Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2018

Made Sin for Us

Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness. (Isa. 52:14) We believe that this is a picture of Jesus on the cross. If so, “His face was disfigured beyond that of any man,” meaning that no one has been disfigured that much ever; and “beyond human likeness,” meaning that His crucified body did not look human. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted; but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isa. 53:4-6) This text tells us the reason behind the disfigurement. Every lie, every murder, every rape, every idolatrous act was nailed to the cross in Jesus. For th

It Is Possible to Sin

It is possible to sin. It is possible to not sin. Both of these statements are true for Christians. On the whole, Christians are not convinced that the second one is true. They hear it as saying that it is impossible to sin. Of course, that is false. If it were true, it would contradict the first truth. We know sinning is possible because God made provision for Christians when they sin. 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” It is possible to sin. Not only is it possible; it is also probable. In fact, it has already happened. When a Christian sins, there are immediate consequences. The first is discipline from God. We see this in Hebrews 12:5-11: And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes e

Forgiving Others: Do I Wait Until They Ask?

This question comes up often: "I have read (repeatedly) your book on bitterness and I know that bitterness may result from unforgiveness. I know that even if someone sins against me and is not repentant, I should forgive so I do not become bitter. But doesn’t Luke 17 indicate that our forgiving the other person is dependent on their repentance?" Let's look at the text. Luke 17:3-4: "So watch yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Even if he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times comes back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17 tells you to forgive him. It does not teach that your forgiveness is dependent on his repentance. If it was, the text would read, “Don’t forgive him until he repents.” In Matthew 18, Jesus tells Peter to forgive the one who sins against him 77 times. "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister wh

A Forgiving God

Forgiveness starts with the character of God. Both Old and New Testaments abound with descriptions of God's forgiving nature. None of the gods who have been created by men are forgiving gods. Why? Because they are created in the image of natural, unregenerate man. The real reason these gods are not forgiving is that they do not exist. The demons behind them are real, and they cannot forgive. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, "This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt," or when they committed awful blasphemies. (Neh. 9:17-18) And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and

Rotting Wealth, Rotting Hearts

Jesus watched money being put into the money box in the temple. He came to the conclusion that the widow who put in two pennies put in more than the rich man who gave a lot of money. The widow gave more because she gave all that she had for living. The rich man gave out of his abundance. Paul had some additional thoughts on this. He said that the love of money is a cause of all kinds of evil. James spoke of it as well. “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

Road Rage

The Scriptures lists fits of rage as one of the works of the flesh. This kind of anger is characteristic of unbelievers. Road rage is another common kind of anger. It is thinking yourself superior to other drivers. The majority of this kind of anger does not hurt the other person. Because it does not end in a fight, does that mean you are not in sin? You are told to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil. 4:4). That means always . Always doesn’t leave room for getting upset at other drivers. Always doesn’t leave room for anger. “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18) doesn’t leave room for anger. It is possible for a Christian to be angry, but it is only normal for an unbeliever.

Divorce & the Christian, Part 3: Married to an Unbeliever

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Cor. 6:14-16) To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. (1 Cor. 7:12-14) The first

Divorce & the Christian, Part 2: Children

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. (1 Cor. 7:12-14) I cannot explain this text other than the obvious; unbelievers are sanctified if they stay married to believers. The children are also sanctified if “unevenly yoked” parents stay together. The opposite is also true; the children would be unclean if the parents are divorced. I have heard of all kinds of examples where the bad news did not happen. However, we should not make rules of behavior from experience, especially when the good experience is the exception. Children of divorce are candidates for

New Weekly Class on Christian Living: Learn How to Not Sin

Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, visited the Naval Academy during my first-class year. On a Sunday afternoon, he spoke to about twenty Christian midshipmen in Memorial Hall. He was a dynamic speaker. At the end of his talk, he said he would like to talk with those of us who really meant business with the Lord. A few of us took him to the chaplain’s office. He said to us, “How many of you want to sin?” None of us wanted to sin. “I will teach you how not to sin.” That sounded good to us. Dawson quoted Psalm 119: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word… Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:9, 11 KJV). It was simple; all we had to do was hide the Word of God in our hearts. It seemed to work. In the next fourteen months, I memorized the 108 verses of the Navigators’ Topical Memory System. When I was back in San Diego after my first year in Korea with the Navy, Doug Cozart was

Divorce & the Christian, part 1

Another thing you do: You flood the LORD's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. (Malachi 2:13-16) There are other teachings on divorce in both the Old Testament and the New. There is an exception clause in Matthew 19:9, and some believe t

Women Teaching Men in a Sunday Service

In response to my last post, I received a question about whether it is alright for women to teach men in a Sunday service. If she thinks she is an elder and seeks to pastor a church, the answer is No! If she is married, and her husband agrees, then Yes! If she is a single missionary sent out by the church, and she is home, then Yes. If we answer “No” across the board, we may be tying the hands of the Holy Spirit. I know of one instance where the pastor spent time in prayer explaining to the Holy Spirit that the woman who was going to speak in his church was not thinking or usurping a place that belonged to her husband. The church thought she shouldn’t speak up front because of their policy, so the pastor felt he had to explain it to God. He shouldn’t have to do this. If the woman demands the pulpit, the answer is No!

Women in the Pulpit & Women as Teachers

I received the following question: “What does the Bible say about women in the pulpit? I thought scripture said that women are not to be in position of teaching above a man. If this is accurate, then why are so many women now preaching?” Before you react to my answer, go back to the Scriptures and read the texts again. The Bible does not speak of pulpits. It does speak of elders. 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5 speak of the requirements of elders, two of which are the husband of one wife and someone who rules his own household well . There are no examples of women elders in the Scripture. We came to the conclusion that there should not be women elders because of this teaching and each of the examples. Teaching is another thing. All elders must be apt to teach . However, that is not the same thing as saying all teachers are to be elders . Teaching is not a gift that is relegated to men only. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the ch

Book Announcement: Sick Bay for the Saints

Michael Collender and I have written a book together, with plans for three more. The one we have just completed is Sick Bay for the Saints . We are open for comments. Many of you have been very conscious of the spiritual sickness of the United States and many of the evangelical churches. Recently a friend of mine, John Sanford of Cornell University, author of Genetic Entropy , asked me if I could apply what I teach in my book Principles of War to situation in the United States. I asked Michael Collender of St. Anne’s Public House, to join me in writing a series of books to do just that. There are many books that explain how bad things are in America right now. These books are right—it’s bad. However, the Bible teaches that we have every reason to be hopeful about what God will accomplish. God gives us counsel on how to be effective and advance the gospel, especially in times like these. He has explained how His people win victory in individual hearts, in personal obedience,


Joy in the Bible is different than happiness or pleasure cause by your environment. Joy is not environmental. It is a vertical relationship. It is expressed in shouting and singing. Joy is received when a person turns from death to life. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a companion of love and peace, but it is not love and peace. We are told to “rejoice in the Lord always—again, I say, rejoice!” The joy that we are commanded to express always is in the Lord. We are commanded to have this joy always . Is there a reason, biblically, to not have joy? Yes. We see it in Hebrews 12:5-11. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left witho

What I Pray Every Day

There is a wonderful promise to answered prayer recorded in James 1:5. I pray it almost every day and observe an immediate answer to that prayer. Here it is: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6). If any of you lacks wisdom. That is my state every day. Let him ask of God, who gives generously to all. Let him ask in faith, with no doubting. I ask for this wisdom every day. I know of people who think I have wisdom. This is why.

Warnings About the Devil

Here are a few warnings about the devil. The first is from the Lord Jesus in John 8. “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the trut

To Enable Us All Our Days

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (Luke 1:68-69, 74-75) This is part of the prayer of Zechariah about the LORD Jesus when John, Zechariah’s son, was named. The second half of the prayer is about John. Notice the last portion quoted: “to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.” This is loaded and amazing. We are enabled to: • Serve Him • Without fear • In holiness • In righteousness • All our days This redemption, this salvation, is not just for everlasting life; it is present tense (all our days). It is service without fear. It is service with holiness. It is service with righteousness. God provides the means of all this. It is part of our salvation.

Why People Don't Understand the Gospel

Have you ever noticed that you have told the gospel with great clarity (with or without apologetics) to a very intelligent person, and that after you have finished this clear presentation, he had no idea what you were talking about? Here are a few biblical reasons why this is: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:14). They cannot understand because they do not have the Spirit. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). They cannot see because they have been blinded by the evil one. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the

Request for Input: Writing My Autobiography

At my children╩╝s request, I have been working on my autobiography. I have a slight problem: I have never kept a diary, and I am now 90 years old. If any of you knew me and Bessie in the past and remember events, dates, and/or have pictures, please send them to me. Hold down on the flattery. My memory is fairly good, but there are blank places. You can contact me at Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. (Psalm 96:1-3) Sing, sing, praise, proclaim, and declare. In order to declare His glory, we have to know what it is. Words alone will not do it. Experience will be part of it. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an of

Bad Pastors

This is Paul’s teaching to the elders at Ephesus in Acts 20:28-30: “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” Good pastors contribute to unity. Bad pastors contribute to disunity. So be on your guard.

Is It Good to Love Yourself?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) A young woman I was counseling told me that she loved herself, and that was a good thing. She did not like it for the Bible to have listed it as a bad thing. How can we tell that loving yourself is a bad thing? The other words in the list are characteristics of loving oneself. They are subsets of loving oneself. Let’s look at them. • Lovers of money – loving yourself • Boastful – loving yourself • Proud – loving yourself • Abusive – certainly not loving your neighbor as yourself • Disobedient to parents – loving yourself •

Four Passages I Have Lived By

Here are four passages of Scripture which meant very much to Bessie and me in our 58 years of marriage. There are many others, but these stand out. We applied them in our life together. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth . (Deut. 11:18-21) Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of in