Monday, 30 September 2019

Why The Poor Need Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Saturday Song: Gerry and The Pacemakers, "Ferry Cross The Mersey"

I'm sure I'm right that almost all of us have a fondness for where we grew up. Whether it's a desert, jungle, or tundra, we all feel a connection to that special spot on earth where we call, or once called, home.

This song by Gerry and The Pacemakers is one of those which, though we might not live in Liverpool, we still can identify with. It's also a nice song from the mid sixties British invasion.

Listen to the song here.

I deeply admire missionaries. They leave the comforts of home and their families to bring the gospel to people in distant lands. It isn't easy to learn a new language and acclimatize one's self to a completely different part of the world. Even so, these brave men and women do so to bring the wonderful news of salvation to folks who never heard about it before.

But our Lord doesn't leave them comfortless and uncompensated. Mark 10:29-30 (KJV) explains, "And Jesus answered and said, 'Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.'"

So, what do you think of this song and what I wrote? Feel free to leave me a comment. But if you won't or can't, have a great weekend anyway.

I'm sure you'll be interested in Monday's post, It's about why the poor need the Gospel.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

The Danger of Devotionals

Is it wrong to read a devotional each morning for one's quiet time? Certainly this is a popular activity for evangelical Christians. But I contend that devotional reading must never ever replace Bible Study.

One danger of devotionals is that people replace Bible study with them. It's far easier and more convenient to let somebody else do the hard work of studying. As far as I can tell, many of these readers are like the folks mentioned in Matthew 13:22 (BBE) who never produced spiritual fruit. "And that which was dropped among the thorns, this is he who has the word; and the cares of this life, and the deceits of wealth, put a stop to the growth of the word and it gives no fruit."

Many of the devotionals I've read are like pablum. They deal superficially with people's emotional problems without teaching the "meat" of the scriptures. Hebrews 6:1 and 2 (BBE) encourages us, "For this reason let us go on from the first things about Christ to full growth; not building again that on which it is based, that is, the turning of the heart from dead works, and faith in God, The teaching of baptisms, and of the putting on of hands, and of the future life of the dead, and of the judging on the last day."

Furthermore, God wants us to study his Word. Jesus even told the Pharisees in John 5:39 (BBE)that, "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."

As we also read in 2 Timothy 3:14 and 15 (BBE) we realize what Bible study does for us. "But see that you keep to the teaching you have been given and the things of which you are certain, conscious of who has been your teacher; And that from the time when you were a child, you have had knowledge of the holy Writings, which are able to make you wise to salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus."

Many folks find the Bible intimidating because of its size. Even so, we need to know what God has said. Better still, the Holy Spirit will teach us what we need to know. Jesus said in John 16:13 (BBE) to his disciples, "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."

We also have the wisdom of the apostles and prophets who expounded on God's Word. As 1 Corinthians 2:13 (BBE) says, "And these are the things which we say, not in the language of man's wisdom, but in words given to us by the Spirit, judging the things of the spirit by the help of the Spirit."

So why depend on fallible human wisdom when we have all the answers in one book? Devotions can only do a little to give us understanding of the Bible. And as great Bible expositors have said down through the ages, the Bible interprets itself through the Holy Spirit's work.

I'll point out the value of Bible study in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? God wants us all to learn our scriptures rather than depending on professional preachers and writers for our spiritual nourishment.

I'll be posting about our heavenly homeland on Saturday.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Which Jesus are They Talking About?

People sure do have erroneous ideas of who Jesus is. Muslims think he was a prophet. Nominal Christians figure he was a good teacher. Some folks think Christ was a sort of first-century hippie who got killed for telling people how to be nice to one another. All of these views are misinformed because they'ren't biblical.

This is nothing new. The Bible tells us how many people in Judea were misinformed about Jesus. Luke 9:18-20 (BBE) reads, "And it came about that when he was in prayer, by himself, and the disciples were with him, he put a question to them, saying, 'Who do the people say I am?' And they, answering, said, 'John the Baptist; but others say Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has come back.' And he said, 'But who do you say that I am?' And Peter, answering, said, 'The Christ of God.'" Jesus didn't deny it but praised Peter for the revelation God gave him.

A woman in Samaria also realized who Christ was. In John 4:29 (BBE) she spread the news to her village, saying, "Come and see a man who has been talking to me of everything I ever did! Is it possible that this is the Christ?"

The villagers also believed when the Lord spoke to them. John 4:42 (BBE) records, "And they said to the woman, 'Now we have faith, but not because of your story: we ourselves have given ear to his words, and we are certain that he is truly the Saviour of the world.'"

Other disciples of Christ likewise believed he was the Saviour as well. John 1:41 (BBE) tells us about Andrew's revelation. "Early in the morning he came across his brother and said to him, 'We have made discovery! It is the Messiah!' (which is to say, the Christ)."

Better still, we learn that Jesus is God. The Pharisees became angry when, in John 10:30 (BBE), he said he was of the same essence as God. "I and my Father are one." The Pharisees thought it was blasphemy but he truly was part of the Trinity.

Paul also expressed the truth that Jesus is god in Colossians 1:16-19 (BBE). "For by him all things were made, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, authorities, lords, rulers, and powers; all things were made by him and for him; He is before all things, and in him all things have being. And he is the head of the body, the church: the starting point of all things, the first to come again from the dead; so that in all things he might have the chief place. For God in full measure was pleased to be in him;"

I'll be emphasizing the divine nature of Christ in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Accepting that Jesus is part of the Godhead is crucial to salvation. If he's a mere person, faith in him is pointless and blasphemous.

On Thursday, I'll post about the downside of devotional books.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

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 become too big a chore.

Chillowack, a band from the town of the same name in British Columbia, 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.

Monday's post will be about Jesus and people's opinions of him verses what the Bible says.

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.