Thursday, April 28, 2011


When one speaks of baptism as part of God's grace and saving process you get accused of believing in human efforts for your salvation. Others tie baptism into an "outward sign of an already experienced inward grace". Still others have no thoughts on baptism as nothing more than a religious symbol. They see baptism as an ordinance without real significance.
None of the above happens in the New Testament. First, you simply can't read the NT and think baptism was something trivial. If I start citing texts it would be like killing a corpse here. There are simply too many Scriptures about it and we are not here to argue. When we speak about baptism as expressed in the teachings of the Lord and His apostles, it's not something to roll our eyes at or think it is about 'church ordinances.' There is something many miss, even in the church of our Lord.
No one in the NT ever tries to prove anything about baptism! They simply teach about the risen Lord and simply call for it and those who are called obey! That's it! Those that responded knew what they were doing and believed upon baptism. To others it simply didn't matter. Did thousands want to be right with God in Christ? They were told to repent and be baptized into His name for the forgiveness of their sins and the Holy Spirit was theirs as a gift (Acts 2:37-38). They didn't argue anything. If those Jew's that day that listened to the message of Peter and those apostles wanted entrance into the Messiah they had killed 50 days earlier, this was their way out. No arguments! Paul, known as Saul at the time, was told to wait no longer but get himself baptized to wash away his sins calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). There was no discussions about meanings in relationship to the Lord. Paul was a sincere, zealous server of God according to the Law (Phil. 3). Neither Peter nor Ananias nor Paul was attempting to prove anything about baptism and the people who obeyed didn't ask, "Do I have to be baptized?". All this debating stuff is a modern thing that developed out of the Catholic-Protestant controversy. IT ISN'T NEW TESTAMENT! All the reluctance to bring it up or teach it because it might offend or start a religious debate isn't New Testament because in those teachings the teachers blurt it out plain and simple.
Some simply want to debate. Some have said that the debate arose out of Paul's teaching about grace as opposed to works for righteousness but they seem to forget that the apostle who opposed the very form of works for righteousness was himself baptized to have his sins washed away as he took the name of Jesus Christ on him. They seem to forget that he wrote his most compelling inspired words about grace to the Ephesians even though he founded the church there by baptizing some believers a second time. Whatever else was being taught, they were 'immersed' into the name of Christ (Acts 19:1-7). We have got to stop the agruments and realize the Lord sent those apostles out with His gospel message and told them this is what He was looking for (Mark 16:15-16). No questions...simply faith!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"It Matters"

In our day and time there are so many varied religious beliefs. People speak that we are all one despite the differences of doctrine. It seems that all ideas regarding God are meshed together under one umbrella that accepts it doesn't matter what one believes only they believe with all their heart.
When one begins to speak about there is only one standard from the Lord, one teaching of salvation immediately people being piping up, "Are you saying you're the only one to have it?" That's not what is being said. The Scriptures when looked at with an open and honest heart reveals there is only one standard to be saved and those who uphold that one standard of doctrine line up with the Lord. We see it in Acts 2, the first sermon preached by the apostles after the resurrected Christ and in Acts 8:26-40 as well as many other places.
When we speak of worship, it must be acceptable to God and according to the truth. Jesus taught that to the woman at the well (John 4:21-24) as also the Hebrew writer pointed out to those Jew's who wanted to return to their former worshipping ways (Heb. 12:25-29).
When we speak of our lives it must line up with His righteousness and holiness as Paul instructed Titus (Titus 2:11-14).
The point of all of this is to show that it matters about baptism, why one is baptized. It matters about our worship if is based in the truth revealed or based in our culture. It matters if we substitute men's creeds and rules in the place of Scripture. It matters if we follow man-made religious seasons rather than God-spoken truth.
There has to be a standard that is shining! It is impossible to tell the difference between a sheep and a wolf without a standard (Matt. 7:15). Peter warned not to be carried away by the error of unprincipled men (II Pet. 3:17). There are doctrines of deceitful spirits and demons Paul warned the preacher Timothy (I Tim. 4:1). What we believe must be according to Christ and not according to ideas of culture or traditions (Col. 2:8).
It really does make a difference what you believe. Isaiah spoke to God's people under the first covenant: "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn." (Isa. 8:20)  All colors look the same in the dark!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The church at Corinth was exhorted: "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." (Cor. 16:13) "Act like men!" It's time to grow up and mature. For many, they never grow up. They never seem to mature. They walk around with a chip on their shoulder and the first word said in a way they perceive as against them, they pout and walk off in their hurt. They withdraw and live just with themselves as if to protect from hurt. Is that rather childish? Immature?
"But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." (Heb. 5:14) Some can never discern anything. Their minds, their actions, their attitudes are all about suspicions and knowledge just for knowledge sake. They never have matured because they do not practice the food presented by the Lord.
What is maturity in Christ? Maturity is what leads an individual to upright and loving behavior. For behavior to be upright and loving, there are two elements that must be in place: (1) it must be an obedience of practice from the heart (Rom. 6:17) and (2) it must be from your personal heart and not the demands of another. It is immature to follow someone because that's what they tell us to follow. Mature behavior is a behavior which has the full approval of your inward man which involves your heart. Maturity is gained as you put into practice the things the Lord has brought to your attention. Many read the words of the Lord but quickly turn to man to follow out their ideas.
Here is a great example of what I mean: we take our children to the store and tell them to pick out something they would like. As they look over the goods we have presented before them, they finally pick one. Immediately we say, "no, this is really better." As they look at it, they are given another opportunity and go right back after the first thing they picked. We stop them again. "Look, this is much better! I don't want to tell you again!" They look at YOU and realize it is what you wanted so they pick what you pushed them toward. Where was their heart? You took away their heart and made them conform to yours. That's what happens to us many times. We want people to conform to our way and they never become obedient from their heart. In due time, these will fall away from the Lord. They simply never mature.
We need to be careful that what we are doing to one another is just making them conform and not convicted or practicing the righteousness as revealed from God to our hearts. Our hearts must be engaged in the Lord with a real deep sense of conviction in order to mature. Bottom line, maturity is what you grow in because you do what you do completely and wholly for the Lord and not the expectations of others. Only then will you come into true discernment between what is good and evil.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

"In The Last Days"

Paul writes to a young preacher Timothy that in the last days there are going to be difficult times. (II Tim. 3:1-5) The difficult times will be in the church! There are going to be people in the church that will strain the souls of the sincere. It will be rough on the preacher because he must stand before these attitudes and take his hits.
Let's carefully listen to what will be going on in the lives of those once redeemed:
(1) Lovers of self
(2) Lovers of money
(3) Boastful = start thinking you are above some and have a swagger about yourself.
(4) Arrogant = where people think themselves they are "the appointed" in situations.
(5) Revilers = those who attack with words and speak what they want because they are upset.
(6) Disobedient to parents
(7) Ungrateful
(8) Unholy = treating the things of God as common, not sacred.
(9) Unloving = this is the Greek word 'astorge' meaning without human affection. We have seen mothers/fathers walk away from their children. They are unloving.
(10) Irreconcilable = they just won't yield in forgiveness.
(11) Malicious gossips = comes from the Greek word 'diabolos' meaning devil. They throw accusations around at others. From the word, who is behind such? (Name calling comes under this.)
(12) Without self-control = has little restraint in their words and attitudes.
(13) Brutal
(14) Haters of good
(15)Treacherous = a betrayer. Someone who turns on your goodness.
(16) Reckless = those who fall headlong. In other words, they are strong headed that will not listen and rushes into rash statements or rushes into situations that are costly.
(17) Conceited = thinking you are someone special with  your special talents.
(18) Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

Here are listed 18 attitudes that will make things difficult and these attitudes will prevail in some in the church. These people will cause great difficulties pretending to be godly while blinded by their own actions. What is worse, they have denied the power of God by holding to just a form, a semblance of godliness. They aren't sincere! What are those who honestly and sincerely walk with the Lord to do? "Avoid such men as these." (II Tim. 3:5) They are not good for the soul!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Is Sin So Serious?"

Many seem to miss it. I recently got a email from a young man that shared with me that he couldn't understand the wrath of God against everyone because there are some good people around and he was one of them. I can understand that kind of thinking, in fact, as people make comments on my posts (which I always appreciate more than you know) things about our heavenly Father and insight to Him are revealed.
Simply put, many times people and I'm talking about a Christian, just do not know God! It has always been that way. Israel was worshiping, praying and sacrificing according to the Law but they did not know God (Heb. 3:10 and a host of OT Scriptures). Many know facts about God and talk about spiritual themes but that doesn't mean they know God. Jesus said eternal life was knowing God and His Son (John 17:3). We aren't talking head knowledge here but a deep, intimate understanding of His ways and purposes. We can never get to all of God but we need to do more than scratch the surface.
Here is something simple for those who believe they are basically good and do not deserve eternal punishment. How many sins did it take to drive Adam/Eve from the presence of God? Ezekiel speaks that the soul that sins will die. (Ezek. 18:4) How many have sinned (Rom. 3:23)? How many died because of sin (Rom. 5:12)? Sin, one sin or a thousand, has a consequence tied to it. "For the wages of sin is death..." (Rom. 6:23). Wages, what we have earned because we sin and that's the verdict of God. The reason we are so easily carried around by every wind of doctrine or even in our own readings is because we do not understand sin from God's perspective. Sin killed Jesus! Man sins! Jesus didn't die for the righteous man because there aren't any (Rom. 3:10/5:6). Jesus died for the sinful. It was His death that redeemed (paid the ransom price) and purified (made us holy). It is NEVER our goodness because our best caused His death. 
This is very basic I realize but we must grasp the meaning of sin in our lives. Sin is in direct conflict with God. Sin is the power of the devil. You sin, you die spiritually! That's the fact. God cannot be in the presence of sin because His holiness won't allow that. That's why there is eternal wrath for those still in their sins! If you don't see your own sinfulness, your dying spiritually because you have sinned, then you have missed knowing the holy and righteous God who calls us to Himself through Jesus. It is only in Jesus that we will escape the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9). It is Jesus washing us completely clean in His blood making us holy and pure so we can stand in the presence of our holy Father. When we come to a recognition that our sins, every single one of them, will either be punished in us or punished in Jesus, we are on the road to knowing God and knowing God is eternal life. If believe we are good enough not deserving the wrath of God then Jesus died needlessly because we were good enough anyway. Now, let me ask you, have you ever sinned? What's God's verdict toward ALL sin? What are you doing with Jesus?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Wrath's Coming"

It seems in my travels that I come upon more and more people that do not believe in God's punishment! If you listen closely they too reveal they don't believe in punishment of any kind. Let's not punish those criminals but they do want them removed from 'normal' society. 
One thing that God makes clear to mankind: His wrath is against ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness men (Rom. 1:18). When we speak of the wrath of God, it's not like we think of a person that is out of control, picking up every thing they can lay their hands on to use as a weapon toward another. God's wrath is a wrath of justice and righteousness. The Lord Jesus was sent to our world on a death mission, to save people from their own sinful behavior and yet man rebels and ignores God's gift. What is God to do?
The only one's that will escape the punishment and wrath of God are those who are tied to Jesus. The Thessalonian's were encouraged as they had turned from idols to serve the living God, to "wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come." (I Thes. 1:10) Placed before our eyes is the coming wrath of God. Placed before our eyes is our rescue from the wrath to come. 
Those justified (declared right and all charges against us dropped) by the blood of Jesus will be saved from the wrath of God. It is Jesus and Jesus alone and His atoning blood that will rescue us from God's wrath (Rom. 5:9). Why is God so wrathful? Because sin is a work and power of the devil and sin destroys everything God is! From God's perfect creation in the beginning, to man's evil practices in destroying one another to killing His Son, sin reached out and destroyed. We live in a world filled with wrongs, pains and sufferings due to sin. God wants sin to end and so His wrath is kindled against all sin. His Son was sent as our substitute and paid the price we earned with our sins. The result? His cleansing blood will rescue us from God's wrath as God punished Jesus in our place! What a relief!
The world does not want to believe in punishment. Whether one accepts it or not, the wrath of God is coming! Just as the people were warned in the days of Noah that a flood of doom was coming on the world, nearly everyone sneered and developed their own thinking in regard to God. Eight people were saved! That is incredible that out of an entire world, eight people trusted in God's word. The message is sent out again: the wrath of God is coming and only in Christ Jesus and His cleansing blood will anyone escape. What are you doing in regard to the blood of Christ?

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Poor God! Poor Jesus!"

Poor, poor God. He is so tied up with us that sometimes the best He has to offer us is using His feather duster! That's about as powerful as He is to us. Our lives, our world just seems too strong for Him. There are those whose sins are so high and deep that He just doesn't have the ability to reach them, much less forgive them. The Lord would love to make a difference in the lives of so many but He is helpless. We are such complex people, with so many variety of complexities that it seems the Lord has come to a gun fight with a water balloon!! What can God really do?
Poor, poor Jesus. He is so weak with all the church problems going on. Men that are elders that shouldn't be and they need to be removed so many rise up against them, just like politics demanding for the their removal. Jesus is so limited because there are things going on He can do nothing about!! Things that go on in among the brethren that just aren't right and nothing is done so we do it! We take on the attitudes that are less than what they should because Jesus can't do one thing about them. 
That's the way many see the Lord God and our Savior. The words are said that Jesus is the head of the church but we act like He is the head of nothing. Our lives get so over-loaded with worries and fears and it seems God just sits, watching, waiting hoping things will work out if we make the right move at the right time. We seem to miss the Creator and Savior. Our world was called into existence from nothing but a spoken word. A human body formed from dust and all it took was God's breath and mans internal organs and functions began to operate in the way He intended them to operate. A Lord that walked among us, raised the dead, healed the sick and went to a cross only to raise from the dead. He is alive and well. He is the head of His church and knows ever little detail that is going on. His power to remove or allow gain is completely under His oversight. 
Where do we live? Do we see a Father with power and a Lord with might? Do we believe He controls all things or are those just words spoken because that's what we are to say? The men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11 held tightly to the God and Savior of their lives. They lived in difficult situations, met with cruel death and watched loved on carried away. Yet in all this, they knew their Lord and Savior that He was in control no matter what! It's called faith and that faith moved them forward not complaining and kicking! They saw the power of God and moved within Him knowing all is well and under His control. There was no weak God or helpless Jesus!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Do You Believe?"

Do we really believe? I'm speaking of a whole hearted, trusting with our lives by putting us in His hands kind of belief? Do we really trust in the strength and grace of the Lord? Many as they read would say, "Yes, of course." I know I say that but then I look and see the things that make me fearful and timid at times. The situations that arise that are beyond our control and fretting, fearful thoughts begin within the heart and mind.
Can you imagine for a moment standing on the banks of the Red Sea. It would be hard to look upon the water because you are fixed on the great pillar of fire that fills the sky touching the ground keeping the mightiest army on earth away. It would be a moment of amazement and your heart pounding having never seen anything like it. Then suddenly you hear the mighty winds and the tearing the waters apart. More amazement, more shock to the system. People begin moving forward and all you see is a water of wall held up by what? Over a million people are moving across and finally reaching the other side you would stand as this great army has finally found a way through the pillar of fire, which was removed by the Lord. You watch, knowing you can't flee anywhere but then the waters crash down and the enemy is obliterated. What would you be thinking?
As many stood in awe they sang praises to God. Rescued! Delivered from the impossible. What did they do? "Let's return to Egypt!" was their cry as thirst and hunger hit them. Food and water was provided when there was nothing. "We had it better in bondage!" came from their mouths. Overwhelmed with emotions but no faith in the Great Redeemer. 
What do you believe about the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Where do you turn in crisis and troubled times in your heart? Man? The latest book? The story of the crossing of the Red Sea is real, just as real as you are reading these words I write. Too many want a life of eating and drinking, ease and company rather than what God has promised! Too many live for the mansion, that man or woman who would make that perfect mate or the great job and retirement. What are we missing? GOD and His promises! Trusting God and His working to bring us to Himself is what life is about. When that cancer hits and life on earth becomes dim there is still God and His promises. No matter what we face, no matter where we find ourselves, at the end of everything there is God! No matter what comes, what you experience or the hurts that have hit you will find God stepping in and bringing you to His presence.
Do you really believe? What do you expect out of life? We should expect GOD!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"The Cross Speaks"

The death of Jesus Christ is not just an act of dying. We need to look deeper. Too many want to dramatize His cruel treatment and emphasize His physical punishment. While it is true that each New Testament writer speaks of His tiral, beatings and crucifixion, we need to look at what was really being taught. The bloody treatment and death of Jesus was all about redeeming and atonement. It was a sacrificial death. How could we know that until God spoke to us in Jesus Christ? It took the revelation of the cross to open the eyes of man to what God's love is toward us. It took God speaking through His prophets that there must be atonement to redeem (buy back) man to Himself. Jesus was that atonement (at-one-ment - think about that) to bring us to God.
We must be careful not to take the love of God for us, cheapen it by our sentimentality. Too many times we compare the death of Jesus to how we feel about our children with all the sugar and spices we put on top. We speak of love, and we should, but the love of God goes much more beyond what is seen and felt in our hearts with our own children (or anyone else). I guess bottom line, we must be careful when we speak of God's love through the redemption and atonement of the dying of Jesus that we reduce it to God being concerned for our happiness rather than our HOLINESS! That's what the death of Jesus is all about...holiness, our holiness.
The center of love is the death of our Lord. His death is about our holiness and that is what redemption and atonement was speaking. The danger becomes when we reduce His love to our happiness and physical well being because that makes His death a self-serving, self-centered passion, bent only on extracting from the relationship our own personal delight. And God sits in His holy love wanting man to realize: "But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'"(I Pet. 1:15-16) And when we don't take the cross as a holy, redemptive, atoning sacrifice, God steps in with discipline to get us to realize: "...but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness." (Heb. 12:10)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Interesting Facts"

Today I was reading some interesting things. My writing today is more for fun than serious. I guess that's my state of mind. I came across an article that caught my attention and thought you might find a little humor in it. I hope you enjoy it as it is about interesting facts. You might even find yourself saying, "Really? Are you kidding?"
Babies are born without knee caps.
In an average human life, a person will grow 590 miles of hair.
No matter its size or thickness, no piece of paper can be folded in half more than 8 times.
Coca-Cola was originally green.
No word in the English rhymes with the words: month, orange, silver or purple.
9 out of 10 people believe Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. This isn't true: Joseph Swan did.
The revenue generated from gambling is greater than the revenue from movies, cruise ships, recorded music, theme parks and spectater sports combined.
The word "queue" is the only English word that is pronoucned the same way when the last four letters are removed.
If you counted 24 hours a day it would take 31,688 years to reach one trillion.

I thought these were interesting and hope you did to. Have a great day. Be prayerful, be thankful, rejoice in the Lord and listen to His word.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Remember When..."

We all sit and remember something from our past. Family reunions or special times when families all gather and start talking about old times. As our children grow, it is so wonderful to listen to them say, "Remember when..."
"Remember when we lived at..."
"Remember when we put you in a box and taped it up and..."
"Remember when the neighborhood kids and we would..."
"Remember when the dog named..."
In all these rememberances, it is funny to listen to how things happened from the side of the kids. Then we start hearing some of the stories when our children didn't tell us everything and it was shocking to listen to them relate some of the things. Memories are funny things sometimes. Our memory can recall songs. I can remember the songs from advertisements from back in the sixties. My kids hear me sing one and they wonder where I got it. I can remember my first dog, places we have visited when I was a little kid and the football games when all the neighborhood kids would come over and we tackled one another in the 'sticker' patch! No one wanted on the ground but the smallest seemed to get punished. I can remember pushing my best friends face in dog pooh!! Yep, I can still recall it hanging from his forehead and front part of his hair. I know when you read that you will say, "Brent!" but let me put in context. He was catching flies off the dog pooh!!! I remember climbing down a tree with three bird eggs I got from a nest. Oh, I put them in my pants pocket so they wouldn't get hurt and I could use both hands to climb down. You know what happened to the eggs and my mother was one upset woman.
Yes, we can all remember when! But there is one thing I seem to never remember...someone's name!! What's up with that? Have a good day.