The Apple Of God's Eye

March 21, 2011

If I Were The Devil

Filed under: Satan — melchia @ 7:07 am
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sunnylam.ca

If I were the devil I’d be an expert at overthrowing people. Don’t forget I caused ancient Israel to be overthrown many times. I conquered persons such as Ananias, Sapphira, Alexander the coppersmith, and Hymenaeus — all true Christians once. I got Demas, a minister under the Apostle Paul, to turn away from God — having incited him to love this world.

Look Into History

The Bible is a book of history. It was written for the profit of true Christians upon whom the ends of the world are come (I Cor. 10:11; Romans 15:4). The devil also knows the history contained in God’s Word. He knows the lessons better than all. He was there.

Do you remember how ancient Israel was overthrown time and again during the days of the judges? In Judges 3 God delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the king of Mesopotamia by the hand of the son of Caleb’s younger brother. Israel was delivered and the land had rest forty years. See Judges 3:8-11.

But what happened during those forty years? Obviously it was a time of peace, of prosperity and rebuilding of Israel. Those were “good” years — like the roaring twenties and soaring sixties!

“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Eternal: and the Eternal strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Eternal” (verse 12).

So the children of Israel were taken captive — this time under the king of Moab where they served in captivity and slavery for eighteen years. But when they cried to God, He heard them and delivered them.

“So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore [80] years” (verse 30).

Again ancient Israel had peace. This time for eighty years. Again it was a time of peace and prosperity. During this time the children of Israel became a hedonistic and pleasure-loving nation. And they did evil in the sight of the Eternal.

“And the Eternal sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles” (Judges 4:1-2).

With iron chariots and a mighty army the king of Canaan and the captain of his host mightily oppressed the children of Israel for twenty years.

But God loved His nation. And when they cried to Him from pain and suffering, God’s mercy was extended to them again. This time God used Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, to free Israel.

And when He had freed them God’s Word tells us, “And the land had rest forty years” (Judges 5:31). (more…)

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March 19, 2011

How Sure Are God’s Promises?

like-arrows.blogspot.com

How can we be sure that God’s promises are true? Well first, we have to believe in the Word of God, that is is complete truth and understanding for us. The Bible says:

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth – John 17:17

Many people scoff at such a statement without realizing that what comes of man, through the carnal senses, is always a mixture of truth and error. That which proceeds from God however is free of error, because  God is perfect (Matt. 5:48) and CANNOT lie (Titus 1:2). Therefore if He says something to us through His word of truth, it can be taken at full face value as His promises stand sure – Pet. 3:9.

Of course, this hinges on faith as well. Those lacking faith fail to wrap their mind around the concept of complete and utter trust in a supernatural being. But it is something the true Christian must do to please God. Without faith it is impossible to please God – Heb. 11:6.

So what is the biblical definition of this complete trust in God (faith)? Hebrews 11:1 states it this way”

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

“There is no verse in the Bible more important than this, for it states what is the nature of all true faith, and is the only definition of it which is attempted in the Scriptures. Eternal life (a promise from God) depends on the existence and exercise of faith, and hence, the importance of an accurate understanding of its nature.

The word rendered “evidence” – ἔλεγχος  elengchos – occurs in the New Testament only in this place and in 2Tim. 3:16, where it is rendered “reproof.” It means properly proof, or means of proving, to wit, evidence; then proof which convinces another of error or guilt. It is the evidence not yet seen, but which will surely come to pass. (more…)

March 12, 2011

What Was Really Nailed To The Cross?

thegospelcoalition.org

Does Colossians 2:14-17 prove the Ten Commandments, Sabbaths and Holy Days were “against us,” “contrary to us,” and were therefore blotted out — “nailed to the cross”? Just what do these verses really mean?

Nineteen hundred years ago, on a stony slab of ground jutting upward near Jerusalem, a young man was nailed to an upright stake, suffering a uniquely harsh form of execution.

The one who was put to death was not merely a man — but also GOD in the flesh! And His death was a potential atonement for the sins of all mankind!

We know Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty of our sins. But when He was nailed to that stake, what else was nailed there? Do you know?

A Much Misunderstood Scripture

Many fundamentalist theologians point to Colossians 2:14-17 in an attempt to prove that the entire law of God, sabbath days, and God’s annual festivals were done away — nullified and abrogated at the death of Christ. According to them, these verses say that the Ten Commandments were “against us,” and so Christ took them out of the way, “nailing them to His cross” when He died.

What do these verses in Colossians 2 really mean? Before examining Colossians 2:14-17 word by word and comparing it with other scriptures, let’s understand who the Colossians were, and why Paul wrote to them.

The City of Colossae

Colossae was a city in Asia Minor near Laodicea, in the province of Phrygia, on the south side of the Maeander river. At one time the city was controlled by the Macedonians. It was later transferred to the Seleucids, and finally became subject to Rome.

The Colossians were Gentiles and pagans. In the apostles’ time, the city, like the other cities of Asia Minor, was wholly given over to the worship of false gods and goddesses. Those of the saints who lived in Colossae had formerly been steeped in the same pagan idolatry.

Because pagan teachings and anti-Christian influences were rife in the city, and deceptive teachings of numerous religious philosophies abounded, the Apostle Paul was deeply concerned for the brethren in Colossae. He was actually alarmed lest false teachers, propounders of a mixture of Oriental philosophy and Judaistic beliefs, should again deceive them and subvert their faith in Christ.

In chapter 2, verse 8, Paul warned the brethren in Colossae: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [elements] of the world, and not after Christ.” (more…)

February 12, 2011

Pope Pius XII Is No Saint: History Reveals A Narrow Spirit And Heart While Millions Died

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“Pope Pius XII (Latin: Pius PP. XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (March 2, 1876 – October 9, 1958), reigned as the 260th pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City, from March 2, 1939 until his death in 1958. Some historians view the record of his long papacy and wartime predicament sympathetically; others view his actions (or inactions) critically, if not harshly. The interpretations of non historians vary even more widely, with some (John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope) accusing him of pursuing personal power at the expense of the Jews, while others (Ronald Rychlak, Hitler, the War, and the Pope) argue he did everything in his power to help them. (Freelibrary.com)

In We Remember, a 1998 statement on the church’s role in the Holocaust, the Vatican claimed that Pius saved “hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives.” It was an absurd statement.

“Pope Pius XII, prior to his pontificate, successfully negotiated the Reich Concordat with Adolf Hitler in 1933, effectively destroying all political opposition to the fledgling Nazi movement in Germany. According to cabinet meeting minutes from July 14, 1933, Hitler considered the German-Vatican pact a “great achievement”—particularly “in the developing struggle against international Jewry.” (The Unapologetic Pope)

Since the death of Pope Pius XII i on October 9, 1958, there has been a concerted effort by the Vatican and Jesuits to diminish the overwhelming evidence of racial hatred, inaction and evil by this Roman Pontiff, particularly to the Holy Inquisition undertaken during his reign against the Jews.

In the 1960′s, it was the Jesuit sponsored work Three Popes and the Jews (1967), by Panchas. E. Lapide that attempted to portray the grand illusion and claims that Pope Pius XII never met Hitler once, in direct contradiction to the testimony of those closest to Pius for most of his life since Munich and his rise to Pontiff. (more…)

February 3, 2011

Abraham: Was His Child By Hagar Adultery?

iamachild.wordpress.com

The Creator of the universe set in motion a living, dynamic, active law. That law, when violated, brings on misery, heartache and death, unless repented of. Abraham violated that law, and he suffered the penalty.

Abraham and Sarah for the moment lacked faith in God’s promise to provide them with an heir (Genesis 15:1-6), and Sarah urged Abraham to produce an heir through Hagar, her maid (Genesis 16:2).

Let’s notice the result: “Then Sarai said unto Abram, ‘My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she [Hagar] saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes’ ” (Genesis 16:5).

Yes, they knew they had sinned. Not only did their consciences trouble them, but their deeds brought family problems, animosity, resentment and contempt. The rest of their physical lives was not to be the same. Abraham and Sarah learned an important lesson.

Too many people have the idea that God is a harsh monster who fiendishly punishes human beings the moment they step out of line. No such thing — God set a law in motion to bring us peace and happiness. When we break that law, we bring on ourselves the penalty of sin and suffering.

God designed human beings as free moral agents with capability of making decisions, thereby developing character through experience. God gave man His law to help guide and direct him in living a happy, abundant life. David said: “Oh, how I love Your law! … Your word is a lamp to my feet” (Psalm 119:97, 105).

Yes, Abraham did break God’s law, and it was a bitter lesson not soon forgotten. Abraham did repent, of course, and was blessed by God. But that mistake of Sarah’s and Abraham’s is with us yet — in the animosity between Jew and Arab today!

Source: The Good News, April 1985

Is Belief The Only Requirement For Salvation?

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The word believe implies faith, conviction, trust, certainty. If we believe on or in Jesus Christ — and, more important, if we believe what He says — we come to know Him. Notice what I John 2:4 says about those who claim to know Jesus Christ: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ ” — that is, he who believes on Christ — “and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Anyone who says he believes but refuses to obey is a liar, according to God. He doesn’t really believe what Jesus Christ said. What did Jesus say? What did He command us to believe? “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, Authorized Version). The Gospel deals with obedience! Notice:

If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3). This means belief alone is not enough to know Jesus Christ. We actually have to live by the law of God.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3). Christians always say they have God’s love, but this scripture tells us that it is impossible to have God’s love without keeping His law.

Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God.” And to whom does God give His Spirit? “To those who obey Him” (verse 32). How can anyone say they are a Christian by ignoring this plain teaching?

Faith [belief] without works is dead” (James 2:26). This is the end result of lawlessness – life outside the boundary of God’s law.

Why is obedience so necessary? Because “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law of God is good for you. Sin is bad for you. That’s why Jesus Christ commands you to obey God’s law — it’s for your own good!

The word of God is plain! Will you believe it?

 

Source: The Good News, April 1985

April 20, 2010

How To Become A Friend Of God

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A Christian must show his faith by works. Faith is a lot more than merely believing in God. Faith with works means we believe God and do what he commands (Jam. 2:18)

God plainly states that faith without works is dead (Jam. 2:19-21). Now a lot of preachers will tell you that a Christian cannot be saved by works, and they are completely right. But they fail to state that works are still a necessary part of the qualification process for gaining eternal life. Otherwise it would not be listed in these verses. Leaving “works” out of the equation is merely another way of saying the law of God is abolished. But faith and obedience go hand in hand.

Scriptures also tell us that demons believe in God and tremble. But they don’t believe God (what He says) and still refuse to do faithful works. Now they face the blackest future one can imagine.

Verses 19-21 speak about Abraham being justified by his works. We know that God didn’t actually require Abraham to kill his son, but in his mind it was as good as done. Abraham waited 25 years for this promised son. He was an old man when Isaac was born, yet he was ready to sacrifice him to God – which was a prime example of his works – the kind of works that bring faith alive.

Abraham is the father of the faithful (Rom. 4:11). God desires that true Christians emulate his example and how far he was willing to go in obeying God. If we build up that type of faith filled obedience, God will bless us also, as He did Abraham. (more…)

January 30, 2010

How To Know If You Have God's Truth, When Others Are Wrong!

How can you know that you are any nearer to understanding God’s truth than others? Who is right among the hundreds of squabbling denominations; thousands of confused sects or millions of “loner” Christians. God says we can be absolutely sure to know we are biblically correct in what we practice, by “proving all things.”

  1. The very recognition of that fact is the beginning of right knowledge. That is the first step toward coming out of the fog of error and deception, starting toward truth. It is not a matter of who has the greater intellect. A man may have the highest IQ in the world, and in his intellectual vanity refuse to admit he could be wrong—reject all correction—and thus embrace error and deception.
  1. The second step  is to be willing to admit being deceived, or in error, and to reject it and accept truth—when proved—even though unpopular. Are you willing to act on it— obey the truth—no matter what the cost?”

This is why “all the great theologians—the noted preachers and heads of great religious denominations” are in error. There are few people of great intellect who don’t have the kind of vanity that shrinks from confessing he has been wrong. To find and live the truth of God requires a humbled mind. The greatest, ablest intellect in the world is still human—still fallible—still imperfect. Those who are deceived and steeped in error have simply not stopped to realize their own imperfections—their proneness to error. They assume, in their egotism, that whatever they believe is true. And they are unwilling to humble themselves and confess their wrongs. (more…)

January 12, 2010

Is The Day Of Death Better Than The Day Of One's Birth?

Filed under: Death — melchia @ 8:00 am
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Ecclesiastes 7:1 reads, “A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” What exactly does this mean?

Notice the strong parallel in this verse: The day of one’s birth is compared with precious ointment. There is certainly nothing wrong with precious ointment; Jesus even commended its proper use (Matthew 26:6-13). The point is that the day of one’s death is of far greater importance to God, assuming that our lives have been used properly.

Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul realized that he had “fought the good fight” and “kept the faith.” Therefore he had a crown of righteousness awaiting him (II Timothy 4:6-8).

If we as Christians run the Christian race successfully, as Paul did, we, too, will be able to say at the end of our lives that we have obtained an incorruptible crown (I Corinthians 9:24-27). The day of our death, then, will certainly be a greater joy to God than the day of our birth.

January 11, 2010

Can Christians Be Saved Without Obeying God's Commandments?

The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Many believe this verse says we don’t have to obey God’s commandments, but that we can still be saved just as long as we believe. Is this right? Not if you understand your Bible!

What do you mean by believe? The word believe implies faith, conviction, trust, certainty.

If we believe on or in Jesus Christ — and, more important, if we believe what He says — we come to know Him. Notice what I John 2:4 says about those who claim to know Jesus Christ: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ ” — that is, he who believes on Christ — “and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

This is about as strong as a verse can get in the Bible. It is also abundantly clear and straightforward. Anyone who says he believes but refuses to obey is a liar, according to God. He doesn’t really believe what Jesus Christ said. What did Jesus say? What did He command us to believe? “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, Authorized Version). The Gospel deals with obedience! Notice:

  • “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
  • “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3).
  • “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3).
  • Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God.” And to whom does God give His Spirit? “To those who obey Him” (verse 32).
  • “Faith [belief] without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Why is obedience so necessary? Because “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law of God is good for you. Sin is bad for you. That’s why Jesus Christ commands you to obey God’s law — it’s for your own good! Will you believe Him?

December 21, 2009

Grace: Do You Really Understand It?

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Few professing Christians really understand what grace is. And no wonder, because rather than searching the Bible on the subject, they get bogged down in debate over whether it does away with God’s law, as God’s unmerited pardon for sin.

The New Testament Greek word translated “grace” is charis and holds a variety of meanings not dealing directly with the grace of God toward man. It can denote pleasure towards someone (Luke 2:40), kindness or goodwill toward another (Acts 7:10), favor (Acts 2:46-47), or express thankfulness (I Corinthians 15:57). Finally, charis can also be used to denote a gift or favor done as an act of goodwill (Acts 25:2-3).

But the New Testament writers applied this word in a new sense to describe what God is doing for humanity. Those whom God calls (John 6:44) are given the chance to repent and accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Then, upon being baptized, they are given God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), which enables them to develop godly character and ultimately be born into the very Family of God (I John 3:1-2). Charis is an all-encompassing word for this whole process of conversion that is being accomplished by God’s power.

Why is grace necessary?

Grace essential to salvation because it is the free gift of God, through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and all efforts to earn salvation are futile (verse 9). This is because of several obvious reasons:

  • First, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) — sin being the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4) — and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We have all earned the death penalty. And just as any government today realizes, the violation of law cannot go unpunished, or anarchy would ensue. Similarly, our regret and subsequent good behavior can never pay the penalty for sin, because the penalty is death. And God’s laws are enforced. God does not compromise with sin by allowing a way of life that leads to unhappiness, misery and death to go unpunished. The penalty for our sins must be paid.
  • Second, not only have we sinned, but man by himself is incapable of overcoming sin. Paul said in Romans 8:7, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Our best efforts are futile unless God gives us the help we need.

God’s grace toward us begins when God begins calling us. Unless God opens our minds, we cannot understand His purpose (John 6:44). Paul commented, “God … called me through His grace” (Galatians 1:15).

The very fact that one understands the truths of God as revealed in the Bible is because of God’s grace. But being called is just the beginning of grace.

The process of conversion requires more than understanding. It requires change, or repentance. We must freely choose to obey God — and unless God shows us what to repent of and the importance of obeying Him, we cannot repent. “The goodness of God leads you to repentance,” Paul explained in Romans 2:4.

But being sorry for sinning, and changing, is not enough. So God’s grace continues with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation [an atoning sacrifice] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness” (Romans 3:23-25).

Jesus Christ paid the penalty of sin, which is death, in our stead. Christ’s sacrifice is the supreme expression of divine grace. It is totally unmerited (Romans 5:6-8).

Christ’s sacrifice frees us from the penalty of breaking God’s law. But it does not do away with the law! Think: Would God now allow the violation of laws that necessitated the death of His own Son? Of course not.

Grace does not nullify God’s law. Rather, grace is necessary because God’s law is eternally binding. As Paul explained: “Shall we continue in sin [the transgression of God’s law — John 3:4] that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2) Continuing in sin would mock Jesus Christ’s supreme sacrifice.

Unmerited but not unconditional

Here is where many misunderstand. Grace is unmerited but it is not unconditional. There are two conditions: repentance and faith (Mark 1:5, Acts 2:38). Although we can never earn salvation, God does set certain requirements for receiving His grace.

Once God, by His grace, reveals to us the need to repent and humbly accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as payment for our sins, we must do our part. We must voluntarily yield ourselves to God, admitting where we have been wrong, and make the necessary changes. Then we must be baptized as an outward expression of our repentance and faith (Romans 6:3-6).

Don’t misunderstand — God’s grace is free and unmerited, but if we refuse to change our lives — to obey God — He is under no obligation to bestow His grace upon us. God will not allow Christ’s sacrifice and His grace to be taken lightly.

The process continues. Peter tells us we must now “grow in grace” (II Peter 3:18, Authorized Version). Grace is unmerited pardon for sin, but it is much more. For if grace were merely the unmerited forgiveness of sin, how could we grow in grace except by sinning more? No, we must, while coming under God’s grace, overcome sin.

If you are truly under God’s grace, you will be striving diligently to obey God’s commandments. Paul said: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

We are to develop godly character by growing and overcoming in order that we can ultimately be born into the very Family of God. But we cannot do this alone (Matthew 19:25-26). We need God’s Spirit. And His Spirit, by His grace toward us, is a gift (Acts 10:45, 11:17).

God’s Spirit gives us the power we need to develop character. But we must work at it. Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:10).

To grow in grace is to overcome sin through coupling God’s Spirit with our own efforts. Without God’s help, overcoming sin would be impossible.

Finally, after we have developed godly character through God’s Spirit, one final act of grace is bestowed upon us — eternal life! We deserved death, but will receive life eternal. As Paul said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

The world is deceived into believing in a shallow, limited concept of God’s grace. True grace is more than the forgiveness of sin; it is the total process of salvation.

Peter summed it up beautifully: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen…. I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand” (I Peter 5:10-12).

December 17, 2009

Does God Compromise His Word?

Many today think to change the Bible to suit their own needs, desires, wants or beliefs. Some even say that we should throw out the Old Testament because it is not in force today. Nonsense! God says His word is truth (John 17:17), which means “all that God has spoken” (Barnes’ Commentary), or properly, “the word which is yours” (Vincent’s Word Studies). All the Bible is words spoken by the Word, later to become Jesus Christ.

In Gen. 2 we are introduced to the term “the Lord [YHVH] God” as the designation of the acting and speaking member of that “us.” This Being — the Eternal (which is the meaning of YHVH) — is every time the one who deals with mankind as the biblical message progresses. In Genesis 14:18, we meet this Person as the “king of righteousness’ (Melchizedek, in Hebrew), the “king of Salem” (peace). Proof? Suffice it to say here that of this Melchizedek “it is witnessed that he liveth” — that he is the Eternal (Heb. 7:8).

The point to notice, however, is that this Melchizedek, the YHVH, the one who later became Jesus Christ, becoming God the Son, was at that time the priest (compare Hebrews 7:1 and verses following with Hebrews 8:1) of “the MOST HIGH God” (Gen. 14:18-22). Now who was God MOST High, the one to whom the Eternal Himself was priest? Let Jesus Himself answer: “…My Father IS GREATER than I” (John 14:28).

Of course. But let’s be sure. Who was Jesus Christ the son of? “The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee,” the angel told Mary before Jesus was begotten, “therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God…. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest …” (Luke 1:35, 32).

Luke 8:28 and Mark 5:7 verify that Jesus is the “Son of God most high” and “Son of the most high God.” The Father is mentioned twice more by this term in the New Testament — Acts 7:48 and 16:17.

One of the purposes of Christ’s coming to earth as a human was to reveal the Father (see John 1:18; 5:37; 8:19; 14:7; Luke 10:22). He would not have had to reveal Him if the God of the Old Testament, whom the Israelites had known, had been the Father.

Christ the Word

So as we have established, Jesus Christ is the Word of both the Old and New Testament. This word is both “tried” (Psalm 18:30 and “pure“(Prov. 30:5), and both words mean refined as a metal, purity.

John 10:35 has an interesting dilemma for those who wish to take parts of the Bible and throw it away. It says that the scripture cannot be broken (destroyed, dissolved, put off, # 3089 Strong’s).That’s a powerful statement of irrefutability. It’s all an issue of faith, which “comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17 ). If we don’t hear and obey, we will not have the faith added unto us to comprehend the word of God. That is why it is so easy for unbelievers and those weak in faith to understand the deep things of God. These people cannot understand because God has to bridge the gap between the physical and spiritual with His spirit. These people handle the word of God deceitfully II Cor. 4:2), which means “they may falsify; deceitfully corrupt or disguise the truth of God, The phrase seems to be synonymous with 2 Cor. 2:17 (falsify, adulterate, corrupt, etc)” – Albert Barnes’ Notes On The Bible. In other words, they compromise it for their own gain, not handling it in truth, as the very word of God (1Th 2:13).

Commentators are greatly divided concerning what part of the  word of God is meant to be adhered to; some supposing only revelation; others, the NT Gospel; others having varying interpretations. But God says all of His sayings are the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15). Jesus Christ consistently referred back to OT scriptures. Why, if they have no value? Isaiah 40:8 says God’s word will endure forever and we are to live by every word that comes out of the mouth (Bible) of God (Matt. 4:4, Luke 4:4)). God also says He blesses those who hear His word and keep (obey) it (Luke 11:28).

True Christians do not pervert and wrest scripture, take from it or add to it. They point out the truth in it, without keeping back anything that is profitable, declaring the whole (Old and New Testament) counsel of God. Prov. 3:6 says we are to acknowledge God in all our ways  in order for Him to properly direct our path. Do we ignore this commandment because it is Old Testament? Doing so would be nothing less than self serving nonsense and ignores the fact that the entirety of the Bible is a plain and open interpretation of the word of God

Jesus Christ, the God of the Old AND New testaments, is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Heb. 13:8). He does not change, He does not compromise and expects us to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23-24). There is no wishy washy middle ground, only a straight and narrow middle path (Matt. 7:14). Even a small compromise cause sa great stink (Ecc. 10:1). So in conclusion, it can be said that true Christians cannot compromise the word of God and still pretend to walk with Him (Amos 3:3). At this point, the Christian would only be fooling Himself, no matter how vigorously.

December 10, 2009

Are God's Promises Sure?

Filed under: God — melchia @ 9:13 am
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Many Christians lead a life of wanting to please God, yet are never able to take Him at His word – literally. But there is a lot riding on the words of God and He gives hundreds of sure promises throughout the Bible – from food, shelter, protection (physical) to eternal life (spiritual) promises. He says it is through faith and patience that Christians inherit the promise of eternal life – Heb. 6:12. Those over the centuries who died in the faith have not yet received this promise (Heb. 11:13). That is because they are still in their graves to this day (Acts 2:29) and await the resurrection of I Cor. 15.

God’s  promises (too numerous to mention here) are called exceeding great and precious, “by which we might be partakers of the divine nature….” (II Pet. 1:4). And God emphasizes them by saying he is not slack (slow, tardy, late – JFB Commentary) in delivering what he says He will do (II Pet. 3:9).

Believing God is a matter of faith. This is not blind faith, as some atheists claim, but the faith of Jesus Christ – the same faith He possessed in believing that God would raise Him from the dead again. I have personally claimed promises too numerous to mention from God over the years and he has delivered when I have believed and not doubted.

There is a wonderful set of scriptures in Mat 6:31-33 which encapsulates this thought beautifully:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?……for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Do you see the connection? God asks us to first seek those things which are spiritual (faith in what He says and obedience to His law) and then he will give us whatever we need. If we lack the faith to believe what God says, we are “like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed (Jam. 1:6). That would be too bad, because true Christians may claim any promises of God without fail.

November 12, 2009

How To Have God Answer Your Prayers

www.webexhibits.orgCan we take God’s Word literally? Does God mean what He says in it?

Jesus thought so. He said, “Thy word is TRUTH” (John 17:17). The apostles constantly taught and acted as if God’s Word were literally true. They also believed every word of God (Matt. 4:4).

To get results in your prayers, you should believe in the God of the Bible. Believe His Word is truth. And be willing to act on God’s Word and His commands.

The Bible reveals seven basic conditions which you should fulfill to be certain of answered prayers. What are they?

Seek God’s Will

In James 4:1-4, the apostle showed that the people of this world fail to receive help because they often neglect to ask God’s help. And when they do, it is only to ask for their own selfish ends. To ask selfishly is to “ask amiss.” You can expect no answer to such a prayer.

To get an answer, follow Jesus’ example when He said, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). But can you know God’s will? “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).

Study God’s Word as Paul commanded Timothy (II Tim. 2:15). Then you will begin to think more as God thinks. You will come to know what God’s will is in every circumstance. If you believe and know that God is love, that His will is for our good, then you will want to pray according to God’s will.

You need not always have a specific promise in the Bible to know that something is God’s will. Through experience and guidance, you will learn how to apply the principles of God’s revealed will to any situation which may arise.

The point is that you must pray according to God’s will to receive an answer. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (I John 5:14-15). God’s Word reveals that by fulfilling this condition you know that God will answer your prayers!

Asking according to God’s will is the overall, fundamental condition of answered prayer. All other conditions could be grouped under this one because they are the specific points of God’s will in regard to prayer. The following six, together with and magnifying this first condition, will ensure answered prayers.

Believe God

Most people do not realize that a lack of faith is simply a disbelief that God will keep His promises or back up His Word. Have you ever thought of it that way?

Real FAITH is not an emotional “feeling” that you generate by thinking certain thoughts over and over. You don’t “talk yourself into,” or “think yourself into” real, believing faith. Godly faith is simply your willingness – through God’s help – to quietly, patiently trust God to perform His Word. Abraham had that kind of faith. The apostle Paul wrote of him: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Rom. 4:20-21).

James was inspired to write that a man must have faith to receive answers to his prayers (James 1:5-7) . A man who wavers will not receive an answer. “For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (verse 7).

God has made hundreds of promises in His Word which we can claim. Do you completely TRUST God to keep His promise to heal, although consulting a doctor for help and advice as to what physical law you are breaking? If you really believe God will heal, then trust Him to do it! Faith without works is dead (James 2:20). To have answered prayers, you must have faith – and you must act on that faith.

Be Fervent

It is common in our day for parents to teach their children memorized prayers. The father often mumbles a hurried, routine prayer of thanks at the table. The minister either reads or recites from memory an eloquent prayer which sounds very impressive. Is God impressed? The “fruits” show that God rarely hears such prayers, for they are usually not answered.

This is so because people don’t put their hearts into their prayers (Hosea 7:14). They don’t “cry out” to God with their whole being as the ancient prophets did – and as Christ did when He prayed.

On the evening before His crucifixion, Jesus needed strength from God for the coming ordeal. He needed to get really close to God. He knelt down and began to pray that God’s will, not His own, would be done. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). He prayed earnestly – with all His heart.

In James 5:16, we read, “The effectual FERVENT prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” We have to pray fervently, earnestly, zealously, if we expect God to hear.

Fear and Humility

Man has a cocksure, self-sufficient attitude and thinks he can get along fine without God. He neither fears God nor respects God’s Word as an authority in his life. He is vain, egotistical, self-important. Is it a wonder that God fails to answer the prayers of such men?

The very first prerequisite to knowledge of God is to fear Him and respect His Word. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).

Carnal man needs to realize that he is only dust until he receives the Spirit of God, which is the begettal to eternal life. Eternal life is a gift from God (Rom. 6:23), not something we already have. “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

We need to fear God, realizing that our lives are in His hands. We should be humble, realizing that any gifts or talents we may have are ours because God gave them to us. When we can approach our Creator in that attitude – respecting His power and authority over our lives – then He will hear our prayers.

When Christ was in the human flesh, even He feared God as we should. “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Heb 5:7). When we fully realize our own helplessness, then we will cry out to God as we should.

Peter wrote “be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (I Peter 5:5). The attitude of humility and godly fear is vital in prayer, and at all times.

Be Persistent

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus spoke a parable to teach us that we should always pray, and never give up hope. He showed that even an unrighteous judge would finally hear the pleas of a widow who kept coming to him. So we should keep praying to God, even though He doesn’t answer right away.

God has made many promises in His Word. But He has nowhere said that He will perform them at the time, or in the way that we choose. Sometimes it is very good for us not to have our prayers answered immediately. God is building patient faith into our characters.

James was inspired to write, “the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3) . If God doesn’t answer your prayers immediately, exercise patience and keep praying until He does answer.

Don’t nag at God. He has supreme wisdom to know when and how would be best to answer your prayers. But if you have prayed as you should, He WILL answer. God always keeps His promises! So be persistent. Keep praying in faith, and God is bound to perform His part.

Obedience

A sixth condition of answered prayer is one which is neglected and violated consistently by most professing “Christians.” This hinges directly on the before-mentioned fact that very few people today really know the true God. People do not look to God as the AUTHORITY in their lives. Instead, they make a “god” out of this world’s society and its customs, traditions, and religious practices.

God inspired Paul to write, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey” (Rom. 6:16). If you obey the ways of sin practiced in this world, you are putting this society and its pagan customs in the place of the true God!

God wants more than “lip service.” He requires OBEDIENCE !

If you haven’t learned to fear the true God and accept His Word as the authority in your life, then you don’t even really know God. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).

How can men persistently refuse to keep God’s commandments, and then expect Him to answer their prayers? Peter answers, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (I Peter 3:12).

Sin is simply breaking God’s Law (I John 3:4). God will not hear the prayers of those who persist in sin – in evil. If people would obey God, they would get answers when they pray. Then God wouldn’t seem so far away, so unreal – as He probably does to most of you? Think it over. Then do something about it.

Does God ever hear the prayers of the unconverted? Yes, He does. God himself has blinded the eyes of many to the truth at this time (Rom. 11:7-8). It is His responsibility that they don’t know the truth yet. So God does sometimes hear and answer the prayers of those who obey as far as they know.

The lepers and cripples who came to Jesus to be healed didn’t know all of God’s truth. But they did realize that Jesus was sent from God and could heal. And they acted on what they knew. So it is a matter of your heart or attitude. If you come to God in a humble, repentant spirit and are determined to obey Him to the best of your knowledge, He will hear your prayers. But this is no excuse for anyone who knows the truth to disobey God!

True Christians can have a special confidence that God will answer their prayers if they are obedient. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (I John 3:22).

Use Christ’s Name

The seventh condition of answered prayer is the correct use of Christ’s name. This is a greatly misunderstood subject, and the use of Christ’s name is often abused.

After Jesus had been with His disciples for over three years, and had taught them God’s will and how to obey it, He said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24). These verses give us the privilege of employing Christ’s name – asking by His authority – when we pray to God. But most people misunderstand how we can ask “in Jesus’ name.”

When our government sends an Ambassador to another country, he is given authority to carry out certain business in the name of the United States Government. He can act in the name of our government because it has conferred on him the authority as its chosen representative to carry on certain business on its behalf. His authority is limited to do only what the government has specifically authorized him. If he exceeds his delegated authority, his actions are null and void and will not be backed up by his government.

That is the way we are to ask things “in Jesus’ name.” Christ has given His ministers the duty of performing certain functions in His name – or by His authority. We can rightfully ask for things “in Jesus’ name” only when we know that it is His will – that His authority stands back of it.

Just rattling off the words “in Jesus’ name” to a prayer that is contrary to God’s will and Christ’s will is of no avail whatsoever.

Those who abide in Christ and are God’s children have the privilege of praying in Christ’s name. Jesus explained, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). The words of Jesus Christ MUST abide in us to have what we ask for granted. That is, we must obey what

Yes, Jesus’ words must abide in you. You must ask according to His Will. You must abide in Him – belong to Him. “Now if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). And God gives His Holy Spirit to them that OBEY Him (Acts 5:32).

So to pray in Jesus’ name, you must at the same time be yielding to His will to the best of your knowledge. “In Jesus’ name” means by His authority. You are praying through Him as your High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16).

Christ – our High Priest – was tempted in all points like we are (verse 15). He understands our weaknesses. It is His revealed will to give us of His Spirit (Luke 11:13) and to help us live a more abundant life (John 10:10). You need to study God’s Word to know the principles of His will, that you may ask by His authority.

Praying in Jesus’ name is a great privilege. Use Jesus’ name correctly, and your prayers will be answered because of the authority conferred through Him.

Action Will Follow

If you faithfully conform to these seven conditions of answered prayer – with God’s help, you may then have absolute confidence that God will hear and answer your prayers. You will be changing, growing closer to God each day. You will be actively seeking and doing His will.

This intimate contact with the Creator of Heaven and Earth will give you a peace of mind and quiet confidence that nothing can destroy. But your confidence will not be in self, but in the greatest power there is. In every trial and problem, you have the right to call on the Supreme Power – the active, living God who reveals Himself in the Bible.

God has inspired an example of how He heard and answered even the prayers of an unconverted man because that man was in a right spirit, and had obeyed what he knew. In II Kings 20:1-11, we read the account of how king Hezekiah was about to die and sought God’s deliverance.

God’s own prophet, Isaiah, had told Hezekiah that he would die. But Hezekiah knew that God was an all-merciful God, and that he had obeyed God the best he knew how and could.

So Hezekiah “wept sore” and besought God’s intervention (verse 3). He put his heart in his prayer!

In spite of the fact that He had previously told Isaiah that Hezekiah would die, God heard and answered Hezekiah’s fervent prayer! He added fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life!

What a result of prayer! But was that all? No. Hezekiah did not doubt God’s power to intervene and act as this world does. He made a further request that God would give him a special sign that he would be healed (verse 8).

God’s servant, Isaiah, gave Hezekiah the choice of the sign – the shadow would either go forward ten degrees, or backward ten degrees. Hezekiah said it would be harder for the shadow to go backward ten degrees. “And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward” (verse 11).

Because of Hezekiah’s faith, obedience, and fervent prayers, God Almighty not only healed him and added fifteen years to his life, but He actually caused the sun to reverse itself in the heavens!

This was not an “optical illusion.” God’s miracles are real! “For with God NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE” (Luke 1:37). If you believe that God’s Word is truth, this should inspire you to pray as never before!

October 20, 2009

Fruits Of the Spirit Lead To Real Abundant Living

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Why do some religious people feel that their religious life must be one of giving up all the fun and enjoyment of living — that in order to please God, they must endure a life of morbid gloom? For that matter why do some nonreligious people feel that to become a Christian would mean a life of living painful penance?

Much of traditional Christianity traditionally has preached the many don’ts — don’t smoke, don’t dance, don’t play cards, don’t go to the theater, don’t drink a drop of wine, don’t do this, don’t do that!  Where do people get all these distorted ideas about the religion of Jesus Christ? Certainly not out of the Bible.

They know nothing of the Jesus of the Bible, who said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Somehow a lot of people have received a lot of weird and false ideas about Jesus Christ — I mean the Jesus of  your Bible. Actually, I think almost no one knows what the Bible says about him.

It seems most people think sin is the thing that is best for us, but which a stern, wrathful God denies us. Why don’t people know that God our Creator has never forbidden us a single thing that is good for us — never said “don’t” about a single thing except that which is going to harm us to our own hurt. What God does command us not to do are the very things that bring on unhappiness, frustration, pain, suffering and a life of morbid gloom.

Let’s get this matter straight. The real Jesus Christ said he came to bring us happiness and joy! Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And he came that we might enjoy full, abundant life eternally. God Almighty intended the real Christian life to be happy. Jesus said, “My joy I leave with you” (John 15:11).

There is a way of life that causes peace, happiness and joy. God the great Creator set that way as an inexorable law — an invisible spiritual law — to produce peace, happiness, joy, abundance! There is a cause for every effect. In this unhappy confused world we have discontentment, unhappiness, wretchedness, suffering. The world is full of that. It should be full of peace, happiness and joy. There’s a cause. People don’t like God’s law. That law is the cause of peace and everything desirable and good. People want everything that is good and desirable. They just don’t want to obey that which would cause it! They want to be right, but they don’t want to do right.

Christ came to call people to repent. Repent of what? Repent of causing unhappiness, strife war and pain — and then to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And what kind of results will the Spirit of God produce in you?

I’ll tell you first what it won’t produce. It won’t produce the morbid, unhappy, painful, gloomy life that many think is the Christian life. Let the Bible tell you what “fruit” it will produce in you. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal.5:22-23)

Look at that more closely: “the fruit of the Spirit”– this is the Spirit of God. This is the Holy Spirit that God imparts only to those who have repented — that is, turned from that which has caused unhappiness, morbid gloom. discouragement, frustration, emptiness. On the contrary, that fruit of the Spirit is first of all LOVE. And the second fruit is JOY! Joy is happiness, brimful and running over. That doesn’t sound like an unhappy, empty, gloomy life, does it? And God’s Spirit is not static. It flows spontaneously from God into and through His people, and out from them, making others happy and joyful.

The very first result produced in your life by God’s Spirit is love. Love is a righteous love of and for others. It will mean your face is beaming. It’s an outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others. It will mean that you are really giving out — that you are radiant and happy. And love results in joy — that’s the second of these fruits. The third is PEACE. Instead of an attitude of hostility, instead of going around quarreling, being resentful and bitter, angry and arguing, you’ll be in an attitude of peace — peace in your mind and with your neighbor and with your God.

Next comes longsuffering. That means patience. How much has impatience made you unhappy? Probably impatience makes more people unhappy than almost anything else! If you can really come to have patience, you’ll be acquiring one of the things that will allow you to be happy and make life worth living.

Then next is gentleness. That makes others happy and automatically adds to your happiness. And then goodness and faith! Faith is confidence — not self-confidence, but reliance on the supreme power. It means that the supreme power of God is working for you. It means reassurance. It means assured hope instead of doubt, fear, discouragement.

Now this is not to say that there are never troubles in the Christian life. Far from it. There will be persecutions. Jesus Christ was persecuted. He said, “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you.” That comes from without. But unhappiness is something that springs from within. Happiness is a state of mind; happiness is within. And the person who does have this inward peace — this joy, this patience and love, and absence of resentment and bitterness isn’t going to be anywhere near as disturbed and unhappy as when he didn’t have them. You’ll always face problems — but you’ll have faith and God’s help in solving them. But problems and tests of faith are good for us — the very building blocks of perfect spiritual character.

I know that the Bible says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous,” but the same scripture adds, “but the [Eternal] delivereth him out of them all” (Ps. 34:19).

It’s true Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” It’s true he suffered — he knew what suffering is. But his suffering and grief were not caused by pain others inflicted on him — not from resentment, or being hurt by others — but by his love for others. He suffered because they were bringing so much suffering on themselves. But he also was a man of boundless joy, and he said, “My joy I leave with you.”

Yes, he said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Source: Plain Truth, 1983

September 1, 2009

The Power Of Parental Example

“He’s the spitting image of his father.”  — “He’s a chip off the old block.”   — “Like mother, like daughter.”

Expressions like these reflect that we tend to follow the example set by our parents.  How good or how bad an example do you set as a parent?

Children are richly blessed in life if they have good examples to follow. This leaves you as a parent with a major question to answer: By following your parental example, where will your children end up?

To help answer that question, let’s look at some ways that your children learn from your example. Here are several traits you may occasionally exemplify, and what those examples will produce in your children.

Hostility

A child living with hostility will learn to fight. Have you ever been out somewhere and observed children who punch, scratch, pinch, push, bully, swear at and tattle on other children?

If this is their behavior in public, then what must the example they see at home be like?  Are your children guilty of such conduct? If so, from whom do they learn it?

Parents who stand on the sidelines of sporting events yelling and urging their children to win at all costs — and who get upset and angry when their children lose — are teaching a spirit of competitiveness. They are also teaching that winning is all that matters.

Do you know parents who will only play sports if they can win all of the time and who are extremely irritated at losing? They will not play with people they cannot beat. Ever wonder what attitude their children will adopt toward fair play and being able to lose gracefully?

Why not teach children by example, that winning, though important, is not the supreme goal? Playing the game in sportsmanlike fashion and showing concern for the other players is most important.

Children exposed to bad sporting examples quickly absorb the message that to solve a problem you argue and fight. What a pity they are not rather learning that peace comes from practicing the principles that make for peace (Jas. 3:18).

Criticism

A child who lives with constant criticism will learn to grumble and complain. Is the family dinner table a place for gossip, criticism and cynical remarks? If it is, then children are learning to be complainers.

Do you have gripe sessions in front of them? If you must air grievances, do it privately, away from young, impressionable minds. This may take restraint on your part when you have the urge to be critical. Better still, overcome such negative habits.

Certainly, you should teach your children to accept criticism — it’s a tool for growth — but criticism should always be constructive and be given in a spirit of love.

Disregard for law

It is surprising to see the extent to which some “Christians” flout vehicle speed laws and parking directions. Some apparently feel that traffic regulations are “only man’s laws anyway.”

What is of greater concern about such disregard, beyond that you could wind up hurt physically, is that you are nourishing a belief in your heart that you are above law. This teaches children double standards. Derogatory remarks about authority figures — whether police, teachers, government officials or ministers — also set a bad example.

Paul warns, “Obey those who rule over you” (Heb. 13:17) — even when you consider the rules inadequate or foolish. Your purpose is to learn to submit to authority. If you don’t set the example, how can you expect your children to submit to you? Disregard for law and order encourages rebellion.

Unequal love

Isaac grew up in a family atmosphere that reflected unequal love toward his half brother Ishmael (Gen. 21:8-11). Eventually Ishmael was forced out of the camp and separated from his father, Abraham, because of Sarah’s and Hagar’s feelings against each other.

In time, Isaac had his own family — twin sons — Esau and Jacob. But personality differences took root in the family because Isaac favored Esau while Rebekah gave more of her love to Jacob (Gen. 25:28). This led eventually to Jacob’s taking Esau’s birthright by deceptive means worked out by his mother. Not the best example of family togetherness. But where did Isaac learn to conduct his family this way?

Favoritism

If you practice favoritism, your children will learn to be partial. Continuing with the above story, we read that Jacob had many children from his two wives and their handmaids. But the child Jacob loved most was the youngest, Joseph.

The problem with this was in being so open about it before the others, culminating in the special gift of the coat of many colors (Gen. 37:3-4). This produced family jealousy and rivalry.

Of course, Joseph’s dreams and his approach in telling his brothers didn’t help matters either (verses 5-11). The end result of Jacob’s practicing partiality was that Joseph was sold into Egypt as a slave.

Joseph, himself, was partial years later in Egypt when he gave a banquet for all his brothers. Guess who got the biggest share of food? Benjamin, the youngest, was openly favored (Gen. 43:34).

This resurrected a family resentment that resurfaced at the death of Jacob. Joseph’s brothers became fearful, thinking that with the patriarch out of the way, Joseph would take revenge on them (Gen. 50:15).

Hypocrisy

Children see through hypocrisy, especially in the Christian example you set. Do you say one thing — or even tell your children to do one thing — while you yourself do something else?

Does your child know and see that you pray, study the Bible, fast, get anointed when you are sick and serve others? Or does he see a show at Church services each week and general disinterest the other six days? Whatever you practice, your children see and tend to copy, whether for the good or bad.

But what if you yourself have been the victim of bad parental influences and find yourself struggling to change?

God gives encouragement through the prophet Ezekiel. As long as you are willing to take heed to your ways, to consider right and wrong and seek to change faults, you can avoid being an injurious example to your own children (Ezek. 18:14-17, 27-28). You can, if you are willing to make the effort, teach them God’s way.

Joseph and Mary must have set a fine example for Jesus. God the Father must have been especially mindful that a right kind of family environment would be needed to nurture and admonish Jesus during His boyhood years.

With the help of this fine family example, Jesus grew up to be “in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

Could there be a better goal in child training than this, that as a result of the godly family environment you create for your children, they grow up to be “in favor with God and men”? How richly blessed your children will be if this happens. And what a commendation for you as a parent!

If your family environment reflects criticism, hostility, ridicule and competitiveness, your child will learn to fight, to feel shy and guilty, to be spiteful and hateful and perhaps be destined to end up as an ineffective parent himself.

But if your family environment reflects tolerance, encouragement, praise, fairness, honesty, security and approval, your child will learn acceptance, patience, confidence, justice, faith and to find true and enduring friendships.

The parental example you set has great impact upon your children. Make your example a good one!

Source: The Good News, May 1983

August 28, 2009

God, The Failed Hypothesis?

1I recently ran across a book entitled: God, the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. It is the author’s conclusion, after examining the scientific data relating to every attribute, that the empirical scientific evidence is overwhelmingly against the existence of any being possessing any of them. In short, none of the standard attributes accepted by most believers as being true about their god can be salvaged in light of known facts about the universe. This, in turn, prevents any rational, reasonable, or justified belief in such a god from being salvaged.

Life, he says, was not designed, it evolved naturally. The universe was not created, it arose naturally. Morality was not divinely created, it evolved naturally. The universe was not fine-tuned, it’s just what we would expect to find.

As usual, this type of book rambles about on with a crude sense of cynicism, arrogance and hostility wrapped up in the cloak of science. I did not however find that the author knew much about theology, philosophy and history and found at least a dozen logical fallacies and false generalizations.

For example, the arguement that no indisputable evidence of God has been found in nature, therefore God must not exist is futile, since God is spiritual and cannot be seen by human eyes (Col. 1:15). God is everywhere in nature, since it is His creation. He says in Rom. 1:20:

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

“The expression “his invisible things” refers to those things which cannot be perceived in an intellectual way, by the faculty of the understanding; things which may be known of him, though not discoverable by the eye. We judge of the objects around us by the senses, the sight, the touch, the ear, etc. Though we can’t judge God this way, we may come to the knowledge of him by, ‘his eternal power and Godhead, by means of the material universe which he has formed. The argument implies that is enough to leave mankind without any excuse for its ignorance.” (Albert Barnes’ Notes On The Bible).

So, the power of God is evident in invisible things, and yet clearly seen in creation. The workman is known by his work. The variety, multitude, order, beauty, harmony, different nature, and excellency of the things that are made, the direction of them to certain ends, and the concurrence of all the parts to the good and beauty of the whole,  abundantly prove a Creator and his eternal power and Godhead. The proof is not weakened because we don’t see the process of creation constantly going on. It is rather augmented by the fact that he sustains all things, and continually controls the vast masses of matter in the material world.

God has given us so much clear evidence of his existence and claims, that man is without excuse for his denial. We have all the modern discoveries of astronomy, and no one thing more proves the stupidity of people, than the sad forgetfulness of Him that made the heavens and the earth.

Is archaeological proof lacking?

The book also argues that no archaeological evidence exists of a certain Biblical person, place or thing, therefore he/she or it must be mythical. In other words, the Bible is guilty until proven innocent, and a lack of outside evidence places the Biblical account in doubt. This standard is far different from that applied to other ancient documents, even though many, if not most, have a religious element. They are considered to be accurate, unless there is evidence to show that they are not.

Contrarily, when archaeological findings show “supposed”proof of  “discrepancies,”  we find when these are examined in detail, it is found that the problems lie with misinterpretation of evidence, lack of evidence, or poor scholarship, and not with the Bible.

Although it is not possible to verify every incident in the Bible, the discoveries of archahaeology since the mid-1800s have certainly demonstrated the reliability and plausibility of the Bible narrative.

Here are some examples:

  • The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name “Canaan” was in use in Ebla, a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The word tehom (“the deep”) in Gen. 1:2 was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. “Tehom” was part of the vocabulary at Ebla, in use some 800 years before Moses. Ancient customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs have also been found in clay tablets from Nuzi and Mari.
  • The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey.
  • Many thought the Biblical references to Solomon’s wealth were greatly exaggerated. Recovered records from the past show that wealth in antiquity was concentrated with the king and Solomon’s prosperity was entirely feasible.
  • It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Is. 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Is. 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself.
  • Another king who was in doubt was Belshazzar, king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. Tablets were found showing that Belshazzarr was Nabonidus’ son who served as coregent in Babylon. Thus, Belshazzar could offer to make  Daniel “third highest ruler in the kingdom” (Dan. 5:16) for reading the handwriting on the wall, the highest available position. Here we see the “eye-witness” nature of the Biblical record, as is so often brought out by the discoveries of archaeology.

Source: Christiananswers.net

The universally accepted nature of science is that it is always evolving, with old theories and hypothesis being revised or discarded in favour of new ones, on the basis of the latest evidence. Therefore scientists do not believe in absolute proof, because new evidence might turn up which alters an old model, theory or law.

However, the existence of God can be proven. It is evident in the power of His creation; it is evident through archaeological evidence; through records of accounts written even after the facts by enemies of Christ, by the Roman Catholic church; it is evident by faith; and certainly will be evident through eschatological verification – when Christ returns, or when we die – whichever comes first. We will then have conclusive proof.

I find it pitiful that evolutionists or atheists believe that religion is a mere superstition: irrational folk beliefs that arose from fear and the human need for meaning and control of our surroundings. Science and our ability to control our environment has supposedly made us the captain of our own fate – no need for God anymore. But our control is a mere illusion. God says:

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (I Pet. 1:24-25)

So you see, we have only a few years on this earth and then we die. Without God, we have no hope, no future, no reality. It is only the word of God which is truth (John 17:17), not the ego filled vanity of atheistic nonsense. If all we have is hope in the present life, we are indeed hopeless.

But God promises eternal life, and He (unlike man), cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). I’ll take that statement above the fables foisted upon man by evolutionary science. At least I know where I’m going.

August 19, 2009

Your Faith: It May Be The Death Of You!

MILLIONS of people already claim to believe in Jesus. Hundreds of thousands more in all parts of the world will “receive Christ” this year — or rather, they will think that they have received Christ.

They will, as they say, “give their hearts to the Lord,” and believe that they are at last saved. And they will be wrong!

It may come as a shock, but the gospel that is commonly preached today is not the same message that Jesus brought nearly 2,000 years ago. He was not then — and he is not now — trying to convert the world. Neither is he trying to get people to “accept him,” “believe in him” or “receive him” before it is too late.

This is a deceived world. Deceived people are sincere. They don’t know they are deceived. If they did know, they would not be deceived! It is because many are deceived that we read of those who have a “zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2).

“Not According to Knowledge”

That statement is as true today as it was when the apostle Paul wrote it more than 1,900 years ago. You’ll see ample evidence of it just by looking at the religious book department of nearly any bookshop. Never before have so many Bible translations, Bible helps, Bible dictionaries, Bible atlases, concordances and commentaries been available. But the world is as confused as ever.

Many new translations of the Scriptures have been published. They have been painstakingly executed by scholars with a thorough knowledge of the ancient languages.

The faithful Authorized King James Version, with its “thees” and “thous” and “verilys,” has been somewhat cumbersome for many.  These modern versions are rendered in modern English, with contemporary grammar and punctuation. They have corrected, in general, the few translation errors that crept into the older versions, and overall, they are useful tools for Bible study.

But although they have solved certain translation problems, they have unfortunately created some new ones. You need to know about one of them in particular. It is not a case of the translators misunderstanding the original word, as sometimes happened in the Authorized Version. Rather, they seem to have misunderstood what was meant by what was written, or worse, eliminated references to some words, while inserting others to conform to wide held, though erroneous beliefs.

The Problem of Translation

You see, translation — any translation — is to some extent an interpretation. Language is not just words — it is also thoughts. Translation is not just a case of swapping words — the translator’s job is to convey the thoughts expressed by one language into another.

Bible translation is particularly complex. The structure of the ancient Hebrew and Greek languages is different from modern West European languages. It can therefore be difficult to render the exact thought and nuance of expression of the ancient Scriptures into modern languages. There are some places where modern theologians and scholars have made a significant error in their rendering into modern English some verses in the epistles of Paul.

“In” or “Of”?

When Paul discussed the subject of faith and its relationship to salvation, he frequently used the Greek expression “pistis Christou.” In the Authorized Version, this was translated “faith of Christ.” Most modern versions, however, change this to “faith in Christ.”

Grammatically, it is an arguable point, since the original Greek does not use either of the prepositions in or of. The grammatical sense is derived rather from the ending of the words themselves. However, in English, a preposition is needed. It should not surprise us that the translators of the modern versions preferred in to of. It seemed to them to make more sense, since the focus of modern Christian belief is a gospel about Christ, accepting him and believing in him.

From that point of view, it was presumably felt that “pistis Christou” could adequately be rendered “faith in Christ.” Consequently, the expression and thus the thought, “faith of Christ,” does not appear in these modern versions, as it did in the older Authorized Version.

What difference does it make? It makes all the difference in the world — the difference between being a real Christian, and thinking you are one.

Preposition Changes Meaning

Remember that old expression “For the want of a nail the battle was lost”? It could also be said of these new translations, “For the want of a preposition, a life could be lost.” Perhaps I can demonstrate the difference it makes by this analogy.

Suppose your wristwatch breaks. You take it to a reputable watchmaker, whom you know you can trust, and you ask him to repair it. You leave your watch with him, in complete confidence that he will return it to you in good working order.

You have, in other words, complete faith in that watchmaker. He has learned how to repair watches, and he will do it for you.

This, in effect, is how many people are taught to look to Jesus Christ. They trust in him, and believe that his love, his goodness, and his mercy and holiness will save them when the time comes. But that kind of faith — however sincere — is not enough to save you.

But supposing, when you took your broken watch to be repaired, this happened:

The watchmaker agrees that your watch is broken. But he says, “If I just repair this for you, you have learned nothing. I know how to repair watches, but it is important that you learn something about it, too. We will repair it together.

“I will do a part of the work, the part you cannot do by yourself, and I’ll show you how to do what you must learn to do.”

Now the situation is different. No longer do you just need faith in the watchmaker’s skill — you are going to need some of his skill as well.

It is the same with faith in and of Christ. Of course, we must have faith in Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter, speaking to the crowds in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, urged them to believe that Jesus, whom they had crucified, was the Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36).

Many believed Peter, and asked, “What shall we do?” (verse 37, Authorized Version). “Repent, and be baptized … in the name of Jesus Christ,” replied Peter, “for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy [Spirit].”

So far so good. As a result of having faith in Christ, many today are told to be baptized for the remission of their sins. Then they think they are saved. But there is more to it than that.

After Baptism — What Then?

Many scriptures show what you do after you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice will determine whether you will be ultimately saved.

Let’s now take a close look at some of these scriptures that have been mistranslated in the generally excellent new translations and see exactly what it was that the apostle Paul taught. Then you will understand why the phrase “faith of Christ” carries the right choice of preposition when rendering these verses into English.

First, Romans 3:22. This verse is breaking into the middle of a thought. We should go back two or three verses to pick up the thread of Paul’s discussion. The church at Rome in Paul’s day was a mixture of different ethnic groups, and there was a controversy among them.

The Jews thought that they were superior to others since they had had the law of God delivered to them. The non-Jews on their part were critical of the Jews for not keeping that law. Note that the discussion did not center around whether or not the law should be kept, but rather, how it could be kept.

Paul’s epistle put everything in perspective. He showed that a Christian must quit sinning. Breaking God’s law is sin (Rom. 3:20, and see also I John 3:4). Paul pointed out that all — Jews and gentiles — had broken the law. Nobody (except Jesus Christ) ever lived a life without sinning in some way. Therefore, no one could consider himself justified — guiltless and worthy of salvation — as a result of his conduct. Let’s pick up the story in verse 21.

The New International Version explains it rather well. “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law [apart from human “righteousness”], has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify” (Rom. 3:21, New International Version throughout, except where noted).

In other words, there is a way to come up to God’s standard of righteousness (the Ten Commandments) apart from the impossible task of trying to keep the law perfectly through your own strength or your own faith. How can you do it?

“This righteousness from God comes through faith in [should be translated of] Christ to all who believe” (verse 22).

Do you see what a difference the preposition makes?

Having repented of your past sins, you can’t continue to sin. Paul makes that very clear in Romans 6:1-2, in any version or translation. You are to live a new life free of sin (Rom. 6:4). But how, if you can’t keep the law by your own strength or your own faith? The answer is you have to have an added faith. But from whom, and what kind of faith?

Since you can never be justified by your own unaided attempt to keep God’s law or attain his righteousness, if you have believed in Jesus Christ you have a new way to become righteous. Instead of relying on your own strength, you can ask God for the help to become righteous (i.e., to obey the law). God has promised to develop in you the same faith that Jesus had — the faith of Jesus Christ!

This is an important point. If you look up the word faith in a dictionary, you will find it says something like this: “confidence, trust or belief in the promises or statements of another.”

Everyone has some faith — although it varies from individual to individual. Some find it easy to believe — others, perhaps because of previous letdowns and betrayal, find it hard to put “confidence, trust or belief” in anyone or anything.

But even the most faithful are not faith-full enough by their own strength or their own faith to save themselves from sinning in the future. Look at Ephesians 2:8. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves …. ” How then?

Continuing in Ephesians 2:8, … it is the gift of God.”

Here is then a level of faith that goes far beyond the “confidence, trust or belief” that your human mind must first exercise in having faith in Christ to forgive your guilty past.

This new, higher level of faith is the gift that God gives, through the Holy Spirit, which one receives through the laying on of hands after baptism.

Jesus had that kind of faith. And because he did he had total trust, confidence and belief in God. Thus he was able to live a life that was blameless. Jesus never sinned. He was often tempted, but he always resisted. He knew how to get the strength he needed to reinforce his own inadequate human strength.

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death …” (Heb. 5:7).

Jesus prayed to his Father in heaven for the strength to resist sin. And such was the relationship of trust, love and confidence between Jesus and his Father, that he always received that help.

Jesus Christ and the Father had lived in harmony for an eternity before Jesus came to earth as the Son of God. He had no doubts that what his Father promised, he was able also to perform (see Romans 4:21).

That is the kind of faith that we must have if we are to receive our eternal reward. God expects us, if we are his sons and daughters, to live as Jesus did.

Jesus set the example. His life is the standard by which we must measure performance — not in some dreamy, sanctimonious way, but in the practical down-to-earth circumstances of daily life. A true Christian should ask, Is this the way Christ would react? Is this what he would have done? Am I following his example?

If not, your behavior must be changed to conform with Jesus’ example as recorded in the Scriptures. You will need to ask God for the faith to do this — the same faith that he gave Jesus Christ to face and conquer problems.

With that faith, when temptation comes, you will have the strength to put aside your natural human impulses and make the same kind of decision that Jesus did in similar circumstances.

That’s why Paul, in his epistle to the Galatians, wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in [you guessed it — it should be of] the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20, Revised Authorized Version). Once the right preposition is put in, these modern versions become clear.

Think back to the analogy of the watchmaker. Christ wants you to learn to do the things he did. He wants you to share in his skills. He wants you to know the same confidence and trust in God that he had.

He doesn’t want you just to be grateful to him for doing it. He wants you to have the experience of overcoming sin, looking to God for the spiritual strength, just like he did. Why?

Why You Need the Faith of Christ

Look at Philippians 3:8-11. Here we find Paul explaining to the Philippians how grateful he is to be called as a part of God’s Church.

He had to give up many things, including a position of power and prestige, in order to be an apostle. “… I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in [read of] Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

So Paul knew that his resurrection from the dead would be preceded by God building in him the same kind of faith that Christ had. He knew that only then would he know the “power of resurrection,” as Jesus Christ has known it.

Paul was not saying that he was trying to earn his salvation by his own faith. That is what those who are deceived by a false gospel do when they rely only on their faith in Jesus. It is plainly evident throughout his writings that Paul knew he could never do that.

A Christian cannot gain salvation by his works through his own faith any more than he can by simply having faith in Christ. This is a vital point that so many who claim to be Christians do not understand.

Salvation is God’s free gift, but he will not give it to those who cannot handle it properly (any more than you would give a bicycle to a child who refuses to obey the traffic signals).

Ministers today concentrate on getting people to “accept Christ,” while they neglect to teach the need for receiving Jesus Christ’s faith as a free gift to enable us to obey God.

Putting Faith to Work

When Jesus Christ returns to this earth to enforce peace, the world is going to be in a terrible condition. But thankfully, the worst will be over. Jesus Christ will begin the task of guiding and teaching all mankind God’s way of life and the way to eternal life.

There will be a lot of work ahead for those whom God has called in this present life to understand his purpose. They will be resurrected and made immortal when God intervenes in world affairs to reestablish his government over the whole earth. They will be working with Jesus Christ, doing what he does. They will be teaching, helping and encouraging others to overcome human weaknesses, that they also may be given eternal life.

Such teachers must be experienced — there will be no place for enthusiastic amateurs. The time to build that experience through the faith of Jesus imparted by the Holy Spirit is now.

That is why a Christian, whose hope is the resurrection from the dead, needs more than just his faith in Jesus. He must share in the life of Christ, living as he did, learning as he did. To do that successfully, he needs the faith of Jesus Christ.

The Plain Truth, 1984

August 9, 2009

Questions On Evolution: Scientific Fact Or Science Fiction?

The origin of life is the least understood biological problem.

While acknowledging this fact, evolutionists go on to believe as an article of faith that life came into existence on this planet spontaneously from nonliving matter by chemical processes. They further accept as an article of faith that life progressively evolved by blind chance into the vast array of living things we see today. This belief is claimed to be “fact.” Those who do not accept this “fact” are ridiculed as ignorant and unscientific.

Is evolution scientific fact, or is it science fiction? The odds are fantastic against even very “simple” constituents of living organisms occurring by chance. And there is an even greater improbability of such constituents producing living organisms by chance.

In particular consider a protein consisting of a chain of about 100 amino acids. If all the known stars in the universe had 10 earths, and if all the earths had oceans of “amino acid soup,” and if all the amino acids linked up in chains 100 acids long every second for the entire estimated history of the universe, even then the chance occurrence of a given very simple protein would be extremely improbable.  As such, below you will find answered a number of the more common evolutionary counterarguments, as well as additional queries:

  • There may be many combinations of amino acids that would work. So the probability of their forming by chance would be much greater than that of a specific combination.

No scientific experimentation has shown that a different combination of amino acids could be substituted for a given protein and still perform exactly the same way. The marvelous complexity of the specific functions performed by the combination that does work in nature demands the correct sequence of amino acids to be present in each case. (We are aware, of course, that various proteins may be consumed and reassembled into other proteins by an existing living organism.)

A given life form requires specific combinations of specific molecules. Just any arbitrary random combination will not work. It is much like a combination lock. If you do not know the combination, you can spin numbers at random to try to open the lock. You may spin perfectly good numbers. They might even work on some other lock at some other time and in some other place. But if they do not open the given lock — the one you are trying to open — it does not do you a bit of good.

Now if you would calculate the probability of finding the right combination by random spinning, the probability depends only on the available numbers for the given lock. The probability has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not some other combinations may open some other locks.

  • If you do not specify which protein, we are therefore only dealing in possibilities not probabilities.

You should use the standard mathematical definition of probability as applicable to the problem under discussion. The probability of a given protein of 100 amino acids occurring by chance is 10-130. The fact that that a specific one was not identified is irrelevant. If it were a more technical article, a  specified complicated protein like hemoglobin, would be pointed out, and there would be used essentially the same line of reasoning. The point is that even the supposedly simplest components found in living things are actually very complex. Their existence cannot be explained on the basis of blind chance.

  • The experiments of Stanley L. Miller in the 1950s showed that the “primeval soup” of the sea would contain surprisingly large quantities of the building blocks of life: amino acids, nucleotides, etc.

Whether or not this is the case does not matter. In fact, we can be even more generous than Mr. Miller by giving each star in the universe 10 “earths” and each “earth” an ocean of “primeval soup” mixed to the evolutionists’ recipe. Nevertheless, it did not make the evolution of even one “simple” protein probable.

  • The fundamental building molecules are not proteins but DNA.

The attempt to use DNA in the synthesis of proteins only makes the situation worse for evolution. DNA is even more unlikely to come into existence by chance than protein is. It would be like someone claiming that a table of logarithms came into existence by being generated by a computer that, in turn, came into existence by chance.

  • Smaller self-replicating chains could form and progress in small steps to produce longer and longer chains.

There are a number of difficulties with such a model. First of all, scientists have not found any evidence of such occurring in nature. Second, even if it could occur, the probabilities of ending up with the right sequence, after all the small steps, would still be immeasurably small by essentially the same reasoning given in the article. Third, what would be the role or purpose of such intermediate chains? Why and how would they survive to produce more complicated chains? Certainly, there is no evidence of the existence of intermediate chains being somehow related to intermediate species.

  • Natural selection is an established theory. The hypothesis of Darwin has been confirmed by experimental work.

There is not necessarily a disagreement with this — up to a point. But natural selection can only explain the survival of the fittest. It does not explain the arrival of the fittest. 

  • Natural selection is adequate to explain the variety of living things we see today.

Even evolutionists do not make this claim. They require spontaneous generation and mutations (at the very least) in addition to natural selection.

  • But this does not rule out mutation as a mechanism for improvement when combined with natural selection. For example, a chess player might be competing against many opponents whose starting position is on occasion changed — slightly, randomly. Then it might be supposed that those opponents with the better starting positions are more likely to win. Suppose the losers drop out and the winners play many further games (dropping out only if they lose all games from the previous starting position, the chance of a random change continuing). Then might it not be reasoned that after much time, the starting positions in use might improve?

The analogy regarding starting positions in a chess game is interesting. The reasoning applied, however, is fallacious on several grounds. Even if the starting positions are being changed slightly, but randomly, there is no guarantee that an improved starting position that results in a winner one time will result in an improved starting position the next game. Quite the contrary, a small modification of an excellent starting position could conceivably be a disastrous starting position.

Moreover, the chess players are presumably intelligent beings. They perform at varying skill levels. So it makes no sense to attribute their characteristics to that of a blind chance mechanism of mutations and natural selection.

The theory of probability applies only to chance phenomena and not to deterministic phenomena. For example, it would be nonsense to ask the question: “What is the probability I will paint my house green?” There is no answer. If I want to paint it green, I will. If I don’t, I won’t. Similarly, the theory of probability cannot be applied to deterministic games such as chess or checkers.

On the other hand, the theory of evolution is based on the assumption that living forms came into existence from nonliving matter by chance. It is amazingly improbable that even the simplest constituents of living things come into existence by chance. This is a valid application of probability.

  • Mutations are like errors in the genetic code. It is this random error-making in the genetic machinery that furnishes evolution with the stuff of creative change.

No one is saying that mutations could not account for some changes in the structure or appearance of organisms. But mutations cannot produce genuinely new forms of life. While minor variations in appearance or structure might be produced by mutations, there is no evidence whatsoever that mutations produce the kind of quantum leaps required by the theory of evolution.

  • The fossil record clearly shows evolution has taken place.

The fossil record provides considerable evidence that evolution did not occur. Consider the facts. Evolution would require a fossil record that shows the gradual changing of one species to another with numerous transitional forms. But instead the fossil record shows broad gaps between fossil species for which there are no intermediate forms.

Note this startling admission of an evolutionist:

“The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid” (Macro-evolution: Pattern and Process, Steven M. Stanley, page 39).

  • Scientists have created life. They made a simple organism that could eat oil spills in the ocean and then die out for lack of food.

Actually, these organisms were not created from nonliving matter. They were developed from existing living organisms through genetics. These genetic engineers have no more claim to creating life than a dog breeder does.

  • You are presenting to your readers the fallacy that science is a finished product and that whatever is speculative in science is therefore wrong.

You have probably all heard someone at one time or another say something like, “Science tells us that…”  and then they make some claim or other.  But science doesn’t tell us anything because it is a mechanism, a method, a tool.  Science doesn’t provide conclusions; humans do.  Those conclusions can be arrived at logically, honestly and accurately  or  irrationally, dishonestly and carelessly—that depends on the scientist.  The Scientific Method involves five steps:

  1. Observation – collecting data
  2. Hypothesis – forming a preliminary possible explanation of the data;
  3. Testing – test the hypothesis by collecting more data, using a control
  4. Results – interpreting the results of the test and deciding if the hypothesis should be rejected.  The hypothesis is rejected if the results contradict it, showing that it is wrong.
  5. Conclusion – stating a conclusion that can be evaluated independently by others using this same method.

After years of scrutiny, certain observed phenomena  (such as gravity)  become established as law.  The problem occurs when scientists usurp the name of science to make authoritative statements of philosophy.  Unfortunately, scientists are not always very clear as to when they are engaging in science, and when they are engaging in philosophy.  Philosophy  can be both reasonable and rational, but it is not scientific, by definition,  because it is not an observable phenomenon  in the physical world.

Many scientists cheerfully admit that they are speculating. We have no complaint with scientific speculation as long as such is truthfully identified as speculation. Evolutionists however do not admit that the theory of evolution is speculative. Instead, they palm off speculation as fact. In the March 23, 1981, issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rolf M. Sinclair, a physicist at the U.S. National Science Foundation, is quoted as follows:

“The fact of evolution is as incontrovertible as the fact that the earth is spherical rather than flat.”

The author and biochemist Isaac Asimov stated:

“Scientists have no choice but to consider evolution a fact” (“The Genesis War,” Science Digest, October, 1981, page 85).

“Having the fact of evolution before us … ” (ibid., page 85).

“Evolution is a fact … ” (ibid., page 87).

Honestly, does that sound like speculation to you?

  • Your acceptance of God’s existence is not based on rational thinking. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines faith or belief in God as a “belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.”

A dictionary is not an arbiter of truth. Actually, dictionaries give several definitions of faith. Not every dictionary definition of faith demands the exclusion of logic, reasoning or material evidence. True faith, the kind of faith spoken of in the Bible, is not a blind, superstitious, illogical faith. It is a faith based on “evidence of things not seen” and is in harmony with logic, reason and the factual world.

  • Where did God come from? Since the creator of the universe would have to be more “complicated” than the universe itself, the probability of God coming into existence by chance would be less than the probability of the universe coming into existence by chance.

This is a popular argument. It has two fundamental flaws.

First of all, an Eternal Being does not need to come into existence, since he has always existed. It makes no sense to ask: “What is the probability that a Being, who always existed, came into existence?” The question is inherently contradictory.

Second, eternal existence is not a chance phenomenon. Someone or something either always existed or did not always exist. No probability is involved. For this reason we cannot apply probability to questions such as, “Does God exist?” or “Has the universe always existed?” 

  • Why could not God have chosen to use evolution to produce life forms we see in the world?

Where does a 500-pound gorilla sit? Wherever he wants. How did an Eternal God create life? Obviously, however he wanted! Would a superintelligent, superpowerful Divine Being use a chaotic, random, haphazard process such as evolution to create life?  Here is a quote the eminent scientist Sir Fred Hoyle:

“The thought occurred to me one day that the human chemical industry doesn’t chance on its products by throwing chemicals at random into a stewpot. To suggest to the research department [of a chemical corporation] that it should proceed in such a fashion would be thought ridiculous” (Engineering and Science, November, 1981, page 12).

This leading scientist, who would have liked to believe in evolution and who was seeking the origin of life in the blind forces of nature, finally had to conclude:

“A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question” (ibid., page 12).

What about you? Do you believe that “simple” life forms came into existence by blind chance in a cosmic chemical stewpot? Do you further believe that such simple living things gradually developed such marvelously intricate structures as hearts, lungs, eyes and brains through “random errors in the genetic code”?

The physical evidence from the factual world leads to only one conclusion — living things had to be planned, designed and created by a Supreme Being!

  • Could A Simple Protein Not Form By Chance?

Proteins are essential molecules for the existence of physical life. Protein molecules consist of chains of chemical compounds called amino acids. A relatively simple protein would consist of a chain of about 100 amino acids.

Suppose we have a “soup” full of amino acids. We want these acids to link up at random to form a protein consisting of 100 amino acids. How many different combinations are there?

There are on earth 20 different types of amino acids available to form proteins. If we wanted a chain of two such acids, there would be 20 possibilities for the first acid and 20 for the second — or 20 x 20 =400 possibilities. If we wanted a chain of three such acids, there would be20 x 20 x 20 = 8,000 possibilities.

For a protein consisting of a chain of 100 acids, therefore, we have 20 x 20 x. … x 20 = 20100 possibilities. But 20100 is approximately equal to 10130, that is, 1 followed by 130 zeros. So we have 10130 possibilities, but only one combination is the right one for a given protein.

Is it reasonable to believe that such a protein could have formed by chance during the history of the universe? The odds against such an event are beyond astronomical.

Source: The Plain Truth, 1983

Jesus Christ: A Biblical Vision Of True Masculinity

What is a true man? A cowboy? A bodybuilder? Real masculinity is…  Source: ArtToday, Inc.

What is a true man? A cowboy? A bodybuilder? Real masculinity is… Source: ArtToday, Inc.

WHAT kind of God was it that died for you? Was He a ninety-seven-pound weakling? Is He the Little Lord Jesus away in the manger? Was He short and squat — a bare five feet, three?

What about the paintings of Christ — the sickly effeminate ones — are they representative of the real Jesus Christ? How about Mary’s little lamb? Does this nursery rhyme have any connection with Jesus Christ?

A Wrong Concept Image

For many of us a wrong concept of Christ began way back in kindergarten. The false concept, the wrong picture is partially the result of an “innocent” nursery rhyme, “Mary had a little lamb, his fleece was white as snow and everywhere that Mary went, that lamb was sure to go …” Why Mary’s little lamb — why not Betty’s or Johnny’s little lamb?

That “harmless” nursery rhyme was inspired by “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). It subconsciously conditioned our young, pliable minds to think in terms of a little weak lamb (Christ).

In the rhyme the lamb caricature depends on, looks to, leans on its protector “Mary.” It’s just another way of presenting an image picture of the Madonna and child. Mary’s motherly, domineering image penetrates our subconscious mind without our realizing. A sissified mama’s boy, weak Christ is the result!

As children, many of us were taught to kneel and pray a memorized prayer to a make-believe, imaginative, nursery-rhyme god! “Now I lay me down to sleep … my soul to keep …” The deception, the perversion does not stop in kindergarten. As adults, we are given a ninety-seven-pound weakling god. One that is so sickly and effeminate as to be stripped of all power! Jesus Christ may be a Negro, Oriental, Latin, or if you are an Anglo-Saxon, He’s probably a blond, blue-eyed, white-skinned Christ. Whatever the nationality, He is always the tired, washed-out one — a disgrace to humanity!

What Is Jesus Christ Really Like?

What are the facts? Surely this is not the picture of the true God we are to worship! What is Jesus Christ really like? What kind of a man was this God when He walked this earth as flesh almost two thousand years ago?

We don’t have to guess about the answers — they are sure, they are plain! They are found in the Bible! The true Jesus Christ is all powerful, He lives! He is the Almighty, ever-powerful, omnipotent God who speaks with a voice so strong that mountains literally quake in His presence. His voice is as a sound of many waters, thunderous waters of a GIANT, ROARING WATERFALL (Rev. 1:15).

God speaks to us today in great power! His voice is in the lightning, the thunder and tornadoes (Ps. 29:1-11). He shakes this earth in giant earthquakes, just as a child would shake a rag doll. That God — the real Jesus Christ, came to this earth A man’s man!! The Jesus Christ of your Bible was no weakling, no mama’s boy.

Jesus Christ was born of His Father, the one who said, “Let us make man in our image …” (Gen. 1:26). A vibrant, Holy, merciful, compassionate, kind and loving Father gave His son the power of the universe, the power to tell the future before it happens (Isa. 41:22). The Father is an all-powerful, pulsating, omnipotent force of energy that is the absolute of masculinity; He bequeathed those same masculine characteristics to His Son.

Jesus Christ was perfect, the very image of His Father in Heaven. He grew up to be as strong as the land He created. As a child, He traveled by foot all the way from Egypt to Palestine, camping out under the stars — stars that He created in the beginning with His Father (John 1:1-3).

At night, on the trip from Egypt to Palestine, the boy, Jesus, scurried around hunting firewood to cook the evening meal. When Dad said, “Son, it is time for bed” — Jesus Christ rolled up in a sheepskin beside the campfire and slept the sleep of peace, the sleep of a youthful, energetic boy who was to grow to be the greatest man ever to walk this earth!

The Carpenter’s Son

The carpenter in Christ’s time was no ordinary person. There were no power saws, no precut timber. All work was accomplished by muscle and brawn, by men who were REAL MEN! Joseph taught his son the trade of carpentry. In this trade, Jesus Christ developed a physique that would have made most athletes a little jealous. He grew tall, evenly muscled, tanned by the sun and wind!

Joseph and his son arose very early in the morning while it was still dark. They prayed and studied. Then at the crack of dawn, they were off to the forest to fell the trees needed for building. Jesus Christ swung an axe day after day. His muscles rippled under His tunic as He labored in the great out-of-doors.

The timber, once felled, was worked by an adz until it became a beam. At evening, Christ hoisted the work of His hands to His shoulders and trudged the long walk home, often arriving after dark. Foundations were dug in the rocky hillside of Palestine. They picked and shoveled out the earth, removing great boulders from their obstructive position.

There were no trucks carrying premixed concrete to roll up and pour the foundation. That was the work of a stonemason, the carpenter Joseph and his son. Boards too had to be sawed from the rough beams. From forest to foundation, from rock quarry to roof, the house became a reality.

The Great Storm

One evening, after a long, hard, tiresome day, Jesus turned to Peter and the other disciples and said, “Let’s go over to the other side of the sea where we can find a little peace and quiet away from the crowd.” The idea was as a command. It appealed to the rugged adventurous men at his side.

Immediately they boarded a good-sized boat anchored nearby intending to leave the crowd behind. The pressing crowd had other ideas. They had no intentions of losing sight of this outstanding, dynamic leader, who told them of the good news of a future Kingdom under God. Quite a number rushed to board other small boats intending to follow Him to the other side.

Casting off, they went only a short distance before the sky began to darken. Thunder and lightning flashed and roared through the sky. The crowds became fearful. The small boats turned back. The wind lifted. Peter, James, John and the other men, glanced nervously overhead at the ominous, threatening sky as they hurriedly battened down the boat.
The storm continued to build. Great waves churned, threatening to capsize them. The storm had all the power of a typhoon. Waves soon spilled over, filling the boat with water until it was ready to sink.

Frightened half out of their wits, the experienced fishermen, Peter, James and John labored furiously with the other disciples to keep the boat afloat. It was hopeless! They were sinking! Where was Jesus Christ? James answered, “He’s asleep, He found a few boat cushions and curled up to sleep in the back of the boat.”

Disturbed, angered, and frightened, Peter rushed back followed by the other disciples to find Christ. Sure enough, there He lay, protected from the storm, sound asleep! Peter shouted to be heard above the thunderous roar of the wind and waves. “Master, don’t you care if we all drown, this ship is about to sink and you aren’t even concerned enough to help save the boat.”

Jesus Christ opened His eyes, looked up at the wet, distraught, disheveled fishermen. What a sight they were. He couldn’t help but smile. Shedding the oilskin covering, He stood up and commanded the sea, “Be quiet you wind, waves be still.”

Instantly the sea was transformed from a raging, turbulent, fierce storm into a mill pond. The moon and the stars broke through the fast dissipating dark clouds and He said, “Why are you so fearful? Why is it that you have no confidence, no faith in me?” (Mark 4:35-40 — Phillips, RSV, Moffatt).

A Masculine Man

The Jesus Christ of your Bible enjoyed being around good friends like Peter, James and John. He and His disciples were hard-driving, dedicated men with a purpose, a goal in life. There were both serious moments and times of laughter around the campfire at night. A real man’s fellowship existed between these robust men of great strength.

Jesus Christ was a man of character, of stamina, of great determination. He fasted as few men are capable of fasting. Forty days and forty nights without food or water. That’s more than a full month! There was a reason. Deep within burned a singleness of purpose — your salvation and mine BY DEATH!!

A Thundering, Dynamic Personality

Near Passover time, Jesus walked over to Jerusalem. He passed by the Temple. What He saw stopped Him short in His tracks. He couldn’t believe His eyes! There in His Father’s Temple were merchants selling cattle, sheep and doves for sacrifices. The place was in an uproar, confusion, shouting men dickering for a better price in the very Temple of God!
Angered, He carefully fashioned a scourge of small cords. The next day He strode into the temple brushing aside those who were milling around. Grasping the first table He came to, He flipped it into the air. Money flew everywhere! The money changers were stunned.

Taking the scourge, He whipped it through the air, it snapped with a crack of a pistol. Animals scattered! Men fell over one another as they retreated to the nearest exit. A thundering voice called out after them, “Get these things out of here! You who make my Father’s House a house of merchandise.” Every last one meekly obeyed!

Imagine the headlines in the Jerusalem news the next day — that is if there had been a newspaper. Bold-faced headlines would have read, “Man from Nazareth turns temple upside down! — throws out money changers — drives out beasts — men shrink in fear!!”

There were no streetcars, no trains, no horses or carriages in 30 A.D. Jesus Christ walked from village to village. The highways were dirt and gravel. They were treacherous. Thieves abounded. Only a real man dared travel the dusty roads between Jerusalem and Jericho.

Remember the man who fell among thieves on the road to Jericho? They stripped him of his clothing, beat him senseless and left him for dead (Luke 10:30).

What Did it Take to Die?

Jesus Christ died on a stake for you! What did it take to die? What kind of day was it that Christ spent — His last day before His crucifixion? It began Tuesday morning, April 24, 31 A.D., very early in the morning. It ended in the most brutal murder ever suffered by a human being — agonizing hours of suffering climaxed by a slow, torturous death on a bloodied stake!
Source: The Good News, March 1968

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