Thursday, 19 September 2019

The Danger of Claiming Scriptures

Can we really claim scriptures for ourselves, especially those which promise wealth and health? Many charismatics believe they can. But they don't realize that they're practicing witchcraft.

How is this so? Magic is the human attempt to control the supernatural.  We see this in Exodus 7:9-12 (BBE) when the Egyptian magicians tried to imitate God's miracle. "'If Pharaoh says to you, Let me see a wonder: then say to Aaron, Take your rod and put it down on the earth before Pharaoh so that it may become a snake.' Then Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and they did as the Lord had said: and Aaron put his rod down on the earth before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a snake. Then Pharaoh sent for the wise men and the wonder-workers, and they, the wonder-workers of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For every one of them put down his rod on the earth, and they became snakes: but Aaron's rod made a meal of their rods."

But we read in Exodus 8:16-18 (BBE) that the magicians couldn't reproduce the signs God showed after a time. "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Say to Aaron, Let your rod be stretched out over the dust of the earth so that it may become insects through all the land of Egypt.' And they did so; and Aaron, stretching out the rod in his hand, gave a touch to the dust of the earth, and insects came on man and on beast; all the dust of the earth was changed into insects through all the land of Egypt. And the wonder-workers with their secret arts, attempting to make insects, were unable to do so: and there were insects on man and on beast."

And though the magicians of Egypt tried, they couldn't interpret Pharaoh's two dreams. Only Joseph could do so because of God. Genesis 41:15 and 16 (BBE) says, "And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I have had a dream, and no one is able to give me the sense of it; now it has come to my ears that you are able to give the sense of a dream when it is put before you.' Then Joseph said, 'Without God there will be no answer of peace for Pharaoh.'"

Claiming scripture passages in order to make God do something is blasphemy because it robs him of his glory. As Deuteronomy 32:39 (BBE) points out, "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."

We also read in 1 Corinthians 10:6 (BBE) that the holy scriptures were written to warn us away from sin, not to give us what we want. "Now these things were for an example to us, so that our hearts might not go after evil things, as they did."

Paul said the same thing in Romans 15:4 (BBE). "Now those things which were put down in writing before our time were for our learning, so that through quiet waiting and through the comfort of the holy Writings we might have hope."

Using scriptures to claim supposed promises is what Satan tried when he tempted Jesus. He told him to jump off the temple and quoted scripture. Luke 4:12 (BBE) reads, "And Jesus made answer and said to him, 'It is said in the Writings, You may not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

This wickedness is one sin I'll discuss in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Even I was led astray with that magical thinking while attending a cultic house church. I know better now and I accept God's sovereignty over my life.

On Saturday, I'll post about why it isn't a sin to feel chronically depressed.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Is it Wrong to be Wary of Miracles?

During my time at that cultic house church, which I wrote about in my How I Was Razed memoir, I believed every report I heard about signs, wonders, and miracles. Then I went through a period of denying supernatural events because of my previous gullibility. Now I take a more balanced approach toward these happenings.

But how do we make certain which occurrances are real and which aren't? One sure fire way is to ask if only God receives the glory from that event. Jesus warned about false miracles in Matthew 24:24 (BBE) when he said, "For there will come up false Christs, and false prophets, who will do great signs and wonders; so that if possible even the saints might be tricked."

Jesus also warned that these false workers of signs and wonders will be sent to hell on Judgement Day. Matthew 7:22 and 23(BBE) reads, "A great number will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, were we not prophets in your name, and did we not by your name send out evil spirits, and by your name do works of power?' And then will I say to them, 'I never had knowledge of you: go from me, you workers of evil.'"

God did his miracles so that they were indisputable and witnessed by others. When he brought Israel's descendents out of Egypt, everybody saw what happened. Deuteronomy 6:22 (BBE) is a reminder to parents to speak of those miracles, "And the Lord did great signs and wonders against Egypt, and against Pharaoh and all his house, before our eyes:"

Though people are healed in special circumstances, today's faith healers never cure people of diseases. They never improve either. But Christ's miracles were also either instantaneous or happened quickly. One of Christ's many healings was recorded in Matthew 8:2 and 3 (BBE). "And a leper came and gave him worship, saying, 'Lord, if it is your pleasure, you have power to make me clean.' And he put his hand on him, saying, 'It is my pleasure; be clean." And straight away he was made clean."

In that pseudo-church I attended, everybody wanted flashy spiritual gifts. I'm sure now that we all wanted to show off to the world and get the approval of people. But God's Word in Hebrews 2:4 (BBE) tells us why the apostles were given power. "And God was a witness with them, by signs and wonders, and by more than natural powers, and by his distribution of the Holy Spirit at his pleasure."

So if you hear somebody bragging that they cured blindness or raised some one from the dead, be cautious about believing it. Remember what Paul wrote about Satan, saying in 2 Corinthians 11:14 (BBE), "And it is no wonder; for even Satan himself is able to take the form of an angel of light."

I'll be dealing with this too in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many counterfeit Christians figure they'll be in paradise because of their flashy signs and wonders. But Jesus will sort them out from his genuine followers.

I'll be posting on Thursday about a dangerious charismatic practice.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Saturday Song: Bread, "Everything I Own"

What a touching and poignant song this is. David Gates wrote it after his father died but, as he said in one interview, it's for anybody who's ever lost anybody precious to them.

Listen to the song here:

There's no getting around death. It's waiting for us all. Worse yet, we never know when our lives will end. Even so, those of us who have placed our trust in Christ's payment of our sins on the cross look forward to being resurrected and to be with him in the new heavens and earth.

Whoever wrote the book of Hebrews mentioned that Death is the cut-off point for the grace of Christ. Hebrews 9:27-28 (BBE) states, "And because by God's law death comes to men once, and after that they are judged; So Christ, having at his first coming taken on himself the sins of men, will be seen a second time, without sin, by those who are waiting for him, for their salvation"

Jesus also spoke about the judgement in John 5:29 (KJV) that dead people will rise out of their graves, "And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Damnation means eternity in hell.

By the way, this doesn't mean two separate resurrections, as some folks claim, but one with two outcomes. My hope is that all my friends will receive the resurrection to life eternal.

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

On Monday, I'll post about real miracles and fake ones.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

What Good is the Book of Ecclesiastes?

This book seems to be a strange choice for inclusion into the canon of Scripture. The tone alone is depressing. So what possible edification can we receive from such a seemingly hopeless missive?

King Solomon wrote this book to warn his son and us all against materialism. For example, there are times when people per sue what we call the good life but somebody else benefits from their work. Ecclesiastes 2:21 (BBE) reads, "Because there is a man whose work has been done with wisdom, with knowledge, and with an expert hand; but one who has done nothing for it will have it for his heritage. This again is to no purpose and a great evil.  What does a man get for all his work, and for the weight of care with which he has done his work under the sun?"

Of course this doesn't mean we should be lazy. Scripture contains many admonishments against sloth. Even Solomon answers his own question. Ecclesiastes 2:24 (BBE) reminds us that, "There is nothing better for a man than taking meat and drink, and having delight in his work. This again I saw was from the hand of God." This applies to women as well.

Another wise warning from Solomon comes from Ecclesiastes 4:8 (BBE) which tells us, "It is one who is by himself, without a second, and without son or brother; but there is no end to all his work, and he has never enough of wealth. 'For whom, then, am I working and keeping myself from pleasure?' This again is to no purpose, and a bitter work."

Furthermore, Solomon warns that wealth for wealth's sake is folly. Ecclesiastes 5:13-15 (BBE) admonishes, "There is a great evil which I have seen under the sun--wealth kept by the owner to be his downfall. And I saw the destruction of his wealth by an evil chance; and when he became the father of a son he had nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother at birth, so does he go again; he gets from his work no reward which he may take away in his hand."

Solomon also dealt with the aging process in Ecclesiastes 12:1 (BBE). He reminds young folks that, "1   Let your mind be turned to your Maker in the days of your strength, while the evil days come not, and the years are far away when you will say, 'I have no pleasure in them;'"

After what seems like a long and depressing rant, Solomon concludes with hope. Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 14 (BBE) tell us, "This is the last word. All has been said. Have fear of God and keep his laws; because this is right for every man. God will be judge of every work, with every secret thing, good or evil."

I'll be touching on the subject of why we suffer in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? We can't abide anybody having the blues so we try to fix them with Band-Aids of platitudes. But the scriptures are filled with people lamenting their situation yet still hoping in God.
What we tend to forget is that suffering is used by the Father to accomplish his glory and our eventual good.

My Saturday Song post will appeal to folks who love soft rock and who have lost beloved friends or family members.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Christians Must Rediscover the Bible

I feel deep sadness that so many Christians in North America and the west have such a shallow understanding of the Bible. It should be our utmost desire to study and apply the scriptures to our daily lives. Yet there are many people who just go to the Sunday service and have little interest in  even reading God's word. At best, they read a devotional before madly dashing off each morning.

Israel certainly had their times of neglecting the scriptures. But one notable revival occurred in 2 Kings 22:10 and 11 (BBE) which reads, "Then Shaphan the scribe said to the king, 'Hilkiah the priest has given me a book;' and he was reading it before the king. And the king, hearing the words of the book of the law, took his robe in his hands, violently parting it as a sign of his grief;"

But it didn't end there. We find that the King did something about what he read in 2 kings 22:12 and 13 (BBE). "And he gave orders to Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, and Achbor, the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king's servant, saying, 'Go and get directions from the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah, about the words of this book which has come to light; for great is the wrath of the Lord which is burning against us, because our fathers have not given ear to the words of this book, to do all the things which are recorded in it."

Later in Israel's history, we read where the Book of the Law was read aloud to the people. They listened from early in the morning until noon on that day.

Nehemiah 8:7 and 8 (BBE) tells how this happened. "And Jeshua and Bani and Sherebiah and Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites made the law clear to the people: and the people kept in their places. And they gave out the words of the book the law of God, clearly, and gave the sense of it, so that their minds were able to take it in."

The Bible isn't a book we should put away and let dust collect on it. We need to open and read it daily. With help from all the good Bible teaching ministries and commentary web sites online, we can learn so many wondrous facts about our Lord.

I'll be dealing with this lamentable lack of interest in God's Word in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? If everybody who professes to be a Christian would study the scriptures, no churchgoers would find themselves hellward bound on Judgement Day. But we know that far too many people never surrender their lives to Christ.

On Thursday, I'll be posting about the book of Ecclesiastes and what's good about it.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Saturday Song: Randy Stonehill, "China"

What a beautiful song this is. It's almost a prayer for the oppressed people in that communist land. Open evangelism is band there and the official state church doesn't preach the gospel. All they teach is moralism. Yet Christianity is growing in China, much to the frustration of the Communist Party.

Christian rocker, Randy Stonehill, recorded this prayerful song on his Equator album. Listen to Randy Stonehill's song here.

Persecution is nothing new in this world. From the murder of Abel to today's slaughter, faithful believers are targets for Satan's wrath. As Jesus said in Matthew 23:29-31 (BBE) that, "A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! because you put up buildings for housing the dead bodies of the prophets, and make fair the last resting-places of good men, and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in the blood of the prophets.' So that you are witnesses against yourselves that you are the sons of those who put the prophets to death."

Likewise, Stephen lashed out at the Sanhedrin when he said in Acts 7:52 (BBE), "Which of the prophets was not cruelly attacked by your fathers? and they put to death those who gave them the news of the coming of the Upright One; whom you have now given up and put to death;"

So, Why does God allow persecution? Paul, who suffered much from persecuters, wrote in Philippians 1:12 and 13 (BBE), "Now it is my purpose to make clear to you, brothers, that the cause of the good news has been helped by my experiences; So that it became clear through all the Praetorian, and to all the rest, that I was a prisoner on account of Christ;"

James also understood persecution. That's why he wrote in James 1:2 and 3 (BBE) that we must, "Let it be all joy to you, my brothers, when you undergo tests of every sort; Because you have the knowledge that the testing of your faith gives you the power of going on in hope;"

On Monday, I'll post about how we Christians must rediscover the scriptures.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

The Isaiah 53:5 Error

One of the worst misunderstandings of Scripture is the idea that Isaiah 53:5 means physical healing. Closely examining the verse shows that it's a spiritual healing of the rift between sinners and God.

Isaiah 53:5 (BBE) reads, "But it was for our sins he was wounded, and for our evil doings he was crushed: he took the punishment by which we have peace, and by his wounds we are made well."

The whole chapter is a prophecy about Christ's atonement. Certainly verse four speaks of him healing physical illnesses when he was incarnated. But the next verse uses healing as a metaphor of closing the gap between us and our holy God.

Look at the verse logically. The first part of it talks about Christ taking on the punishment for our sins. And as with Hebrew writing, the second part amplifies the first half. Therefore, his punishment healed the wound of our relationship with his Father. It has nothing at all to do with the physical healing in the previous verse.

This error of incorrectly reading Hebrew literature has caused believers to use Isaiah 53:5 as if it were some magic mantra that invokes God's healing. This is in fact putting God to the test.

Matthew 4:7 (BBE) reads,  "Jesus said to him (Satan,) Again 'it is in the Writings, You may not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

This quote comes from Deuteronomy 6:16 (BBE) which commands, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did in Massah."

As I've written before, some Christians tend to use verses as magic spells to make God give them whatever they want. This is blasphemy, as the above verse shows. Israel doubted God, even as these charismatics doubt the Father's ability to provide what they need.

I'll be writing about this error in You Think You're Going to Heaven? Trying to force God to give us whatever we want is disrespectful to his nature.

On Saturday, I'll post about China and the spiritual darkness in that oppressed land.

Monday, 2 September 2019

What is This Gift of Faith?

We Christians often speak about this gift of faith but what exactly is it? Basically, it's the god-given ability to believe and surrender to

So, how do people get this gift of salvation? Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8 (BBE)that, "Because by grace you have salvation through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is given by God:"

This faith to believe in Christ isn't some mysterious property. God gives it away to whom he chooses. Romans 6:23 (BBE) shows that we earn our punishment but receive salvation freely. "For the reward of sin is death; but what God freely gives is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."

But why doesn't everybody have this gift? God, in his sovereign wisdom, chose certain people to be redeemed from the slave market of sin. As Jesus himself said in Matthew 22:14 (BBE) about these folks who responded to the call to his banquet, "For out of all to whom the good news has come, only a small number will get salvation."

Furthermore, Paul gives the reason why those who aren't responding to the gospel can't respond to it on their own. Ephesians 2:1 and 2 (BBE) reads, "And to you did he give life, when you were dead through your wrongdoing and sins, In which you were living in the past, after the ways of this present world, doing the pleasure of the lord of the power of the air, the spirit who is now working in those who go against the purpose of God;"

And this is how people are brought to new life spiritually. They must hear the gospel proclaimed. Paul reasoned 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?"

So we realize that most people are in effect spiritual zombies. They were physically born but not from above. I'll point out these important scriptures in my next paperback called You Think You're Going to Heaven? It may be used by the Lord to bring the walking dead to eternal life.

On Thursday, I'll deal with the subject of a scripture which some people use as a magic spell.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Saturday Song, Simon and Garfunkel, "My Little Town"

I'm sure that many older folks can identify with this song. Canada and America were once populated by farmers and ramchers. The countryside bustled with agriculture and small towns were meeting places where people bought supplies. Industries moved in and farmers often took side jobs in town.

Big cities and changing demographics changed all that. Jobs migrated to big cities and young people followed them. Hamlets, like the one I live in, are becoming ghost towns due to this trend.

Simon and Garfunkel came together in 1975 to record this poignent song of the decline of small town life. Hear the song here.

Cities have always had a bad reputation in the Bible. They inevitably became centres of debautchery and immorality as people became less accountable to one another.

Two notibly wicked cities show just how perverted folks can become. Jude 1:7 (KJV) explains, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

The places in which Christ preached and performed miracles were even worse than those cities. Mark 6:11 (KJV) quotes Jesus as saying to his disciples, "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."

Even today, I notice that people in highly-populated areas are generally more immoral than country folks. What do you think? Have you noticed that too?

On Monday, I'll post about the gift of faith and what it means to us.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Raising Children is a Ministry

Another problem evangelicals have is the misunderstanding about what ministry is. We often elevate missionaries to a special class while considering staying home and raising children to be less important. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Holy Scripture is filled with admonitions regarding the value of family in shaping future citizens. Psalms 128:3 and 4 (BBE) is one of these passages showing how godly families will be blessed. "Your wife will be like a fertile vine in the inmost parts of your house: your children will be like olive plants round your table. See! this is the blessing of the worshipper of the Lord."

And as we read in Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) godly parenting generally results in godly adults. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

We also understand how beneficial it is to be a law-abiding person. Proverbs 28:7 (BBE) tells us, "He who keeps the law is a wise son, but he who keeps company with feasters puts shame on his father."

Teaching children to be industrious also produces hard-working adults. As Proverbs 10:5 (BBE) reminds us, "He who in summer gets together his store is a son who does wisely; but he who takes his rest when the grain is being cut is a son causing shame."

Training children how to read the Bible also helps them prosper. Though Joshua 1:8 (BBE) was given to the Israelites, we also benefit by heeding its command. "Let this book of the law be ever on your lips and in your thoughts day and night, so that you may keep with care everything in it; then a blessing will be on all your way, and you will do well."

Paul also pointed out how a godly lineage gave his son-in-the-faith his ready acceptance of God's Word. We read in 2 Timothy 1:5 and 6 (BBE) that, "Having in mind your true faith, which first was in your mother's mother Lois, and in your mother Eunice, and, I am certain, is now in you. For this reason I say to you, Let that grace of God which is in you, given to you by my hands, have living power."

I could point out more verses showing how being a mere parent, as some folks think, is an important ministry. Parents needn't feel inferior to missionaries because they aren't in some far-flung land. They have a captive audience to evangelize.

On Saturday, I'll post about small town life and how these places are dying out in North America.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Prayer Cover and Prayer Walks

One new fad making its way through evangelical churches is the concept of covering or bathing an event in prayer. This certainly sounds spiritual but is it really?

There is no mention of covering an event with prayer in the Bible. Certainly there are requests for people to receive boldness but, as far as I've found, nobody prayed for the Lord to cover a specific venue with his blessing.

Paul did ask for boldness in Philippians 1:20 (BBE) in the matter of proclaiming the gospel. "In the measure of my strong hope and belief that in nothing will I be put to shame, but that without fear, as at all times, so now will Christ have glory in my body, by life or by death."

The early Christians also were given boldness to proclaim the truth, though they were persecuted for doing so. Acts 4:31 shows that they needed no prayer covering. "And when their prayer was ended, the place where they were was violently moved, and they all became full of the Holy Spirit, preaching the word of God without fear."

The Bible also says nothing about prayer walks. None of the apostles walked around the places they wished to evangelize while praying silently to the Lord. This too is superstition.

What they did was go into towns and villages where they would preach wherever they could find an audience. Mark 6:7-10 (BBE) shows how they evangelized. "And he gave orders to the twelve, and sent them out two by two; and he gave them authority over the unclean spirits; And he said that they were to take nothing for their journey, but a stick only; no bread, no bag, no money in their pockets; They were to go with common shoes on their feet, and not to take two coats. And he said to them, 'Wherever you go into a house, make that your resting-place till you go away.'"

People think that walking around a certain area while praying for souls to be saved will make folks more receptive. What accomplishes this is God's predestined calling. After Peter declared the way of salvation to the Pentecost attendees, he said in Acts 2:39 (BBE) to whom this great gift would come. "For the word of God is for you and for your children and for all those who are far off, even all those who may be marked out by the Lord our God."

So we see that gimmicks such as prayer walks and prayer covering are superstitious works done to make God obey. What an insult this is to God Almighty.

I'll be writing more on presumption and superstition in You Think You're Going to Heaven? Far too many so-called Christians try to get "breakthroughs" to satisfy their lustful pride. God isn't fooled, knowing the depths of evil in the human heart.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Saturday Song: National Lampoon, "Lemming's Lament"

This song is a brilliant and astute send-up of Crosby, Stills, and Nash as well as the whole Woodstock concert of 1969. This parody, rather than being about peace and love, was a death fest where people who wanted to end their lives could also have their bodies composted. But even with this bleak emphasis, the actual song is quite a joke.

Unfortunately, the song has disappeared from YouTube so I can't put the link here.

Back in the sixties, Teens and young adults thought they could reform the world. To them, the hidebound ideas of the older generation were to blame for the world's unrest and inequity. The idea of a socialist utopia seemed like the logical answer.

The problem is that people's ideas lead to destruction. As Proverbs 14:12 (KJV) states it, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways  of death."

As for the hippie ideal of free love, that too ends in heartbreak and destruction. As Proverbs 5:5 (KJV) warns of the immoral temptress, "Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell."

The socialist ideal of fairness also ends in destroying society. Back in the first century, the early churches had people who figured they need not work. Paul had to sort that problem out when he wrote in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (BBE), saying, "For even when we were with you we gave you orders, saying, If any man does no work, let him not have food."

The early churches also had young widows who sponged off of the church. As Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 5:13 (BBE) about these women, "And they get into the way of doing no work, going about from house to house; and not only doing no work, but talking foolishly, being over-interested in the business of others, saying things which they have no right to say."

So we see that the idealism of the hippie culture was utter foolishness. It plays out even today with sinners who want to change the definition of marriage and family. Even one's gender is considered fluid by these truth-rejecting sinners. May our Lord and Master come quickly.

On Monday, I'll post about the fads of prayer cover and prayer walks.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Are We Not Saints?

One disagreement I have with the Catholic denomination is that they think only those folks chosen by their church council are saints. That's not what the Bible teaches. Christ is the one who chooses and all those who believe in him are in that category.

A quick look at the New Testament books proves that all believers are saints. Acts 9:13 (BBE) shows how the early Christians considered themselves to be saints. "But Ananias said, 'Lord, I have had accounts of this man from a number of people, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem:"

Some folks might argue that those church leaders in Jerusalem were all those who had been with Jesus. Therefore they're the only ones who the Lord sanctified. Look at what Paul wrote in Romans 1:7 (BBE) about those gentile Christians in that city. "To all those who are in Rome, loved by God, marked out as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Romans 16:1 and 2 also demonstrates that Paul regarded all followers of Christ as saints. "It is my desire to say a good word for Phoebe, who is a servant of the church in Cenchreae: That you will take her in kindly, after the way of the saints, as one who is the Lord's, and give her help in anything in which she may have need of you: because she has been a help to a great number and to myself."

But sainthood isn't some new Christian rank. Even in the Old Testament, God's people were called saints. Deuteronomy 33:2 (KJV) explicitly states, "And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he  shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery  law for them."

And Psalms 116:15 (KJV) shows that the saints were living people, not those who had died. "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints."

Psalms 89:5 (KJV) also shows that the people were the ones called saints. "And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the  congregation of the saints."(

I could quote so many more scriptures where God's people are called saints. I'll save that for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Far too many followers of Christ feel inferior to the saints of old but they needn't feel so. Those ancients were just as fallible as we are or maybe more so.

On Saturday, I'll post about a satirical comedy group and their take off of the Woodstock festival in 1969.

Monday, 19 August 2019

What Writing and the Gospel Have in Common

The written word is special for many reasons. It preserves history for future generations. It can be referred to in matters of law and religion in order to settle arguments. And we also get the feeling of traveling back in time when we read ancient documents.

God understands the written word's power. The Ten Commandments were written in two stone tablets, making those laws permanent. Anybody needing clarification could just read what the law said rather than depending on people and their faulty and selective memories.

The phrase, "it is written" occurs seventy-nine times in the Bible. Jesus himself quoted the Old Testament during his temptation in the wilderness. As he told Satan in Matthew 4:4 (BBE), "But he made answer and said, 'It is in the Writings, "Bread is not man's only need, but every word which comes out of the mouth of God.'"

We can also understand what power the written word has in reviving the followers of God. Israel was in one of its apostate eras when God's written law was rediscovered. As 2 Chronicles 34:14 (KJV) explains, "And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses." This resulted in nation-wide repentance.

The apostles also wrote to the churches in order to correct misunderstandings among them and to give the congregation correction. As 1 Corinthians 5:11 (BBE) reads, "But the sense of my letter was that if a brother had the name of being one who went after the desires of the flesh, or had the desire for other people's property, or was in the way of using violent language, or being the worse for drink, or took by force what was not his, you might not keep company with such a one, or take food with him."

By these examples alone, we can tell how God uses the written word to preserve his truth. I hope to include this valuable lesson in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Without the written word to refer to, people can make all sorts of bogus claims of what God said.

On Thursday, I'll post about who is considered a saint according to the Bible.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Saturday Song: Lighthouse, "Little Kind Words"

This song was a huge hit in Canada during the summer of 1971. Part of its success was the recently-enacted Canadian content regulation where radio stations had to play thirty percent of their music recorded by Canadian artists.

But this song and this band were good enough without help from the government. The lyrics and harmony make this classic a joy to hear.

Listen to "Little Kind Words:

We Christians must say these "little kind words" to each other often. As it says in 1 Peter 1:22 (BBE), "And as you have made your souls clean, being ruled by what is true, and loving one another without deceit, see that your love is warm and from the heart:"

Likewise, Hebrews 10:24(BBE) reads, "And let us be moving one another at all times to love and good works;"

Also, we read in Hebrews 3:13 (BBE) the reason why we need to strengthen one another. "But give comfort to one another every day as long as it is still Today; so that no one among you may be made hard by the deceit of sin:"

This seems to be obvious but we do sometimes forget to give encouragement to each other. As 1 Thessalonians 4:9 (BBE) exhorts, "But about loving the brothers, there is no need for me to say anything to you in this letter: for you have the teaching of God that love for one another is right and necessary;"

Additionally, we must be humble and consider others. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:10 (BBE), we must, "Be kind to one another with a brother's love, putting others before yourselves in honour;"

By doing this, we give each other encouragement and we keep each other's faith strong. Even a quick e-mail or text of comfort can make a big difference.

On Monday, I'll post about what writing and the gospel have in common.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

The Western Jesus Error

One mistake we western Christians make is assuming that Jesus had western values. By that, I mean that we see him through the lense of our North American norms. What many believers fail to recognize is that Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew living two-thousand years ago.

For one thing, Christ was circumcised. As Luke 2:22 and 23 (BBE) explains, "And when the necessary days for making them clean by the law of Moses had come to an end, they took him to Jerusalem to give him to the Lord (As it says in the law of the Lord, 'Every mother's first male child is to be holy to the Lord'),"

Jesus also celebrated the Jewish festivals. As we read in Luke 2:42 (BBE), he went with his parents to celebrate Passover. "And when he was twelve years old, they went up, as their way was, to the feast;"

Furthermore, Jesus attended his local synagogue. We read in Luke 4:16 (BBE) about when he read from Isaiah chapter sixty-two in his home town of Nazareth. "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been as a child, and he went, as his way was, into the Synagogue on the Sabbath, and got up to give a reading."

Even during his three-and-a-half-year ministry, he often taught in synagogues. As we can read in John 6:59 (BBE) where, "Jesus said these things in the Synagogue while he was teaching at Capernaum."

Christ also healed people in the synagogues, much to the displeasure of the Pharisees. As Luke 6:6 (BBE) relates, "And it came about, on another Sabbath, that he went into the Synagogue and was teaching there. And a man was there whose right hand was dead."

Jesus knew his Old Testament scriptures well. As he said to the pharisees in John 5:39 (BBE) about his authority from the Father, "You make search in the holy Writings, in the belief that through them you get eternal life; and it is those Writings which give witness about me."

Jesus also outsmarted the Sadducees, who say there's no resurrection, regarding marriage and heaven. Mark 12:26 and 27 (BBE) says, "But as to the dead coming back to life; have you not seen in the book of Moses, about the burning thorn-tree, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living: you are greatly in error."

Even the way Christ prayed and broke bread was unmistakeable to his Jewish disciples. In Luke 24:30 and 31 (BBE), two of Christ's disciples recognized him from how he blessed the bread on the evening of his resurrection. "And when he was seated with them at table, he took the bread, and said words of blessing and, making division of it, he gave it to them. And then their eyes were open, and they had knowledge of him, but he went from their view."

So we can tell from just these verses that Jesus wasn't Anglo-Saxon but a real descendent of Abraham. I'll point this out, providing I remember, in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? People have a flannel board idea of Jesus when they ought to understand the culture and time he walked in Israel.

On Saturday, I'll post about how little kind words can make a huge difference in people's lives.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Why Some Christians Doubt Miracles

Most denominations believe what the Bible says regarding the miraculous events recorded in it. But there are some which doubt that actual miracles happened, saying they're mere allegory.

This doubting of God's power comes from a materialist point of view. Proponents of denying biblical miracles follow the evolutionary idea that only matter and energy exist. Anything which can't be examined and measured doesn't exist, according to them.

If those miracles didn't happen, the people at the various times in which they occurred could easily have debunked them. For example, Christ's resurrection could have been disproved or discredited. But the Apostle Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15:5 and 6 (BBE), "And he was seen by Cephas; then by the twelve; Then by more than five hundred brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, but some are sleeping;"

The Gospels and The Acts of the Apostles are filled with wonders. Neither were they done in secret but were seen by the public. As John 7:31 (BBE) reports about the opinion of the crowds, "And numbers of the people had belief in him, and they said, 'When the Christ comes will he do more signs than this man has done?'"

But some folks might argue that Jesus was a magician who tricked people into seeing things. Christ healed people with serious deformities, including paralysis. In one case, a man was paralyzed and lay by the pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight years. That's a long time to feign lameness. Then John 5:9 (BBE) reports, "And the man became well straight away, and took up his bed and went. Now that day was the Sabbath."

And unlike today's fake healers on Christian television, Christ actually restored withered limbs. As it says in Mark 3:5 (BBE) tells us, the miracle was seen by all in the synagogue. "And looking round on them he was angry, being sad because of their hard hearts; and he said to the man, 'Put out your hand.' And he put it out, and his hand was made well."

The miracles of the apostles were also undeniable. Peter and John healed a lame man by the temple who begged there for years. Anybody might have seen him walking if he had been faking it.  But Acts 4:15 and 16 (BBE) shows how troubled the Pharisees were about this obvious miracle. "But when they had given them orders to go out of the Sanhedrin, they had a discussion among themselves, Saying, 'What are we to do with these men? for certainly it is clear to all who are living in Jerusalem that a most important sign has been done by them, and it is not possible to say that it is not so'."

Look at how much I've written and I haven't even mentioned the Old Testament miracles. I'll have to do that another time. Even so, I'll mention those doubters of divine miracles in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven?On Thursday, I'll post about how people view Jesus in the western world.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Saturday Song: Gino Vanelli, "Powerful People"

What folly it is that leaders and famous people think they're invincible. These powerful people have landmarks, schools, public buildings, and other monuments named after them to keep their memory alive in the public consciousness even after they die.

Canadian musician Gino Vanelli wrote and sang this song about powerful people in 1974. In it, he laments about these mighty leaders who won't let goodness be. He also expresses a feeling of helplessness at the prospect of actually changing things.

Listen to Gino's song here:

As we see in Holy Scripture, these high and mighty individuals all die in the end. Look at God's mockery of them in Psalm 82:6 and 7 (BBE). "I said, 'You are gods; all of you are the sons of the Most High:' But you will come to death like men, falling like one of the rulers of the earth."

Israel's greatest king was Solomon. We read much about his God-given wisdom in the Bible. Second Chronicles 9:22   and 23 (BBE)tells of his great fame. "And King Solomon was greater than all the kings of the earth in wealth and in wisdom. And all the kings of the earth came to see Solomon and to give ear to his wisdom, which God had put into his heart."

But Solomon ended up a polygamist and an apostate, just like many other kings of Israel. If only he had the council of Jesus. Matthew 23:12 (BBE) warns, "And whoever makes himself high will be made low, and whoever makes himself low will be made high."

Here also is how God will treat all of us who don't boast and claim to be somebody. Check out 1 Peter 5:6 (BBE) which says, "For this cause make yourselves low under the strong hand of God, so that when the time comes you may be lifted up;"

On Monday, I'll post on the subject of so-called believers doubting miracles.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

The Lack of Devotion Error

Whenever I have attended Sunday services, I rarely heard anybody comment on the sermon. Most people used the occasion to catch up with the mundane events of their friends' lives. Whenever I did try to get a theological discussion going, almost every one felt awkward. Usually the person would hem and haw before giving a lame answer.

The Bible is a book to be studied, not merely left on the coffee table. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15 (BBE), "we all must, "Let it be your care to get the approval of God, as a workman who has no cause for shame, giving the true word in the right way."

God's Word is our guide to life. Why not dive deeply into it? As Psalms 119:9 (BBE) advises, " How may a young man make his way clean? by guiding it after your word." By the way, that applies to women too.

And as Psalms 119:16 (BBE) exhorts, "I will have delight in your rules; I will not let your word go out of my mind."

Studying the scriptures should be enjoyable for Christians. Look at what Jeremiah 15:16 (BBE) declares. "But to me your word is a joy, making my heart glad; for I am named by your name, O Lord God of armies."

And best of all, the Bible is true because God authored it. John 17:17 (BBE) says, "Make them holy by the true word: your word is the true word."

We ought to be passionate about Holy Scripture like the first century believers were. Even when they were persecuted, they didn't quit but asked God for boldness. As Acts 4:29 and 30 (BBE) relates, "And now, Lord, take note of their cruel words, and give your servants power to be preachers of your word without fear, While your hand is stretched out to do works of mercy; so that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

Most of all, we must know the Father intimately. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:22 and 23 (BBE), "A great number will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, were we not prophets in your name, and did we not by your name send out evil spirits, and by your name do works of power?' And then will I say to them, 'I never had knowledge of you: go from me, you workers of evil.'"

Just from these few verses, we can tell that the genuine believers are those who cherish God's Word and study it passionately. Shallow churchgoers, like shallow brooks, just make a lot of noise which signifies nothing. We need to know the Lord rather than just having a nodding acquaintance with him.

I'll add this to my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Like the gate crasher in Christ's parable about the wedding feast, those who don't know God won't be admitted but will be booted out.

On Saturday, I'll feature a song by one of Canada's finest songwriters and his lament about people in power.

Monday, 5 August 2019

The Hubris of defining God

Can you think of anything more foolish than trying to define the nature of God? I can't because there's nothing more idiotic than that. Yet Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and other pseudo-Christian denominations have the audacity to claim that they can.

The Trinity has no direct analogue in our world. Any attempt to describe it falls apart under close examination. We can liken it to the three parts of an egg or water in its three states but they all collapse when pressed to there logical limits.

I liken the Trinity to the red, green, and blue phosphor dots in a colour television picture tube or the liquid crystals in a flat screen monitor. But close scrutiny causes all of any description to disintegrate.

God has a thing or three to say about the folly of trying to understand his nature. He said in Isaiah 55:8 and 9 (BBE), "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, or your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As for proof that the doctrine of the Trinity is true, we need look no further than Christ's baptism. Luke 3:21 and 22 (BBE) says, "Now it came about that when all the people had been given baptism, Jesus, having had baptism with them, was in prayer, when, the heaven being open, The Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove, and a voice came from heaven, saying, 'You are my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'"

If there was no Trinity and God was a single being, how could his son and the Holy Spirit be present at once?

The Witnesses claim that Christ was a created being, akin to angels. But I've written before that their translators added words to the scriptures so it sounded like Christ was created. I also pointed out how the Holy Spirit was one with God in previous posts.

We also read in Hebrews 9:14 (KJV) that God is eternal. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

I could explain further about how the Godhead is inscrutable but I'll save that for my book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Doubters of God's Word claim that the Trinity doesn't make sense. They insult the Lord by not believing his God-breathed revelation.

On Thursday, I'll post about how some Christians lack the devotion they owe to God.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Saturday Song: Brian Adams, "Summer of 69"

I'm sure we've all have had memorable summers. That's why this song resonates well with so many listeners. And though we wish the good times and activities would last forever, things change without our permission.

Brian Adams sang about one memorable summer in his life. The joy of buying his first real guitar kept him playing until his fingers bled.

Listen to this classic 80s song here

My "summer of 69" was memorable for several reasons. The Apolo astronauts landed on the moon. The Irish "troubles" heated up and were featured on the nightly news. I thrilled to see U.S. TV stations come in each evening. And Mom dated a man named Ralph.

As I wrote in my previous post, the greatest event of that summer happened when I surrendered my life to Christ. I didn't realize it then but I had joined his family through adoption.

Paul described how Christ adopted us born-again believers in Romans 8:15 (BBE) which says, "For you did not get the spirit of servants again to put you in fear, but the spirit of sons was given to you, by which we say, Abba, Father."

I also didn't realize the privilege I was granted. As 1 John 3:1 (BBE) states, "See what great love the Father has given us in naming us the children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not see who we are, because it did not see who he was."

And thanks to Christ's sacrificial work on the cross, we are freed from sin's grip. As Paul wrote in Colossians 1:13 (BBE) about our Lord, "Who has made us free from the power of evil and given us a place in the kingdom of the Son of his love;"

So we understand, just from those verses alone, what a great event salvation is. Let's appreciate and value this awesome gift which the world, in all its arrogance, can't understand.

I'll be posting on Monday about how some people actually think they can comprehend the entirety of God.