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Showing posts from January, 2021

God Is with Us

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). The way we send people on missions is very different from the way Jesus sent the apostles. We send others because we cannot or do not want to go ourselves. The one sent also goes alone; this is with mutual agreement, for why would you send someone else if you are going yourself? That is not Jesus’ way. He sent the apostles, and He said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus sent, and then He came along. Isn’t that wonderful? But it was not the first instance of sending and coming along. "Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent'” (John 6:29).   The Father sent Jesus, and then He came along, too. "The one who sent me is with

Traditional American Values vs. the Bible

At the time of Christ’s coming, the Jews had 2,000 years of tradition. The Roman Catholic Church has had 1,700 years of tradition since Constantine . Evangelical Americans have two hundred years of “traditional American values,” and somehow we think it is a virtue and a grand heritage. Our traditional values include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kinkade, Santa Claus, John Wayne, the Easter Bunny, and trick-or-treat. Jesus said, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:8). You may have another list of traditional American values than the list above, but they are still “traditional.” They are not biblical; they are not Christian. I grew up in the 1940’s. The values then were decadent. Our current values are even more so. To solve this problem, let’s go back to the Bible, not to an era in our history that we worship as an idol. Let’s consider the phrase “traditional American values” a dirty expression.

The Rituals You Follow

  Every church has rituals, regardless of its denomination. Liturgical churches have a planned ritual; non-liturgical churches have a ritual by default. At their best, rituals are figures of the true; at their worst, they are idolatrous. In between, they become dead traditions. The rituals described in the Old Testament were meant to be figures of the true, but degenerated into idolatry. Hebrews 7-10 describes this. The rituals of the Old Testament were meant to be fulfilled in Christ. Long before they were fulfilled, they had ceased to be merely figures. The Israelites thought that following the rituals was enough. They turned them into a substitute for the real thing rather than a picture of it. When this happened, they were no longer acceptable to God. "Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom ; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah ! 'The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?' says the LORD. 'I have more than enough of burnt of

Modern Idolatry

"'Present your case,' says the LORD. 'Set forth your arguments,' says Jacob's King. 'Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; he who chooses you is detestable'” (Isaiah 41:21-24). This is one of the Old Testament’s many comments on idolatry. We would like to think that idolatry is so self-evidently wrong that it would have disappeared from the world long ago. It is not so. The objects of idolatry may have changed, but the pattern remains the same: "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities ¾ his eternal power and divine nature ¾ have been clearly seen, being understoo

Stirring Up Dissension Among the Brothers

"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers" (Proverbs 6:16-19). Let’s look at this list again:   ·   Arrogance is number one. God is concerned about high self-esteem: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought…” (Romans 12:3) ·   Lying is numbers two and six. “A lying tongue” indicates a habitual liar. “False witness” is perjury. ·   The murder of innocent people is number three. It includes abortion. ·   Premeditated evil is number four. ·   Unpremeditated evil is number five. ·   Sowing discord among brothers is number seven.   Although these are all very common today, it is the last I would like to draw your attention to. Stirring up dissension may be unintentional, or it may be the result of gossip. It is the

The Mind of Man

  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:11) I often see people judging the thoughts and motives of another person with absolute certainty about what that person was thinking. To them, it is self-evident. The quote from Corinthians is a rhetorical question. Paul was not asking for a show of hands on who knows another person’s thoughts. He was saying that we cannot know them. We could know if he told us, or we could know if we had his spirit. We could also know if God revealed his thoughts to us. Until then, we must not judge the thoughts of another person. We guess wrongly and act on our guess as if it were right. *Excerpted from  Being Christian . To purchase, visit . 

The Mind of God

  We know more about God’s thoughts than we do about man’s. How can that be? He has revealed His thoughts to us in Scripture, and He has given us His Spirit to understand them. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit

On Goodreads

I am now on Goodreads. If you are as well, feel free to send me a friend request; I would be glad to hear from you. You can find my author page here .

To Whom Should Christians Give?

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you

God’s Justice and Faithfulness

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). This promise has two parts: 1) He will forgive us our sins, and 2) He will purify us from all unrighteousness. The sins that get forgiven are the ones confessed. “All unrighteousness” is more than just these sins; it is everything else that is unrighteous in us. God will purify us from all of this. Look back at verse seven: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Notice how the last phrase parallels verse 9. Verse 7: “purifies us from all sin.” Verse 9: “purifies us from all unrighteousness.” The verb “purifies” has the sense of continual activity, i.e., He “keeps on purifying.” There are conditions for this complete and continual purifying. Verse 7: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light.” Verse 9:

Good Things: A Promise of Guidance & Refreshment

There are many things that it is legitimate for us to desire. They are more than our desires; God promises them to us. Isaiah 58:11 has a beautiful description of them. This text hangs on our living room wall in English and Japanese: And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (KJV) Here is the condition to God’s promise of continued guidance and spiritual refreshment: "If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday" (Isaiah 58:9b-10 NKJV). Earlier in Isaiah 58, we learn that God will answer when we call, that our righteousness will go before us and His glory will come behind us, and that “your light [will] break f

The Reason for Our Being

Note Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:7-12: “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Here is the part I would like to emphasize: “to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery.” To preach and to make plain. That is our reason for being. *Excerpted from Being Christian .

What Kind of Christian Are You?

  More and more I come across people who are “doers” instead of “be-ers,” “tryers” instead of “trusters.” They do all the Christian things, but they do not live in anything close to spiritual victory. Some of these people turned out to be not Christians at all. When they “received Christ,” they were only following a formula—signing a card, praying a prayer, or going forward at a Christian meeting. The reason I know they did not become Christians with these formulas is that they later became real Christians. [1] Live the Christian life the same way you started: by faith. Trust God for the power to follow Him in joyful obedience. "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" (Colossians 2:6-7). [1] Of course, many people have become wonderful Christians with these formulas. What makes the difference? The heart. Those who b

"I Just Can't Forgive Myself"

  “I just can’t forgive myself.” Have you ever heard someone say that? To my knowledge, the Bible does not speak of the need for or the way to forgive yourself. What does it speak of? This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)   But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)   If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) 1 John 1:5 speaks of absolute light. Verse 7 speaks of walking in that light with two results: ·        Fellowship with one another ·        Continued purification from all sin by the blood of Christ Verse 9 speaks of God’s faithfulness in: ·        Forgiving our sins ·        Purifying us from all unrighteousness What are our responsibilities? ·        Walk in th