Thursday, 30 August 2018

The problem with sayings is that people often forget where they came from. For example, there are those who think that, “The Lord helps those who help themselves,” is in the Bible. Benjamin Franklin was the one who originated that proverb.

Many non Christians speak of bearing their crosses, meaning that they endure difficult people and situations. This is totally untrue, even if Scripture does exhort us to bear adversity with patience.
Christ explained what bearing the cross meant in Matthew 16:24 )(KJV). “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.'”

This verse is abundantly clear that taking up the cross means to follow Christ. This is much more serious than following somebody on social media sites. Disciples literally followed their teacher around and learned his teachings. Jesus isn’t in the flesh today but we still follow him, or we ought to, with the same devotion eleven out of twelve disciples showed back then.

Remember the rich, young ruler who came to Christ and asked how to obtain eternal life. That man figured that outwardly obeying the law was good enough. But the Lord knew his covetous heart and he pointed out what he should do. Mark 10:21 (KJV) states, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, ‘One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.'”

Neither does carrying a beam mean taking up the cross. Some people might get that idea from Luke 23:26 (KJV) which says, “And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.”

Scripture is clear about what bearing one’s cross means. Every disciple except Judas Iscariot suffered for their solid trust in Christ. Martyrs also refused to cave to the demands of non Christians to deny their saviour. Hebrews chapter eleven is filled with the accounts of those who refused to bow to foreign gods. Even today, believers suffer for holding fast to their faith in Christ.

And there’s no taqia in Christianity like there is in Islam. We can’t lie to unbelievers in order to further the Christian cause. Neither are we called to avenge ourselves as Muslims are commanded to do. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:19 (KJV), “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

I’ll be writing more about the diametric opposite teachings of Islam and Christianity in my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? All other belief systems, including Islam and atheism, are based on works we accomplish. Only Christianity teaches the truth that we can’t save ourselves, no matter how hard we try.

On Monday, I’ll be writing about how much money we must give to God’s work.

Monday, 27 August 2018

The 'Everybody Does It' Error

Another mistake Christians are prone to is going along with the crowd. So many justify it by saying, "Everybody does it."

But we know that sin is sin, no matter how small it seems. We see how serious sin is in Ezekiel 33:12 (KJV)  "Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, 'The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.'"

Even so, we can receive forgiveness from Christ when we yield to temptation. Scripture says in 1 John 1:9 (KJV) that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

But what if it's something as minor as jaywalking? After all, it shouldn't matter if no cars are coming, right? Paul answered that matter in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV). "Abstain from all appearance of evil."

Furthermore, Daniel and his three friends certainly could have gone along with the customs of Babylon. Daniel 1:12 (KJV) shows how cleverly they got around the rule that they must eat the king's food which he had earlier offered to idols. "Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink."

We know how that worked out. They were healthier than if they had eaten and defiled themselves with meat and wine offered to idols. By the way, this isn't diet advice, as some Christians think. I'll be writing about this and other Christian fads another time.

We mustn't live like the world and think like them. We live here but we obey our Master in heaven. Supposedly minor sins like speeding or cutting across railway land ruin our testimony, making us look like hypocrites in the eyes of unsaved folks.

I'll deal with this matter further in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many churchgoers break laws during the week and then act so pious on Sunday morning.

On Thursday, I'll post about what bearing one's cross really means.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Saturday Song: Chillowack, "Lonesome Marry"

I'm so glad that society is recognizing the devastating effect which chronic depression has on people. While we all get the blues from time to time, clinical depression renders its victims unable to do much of anything. Even feeding and dressing oneself can be too big a chore.

Chillowack, a band from a town in British Columbia with the same name, sang about a depressed woman back in 1971. Even she didn't know why she wept all the time.

Here "Lonesome Marry" here.

Even in biblical times, people suffered from depression. The psalms are filled with anguished cries to God. As David wrote in Psalms 42:5 (KJV), "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance."

Some writers of the scriptures had valid reason to fear and feel downcast. Jeremiah 4:19 (KJV) says, "My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my  very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace,  because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the  alarm of war."

Whatever is causing us to feel depressed, we can rest our minds on the truth that God cares for us. Even when the entire world seems to be going sideways, our Lord is still in charge.

So, what do you think of the song and what I wrote? Please leave me your opinion below. But if you'd rather not, have a fun weekend

Thursday, 23 August 2018

The Worst Pre-Conversion Testimony Contest Error

As with Tithing, some Christians seem to delight in the depths of depravity in their former lives. While it's wonderful when God rescues people from degradation, it's ONLY by grace that anybody is saved.

And as much as I love the radio program, UNSHACKLED!, Pacific Garden Mission story writers inadvertently give listeners the impression that the worse you were, the better you are after being saved.

This tendency to compete for the worst pre-conversion testimony ought never to happen. Romans 3:23 (KJV) states plainly, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

The Apostle Paul could have boasted of how he once was an enemy of the faith. He wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) that, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

Even so, Paul also realized that people measuring their status against others were wrong. As he wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:12 (KJV), "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."

Christians ought to be happy they were accepted into the family of Christ. Some end up like the elder brother in Christ's parable. Luke 15:28-30 (BBE) says, "   "But he was angry and would not go in; and his father came out and made a request to him to come in. But he made answer and said to his father, 'See, all these years I have been your servant, doing your orders in everything: and you never gave me even a young goat so that I might have a feast with my friends: But when this your son came, who has been wasting your property with bad women, you put to death the fat young ox for him'"

This isn't the attitude of a grateful person but one who feels entitled to condemn others. And though God is glorified by the rescue of lost people, faithfulness also brings him glory.

Look at how Paul commended Timothy and his mother and grandmother. He penned in 2 Timothy 1:5 (KJV), "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."

Spiritual pride is as sinful as any other sin. I'll be touching on this point in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? People love doing works to show off their righteousness but that's not what God wants in us. Humility is what he requires.

On Saturday, I'll write about a song popular back in 1971 and why it isn't a sin to have the blues.

Monday, 20 August 2018

The Tithing Error

This is one error many churches make. They read about tithing in the Old Testament and assume it must be done today.

When God led the descendents of Abraham out of Egypt, he initiated the tithe so that the Levites could minister without having to do secular work to survive. Israel was a theocratic nation with God as king.

But that wasn't good enough for the people. They wanted a visible king. As 1 Samuel 8:7 (KJV) records, "And the LORD said unto Samuel, 'Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.'"

Another thing tithe proponents don't consider is that there were other tithes than the first fruits and a tenth of all the produce. Deuteronomy 14:28 (KJV) says, "At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:"

Additionally, Matthew 23:23 (KJV) is used by them to bludgeon believers into giving. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."

Christ hadn't died on the cross yet and neither had he initiated the new covenant when he spoke those words. He was speaking to the religious leaders too, not the laity.

The same is true of Malachi 3:10 (KJV). God spoke through that prophet to the priests and said, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

People also misapply the second half of the verse, assuming that giving a tithe of money to their church will bring them a hundred-fold blessing of riches. That's not in the verse, neither is blessings merely monetary.

I'll be touching on these mistakes in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Tithing is often viewed as a mark of holiness by those who believe in works righteousness. As I've pointed out so many times, it's trust in God which gets one into paradise.

On Thursday, providing that the Lord doesn't return first, I'll post about how people contend for the worst pre-conversion testimony.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Saturday Song: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, Telephone

Remember when phohnes were used for conversations with family members and friends? People used to have only one telephone in the house and it was such a thrill to receive a long distance call.

In many ways, times have changed. More people, especially in the Third World, have cell phones. And instead of family or friends, people are often interrupted by telemarketers and spammers. Even if you're on the "Do Not Call" list, those weasels still manage to hide their identity while dialling every number combination with their computers.

I must admit that I feel enraged when one of those jerks dials my number. That's why this zany song by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band resonates with me. When I'm busy writing or napping and the phone rings, I feel like taking a sledge hammer to every jangling instrument in the house.

Listen to Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band's song here.

I love the fact that we who place our trust in Jesus can call upon the Father any time of day. We pay no roaming charges, no long distance tolls, and we never have any static or dropped calls.

I love what Peter said in Acts 2:21 (KJV). "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall  call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

No matter who a person is, the Lord is open to accept whoever realizes they can't face the emptiness of life and the wrath of God at the end of it.

So, what do you think of the song and what I wrote here? Please leave me a comment. But if you'd rather not, have a wonderful weekend anyway.

Monday, 13 August 2018

The Rejecting Suffering Error

Should we really reject suffering? Certainly it makes sense to deal with physical pain since it's a warning that something's wrong. And though we suffer emotionally, we should deal with that too.

The suffering I'm writing about is persecution for having faith in Christ. It can be as mild as somebody mocking our faith to having our lives violently ended. We plainly read in 1 Peter 4:12 (KJV) that, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:"

I certainly experienced this in school when I witnessed to my fellow students about the great gift Christ offers humanity. It was difficult to take the mocking of my friends but I persisted for a while. I didn't know back then about the verse in James 1:2 (KJV) which says,"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;" I certainly felt like quitting but I clung tightly to my faith.

Fortunately, I knew about what Christ said in Matthew 5:11 (KJV). "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

I also did my best to practice Matthew 5:44 (KJV) which says, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

Luke 9:26 (KJV) continually reminded me that, "For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels."

It's counterintuitive to rejoice in suffering. Even so, we have good reason to do so. Paul, who suffered extreme persecution, wrote what God told him regarding weakness and suffering in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV). "And he (God) said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

The Lord's ways are contrary to ours. That's why I'm writing a book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The human way is to do works in order to please the Lord. God's way is for us to surrender our lives to the authority of Christ and to receive forgiveness. The Lord's way is the only acceptable way and we must obey it in order to be in heaven.

I'll be posting on Thursday about how people want to use a god of power when the real God wants yielded people.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Saturday Song: The Dick van Dykes, "Chain Letter Massicre"

I feel confident that many of us are affronted by chain letter senders. They think we'll take time out of our busy days to forward their nonsense. It's easier now because we can copy and paste messages into e-mail and Facebook posts. Even so, it's still an imposition upon us by people we often don't know or even care to know.

I sympathize with the writer of this song. People used to send me all sorts of chain letters with the expectation that I'd send copies to my friends and pay the sender money. Back in the late eighties, this was a labourious task. I could borrow the photocopier at work but then I had to address envelopes and affix proper postage. In the end, I never got any responses from the friends I wrote or any cash wrapped securily in carbon paper.

Listen to The Dickvan Dykes here.

There's only one message worth passing on to friends and that's the gospel. We who follow Christ are commanded to do so. Look at what Mark 16:15 KJV) plainly says. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

But some folks don't want to hear that they can be saved from hell. To them, they assume they're good enough and God will automatically open the gates wide for them. They oppose any presentation of the good news, which is what gospel means, and even persecute those who preach it.

But why should we Christians not proclaim such wonderful news. Look at what Paul, one of the most persecuted messengers of the Lord, said in Romans 1:16 (KJV). "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

Furthermore, we have no excuse not to tell others about such a magnanimous gift. Look at what Paul wrote in Romans 10:15,( KJV) "And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"

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

On Monday, I'll be posting on how we need suffering in our lives.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

The Condemning God Error

One excuse, for that's what it is, which non believers give for rejecting Christ is that God seems to only condemn people. They think all he does is find fault. Some militant atheists have even called God a child abuser because he supposedly forced his son to die a horrible death.

I feel confident that such people have never studied the Bible and recognize that all texts need to be read in context. Scripture is filled with metaphors, similes, allusions, hyperbole, and other literary devices.

And it's a sad fact that most professing Christians don't read the scriptures. They rely on devotionals rather than studying the sixty-six books for themselves.

So, what can we say about all those Old Testament verses regarding God wiping out nations and commanding Israelites to commit genocide? According to the totality of the Bible, God wants to forgive people. Look at what Micah 7:18 (KJV) says about Israel and, by extension, us. "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy."

Whenever God did punish people, he had a valid reason for doing so. Exodus 15:7 (KJV) is one of many verses which shows the Lord's retribution to wicked people who won't relent. "And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble."

Jesus also explained how God, and all of heaven, feels about those who come to their senses and ask his forgiveness. Luke 15:7 (KJV) says, "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."

Truth be told, it's God who has been treated with unfair and harsh anger by puny humanity. He could have destroyed Adam and Eve for breaking the only rule he gave them. Instead, he showed compassion by promising a deliverer. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:22 (KJV), "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

But unrepentant people think they need no deliverer. In fact, they dare to judge God. Jesus was even criticized for reaching out with love toward sinners. Matthew 11:19 (KJV) quotes his answer to the Pharisees who condemned him. "The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber,' a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children."

It's for people who ignorantly criticize Christianity that I'm working on my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? My hope is that I can give reasonable answers to skeptics as well as to Christians who need something to say to doubters.

On Saturday, I'll post about unsolicited offers to earn money and how false they are. Only the initiators get rich in those schemes.

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Statistical Proof Error

We certainly live in a world of statistics. It seems like there's a study reported on by newscasters about anything from pandemics to left-handed banjo players who vote Republican. But can we really trust every study whichnews agencies proclaim?

The Pew Research Agency claims that 70.7 percent of Americans are Christians. But when a person looks deep into the numbers, only * percent are evangelical, Bible-believing Christians. On the face of it, the general statistic seems to indicate that America is a Christian nation.

So, what makes a Christian a true believer and follower? Romans 10:8-10 (BBE) states what God has wanted everybody to do since the beginning of creation. "But what does it (the scriptures) say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart: that is, the word of faith of which we are the preachers: Because, if you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and have faith in your heart that God has made him come back from the dead, you will have salvation: For with the heart man has faith to get righteousness, and with the mouth he says that Jesus is Lord to get salvation."

The key word in that passage is "heart." Only those who truly want salvation and trust in Jesus' finished work on the cross will be saved.

But, some folks might argue, anybody can claim to say the words but not believe in their heart that it's true. We can tell who is truly saved by the radical change in their lives. Look at what 1 John 4:16 (BBE) says about God's love in Christians. "And we have seen and had faith in the love which God has for us. God is love, and everyone who has love is in God,"

Another indicator of becoming truly born from above, is continuing in the faith. We can read in 1 John 2:19 (BBE) why false Christians don't remain steadfast in the truth. "They went out from us but they were not of us; if they had been of us they would still be with us: but they went out from us so that it might be made clear that they were not of us."

It's obvious from these verses alone that many people profess to be Christians but they have never committed their lives to the King of Kings. They live as they always have done and give atheists ammunition for calling believers hypocrites. Genuine followers of Christ are transformed by his love and it shows in everything they do.

I'll emphasize this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Without surrendering unconditionally to Christ, it's impossible to be withhim throughout eternity.  As for Thursday's post, I'll be discussing how some non believers perceive God as a condemning grouch.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Saturday Song: Manfred Man, "I Can't Believe What You Say"

Have you ever known a person who says one thing but does another? I'm sure we've all met somebody like that or been like that at one time.

This is a song about a girl who claimed to love her boyfriend and that she'd marry him. By her actions, he could tell that she was lying.

Listen to this single here.

Fruit is often used as a metaphor in the Bible. It's an indication of results. Even in secular language, we say that somebody had a fruitful or fruitless search or endeavour.

Jesus said that we can tell what a person is truly like by how they behave. It's easy to boast but the proof is in the results. Matthew 7:16 (KJV) says, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

The Apostle Paul also showed that we can tell a person's character by their actions. After listing the fruits of wickedness, he wrote in Galatians 5:22 (KJV), "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"

As he also wrote in Ephesians 5:9 (KJV), "(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)" In other words, righteous is as righteous does.

It's obvious as well when somebody's faking piety. God looks at people's hearts, that is, their characters. He doesn't judge by externals like nice clothing and lofty promises.

So, what do you think of this song and what I wrote. Please leave me a reply. It makes my day when people do that. I wish you a happy and productive weekend as well.

By the way, Monday's post will be about how statistics don't reveal how many Christians are real.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The 'God Used Evolution' Error

Did God use evolution to create the universe and everything in it? Believe it or not, some professing Christians claim he did. They do so to harmonize science with the Bible. But such a ham-fisted process to create anything is an impossibility.

Scripture is clear, right from the start, that God made everything. Genesis 1:1 leaves no room for doubt. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

When anything is created, it doesn't happen of its own accord. Every effect, like the universe, must have a cause which caused it.

Another error those people make, albeit inadvertently, is that they minimize human value through their errant supposition. Genesis 5:1 (KJV) explains why human life is valued over the animals and plants. "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;"

Since this is so, the killing of a human isn't mere termination of a creature's life but murder. Genesis 9:6 (KJV) clearly states this truth. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man."

And contrary to some, gender isn't fluid but set at conception. Sex is binary, as Mark 10:6 (KJV) shows. "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female."

Furthermore, God thought it proper to work through the lineage of Israel to send the Messiah to save us from our sinful rebellion against him. Jesus could have beamed down and made himself a body before being crucified. Yet, as Paul wrote in Philippians 2:7 (KJV), "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"

The Father also knew that the law he gave Moses was impossible for flawed beings to obey. Romans 8:3 (KJV) states, "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"

But knowing all this, how can liberal Christians deny God's creative power? Jesus himself explained this mystery in John 3:19 (KJV). "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

Jesus also showed Martha, and all who think that the resurrection is a mere event in the distant future, who he actually was. John 11:25 (KJV) reads, "Jesus said unto her, 'I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:'"

It's abundantly evident that we humans were meant to have relationships and fellowship with our creator. Chance can't do that with us. Neither is happenstance able to plan the future functionality of any creature. In fact, those who obey the Lord will be part of his government. Revelation 20:6 (KJV) foretells, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."

We can also see in 2 Peter 3:11 (KJV) that we will remain after the old universe disintegrates in fervent heat. "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,"

This truth will be part of my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? If we are mere beasts, morality is relative and no horrific act can be judged as evil. But since we are made in the likeness of God, he has the right to correct us or condemn us if we won't obey him. He made everything, from blue giant stars right down to neutrinos.

You might enjoy my Saturday Song post. It's based on a song from the sixties about a girl who said one thing but continuously did something else.