Monthly Archives: May 2019

What Really Matters…

In Christian doctrine, what matters most and is essential to making a beginning on our faith journey? What is of eternal consequence? What must we be united with our brothers and sisters in God’s family on?

The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:29-31

Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. -John 5:24

because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. -Romans 10:9-10

If we can just (as the family of God in Christ) learn to get along and come together in love as Jesus would have us do (for GOD is LOVE), how much of impact could we have on this world for the Gospel? Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. -1 John 4:8

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is fast approaching. Here in the United States it is still an important day as we remember the sacrifices of those who both recently and in days gone by have made in defense of our nation and its principles. It is a time for many to reflect on loved ones who have sacrificed all for us as we read articles and watch movies often based on one of our recent wars. I get it… nothing wrong with that. I watch certain movies every year around this time and think about the ways in which the greatest generation defended our freedom from oppression at the hands of the evil Axis powers. I honor our military and thank them for their service to our country and what it is supposed to stand for. I say “supposed to” because I think many have lost their way and forgotten the basic principles upon which or nation was founded. but that is a matter for another blog post. There are many in this country who still remember and embrace the same ideals our founding fathers did. For that I am grateful to God.

I would be remiss if I did not discuss the one who made the greatest sacrifice of all — not for just the people of one country, but for all who would come to Him. His name is Jesus. His love is available right here and now to all who desire it.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. -John 3;16-17 (ESV).

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” -Abraham Lincoln
(Read more at:

Happy Memorial Day.

1 John

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. -1 John 1:1-4

Tonight we begin 1 John in our weekly Bible study. Frankly, I am really looking forward to it as much as when we started reading and studying Peter’s two letters. John focuses a great deal on the assurance of our salvation and the love of God as expressed in the person of Jesus Christ, part of the Godhead made manifest unto us.

John reminds us of the importance of fellowship one with another as we embark on the path of service to God. We are reminded that we should strive to enjoy a deep sense of satisfaction and purpose that comes from knowing and serving Jesus.

Do you know that deep sense of satisfaction that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, and you long to, it is available right here and now! Ask Jesus to come into your heart as your Savior and the Lord of your life. Acknowledge the work He has done for you on the cross –in becoming an atoning sacrifice for your sins. Admit that you could never be good enough on your own without Him intervening on your behalf by dying for you and thank Him for that. Thus, you too can start on a road of peace and security in the certainty of God’s eternal love for you. If you have just received Christ as your Lord and Savior, get involved in a local Bible-believing Church and begin your growth in grace and knowledge of God through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Others will be happy to share their scriptural knowledge along the way. Ask God to point you in the right direction and He most certainly will.

Dealing with Causes Of Stress.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. -Philippians 4:6 (TLB) Most thinking, informed human beings are well aware of the fact that stress can lead to a great many physical difficulties in life. While most of us put forth effort to avoid it, it seems like certain individuals seem to actually thrive on it. The Bible tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and, as such, should be treated with a great deal of respect. Succumbing to a lot of stress would hardly seem a respectful thing to do to our ‘temples.’

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. -1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV) While these verses happen to be specifically discussing sexual immorality in context, the same awareness can be applied when thinking about anything with the potential to harm the body or offend the Holy Spirit.

So many things can bring on stress, from lack of exercise, sleep, proper nutrition — you name it. One of the greatest causes of stress is worry, which certainly leads to other things that can exacerbate it. I was listening to Rick Warren preach a sermon on worry once and he happened to mention that it is a sin. For the purposes of this blog post, I shall focus on worry as a leading contributor to stress and a diminished witness for Christ. I had not actually every considered it to be sin until he mentioned it — then the light bulb came on. Whether you like him or listen to him at all does not negate the fact that he is right about that for a number of reasons to support his assertion. I list three ways that worry adversely affects us below:

  • Worrying means we are not taking the Word of God with the faith we should and are not expecting God to make good on His promise. Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. -1 Peter 5:7 (TLB)
  • Worrying robs us of the peace available to us as children of God. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. -John 16:33 (KJV)
  • Worrying and fear go hand in hand. As believers, we are not expected to live in fear — especially since we know who our Father is. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. -Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)

There is only one way to have the peace of God that passes all understanding and that is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible makes it clear that there is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus. Once you enter into that relationship with Him you are open to a relationship with God in His entirety: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6 (ESV) The obvious question if God is calling you, then, would be: What must I do to be saved? The Bible gives us a simple, clear answer to the way in which we embark on an eternal life with God that is beyond our wildest imagination. Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. -Romans 10:9 (ESV) If you are ready for a new life in Christ, the beginning is simple and you can start that new life right now! Acknowledge that Jesus Christ came to Earth and sacrificed Himself for you on a Roman cross, suffering and dying for your sins. Admit that you could never do anything to be good enough to come to God through your own works. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Savior. If you really mean it, He will then be your Savior and the Lord of your life. Find a Bible-believing Church and go there as soon as you can. Explain that you have recently given your life to Christ and ask them to show you the next steps. An excellent resource is Peace with God. At that Web site you will find a link where you can search for a decent, Bible-believing Church to fellowship with during your journey here on this Earth. May God continue to richly bless you on your journey with Him into a new and wonderful eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Soteriology: Just Thinkin’

Lately I have been thinking about the many issues Christians seem to disagree about, often very passionately. While I have definite positions on many issues theologically, some I do not. I guess I have come to pick the ‘hills upon which I might die on.’

Just a little background on where I am coming from: I have many different friends who attend a variety of churches. I consider them to be brothers and sisters in Christ. Some are Calvinist, some Dispensationalist, some Charismatic and even a sprinkling of Pentecostals. They all claim to be Christians. Some stick to the KJV Bible and others read whatever may “float their boat.” Now I know there are some who might condemn me for such heretical associations and loose thinking. I wonder, in those cases, where they might have stood in the presence of Christ if they lived during His time on Earth?

I have struggled with how I fit into things theologically and I think that has robbed me of much time I might have better spent in service to Christ. This is not to say that doctrine is not very important, because I know with absolutely certainty that it is. But, I must be careful not to miss the forest through the trees.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)

There are certain things I consider to be non-negotiable, such as the truth of the Trinity. I believe that God eternally exists as One God in three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I get it, this is a hard one to understand. Yet, I find this truth laid out clearly in His Word (see a recent post on this doctrine that enlists the aid of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith).

When it comes to Soteriology, I believe there is only one way to heaven, and that is Jesus Christ. I also believe that, once you have embraced Him as Lord and Savior, your salvation is eternally secure. I think the Bible is perfectly crystal clear on those points. Salvation comes through faith alone. I had to receive the regeneration that can only come from the Holy Spirit to be able to relate to God and receive the faith necessary to come to Him through Christ. Ephesians 2:1 says And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; I also refer the reader to Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV) There is absolutely no way for me to make it to Heaven without the overwhelming, incomprehensible grace of God. I depend entirely upon the atoning sacrifice that Christ made upon the cross for my sin.

I also don’t think that all of the gifts mentioned in the New Testament have necessarily ceased. I do not believe that once you have been saved, the next step is always to be separately baptized in the Holy Spirit and start speaking in tongues as proof. However, I don’t break fellowship with those who do, just because they may. I just happen to disagree on that one.

I also believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. I believe it is perfect in the original autographs and that His Word has been sufficiently preserved to understand it in present day English through various (not just KJV) translations.

Titus 3:5-8 (KJV):

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Of God and the Holy Trinity

There is no question that trying to explain the doctrine of the Trinity to someone who is not a believer (or maybe is, but just doesn’t get it) is very difficult to do. How can we explain in detail the nature of God? What we can do is offer what is revealed to us through Scripture (which is all we need and definitely a lot). What is abundantly clear from examining Scripture is that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all God, yet all 3 distinct persons.

While the word Trinity is not in the Bible, it is the best, most capable theological term to explain. I would remind anyone arguing against this that the word ‘Bible’ is not in the Bible, either.

A sure sign of a cult is denial of this doctrine. If a body of believers denies the Trinity, they deny the God I know and love and are not truly Christians.

From Chapter 2, Paragraph 3 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession:

In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit,27 of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided:28 the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;29 the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son;30 all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on Him.

Here are supporting Scriptures:

For there are three that testify: -1 John 5:7 (NIV)

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, -Matthew 28:19 (NIV)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. -2 Corinthians 13:14 (NIV)

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” -Exodus 3:14

Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. -John 14:11 (NIV)

yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. -1 Corinthians 8:6 (ESV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known -John 1:14, 18 (ESV)

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: -John 15:26 (KJV)

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” -Galatians 4:6 (NKJV)


Let me say from the outset that I like the NIV and read it often! This might stir emotion from some readers, but I freely confess that I do. Why? Despite its shortcomings, it is an easy-to-read English translation that [I think] flows well and is still evangelical & conservative enough to be trustworthy. That being said, it is not without its faults, as with any translation.

1 Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
-Psalms 1:1-3

There are many fine editions of the NIV to choose from, which is another reason I often read the NIV (because it is the text used in some of my favorite study resources, such as the Zondervan Study Bible, Faithlife NIV edition, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, Life Application, Life Principles Bible and now the much-heralded MacArthur Study Bible (one of my favorites). I know there are others — I am just naming the more popular editions.

The fact that the NIV is so popular and comes in so many flavors is not of itself a good reason to read it. I should also add that it is not my primary translation (The King James still is, followed by the ESV and NKJV). But I find its easy readability and rendering of various passages useful when I am trying to grasp the meaning of certain parts of the text. (This can be especially true when trying to impart something to younger members of the faith who are new to the Bible).

I watched a video in which Dr. MacArthur was defending his choice to allow his study Bible to be published in the NIV flavor. He was happy to do that because so many people around the world read the NIV as their primary translation and he wanted them to have a better understanding of what the Bible has to teach us. Moreover, it gave him an opportunity to correct the text of the translation in spots by offering [what he believes to be] a better alternative rendering in certain cases. His claim is that around 40% of the world’s Bible readers use the NIV. Perhaps so; I know it’s a lot. That is a good reason to try to reach them with sound doctrinal teaching, for sure. But that fact alone is not a particularly good reason to read the NIV. Although it is very popular with a large percentage of people, there is also a large percentage that will find themselves in Hell because of their poor choice in refusing Christ and embracing heresies (I am not saying their choice in Bible translations). My point is that often being popular in this world is not saying much — at least not anything positive.

What have I found is that, despite its popularity, I consider it to be a decent translation and have learned to ignore some outright lies and bad press about it. Of course, the KJV-only crowd hates it because it is not KJV. That is a given. The only translation they will accept is the King James Version.

I am enclosing this link to a page that offers [what I consider to be] a pretty fair and favorable opinion of the NIV from a Reformed perspective. I can tell you that a great many reformed people don’t care for it, so this particular post does not speak for all [or even a majority] of reformed people. The same can be said of many evangelicals who do not approve of the way the NIV handles the issue of gender in many of its renderings. That is a [sometimes] hotly debated issue in the Church today. The Pastor of the church we attend has referred to translations as “commentaries on the original text.” I rather like that description of what they are and how they function.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  -2 Tim. 2:15 (NIV)

Unity in The Body.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! -Psalm 133:1

I think that one of the things that Satan loves to do the most is to separate the body of Christ wherever and whenever he can. If we are busy fighting among ourselves, we are least effective in advancing His kingdom. It is all to easy to accuse someone of being a heretic because we do not happen to agree with something they say or teach, or perhaps because of a random comment that was made and may have been taken out of context.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. -John 13:35

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. -Romans 14:19

I tend to agree with one of my [recently discovered] favorite Bible teachers, David Guzik, who says that heresy is best defined as teaching that will lead people embracing it to hell. David Guzik is a Calvary Chapel guy who is involved with Enduring Word Ministries and has a wonderful & immense Bible commentary that is available freely online. He has devoted untold hours to the study of God’s Word and his effort has definitely paid off. (He is a good example of what I am writing about: He is a Calvary Chapel guy who embraces the doctrines most usually embraced by people in that movement. I don’t have to agree with everything he teaches to appreciate the bulk of his work and service to the family of God). I have yet to read the work of anyone (outside of the Bible) with whom I agree 100%. What matters is where we stand on the essentials.

I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. -John 17:23 (NLT)

God’s Covenant, Part 3

Chapter 7, Paragraph 3

Here is the text of the third paragraph of chapter 7 in the 1689 London Baptist Confession: This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman,5 and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament;6 and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect;7 and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.

Supporting Scripture:

And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”
-Genesis 3:15 (NIV)

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, -Heb. 1:1 (NIV)

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. -2 Tim. 1:9 (NLT)

in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, -Titus 1:2 (NIV)

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. -Heb.11:6,13 (NIV)

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. -Romans 4:1-2 (NIV)

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” -Acts 4:12 (NIV)

Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” -John 8:56 (NIV)

Psalm 32.

1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up[b] as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

One of 7 penitential psalms, Psalm 32 is certainly closely related to Psalm 51, in which David looks to the LORD for forgiveness for his grievous sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. This in regard to psalm 32 from John MacArthur’s Study Bible (a favorite resource of mine): Life’s most important lessons about sin, confession, and forgiveness are skillfully shared by David…

For some reason, I have been hearing about Psalm 51 a lot lately: last Wednesday evening at mid-week Bible study/worship at my home Church, Sunday during Church again and also Monday evening at another Bible study at another Church! I am not complaining, it is something I need to be focused on in my daily walk with the LORD. In contemplating Psalm 51 (and also 32) this morning, I could not help but have a sense of remorse for my sins and also a sense of deep gratitude and love for the One who saved me from them. I seem to be growing closer to God each and every day in my walk with Him, and I pray I do not falter and stray from that path. There is a deep sense of serenity and satisfaction from feeling secure in His presence. Do you have that sense? If you feel Him calling you, now is the time to answer Him. This is the time when He may be found.