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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Hard Determinism or Compatibilism - Say What???

I saw someone discussing hard determinism vs. compatibilism on social media which got me scrambling to see exactly what was meant by that, and soon after that I read about "Compatibilistic Theodicy" in the Biblical doctrine book.  
Actually, I'm pretty certain it was the very next time I read in the book.  
Side Note:
I was in chapter 3 (and finally finished it this week).  
I recommend it, although it occasionally boggles my mind.  
I don't know how well I'll remember the things I'm learning, but I hope that some of it will stick.

Here is my thinking on hard determinism:
If hard determinism means that people are not held responsible / culpable for their sinful actions, then it would not be the same as compatibilism (soft determinism) which is more like what is what we see in Scripture. 
The Bible surely makes it clear that people are still held responsible for sin (Habakkuk 1:5-11) no matter that God superintends everything for His purposes.

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
Genesis 50:20 NASB

God warns people about sin and the judgment coming to sinners, but an unbeliever's freedom to choose is limited by their nature (unbelievers are slaves to sin and under the headship of Adam and are unable to obey God). 
God hardens hard hearts (Pharoah hardened his heart and God hardened Pharoah's heart, God gives people over to sin as a judgment in Romans 1, etc.), and God has stirred up kings to attack or take people as captives (1 Chronicles 5:26; Jeremiah 28:14), and He sent His people into exile as a judgment (I'm reading Jeremiah).
So, again, I can see that God can direct wills, and He governs all the circumstances and secondary causes (even the sins of people) in the universe to bring about His purposes.
We can see from history that God brings judgment, mercy & grace, and trials.
God will one day bring about the ultimate justice.
Those who are His are covered by His blood & righteousness, and those who are not will face eternal judgment (and Hell).

What about choosing God?

We are not responsible for our first or second birth (John 3) or for God's foreknowledge and drawing of those He's chosen.  
Our wills would never choose God apart from His changing our nature and His supernaturally regenerating us according to His predetermined plan.
We also can't keep ourselves saved by our choices either, but our salvation will be evident to others by our love & obedience and fruit which is evidence of His work in us.
God will complete the good work He started in His sheep, and He will not lose any of His true children.

For those who have not heard the Gospel, please follow THIS LINK.

The following is something I got from a Steve Lawson Bible study on foreknowledge:

Foreknowledge doesn't mean that God looks down the tunnel of time to see who would choose His Son and predestine on the basis of this.
Reasons why that idea is erroneous:
1. God has never looked into the future & learned anything.
2. If this was mere foresight, all God would see is that no one would choose Christ. There is a moral inability to exercise the will towards God, and the reason don't want to. There is none who seeks for God...
3. This does not say what He says whom He foreknew. This is dealing with not event...but individuals. The true meaning of foreknowledge it to choose to love someone beforehand.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Romans 8:29 NASB

It's a mercy that God chooses to save people who would not be able to will toward God apart from God.

So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. Romans 9:16 NASB

Those of us who are Christians have Christ's righteousness imputed to us, but we still sin.  
We are to confess our sins to God, and He is faithful & just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Our new nature frees us to be able to do what is right, and God works in us to give us the desire and ability to obey and to glorify Him.

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 
Philippians 2:13 NASB
We as believers should be glad that God works all things for His glory & our ultimate good despite how things may look.  Our family has been having a number of trials, and sometimes it seems there is no ending in sight.  

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 NASB

I have a long ways to go in sanctification, and the more I suffer the more I see my sinfulness (rebelliousness, anxiety, doubts, etc.).
I pray God will cause me to grow and to better reflect God's glory like the moon reflects the sun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Remember the Prisoners

More than 100 people from a church in China were reportedly arrested a few days ago.  
I'm uncertain about their Theology in some respects, but Christians can pray for these people.

Those of us who are Christians know that Christ is the Head of His church, and no government has the authority to demand churches disobey Scripture.  
The Three Self organization is connected to the government and is not a church group and yet they can try to make decisions affecting churches.  
This means that they can try to bring liberalism into churches.  
It reportedly puts patriotism as its prime objective.

Churches in China struggle from a lack of sound Theological training.  
That is true in the U.S., but there they have a lack of good teaching and training as available as it can be in America.
I don't know the author of this article, but it is eye-opening about why it is more difficult for churches in China.

While it is very difficult to find a church that has sound Theology and practice in areas of the U.S., professing believers in China are under incredible pressure to compromise.
Their desire is to stand for what they do understand of Scripture (even if not fully informed), as the government is cracking down on them.

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
Hebrews 13:3 NASB

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Streaming Christmas Concert 2018 & Other Christmas Related Things

Christmas Concert Live-Streaming
Grace Community Church's Christmas Concert is scheduled to be live-streamed on December 23, 2018 at 6 PM Pacific Time (9 PM Eastern).
James Phillipps, Jubilant Sykes, Grace Chung, Philip Webb (AKA Superman in our house), Christopher Parkening, etc,. are scheduled to sing, along with choirs & orchestra.
View the streaming at that time by going HERE.

Update:  Watch the full concert

Grace Community Church Christmas Concert 2018 from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.

Articles of Note:

Christians & Christmas by John MacArthur

The Gospel According to Christmas Carols by Nathan Busenitz  

Gospel Tracts at Christmas

I'm not endorsing this particular site, but the following ideas for distributing tracts look good.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Prayer Requests & Encouragement & Christmas Music

Prayer Requests & Encouragement
A number of medical issues have come up with our family lately, and I know that others are also struggling.
So many people need prayer and comfort and endurance.  I see posts and hear about them and pray for them like many others are probably doing as well.
God often providentially has me hearing encouraging messages or songs during difficult times.
The recent one I shared - When the Healing Doesn't Come  was one, and then today I heard part of Steve Lawson's Bible Study on God causing all things to work together for good...
I'm also encouraged by people praying for requests when I ask...even when I don't specify. 
I don't always feel free to share too many details about others, but I have had something unusual going on with me as well, and I am waiting to see if I will need a surgical procedure next week to do further testing or not (which would require anesthesia ...again).

Music to Cheer
It's that time again!
For those of us who enjoy celebrating the Savior's birth, this congregational music is a good way to start things off.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

First Thanksgiving, When Healing Doesn't Come, & Evangelism

Thanksgiving Day - Andrew Rappaport tells the story behind Thanksgiving in the U.S.

When the Healing Doesn’t Come - Don Green gave such an encouraging and timely message this past Sunday  Our bodies will fail us.  We will die unless the Lord returns soon.  How should we think about these things as believers?
You can listen to it HERE .

Mike Riccardi tells about ways to transition to the Gospel in conversation.  It's not about a script!


Friday, November 9, 2018

An Open Letter To Veterans for Veterans Day

To those who have served in our military,

Thank you for serving our country.  
Some of you have had to serve in combat, and you've risked your life for freedom.
Growing calloused to death is something that is a risk for those who have seen more death and have had to use a weapon against other human beings.
You have likely seen things that you can never forget.
There can be long-lasting effects to having lived through traumatic circumstances.
Whatever the case, you know that freedom is costly and life is not something to be taken for granted.

Because I care about you, I want you to know the truth that can set you free in an even greater way.
God created you and me.  Yet we have rebelled against Him.  We've broken His Law.  Lying, lusting, stealing, murdering, gossiping, committing adultery or premarital sex or homosexuality, profaning His name, and loving anything more than Him are examples of rebellion against Him.
God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all.  He is holy, and we all deserve His just wrath and punishment.  He is the eternal Judge.  Because of who He is, an eternity in Hell is just punishment.

But mercy God sent His only Son (fully God and fully man) to be born of a virgin, to live a perfectly righteous life that none of us can.  He did miraculous signs attesting to who He is.  Jesus came to earth to die.  The perfect God-man suffered and shed His blood on a Roman cross taking the punishment for sinners who are guilty.  He suffered agony and was killed willingly for the sins of everyone who would ever believe.  This was planned from eternity.  Jesus rose from the dead which was witnessed to by many people.
He is the one who will judge the living and the dead.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father but through Him.

He sent His Spirit to dwell in those who trust in Him.
I urge you to be reconciled to God, to turn from sin and to trust in Christ alone for eternal life.
Those who trust in Him will be with Him forever, and whatever we suffer in this life cannot compare to the joy of eternity with Him.
Please read the 66 books of the Bible.

So, thank you again so much for your willingness to risk your life for my temporal life, and in turn I am giving you the good news that God can use to save your eternal soul that you might have eternal life.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

John Answers a Question on "Social Justice"

They have finally released a clip from the Q & A that John MacArthur did the other week.
John got some questions about the "social justice" issue, and this one has been posted online.
I was blessed to hear the Q & A when it was live-streaming.
The issue is not that people against "social justice" don't care about people.
Those who want to attack people who are not in favor of  "social justice", please listen to the following response.

To sign the Statement on Social Justice go HERE.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Reforming to Scripture

The Reformation was marked by the desire to return to Scripture as the authority for doctrine and practice in the church.
It was a returning to the Biblical Gospel.
The 5 Solas were based on Scripture & its truth.
The Swiss brethren continued to reform to Scripture by practicing believers baptism.
Also, the more people study Scripture, the more they see the doctrines that Calvin is best known for.

Churches have again veered away from Scripture in many ways since the days of the Reformation.
Some of the ways churches have strayed have been:
Calling people prophets and apostles today (they don't meet Scriptural qualifications for those example is Bethel Church in Redding, CA),
Seeking personal revelation,
False signs and wonders,
Prosperity preaching (health and wealth),
Women disobeying Scripture in leading and teaching and having authority over men in regards to the church,
Acceptance of immorality and/or sinful desires,
Social justice advocating ("social justice" is not actually justice) which distracts from the true Gospel,
All kinds of various heresies about the nature of God,
and also
Legalism (E. g. , Hebrew Roots or Hebrew Israelites), etc.

Because heresies and straying from the truth have continued throughout history, reformation back to the truth and the Gospel of the 66 books of the Scriptures needs to continue.
Galatians is one excellent Biblical example of how people were being bewitched even in the early church and how it needed to be confronted.
 I'm thankful to know of pastors and teachers who still love the truth of Scripture.
Christians need to remember to pray for these men, and for more of them!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Defining "Social Justice" for the Confused

When you search the words "social justice" on Google, you will see it defined this way:
"justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society."

I think much of the problem that people have when discussing "social justice" is that people are bringing their own connotation of what that means to the words (rather than realizing the dictionary definition).

The people who have argued against The Statement on Social Justice & The Gospel wrongfully think that it means that people who wrote and signed it don't care about those in need or about loving neighbors or about justice in general.  
It doesn't mean that individuals don't plead for the innocent or ignore real sin.
"Social justice" isn't about justice as seen in Scripture.

God never promised us equal wealth, opportunities, and privileges in the world's idea of what those things are.
A lack of having worldly goods and privileges can be the very things God uses to cause His children to grow spiritually and to keep them humble and dependent on Him.
Are we complaining about the situation that God has for us?

In some cases people even demand equality for sinful behaviors (even in churches) that are in disobedience to God (women disobeying Scripture wanting to be elders/pastors/teaching men in the church or people wanting acceptance for sexually immoral behaviors and/or desires).

In other cases, some people watch/read/listen to news and assume people are guilty instead of innocent based on a video or a report/accusation.
Sometimes people take their victim mentality or their personal background to the news story or even to the evidence.  
That kind of thinking can sometimes lead to a mob mentality of "justice" that could destroy someone wrongfully.
A person isn't more likely to be guilty of a crime or abuse being white or black or male or uniform or out of uniform.
Yet some people demand what they think is justice without its necessarily being justice (since there may be facts and evidence not seen or known).
I believe I've addressed that in the past on other posts.

Some people think that the church needs to mirror the world's "affirmative action" methods which actually aren't about equality anyway.  
"Affirmative action" was about giving people positions or privileges regardless of who was most qualified (as in a job or a school). 
It was based on choosing people based on color as well..not white.
It also was an insult to people who aren't white in my opinion (as though people can't qualify on their own). 
Now, everyone in Christ is one in Christ, and elders should be qualified Biblically as elders and also be those God wants in that position (I remember how the replacement for Judas was decided by God in the end). 
That means someone shouldn't be decided to be an elder in the church due to more or less pigmentation at all. 
We also shouldn't judge a church due to what shade of skin the majority of people in it are unless they are proven to be intentionally excluding people due to ethnicity.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28 NASB

All of those who are in Christ have spiritual blessings and privileges that surpass anything this world has to offer.  
We don't have to have equal incomes or opportunities in this world.
That doesn't mean that Christians are not to be generous to those who are in need (because that is what love to brothers and sisters and neighbors does and should do when there is the ability).

There are Christians who are imprisoned wrongfully or even killed for having done nothing wrong, and God doesn't always keep that from happening to them.
What others mean for evil, God uses for His Joseph's brothers meant him evil and God meant it for good.
As Christians, we are to focus on honoring God and our own obedience and relationship to Him first.
The sufferings in this world - no matter what they are  - can cause us to look to God and to look forward more to Heaven which is eternal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Responding to Reasons Not to Believe in God

I was reading some arguments tonight which gave a list of reasons not to believe in God.
The usual first reason was the supposed "no evidence" nonsense, and the second reason claims that it is illogical (to believe in His existence).

Here is some of my response:
God in His wisdom made the message of the cross appear as foolish to those who are not saved.
His eternal attributes, eternal power, and Divine nature have been clearly seen through what has been made, but people are truth suppressors due to unrighteousness. 
God has also revealed Himself through Scripture. 

Another of their reasons not to believe that was given was about suffering in this world (even for those who worship Him).

Here is my response to that:
Suffering has a purpose in God's world. He uses it for His purposes. 
He is not the chargeable cause of evil, but He does use it for good. 
God sees the long view that finite puny humans cannot in this sinful fallen depraved world. 

In response to the argument that laws in the Bible were wicked:
God is perfectly good (and we are not), and He is fully just. 
Judging God's law by the standard of our human opinion is like a child who wants to stick a fork in the light socket not realizing the wisdom of his parents telling him not to.

Responding to the idea that life is better without God & religion:
A life without God is slavery, and nobody living for themselves (which really isn't without Him since He's still there) will escape sickness and death and the consequences of sinful behavior which includes eternal punishment in Hell.
A religion of depending on works is useless, because the only way to be reconciled to a perfectly good and just God is to be perfectly righteous. 
None of us fill that bill, so we need the righteousness of another. 
God in love sent His Son, fully God & fully man born of a virgin to live a sinless life in our place, and willingly He died on a cross taking the wrath for the sins of everyone who would ever believe. He rose from the dead, so that those who turn from sin and trust in Him will have eternal life and will not come into condemnation.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Chosen by God, Mob Mentality, & Perfect Wisdom

A pastor in CA gave a series "Chosen by God" quite a number of years ago at Foothill Bible Church in Upland, and I remember that it was really good over all.
I am sharing it with any of you who would really like to hear what the Bible teaches on the subject in the book of Romans.

Here is the first message.
Chosen by God Part 1 - taught by David Forsyth
There was only one message I think I remember disagreeing with something of.

You can find the whole series by typing the title in the search box HERE.

An Article Worth Reading
Today I read an article which reflects well what I've been thinking about the mob mentality and guilty until proven innocent thinking that seems to be permeating our society and seems to have infiltrated even into the thinking of believers that you would not have expected it to.
Ghana & Kavanaugh by Samuel Sey

Song of the Day
The following is a cover of a song which is in the Hymns of Grace book.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gossip or Slander?

Gossip is spreading information about someone, generally that has not been confirmed to be true.
To slander is to make false statements about someone.
Is what we are sharing & reading online fitting in those categories? 
Are there confirming witnesses even in a news story?

He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.
Proverbs 20:19 NASB

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.
Proverbs 11:13 NASB

Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
A prudent man conceals knowledge,
But the heart of fools proclaims folly.
Proverbs 12:22-23 NASB

Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,
Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.
Proverbs 25:9-10 NASB

The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, 
And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
Proverbs 18:8 NASB

A trustworthy witness will not lie, 
But a false witness utters lies.
Proverbs 14:5 NASB

He who conceals a transgression seeks love, 
But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.
Proverbs 17:9 NASB

A perverse man spreads strife, 
And a slanderer separates intimate friends.
Proverbs 16:28 NASB

For lack of wood the fire goes out, 
And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
Proverbs 26:20 NASB

Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
And do not deceive with your lips.
Do not say, “Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me;
I will render to the man according to his work.”
Proverbs 24:28-29 NASB

And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Are You Guilty or Innocent?

God is Light

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5 NASB

You Can't Measure Up

And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’  “This is the great and foremost commandment.
Matthew 22:37-39 NASB

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? 
Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB

Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20 NASB

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Romans 1:28-32 NASB

Judgment Awaits

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 6:23 NASB

For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 NASB

"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 
Matthew 5:22 NASB

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.  “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
Matthew 13:47-50 NASB

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 
Revelation 20:13-14 NASB

Eternal Punishment

"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." 
Matthew 25:46 NASB

The Word of God 

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. 
Hebrews 4:12-13 NASB

God Sent His Son

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 
Galatians 4:4-5 NASB

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 NASB

The Sinless One Took Punishment For Sinners

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Hebrews 1:3 NASB

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 
“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
Acts 2:22 -24 NASB

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 
2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 
For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
Romans 5:6-8 NASB

Repentance & Faith

“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
Acts 17:30-31 NASB

"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." 
John 3:36 NASB

"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:18 NASB

The Son of God Sent The Spirit

"When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,
John 15:26 NASB

Not by Your Efforts or Good Deeds

But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,
Romans 4:5 NASB

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 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,
Titus 3:5 NASB

Christ is Head of His Church and Scripture is God's Word to us.

And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
Ephesians 1:22 NASB

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Social Justice & the Gospel Statement, Podcast, & Messages + Hymn in Español

It's finally out!  The Statement on Social Justice & The Gospel.
I had been waiting what seemed like a long time for this to be released.
I had heard early information about this, and so I was eagerly checking the link.
You can hear the podcast that gives more information as to its background with Andrew Rappaport and Josh Buice HERE.
I found out today from someone else that it was published.

John MacArthur has been preaching on Ezekiel 18 recently which addresses this topic.

Social Justice & The Gospel - Part 1

Social Justice & The Gospel - Part 2

Music for Your Day
We sang a hymn at a local church this past Sunday, and I thought the lyrics were very good.
I came across a singing group called "Esclavos de Cristo" which in English is "Slaves of Christ" that sang & played a Spanish version of it beautifully.


 Two lyric choices in English for the song are HERE and HERE.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Nation Going To Pot by Guest Writer TJ • Part 2

The United States continues down the Romans 1 path as the nation is going to pot.

Here are some evidences of some of the dire consequences to the course we're on:

A) Fatal crashes - a major increase:

B) Children adversely affected:

     1. Daughter and son die in hot car while Mom does dope:

     2. Child nearly dies from marijuana in candy:

     3. It started with weed and wound up with child abandonment:

     4. Four-year-old boy found wandering alone while elementary school teacher had gone out to get dope:

     5. "Until recently, it was rare for children to have major symptoms from swallowing marijuana.
It might be that they didn't swallow much and so didn't get very sick.  This has changed with medical marijuana." *
"Young children have been poisoned by swallowing medical marijuana.  Some have needed treatment in an intensive care unit."

     6. "The 2017 report said marijuana was the most-used substance connected to child abuse and neglect deaths, followed by alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine — and sometimes a combination of substances." *

C) Study has demonstrated a link between ongoing use of cannabis and violence.

A Reagan era study examined multiple convicts in the state of New York. " of respondents who had ever used marijuana used the drug in the 24-hour period before the homicide; and that almost three-quarters of those respondents were experiencing some type of effect from the drug when the homicide occurred."  Some of them claimed the homicide was related to their cannabis use.

D) Dogs getting stoned accidentally, including an example of one who licked up "medical" marijuana: 

E) Often, cannabis is a gateway entry to other harmful drugs:

  1.  "As more U.S. states legalize the use of marijuana, Mexico's violent drug cartels are turning to the basic law of supply and demand."
"Laws allowing marijuana in states like Colorado, Washington and California are causing shifts in the Mexican underworld that have also led to increased violence as the cartels move away from its cash cow of marijuana to traffic more heroin and methamphetamines."

"..the cartels 'saw a lot more demand for heroin (in the United States) and responded.'"

See source of quotes in the following link:

For more on the subject:

     2. Gateway Drug studies:

          a)  Based on a National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2011-2013, those using cannabis were three times more likely to be addicted to heroin:


          b)  "The CASA study also links the use of gateway drugs by children with subsequent regular use of illicit substances as adults:

Adults who used marijuana as children are 17 times more likely to be regular cocaine users. (Ninety-one percent of adults who used marijuana as children smoked or drank first.)"


     3. Examples of multiple types of drugs display that things don't always stop with marijuana:

          a)  A man who used both pot & heroin hit six other vehicles with his truck:

          b)  Parents arrested, toddler hospitalized with cannabis & cocaine in his system:

          c) Mother abandons her son, leaves grandma to raise him.

Grandma says:

"It was marijuana but that lead to opiate abuse, my daughter was actually shooting up Opana," a tearful Martin recently told WJHL.  "She took off up north to avoid child support...she's abandoned her child, just like his biological father abandoned him at the age of two...I'm angry at her for what she and his father have put him through.” *
See full article the above quote came from linked below.

          d) Babysitter warned by mother not to let five-year-old girl go near pool because she couldn't swim.  The babysitter does marijuana and meth. & allows child to drown.

*Emphasis Added (italics &/or bold).

Duped by Dope by Guest Writer TJ • Part 1

I was a kid during the Reagan era, when the Just Say No to drugs was in full swing.
I don't remember the campaign continuing under the 1st Bush presidency. By the time Clinton, "I did not inhale," was in office I noticed a shift about drugs.
While Joe Camel was attacked and alcohol ads were banned in certain instances, illegal drugs seemed to gain some ascendancy, prompting me in part of a poem I wrote to say:

Strained out is the Camel; let in is drugs, the charging bull,

While the matador is smiling since Joe's no longer cool.

The 2nd Bush did not make the war on drugs an issue and when Obama got in, he didn't want the government to bother enforcing federal laws on marijuana as states began to legalize the drug.

Meanwhile, Libertarians are libertines when it comes to the federal government's right to restrain people from certain immoral behaviors which are detrimental to society.
They think it is the states' rights to forbid or allow murder by abortion or to outlaw or permit harmful drugs (if people so desire).  I wonder if they ever asked themselves - should I not take this same states' rights position on theft, other murders, fraud, etc.?

Homosexual activists took incremental immoral steps regarding benefits.
Some opposed homosexuals' radical demands to receive special rights not afforded to other singles. Some people fought against demands to accept deviant sexual behavior as normal by acknowledging in state constitutions the definition of marriage - that being as the Author of marriage defined it.
Judges over-ruled the will of these people in various states.

But later, Christians overall seemed to have given up when the Supreme Court made the outrageous immoral ruling that sexual immorality should be permitted to be called marriage, which in truth is an institution God invented and defined as only being between a man and a woman.

And now, on another immoral front, while the goal of many people in this country is to legalize recreational marijuana, using the incrementalism of "medical" marijuana as a springboard, some Christians are actually being sucked into accepting marijuana (now said to be even stronger than the detrimental dope of old) legalization.

Is marijuana a sin?  Here is where some Theologians answered:

From The Shepherds' Conference Q & A On Marijuana

Christians need to be sharing the Gospel with people who are thinking about/are turning to dope a road which can have dire consequences.

Part 2 will deal with specific consequences of marijuana.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

8 Reasons We Click The Bait

Do you ever wonder why we click on the blog articles, videos, and news stories that we do?

Here is a list of some tricks for clicks.

1.  Numbers.  
Giving a number of points for an article makes us think that it will be short or that it will have numbered points we can quickly glance at that will have important, useful, or interesting information.
This is not always wrong (and I've used it for this blog post to make the point), although it might play on anxiety which wouldn't be a good thing.

2.  Craziness.  
The story seems outrageous, crazy, or hard to believe.  Yes, we are fascinated by the unusual.

3.  Fear.  
A lot of times headlines play on our fears.  Something bad happens to one or a few people, and the media wants us to be terrified that it's going to happen to us.  There are some reasonable things to be concerned about, but often they play on our sinful fears.

4.  Feel Good Stories.  
Many of us like stories that play on our happy feel good emotions.  
We like to read about heroes and see cute kids and animals and reunions and other pleasant stories.  This isn't always a bad thing, but often people exaggerate or are downright dishonest.  Have you ever seen a video that promises to be the cutest?

5.  Problem Solving.  
Sometimes articles and videos offer promises to help us solve problems.  
The frustration is that often they do not live up to what they seem to offer.  
The best ones are those that teach us us Scriptural principles (when it is done properly). 

6.  Action.  
We like to help people out.
We sign petitions, send e-mails or tweets, share fundraisers for those in need, look at stories about missing people, etc.  
We can also rightly be concerned for people who are wrongfully persecuted.
We should show some caution.
There are those who play on our desires to help people and deceive us, and many times people share old or phony stories.
Some wrongfully make demands of other Christians that are not called for in Scripture (and may actually be the opposite of what the Bible teaches).

7.  Agreement.  
We all like to see articles that Amen our strongly held beliefs.  
This isn't always bad, but it can be a bad thing if people are agreeing with things that are against what Scripture teaches.

8.  Controversy.  
Yes, sometimes we go to stories that we know there is going to be disagreement on.  It is easy to get caught up reading the comments or commenting ourselves and getting riled up. 
It is easy to go from righteous indignation to sinful anger on these things, although there are plenty of times when a controversial subject does need to be addressed.

Not all means to get clicks are wrong, but there are many who try to intentionally deceive us and to encourage us to sin.
I'm not a fan of April Fools type articles that have tricked me either.
Not mentioned above are stories, articles, and videos that bring lustful thoughts and pictures to us.  
We do need to be careful what we fill our minds with.  It will affect our closeness to God (as believers) when we entertain sinful thoughts and desires.  It's something we should battle with Scriptural truth rather than taking the bait to sin.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 John 2:16 NASB

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

God's Punishment of Israel & Its Chosen Remnant

Today I was reading Isaiah 10, and I was beginning to type out thoughts which lengthened into a blog post.
I want to remind people that I'm not a man, and this blog is not authoritative.
It may give insight into what can go through my mind when I read Scripture and notes about it.

Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?
Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?
That would be like a club wielding those who lift it,
Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.
Isaiah 10:15 NASB

The people that God used to punish His people boasted and would also be punished by God.
Although not the point of the passage, and an aside, this verse made me think of those who are against though guns wield themselves.
In the case of Isaiah 10, God's sovereignty is shown in directing an evil nation to His purposes.
Sometimes God's purposes are punishment for evil as in Isaiah 10, but other times nations were used to bless His people.

The good news is that there is a remnant of believing Israel.
There has been and always will be a remnant it seems, and the grafted in Gentiles in the New Testament don't take away from blessings God gave through Israel or the promises.

Paul sorrowed for those of his people according to the flesh that did not believe (and were not chosen).
who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,
whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Romans 9:4-5 NASB

Romans 11 lets me know that God still has a remnant of Israel, and so people should not be prideful toward the root or negative toward the Jews...who may be grafted back in if they do not continue in unbelief.
I believe there will be a future for and blessings for believing Israel, and there are promises to them that are not yet fulfilled and will be in the future.
I know that others have different eschatological views, but this is my view from my reading of and understanding of Scripture.
I remember reading in the Bible some things that I knew were not fulfilled yet in the past.
I don't believe things just because I've been told how to believe, but I believe them because I have read it in Scripture as well as it helps when I hear Scripture exposited.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

For Those With Regrets - Looking Beyond Tattoos

Not long ago I wrote a post about tattoos.
It was more of a warning to those who were considering getting them than for those who already had permanent tattoos and may regret them.

While I feel strongly that choosing tattoos isn't wise for a Christian, what about those who already have them?
Many people chose them before they were believers or they were Christians and thought tattoos were cool at some point in their life.
What about those who regret them and for some reason can't get them cleaned up by laser removal?
Some of those tattoos may be sad reminders of past sins or idolatry or rebellion or just a whim the person was following thinking it was cool at the time.

Well, as Christians we may see the external markings and wonder about people, but then we need to remember that God sees the heart. 
A brother or sister in Christ who has a tattoo still marking them is someone that Christ died for and He loves them. 
I have met people that looked like scary biker dudes, and they talked like caring believers. 
Yeah, that can be confusing.
There are people who are brothers and sisters in Christ who shouldn't be snubbed or treated as inferior for their past choices.

So, while I was strong in warning people about getting tattoos and to think about the consequences, I don't want to have people look at these external things and be unloving or lack compassion to others.
We are no better Christians for not having a tattoo. 
So, while I would warn against intentionally marking oneself up (and yes, it can give impressions about character...right or wrong), I also want to encourage people to not let appearances keep you from getting to know some wonderful Christian brothers and sisters or from giving the Gospel to someone who is an unbeliever.

So, for believers who have tattoos, I want you to know that your tattoos are not the sum total of who you are.  If you can get rid of them, fine.  If you can't, well, I have skin problems that I can't get rid of.  So, we should just treat each other like any other sisters and brothers in Christ. 

Cessation, Banana Man, & Sundays in July


The following are 3 articles from the Cripplegate Blog which address what cessationism means and why claiming words are from the Lord is not something to be taken lightly.

What Cessationism Is Not
by Nathan Busenitz

The Cripplegate on Cessation and Continuation
by Mike Riccardi

Five Dangers of Fallible Prophecy
by Nathan Busenitz


Ray Comfort has a new film which should be available early for a price on August 24th, 2018. 
A couple of the the people who have recommended it are people I'm familiar with (Andrew Rappaport & Justin Peters).
Learn more HERE.


Grace Community Church has something like a mini-conference in July with different teachers to choose from for people who go to the church.
You can now listen to the seminars they had which are online.
Sundays in July Audio

Monday, July 30, 2018

Steadfast Conference on Creation, Free Hebrew or Greek Bible, Ladies' Bible Studies, & Music for Your Day

Steadfast Conference -  Creation: The Truth of The Beginning
This conference is scheduled for October 12-13, 2018. 
If you are able to be in Bakersfield, California on those dates, there will be a speaker from Answers in Genesis and one from The Master's University as well as Dr. Steve Schwarz who is a pastor.

(This is not to be used for the purpose of selling it.  It is for personal use.)

This is a site for ladies that you may want to look at by Lisa Hughes (wife of Pastor Jack Hughes) which includes Bible Studies and devotionals. 
Scripture Paths
We visited a church where her husband was a pastor many years ago when they were in California.
Jack was one of the few pastors who actually was bold enough to speak on modesty (which is sorely needed these days). 
He was a TMS graduate.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Looking For Exceptions In The Bible

Are we reading the Bible looking for exceptions?
Are we reading the Bible looking through the lens of what the world is teaching us?

The world tells us that the earth is very very old.
Many people in churches then try to triage the Bible to fit what "scientists" tell them.
The Bible says that there was evening and morning during the days of Creation.
Some in the church want to allegorize that to fit what the world says instead of the very clear account of Scripture.
The Bible additionally gives us a lot of genealogies which leaves us with solid clues that the earth is not remotely millions of years old.

A literal 6 day Creation is what God teaches me in His Word. 
I believe Him.
People can argue about it, but it's a fact.
So, God can make the earth and trees and animals and people as mature (trees with fruit & man with intelligence to name things, etc.), yet they were newly created.
Why should that surprise us? 
 Scientists have often gotten things wrong in their ignorance (just watch the news and you'll see how they change their minds on things), and they get it even more wrong when they try to explain things without acknowledging the God who rules over the universe.


The world tells us that women should be able to do whatever a man can.
The Bible teaches us that men and women are different and have different roles and that wives are to submit to their husbands (if they have one) and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
Many people in churches then look at where the Bible talks about women not being permitted to teach or exercise authority over a man and they again try to triage the Bible to fit in with what they world has taught them and their own desire to exercise authority over men because they feel gifted.

Even those who partially accept what Scripture says about the qualification for elder often put women in authority in mixed adult Sunday School classes and find ways to get them leading the men in pastoral type roles in church.

Some believe that women can be leaders in a body that helps to choose missionaries (which does affect church planting), or they encourage women to preach outside the church walls.

God teaches in His Word that elders are to be men and that women aren't to teach or exercise authority over men by reason of the order of Creation. 
 While Aquila was with her husband and explained the way more accurately to a man along with him, she was not teaching up front and there wasn't even any hint that there was a long formal instruction time. I wish people would read the context.
Even Deborah's being a judge was more of a judgment (and that wasn't being a church type leader).
1 Corinthians 14 fits in with 1 Timothy 2 & 3 and Titus 1.
Why is it that those even in churches that claim to believe Scripture want to find a way to get around what Scripture says?
I get frustrated when people teach women the lie that 1 Timothy 2 and the like were only based on a particular situation in history while ignoring that it is based on the order of Creation.

The world teaches us to view our world through the lens of victimhood or our perceived identities.
Many people in church then try to interpret Scripture and the idea of justice through the lens of the world's views on equality.
This thinking actually can lead to a twisting of what the Gospel is, and it can separate brothers and sisters which is the opposite of unity. 
 It can also eventually lead to acceptance of immoral behaviors and sin.
It leads to demands that the Scriptures don't teach us to make on each other.
It can encourage bitterness.
If you have actually been sinned against by one person or a few people, it's easy to project that on others with similarities to the perpetrator.
We get hurt, but our first reaction which might be righteous indignation can easily turn to sin (if it's not sinful to start with).
If you are able to restore a relationship with someone who hurt you, that is good.

As Christians, we must avoid turning our hurt into vendettas and bitterness and judgment on all people including those who haven't sinned against us.
It is hard to love our enemies, but when we don't obey God we can end up sinning and treating others like enemies who are not our enemies.
It's especially sad to see Christians not focusing on unity around the truth of Scripture and instead some are even distorting the Gospel.

As far as people claiming victimhood in other cases where people don't accept immoral behavior or lust or deception, we can't accept sinful lust and coveting or lies about who people are as okay in the church.
The Bible teaches us to confess and forsake sin...not to coddle it as something that we can't help.

Christians do struggle with sin, but we shouldn't make ourselves comfortable with it.
We need to examine ourselves if we try to excuse our sin (that which Scripture calls sin) and get others to as well.
It isn't loving to tell someone that sin is okay (like lust, coveting, or deception about our identity that God gave us).

Too much of the time the church is willing to believe the world and follow it's fashions and fads and ideas of what is right and wrong and justice and injustice.
We can be like Eve listening to the Serpent asking us if God really said what He said and then when the truth is twisted being deceived by the lie.

I get distressed by my own sinfulness and rebellion toward God.
As a believer, I need to submit to the Scriptures and believe its truthfulness no matter what the world says.
Sin wants to reign, but if we are Christ's we need to call our sins out for what they are.
We can't listen to our sinful desires or the world's ideas of right or wrong.
We need to call them out for what they are...liars.
We need to draw near to God.
This is my desire, but I'm weak.

I am thankful for those who care enough to pray for me, and I would like to pray for those who ask for it as well.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Lesson From A Cereal Box

When I was about 9 or 10 years old I learned a valuable lesson.
We used to get cereal boxes that came with some interesting things for kids in them.
One time we got a cereal box that had a tattoo in it that you could apply to yourself.
Yes, a tattoo.
That seems a very strange thing to give out to kids, and the design wasn't really all that thrilling.
Being a gullible child, I decided to use it.
I think I applied it on the top of my hand like when you get a stamp on the back of your hand at an amusement park.
Then I began to worry.
Was it permanent?
You see, I was ignorant about the difference between a temporary tattoo and one that is permanent.
I think I eventually tried means to scrub it off.
What seemed like fun for a short while became a stress and likely an embarrassment.
It was on there for long enough for me to learn that real tattoos might seem fun for a time, but I didn't want something that would be permanent.
The lesson that I learned then was a starting point of awareness.
I believe that people who get tattoos are acting like gullible children or rebellious teens.
They aren't looking at the long term effects.
Tattoos put people off.  Not everybody is going to be excited about your tattoos even if you are.
When you get old and wrinkled, you aren't going to look very attractive.
Tattoos are costly to try to remove and they may affect your career if you have one.
Some jobs do not want people to have visible tattoos on their workers.  It is not professional.
If you have a tattoo put somewhere invisible, what is the purpose?
If you are married or hope to be, what does/will your spouse think to have to look at that long term?

You might point out that a lot of people color their hair interesting colors at different times in their lives.
Some women paint their nails with art or have others do it for them, and many people can wear interesting fashions (Christians should be decent though) and try new hairdos.
Those things can fairly easily be changed, and when you mature, your tastes hopefully will change and mature.

A tattoo is something that might appeal to you greatly now, but in 30 years it might not suit your new tastes and fashion interests.
It doesn't matter if the design is a cross or something else.
Does that make it so much more spiritually mature, or is that an insult or immature view to the seriousness of spiritual things?

If a man desires to be a pastor or elder, or if a woman wants to set an example for younger women and teach them what is good, what are people going to emulate with that example?

For some of us, seeing people with tattoos makes us a little fearful.
You wonder if the person was/is in a gang or is a thug or worldly or just has had an immature past.
If someone has not already had a permanent tattoo put on them, I hope they will look beyond their own desires and current fashion tastes.
I realize that tattoos are only an outward thing, but often they can reflect what is internal.
The internal cleansing from sin by Christ is what is most important, and we should love those who have outer marks and blemishes.
This is just a matter of wisdom and showing mature judgment.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 
Titus 2:3-5 NASB

Let no one despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  
1 Timothy 4:12 NASB

What do you want to be known for?
I would encourage those who don't have tattoos to think about this.
The lesson I learned from the fear of permanency of that temporary tattoo was a good thing...a lesson that came out of a cereal box.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Encouragement For Widows • Surrendering To The Text • From Death To Life Wrap-Up

Erika is a fairly young widow that I believe can be an encouragement to other young widows and mothers going through a similar trial in their lives.
Please check out her blog.  This Thorny Rose

Do we look for loopholes to what Scripture says or do we dig deep into it and surrender to what it says?
The following article explains what that means.
Do Your Hermeneutics Hold to Sola Scriptura?
 by Abner Chou

A quick wrap-up of my review of  the book From Death To Life: How Salvation Works by Allen Nelson IV.
Chapters 9 &10  in the book encourage evangelism, and the conclusion of the book also deals with baptism and being careful about pronouncing people saved.
The final parts of the book deal with problems with the Sinner's Prayer, the necessity for church discipline, etc.
One of the things that gave me pause is the church covenant section.
I'm very cautious about making promises while being supportive of spiritual growth and a desire for holiness.
Holiness can't be manufactured by the making of promises.
It is good to have doctrines you can affirm and to encourage people to grow.
On the whole, the rest of the book is pretty good, and I am thankful for the opportunity to read and review it honestly.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Introduction To A Fellow Slave of Christ

I enjoy discovering good things about some of the people I run across online.
Some people that I follow are singers, podcasters, evangelists, at least one artist, some pastors, a presup. apologist, book or blog writers, and I've even had a few who have either been so kind as to write an article for me or who have translated the Gospel for me!
God's sheep are interesting and what is best is to see God using people for His good purposes.

Darren Wiebe is someone that I was introduced to on social media due to his ability to sing (and possibly to teach as well).
Interestingly enough, he went to The Master's Seminary (and I love to watch their chapels and even some lectures online). 
I would like a pastor from TMS to come to my town.


This is probably the song that I first heard that was shared with me.

My favorite song sung by him though is the one that has very poor sound quality (in case you haven't seen it already).
It has a calming effect.

And, last, but not least, the following is the first message by him that I have heard online (given at a Sunday School class).
It actually is a convicting message.  If you have time, it's worth hearing.
Handling Life’s Challenges - Faithfulness (Part 2) September 17, 2017 | Darren Wiebe

Thursday, July 5, 2018

From Death To Life - A Book Review - Part 3

Today I'm continuing my chapter by chapter review (or summary) of Allen Nelson IV's book, From Death To Life: How Salvation Works.
I'm not giving away everything that is in the book.
This book would be good for a group of people new to a church, for professing believers not yet grounded in Biblical doctrine, or as a reminder for Christians who need to get back to foundational teaching.
Part 1
Part 2

Chapter 6 -  This was a solid chapter on justification.  Justification is by faith alone.  Christians are accepted by God in Christ and clothed in His righteousness.
"The worst that I am isn't beyond the blood of Jesus.  The best that I am isn't beyond the blood of Jesus."  - Allen Nelson IV
Chapter 7 - This chapter dealt with sanctification.   True Christians will grow.  They will desire Christ.  There will be spiritual fruit, and we should see a pattern of repentance.  Those who have no fruit should not be assured they are saved, but those who are believers will endure to the end.

Chapter 8  - This chapter talks about how God opens the eyes of the blind and they are awakened from a  bed of "counterfeit comfort".
"Little do sinners realize that their slumber is not a place of solace but a cell in which they are imprisoned." - Allen Nelson IV
Sinners do not desire Christ on their own.

This chapter also discusses that deeds are a fruit of salvation and not the root.
"When repentance is real, reformation follows: Reformation in thought, reformation in desires, and reformation in life."  - Allen Nelson IV

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Story of Isla • A Short Story

Isla had done it.  She had seen the beautiful necklace in the house that she was helping to paint, and she took it when nobody was looking.
The next day when she was asked about it, her palms sweated and her heart beat fast, but she lied and she got away with it.
She was 13 years old.

This was only the beginning.
She was a beautiful girl, but she became proficient at deceit as time went by.

A few months later she was out with friends at a park (in disobedience to her parents), and she ran across a kind stranger in the park.
When she got home, she blamed the stranger for detaining her and scaring her and hurting her.
The story of a predator in the park was broadcast on the news that night.
The man was found and prosecuted.  She lied on the stand.

At age 17, Isla ran away from home.  She stole and she hung out with other thieves.
One day the gang beat up a local pastor while stealing from a church and still she wasn't caught. 
She didn't stay pure either. She met up with many abusive men, and her face and attitude hardened.

She finally started working when she was 18 and no longer afraid of her parents being able to try to make her go home.
She actually did pretty well, and she was able to work her way up to styling the hair of well-known people...and then...

Isla saw him.  He was a politician running for governor.  She didn't like him or his politics. 
She played up to him, and then she began to make accusations online.
She had an abortion around that time, and she accused him of being the father.
His was the house that she had once stolen a necklace from, and she still had the necklace.
She then used the necklace as evidence that the candidate had been grooming her as a child.
The man was annihilated by the media. He lost the election.

One day Isla heard a street preacher as she was walking down the street. 
He made her angry. 
She spit at him and gave him a hard time. He was the pastor her gang had once beat up.
He was back the next day.   He pointed out how lying and stealing and murder were sins against God. She continued to spew out venom.

The next day she went back to hear him again. She heard a little more. 
 She heard about the Triune God.  
God the Father in love sent His sinless righteous Son fully God and fully man to be born of a virgin, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and to live a perfect life that she couldn't live.  
His Son Christ Jesus took the punishment for sinners so that they could be forgiven.  She heard that He rose from the dead on the 3rd day. 
She was told that she must repent and trust in Christ alone to save her from her sins. 
She was still angry, but she thought about it.

Then one day she was caught. The necklace and church items she had stolen were confiscated. 
She was hauled off to jail, and she awaited her trial.
The jury found her guilty. The judge was going to sentence her. 
Then suddenly the bailiff spoke to the judge quietly.

Then the judge spoke up.  The pastor has paid for the church items and the necklace you stole. The charges are dropped. He has interceded for you.  He is my son.
Tears streamed down Isla's face. 
She felt the weight of all of her sins against God, and silently she cried out to God for mercy.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Corrupt Speech, Doubts & Fear (Hymn Writer), & Shane's Testimony

The article linked below is worth reading. 
We really do need reminding about what kinds of speech are sinful.
There are so many opportunities to sin. 
Just Stop it, Part 5: How To Repent Of Corrupting Talk by Clint Archer 
(See also HOW TO REPENT.)
There are articles on anger, lying, and stealing as well.

I discovered an author of hymns (John Kent) who interested me due to the lyrics that I have read by him so far, and I would love to hear the words I've read set to newer tunes.
The following song has lyrics that I need to think about. 
Please have a look.
When Overwhelmed with Doubts and Fear
To hear the old tune go HERE.

The following is a video of someone that I follow on social media.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

From Death to Life - A Book Review - Part 2 + Bonus James Phillipps Music Video

This is my second installment of reviewing From Death to Life: How Salvation Works written by Allen Nelson IV.

I will try to continue with brief comments by chapter for now.

Chapter 3 talks about ways to proclaim the Gospel, and it gives an excellent description of what the bad news and the good news is.
I think it is a good reference to review (possibly to bookmark) what it is that Christians should actually be sharing with unbelievers.
My only discomfort with the chapter, that I recall, was trying to use Old Testament situations as Gospel examples (which I didn't quite see as what the particular OT situations were about).
However, knowing someone else who loves to use life situations to springboard to the Gospel, I find it interesting (though I would not see it as an actual exposition of the texts).  I do wholeheartedly agree with the author that the ways others sometimes misuse the texts are not helpful.

Chapter 4 discusses God's work in salvation.

Chapter 5 in the book moves from God's regenerating work into a detailed explanation of what faith and repentance are.
It also touches on baptism.
After having recently responded online to a Roman Catholic, and remembering some other discussions with people who have veered off one way or another, I thought the details in this chapter were good reminders for Christians.
We can't argue people into believing what is true, but it's good to understand what Scripture teaches for ourselves.
There are dangers of getting the Gospel wrong one way or another.  People try to add works (baptism and/or good deeds) to faith (like Catholics, the Judaizers, etc.), or people may claim to be believers yet do not have any signs of a living faith that others can see.
Then there are people who want to wrongfully take at least partial credit for what God alone does.
This chapter is corrective of those wrong views.

I love to hear James Phillipps sing (having watched him via Grace Community Church live-streaming), and I have discovered a video from 7 years ago that has a song from Psalm 23.
Please pray for James.
He's been going through difficult times.

James Phillipps - Psalm 23 from Poemas de Barro on Vimeo.

Monday, June 11, 2018

MacArthur's Life Testimony, The Bible's Trustworthiness, & Gospel Tract Tips For Doctor Appointments

I came across John MacArthur's life testimony online the other week, and though I had heard some of the things before, I found it fascinating.  You can listen to or read it for yourself.
(It is not the same as the video that Tim Challies put out recently.)

Do we have the Word of God today?
Don Green answers this question on The Truth Pulpit.

Perhaps you have already been placing tracts at different locations.
If you have some good tracts, medical offices are places where many people do get bored while waiting.
I have seen people pick up a tract, so I know that some do get viewed (though someone may toss them).
I have not used tracts from the site that the video below mentions.
I recommend carefully reading the texts of tracts on any tract site and selecting only the ones that line up best with Scripture.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

From Death To Life - A Book Review - Part 1

Allen Nelson IV is a pastor at Perryville Second Baptist in Arkansas.
He recently had a book published entitled
From Death to Life; How Salvation Works.
Though not mentioned specifically in the book, my nephew Josh was one of the people who critiqued the book before it was complete.
I have been gifted a version of the book, but the review (which I plan to do in parts since I'm generally not a fast reader) is my own.

I'm going to try to give my thoughts as I read the book.

From Death to Life is corrective of a wrong understanding that many people have of salvation.  The wrong view is a decision based view that doesn't produce a transformation.
The author uses a bit of imagination of a Biblical event in Chapter 1 (which I tend to be very nervous about), but he rightfully puts an emphasis on Scriptural authority in the rest of the chapter.

As I read chapter 2, he points out how churches attempt to get people into the church by something other than the Gospel.  I've seen some of the kinds of things he's talking about firsthand.
I love some of the colorful choice of words he uses.
"The beautiful diamond of the gospel has been wrapped in toilet paper in the ridiculous attempt to make it more enticing." - Allen Nelson IV
He further continues on in chapter 2 about people being lulled into false assurance and professions.
Yes, I've made it through 2 chapters today.

I hope to continue the book and add more parts to my review, but I may do other posts between segments.
You can find the book and see other reviews HERE.