Monday, 14 October 2019

Will God Answer if Only One Person Prays?

In my experience, certain people believe that many prayers for something will more likely make it come to pass. Certainly it's not a sin to have many believers asking God for souls to be saved. But I know from the Bible that God will answer even one prayer from a single person when that prayer aligns with his will.

Remember the story of Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal? They had a contest to see which god would answer. The priests of Baal danced around their altar all day but nobody answered. We read in 1 Kings 18:36-38 (BBE) how one prayer by one man was answered. "Then at the time of the offering, Elijah the prophet came near and said, 'O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be seen this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things by your order. Give me an answer, O Lord, give me an answer, so that this people may see that you are God, and that you have made their hearts come back again.' Then the fire of the Lord came down, burning up the offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and drinking up the water in the drain."

As I've pointed out before, and will have to keep pointing it out, Matthew 18:20 doesn't mean that Christ is with people when two or three are gathered in his name. The context of the chapter shows that he was speaking about church discipline.

The Jews had a law that charges must be verified by more than one witness. Deuteronomy 17:6 (BBE) makes this clear. "On the word of two or three witnesses, a man may be given the punishment of death; but he is not to be put to death on the word of one witness."

As we also read in 2 Corinthians 13:1 (BBE), This also applies to correct doctrine. "This is the third time that I am coming to you. From the mouth of two or three witnesses will every word be made certain."

And as James 5:16 (BBE) affirms, God answers the prayers of one or many faithful believers. "So then, make a statement of your sins to one another, and say prayers for one another so that you may be made well. The prayer of a good man is full of power in its working."

Prayer is an important topic. I'll be including it in my book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Believers need to know how to pray and what to pray for. As it is, there's too much error preached in churches.

On Thursday, I'll post about why just being "good" doesn't impress God.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Saturday Song: Lenny Kravitz, "Let Love Rule"

Are you one who likes music because of its sound? I'm like that. It doesn't matter to me who creates the kind of music I like. There are no quotas in my music collection. I like what I like.

That's why I fell in love with the sound of Lenny Kravitz in 1991. It sounded so much like what I heard on 630 CHED in 1970 that I bought many of his albums.

Enjoy "Let Love Rule" here.

We who trust in Christ are encouraged to do this throughout the scriptures. Instead of separating ourselves into cliques, we should fellowship with all the members of our church. As Paul pointed out in Romans 12:9 (KJV), "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."

Because we have the love of Christ dwelling in us, we naturally are kind to others and passionate about worshipping the Lord. As it says in John 3:21 (KJV) "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

So, what's your opinion on Lenny Kravitz's music and what I've written? Please let me know. But if you'd rather not comment, have a beautiful weekend anyway.

On Monday, I'll post about a misapprehension which many Christians have regarding prayer.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

The 1 Corinthians 2:9 Error

Another misinterpreted verse is 2 Corinthians 2:9. I was taught, and chances you were too, that it meant the glories we'll experience in Heaven. Simple grammar and studying the previous verses proves that notion to be wrong.

The verse reads in the Bible in Basic English, "But as it says in the holy Writings, Things which the eye saw not, and which had not come to the ears or into the heart of man, such things as God has made ready for those who have love for him.,"

First of all, Paul is quoting the Old Testament. This verse is speaking of future judgement, not the joys of heaven. Isaiah 64:4 (BBE) reads,The ear has not had news of, or the eye seen, ... any God but you, working for the man who is waiting for him."

Read the previous verses and you'll find that Isaiah was prophesying judgement to come. He longed for the heavens to open and God to come down and judge the wicked. When Jesus came in the flesh, he pronounced judgement upon Jerusalem. The city was destroyed in 70 AD, just as he prophesied.

Reading ahead in Paul's letter, we see that the world doesn't have the understanding we do regarding judgement and spiritual matters. In fact, 1 Corinthians 2:16 (BBE)tells us whose understanding we have. "For who has knowledge of the mind of the Lord, so as to be his teacher? But we have the mind of Christ."

Of course we also know that a final judgement will come upon the world. All sinful things will be destroyed and only righteousness will survive. The world as we know it will be vapourized, just as Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:10 (BBE) how it will happen. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; and in that day the heavens will be rolled up with a great noise, and the substance of the earth will be changed by violent heat, and the world and everything in it will be burned up."

I hope someday to publish my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? It's true that God is love but part of that love is giving sinners the opportunity to accept or reject his rule over them. This limited time offer ends when we die or when Christ returns. I want as many people as possible to hear this important truth.

On Saturday, I'll post about love and why we must let it rule our hearts.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Parsing 2 Peter 3:9

Our Bible certainly is a remarkable tome. No matter how long and hard we study it, we discover truths which we never realized before.

I've been a Christian since 1969. After learning error from an aberrant house church, I had to unlearn their lies and learn the truth. For decades, I thought 2 Peter 3:9 was about God's wish that everybody would be born again. It was also one scripture which the cultic church I attended claimed meant that everybody would be eventually saved.

So, what does this verse actually mean? A preacher named Voddie Baucham showed in one sermon that this scripture doesn't mean God's permissive will but that God's waiting for all the believers to come to faith in Christ.

This verse in the Bible in Basic English reads, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his word, as he seems to some, but he is waiting in mercy for you, not desiring the destruction of any, but that all may be turned from their evil ways."

In the previous verses, Peter was speaking of those mockers who doubted God's future judgement upon them. As he wrote in 2 Peter 3:3 and 4 (BBE) that, "Having first of all the knowledge that in the last days there will be men who, ruled by their evil desires, will make sport of holy things, Saying, 'Where is the hope of his coming? From the death of the fathers till now everything has gone on as it was from the making of the world.'"

After pointing out that the world was destroyed in the flood, he wrote in 2 Peter 3:7 (BBE), "But the present heaven and the present earth have been kept for destruction by fire, which is waiting for them on the day of the judging and destruction of evil men."

Then we learn that time is no problem for our Father. As 2 Peter 3:8 (BBE) says, "But, my loved ones, keep in mind this one thing, that with the Lord one day is the same as a thousand years, and a thousand years are no more than one day."

This verse changes the focus from the scoffers to the "loved ones" to whom he was writing. It reassures them, and us, that the seaming slowness of God to punish the scoffers is done for a good reason. That reason is revealed in verse nine.

For decades, I was taught that 2 Peter 3:9 was addressing sinners. Now, by Voddie Baucham's use of simple grammar, I realize that Peter was speaking of those who our Lord chose for Christ. Look at what John 17:9 and 10 (BBE) says. "My prayer is for them: my prayer is not for the world, but for those whom you have given to me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine) and I have glory in them."

We learn about these "loved ones" whom our Lord chose in 2 Timothy 1:9 and 10 (BBE), "Who gave us salvation, marking us out for his purpose, not on account of our works, but in the measure of his purpose and his grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, But has now been made clear by the revelation of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who put an end to death and made life unending come to light through the good news,"

What a joy it is then that our Master will lose none of the people whom his Father has predestined for salvation. We need not fear losing our place in heaven because of some kind of damning sin.

I'll be writing about our assurance of salvation in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? As John MacArthur observed, he would have lost his salvation long ago if it were possible to lose it.

On Thursday, I'll deal with another misunderstood passage of scripture.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Saturday Song: The Electric Light Orchestra, "Mr. Radio"

To most people, a radio is just a box which plays music or gives news reports. They have only a vague idea of how it receives signals and converts them into sound waves which our ears can hear.

But for me, my radio was my lifeline to the outside world. In my Deliverance from Jericho memoir, I wrote about how having my own radio made me feel a little less depressed at that institution.

One November afternoon in 1969, I happened to pick up a radio station from Edmonton, Alberta. Since my home town of Fort Saskatchewan was only twenty miles north of that city, I felt like I made contact with home by receiving that station.

The Electric Light Orchestra recorded a song about the comforting presence of a radio on their first album. I readily identified with it because of my experience at the blind school.

Hear this song here.

We Christians are also exiles, even though we've never set foot in heaven. But we do have a home waiting for us there when we die. John 14:2-3 (KJV) reminds us with the words of Jesus, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

The Word of God is our lifeline to heaven, as is prayer. Just as I felt a connection to my home through receiving that station, so we have an assurance of better things to come. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:18 (KJV), "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

A day will come when this world will be replaced with a better one. Revelation 21:4 (KJV) tells us this wonderful news. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

Just as I left Jericho Hill School and never returned to it, so we won't have to live in captivity anymore. We'll be united with Jesus and all the faithful who followed him.

So, what do you think of what I've written and this song? Please let me know in the box below.

On Monday, I'll post about another Bible verse which people misquote and misapply.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

"Why Do You Call Me Good?"

Since Jesus was the Son of God, why did he ask this question of the rich, young ruler? This sounds like a contradiction but it in fact isn't.

In Luke 18:18 and 19 (BBE), we read about this encounter between Christ and a leader from the temple. "And a certain ruler put a question to him, saying, 'Good Master, what have I to do so that I may have eternal life?' And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you say that I am good? No one is good, but only God.'"

Jesus didn't say he was or wasn't God but he doubted the ruler's sincerity. The Pharisees and Sadducees often questioned Christ but it was for a pretence. As Mark 12:13 (BBE) states, "Then they sent to him certain of the Pharisees and the Herodians, so that they might make use of his words to take him by a trick."

Jesus knew who were true believers and who were mere followers of him as long as he said and did what they wanted. As Matthew 2:23 and 24 (BBE) explains, "Now while he was in Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover, a great number of people came to have faith in his name, after seeing the signs which he did. But Jesus did not have faith in them, because he had knowledge of them all."

Our Lord deliberately spoke "hard sayings" so the fake disciples would turn away from him, as John chapter six says. Jesus even knew that Judas Iscariot would betray him. Check out what John 6:70 (BBE) says.  "Then Jesus said, 'Did I not make a selection of you, the twelve, and one of you is a son of the Evil One?'"

Furthermore, Judas was so clever that none of the disciples realized he was false. But Jesus wasn't fooled. John 13:18 (BBE) proves this. "I am not talking of you all: I have knowledge of my true disciples, but things are as they are, so that the Writings may come true, 'The foot of him who takes bread with me is lifted up against me.'"

Because people have such a hard time understanding that none of us are good, I'll have to repeat that truth ad nauseam in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? People can't seem to grasp that we all are born bad.

Saturday's song post will be about a good companion to many lonely people: radio. I sure needed it in Jericho Hill School.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Why The Poor Need Christ

A former friend of mine once said she couldn't understand why the gospel was preached only to the poor. Isaiah 61:1 (BBE) reads, "The spirit of the Lord is on me, because I am marked out by him to give good news to the poor; he has sent me to make the broken-hearted well, to say that the prisoners will be made free, and that those in chains will see the light again;" Then she realized the reason.

I can think of several reasons why the good news of salvation must be preached to empoverished souls. One is that they have little or nothing to lose. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:26 (BBE)about the humble sort of people God chose to save.  For you see God's design for you, my brothers, that he has not taken a great number of the wise after the flesh, not the strong, not the noble:"

But proud people feel they need no salvation. As James 4:6 (BBE) notes, "But he gives more grace. So that the Writings say, God is against the men of pride, but he gives grace to those who make themselves low before him."

Like the high and mighty, poor people sin. But we all are changed through the process of sanctification. As paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:11 (BBE) regarding those who Christ had changed from their wicked ways, "And such were some of you; but you have been washed, you have been made holy, you have been given righteousness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

And since Jesus sanctified himself, we too are being set apart for the Lord. John 17:19 and 20 (BBE) quotes Jesus as praying, "And for them I make myself holy, so that they may be made truly holy. My prayer is not for them only, but for all who will have faith in me through their word;"

This sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us helps us serve one another and our Lord. The goal in this process is described in Ephesians 4:13 (BBE), which continues,  Till we all come to the harmony of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to full growth, to the full measure of Christ:"

Our hope is in heaven where we someday will dwell. I'll be writing more on sanctification in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Our time on earth is to prepare usfor God's abode. This is why we must study and obey God's holy Word.

On Thursday, I'll post about a man who met Christ and asked how he could obtain eternal life.