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Saturday, February 27, 2016

When Discrimination Is Right

I was having discussions this past week on a news story where a counsel was voting on whether or not to stand up against the Supreme Court's decision on "marriage.".  (Sadly that counsel did not stand up against the Court's decision, though another local counsel did.)

More than one person seemed to think that God wouldn't want discrimination against people.
That might sound good, but hang on a minute...
Is that true? Does God dislike discrimination of every sort?

Part of my response to one individual was this:

God not only would approve of discriminating against participating in someone else's sin, but it would be a sin against God to celebrate sin (like participating in a so-called "wedding" or providing a room for people to be immoral matter if it's heterosexual or homosexual immorality). 

Certainly I see in the Bible that discriminating against sinful behavior is not wrong.
So, when is it wrong to discriminate?

It's wrong to be mean to people for how they look, or if they are physically unable to do things, or if they might be mentally slow.   Christians should have love for all people (including the immoral), but love doesn't mean affirming sin.

Participating in sin is always wrong, but loving your enemies and praying for them is right.
There are many things that are acceptable to do for people who are immoral.
In fact, it is actually the people who call themselves Christians and are immoral that are the only immoral people we are to avoid - rather than the immoral of the world (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
That is so that they might repent.
Of course, we are also not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or to be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  We also know that bad company corrupts good morals, so we must be cautious while still proclaiming the Gospel and being kind.

Selling an ice cream cone to an immoral person is fine, of course.
Intentionally helping that person with their sin, or helping them to validate their sin is not fine.  This isn't about us judging their eternal destiny ourselves.  God will judge, but we must obey God by not participating.  We don't know, but that person may have been chosen by God.  They need to hear about God's Law and the Gospel.
John the Baptist spoke up about the immorality of Herod, though he died for it.  I did not read in the Bible that he was condemned as wrong to point out the sin.
Showing people God's moral law is needed for people, as that is a tutor to show them their need for a Savior, repentance, mercy, and forgiveness.

While the incident is from a disputed passage of Scripture (it may not have been in the original text), when Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more after the hypocrites had left, He didn't validate her sinful behavior.   He wasn't even saying that the sin wasn't worthy of death according to the the Mosaic Law.  He is able to forgive as God the Son, but He doesn't forgive so that a person might continue in their sin.

Now, we are to make right judgment calls on what is sin and what is not.  We learn what is sin and what isn't from God's Word.  We do need to be discerning.  We don't desire laws that encourage the validation of sin.  That doesn't make us unloving.  In fact, it would be unloving to stay silent.
Sadly, the person who speaks up with the truth is the one who is treated as evil.
This week online I've been called nuts, I've been accused of "verbal diarrhea",  told I was forcing my religion on people, and told I was going to hell.
I've just read the account of Jesus being put to death (though willingly).
He was perfectly innocent, yet they hated Him without a cause, and they wanted Him dead.
He only spoke the truth.  He is the Son of God.
Why should I expect better treatment?   He is infinity times better than I am, and He deserves worship.  I'm not even the best communicator, but I desire to be used by Him.

People today would rather make up a phony Jesus who is comfortable with whatever their sin is (as well as they like laws that validate their licentious behaviors), but sadly they don't want to believe that the reason Jesus died was because justice demands that their sin be punished.  The punishment for their sin will either be experienced by them in Hell for eternity, or for those who repent and trust in Jesus Christ...the punishment we deserve was experienced by Jesus the perfect Lamb of God upon a cross many years ago.

So, as a Christian, I want to be discriminating enough to discriminate against participating in sin and to discern truth from error, but indiscriminate enough to care about everybody and their eternal soul....even if they hate me and discriminate against me.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Don't Broad-Brush The Badge - #PoliceLivesMatter

God gave us civil authorities, and they do promote the general good welfare of the people.  They catch criminals, and they save lives.
Some have to deal with helping a lot of people who have gone through trauma.  They are willing to risk their lives in an often thankless job.

While there are always some bad apples when you are drawing personnel from the sinful, fallen, and depraved human race (some of the corruption being elected positions), most law enforcement people do try their best to be the "good guys" and protect the public.
Cynicism and callousness is a job hazard, so maybe you've met some rude officers.   Just remember that they deal with a lot of crummy guilty creeps, so it affects their outlook.

I've become acquainted with a few very nice law enforcement people in my life.  I'll admit that I have been guilty of blanketing our local small town police department with very negative feelings due to unfairness on one occasion (which still upsets me when I think of unfair expensive vehicle towing where nothing was clear about not parking there).
We really shouldn't blame everybody on the force for the the few who blindly hold mistaken presuppositions.

We also shouldn't stereotype everyone of a different shade of skin due to a bad experience or two or even more.
What if the shoe were on the other foot, and people stereotyped you negatively?
Oh, you've had that happen?  Then you should know not to stereotype the police and all judges, etc.
Sin didn't pass over one shade of skin and land on another.  It doesn't pass over you and only hit those who chose to wear a uniform either.
We all inherited a sin nature after Adam first sinned, since we are all related....even if some people don't want to admit it.

Just because you or someone you know had a bad experience with the police, that should not make you assume that whenever someone accuses a cop of wrongdoing that the accuser is right and the cop automatically guilty.

Sadly, there are some people who seem to live in a culture of fear or hatred of the police.  When the police come around, they make foolish decisions that cost them their lives.  If there is an issue with a police officer, talk it out.  Don't run away, or make sudden moves that could be determined to be threatening.
That only makes you look guilty, even if you aren't.

Some people accuse the entire justice system of being corrupt.  I'm sure there is corruption at times, but does the corruption really only go against certain types of people and not others?  If you think so, you are wrong.   Judges vary in decisions and sentencing, and it's not just based on shade of skin or wealth, or uniform.  Still, people from other countries can attest that our justice system is better than many other countries' courts...for sure!

We have a lot to be thankful for, and as a Christian I believe we should remember God expects us to obey authority as long as they don't require disobedience to God.

If you are a Christian, and you care about police officers,  you can actually get some Gospel tracts to share with them.
Let's try to remember to be thankful and not be prejudiced.
I think this is at least the second post I've done on this topic, but something I saw recently reminded me how we need to appreciate the police as well as sheriffs.
How about saying thank you now and then?


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Autographs & The Extraordinary Ordinary

I came across my autograph book today. I have a number of other autographs not in it, but sadly some have gotten yellowed and damaged due to not using the best things to protect them (in some cases not protected at all).

I realize the people are just human beings with different abilities.  They should not be idolized. 

I haven't always collected autographs, so it's not complete with all the people or events I'd like to remember. I have autographs from singers, politicians, a baseball player, and even Pastor Donald McDougall.   

Yes, you may not know him, but he was a Greek professor at the Master's Seminary in the well as my pastor.  

Pastors are often not recognized for their importance and place in our spiritual lives.   

I learned a lot from Pastor McDougall, and one thing I saw that is still a shining example to me in my memory was how he responded to trials.  
It is one thing to teach how to respond to trials from the Bible, and it's another to live it.

I was just daydreaming up finding special letters from friends to put in a scrapbook. 

If you've sent me one, it might end up in it!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Which President Should Fill The U.S. Supreme Court Vacancy?

While selecting for the court is a president's job, President Obama should not even still be the president - given his overreaching grab for power with illegal executive orders.
President Obama has shown himself disrespectful of our laws by legislating from a Branch of government that is not Constitutionally granted that power.

While I do feel that any justice picked by President Barrack Obama would be terrible, I also realize  that if the shoe were on the the other foot pro-life Republicans would fight to get a decent judge in no matter how little time in office was left.

Sadly, there is no guarantee that the next president will pick a good justice.
Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders are clearly not pro-life and are socialists.  Donald Trump has no proven track record after claiming to have become pro-life, and it is reported that he has claimed his anti-life sister would make a good justice.
He has proven himself to not be honest during this election cycle from my own observation.
There is no guarantee that the U.S. will get a president that will pick a justice that will rule in favor of life and Biblical marriage.  As it is, there were not enough U.S. Supreme Court justices to stand for life, true marriage, and against Obamacare.

Why is this?  Most of the people in the United States are not Christians.
Many who  even professed faith in the past no longer see as much of a social advantage of such a profession, and so they now no longer make a pretense.
Others are swayed by emotional appeals and popular acceptance.
Those who still profess to be "Christians" are often willing to treat the Bible as vague about certain moral behaviors, and some "Bible translations" have outright changed gender specific pronouns, etc.
They are willing to read things into or omit things from the Bible to fit their personal comfort level, as they don't worship the true God.  They worship a made up god that makes things comfortable for them by accepting everybody.

They do not consider that they are keeping themselves and others comfortable in sins that lead to eternal Hell, so they ignore the warning of Scriptures and listen to lies about It.

These people do not realize that real love is not blind to sin.
Love urges people to repent and trust in God to save from sin. They do not seem to realized that faith that does not obey isn't true faith.  True Christians learn that a living faith will be shown to be real by a transformed life and not by continuing in sin.
People need the true Gospel, and morality without the Gospel will easily be shed like an old coat.

Still, the truth is, that many in America are no longer making even a pretense to standing up for morality, because the basis of their morality is not faith in Christ.
It is no longer as cool to be a Christian for many, and those who still think it's cool want to distance themselves from being "judgmental."

These kinds of people are willing to ignore the clear meaning of Scripture and try to cover it over with a blurriness.  "It couldn't possibly mean what It says, could It?  We must find another meaning."
It's no wonder they are not concerned with judges who are willing to consider the Constitution and Bill of Rights as living and breathing documents that can change meaning to fit the culture.

Many people who consider themselves conservative start becoming pragmatic about the election before a presidential candidate is even voted upon or chosen at all.
This causes some candidates to drop out of the race sooner than they should have to, and it leaves little choice for those voting after the first caucuses or primaries.
People are swayed greatly by the media and their polls, and the media shuts out candidates before they even have a chance to gain traction.
"Who can win?"  People listen to the answer to this question from the mainstream media or favorite talk show hosts, and so they follow like dumb sheep.

Two issues are especially important to me in choosing a candidate to vote for right now.

1. Is the person truly pro-life?  To what extent are they pro-life?

2. What is the person's view on marriage, and do they accept the bad decision of the court as fully "settled law" or not?

There are other issues that are important, but right now those are tops.
The slaughter of babies must be addressed.

So, clearly, not knowing who will be president next, I don't know that a future president would pick a judge that will understand that Biblical marriage, life, and freedom for Christians are not and were never meant to be thrown out by the writers of the Constitution.
If people don't believe the Bible and accept it as "settled" truth, then how can we expect them to make good decisions in electing presidents who will decide on the next SCOTUS justices?

Monday, February 15, 2016

By Faith Alone Or Faith Plus Works?

Can anybody help someone else get into Heaven?

No man can by any means redeem his brother
Or give to God a ransom for him—
For the redemption of his soul is costly,
And he should cease trying forever—
Psalm 47:7-8 NASB

There would be no reason for the Gospel, if a mere man (like a pope) could get people into Heaven before or after death.

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
Hebrews 9:27 NASB

So, it is the Gospel that people need to hear while on earth which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).  

Only Jesus, fully God and fully man, was able to redeem sinful people. 

Pardon for sin can only be purchased by God, yet Jesus had to also be fully a man (Hebrews 2:17) as well as God  the Son (John 5:21) to take the sins of mankind upon Himself.

And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Revelation 5:9 NASB

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; 
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
Isaiah 53:6 NASB

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;                                                    

1 Peter 3:18 NASB

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:10 NASB

Not one person can be saved without God regenerating them (Titus 3:5-6).  Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christians are born  from above of the Spirit.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:3-8 NASB

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Titus 3:5-6 NASB

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
John 6:63

Christ's death was sufficient.

Hebrews 9 and so many other passages makes it clear that Christ died once for all.
He isn't continually being sacrificed for sin in communion.
The death for all doesn't mean everyone who ever lived on the planet, but it means that He died for all the sins of anyone who would ever believe.   
He died for all the sheep that God gave Him, as He is like a Shepherd with a flock that He tenderly cares for.  He will never lose those who are truly of His flock.
If you repent of sin that enslaves you and that will send you to the just eternal judgment in the fires of Hell, and if you turn to trust in Christ's death for your sin - then you will be a part of God's sheep saved by grace.  Genuine Christians will desire to obey Christ, but good deeds can never earn a bit of your salvation.  A true believer has died to sin, so we are now able to follow Christ.  If someone claims to have Christ, but they don't act any differently....they don't truly belong to Him.

Some may say, "I'm justified by faith and works."  

If that is you, it is a confusion of what James meant about Abraham being justified by works.  Works are the fruit of salvation.  They are not the root.  
The Spirit empowers a true Christian to be able to do good works, because He indwells the true believer.  
It was Abraham's faith (believing God) that was reckoned to him as righteousness.  
It wasn't any set of good deeds he did that helped earn him Heaven.

Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 
John 6:28-29

God passed over sins from the past of those who were looking forward to a salvation that was not yet completed on earth (Romans 3:25).
Abraham's actions only proved that his faith was genuine and alive (James 2:26). 
Please don't confuse the cart of good works with the horse of faith.

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Romans 11:6 NASB

Works are an outworking of the salvation the Christian already has, not a cause of it (Philippians 2:13). 
The only work that saves is the work God did.  The dead cannot respond without God giving life. 

Previous Post On Faith & Works

Friday, February 12, 2016

Three Exciting Upcoming Events

Next month there are two conferences coming up for those who are able to attend, and then one more conference is slated for August of this year.

Shepherds Conference - March 9-13, 2016:
The first of these conferences is for pastors, but they often stream parts of it online with more available later.
Some of you reading this may actually already be planning to go!
It is hosted by Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA.
This year John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Paul Washer, Nathan Busenitz, Steve Lawson, Phil Johnson, & Tom Pennington are listed as speakers.
There are additional speakers for the seminar sessions, etc.

The Herald Society  - March 17-19, 2016:
The second conference is in Florida, and it's focus will be on reformational street preaching,
It was scheduled for last year, but it ended up being postponed.
It is hosted by Jeremiah Cry Ministries, and the church should be interested in participating in this.
Not everybody is qualified to street preach, but the church needs to support and be involved.

Biblical Church Evangelism Conference - August 8-14, 2016:
This is another conference where there will also be actual evangelism as well as teaching.
It is hosted by Pastor Chuck O'Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church in Oregon.
I was able to watch some of the live-streaming of it (especially last year), and I trust that it would be good for all able-bodied Christians (who can understand English) to go to this if possible.
The schedule has not been fully set up, but the dates have been scheduled.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

TV Star & ‪Martial Arts Master Hits Bottom & Then....

I purposely tweeted a video on the day of the Super Bowl with a hashtag for the Super Bowl, because I felt it could get more attention by people who might not otherwise pay attention to it
Some of my social media friends have seen this already I know, but I am circulating it for those who have not.
It is really worth the just under eighteen minutes it takes to watch it!

Please share this:

TV star & martial arts master hits bottom. 
What changed him?

This is a real testimony of God's grace, patience, and mercy.
While there are some things I disagree with Jeff on (not in the video), it is good to see that on what is most important we have commonality.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Random Eclectic Edifying Christian Music

I grew up listening to a lot of music.
A lot of it had the Christian label, and some of the best lyrics came from Steve Camp.
I saw him in concert maybe three or four times, and went up to meet him once at Grace Community Church when he was there.
While at this point I don't believe he is Biblically qualified as a pastor (though I don't blame him for what was not his fault...and realize others don't share my understanding),
I really love a lot of his lyrics from the past.
He is surely a brother in Christ from all I've heard and read, and this is nostalgic for me.
I hope you enjoy it.  If you don't, try the songs below.

I really enjoyed this bit of music.
If you need some soothing, this will help...unless you hate the saxophone!

The lyrics on this song made it worth sharing, though the ending was not my taste in music.
The first verses I can identify with.  I often feel my faith is weak.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Master's College: BA Online, Biblical Equipping, & A Response To "The Lord Told Me..."

The Master's College is now going to allow people to get a B.A. in Biblical Studies online!

Online B.A. in Biblical Studies
BIG news from Dr. John MacArthur: It is now possible to receive a fully accredited Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from The Master's College online! #onlineeducation #TMCOnline
Posted by The Master's College on Thursday, February 4, 2016

Biblical Equipping Collection 
The Master's College also has what is likely to be a good resource (link above) for educating the church, pastors, and missionaries. 

Response to people saying "The Lord told me..."
Some people say something like this not meaning they believe God literally told them, but I hope the linked article will encourage people to stop using God's name to inflate their own credibility.  
God does direct events, but when someone is not hearing God literally speak...they should NOT say that He did.  God tells us things through His Word found in Scripture, and that should be enough - until Christ returns or takes believers Home.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Letter To A Mom Who Has Chosen Life

I wrote the letter below for someone who chose to not have an abortion.  I've edited it slightly, because I want this to apply now to other women and girls who have chosen life for their babies.
You are welcome to print and distribute it or share it online, so long as it is not edited (except you can remove my initials).



I'm excited for you to have this new life ready to be born soon.

Babies are precious, because each one is  designed by God and bears His image.  Yet, because the first man created sinned, every one of us is born under the curse of sin.  Each one of us is born a sinner, and even a tiny baby insists on their own way in sin.   We each are given knowledge of God's existence through what has been made, and we are each born with a conscience that will convict us that lying, stealing, adultery, murder, etc. is wrong.  It is wrong, because it goes against God's perfect character.  God is good, and that is something that we can never be on our own though we may think we can.  We can never do enough good things to get to Heaven, because even our good deeds are as bad as dirty diapers or sanitary napkins.  We have sinful motives and attitudes.  If you sin even just 3 times a day, think of how many sins there would be in your lifetime.   Because our sin is against the perfect righteous God and Judge and His character, this is why we deserve eternal punishment in Hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

But God is also a loving and merciful God, and He sent His perfect Son Jesus who is fully God and fully man to live a perfect life we are incapable of, so that He would die taking on the sins of sinners like you and me.  He suffered a death that He didn't deserve on a Roman cross, and He rose from the dead conquering death forever.  Those who repent of their sins and trust in His death for their sins have eternal life, and their sin was placed on that His perfection could be placed on those who believe.  When He looks at those who put their trust in Christ, God the Father sees Christ's perfection.  Those who trust in Him will walk in Him in newness of life, and they will have joy & pleasure forever in Heaven with Him.  We are forgiven in Him.  We are His children.  We are at peace, because the Judge made a way for the guilty to be made righteous in His eyes.

This is the hope that your baby needs to learn about, and I hope and pray that you will turn to Christ as well.  We don't know how much time we have on this earth.  There may not be a tomorrow on earth for any of us.  Are you ready to stand before God?
I'm very pleased you have chosen to keep your child, and it is an admirable thing you are doing to show the responsibility to take care of your baby.

This baby is a precious gift God has allowed you to care for.


Monday, February 1, 2016

The World-Tilting Gospel - A Quick Book Review

I was reading parts of a book called The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Phillips last week...skipping ahead a long ways to check more of it out after reading chapter 1 and starting Chapter 2.
I really wanted to see what it was like, as I was hoping to give it away.
The author is someone I follow on Twitter.

Sometimes I follow people, and then I forget who they are and why I followed them.
Probably that's because a lot of people I follow back after they've followed me first, but that isn't always the case.
I saw that the author, Dan Phillips, was asking what to write next...a workbook for the book I've mentioned here or a systematic Theology book or something.   I wasn't familiar with his books at all to begin with, so I had no clue how to vote.

Well, I looked up The World-Tilting Gospel and saw who wrote reviews on the book (MacArthur, Phil Johnson,, etc)., and I found out the author has written for Pyromaniacs.  Oh!  So, that's why I'm following him...maybe?

Well, it is a book that kept me reading quite a bit of pages at a time.  That is not extremely common for me unless it's fiction.  I don't even read fiction nearly as much as I used to.

I didn't read the whole book, but I did read some chunks of it that were helpful to differentiate good and bad approaches on how we view our relationship with Christ, sin, grace, obedience, and the Spirit's work.

If you like to read non-fiction besides the Bible and blog articles, I recommend it.
Let me know what you think!