Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Paul says: Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.

Paul had a heart for the Jewish people. In fact, Paul loved the Jewish people so much and yearned for their salvation to such an overwhelming degree that he actually said:

Romans 9:3-5 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 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, 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Paul was saying, "if it was possible - which it was not because salvation is about God's effectual call on an individual's life - to be cut off and save his kindred, he would have done it.

In Romans 10, Paul says that: Romans 10:2-3 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

They want to know God. They have a great zeal for God. Yet they have rejected the Messiah. They have rejected the clear teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures leading up to and pointing to the Messiah Yeshua coming and dying for the sins of the world.

There are a lot of Jewish people that need to hear about Jesus, the Messiah. In fact, every believer (both Jewish and Gentile) need to heed the missions statement of Jews for Jesus: We exist to make the "messiahship" of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide."

Oh how we need believers sold out to the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as those committed to taking the gospel to the nation that God chose to make a covenant with that will never fail (Gen 12, 15, 17).

To God be the glory.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Read this short - 3 page - article from my hero, Steve Lawson.

The Article is HERE.

He hits the nail right on the head as far as preaching the Word of God is concerned in today's day and age. I find great encouragement and comfort knowing that there are godly men out there who are still preaching the biblical, authentic, real, and hard gospel such as this man.

Oh how we need men to rise up and hear the calling in the Scriptures to:
1 Timothy 4:13 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.

1 Timothy 4:15-16 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

This is my passion. This is where I am heading in life. May God see fit to use me in such awesome and powerful ways as he has used this man for the furtherance of His Kingdom.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I am a Disciple.

The die has been cast, I have stepped over the line; The decision has been made, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I will not look up, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity;
I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded.

I now live by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gate is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, I will not hesitate in presence of adversity, I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, I will not ponder at the pool of popularity, nor meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I will not give up, back up, let up or shut up until I have prayed up, preached up, stored up and stayed up because of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, I must go until he returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until he comes. And when he comes to get his own, he will have no trouble recognizing me, my colors are flying high and they are clear for all to see.

Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? It will cost you everything.

Author Anonymous

Saturday, February 24, 2007

1 Timothy 4:7-8 discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Notice, though, that it does NOT say that "bodily discipline is of NO profit." No, it is of little profit. So beware of attempting to look like this buff guy.

Yet on the other hand, you don't want to be too puny like this little guy.

Point of the post: Don't be obsessive about physical, bodily training. Yet, please keep in mind, there is some profit to it :=)

Remember, if you ever see a fitness center with an escalator leading up to it, that should be a sure indication to not get a membership there :=)
I have been reading recently on German liberalism and how that is rooted in the Enlightenment period. The Enlightenment period could be summed up in the phrase "human reason." Theologically, the Enlightenment period placed such an enormous amount of weight on human reason that everything else was subjected to reason.

Thus, if there is something that happens in life that does not fit into my rationalistic understanding, then it must not be accurate. Take this back to 2,000 years ago and the record of Jesus' ministry that we have. If it is not rational for a grown man to walk on water, and the Bible says that this happened, then it surely must NOT be true. Furthermore, if it does not make sense that one man could feed a multitude of 5,000 men (excluding women and children) with just a few loaves of bread and a few small fish, then this surely could not have taken place.

Thus what these Deists and Enlightenment period are advocating (which is still pervasive in our current day and age, just in a different dress) is that "my reason is superior to anything that God could ever reveal in the Scriptures."

Not only is this self-idolatry - the placing of oneself above everything else, but it is also clear and blatant sin for rejecting the clear and unmistakably loud revelation that God has revealed himself to all creatures.

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

And one more...

Romans 1:18-20 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

May God be so glorified as to wake our current evangelical culture up to the absolute pure and perfect revelation in the Scriptures. It reveals absolutely everything that God intended to be revealed.

One more Scripture:

1 Corinthians 1:18-23 18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The title of the article is Jesus’ burial site found.
New film documents discovery of Jerusalem cave containing ten caskets believed to hold remains of Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene and others.

It begins by saying...

The cave in which Jesus Christ was buried has been found in Jerusalem, claim the makers of a new documentary film.

If it proves true, the discovery, which will be revealed at a press conference in New York Monday, could shake up the Christian world as one of the most significant archeological finds in history.
The coffins which, according to the filmmakers held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene will be displayed for the first timeon Monday in New York.

And more...

Jointly produced by Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and Oscar winning director James Cameron, the film tells the exciting and tortuous story of the archeological discovery.

The story starts in 1980 in Jerusalem’s Talpiyot neighborhood, with the discovery of a 2,000 year old cave containing ten coffins. Six of the ten coffins were carved with inscriptions reading the names: Jesua son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Matthew, Jofa (Joseph, identified as Jesus’ brother), Judah son of Jesua (Jesus’ son - the filmmakers claim).


The findings in the cave, including the decipherment of the inscriptions, were first revealed about ten years ago by internationally renowned Israeli archeologist Professor Amos Kloner.
Since their discovery, the caskets were kept in the Israeli Antiquities Authority archive in Beit Shemesh, but now two have been sent to New York for their first public exhibition.
Although the cave was discovered nearly 30 years ago and the casket inscriptions decoded ten years ago, the filmmakers are the first to establish that the cave was in fact the burial site of Jesus and his family.

So, apparently, I am deceived. If Jesus was actually buried in a cave with 9 other coffins I must have missed that part in the Gospel accounts. Furthermore, the Scriptures are bold in claiming that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Therefore, there are no remains of Jesus to be found. Why?

Simple. Jesus is alive! He is sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He is not dead - his bones and remains are not in some tomb with nine other coffins somewhere in Jerusalem.

I find it interesting that, in the article, there is no mention of the location of the "supposed" tomb as to where they found these coffins.

Pardon me for making this claim, but it seems most probable and persuasive to me that Jesus was crucified and buried where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher stands today. It was a new tomb that was carved out according to Luke (23:53) and Matthew (27:60).

I don't think I will hurry to the airport to fly to NYC to see the remains of Jesus. The only thing that I will be doing is eagerly watching for the imminent return of our Lord and Savior who may return today to gather those who are His to himself. Marana tha.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

You wonder if the words church and polygamy could even be in the same sentence. Well, they can. Unfortunately, the church of Latter Day Saints calls themselves a "church."

Listen to this recent article entitled: 'Lost Boy' Sues Utah Polygamist Leader.'

The article says:

Saying he was kicked out of his home and his fundamentalist church, an 18-year-old man sued Tuesday to force polygamist leader Warren Jeffs to help him reconnect with his fami

And more...

Attorneys for Johnny Jessop, 18, asked a state judge to order Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to tell Jessop how to find his 62-year-old mother, Elsie. Jessop has not spoken to his mother in more than 18 months, attorney Roger Hoole said.

Jessop is among what may be dozens of so-called "Lost Boys" who say they were kicked out of the FLDS church in the past four years by Jeffs for being disobedient or because they were seen as competition to older men seeking young brides.

The FLDS practices polygamy and arranged marriages. The faith has an estimated 10,000 members, mostly in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. Jessop grew up in Hildale, Hoole said.

Furthermore, it notes...

FLDS members consider themselves "fundamentalist Mormons," although the mainstream church disavows any connection. They also consider Jeffs a prophet of God with dominion over their salvation.

It must be noted that any kind of "cult" that holds a sinful human being as a prophet of God with the absolute dominion over their salvation is surely no true and authentic church - as the Bible would define it.

Colossians 1:17-18 17 And He [Jesus] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

Jesus is the only One who has dominion over our souls. He is the only one who can offer salvation through His electing Sovereignty. God is the ONLY one who draws us to salvation, not some sinful prophet of God who has many wives.

How unfortunate it is that what the culture hears today about the Church of Latter Day Saints is associated with the "CHURCH." The Mormons are no church. They reject the clear statement and may it be ever heard:

John 14:6 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

The goal of true Christian ministry:

1 Timothy 1:5 5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Paul lays forth here what the goal of ministry is, namely love. This is not some superficial, feel good, narcissistic, psycho-therapeutic, self-authenticating love. Rather, this is the biblical idea of agape.

The goal of our instruction in ministry - and especially for pastors and shepherds - is genuine, honest, heart-felt, Christlike love.

Agape love is a selfless, unilateral, unconditional, serving and sacrificial kind of love. Perhaps the key word of agape love is sacrificial. That is the goal (telos) of our instruction. How often do we "do" ministry in a way or in a manner or with an attitude that is not loving, not selfless, not looking out for the welfare and needs of others? Paul is telling young Timothy that he is to "instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith" (1 Tim 1:3-4). Then he immediately says, "O but Timothy, don't forget that you must do all this with an attitude of selfless, humble, sacrificial and unconditional love.

Could this be characterized of how WE do ministry? Do WE serve the Lord with this kind of love? Is this kind of sacrificial spirit in our hearts as we labor intensively for the Lord?

May be we those who are absolutely committed to loving God and loving others and doing ministry in a manner that fleshes out what it means to possess the agape love of God.

Mark 6:34 34 And when He went ashore, He [Jesus] saw a great multitude, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007



I. We start with a hermeneutic as our presupposition and NOT a theology
this is of utmost importance.
Our hermeneutic leads to our theology. We do NOT presuppose theology for OT interpretation
We don’t adhere to principle of NT interpreting OT and thus we can interpret the OT
We DO fully and unequivocally adhere to progressive revelation – that the NT was NOT given to undo or reinterpret everything of the OT.
II. Exegetical integrity – how do we handle Revelation 20
We must start with hermeneutic and NOT presupposed theology
The Bible’s use of #’s in Revelation 20 – 1,000 means 1,000.
4 rules for interpreting #’s in Bible
1. #’s should be conveyed at literal mathematical quantity unless it is absolutely clear from the context.
2. #’s referring to time must be literal
3. Never in Bible is a year used with a numerical adjective anything OTHER than literal
4. Never used with a symbolic sense.
Therefore we must conclude that the literal interpretation of 1,000 year reign of Christ physically on earth is accurate.
III. Identities of Israel and the Church are completely distinct
There is no hint of replacement theology/supercessionism in the Scriptures.
In Acts, Israel is used 20x and the church is used 19x – the church refers to believers after Pentecost every single time and Israel refers to ethnic Israel every time and they are not synonymous at all.
The church is never called “spiritual Israel” or “the new Israel” anywhere in the NT
OT Israel is never called “church” in the OT
Ekklhsia (Church) used 18x in Revelation 1-3 yet in Rev 6-19 only israhl (Israel) occurs.
IV. Preservation of Israel as a Race and a Nation IS significant in History
**Jer 31:35-37 – Abrahamic Covenant spoken of here.
There is a fixed order and it has not (nor will it) cease – thus, God will embrace Israel and NEVER reject them.
I venture to say that anyone who says that God does not have a plan for national, ethnic Israel is calling God a “liar.”
for God keeps his word – cf. Gen 12, 15, 17
**Jer 33:19-26 – Davidic covenant is spoken of here
The integrity of God will fulfill it.
It will happen
National Israel will be restored.
This is the absolute clincher. There is absolutely NO way around these texts.
God still has a plan for national, ethnic Israel (cf. Rom 11:25-27).
V. Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants are UNCONDITIONAL
Both are unilateral and inaugurated and fulfilled by God Himself.
The Mosaic/Israelite covenant is bilateral and conditional (if…then…) but NOT Abrahamic, Davidic, New, etc.
There is only one conditional covenant – the Mosaic covenant.
All are valid and authoritative – even today (except for Mosaic covenant)
They are being fulfilled or will be fulfilled in the future – definitely.
VI. All other eschatological systems propose the following: Christ REIGNS and then HE COMES.
This is errant. Rather, He should come and then he should reign. If this is the case (which is what Rev 19-20 clearly teaches), then it only leads one to futuristic premillennialism.
Every other eschatological system is backwards.
VII. The Promise of Physical Earthly Kingdom with Land and Prominence of Israel is present in the Scriptures
It is NOT spiritually fulfilled in the church.
The question is this: Does God really mean what he says?
If so, then the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are STILL valid – awaiting future and eschatological fulfillment.

I cannot take credit for originating this material. It came from the dean of the Master's Seminary, Dr. Richard Mayhue. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment! Blessings.

We read in Ephesians 5:

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;

Then the Psalmist in his magnificent song of praise to Yahweh says:

Psalm 103:8-13 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always strive with us; Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Elizabeth and I recently ordered our wedding rings from Jerusalem. After many emails of correspondence, we found the ring, the engraving on the inside and what the outside will look like. Then they made the ring, packaged it and sent it off.

I received it a few days ago. Needless to say, the sizes were both wrong, and they forgot the inside engraving on both rings. Oh did I mention, we ordered the rings through a Jewish jeweler in the new city of Jerusalem.

So, as I was bummed, I emailed them and told them that both rings were wrong and explained clearly - yet very kindly - what the problems were and that we need two new rings A.S.A.P. After that, I received a response email from them which said (and I quote):

"You have been very kind and patient with our errors. This is very unusual for humans. Thank you for choosing to write respectful emails. We very much appreciate your tone and attitude."

They are not used to people responding this way - especially when their wedding is a few months away. But there were no problems. I just kindly told them there were mistakes and we need new rings issued. People are sinful. People respond with anger. How else would someone respond to this? With anger? Animosity? Stress?

So I replied to this email with an email expressing how I have been forgiven of my sins by the LORD and how hypocritical it would be for me to not forgive others. I told them that mistakes do happen. It's no problem.

Yet the thing that absolutely shocked me was their response to my response. It is a witness. The Lord Jesus Christ has changed my life. That is just one proof that I am a "new creation."

The point: You witness every moment of the day. Listen to that. There is NOT a moment when you are not witnessing. You are either witnessing for Christ or for the devil. There is NO in-betweens. Even in email correspondence, how are you speaking? In Love? In Hate?

May the Lord give us all greater grace to be greater ambassadors of this great gospel so that there may be a greater number who are saved by the blood of our Messiah Jesus!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Really? Is that what we are supposed to do?

Look at this article in the Washington Post entitled, "To Me, With Love
Retailers Embrace Valentine's Day as an Excuse for Singles to Celebrate Themselves."

Listen to some quotes from the article:

Stores have long encouraged couples to show their devotion on Valentine's Day by dropping bucks on chocolates, roses and a bottle of wine of impressive provenance. But now some retailers are targeting singles -- and finding that many are willing to spend just as much as twosomes in indulging themselves this holiday ... "Valentine's Day always comes with a certain amount of expectation and angst," said Jennifer Olsen, senior director of marketing for Piperlime, an online shoe store owned by Gap. "We just wanted to turn that on its head and say: 'You know what? It's Valentine's Day. Give some love to yourself.' "

It continues by reading:

For many women, that love can be expressed in the form of $350 white Mary Jane wedges by Cynthia Vincent, found under the "Be your own Valentine" category at Piperlime. The promotion began in mid-January, and the company followed up last week with an e-mail to customers with the image of a gift tag that read "To me, from me, xoxo." Sales have been strong, Olsen said ... Still, "it makes total sense," he said. "People certainly do reward themselves during the holidays."

And more...

"People have been saying: 'I love myself. I love myself as well as anybody and if not a little bit more.' " Mervis said. "Hey, go girl!"

It is amazing to me - but not really shocking - that there is actually a target market during the season of Valentine's day to those who are Single. The market attracts and appeals to them to buy gifts to themselves. Why? Because self love is good. It is necessary. It is fun. It is worth it. It is needed.

But is it really?

Listen to what Jesus said,

Mark 8:34 34 And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

This is a radical statement. In essence, Jesus is saying, you must DO NOTHING BUT DIE TO SELF - That is, self-suicide - so to speak - before you can ever follow me. If there is ever a thinking lowly of oneself, this is it. Jesus then clearly states it, "let him deny himself and take up his cross (i.e. signifying a violent, gruesome and bloody death by crucifixion). So that's what Jesus requires.

But he goes on...

Mark 8:35-37 5 "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it. 36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 "For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Now we're getting back to the article. Now we are back in "shopping" language. What will a man exchange? See, our culture says, "Love yourself." In fact, the article says, "'I love myself. I love myself as well as anybody and if not a little bit more.' So if that's the case, then we ought to just love ourselves so much. This is assumed. We all do this:

Ephesians 5:28-30 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body.

This is the point, everyone is in love with himself. The point: we must humble ourselves, think lowly of ourselves, consider others better and above ourselves and here in Ephesians 5, Paul exhorts husbands to love his wife just as he loves himself. It is assumed that you love yourself - that you take care of your needs, your wants, your desires, your comforts, etc - and in the same way Do it to your wives as well!

So next Valentine's Day when you may confronted face to face with some market scheme trying to get you to "love yourself more by buying a gift for yourself," just tell them that the way to glory is humility. On the other hand, the way to ultimate destruction, is to glorify oneself now.

Chew on that.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Listen to what Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus:

Ephesians 4:30 - 5:1 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;

Today I was convicted over some words that I had said. It is amazing how the Lord can immediately convict one and draw His child to almost immediate conviction. The Lord burdened me with this sin throughout the day.

Listen to v. 31 again, it spoke volumes to my heart.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Not only are we commanded (in the Aorist which signifies URGENCY! but it also is the imperative which could be translated, "Let these things urgently be taken up/away from you") to put these wicked traits away from us, but he spells them out - clearly. There is no mistaking what Paul notes.

All bitterness, which is the root of wrath and anger must be done away with. The Lord taught me today. But then I kept reading:

32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Paul says that I must be KIND to one another. Why? Because God forgave me. It reminds me of the parable that Jesus told a few months before he would be crucified (I will post the whole text, it is worthy of a SLOW and thoughtful read):

Matthew 18:21-35 21 Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 "And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 "The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.' 27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. 28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' 29 "So his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' 30 "He was unwilling however, but went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. 33 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?' 34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 "So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

Do you hear that last verse? Read it again?

35 "So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

That terrifies the daylights out of me. If I don't forgive, love and treat others with kindness, then what on earth could ever make me think that I am a child of God? Thank God there is forgiveness. Thank God there is grace that covers all my sin.

Instead of being angry, we must: Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;

Like the old Hymn says written almost a century ago:

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,

Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.

What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Thank God for Grace. If it were not for grace, I would have been among the first to have been cast into the pit of hell for all of eternity. Yet God saved me and washed me and is still washing me - simply, by grace.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I believe that this book is wrong. Here is why:

How does one who holds to the view that the church is the new Israel (or what some have called, replacement theology) reconcile the verse in Romans 11:26 when Paul says:

Romans 11:26 26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob."

If, as some propose, that the church = the nation of Israel in the OT and NT, then how do they reconcile this verse. How could all the church be saved? This is a ludicrous statement. All the church is already saved.

I have read through Romans myself and I find that there are no occurrences of the term "Israel" that means anything other than literal, national, ethnic Israel.

Reread the context:

Romans 11:24-26 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob."

Furthermore, we are clearly talking about the Gentiles (and the "church age") in v.25, "until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in." Then, the tribulation will begin and God will deal again with national, ethnic Israel. The church will have been raptured before the inauguration of the Tribulation.

One more proof that Rom 11:26 is speaking of ethnic Israel is the last half of the verse:

"The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob."

This deliverer will come from Jerusalem and he will remove ungodliness from Jacob - clearly a term referring to the Jewish people.

My point - when Paul speaks of the church - interpret such verses as referring to the church. When Paul is speaking about Israel - let Israel be national, ethnic Israel. There is no replacement theology. Israel, as a nation, still exists. God is faithful!

Friday, February 9, 2007

This morning, after my devotions, I wanted to sit back and read more of the Scriptures. So I opened up to the book of 1 Timothy. It is my ambition, as of late, to study the Pastorals (1, 2 Timothy and Titus) and really - I mean really - understand what the Apostle Paul is saying in these books. So, I sat back, opened up my NAS Bible and read through 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus.

It only took me about 30 minutes. That's it. As I read the entirety of these books, I noticed things, emphases, words, significant concepts that I have completely missed before in my studies of these books.

My point? Oftentimes it can be beneficial for us to read Scripture in bulk. Not to have the credential to say that "I read a lot of Scripture today." But on the other hand, to understand how a particular text (or pericope) fits into the larger context of the book as a whole. For me, reading these three books was truly a blessing.

The many many times that Paul encourages both young Timothy and Titus to preach and to teach and to exhort and to study is staggering. It is convicting. It is challenging. It is heart-wrenching. I want to "take pains with these things" (1 Tim 4:15).

I encourage you to not only read the Word of God, but to study it, to know it, to love it, to immerse yourself in it, and to read it in bulk. Understand that this is how the letters were meant to be read and understood. They are not a mere collection of 3 or 4 or 6 random chapters compiled together. They are complete units of thought from the Apostle Paul to both Titus and Timothy. So read it that way! Have that understanding.

Find joy in reading the Word of God! Don't let it be an academic exercise. Read it to let the word of Christ dwell richly in you.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

I can't take credit for this blog. I copied this post from a good friend of mine, Gunner's blog. It really disturbed and sobered me. I pray that it disturbs and sobers you too. He said:

The other day I heard that a friend’s relative was dying and would likely die soon. Later that morning I heard the news that he had died. He did not believe in Jesus.

As hard as it is to know that someone is suffering physical misery in this life and as much as we may end up desiring that the Lord allow them to die so that they can be relieved of it in the here and now, there is no comparison between the temporal pain experienced here on earth and the eternal horrors of those who are rightfully punished for rejecting the God who made them. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Not only are the tortures of hell horrific, but the future of its inhabitants is hopeless. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, no bright sunrise following the night, no happy tomorrows that can erase today’s agonies. Hell has no pleasant surprises. It is predictable, guaranteed, and inescapable. Hell is a hopeless place.

Hope gives us strength. It enables us to persevere in the face of massive and mounting odds. It gives us a sense of purpose when life seems aimless, a sense of joy when we’re called to labor, and a sense of resignation in our sufferings. Even in the darkest, blackest night, the candle of Christian hope cannot be fully extinguished. It will flicker and grow dim, but it will never go out. But there is none of this in hell.

The ten thousand tomorrows of hell will be as miserable as its ten thousand yesterdays. Take a Hubble telescope and look as far into hell’s future as you can see. You will not find a ray of hope.
Look at hell. Think about it. Close your eyes and imagine it. Smell it. It will expose the emptiness of your gratitude, the thrill of free redemption, and the urgency of making disciples. I am never more sobered than when I consider hell, and never more awakened than when someone goes there. It’s hard to think about for long, but it just might be that the less you think about it, the more people will end up there.

Your neighbor is going there. Your brother is going there. Your father is going there. Your co-workers and your friends and your relatives are going there. Most of us have at least dozens and at most thousands of people in our lives that will be separated from God forever, dying but never dying in what the Bible calls a lake of fire. They will be hopeless.

This is not the only reason to share Christ, but it is the starkest and the most bleak. There are many things in life that don’t matter, and a few things that do. This is one that matters.

Say something.
This is good. This is the second half of the super bowl. The score is the Calvinists - 14, and the Arminians - O.
Listen to this segment of the second half of this exciting and thrilling game. :=)
Let me know what you think.
Watch it HERE

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Look out! You make your own choices. God gives you the freewill to choose "yes" or "no." And, of course, God doesn't know what you will choose.


Listen to this song and to the bad lyrics. This is why we must pay attention to lyrics in songs that we sing.

Listen HERE.

The pastor's conference is now going on at Bethlehem Baptist Church. RC Sproul preached a sermon on the "Holiness of God" from Isaiah 6.

It is an exceptional sermon. I invite you to click here and listen to an excellent treatment of the Holiness of God.

Listen HERE.

Monday, February 5, 2007

If you want a good laugh, then click HERE to listen to a great (and hilarious) "football....game"?!?!?

It seems as though MacArthur was really doing well, I vote him as game MVP :=)

In the days of Luther and Calvin, people knew their Bibles. Even if they didn't believe the Bible, they still knew it and knew what was in it. Unfortunately, that could not be farther from the reality of what is found today in the average church pew. Frankly, people don't know their Bible.

We have people who sit in our pews who don't know where the Book of Ephesians may be - and these people grew up in the church. We have people that don't know where the book of Psalms is - and they have been to church all their lives. What does this show?

Our culture is completely biblically illiterate. So what is the difference between the preaching of modern heralders of the Word and Luther and Calvin? Simply that they operated in a world of extreme biblical knowledge. You and I operate in biblical illiteracy. It was a different world then.

Understand this, at that time - during the Reformation and Enlightenment era, these people heard 17,000 hours of preaching in their lifetime. They heard three sermons and one lecture per week. That, simply, is not the case today.

If we are fortunate, people hear just one sermon per week. Much less, 3 sermons and then 1 lecture on top of that.

So what does that mean for us preachers? Always explain your terms. Preach the Gospel. Preach the Glory of Christ. Expect little or nothing from our hearers. We must preach the deep truths of the Word of God, yet at the same time, we must preach in a way that defines our terms, explains our thoughts, and "puts the cookies on the lower shelf." In other words, don't open up your Bibles to Deuteronomy chapter 8 and immediately think that everyone in the congregation knows the exact setting, context, characters, author, date, etc. of that portion of Scripture.

"Preach as though the most learned scholar still has to grapple with the biblical text, yet at the same time, preach as though a young third grader may still understand the simplicity and the glory of the Gospel."
Those beaches work hard at cleaning themsleves...

Is it always "adjective" forbidden? or "absolutely" forbidden? :=)

Though I know Jewish people love their children, I don't know if golden is always a synonym for "children" :=)

Thursday, February 1, 2007

This is brief, but gives a concise background of the life, conversion and ministry of this hero of the faith.

John Bunyan was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. He also, of course, wrote The Pilgrim’s progress. Bunyan was born in 1628 – in Elstow, England (a few miles from Bedford) . His father was a tinker (that is, an itinerant mender of pots and pans and repairer and manufacturer). It eventually became Bunyan’s occupation.

What you may not know is that Bunyan had no more than a grammar school education. Then he joined army after mother died. He left home at 16 ½ to be part of the army (for 2 years). He then got married – both were unsaved and both were completely physically pure - by the grace of God - in his own words.

When they were married, they were so poor that her only diary was 2 books from her father. God’s Word's spoken through the Apostle Paul which say: “my grace is sufficient for Thee” was his verse (2 Cor 12:9).

Once Bunyan got saved at a local church, he then set about to be the most upright and godly man in the town – because of reading the books with his wife that her father gave to them as her dowry when they got married.

Thus, after receiving Christ in church he grew and set about to preach, though he had no formal training to preach.

The library of John Bunyan consisted of a massive two volumes– Fox’s Book of Martyrs and the Bible (2 books) . He read them with great difficulty because of his poor education. Yet still, He learned them and became part of fuel for his soul.

He had meetings in farmhouses, village schools and wherever people would gather to listen to him preach, he would gladly preach as long as they would listen. He sure had a message to preach now.

However, in 17th c. England, there was political difficulty – the church of England attempted to control an dominate all religious service. He was preaching and political officials came to arrest him- but Bunyan did not run or flee. He did not want to preach that "persecutions must come upon believers" and then flee when "persecution came upon him." So when the magistrates came, Bunyan asked for time to finish preaching – and then magistrate agreed and listened.
Bunyan's sermon was on the topic: "Dost thou tremble to fear God" – and the magistrate trembled during Bunyan's very sermon – and became the illustration to Bunyan’s dark-hearted people. He said to his people, "Why don't you tremble like this very magistrate who came to persecute me but now he is being saved because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit."

Upon being arrested, Bunyan spent 6 years in prison for the gospel’s sake – he could be released if he would agree to sign a paper promising that he would stop preaching except under official approval of the church of England (the paper was laid outside his cell every day for 6 years)

Bunyan even preached in prison – he was not silent – he won many to Christ in prison. After released, he was re-arrested for 6 more years. Thus, 12 years of his 60 in life were spent in prison for the Gospel. Once again, he was released again.

Then, for a third time, he was re-arrested for 6 months – these final months in prison became the occasion for the allegorical story of the Pilgrim’s Progress.

The point: God uses willing and humble people as instruments for his work. May we be such instruments willing to be used for God and for His glory just like John Bunyan was. To God be the glory!
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