Thursday, 30 May 2019
Only in Christianity can a person be saved by God's grace and not by any meritorious works they've done. Ephesians 2:8 and 9 (BBE) explains, "Because by grace you have salvation through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is given by God: Not by works, so that no man may take glory to himself."
Though Israel was given many commandments, they had one thing in common. A certain scribe asked Jesus which is the greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-40 (BBE) shows his answer. "And he said to him, 'Have love for the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest rule. And a second like it is this, Have love for your neighbour as for yourself. On these two rules all the law and the prophets are based."
Many religions are hostile to other belief systems, Islam being the most obvious example. But Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-45 (BBE), "You have knowledge that it was said, Have love for your neighbour, and hate for him who is against you: But I say to you, Have love for those who are against you, and make prayer for those who are cruel to you; So that you may be the sons of your Father in heaven; for his sun gives light to the evil and to the good, and he sends rain on the upright man and on the sinner."
Another aspect of Christianity's uniqueness is that we are adopted into Christ's family. Paul explained this mystery when contending with those who wanted to go back to observing the law which Moses gave Israel. Galatians 4:4-6 (BBE) explains, "But when the time had come, God sent out his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, That he might make them free who were under the law, and that we might be given the place of sons. And because you are sons, God has sent out the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, saying, 'Abba, Father'".
And as for apostasy, we don't kill those who leave the faith like the Qu'ran orders its adherents to do. As the Apostle John noted in 1 John 2:19 (BBE), "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." Therefore, we need not punish them but admonish them to return and repent.
I could write much more on this subject but I'll save it for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? We need to realize how precious God's gift of salvation is and take what Christ said with all seriousness.
On Saturday, I'll post about the ultimate interstellar alien and his future invasion of planet Earth.
Monday, 27 May 2019
This planet we live on is perfectly adapted for us to live on. As Genesis 1:29-31 (BBE) says, "And God said, 'See, I have given you every plant producing seed, on the face of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit producing seed: they will be for your food: And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air and every living thing moving on the face of the earth I have given every green plant for food:' and it was so. And God saw everything which he had made and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day."
God also gave us sex. Genesis 2:18 (BBE) reads, "And the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be by himself: I will make one like himself as a help to him
But sex for sex's sake isn't what we were created for. Psalms 127:3 (BBE) explains, "See, sons are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the body is his reward."
Children are given to us to raise to be good and God-respecting adults. As Ephesians 6:4 )BBE) says, "And, you fathers, do not make your children angry: but give them training in the teaching and fear of the Lord."
But we believers aren't without future hope but have heaven to look forward too. Jesus promised in John 14:2 (BBE) that, "In my Father's house are rooms enough; if it was not so, would I have said that I am going to make ready a place for you?"
We know that Christ died to pay our sin debt. What a relief that we don't have to spend eternity in hell. And when Christ returns, we'll spend forever with him. As Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17 (BBE), "Because the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a word of authority, with the voice of the chief angel, with the sound of a horn: and the dead in Christ will come to life first; Then we who are still living will be taken up together with them into the clouds to see the Lord in the air: and so will we be for ever with the Lord."
What a shame that we Christians don't ponder just how blessed we are. Everything we have and are comes from God, even our salvation. I'll be writing more on this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? We tend to forget the great privilege we have as adopted children in Christ's family. Many churches also fail to teach these wonderful facts. May the Lord help people believe through what I've written.
On Thursday, I'll post about how Christianity is unique. It's based on love, not fear and hate.
Saturday, 25 May 2019
Listen to his song here.
Contrary to the views of charismatic Christians, God wants us to make do with what we have. Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) admonishes, "Let your conversation (lifestyle) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Furthermore, Paul was familiar with hardships. Even so, he wrote in Philippians 4:11 (KJV) that, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
But, As some might ask, shouldn't we pray without ceasing? Shouldn't we storm the gates of heaven with our prayers? Jesus told a parable about an unjust judge whom a woman harassed with her continual complaining for justice. Luke 18:6 and 7 (BBE) reads, "And the Lord said, 'Give ear to the words of the evil judge. And will not God do right in the cause of his saints, whose cries come day and night to his ears, though he is long in doing it?'"
That's true insomuch as it relates to trusting in the Lord for help. But some folks ask for what they covet. James 4:3 (KJV) notes, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
In the past, people have quoted James 5:15 (KJV) to me which reads, "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."
But if we are supposed to have enough faith, as the charismatic's claim, why couldn't Paul heal his friend? ((He wrote in 2 Timothy 4:20 (KJV) that, "Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick."
Clearly, this topic is one I feel passionate about. We don't always get what we want because the Lord is teaching us to rely upon him for what we need. I'm glad we don't always get what we want. God knows what's best for us, just like a loving parent gives only good things to their children.
On Monday, I'll post about what God has given us. We forget just how blessed we are.
Thursday, 23 May 2019
Worship is our act of love to our Lord. Singing is a part of it but not its entirety. We see in Exodus 24:1 and 2 (BBE) that meeting the Lord was an act of worship. "And he said to Moses, 'Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, and Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the chiefs of Israel; and give me worship from a distance. And Moses only may come near to the Lord; but the others are not to come near, and the people may not come up with them.'"
Moses received teaching from the Lord as well. God showed him how to make his Tabernacle, saying in Exodus 25:9 (KJV), "According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it."
Moses also instructed that the Lord, through his ministers, receive donations. Deuteronomy 26:10 (BBE) reads, "So now, I have come here with the first of the fruits of the earth which you, O Lord, have given me. Then you will put it down before the Lord your God and give him worship:"
Worship means giving God glory. Scripture says in 1 Chronicles 26:10 (BBE), "Have glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who are searching after the Lord be glad."
And here's why God deserves our total devotion. Psalms 95:6 (BBE) explains, "O come, let us give worship, falling down on our knees before the Lord our Maker."
And as Jesus said to a woman of Samaria in John 4:23 (BBE), "But the time is coming, and is even now here, when the true worshippers will give worship to the Father in the true way of the spirit, for these are the worshippers desired by the Father."
So we see that worship comes from our hearts to our creator and saviour. I plan on expanding on this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many folks go through the motions but their hearts are far from the Lord.
On Saturday, I'll post about a song which horrified me at first but I saw its sense many years later.
Monday, 20 May 2019
But if you were to let go of a kite's string, it drifts and then crashes. There's no opposing force to the wind so it has no ability to rise on the breeze.
I liken the wind to the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:7 and 8(BBE), "Do not be surprised that I say to you, It is necessary for you to have a second birth. The wind goes where its pleasure takes it, and the sound of it comes to your ears, but you are unable to say where it comes from and where it goes: so it is with everyone whose birth is from the Spirit."
The string and operator of the kite, I liken to Christ and the Father. When our Lord was on earth, there were no kites in the Middle East. So he likened abiding in him, staying faithful and trusting, to a vine and its branches. As John 15:5 (BBE) reads, "I am the vine, you are the branches: he who is in me at all times as I am in him, gives much fruit, because without me you are able to do nothing."
Skilled kite flyers know how to maneuver them to wherever they want them to go. As Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit in John 16:12 and 13 (BBE), "I have still much to say to you, but you are not strong enough for it now. However, when he, the Spirit of true knowledge, has come, he will be your guide into all true knowledge: for his words will not come from himself, but whatever has come to his hearing, that he will say: and he will make clear to you the things to come."
So we have the kite as us, the wind as the Holy Spirit, the string as Christ, and he is in God. If the wind stops blowing, but the Holy Spirit won't stop teaching us, the kite will crash. Without the string, the kite will be like a leaf fluttering and falling to the earth. And without somebody to hold the kite, it'll crash.
I'll be writing about the importance of a right relationship with Christ in You Think You're Going to Heaven? My hope is that people will read my book and seek Christ's forgiveness. May the Lord bring many into his kingdom through the work of my hands.
On Thursday, I'll post about what worship is.
Saturday, 18 May 2019
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Thursday, 2 May 2019
We are attracted to sinful things through our old nature but we were set free from its mastery through Christ's death. The Apostle Paul knew this very well and warned those set free from sin's bondage to control their old cravings. As he wrote plainly in Colossians 3:5 (BBE) "Then put to death your bodies which are of the earth; wrong use of the flesh, unclean things, passion, evil desires and envy, which is the worship of strange gods;"
This sounds like strong language, and it is, but sin always leads to death. As Paul pointed out in Romans 8:13 (BBE), "says, For if you go in the way of the flesh, death will come on you; but if by the Spirit you put to death the works of the body, you will have life."
And since we are bought from our slavery to sin by such a great sacrifice, why go back to doing those things which only lead us to death? As 1 John 2:16 (KJV) points out, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
If that isn't enough, read 1 Peter 2:9 (BBE) which says, "But you are a special people, a holy nation, priests and kings, a people given up completely to God, so that you may make clear the virtues of him who took you out of the dark into the light of heaven."
The world is watching us to see if we're for real or not. That's why Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:12 (BBE), "Let no one make little of you because you are young, but be an example to the church in word, in behaviour, in love, in faith, in holy living."
So, how do we achieve such a high standard? Paul gives us that answer in Romans 12:2 (BBE). "And let not your behaviour be like that of this world, but be changed and made new in mind, so that by experience you may have knowledge of the good and pleasing and complete purpose of God."
Truly, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to live a holy life for Christ. As Titus 3:5 and 6 (BBE) explains, "Not by works of righteousness which we did ourselves, but in the measure of his mercy, he gave us salvation, through the washing of the new birth and the giving of new life in the Holy Spirit, Which he gave us freely through Jesus Christ our Saviour;"
This is the main focus of my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Far too many professing Christians assume that Jesus will reward them for the good works they did. The sad part is that they were done because of less-than-honourable motives.
On Saturday, I'll post about how people use others for their own gratification. The song is from Germany's most influential band too.