (compare 1 Cor. 2:11-16). How far does the responsibility of elders extend? What is the relationship of a "local congregation" to the "church" which Jesus built? Do we understand a congregation to be a "gathered congregation" (an independent group of Christians banded together for work and worship) or a "parochial congregation (an integral part of the total brotherhood - similar to an individual Sears store). Did Campbell, Stone, etc., have the right to resign from various Churches and Associations to avoid the effect of censure? Each of these raises additional questions.

Yes, we know what Christ said. The "gates of hell/powers of death" will not overcome His "one spiritual church." There will be Christians waiting when Christ returns (1 Thess. 4:15-17). But congregations may have their candlestick / lampstands withdrawn (Rev. 2:4-5). Congregations which do not grow through conversions must die through attrition (compare Matt. 25:29).

We may react to this crisis in different ways. The "Triumphalist view" says in effect, that because of the divine promises nothing in the "Churches of Christ" can go seriously wrong. This view is not content to defend "church authority," but feels obligated to defend almost everything the "church" does - to the point that it becomes impossible to admit mistakes or weaknesses. No brakes may be applied nor any changes made in the direction of travel.

Another way views the perfect Christ, "Himself holy, innocent, pure, undefiled, etc.," (Heb. 7:26). He "knew" nothing of sin (2 Cor. 5:21). He came to be God's Lamb to take away the sins of the people (Heb. 2:17). But the "church," embracing sinners in its bosom (compare Jesus' parables of the fish net, wheat and tares, etc.) - is simultaneously holy and always in need to be purified. The church The church must always and forever pursue the path of repentance and renewal. The steering wheel must be turned first this way and then that to keep moving within the lane of travel.

150 years ago, the undivided movement was growing rapidly. Walter Scott alone was baptizing around 1000 each year. The sectarian spirit was being driven out, and freedom was the word of the day. Christians were happy! They had found the "pearl of great price"! The Resurrection Gospel was proclaimed. Grace and unity were favorite themes. When the "War Between the States" ended, the "Restoration" was the fourth largest religious group in the USA. God was blessing us!

God will move His people where He wants them to be at whatever cost! "Our brotherhood" has a serious crisis. It is a crisis of love and hope, a crisis of unfaithfulness to the teaching and example of Christ. Compare Isaiah chapter 61.

PS: New challenges come and go.  Little is accomplished by continuing to fight battles of the past.  But Satan always tries to steal our hope and joy.  Yet God is still at work in our world, often in ways we cannot see.  We pray for a "New Pentecost" and things in the spirit (Spirit) of the Cane Ridge Revival of 1801.

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


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Claiming The Promises Of God

Claiming The Promises of God
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4 (KJV)

1. Satan is the confuser.

Since the time that sin entered the world (Romans 5:12), Satan has tried to spread confusion and despair. People have schemed and planned and attempted to create salvation for themselves. Some look only for pleasures and fulfillment. Yet God Himself is always near us! Acts 17:26-28

Satan tries to get us to fight each other. Jesus said of the Jews: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." Matt 23:15

Paul wrote: "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." 1 Tim 1:12-13

2. Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life.

The Law of Christ is steadfast. 1) Love God (Jesus is God). 2) Love your neighbor. Matt. 22:37-40

"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." 1 John 3:23-24

The Gospel which Paul and the other Apostles preached was the Good News Gospel that God had acted in Jesus Christ to put the world right with Himself. When we become aware of our failure and need, we praise the God who rescues us!

"...yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. 1 Cor 8:6

"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

3. God has already acted in Christ Jesus.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Author of Salvation. He (God The Son) came in "flesh & blood" to devote Himself to accomplishing the Father's Plan.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love..." Eph 1:3-4 (KJV)

"For when we were still without strength, Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6

God did not wait on us to recover strength and be able to save ourselves from sin and evil. Rather, He acted before we even knew about it! Christ died for the wicked at the time God chose! No one is praised for being wicked and rebellious. But, as the Father who loves us, God acted in Christ to set us free and make us new - to redeem us.

"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says: 'When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.'" Eph. 4:7-8; Psalm 68:18.

"Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22

"So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us." Acts 17:27

Let each one trust in the Name of the LORD and rely upon his GOD. Note Isaiah 50:10. "Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord And rely upon his God."

What better way to meet the problems and joys of life! The Parable of the Sower speaks to our response to God's Message. It is those with a "noble and good heart that bear fruit with patience" (Luke 8:15).

Friday, October 11, 2013


New book sparks controversy, debate, and Bible Study.
"Killing Jesus" A Historical Account. Bill O’Reilly. New book just out. I read it and it is historically accurate. It puts JESUS and the reality of His Crucifixion in the minds of many people. It views the Apostle John as an eye-witness. 1 John 1:1-4. It picks up on the History that is out there (which some have denied). Some will focus on what they see as conflicts and errors ("we eat the fruit and spit out the seeds"). But others will take JESUS seriously, and we can and do pray: "God's Will be done in all this."

Trust in God.

"For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." 2 Cor 1:20 (NKJV)

We trust GOD. The Holy Bible is our authority. God has not forgotten us! The Light of Christ shines in the darkness! John 8:12. God can still bruise Satan under our feet! Romans 16:20; Luke 10:18. God sends the Spirit of life into the Two Witnesses! Revelation 11:11-15. God’s great Kingdom has come!

John the Apostle writes as an eyewitness of JESUS.

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." 1 John 1:1-4 (NKJV)

"That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:9-14 (NKJV)

Think on these things 
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." Phil 4:8-9 (KJV)

When the church is obsessed with sin and evil, we bite and devour one another. Lacey writes about the COMMAND in Phil. 4:8-9. "To round off, guys: stuff your mouth with truth; pack your head with heroic ideas; occupy your hands with doing the right thing; stack up your deep places with purity; focus your vision on beautiful things; fill your imagination with excellence, dignity, distinction. Phil. 4:8

What you think about determines the quality and direction of your life. Satan strives to distract us. Naturally, people who think positive, uplifting thoughts have happier, healthier, longer lives. They are less stressed, more vibrant and enjoy better sleep. That’s why the scripture encourages us to think on good things — things that are true, noble and lovely. Some translations say to "fix your mind" on them. When you fix your mind on noble things, you close the door to the negative voices and open your heart to allow God to work in your life.

Choose today to fix your mind on good things. Do whatever you need to in order to keep those good thoughts before you. Write them on note cards and put them in a place where you can see them. Confess God’s promises over your life and declare His blessing on a daily basis. As you fix your mind on the goodness of God, you will rise higher in every area of your life. You will be filled with His peace and victory, and you’ll see every dream and desire in your heart come to pass.

Father in heaven, I choose to fix my mind on JESUS. I choose noble things, thoughts of peace and victory. Fill my heart with Your goodness that I may glorify You in everything I do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Faith - Prayer - Going Home

Faith, Prayer, and Going Home   
[adapted from Jack Hayford. He is a preacher. I am using some things he wrote about his mother's death.]

The fact.

God created us in His Image and put us in a world of Time. We are born a tiny baby and we live as long as God gives us. The old must die. The young may die. God's great Purpose for each of us is being fulfilled. We treasure God's gift of life and we use it to the fullest. [John 10:10]

"I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him." Ecclesiastes 3:14

"For I know that my Redeemer lives.." Job 19:25

The problem.

"Most of us struggle with how to pray for the sick. It was especially hard for me when my Mama faced bone cancer. How do you pray when you believe Jesus Christ heals today, yet every instinct tells you, "This is the end of this saint's journey on the earth-side of things?"

Lesson 1. "Intense spasms of pain began last June. [She died Oct. 97.] She had a full life [81 yrs.] and joyously looked forward to "going home." Her suffering seemed "needless." I was praying, "O Lord, take Mama home."

"But suddenly I thought, what would God speak to me? "Stop praying that way now!" I was puzzled. What should I then pray??? This thought blossomed in my mind. God would say: "You should pray for her to be 'raised up' - whether to a measure of health or to My Eternal Presence. That is My responsibility. Yours is to pray for life, not death."

"Pray for LIFE! Yes! But in our world Death is part of life [Ecclesiastes 3:1-2,14]. Leave the 'raising up' to God."

"I remembered James 5:15. "And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." God might raise her up to heaven's glory rather than physical health. I felt at peace when I came to this conclusion, with God's help."

Lesson 2. "About mid July Mama was in the ICU and a new level of "dragging on" seemed to have begun. I fumbled in prayer, "Lord, why must this continue?" I agonized over it. Again I thought, what would God say? "I am still working things in My daughter, as well as through her."

"The suffering we groan over is temporary and brief. I listen to Paul. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Cor 4:17

"No suffering will ever be without purpose or reward. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18 

"It would take a book to record the remarkable things that happened through my mother's presence and personal contacts in the 10 weeks that followed. God did do great things through her. We were blessed."

Lesson 3. "In September we were all feeling the draining impact of mother's illness. There was no question of our love for her. But we felt frustration. We had to wait, and pray. I said to my wife: "I feel like my life is on hold." I wasn't angry. I loved my mother. But everything seemed at such a standstill."

"Two days later, perhaps God put this thought in my mind. "So? On Hold? In whose hands have you put your life???" And I remembered Psalm 31:15 "My times are in Your hand." Then I prayed, "Forgive me, Lord. I affirm Your Word; all my life and its details are in YOUR hands. I am not the victim of circumstances. Father, I'm living in the stream of Your purpose and will. So now, until in Your own time we come to Mama's home-going, I rest in YOU - completely."

"And I did - until His Victory was all of ours together. Mama was raised up to Eternal Life!!! Paul taught: "Absent from the body, present with the Lord!!!" [2 Cor. 5:1-10]

Can we have confidence in our salvation? Some will fall away. But each of us has the authority to resist the devil. "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7

The Apostle John wrote: "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."    1 John 3:23-24

"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