Saturday, July 23, 2005

Seeing THEIR Faith

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

17 One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord's healing power was strongly with Jesus.

18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to push through the crowd to Jesus,

19 but they couldn't reach him. So they went up to the roof, took off some tiles, and lowered the sick man down into the crowd, still on his mat, right in front of Jesus.

20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
21 "Who does this man think he is?" the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to each other. "This is blasphemy! Who but God can forgive sins?"

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why do you think this is blasphemy?

23 Is it easier to say, `Your sins are forgiven' or `Get up and walk'?

24 I will prove that I, the Son of Man, have the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, "Stand up, take your mat, and go on home, because you are healed!"

25 And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped to his feet, picked up his mat, and went home praising God.

26 Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe. And they praised God, saying over and over again, "We have seen amazing things today." (Luke 5:17-26 NLT)

I love this account in Scripture. Notice how these men who took their paralyzed friend to Jesus were concerned for their hurting friend.

"We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith." Romans 15:2 (GW)

Compassion is love in action. Love opens the door to share Christ.

Notice how they believed Jesus would save their friend.

Jesus is "able, now and always, to save those who come to God through him..." Hebrews 7:25 (TEV)

People are often paralyzed by fear, loneliness, guilt, circumstances and problems. They can't get to Jesus. Sometimes this requires action on our part, as Christian evangelists.

Notice that these men didn't just pray for their friend; they brought him to Jesus.

"Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house wil be full." Luke 14:23 (NLT)

Colossians 4:5 tells us to be wise in the way we act.

Notice how these men didn't let difficulties discourage them.

"...God is patient, because He wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost." 2 Peter 3:9 (CEV)

Friends, what does all this tell us? We need to spend more time with non-Christians. Our love for Jesus Christ is evident by our willingness to share Him with those who don't know him yet!

Jesus told us that we each have a mission in this world.

"In the same way that you gave Me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world." John 17:18 (Msg)

Notice that the four men who brought this paraplegic to Jesus were not priests or pastors; they were just friends.

What stood out to you in this passage?

I saw two important points.

One, it was THEIR faith, the faith of the four men who went to extreme measures to get their friend in front of Jesus, who motivated Jesus to heal the paraplegic.

Two, the physical needs of this man were obvious, but his spiritual needs were less obvious. The forgiveness of the man's sins indicated that although he needed to be healed physically, there was also a deep spiritual hunger and need for spiritual healing within the man.

The same mission that Jesus Christ had on earth, helping people find God, He has now given to you and I! Our mission is simply to pass on to others the same Good News about God's love that someone shared with us!

Sometimes it may take extreme measures for them to reach Jesus.

Sometimes it may take patience and perseverance in reaching those who don't know Christ. 2 Peter 3:8-9 teaches about such patience.

Sometimes, it is those who put up a mask to hide their hurt, problems and pain inside who need us to try and reach them the most! Often it is the people who are far from God who can be most difficult to witness to. But next time you encounter a difficult person in whom you are trying to witness, think about the great lengths that these four men went to in order to bring their friend to Jesus!

Rare Scrolls Reveal Early Biblical Writing

Good morning all!

I found this article through WorldNetDaily. I usually post such articles and/or links at my message board, but I also wanted to share it here.


Rare Scrolls Reveal Early Biblical Writing

By Jennifer Viegas,
Discovery News

July 22, 2005— Three ancient scrolls — one parchment and two silver — recently have been identified as containing some of the world's earliest known verses from the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament.

The discovery of two fragments of a 2,000-year-old parchment scroll in the Judean Desert was announced last week by Israeli archaeologist Chanan Eshel of Tel Aviv's Bar Ilan University.

The fragments contain verses from Leviticus, the third book of the Hebrew Bible, attributed to the tribe of Levi from which Israeli priests are said to be descended. The book consists of regulations for both the priests and their followers.

The two silver scrolls were found by Bar Ilan archaeologist Gabriel Barkay in 1979 in a cave at Ketef Hinnom near Jerusalem. It was only until recently, however, that technology made it possible for scientists to read the scrolls, which date to the 7th century B.C. and likely were worn around the neck as protective amulets.

Project leader Bruce Zuckerman told Discovery News that the scrolls not only are the oldest known Hebrew amulets, but they also are the earliest known artifacts to quote Biblical verses.

"The silver amulets are even older than the Dead Sea Scrolls," said Zuckerman, who is associate professor of religion at the University of Southern California.

The more than 800 documents that comprise the Dead Sea Scrolls have been dated to about 300-200 B.C., meaning they were created as much as four centuries after the amulets.

Zuckerman and his team utilized electronic cameras, specialized imaging software, and infrared systems from NASA to peer into the etched surfaces of the once-rolled silver scroll amulets.

The scrolls contain only consonants, and one is etched with the Priestly Benediction from Numbers 6:24-26. It reads, "May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and grant you peace."

Zuckerman said, "We don't yet know if the Book of Numbers existed then, or if this verse preceded it."

He added, "We do, however, know that the same prayer also pops up in early graffiti (wall writings), which at least suggests that it would have been a familiar prayer at the time."

The other scroll reads, "May he/she be blessed by Yahweh, the warrior/helper, and the rebuker of Evil."

Zuckerman believes the word "rebuker" is significant, because it echoes language used in earlier Canaanite literature describing the pagan god Baal.

It also appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls' Book of Zachariah and was used much later in exorcism rituals.

Zuckerman, who is compiling images of early Biblical texts for a USC Web site, thinks that together, the scrolls and other early documents support the theory that the Bible represents a collection of sacred materials gathered over hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of years."

The precedent established by the editors was not to gather the most clear and consistent materials, but those that were believed to be the most sacred," he said. "For example, two ideas are given for the origin of the universe. Both are included because to leave one out would have violated the sacredness of the tradition."

Contributors: Jennifer Viegas
Copyright © 2005 Discovery Communications Inc.
The leading global real-world media and entertainment company.


See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth to show Himself strong to those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

P.S. I love to find and read information about Biblical archaeology. In fact, if you are interested in reading more examples, please visit my message board at:

There are many different categories and forums at the message board. The additional articles on Biblical archaeology can be found in the "Discoveries of Biblical Proportion" forum. You may want to check out the archives (click on link at bottom of page at forum) because many of them are listed there.

You do not need to register in order to read, however, registration is required in order to post comments.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Commercial Aired!

Hey Folks!

The commercial that my daughter was in for Mercury Insurance finally aired! She's in it for all of 4 or 5!

That's show business.

We are hoping that maybe they will use more of the footage shot for a future Mercury commercial. The original story board shown to us by the director was nothing like the finished product. Apparently, this is typical.

My husband took her to see a Jack in the Box commercial shoot several weeks before she learned that she was chosen for the Mercury commercial. The same thing happened. They shot all day and only a small portion of the footage was actually used in the commercial.

Just thought I'd let my friends here know that we finally got to see her driving that red Toyota Solara convertible in the commercial!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Narrow Gate

Jesus speaking:

Matthew 7:13 (KJV) - Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Matthew 7:14 (KJV)- Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Same verses in the New Living Translation:

Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT) - 13 "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell* is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. 14 But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.

Greek The way that leads to destruction.

Commentary from Chuck Smith on Matthew 7:13,14:

v. 13-14 Jesus is the strait gate we must go through to enter the Kingdom (John 10:1, 14:6). We start on the path to the Kingdom by denying ourselves (Matthew 16:24; Ephesians 2:2-3).

Our flesh doesn't die easily. It's a painful, continuous struggle to keep the flesh under the control of the spirit (Luke 13:24).

Many people do not like the concept of a narrow path to God. They choose to believe that many roads lead to God, but Jesus says that the broad path leads to destruction (Proverbs 14:12; Romans 8:6).

It isn't natural to live the life of self-denial. Crucifying our flesh is a slow, agonizing death (Romans 6:6).

The Holy Spirit enables us to endure the struggles with the flesh so we can walk in righteousness (John 8:29; Galatians 2:20).


David Guzik Commentary:

2. (13-14) Choosing one of two ways and one of two destinations

a. Jesus commits the awful "sin" of "narrow mindedness" here; to Him, there is no doubt that there is a right road and a wrong road. If Christians are accused of being "narrow minded" they should be following Jesus' example of telling the hard truth, but in love

b. The true gate is both narrow and difficult; if your road has a gate that is easy and well traveled, you do well to watch out!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

True Faith or Theological Oblivion?

What do you think it means when someone quips, "keep speaking your truth"? Does it mean that there are several different "truths" out there? If so, my question is, how can they all be correct at the same time?

The third question above is similar to what Christian Apologist Greg Koukl asked New Age guru Deepak Chopra on a recent episode of "Faith Under Fire." But like many other non-believers of the Christian faith, Chopra attempted to trap Greg with the question. This is the question which, inevitably, most Christian apologists are asked.

However, this particular question is not asked in order to find the truth. Nope. It is more often asked as a mechanism to trap the Christian while engaging in debate. You see, if someone words a question right, they can win any debate.

Dr. Chopra asked the question during his debate with Koukl. It was a classic case in point. In fact, I have heard Larry King ask this very same question several times, especially when interviewing Christian evangelists like Billy Graham. Dennis Prager has asked Greg this question when he was a guest on his radio program. What is the question?

Here's the question, as was presented in Chopra's own words on the "Faith Under Fire" episode: "Then you're saying that people who don't believe just like you are going to Hell?"

Fortunately, Greg was able to share that this wasn't the point that he was making. Greg's point was different. Since Chopra and he were grappling with serious issues no one could avoid - God, truth, salvation, eternity - everything rides on their answers.

Their discussion wasn't idle banter. Ideas have consequences. Everyone is inevitably involved and eternity is at stake. If Chopra is right and Koukl is wrong, he loses. If the reverse, Chopra loses - and so does everyone who reads his books, attends his seminars, or watches this debate and believes what Chopra says.

Second, Dr. Chopra's goal was not to clarify a theological point. In the course of this debate it was obvious that he was losing ground, so he offered up a challenge he hoped would tip Greg off balance, with the goal being to discredit Greg with the audience.

I watched this debate and saw this as it happened. It was so obvious to me that Chopra was attempting to gain "debating points" rather than addressing the true, serious issues being discussed (i.e. God, truth, salvation, eternity).

If Greg had answered directly - "Yes, people who don't believe just like me are going to Hell" - the debate would have been over. Chopra's query would have succeeded at painting Greg with an ugly stereotype, and he knew it.

People wouldn't have heard, through Greg, this important exchange about faith and truth, the voice of Jesus calling all men to repentance, offering reprieve and rescue from a judgment they will all face. Instead, they would hear exactly what Chopra intended them to hear: conceit and condescension, an ideologue wishing people into Hell simply because they disagreed with him.

Are you involved in Christian apologetics? Does this sound familiar to you?

This confrontation between Koukl and Chopra taught me a lot! It taught me that "the" question misses the point. It taught me that I need to tell them everything is at stake and everyone is at risk, including you and me!

Each of us will have to stand before God and give an account. That's the reality, and it's not good news because we're all guilty in the final analysis.

But there is another reality that is good news. God has provided clemency if anyone accepts the pardon He offers through Jesus Christ. What could possibly be better than the kindest mercy of all - complete forgiveness instead of the punishment that we all would deserve?

This encounter between Koukl and Chopra taught me that I can sidestep the traps set by skeptics and scoffers while still telling the truth. If you are a Christian and are reading this I'm sure that you can relate that this is not always easy. Jesus' claim that "Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins (John 8:24)" is less popular now than ever. As ambassadors for Christ, we must be prepared to clarify Jesus' point.

This encounter between Koukl and Chopra taught me not to let anyone twist the truth. Whether they do it subtly with semi-flattering words like, "keep speaking your truth"; in other words, "that's true for you but not for me"; or whether they do it more directly in order to paint you or I as a conceited, condescending, sterotypical ideologue in front of others with their main purpose being so that they can discredit you.

Here are some great comments that were posted regarding this broadcasted episode.


KP stated:

"Messengers of an Impersonal God?

I watched Greg Koukl and Deepak Chopra discuss the future of faith on Lee Strobel's Faith Under Fire last night. Dr. Chopra has written numerous books on New Age spirituality that have sold millions of copies. Greg did a superb job of representing the gospel in content and character, modeling the qualities of an ambassador that he and the folks at Stand to Reason seek to instill in others. He repeatedly demonstrated the problems with religious relativism and exposed the fact that, contrary to his denial that he is dogmatic, Dr. Chopra adheres to a theological position of which he seeks to persuade others.

As a sign of respect for Jesus, Dr. Chopra said that his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is among his favorites and that he carries a copy of it with him. However, he considers Jesus only one among a number of God's messengers. Not only is this a contradiction of the biblical witness to Jesus' uniqueness, it's also unintelligible given Dr. Chopra's own concept of the nature of God. You see, Dr. Chopra emphatically denies that God is a personal being.

The concept of messenger presupposes two activities, both of which can only be performed by persons. The first is that of sending or commissioning.

The summer before I went to college I worked as a messenger for a law firm in Manhattan. They sent me and my co-workers on various assignments to deliver important documents to other firms and businesses. I didn't decide what my destination was to be. Nor did I decide at what times I would go on these errands. All of that was dictated to me by my employer. The messenger is one who is sent by someone not something.

The second activity presupposed by the concept of messenger is communication. A messenger is one who conveys a what? That's right - a message. The task of a messenger is to convey some kind of communication from the one who sent him or her to the recipient. If I were to tell you that my toaster wanted me to tell you something, you'd think that I was either joking or something was seriously wrong with me. That's because we know that toasters and other impersonal entities don't communicate. So, how Dr. Chopra explains the concept of an impersonal God having messengers, I don't know. I don't think he can."


JRW stated:

"I only got to see from about 20 minutes after the hour, but Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason graciously, fairly, kindly, steamrolled Deepak Chopra on Faith Under Fire last night. I mean, it wasn't even fair. Wasn't even close. TKO first round, except the fight kept going. I have no idea how Greg managed to wrangle the whole hour---the biggest draw-back to Faith Under Fire has been that you have to address big issues in picoseconds, and sometimes you just can't do that very well. So, to get the whole hour with a single "opponent" was quite the coup, and resulted in a much better encounter with a much clearer result."


I sent the following statement in to the show:

"This broadcast was absolutely fabulous! Greg Koukl pointed out the fact that people can have differing beliefs regarding faith, but that it is logically impossible for them all to be true at the same time.

His trust in Jesus Christ and God's Word stood in direct contrast to Deepak Chopra who admitted "embracing his uncertainty." Koukl's view demonstrates a steadfast and true faith where Chopra's view can only lead to theological oblivion."

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Battle of the Blogs

When I first began my website discussion forum several years ago, I made it my goal not to get into petty Christian in-fighting based on slight differences in denominations, traditions, or any other issue that could separate us as Christian brothers and sisters. It was an issue that didn't come up very often at my message board. However, here in the world of blogging, it appears to have reared its ugly head and has become a common occurrance. This is truly sad and unfortunate! There are people who wish to divide, bicker, verbally attack and discredit another's ministry for reasons they have invented within their own minds. This shows how bigoted, biblically mis-informed and INTOLERANT they truly are.

There comes a time when it can no longer be ignored and needs to be addressed. That time is here, folks.

For such a time as this, I will share a post from life's journey (hope he or she doesn't mind) that was posted last evening at my blog in the "Believe It, Then I'll See It" thread.

life's journey said...
"Great post. God is so good! What saddens me are those who claim to be Christian, yet they show no good fruit. They claim the name of Christ yet they seem lost as anything. This jadedandopinionated woman is a very sad example. She knocks and makes fun of you and others like this Thomas (if she is a true Christian, she probably never read "division among the brethren is an abomination according to God.") She hates when anyone else talks about Jesus. Why? Why is it she comes across so angry at Christians, at the world, at her family, at life and probably even at God? Why is she obsessed with you? Maybe because you have what she doesn't? Is it broken dreams in her life? (I think she once tried to be a singer and it didn't work.) Unhappiness with her life? I truly feel sad when I read her mother knocked her teeth out. That was horrible especially by her own mother. A bar of soap though for a second may have been appropriate {I've experienced that.} By her own mouth she denies the Lord she claims to know. Please keep this woman who is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders in your prayers. It is not religion she needs, but a saving relationship with Jesus. God wishes that none of us should perish, but that all should come to everlasting life. Just look at how much mercy and love he had for us. Only God knows our souls' condition. I will not judge. I can only go by what I read and it is sad. Just remember Christ said if they hated me, they will hate you. Much blessings to you and thanks for your encouraging testimonies.
9:48 PM "

I read that post by life's journey last night and decided that I would reply to it in the morning. When I need guidance in answering certain posts, I will often ask God, through prayer, to lead me to Scripture that will project HIS wisdom, not my own. When I need to answer a difficult post and/or disagreeable person behind such a post, tempers often flare and lead to a stalemate. The "I'm right, no, I'm right" war wages on ad nauseum.

This morning, when reading the Daily Devotional from Charles Stanley's website, the answer I needed was right there! God is truly a God who answers prayer! I will share it here, then add some comments as they will apply to this blog battle subject.

18 July

Godly Wisdom


It is decision time. We've considered all we know about a situation, taken into account other opinions, and assessed the talents and skills available. With some quick prayers to God, we make our choice. But God's Word tells us we have gone about this the wrong way. We have used human wisdom instead of His. Our thinking is limited to what our minds can conceive of and understand—even the smartest among us are unwise if we separate our reasoning from the Lord's. Our reasoning is also unspiritual. Apart from Christ, our thoughts are governed by our sin nature, which always puts "self" first. Finally, the source of our ungodly thinking is demonic. Adam and Eve's acceptance of Satan's lies resulted in our slavery to sin (Romans 6:20) and our tendency to believe the Devil's words. On the other hand, godly wisdom seeks to gain the Lord's viewpoint and respond according to scriptural principles. It asks, "How would God interpret these events? What does God want me to do?" Then it answers these questions based on the truth of the Bible. As new creations in Christ, we are given the capacity to know what pleases and displeases God, and we are also empowered to obey. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Through reliance on the Holy Spirit, we can become wise. (1 Corinthians 1:30) Wisdom has two factors: perspective—that is, how we look at things—and action. Unwise living takes us outside God's will, while choosing the Lord's way leads to His approval and a fruitful life.

Foolishness or wisdom: which will you pursue today?

IN TOUCH® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, used with permission. All rights reserved. This content and more resources can be found on Month’s Devotionals Copyright © 2005 IN TOUCH Magazine. In Touch Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

Wow! Does that devotional address our current "blog battle" dilemma just perfectly or what?

According to the message of that devotional, can you see that our own secular humanistic wisdom always falls short of Godly wisdom?! If so, then how does one determine whether or not he/she is adhering to and utilizing godly wisdom and not secular humanistic wisdom?

Answer: The Bible and Jesus Christ, the Living Word.

That is our way to find out who is adhering to God's spiritual wisdom vs. our own which puts "self" first and, without Christ, is governed by our sinful nature. It also tends to separate our reasoning from the Lord, and thus causes us to rely on ungodly thinking whose source is demonic.

As the Charles Stanley devotional stated:

"As new creations in Christ, we are given the capacity to know what pleases and displeases God, and we are also empowered to obey. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

1 Corinthians 2:16 - For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Through reliance on the Holy Spirit, we can become wise. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

1 Corinthians 1:30 - But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Wisdom has two factors: perspective—that is, how we look at things—and action.

Unwise living takes us outside God's will, while choosing the Lord's way leads to His approval and a fruitful life.

Jesus said:

Matthew 7:16 - Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Matthew 7:20 - Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Now, it is true that either side could use those verses to their particular advantage. But whose claims would be truth? How do we examine that?

The devotional gives us the answer:

" Adam and Eve's acceptance of Satan's lies resulted in our slavery to sin (Romans 6:20) and our tendency to believe the Devil's words. On the other hand, godly wisdom seeks to gain the Lord's viewpoint and respond according to scriptural principles. It asks, "How would God interpret these events? What does God want me to do?" Then it answers these questions based on the truth of the Bible. As new creations in Christ, we are given the capacity to know what pleases and displeases God, and we are also empowered to obey. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Through reliance on the Holy Spirit, we can become wise. (1 Corinthians 1:30) "

We must examine who is seeking to gain the Lord's viewpoint and respond according to scriptural principles. Through reliance on the Holy Spirit (Who indwells born-again believers who confess their sin, ask for forgiveness and ask Jesus Christ into their hearts as Lord and Savior of their lives) we are then empowered to obey and can become wise.

Take special note of the fact that we DO NOT do this on our own! It is through reliance on the Holy Spirit! If the Holy Spirit does not indwell the person, how can they rely on His guidance?

Those who mock born-again Christians do so BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELLING THEM!!!

Now, before you get all huffy and puffy about what I just said and claim that I am judging others or holding a "holier than thou" attitude, please look at what Jesus himself said about this matter:

John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:7 - Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Before John 3:16 can be applied to a person, Jesus himself said you must be "born again". This is so important that Jesus repeated the need within 4 sentences of each other.

[ Note: These verses were written and recorded by John the Apostle, NOT John the Baptist as someone stated incorrectly at their blog.]

Next, let's look at John 3:16:

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This does not mean a casual belief, ( for the Bible tells us that even the demons recognized who Jesus was), but the difference was that the demons had chosen to rebel against God and not follow Him! Rebelling is evident when one chooses not to follow Jesus' commandment before his ascension into heaven.

First, here is what God the Father said in the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 11:22 - For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;

In the New Testament, Jesus said:

John 14:15 - If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:23 - Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 15:10 - If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Next, look at Jesus' warning not to "love the world":

John 15:19 - If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

1 John 2:15 - Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

What is Jesus referring to when he states "the world"? The sinful nature that the world indulges in. Yet, as stated in the Ten Commandments and also here in James:

James 2:8 - If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

Christians often coin a single phrase that represents these two (as well as other) verses. We are to 'love the sinner, and hate the sin.' That's biblical, contrary to what many liberal, Scripture-rejecting , self-labeled 'Christians' may claim. They tend to love the sinner (good start), but unfortunately, at the same time celebrate the sin right along with the sinner! Leading others away in this regard is not what Jesus would have us do!!

Jesus didn't do anything like "celebrating the sin right along with the sinner" during his earthly ministry! In fact, He did the exact opposite!! He told the woman caught in adultery to "leave her life of sin". Jesus never left the forgiven person the same way he had found them! This is key to understanding the Gospel and what we, as Christians, are to do when representing Him on earth!!

Next, why does "natural man" NOT RECOGNIZE the things of the Spirit of God and CANNOT RECEIVE the things of the Spirit of God?

I Corinthians 2:13 - But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

Next, how does a person recognize another who does not have the Spirit of God indwelled within?

Jude 1:19 - These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

What is a certain indication that a person is a true Christian? Why do certain people who hate evangelical, born-again Christians resent them so much?

1 John 4:12 - No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:20 - If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

What is the certain indication that we are Jesus' disciples? Jesus' own words tell us:

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

There is no such thing as a 'Lone Ranger' Christian!!

If you are not in a fellowship of love with, and between, your Christian brothers and sisters, and, this is key, involved in the TRUTH (FROM SCRIPTURAL AGREEMENT THROUGH HERMENEUTICS AND PRINCIPLES OF BIBLICAL EXEGESIS ) of the BIBLE, then SOMETHING IS WRONG!

How do we find out what that "SOMETHING IS WRONG" thing is? There are many Scriptures that we could list, however, Romans 6 sums it up quite well:

Romans 6:1-23 (NLT)

Sin's Power Is Broken
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was. 6 Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life. 9 We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.

12 Do not let sin control the way you live;* do not give in to its lustful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you are no longer subject to the law, which enslaves you to sin. Instead, you are free by God's grace.

Freedom to Obey God
15 So since God's grace has set us free from the law, does this mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don't you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive his approval. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you have obeyed with all your heart the new teaching God has given you. 18 Now you are free from sin, your old master, and you have become slaves to your new master, righteousness.

19 I speak this way, using the illustration of slaves and masters, because it is easy to understand. Before, you let yourselves be slaves of impurity and lawlessness. Now you must choose to be slaves of righteousness so that you will become holy.

20 In those days, when you were slaves of sin, you weren't concerned with doing what was right. 21 And what was the result? It was not good, since now you are ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Or Do not let sin reign in your body, which is subject to death.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Believe It - Then I'll See It!

I'm sure that other Christians can relate to this. Being born-again spiritually is like an entirely new world opening up in front of our eyes. We see things in a completely new light and Christ begins his sanctification process within our hearts and minds to make us a new person. When I started looking back along the path of my journey to Christ, I see things differently than when I was actually experiencing them. The first incident that I would like to share goes way back (wayyyyy back...heh heh) when I was a teenager.

I had recently received my drivers license and wanted to drive my friend and I to a party house down at the shore. My parents said "NO"! However, I disobeyed them. They were away for the weekend so I took my dad's old clunky station wagon and took off for Belmar, N.J. with my good friend Debbie. We had a great time at the beach that day, then drove to a house that was rented out by several people whom Debbie knew. It was there that we had the opportunity to shower and change and join the others at the BBQ being held in the yard. I was only 18 at the time, and not legally eligible to drink alcohol, but there was a keg of beer and LOTS of mixed drinks available for consumption. I chose not to indulge and opted for soda. My friend Debbie had some beer, but wasn't intoxicated (unlike a LOT of the guys). We were told of another party going on a few miles away and Debbie and I decided to go check it out. When we arrived, I remember feeling uncomfortable almost immediately. It was a much older crowd and I felt out of place. I stayed for Debbie's sake because a guy she liked was there. It was getting late (almost 2 p.m.), it was raining and I was tired so I told Debbie we needed to leave.

While driving back to the other house on Rt. 35 (a divided 2 lane highway), we soon approached the next intersection where the signal light had just turned green in our direction. Just as we were entering the intersection, I glanced at Debbie (who was sitting in the front passenger seat) and saw this look of horror on her face. There wasn't any time for me to do anything, but Debbie grabbed me and pulled me over towards her on the bench seat of the station wagon. As I turned to look to my left, all I saw was a bright light beaming in the window. Less than a second later, a car crashed right into my driver side door. We spun around for what seemed like an eternity to me. I was screaming and Debbie braced herself with one hand and held onto me with the other. Our vehicle finally came to rest at the side of the road. All I could think of was, "my parents are going to kill me!" I was screaming and crying. Debbie had suffered some injuries and was bleeding and had glass stuck in her skin on her head and arms. She had hit her head on the windshield and bruised her knees, too.

The police and paramedics arrived and after hearing all the details of the accident, we found out that the teenaged girl driving the other car was drunk, had run a red light and hit me broadside. The road was slippery and that caused us to spin around.

I sat on the curb and continued to cry. I worried about disobeying my parents and totaling my dad's car. The paramedics asked if I was injured and I said no. I didn't have any injuries! If it were not for Debbie pulling me over and down on the bench seat, the huge protruding side door frame would have jammed into my side. In those years, seat belts were not mandatory yet. But I usually wore mine whenever driving or traveling in a car. That night, I must have just forgotten. If I had been belted in, that piece of metal would have penetrated my side and who knows how I would have ended up.

Debbie went to the hospital to get the glass removed, and her cuts and bruised treated. Later, she ended up having back trouble because she tensed up trying to brace herself for the impact. I remember the conversations going on all around me. The paramedics mentioned that it was a miracle that the driver wasn't killed. That's how badly the car was crushed in from the side. The police officer at the scene said something similar.

The next day at the car repair shop where they deemed that the vehicle totaled, a worker asked another guy near the car if the driver was killed in that crash. I said (sarcastically at the time), "no, I'm right here!" All I could think of was how my parents were going to react! I got tired of hearing all these people saying it was a miracle that I wasn't killed. Actually, it was a miracle! If you had seen this car and the damage done to the driver's side, you would have thought the same thing. But I was an angry, scared, impatient teenager dreading the moment I had to face my parents when they arrived to take me home. So, I wasn't paying any attention to all this "miracle" talk.

That horrible experience turned me into a defensive driver for the rest of my life. I have even told my kids that a stop light or stop sign is NOT a barrier and even when you have the right of way, ALWAYS look both ways when crossing an intersection.

But even more importantly, I realized that God protected me throughout the entire ordeal. I didn't recognize His grace towards me at the time, but later, it became very clear. All that talk (which I rejected at the time) about my survival of that accident being a miracle was true. All of the little details added up to my surviving that accident. Details such as not wearing a seat belt that day; Debbie just happened to be looking my way and saw the drunk driver headed towards us; she instantly grabbed me and pulled me over to her side of the car; the slippery road lessened the impact; the fact that this old station wagon was like a tank and we were protected by the older framing cage of the car; are just a few of the details that saved me. I wasn't a Christian yet and it wasn't my time. The Lord had work for me to do.

I was destined to marry, have two children and sit here today to type this out for many to read. God has a plan for each of us. Even though I disobeyed my parents and in addition, sinned against God through my disobedience, God turned this terrible incident for good. He is a redeeming God! He desires us to know Him through his Son, Jesus Christ and He desires us to all be redeemed and adopted into His family as children.

Back when this accident happened, I didn't know Christ yet, hadn't confessed all my sins yet, hadn't asked for forgiveness of all my sin yet, hadn't asked Jesus Christ into my heart yet, hadn't received the mercy and grace given of God through salvation in my life yet. But God had a plan for me. He has a plan for you, too. I hope and pray that one day (if you are reading this and you haven't already) you will recognize who Jesus is and what he has done for you at the cross.

The following Charles Stanley Devotional tells us how we can be sure of our eternal security in Jesus Christ!

Eternal Life: You Can Be Sure
1 John 5:13
Salvation is eternally linked to Jesus Christ. It was His death on Calvary’s Cross that paid the penalty for our sin. Nothing we do can equal what Jesus did for us. This is why the apostle Paul writes that salvation is a gift.

The word grace also is linked to the message of salvation. The grace of God is His goodness manifested toward us. No one, on his own, is worthy of God’s salvation. "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him" (Isaiah 53:6).

We are saved by God’s grace–His goodness demonstrated toward us. And those God saves He keeps. He will not cast us away or refuse us the love that He so willingly gives. However, believers need to be mindful that sin steals the joy that salvation brings.

Even if you have known Christ for many years, sin will darken your life and blind you to the wonder of God’s grace. After his sin with Bathsheba, David prayed: "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation" (Psalm 51:12).

Joy is the evidence of God’s work in our lives. Sin brings His displeasure and judgment, but obedience brings joy to our hearts. David did not ask God merely to make him happy. He prayed for the restoration of joy, which was more than an emotional expression. It is the evidence of a heart that found its contentment in God.
This Month’s Devotionals
Copyright © 2005 IN TOUCH Magazine. In Touch Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

IN TOUCH® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, used with permission. All rights reserved. This content and more resources can be found on

Saturday, July 16, 2005

God Blog Convention 2005!

GodBlogCon God Blog Convention

Hey friends!

I just found out about the first Christian 'Bloggers' Convention at Biola University!

Biola's Torrey Honores Institute will host a convention for Christian bloggers, Oct. 13-15, titled "GodBlogCon." The goals of the convention are to provide networking opportunities for Christian bloggers and to help them think about their medium and how they can best influence the culture and advance God's kingdom. Session topics will include: "Blogging for Pastors," "Blogging for Cultural Impact" and "Christian Political Blogging."

"Bloggers" - short for "Web loggers" - are people who start Web sites and update them regularly with personal commentary on topics that interest them. Blogging is being recognized as a new form of scholar activism. To register for the conference, visit

Hope to see you there!


P.S. Thought I'd add this test just for fun! Good luck! Just so you know, there is nothing "dirty" within the IQ test below so please don't let that word make you hesitate (I did at first!) to do this short, fun test. I don't know why that's written in there...maybe to draw a crowd?

Your IQ Is 115

Your Logical Intelligence is Above Average
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your General Knowledge is Above Average

About Those "Gray Areas" in Life...

[NOTE TO READERS: I have not been successful at getting my blog posts to separate by paragraphs. If anyone has suggestions and can help me solve this, please do! I apologize for the appearance of these posts because it does make it a bit more difficult to read.]

My post today will probably make more sense if you go to Kyle Williams blog and read, "Blogging continues".

If you don't want to go to the blog, below, is the portion that I was responding to:

(article quote) "If evangelicals hope to influence Washington and the world, they need to show they understand that life doesn't come in only black and white. It includes wide swaths of gray, and it takes wisdom to make your way through the gray matter." (end of quote)

The question is, why are there gray areas in life and society as we know it in the first place? What are the "legitimate" gray areas (if, in fact, there are any) and which ones are illegitimate? Jesus asks us all the question, "Who do you say that I am?" Is there any gray area allowed within our answer? Skeptics will say yes, because of the misused word of "tolerance" towards other religions (as if they genuinely care?) and relativistic beliefs brought about by man. But what answer will God accept? THAT should be what is considered in this matter, NOT what relativistic, secular humanism might wish to add, subtract or dictate.

The fact that Christianity Today is drifting towards a more liberal stance isn't comforting to me. It is an indication of how heresy and apostasy can creep into a church's doctrine. This can, unfortunately, occur when pastors, ministers, church leaders and members take their eyes off of Jesus and place them on worldly "answers" and desires. Christians are not immune to incorrect ideology creeping into our churches. We are warned about the 'why', 'how', and 'when' such things are likely to occur in Jude and Revelation. And guess what? They are happening BIG TIME, right now. Jesus told us that God's Word is Truth. Period. There is no gray area there, Kyle. It is man who wishes to create those gray areas and make them "acceptable." You are just 16 so I pray that you will continue to study and learn from the Bible so that you will not be overtly influenced by liberal secular humanism and led astray from the Absolute Truth God's Word contains.

Next, I read Kyle's recent article on WND and responded to the end of that article.

Your column on WND ended with this paragraph: (Kyle's quote) "The question is this: When the homosexuals stop marrying one another, when the government stops being corrupt, when babies have stopped being aborted, when terrorists stop killing people, when America stops policing the world, when the Constitution is a respected legal document, when the crisis of education has been solved, and when the conservatives take over Hollywood, all these problems will have been fixed – but what have we truly gained when we still face the sting of death?" (end of quote)

My answer? As a born-again, evangelical Christian I would say that we are to be a positive influence upon our culture. We shouldn't just sit back and let liberal ideology run amok in this country. Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my Commandments." Yes. We need to share the Gospel and pray that all may come to repentance and the saving grace of Christ through faith. But then we are to do more! How do we keep the commandments of God alive and well in our nation unless we fight the ideologies that set themselves against them? No. We will most likely never keep all homosexuals from what they wish to self-describe as "marrying". But we can perhaps help them realize their need for repentance by leading them, one soul at a time, to come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Our government will never be perfect. No government is or can be. But there are governments that are far better than others and the U.S. qualifies.

Neither will any church ever be perfect, for that matter. But we can strive towards holiness by being obedient to Jesus Christ and his teachings. Part of such obedience is adherence to God's Word, sharing it and encouraging others around us to do the same.We will probably never stop all abortions. But what about the women who may have wanted to abort but didn't because a Christian friend influenced them to keep her baby? Or, give birth for the purpose of adoption? One baby, one soul at a time, can be spared from abortion. Case in point. My daughter's friend has an older sister who ended up with an unplanned pregnancy. She kept the baby despite the fact that the boy who impregnated her didn't want to be in either of their lives. The baby is now 6 mos. old and my daughter said to me just yesterday (paraphrased here), "What if Sally (changed name) took that step and aborted James (changed name)? We wouldn't have the joy of his little life in our lives."

Words of wisdom from a 17 yr. old.

Since this is getting long, I will skip to the "sting of death" comment.1 Corinthians 15:53-58 (NLT)53 For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.54 When this happens-when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die-then at last the Scriptures will come true:"Death is swallowed up in victory.*55 O death, where is your victory?O death, where is your sting?"*56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord!58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.


1 Corinthians 15:54 (see Isaiah 25:8 )

1 Corinthians 15:55 (see Hosea 13:14)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My Journey to Christ

My fellow Christian blog friend Jojo asked me to share my testimony. I told her it would be long! She wanted the complete, detailed story but that would indeed be VERY long. Here is a somewhat detailed overview. I do plan to recount certain incidences in future posts where I now can see that the hand of God had been working within my entire life; even when at the time I didn't recognize or even realize it. I will also post about the proofs that have occurred to me, personally, over the last 15 years of Bible study and prayer that have led me to steadfast faith in Jesus Christ and the absolute truth and authority of God's Word, the Bible.

I originally started this post late last evening and then realized that I had left out some important segments. I also realized that I had posted an incorrect date! As certain facts, recollections and instances are called to mind, I will add them either here or in my future posts. Here's the start of my journey to Christ!

My family is originally from the east coast. I grew up in a little suburb town called Roselle Park near Elizabeth, NJ. Our town was primarily of Italian descent and of the Roman Catholic faith. My mom is Polish and her parents came over on the boat. My dad was Scottish, a bit of Welsch and English and the majority of his family were Methodist. My mom took my brother, sister and I to the Catholic church and my dad stayed home. Back when I was only 7, my mom remembers how concerned I was about my dad not going to church. I remember praying that one day he would come with us to church, and he did (very rarely) so I was always concerned about his relationship "with the Man upstairs" (as he used to call him).

Most people whom I hung out with were Catholic, too. After graduating college, I took a job as a physical education/health/safety teacher at an elementary school in my home town. I met and became good friends with Linda Green who was the school's music teacher. We often combined our classes and did several activities and programs together. One day in September, 1979, Linda invited me to her church. It was an evangelical/pentecostal denomination and boy was it different from the solemnity of the Roman Catholic church I was used to! The music was uplifting, contemporary and fun. I noticed a lot of people placing their hands in the air and closing their eyes. When the altar call to come up to the front and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior was offered, I froze. I didn't understand what they were doing or what it meant so I just stayed at my seat. My friend was singing in the chorus so I was standing there in the pew surrounded by people I did not know. When the final call to come forward was made, we were told to bow our heads for prayer. The sinners prayer was being recited and many thoughts were racing through my head. My heart was beating so fast! The words being spoken were all new to me; this was not done in the Catholic church. I remember thinking that what was being said didn't sound like it was against the Catholic church teachings and I was regretting that I didn't have the courage to walk forward. Hearing that sinners prayer made me kneel down right there at my seat (like a good Catholic!) and I joined in and recited the prayer right along with all the people who had already come forward near the altar. There was a second prayer for church members to re-dedicate their lives to Christ. I didn't quite understand what that was all about, but later in my life I learned very well what it meant!

My friend Linda didn't know that I had recited the prayer because I hadn't come forward. I kept it to myself! I think I feared that it might mean that I would have to become a member of her church. Six months later, I resigned from my teaching job because my part time job (Mary Kay Cosmetics) was taking off and I was earning much more money at that than teaching. Linda and I, unfortunately, lost touch soon after that. I became a director with Mary Kay and was successful at recruiting and selling the product. Over the years, I was a superficial Christian. In hindsight, I can now see how God sent Christian women into my life to remind me of that decision I made back in 1979.

Skip forward to 1982. After years of failed relationships and loser boyfriends, I met my husband while doing temporary work at Wakefern Food Corp. in Elizabeth, N.J. We were the typical office romance that is not supposed to work out...but did! We were engaged in April of 1983 and married in October, 1983! My husband was raised Episcopalian, but he agreed to get married in the Catholic church. During the ceremony we took pledges to raise our future children (if so blessed) in the church. Almost nine months to the day of our wedding night (people WERE counting, too!) my son was born. Two months later, my husband accepted an offer to work at Foodmaker, Inc. (parent company of Jack-in-the-Box at the time) in Hayward CA. To the total dismay of my mom and dad, I moved out to CA, sight unseen, with my husband and our 2 month old son. Once there, it was very difficult to hold onto my Mary Kay career and several months later, my unit was dissolved and I was no longer a director.

We were so caught up with our lives that we didn't even attend church anymore. Two years later, a series of tragedies, disagreements and problems arose in our marriage. First, my mother-in-law had lost her second husband and moved out to CA into an apartment near us. Everything was fine until she started acting strangely. She would forget things and would often repeat herself. We then noticed that she wasn't bathing herself and her hair appeared to be not washed for weeks! The hairspray buildup was like glue! I convinced her to get into the shower and told her that I would wash her hair for her. She loved the idea and the attention. I noticed that she was drinking some of the water coming from the shower. I asked her if she was thirsty and she said yes. I planned to get her a drink after her shower, but when I was rinsing her hair I noticed that she was looking groggy and sleepy. Suddenly, she fainted! I screamed for my husband, he ran upstairs and we got her out of the tub shower stall. We got water for her to drink and she was gulping it down. She was severely dehydrated! We took her to the doctor the next day. He told us she was malnourished and dehydrated. When we told him about her forgetfulness and constant repeating the same words, he said he needed to do a series of tests. In those days, they did many tests to eliminate several possibilities of what could be wrong.

We just thought that maybe she was depressed and wasn't eating properly, so we had her come over more often for meals. One night, she didn't show up. We called her apartment, no answer. We called until 10:00 p.m. which is the time she would certainly be home if she went to the mall. Still no answer. We called the police. They said she isn't a missing person until 24 hours passed. It was late Saturday night and we were absolutely panicked! My husband drove all over town and to the mall looking for her car in the parking lots. Early Sunday morning, we get a call from a woman who lived halfway between Livermore, CA (our residence) and Los Angeles! She found Charlie's mom in her Nissan Sentra car off the side of the freeway in a ditch! She was dazed and couldn't remember anything so the woman searched her purse and found our phone number. We drove out there to get her and when we saw where she went off the road it was a miracle. On either side of the place she landed where huge steep drops into deep gullies! She wouldn't have survived if she went off the road 30 seconds sooner or later! After this incident, we knew her condition was serious.

We were devastated to find out that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. This part could get very long, but to sum it up I will say that she took turns living at each child's home until she could get into a nursing home in N.J. Those 2 months were two of the longest of my life! I would get in the shower for 5 min. and she'd be gone out the door! We had latches at the top of the door but she would unlock them and leave. She had a pattern of walking to town and sitting on a bench in front of K-Mart. I would get my son in the car and drive over there to get her. She would always say, "I was waiting for Buddy (my husband's nickname growing up) to come pick me up."

Soon after all the stress of this terrible experience with my mother-in-law, I noticed that I missed a period and suspected that I was pregnant again. I went to my gynecologist, he examined me and this is EXACTLY what he said, "Mrs. W., I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are pregnant. The bad news is that you are going to lose it." Have you ever heard anything so coldly stated such as this? I couldn't believe it! He then went on to describe how many hours from now I would probably have a "spontaneous abortion" and suggested I sit and expel it into the toilet (sorry folks for the graphic description). I couldn't believe he was so unemotional, cold and technical about it. He said I might require a D & C afterward....I just shut his voice out after that point. I remember crying for days after it all happened. I hated reading those words "spontaneous abortion" in my medical records. I was devastated. I remember thinking, why God?

We were told to wait at least 6 months before trying to get pregnant again. In November, 1986, I found out I was pregnant again! We were so filled with joy! My son was almost 2 1/2 and the timing was really good for a second child.

One morning in March, 1987 when I was 4 months along, another tragedy occurred. We lived in a small house at the time with a narrow kitchen. I had just heated up water in the microwave for my morning instant coffee. I turned to get the coffee from the cupboard and I heard the shuffle of footy pajamas coming into the kitchen. My son was coming toward me with wide open arms to hug his mommy. He hit the hot water in the mug and it spilled onto his upper chest and ran down the front of his pajamas. He screamed in pain, I screamed in horror he clung to me like an orangutan and wouldn't let go! I saturated a towel in cold water and placed it between us while running the bath and trying to get him into the tub. He wouldn't let go of me! I found out later that I should have taken the clothes off but in a panic all I could think of was to cool down his chest. I called 911, hysterical. The ambulance came and we headed to the hospital. My son suffered 3rd degree burns on his upper chest and 2nd degree burns on his face (splashing) and lower abdomen. He spent 3 weeks in the hospital. There I was, pregnant, sleeping on a futon in his hospital room. Each morning, they had to give him special baths to clean the wounds. I couldn't stand his screams! I would drive home (30 mins. away) and cry and sob the entire way. When I reached home, I closed the door behind me and collapsed, sprawled out flat on my face on the cold stone entryway floor. There I was, guilt stricken, sobbing with my head on the floor. In fact, there was a song out on the radio with those very lyrics in it. I would lay there, cry and wail, "Why God? Why did this have to happen to my little boy? Why couldn't the boiling water have fallen on me? Why did I turn my back at that instant? Why did this accident happen?" I have to admit, I started to question my faith. First time in my life. I was mad at God.

In those days, the surgeon would take skin grafts from another part of the body (buttocks) and apply it to the 3rd degree burn area. My little boy had to endure this operation and then wear tight, spandex garments for 6 mos. afterward to prevent bumps in the graft as it healed.

Around this time, the news was filled with the horrific incident where a disgruntled divorced father purposely tried to burn his son to death. It had happened years ago, but it was in the news again. The boy (can't recall his name) was burned over 85% (I think) of his body. I remember thinking how could a father do such an awful, horrendous thing? Here I was feeling so guilty about an accident that happened to a small part of my son's body and this boy had to endure so much more pain and anguish. It was a miracle that this other boy even survived. He was so disfigured he had to have many operations.

Those three weeks that my son was in the hospital felt like three months!

The day my son came home was so joyful! We had balloons and cake at the hospital and the staff was just in love with him...but he wanted to get out of there fast! We had balloons, cake and a few close friends came over a few hours later to welcome him home. As he healed over the next several months, I felt so bad for him. He had to endure wearing those spandex garments even in the heat of the summer.

All the stress of this tragedy didn't help my pregnancy. I developed gestational diabetes and had to cut out all sugar from my diet. I ended up losing 8 lbs. in my last 2 months of pregnancy, but gave birth to a healthy baby girl!

My husband was transferred to the Corp. headquarters in San Diego and we moved into an apartment waiting for our first new house to be built. Four months later, on December 29, 1988, we were in our new home. I met another mother who was holding Bible studies in her home in the neighborhood and she invited me to attend. Our family started attending the Catholic church again, for the sake of the children, and were considering placing them into catechism classes. My mother's group and I were studying the book of John at the neighborhood study. When we got to chapter 3 and Nicodemus' encounter with Jesus everything clicked. I realized what had happened that day years ago in that evangelical/pentecostal church! The Holy Spirit was nudging me back to a relationship with Jesus Christ! I was so excited and shared my story with the group. There was a problem though. My husband was not receptive to my newfound excitement in my faith. He said that we promised to raise the kids in the Catholic church at our wedding and he intended to keep that promise. I asked him, "did we make such a promise to a building (church) or to the Head of the church, Jesus Christ?"

We had three tumultuous years in our marriage after that. I was studying every book I could find, including the Bible on a regular basis and my husband was worried that I had become a religious nut! His view was that "religion was a private matter".

In January of 1989, my husband discovered a lump in his neck. His dad had died of Hodgkins disease at the age of 60. I never had the opportunity to meet him because he had died long before Charlie and I had met. I was hoping that the lump my husband found was nothing to worry about. It turned out that he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. When he came home and shared the news with me we held each other on the couch and just cried. The kids were still sleeping in their rooms upstairs and we dreaded sharing the bad news. My husband underwent surgery to remove his thyroid (although it wasn't infected yet; done as precaution) and the infected lymph nodes surrounding the area. The good news is that he has been cancer free ever since then. Praise God! I think that this health scare woke up my husband to consider his stance with God. He seemed less hostile to what I would often briefly share from my Bible study. This gave me new hope! Meanwhile, I was secretly hoping and praying to find a Bible-based Christian church to attend. One Sunday, there was an article in our local newspaper about a new church opening in the next town over. It sounded perfect! Just like what I was looking and praying for! Of course, my husband wasn't very receptive to this. I told him that I just wanted to check it out. That Sunday, I drove to the church by myself and when the service was over, I had raised my hand to rededicate my life to Jesus Christ! There was a popular Christian music artist there (Dennis Agajanian) and his music was terrific. The band and chorus sang contemporary Christian songs and it was so uplifting! I was filled with joy and excitement just singing and clapping and worshiping Jesus! After the service, I met with a prayer partner at the side of the church. We prayed about the salvation of my husband and children.

When I got home, I found out that my daughter had wanted to go with me. In fact, she had been running down the street after my car screaming my name so I would stop and take her with me!

When I shared all that had transpired at this new church, my kids were so excited to attend! When my husband finally decided to give the church a try, he really liked it too. Over the next several months we alternated between the Catholic church and the Christian fellowship! In the Christian church, the pastor would ask the congregation to hold up their Bibles. We went out and bought Bibles. In fact, my husband bought me two of them for Christmas that year! One week, we got confused and brought our Bibles to the Catholic church. We didn't use them there and that was when our kids said, "we like the other church SO MUCH BETTER!" From that point on, we attended the Christian Fellowship. Our daughter went to the children's group and our son came into the big sanctuary with us. He loved listening to Pastor Shawn. My daughter joined AWANA and I became a leader for 2 years and the "Chums and Guards" (3rd - 5th grade girls) Director for one year. My daughter accepted Christ as Lord and Savior in the Chums club and my son accepted Christ as Lord and Savior during a home Bible study in our own living room!

My husband was the one hold out. I kept praying. We kept studying and going to this new church. On Easter of 1990, my husband stood to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. We aren't supposed to peak when the invitation is given, but a guy sitting on the other side of my husband spoke with me after the service and said to tell my husband congratulations! I was in tears! Tears of joy!! Hid those tears behind my sunglasses during the ride home and just waited for him to tell me about his decision. It was the greatest Easter Sunday of my life! Our journey as a strong, COMPLETE Christian family had begun and the prayers I had been praying for my husband all those years were answered! Praise God for his goodness!!

There was one more thing I needed to do. I needed to release my past anger at God for any and all tragedies that had occurred in my life. When I did that, it was like the heaviest of burdens was lifted right off of me! It was then that I saw God working throughout my life through everything...the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. I knew that no matter what, He would never leave nor forsake me. I may not understand why certain things happen until the other side of heaven, but what leaped in front of me were so many incidences that I had not previously recognized as protection, blessing, and grace in my life.

Perhaps I can share some of those in my next post? This one is quite long! I know that I covered more than just my individual journey to Christ, but it was at this point where my faith grew by leaps and bounds unlike anything I had ever experienced before. This is when the "I'll see it when I believe it" incidences occurred in my life that cemented my certainty about Jesus Christ and what he did for us at the cross. I was now into the heart of worship when I realized more than ever before that it's all about Him!

Here am I. Send me.

This morning, I noticed a passage of Scripture on my desk which I had written down from a sermon presented by Charles Stanley.

When I went to the passage, I thought how appropriate and significant it is for this blog. Lately, there have been many posts here by a non-believer whose unequivocal stated goal is similar to satan's; to kill, steal and destroy those who have genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

Matthew 6:19 (KJV) -
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

Mat 6:20
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Mat 6:21
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Mat 6:22
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Mat 6:23
But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

Here is the NLT version of Matthew 6:19-23:

19 "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.
22 "Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. 23 But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!

Did any readers here see "The Passion of the Christ"? Remember the part where Mel Gibson depicts satan as an androgenous being? This being was not portrayed as visually ugly (as many devil depictions typically are portrayed), but it was shown to be attractive, inviting, seductive, subtle and waiting in the background to tempt, capture and deceive. Except for one thing. We see that there is something wrong when a slithering snake suddenly appears from inside the nose and then just as suddenly slithers back again into the hiding place where it cannot openly been seen or detected.

This was a great illustration of how evil works.

Unlike the obvious evil of the terrorists attacks, much evil is done gradually, seductively, as the Matthew passage states, "23 But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!"

Notice that the light is first shut out, and then the evil eye plunges one into darkness. Notice what Jesus says next, "If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!

Those who have goal(s) opposite of what Jesus teaches are not open and receptive to the Gospel message; they are intent on destroying it. Through their mind's eye, being steeped in deception, they see their own intent as "good" and Bible believing followers of Christ as "evil". Isaiah has a lot to say about such deception and intent to destroy God's Word

Isa 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Isa 5:22 Woe unto [them that are] mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink

Isa 5:23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

Isa 5:24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, [so] their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

When people do not carefully observe the distinction between good and evil, destruction soon follows. The typical mantra today by the relativistic liberal God ignoring crowd is one that states, "No one can decide for anyone else what is really right or wrong." They may think that getting drunk or taking illicit drugs can't hurt them. They may think that fornication, extramarital sex, homosexual sex, pornography, abortion etc. isn't really wrong. They may think that the love of money doesn't control them. But when we make excuses for our actions, we break down the distinction between right and wrong. If we do not take God's Word, the Bible, as our standard, soon all moral choices will appear fuzzy. Without God, we are headed for a breakdown and much suffering.

The people in Isaiah's day suffered because they rejected God's law. It is really sad, today, to see so many people searching for meaning in their lives while scorning and rejecting the very thing (God's Word) and Person (Jesus Christ) that gives their lives meaning, now and in eternity!

Non-believers don't realize or recognize God's greatness, mystery, and power. In Isaiah 6:1-4, Isaiah presents his lofty view of God. He shows that he recognizes his sinfulness, confesses it before God and this in turn encourages us to confess our sin. Isaiah's picture of forgivenss reminds us that we, too, are forgiven when we accept God's provision for that forgiveness:

Romans 10:9 (KJV) - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

When we recognize how great our God is, how sinful we are and how utterly powerless we are to conquer that sin in our lives, we see the extent of God's forgiveness and we receive the pwer to do his work.

Notice that in a time of moral and spiritual decay when depravity had peaked, Isaiah saw God in his holiness. Holiness means morally perfect, pure, and set apart from all sin. We also need to discover God's holiness! What typically keeps us from discovering His holiness? Society's pressures, our daily stress and frustrations, our shortcomings, tendency to sin and pride of self reduce and narrow our view of God. We need the Bibles' view of God as high and lifted up to empower us to deal with our problems and concerns. God's moral perfection, properly seen (as through the Person of Jesus Christ) will purify us from sin, and when allowed, the Holy Spirit within will cleanse our minds from our problems and enable us to worship and serve.

It is only then, when sin is purged from the soul and forgiveness bestowed by God that a person is enabled to worship and serve.

Isa 6:6 -
Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, [which] he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

Isaiah 6:7 -
And he laid [it] upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Isaiah 6:8 -
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.

Before we can accept God's call to speak for him to those around us, we must be cleansed just as Isaiah was, confessing our sins and submitting to God's control. Letting God purify us may be painful, but we must be purified so that we can truly represent God, who is pure and holy. In fact, Isaiah reveals how aware Isaiah became of his own powerlessness and inadequacy to do anything of lasting value without God.

Isaiah 6:5 - Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

But he was willing to be God's spokesman. When God calls, will you also say, "Here am I. Send me!" ?

Michael W. Smith - Here I Am

From the album, " Healing Rain ."

There’s a place where I can go
Where the angels hear me pray
“I want to change, yes I need Your touch”

I’m waiting here for You
And I fall, at Your feet
I’ll give it all, until the day we meet


Here I am
Ready to give up my life for the One

Here I am
Ready to pour out my heart for the Son

Here I am
Here I come to Your threshing floor
Where the angels fear to tread
I’m waiting here for the King of love
And to hold the hands that bled

And I fall, at Your feet
I’ll give it all, until the day we meet

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Service: Pathway to Real Significance

1 Samuel 12:24 (NASB) - "Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.

I love how the Lord will lead me to a specific Bible verse, paragraph in the latest book that I am reading, or "speak" to me through a post,
email or question. I am currently reading Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" for probably the fifth time! Because it is filled with Bible verses, it is a book that can be considered a synopsis of the Bible's message to mankind. [Note: within this post I will designate excerpts from the book with PDL notations.]

This morning, I was reading the part in Chapter 29 which describes
how we, as Christians, are meant to "accept our assignment." The main point of the chapter is the fact that we are saved to serve, not to sit around and wait for heaven. The next question is key:

PDL: "Have you ever wondered why God doesn't just immediately take
us to heaven the moment we accept his grace? Why does he leave us in
a fallen world? He leaves us here to fulfill his purposes. Once you are saved, God intends to use you for his goals. God has a ministry for you
in his church and a mission for you in the world."

I have to admit that as a young Christian, I always thought that I would need to be "as good as" my Bible study teacher, or a great public
speaker like my pastor, or "know the Bible completely" (which, by the way, is humanly impossible) before I could be deemed worthy to serve.
I thought that being "an ambassador for Christ", (as one very intelligent man named Greg Koukl teaches at his "Stand to Reason" website) I would need to know far more than I currently know. The truth is, I will never have all the answers that people might ask me. I found that I was often afraid to speak up and share the Gospel because of the very good chance that I might look foolish. Then I read these two verses:

1Cr 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish
foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Cr 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom
knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Ah ha! Now I get it. It is supposed to look foolish to those who are perishing. That second verse gave me all the confidence I would ever need. The fact that it pleases God by and through the foolishness
of preaching which results in saving them that believe.
Wow! That was an eye-opener for me. We please God by sharing his provision of Jesus Christ for salvation with the world, whether the
person we are sharing it with accepts it or not. In other words, we are doing our job, our ministry and mission. God does the saving, not

I love to look at other Bible versions of the same verse. Here is the NLT:

1 Corinthians 1:21 - Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe. (emphasis mine)

I run across the intellectual arguments of those who are smarter than
me all the time. But this verse is informing us that human wisdom is limited in scope, especially when it comes to spiritual matters. So, if human wisdom doesn't cut it then what should we do?

Jesus was unmistakable, Matthew 20:28 (TEV) - "Your attitude
must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life."

The Apostle Paul reiterates this in the following verses:

1Cr 2:16 - For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may
instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1Cr 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind [and] one mouth glorify God,
even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

How do we develop the 'mind of Christ'? First, by being born-again.
Next, by studying God's Word.

PDL: "You are going to give your life for something. What will it be - a career, a posrt, a hobby, fame, wealth? None of these will have lasting significance. Service is the pathway to real significance. It is through ministry that we discover the meaning of our lives. The Bible says,
"Each of us finds our menaing and function as a part of his body" (Romans 12:5 Msg). As we serve together in God's family, our lives take on eternal importance. Paul said, "I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less...because of what you are a part of " (1 Corinthians 12:14a, 19 Msg).

I am continually amazed that God wants to work through me (and you!) to make a difference in his world! As Rick Warren states, "What matters is not the duration of your life, but the donation of it. Not how long you lived, but how you lived." My first thought about this is that if God can use little ole' me, then he can use anybody. I think about all the times I have sinned and messed up (especially before becoming a born-again Christian), but also the times I have messed up ever since accepting
the Lord into my life. Why would he want to use a misfit like me? But
the truth is, that can just be used as an excuse not to be involved
in any service or ministry.

PDL: "Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair, killed someone and had all kinds of family problem, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thoma had doubts, Paul had
poor health, and Timothy was timid. That is quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in his service.

He will use you too, if you stop making excuses!

He will use me too, if I stop making excuses!

PDL: The Bible says, "Each of us will have to give a personal account
to God. (Romans 12:14 NLT). Think about the implications of that. One day God will compare how much time and energy we spent on ourselves compared with what we invested in serving others.

At that point, all our excuses for self-centeredness will sound hollow:
"I was too busy" or "I had my own goals" or "I was preoccupied with working, having fun, or preparing for retirement." To all excuses God
will respoind, "Sorry, wrong answer. I created, saved, and called you
and commanded you to live a life of service. What part did you not understand? The Bible warns unbelievers, "He will poiur out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves,"
( Romans 2:8 NLT) but for Christians it will mean a loss of eternal rewards.

We are only fully alive when we're helping others. Jesus said, " If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever
know what it means to really live." (Mark 8:35 LB; see also Matthew 10:39; 16:25; Luke 9:24; 17:33)

This truth is so important that it is repeated five times in the Gospels.
If you aren't serving, you're just existing, because life is meant for ministry. God wants you to learn to love and serve others unselfishly.

One more point. Jesus made it very clear that we are to love and
minister not only those who already love us, but even those who don't
love us!

Luke 6:32 (NLT) - "Do you think you deserve credit merely for loving those who love you? Even the sinners do that!"

Another translation:

Luke 6:32 (Young) - and -- if ye love those loving you, what grace have ye? for also the sinful love those loving them;

It cost Jesus his own life to purchase your salvation. The Bible reminds us, "God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God.
(1 Corinthians 6:20 CEV) We don't serve God out of guilt or fear or even duty, but out of joy, and deep gratitude for what he's done for us. We
owe him our lives. Through salvation our past has been forgiven, our present is given meaning, and our future is secured. The apostle John taught, "Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death
to life.
(1 John 3:14 CEV)

In the Bible, the words servant and minister are synomyms, as are service and ministry. If you are a Christian, you are a minister, and
when you're serving, you're ministering.

A saved heart is one that wants to serve.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Good vs. Evil

Today, we all woke up to the news of a terrorist attack in the city of London. As President Bush so aptly pointed out, there is a huge
contrast between what civilized people do and how they act (referring
to the G8 leaders meeting to help alleviate the poverty, spread of HIV/Aids, and environmental issues in Africa) versus those whose only goal is to kill and destroy ANY life because of their rabid evil ideology. The contrast between good and evil could not be more stark or more clear.

We mourn the loss of life and pray for the recovery of the injured from this horrific display of moral evil in the hearts of Islamofascists whose goal is like Satan's steal, kill, and destroy.

Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) - The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The answer?

Jeremiah 17:10 (KJV) - I the LORD search the heart, [I] try
the reins, even to give every man according to his ways,
[and] according to the fruit of his doings.

The Bible is so unique in it's relevance to the time it was written as well
as to how relevant it is for today. Look at the following verses of
Jeremiah 17 (NLT) and note how they can apply today:

Judah's Sin and Punishment
The Lord says, "My people act as though their evil ways are laws to be obeyed, inscribed with a diamond point on their stony hearts, or with an iron chisel on the corners of their altars. 2 Even their children go to worship at their sacred altars and Asherah poles, beneath every green tree and on every high hill. 3 So I will give all your wealth and treasures-together with your pagan shrines-as plunder to your

enemies, for sin runs rampant in your land. 4 The wonderful inheritance I have reserved for you will slip out of your
hands, and I will send you away as captives to a foreign land. For you have kindled my anger into a roaring fire that will burn forever."
Wisdom from the Lord
5 This is what the Lord says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the Lord. 6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness,

on the salty flats where no one lives.
7 "But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into

the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.
9 "The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I know! I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve."

There are people in this world whose only goal is to steal and destroy. Perhaps they see themselves as incapable of killing anyone (physically), but their goal to kill another's walk with Christ and/or ministry which is involved with sharing the gospel of Christ is extremely evident. Such people must have suffered greatly within their own individual lives in order to be so cruel as to try and ruin another's reputation and ministry outreach. It makes you wonder what was done to them for them to be so bitter, mean, angry, hateful and out to destroy another person's life and ministry just because they are so miserable within their own lives. The good news is that just like satan is already a defeated foe, so are the efforts of those who choose to remain in his grip of deception and purposely attempt to thwart the efforts of those saved by God's grace.

We are finding out more and more of the horrendous details regarding the kidnapper/rapist who killed the parents and brother of the two Groene children. Apparently he had a blog that detailed the fact that he was abused and sexually assaulted when he was young. The old adage that abused children often become abusers themselves is very evident in this person's life. The blog stated that his goal was to cause harm and wreak havoc upon society as best he could before dying himself. This is an individual who is in bondage to sin, evil and death. It could not be more evident who his particular 'god' is...the evil one himself. Is this man's sin more terrible than anyone elses? Human wisdom would judge...of course! If you are reading this and thinking that your sin is
not as grievious, then you won't like reading the rest of this post.

The fact is that all sin is rebellion against God and his laws. This is why we cannot save ourselves and must, of necessity, look to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ for all of our sins. There is no other way to be reconciled to Holy God. Period. The Bible reveals what God did for us through Jesus Christ to overcome the sin, evil and death penalty that
we ALL would deserve.

Now, I would like to mention that there are many people who have had horrendous things happen to them because of evil, sin and death in this world. This has made them bitter, angry, deceitful, hateful, revengeful, and causes them to lash out at anyone who has obviously been rescued from their plight. Such people have made it their duty to attempt to ruin others through their bitter hatred that wreaks havoc within their own souls and they don't even realize that what they are fighting against
is the very thing that could help rescue them from their miserable plight. Jesus describes such people in not so flattering terms:

John 8:44 (NLT) - For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with
his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Either we are for the Lord or against him. There is no inbetween
in this matter. There is no gray area in the contrast between good vs. evil, salvation vs.condemnation, surrender vs. cold heartedness, grace
vs. pride, forgiveness from God vs. contempt for God, mercy vs. judgment, hope vs. despair, love vs. hatred, friend of God vs. enemy of God.

Psalm 94:16 (KJV) - Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? [or] who will stand up for me against the workers
of iniquity?

Psalm 94 (NLT)

O Lord, the God to whom vengeance belongs,
O God of vengeance, let your glorious justice be seen!
Arise, O judge of the earth.
Sentence the proud to the penalties they deserve.
How long, O Lord?
How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat?
Hear their arrogance!
How these evildoers boast!
They oppress your people, Lord,
hurting those you love.
They kill widows and foreigners
and murder orphans.
"The Lord isn't looking," they say,
"and besides, the God of Israel* doesn't care."
Think again, you fools!
When will you finally catch on?
Is the one who made your ears deaf?
Is the one who formed your eyes blind?
He punishes the nations-won't he also punish you?
He knows everything-doesn't he also know what you are doing?
The Lord knows people's thoughts,
that they are worthless!
Happy are those whom you discipline, Lord,
and those whom you teach from your law.
You give them relief from troubled times
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
The Lord will not reject his people;
he will not abandon his own special possession.
Judgment will come again for the righteous,
and those who are upright will have a reward.
Who will protect me from the wicked?
Who will stand up for me against evildoers?
Unless the Lord had helped me,
I would soon have died.
I cried out, "I'm slipping!"
and your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind,
your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Can unjust leaders claim that God is on their side-
leaders who permit injustice by their laws?
They attack the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord is my fortress;
my God is a mighty rock where I can hide.
God will make the sins of evil people fall back upon them.
He will destroy them for their sins.
The Lord our God will destroy them.
Hebrew of Jacob.

The book of Revelation describes what happens to those who lead
others astray.

Revelation 2:18-29 (NLT)

The Message to the Church in Thyatira
18 "Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira.

This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are
bright like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:
19 "I know all the things you do-your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. 20 But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman-that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet-to lead my servants

astray. She is encouraging them to worship idols, eat food offered to idols, and commit sexual sin. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she would not turn away from her immorality.
22 Therefore, I will throw her upon a sickbed, and she will suffer greatly with all who commit adultery with her, unless they turn away from all their evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.
24 But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira
who have not followed this false teaching (`deeper truths,'
as they call them-depths of Satan, really). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come.
26 "To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end,

I will give authority over all the nations. 27 They will rule
the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.
28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star! 29
Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit
and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Before the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be preached, the bad news of the deceitful hearts of
unregenerate man, which leads to all kinds of evil, sin and death must be faced by all of us! The only hope we have in
our situation is Jesus Christ. People who are NOT saved by
the grace of God HATE TO HEAR THESE FACTS OF GOD'S WORD. There is a great reason why. They have not been
born again (see previous post). Jesus told us, "You MUST be born again." Those who are not do not have the Holy Spirit indwelled in their hearts to help lead them unto
righteousness. Satan hates all those who take up Jesus' offer to be born again spiritually. The people under his deception and influence hate to hear this. Satan loves that fact, but he hates the people under his influence! People who are knowingly or unknowingly
under his wicked influence will do ANYTHING to deny, dismiss, mock, ridicule, ignore, disguise, skew and attempt to indoctrinate others to their own prideful views and ultimate detriment. These are the signs of the unrepentant, unregenerate heart.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the ONLY HOPE for them. They
can kick and scream and rage against this fact which ultimately will
end up causing their own doom. We either die with our own sin upon
our souls, or with Christ's redemptive sacrifice releasing us from the penalty of sin, evil and death. Your decision about this will last
for eternity. What's YOUR decision?

1 Corinthians 6:11 (NLT) - There was a time when some of
you were just like that, but now your sins have been
washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You
have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.

Footnote: Or you have been cleansed.