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Showing posts from July, 2006

Love Your Enemies

Do we love our enemy after he harms us, before he harms us, or when he is harming us? Those are our only three choices. All of them are correct answers. That which is common is that we love our enemy. “It ain’t natural!” True, but it is spiritual. “I cannot do it!” True again, but God can. “I haven’t gotten to loving my neighbor yet.” “I haven’t gotten to loving my brother, how do you expect me to love my enemies?” Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if

Right and Wrong--How to Know the Difference

I would like to start by looking at two sentences in the Bible that are not very well known. They were written about 1,500 years apart. If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible. (Leviticus 5:17) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (1 Corinthians 4:4) Not knowing about a sin does not keep a person from being guilty, and having a clean conscience does not make the person innocent. There is a reason for this. My knowledge and my conscience does not necessarily reflect the absolute value system of God. To bring my conscience and absolute “right and wrong” together, there are a few basic truths to follow: 1. I must be a Christian. At the time of my conversion my conscience is made clean and senistive to God's moral law. 2. I must know the Scriptures well. The scriptures give absolute (Exodus 20) and relative (Romans 1


“Big words” normally mean lots of letters and a surplus of syllables. I will use “big” in its frequency of use and its influence on society. I will use wide in its breadth of definition, that is not precise English. There are many wonderful words in the languages of the world. Some of these words have precise definitions like the word “kind.” Because of this preciseness, the word is not a “wide” word. There are other words that are “big,” “wide” and are NOT wonderful. “Sin” is one of those words. However, there is a word whose definition is “big,” “wide,” and it I is still wonderful. The word is GRACE. Before we start to tell you about this word, let us look at the definitions of the word “definition.” The dictionary defines “definition” as: Definition #1: A statement of the meaning of a word or word group or a sign or symbol. Definition #2: The meaning of a word from the context of a paragraph or a story or a lecture. There are many such examples from the books of L.M.

Forgiveness and Consequences

“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan replied, ‘The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.” (II Samuel 12:13-14 NIV) The complete story is in II Samuel chapters 11 and 12. David’s sins were awful. He violated the clear commands of God “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not commit adultery.” David, in order to hide his adultery, had Uriah called home from the front in order to attribute Bathsheba’s pregnancy to him. David was concocting a lie that did not work. David sent him to his home and sent him a gift. Uriah did not go home. The next day David gave a dinner for Uriah and made Uriah drunk. He did not go home. So David had him killed and then took his wife. David did not confess. He was still hiding his sins (or thought he was.) He was then confronted by Nathan the

Confessing & Preaching Jesus Christ

The two greatest positive uses of the tongue are recorded in the tenth chapter of Romans. The first is confessing Jesus Christ and calling upon him. It is our part in our salvation. “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth an din your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth , “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10 Our salvation has to do with our heart and mouth. The latter expresses the former. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The second positive use of the tongue is preaching Jesus Christ. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?” “And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?” “And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

And God said...

“And God said…” Six wonderful days in the history of the world started out with “And God said…” In this case saying was creating. We see this also in Psalm 33:6, 9: By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth…For he spoke , and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. This is too wonderful! It is poetry sublime. Does God have a mouth as we have mouths? Does He have breath as we have breath? When He spoke there was nothing with ears to hear. Yet light came into being when He spoke. Billions upon billions of stars were formed by the “breath of his mouth.” When the Lord Jesus “ rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm” (Luke 8:24). The wind and the waves did not have ears, yet they heard and obeyed. Then Jesus came to them and said , “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me . Therefore go…” (Matthew 28:18, 19) If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. (Mark 4:23)

Inside the North Room

The following is an excerpt from The Hammer. I “wrote” this last night; I’m putting it on paper now. I wasn’t sleeping; at least, I don’t think I was. I had been asleep and wasn’t awake enough to open my eyes or to wonder what time it was. I’m sure it wasn’t a dream because there were no pictures, still or moving. Dreams, however real at the time, give themselves away as dreams because of the erratic aberrations from reality that does not stand up in the daylight. There were none of those. I was thinking in words of a place. The thinking did not seem to have a starting place as if I had been awake for a while and then decided to think. The place is a room, the North Room, in a farmhouse in Nebraska. It has always been a place of awe for me, and I do not think I am easily awed. There are places that have been constructed to cause awe or worship or the sense of the numinous. St. Paul’s Cathedral causes awe in me for God in an indirect way. I am first awed at the brilliance of Christop

HEART 'e-VALUE-ations'

By Bessie Wilson “The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Luke 16:14, 15 God knows our hearts! This can be either a comforting or a terrifying thought. Jesus first analyzed the Pharisees’ attitude (“You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men”) before He told them that God knew their hearts. Then he clarified it even more by saying that this attitude before men was a very poor standard because what men put a high value on was detestable in God’s sight. What is highly valued among men? Perhaps by itemizing some of the things men value we will see that we have, in some cases, allowed the world to press us into its mold. However, we can, by His grace, stop this and instead be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s wil

Of Leadership

God, in his goodness and grace, called me to be an evangelist, pastor and teacher. These different responsibilities have been mine for over forty years both in and outside of churches. During these years I have been aware of unpleasantness in some churches. Here are a few general examples: • the pastor has been an autocrat; • the pastor has been called to a “pastor-eating church;” • the church is “owned” by one or two families who “hire” and “fire” pastors—who “chew them up and spit them out;” • the church finds it easy to “choose up sides” within the church. People tolerate, condone and allow all sorts of irregularities in a church until they are in excess. Then the Christians get angry and endeavor to correct the situation with bitterness, anger and clamor.1 The correction is not done in a Christian way. Correction must be done gently, spiritually and with all planks removed. "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are

"This Administration"

Department (n): a major administrative division as in “Police Department.” The Police Department has no authority. “By order of the Police Department” makes no sense. The department is made up of all the police officers, clerks, and janitors. It should be “By Order of the Chief of Police” or “Police Commissioner” or “City Council.” We have a bigger problem with the word “this administration.” “This administration” is something that is made up of a lot of people in the executive branch of the Federal Government. This, in turn is made of a lot of departments, as in the State Department and Department of Defense, which are made up of lots of people. An ambassador to a foreign country does not speak for himself or for all of the people in the State Department. He speaks for the Secretary of State who speaks for the President of the United States who speaks for the United States. As far as the world is concerned, the President of the United States is the United States. When you hear an

Body Counts

When we lost our objective in the Viet Nam War, if we ever had one, we resorted to tabulating how many Viet Cong or North Vietnamese were killed daily. Sometimes that might win a war, but normally it does not have an effect. In this current war, we are again reduced to counting bodies. This time we are counting our own fatalities. I think it is about 2500 over the three years we have been in Iraq or about 1000 a year in a very dangerous country in dangerous occupations. During this same period of time, in innocent occupations in the United States we have lost 60,000 people to murders and another 51,000 to drunk driving. In addition to this, there have been over 30,000 suicides a year; that is 90,000 in three years. According to the Center of Disease Control, the average abortions per year are over 850,000 a year; that is 2,550,000 deaths in three years. Any single murder anywhere in the world should be prosecuted. However, if not, there will still be judgment at the great day. “Bl

The Gift of Speech

The phrase, “And God said…” is found nine times in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. Six wonderful days in the history of the world began with, “And God said…” In this case, saying was creating. We see this also in Psalm 33:6, 9. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth…For he spoke and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” When God spoke there was nothing with ears to hear. Yet light came into being when He spoke. Billions upon billions of stars were formed by the “breath of his mouth.” Since human beings are created in God’s image, we have the gift of speech because God speaks. God’s Word, the Bible, has much to say about speech of all kinds and the use and misuse of the tongue. The two greatest positive uses of the tongue are recorded in the tenth chapter of Romans. The first is confessing Jesus Christ and calling upon Him. It is our part in our salvation. “…If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lo

The Theologies of the Broad Way

These are the lies that are made to look like goodness. “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4 “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as

The Broad Road

The beginning of this happened in a dream over a year ago. I hesitated to write it because it may have seemed to emphasize the breadth and depth of evil. However, I know that where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. In my dream I saw a broad way. I do not know that it was a one-way street; it just seemed like it. The traffic was heavy and all of it going in the same direction. There seemed to be many other streets, none of them cross streets, all of them broad, crowded and going in the same direction. They were not all parallel; some of them merged to make wider highways of crowded vehicles and pedestrians. As my eyes scanned the landscape to the horizon I saw more and more broad ways. Some of them were high speed highways; some were very low speed; like parking lots of crawling life. Some of these ways seemed only for pedestrians, some for bicycles, or motor scooters, motorcycles; some, for all of them together. It had a sense of moving people all headed for destruction. The peop


Right and Wrong Down and Up Left and Right Back and Forth Truth and Falsehood Tall and Short North and South East and West Some of these are absolute. Some are apparent absolutes. Some things may seem opposite but are only different. Some are relative, not absolute. I do not wish to debate any of these, but the first one; Right and Wrong. In mathematics there are right answers and wrong answers. In the Navy there is the wrong way and the Navy way. In Christian doctrine there is right doctrine and wrong doctrine. In morality, there is right morality, immorality, and amorality. There is no wrong morality. That would be saying that there is an immoral morality. Morality is absolute. However, there is something more right than being right, morally. The Lord Jesus on earth and pre-earth, in eternity, was absolutely moral. How could he be more right than absolutely right? The answer is in Philippians 2:5-8. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very natu

A Little Background Information

My father had a massive heart attack when he was 43. I was 15 and was with him. He had another in 1956. I was on an aircraft carrier in the East China Sea. Bessie and I had been married four years. She was in Yokohama with the boys. Doug was almost three, Evan was 1 1/2, and we were expecting Heather. I flew home to Nebraska. I think his next heart attack was in ’63. All six of us boys made it home to see him. He died in his sleep from a stroke at the age of 67 in 1967. We, this family, arrived in Nebraska 1 ½ days before he died. The last thing he said to Mom before he went to sleep that night was, “Doesn’t Jim have great kids?” He quit smoking after his first heart attack. He received Christ in June of 1950. In those days there was no such thing as open heart surgery or other advances in medicine. He still lived 24 years after his first heart attack. I am eleven years older now than he was when he died. I am otherwise in good health and the surgeon is one of the best in the United S

The Gift and the Giver

Without much argument from anyone we can say that love is given first priority in the Bible. It is the first and comprehensive fruit of the Spirit. It is the first commandment. It is the second commandment, and all other teachings fit into those two commandments. The source of all love is God. God’s expression of love to the world was by giving. This is a fast preamble to get to the subject of giving. Giving is taught and preached more than it is done. Perhaps this is because the teaching is prompted by the desire to receive rather than the desire to give. Many churches, radio and television programs are teaching giving this way, “You should give to me and my ministry.” The emphasis is, “You are to give so that I can receive.” It is a major cover for covetousness. Another reason giving is taught more than done is because the giving teaching is not preceded by loving teaching or a loving-giving example. If godliness was taught and practiced, the teaching of giving would be minimal—i

A Passion for Souls?

Stephen David has been a good friend of mine for years by e-mail. He has had “How to Be Free From Bitterness” translated into Telegu, Hindi, and Indian English. Please pray for him. His ministry is in Hyderabad. The following, by Stephen David, expresses my thoughts well. Do We Have a Passion For Souls? What does it mean to have passion for souls? I started to think about this seriously. Though many times I expressed to have passion for souls, when in fact, I didn’t. I came to know that genuine passion for souls means— Having a burning heart to see the people being saved from hell and enter into God’s eternal kingdom . And scripturally, no person can be saved without believing in Christ through the hearing of the gospel. “For, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?