Saturday, 18 May 2019

Saturday Song: The Steve Miller Band, "Journey from Eden"

This is one of Steve Miller's thoughtful songs. Along with "Fly Like An Eagle," it shows his concern for the less fortunate citizens of our planet.

Here Steve Miller's song here:

I believe that Adam and Eve had no inkling of what their disobedience would cost humanity. Genesis 3:24 (KJV) records, "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."

The first family on earth was also dysfunctional as a result of their fall from God's grace. We read of the first murder in the next chapter of Genesis. This chapter  also answers the reason Cain murdered Abel.

And from 1 John 3:12 (KJV) we learn, "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous."

But God was gracious to Cain, and by extension us, in that he didn't kill him on the spot. Genesis 4:12 (KJV) gives God's sentence on Cain. "When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth."

Fortunately for us as well, God sent Christ to die in our place. Romans 5:8 (KJV) explains, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

What a wonderful deed the Lord did for humanity. When we forsake our wicked ways, confess our sins, and yield our lives to Christ, we become his adopted children. The rift between God and humanity was bridged by Jesus, reuniting humanity with God once more.

On Monday, I'll tackle the subject of why we're like kites. It seems like a strange analogy but I'll explain why that is.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Why is Christ Delaying His Coming?

It's been about two-thousand years since Christ walked on our planet. He promised to return but we haven't seen any sign of his coming. Additionally, the signs Pentecostal denominations  claim to be indications of his return are so vague.

So, when will our Lord return? Scripture indicates that God has a set number of those who will be saved. As Jesus prayed in John 17:24 (BBE), "Father, it is my desire that these whom you have given to me may be by my side where I am, so that they may see my glory which you have given to me, because you had love for me before the world came into being."

I'm sure that some folks will object, saying that Christ was praying only for those disciples gathered with him at that time. But Jesus said in John 17:20 (BBE) that, "My prayer is not for them only, but for all who will have faith in me through their word;"

Some people believe that the offer of salvation is open-ended, meaning that it depends upon us spiritually dead humans to repent and believe on Christ. One scripture they quote is Acts 2:21 (BBE). "And whoever makes his prayer to the Lord will have salvation." But that doesn't mean that there aren't an unlimited number who can be saved.

One word we Christians use to describe this set number of believers is predestination. It means that God picked some folks to be saved before the world was made. As Paul mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:9 (BBE), referring to Christ, "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,"

Even the plan of salvation was decided before time began. As Titus 1:2 (BBE) mentions, "In the hope of eternal life, which was made certain before eternal time, by the word of God who is ever true;"

In one of Christ's parables, he gave an example of how the end of this sinful age will be. Matthew 13:47 and 48 (BBE) reads, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net, which was put into the sea and took in every sort of fish: When it was full, they took it up on the sands; and seated there they put the good into vessels, but the bad they put away." Notice that it was only one cast, not many and all the fish in the net were sorted at that time.

This is one topic I'll tackle in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? None of us knows who's predestined to be saved so we need to tell everybody the good news. Some will repent and some won't. that's just the way it is.

I'll be featuring one of my favourite songs on Saturday. Steve Miller recorded one about humanity leaving the Garden of Eden. I think you'll enjoy it, especially the harmony of the voices.

Monday, 13 May 2019

The Law is Holy but We're not

Have you ever wondered why the Old Testament laws were so strict? To modern ears, they sound barbaric. But God meant those laws to be a blessing and a lesson to the Israelites.

First of all, God is the one who made us so his word is law. In Ezekiel 18:4 (BBE), God spoke, "See, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son is mine: death will be the fate of the sinner's soul."

God shows his justness in Ezekiel 18:20 (BBE) when he instructed that only those who commit sin will die for it. "The soul which does sin will be put to death: the son will not be made responsible for the evil-doing of the father, or the father for the evil-doing of the son; the righteousness of the upright will be on himself, and the evil-doing of the evil-doer on himself."

But this lets nobody off the hook since we're all destined to perish. In Genesis 2:17 (BBE) God gave Adam and Eve one simple command. "But of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not take; for on the day when you take of it, death will certainly come to you." They didn't fall down dead, thanks to God's mercy, but all Adam's descendents owe God their forfeited lives.

How then can we say that we'll have eternal life when we have the sentence of death in our DNA? Jesus gave Martha the answer. John 11:25 (BBE) reads, "Jesus said to her, 'I am myself that day and that life; he who has faith in me will have life even if he is dead;'"

Many of the Old Testament commandments were prophetic illustrations of Christ's work on the cross. As I've pointed out before, the Passover is symbolic of Christ dying so that spiritual death won't come upon us. The blood of the Passover lamb was put on the doorposts to show the death angel that God's people were within the house.

Another seemingly trivial point was that none of the Passover lamb's bones were to be broken. Exodus 12:46 (BBE)  says, "It is to be taken in one house; not a bit of the flesh is to be taken out of the house, and no bone of it may be broken."

And as we read in John 19:36 (BBE),after roman soldiers broke the legs of the other two crucified men, "These things came about so that the Writings might be true, 'No bone of his body will be broken.'"

I'll be writing more about the crucifixion of Christ and it's eternal ramifications in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? There are some people who see Christ's death on the cross as his ministry going wrong. But we who know our scriptures realize that it was planned long before the first atom was created.

On Thursday, I'll post about why Christ hasn't returned yet. He actually has a great reason for waiting so seemingly long to come back to us.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Saturday Song: O.M.D., "Radio Waves"

What a wonderful invention radio is. It brings us news and music wherever we are. And unlike television, we don't need to be staring at the receiver. That's why I'm often doing housework or just relaxing while I listen to my favourite oldies or Bible-teaching programs.

Listen to the song by O.M.D. here.

For many folks in Third World lands, radio is an essential link to the outside world. And for believers in countries where Christianity is forbidden, broadcasts from free countries help them grow in faith and understanding of the Bible.

We Christians are familiar with what theologians call The Great Commission. Mark 16:15 (KJV) is one verse where Christ gave this command. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

Likewise, Paul wrote in Romans 10:14 (BBE), "But how will they give worship to him in whom they have no faith? and how will they have faith in him of whom they have not had news? and how will they have news without a preacher."

Thanks to broadcast ministries, such as Trans World Radio, people who would normally not hear the gospel can listen to preachers in the privacy of their own homes as they preach in their mother tongue.

Shortwave radio is especially effective in spreading Christ's good news. It can cross borders and reach folks thousands of miles away.

Radios these days don't cost much either. Better still, many have dynamos in them which can recharge an internal battery. Some also come equipped with solar panels. In the poorest villages, people can gather around a radio and hear the gospel for free.

Do you love radio and songs like this one. Feel free to reply. I've loved radio since I was a child and I doubt I'll ever quit listening for distant signals.

On Monday, I'll tackle the topic of why God is holy but we aren't.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Why is Human Life Sacred?

Those who teach evolution would have us believe that we're no better than other creatures eking out a living on this planet. If that's the case, why do we have morals? And shouldn't only the fittest of us be allowed to live?

Starting at the beginning, our creator had in mind a special place for us. Genesis 1:26 (BBE) records, "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, like us: and let him have rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every living thing which goes flat on the earth."

Since we're made in God's image, destroying it through murder is a crime against the Lord. Genesis 9:6 (BBE) states, "Whoever takes a man's life, by man will his life be taken; because God made man in his image."

But how far does this extend? Some folks quote Exodus 20:13 (BBE) out of context. They think nobody should kill anybody for any reason. The verse actually says, " "Do not put anyone to death without cause."

Those two words, "without cause," are important to note. The government of any land has the God-given duty to execute any murderer. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13:3 and 4 (BBE), "For rulers are not a cause of fear to the good work but to the evil. If you would have no fear of the authority, do good and you will have praise; For he is the servant of God to you for good. But if you do evil, have fear; for the sword is not in his hand for nothing:" he is God's servant, making God's punishment come on the evil-doer.

As for war, God used it to cleanse the land he promised to Abraham of the wicked people who dwelled there. Exodus 23:31 (BBE) tells how. "I will let the limits of your land be from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the waste land to the river Euphrates: for I will give the people of those lands into your power; and you will send them out before you."

In a case where one's land is being invaded by soldiers bent on slaughtering its citizens, then people are permitted to slay the land's enemies. We see this often in Israel's history.

We also see in Deuteronomy 32:39 (BBE) that God is the one who gives and takes life. "See now, I myself am he; there is no other god but me: giver of death and life, wounding and making well: and no one has power to make you free from my hand."

This is a big topic, too large for this post, so I'll deal with it in my next book. Because God gives and takes life, he has the right to execute judgement on those who refuse his son's generous sacrifice. After all, we have the choice of paying for our rejection of him in hell forever or letting him take our punishment and becoming his adopted children.

On Saturday, I'll post about a song which extols one of humanity's greatest inventions. It's also a powerful tool for spreading the gospel around the world.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Christianity Cures Guilt

In all religions, people attempt to rid themselves of guilt through rituals of some sort. We even see in the Old Testament how God authorized many different kinds offerings to atone for the guilt of the people.

But what use were these sacrifices? Hebrews 10:4 (BBE) argues against salvation through sacrifices, "Because it is not possible for the blood of oxen and goats to take away sins."

But in the very next verse, the writer of Hebrews explains how Christ was the only sacrifice that could pay for sin. "So that when he comes into the world, he says, 'You had no desire for offerings, but you made a body ready for me;'"

As I've written before, Christ was that "lamb of God" who takes away the sin of the world. All those verses in the Old Testament about sacrificing a pure and unblemished male lamb were metaphorical images of the ultimate lamb who died on the cross for us.

Then the writer of Hebrews said in verse six, "And without faith it is not possible to be well-pleasing to him, for it is necessary for anyone who comes to God to have the belief that God is, and that he is a rewarder of all those who make a serious search for him."

The Apostle Paul also wrote about how Christ paid our debt and ended the sacrificial system. As Colossians 2:16 and 17 (BBE) says, "For this reason let no man be your judge in any question of food or drink or feast days or new moons or Sabbaths: For these are an image of the things which are to come; but the body is Christ's."

We know that God no longer holds us accountable for past sins. Psalms 103:12 (BBE) assures us that, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our sins from us."

But some will ask how the Old Testament believers were saved. Hebrews 11:10 (BBE) gives us the answer. "For he (Abraham) was looking for the strong town, whose builder and maker is God." A few verses earlier, his faith was accounted as righteousness by God.

What a joy it is that the sins in our past are forgiven and covered by Christ's sacrifice. I'll mention that in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many people try all sorts of things to salve their consciences but without success. Only Jesus' blood clears us from our misdeeds.

On Thursday, I'll deal with the question of what makes humanityspecial. Atheists would have us believe that we're just another species, eking out a living on this planet. That is so wrong and I'll show why it is.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Saturday Song: Kraftwerk, "Sex Object"

We certainly live in a sex-obsessed world. From advertising to television, we can't escape seeing women and men being objectified.

Kraftwerk is one band which commented on this tendency of people to turn others into objects of their lust. This isn't love but inordinate desire.

Hear the song here.

I love Job's answer to the matter of prurient appetites. In Job 31:1 (KJV), he declared, "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?"

Some people in Christ's time figured that as long as they never committed adultery with a woman, they were righteous. In Matthew 5:28 (KJV) Jesus explained, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

Men are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Ephesians 5:28 (KJV) leaves no room for wandering affections. "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself."

And though this verse is awkwardly phrased in the King James version, Song of Solomon 2:7  (KJV warns against sex before the age of maturity. "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please." Newer versions render "he" as "it."

This is why Christianity is superior to other belief systems. Women and men are equal, though they have different roles.

On Monday, I'll explain how Christianity cures guilt. So many earnest folks figure just doing some sort of ritual will cleanse them of past sins.