C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

Comment Policy: No profanity or blasphemy will be posted. You do not have to agree, but if you would like your comment posted, you will have to adhere to the policy.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Seeketh Thou?

What is the number one thing people seek after in today’s society? What is on the top of your list, my list? How important is it really in the grand scheme of things? What is the motivation factor; self or the well-being of others? How much time and energy do we spend trying to reach that goal, and do we affect others in a positive or negative way while striving to achieve it? How much of it is pure selfishness without regard to others?

How much time do we spend deciding on what we will eat, drink, and wear on a daily basis, along with all of our other thoughts surrounding our desires and wants, compared to pondering the things of God and the lost souls around us?

Scripture declares [Matthew 6], “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

What things? “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”

Scripture is not saying that we do not have a duty to work and provide for ourselves and our families, but the main focus is not to be unto ourselves but unto “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.”

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Where is your treasure, where is my treasure? Is it in the things of God, or the temporary things of this world?

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

We must choose this day who we will serve, whether to God or the flesh be given preeminence. Just remember, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” [Galatians 6:8]

Tell me, “What Seeketh Thou?”

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hole Lotta’ Shaking Going On!

A friend of mine sent me a link to a blog post entitled, Holy Hole!

Apparently, the Muslims (or at least some) are blaming the Israelis for the “5.3-magnitude earthquake,” claiming they are “digging tunnels in the area that undermine the stability in the area of the Al-Aqsa mosque.” The Islamic Movement “urged Islamic states to take action to stop Israeli excavations in the area.”

It is interesting at the blog to note “the hole was a meter deep, two meters long and meter and a half wide” compared to a 1927 shot of Jerusalem.

Scripture does call for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple:

Revelation 11
1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

I have heard and read, but not really intensive study, that the Jewish temple could be rebuilt near or next to the Dome of the Rock, for the Dome of the Rock would merely be inside “the court which is without the temple” that is left out and “given unto the Gentiles.”

Got some insight further into these matters, share it!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jim Says: "Check Your Guns at the Door"

Check out: http://www.ccwonline.org/guns.html

Jim Elliff

Those of us who have a ministry of writing are usually pretty tough folks. Many of us have been in the combat zone for quite a while and can take almost anything that is said by readers of our articles. This short plea to blog and forum participants is more about my embarrassment for all of us who are web-interactive Christians than it is for my own hide. In short, I'm appealing for etiquette characteristic of believers in reader's responses to articles and blog entries.

When reading through responses on various blogs and faith-based forums, I often wonder if those who are outside the faith are looking on. What do they think about the sometimes mean and vindictive words that are used? Or what do new believers think? When they read that tart, angry or demeaning language, are they really being helped toward Christ? If it doesn't smell good to us, it certainly is rancorous to the alert souls looking over our shoulders. At best they find comfort for their own acrimony in our unguarded words; at worst, they reject our beliefs as those which produce little change in a person.

On the Topic of the Handicap, Mentally Ill, and Salvation

A good friend of mine, concerned about lost souls, asked the question, "what happens to them after death. I wonder how God judges them? If they ever could actually comprehend the gospel?"

I do think it is a difficult question, maybe with few or no easy answers, considering the destination of the mentally handicapped people. But, to me, the discussion of the topic creates a burden within our hearts for souls, and not just the souls of the mental but also of all lost people. If we stop caring about souls, then we are merely a castaway to the Christian faith and cause of Christ. We can all try to live the legalistic life of the Pharisee, but are merely full of dead men’s bones if we have no desire to share the Message with the lost.

First, I believe, we must agree with Scripture that every soul ever born will either reject the gospel of Jesus Christ or accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, and therefore spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. Second, we must also acknowledge that God is love, is holy, is just, and perfect; therefore, we cannot blame Him if a soul (whether mentally ill or not) spends eternity in hell for rejecting Him. Thirdly, we must accept the truth that the soul that spends eternity in hell are themselves responsible for their rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and not their friends, family, or the devil though all three may have played a part in the soul not putting faith in Christ.

This is what makes sin and the devil so terrible, because they confound the lost, confuse the saved, and easily manipulate us into obeying them over obeying God and His Word. Usually, simply because we choose to follow them (the flesh, the world, and the devil) instead of heeding to godly wisdom and the Spirit of God, we sow to the flesh destruction and ultimately the loss of rewards for the saved and eternal condemnation for the lost. So, though they may lead us astray and blind us to the truth, we are responsible for choosing (or allowing ourselves) to follow them instead of being as Joshua, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Though we must remember [1] we cannot serve God, even if we want to, without the Spirit working in us to do so, and [2] without giving ourselves over to the reading, studying, mediating on the Word of God and having a faithful prayer life. We do not save and convert souls, nor can we convince a soul they are lost and need Christ. It is the Father, Son, and Spirit that move in us to present the gospel and in the soul to accept the gospel. Remember Paul said, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

With the mentally handicapped we have a great variety, and here is just three groups I can think of, and a little as to what I believe concerning salvation:

1. Born mentally handicapped – People that are born mental can have degrees of handicap, where some comprehend more than others. This would include those born to drug addicts or simply gene and birth defects. I totally believe that God can and does communicate with them, for we must remember God is all powerful, and what is it but a simple thing for the Creator to speak to His creation. Remember when Moses was crying about his speaking? God said, “Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?” So, to say God could not communicate to them so they freely get to go to Heaven would mean [1] God isn’t all powerful, and [2] they do not need the Savior Jesus Christ. But we know they are still sinners for Scripture declares, “all have sinned” and if we deny we sin we are a liar. Here lies the issue, we would like to assume that they could all go to Heaven because we feel sorry for them, but if we believe God can communicate with them on their level (whatever that may be) then we must also realize that they have the option to either accept or reject the truth presented by the Holy Spirit on their level.

And speaking of levels or types of mental illness, if John the Baptist can be filled with the Holy Spirit before ever leaving the womb (without a developed mind to comprehend the written Word of God), I believe the Spirit of God is not hindered at all by the mental issues of any soul.

2. Become mentally handicapped – To me this group is somewhat different because (though could have at different ages in life) they had an opportunity to hear the gospel and mentally understand it before they became mentally ill by drug use, accidents, genes, etc. I mean, if I were presented the gospel of Jesus Christ today and reject it, get in a wreck tomorrow and become mentally disabled, is God really under any obligation to guarantee me the opportunity of the Spirit of God to speak to me again in my mentally ill state? I would pray that He would, and I believe by our prayers and witnessing God will offer his salvation to these souls yet again as long as they are yet alive. Yet again, they were responsible for rejecting the truth when they could understand and hear it, and may even been at fault for the reason that they can no longer hear or understand it. And many times these things cause people to go one of two ways: [1] turn to trust in God, [2] rebel and hate God.

3. Demon possessed handicapped – I don’t want to discuss too much concerning this, but the Scripture is clear this does occur. I honestly believe many or some of the souls kept in mental institutions are demon possessed. I believe we fail to acknowledge it because they are not on the streets like during biblical times, because we have them locked away out of society and out of our minds. Also, I believe that we use so much medication in today’s society, whereby many of the possessed souls merely stay in a hypnotic, drugged induced state. You know what the problem with this is? Yes, they may hurt themselves or others if they were to be taken off of the drugs, but while on the drugs who can witness to them? Again, I believe the Holy Spirit can, but not all possessed souls get freed from oppression – but remember God is still not at fault for their rejection of his gospel, for God knows the entirety of every soul’s life and their opportunities whereby they were presented the gospel whereas we do not.

Now, please consider the above as merely my understanding from my walk through Scripture, and I am far from being a theologian. Trust God, trust the Book, and pray for both the lost souls to come to Christ and the saved souls to be about the Christian walk. We must acknowledge that ALL souls MUST go through CHRIST, for He is the way, the truth, and the life; therefore, if this be the case, and it is, this includes the mentally handicapped soul as well as the genius.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day 2008

Do You Love Me? What About Them?

I am going to just come out and say it: “I Love You!”

Am I the only one that finds that which we are commanded to do in Scripture to be sometimes awkward and/or unnatural? I didn’t personally come from a “huggy” family that often told each other “I love you.” Even now, I find it somewhat uncomfortable to tell someone besides my wife or children that I love them. I believe I may show it to others by my actions, but to have the words flow from my mouth seems maybe even harder than saying, “I’m sorry.”

Scripture teaches us there should be a love between husband and wife (Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 5:33, Colossians 3:19, Titus 2:4), a love between parents and children (Proverbs 13:24, Ephesians 6:4, Titus 2:4), a love between friends (Proverbs 17:17, John 15:13), a love between Christians (John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10, 1 Peter 3:8-9), and even a love concerning our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45, Luke 6:35).

Paul covers the act of love with his use of the word charity in 1 Corinthians 13. For it is not the mere mention of “I love you” that only matters to God, but that which lays in our hearts toward others that God judges us also. We are to live both inwardly and outwardly as Christians concerning the Word of God. Remember, man sees the outward, but God judges the inward, so both must be done if it is to be a pure act of love before man and God. (1 Samuel 16:7)

It is written, “Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13)

This is just a few things I hope to consider not only this Valentine’s Day, but each and every day of the year. As Christians, we should be a people of love, and not ashamed of it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Christians in Heaven or Sleeping Elsewhere

A friend of mine just sent me a link to an article where an “Anglican challenges widespread belief, [and] says believers [are] asleep until God returns.”

Article notes: “A bishop described as "one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought" is now challenging the widely held belief that Christians go to heaven when they die.”

Mr. Wright’s rejection of Biblical Truth is as follows (from the article):
“"There are several important respects in which it's unsupported by the New Testament. First, the timing. In the Bible we are told that you die, and enter an intermediate state. [The Apostle] Paul is very clear that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead already, but that nobody else has yet. Secondly, our physical state. The New Testament says that when Christ does return, the dead will experience a whole new life: not just our soul, but our bodies. And finally, the location. At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, 'Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven.' It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation."”

And with it, he quotes John 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

I would like to note the fact that John 3:13 comes before the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ himself, so to claim it clearly means no man SINCE the resurrection has not ascended up to heaven is reading into the white of the pages. For did not Paul say, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” [2 Corinthians 12:2] Who then is the liar, Christ or Paul? Neither, for we cannot play them against one another, but see that one is yet before the resurrection and one is yet after.

Mr. Wright goes on to say, “"We know that we will be with God and with Christ, resting and being refreshed. Paul writes that it will be conscious, but compared with being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep.”

So this will not be heaven, although both God and Christ are in heaven [Mark 16:19]? And what in the world does he mean by “Paul writes that it will be conscious, but compared with being bodily alive, it will be like being asleep?” How exactly does Mr. Wright know this? Granted, maybe he has the answers hidden away in one of his chapters of his book, but what about in the Good Book?

Then Mr. Wright mentions, “There is Luke 23, where Jesus says to the good thief on the cross, 'Today you will be with me in paradise.' But in Luke, we know first of all that Christ himself will not be resurrected for three days, so 'paradise' cannot be a resurrection.”

But of course, we again have a time BEFORE the resurrection of Christ. Yet, then do we have at the resurrection of Christ, “the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” [Matthew 27:52-53]

Does Mr. Wright not know when Paul (or the man he “knew”) was called up to the third heaven, it was indeed in “paradise” to which he went?

Knowing also that Christ is in Heaven, and Mr. Wright even admits “We know that we will be with God and with Christ, resting and being refreshed”, we have “Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” [Jude 1:14-15]

I must ask then, if not from heaven, whence do the saints cometh with Christ?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Clarence Larkin on "The Book of Revelation"

The complete web verison of "The Book of Revelation" study by Clarence Larkin, 1919. An insightful and interesting read.

The printed version may be purchased here, along with his "companion" study of "The Book of Daniel".


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Vox Day - The Irrational Atheist

Vox Day's book "The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens" is now available from Amazon.com, though he also has the download here.

I am thinking this should be an interesting read...

He is also the writer of:

Possible Misunderstanding Concerning "Oh, the Bigotry of Bigotry"

I appreciate Austin Cline taking the time to read my blog post and posting his opinions concerning it at his blog. I do however believe there may have been a slight misunderstanding as to the thoughts he pulled forth from my posting though.

The title of my post was “Oh, the Bigotry of Bigotry” whereas Austin Cline entitled his reply/rebuttal of such “Anti-Atheist Bigot Denying Own Bigotry”. Though my original thoughts were in reference to another blog entry entitled “Bigotry Should Disqualify a Presidential Candidate”.

At the very onset of the topic “Bigotry Should Disqualify a Presidential Candidate”, the writer begins their thought of bigotry as they see it from “many Republican campaigns” towards race, to sexual preference (called “anti-gay”, namely homosexuality), and atheism (called anti-atheist).

They make the notion that although bigotry of race is not tolerated whereas bigotry toward homosexuality and atheism is, for they state “I long for the day when anti-gay and anti-atheist bigotry will disqualify a candidate as quickly as racism.”

With that said, I simply made the obvious claim that, “First off, I would like to note the simple fact of the comparison made by the writer: Race (whether African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, etc.) is not the same type of issue as homosexuality and atheism. A person does not choose what race they are born into, whereas a person does make a spiritual decision to embrace atheism and a moral decision to embrace homosexuality.”

Austin Cline begins his post with “One of the more interesting tricks which bigots use to defend themselves is to admit that, yes, they are bigots — but so is everyone else, so why are you picking on me? Logically speaking this might be little more than the tu quoque fallacy: "you're doing it to, so you can't criticize me for it." Sometimes the bigot does go further, though, by arguing that bigotry is the natural human condition and shouldn't be condemned so forcefully.”

Whereas, if he would have continued to the end of my post he would have noted my words, “I just find it interesting that most of the time the one that uses the word bigot can be found to be one themselves if one would simply observe and listen to their message long enough.”

Since apparently Austin Cline seems to take my post (as he sites other comments) to mean, “Is it the case that bigotry isn't possible against choices, or that bigotry isn't possible against choices which a Christian deems to be sinful?” I thought I might elaborate a little here.

First, I would like to note that I never claim that [1] “bigotry isn’t possible against choice”, nor do I claim [2] “bigotry isn’t possible against choices which a Christian deems to be sinful” in my post. I indeed acknowledge there is indeed bigotry of such, for I said “I would agree that each of these groups can be dealt blows by hate speech and ungodly actions from without.”

As a Christian I am to hate sin (that of my own life, and that of another’s life) simply because Scripture teaches against such and the holy Almighty God is against such. Notice I said hate the sin, not the person from whom it flows. Therefore, concerning race, one is not to hate one simply because of their color nor should one simply hate the color itself therefore despising all of that particular race. Whereas hating the sin of homosexuality and/or unbelief is based in Scripture, from the very mind of God, which is not based on something one cannot change, but something they can. I cannot change my race, but I can decide whether to be hetero or homo sexual and whether a Christian or Atheist.

So, whereas a presidential candidate should not speak out against race (for no race is sinful within itself nor can it be changed), their stance against the blatant acts of rebellion of homosexuality and atheism in the very face of their Creator, which cut against the conscience of the presidential candidates should not disqualify them as candidates. For are they not free to exercise their First Amendment rights as much as the Atheists who speak often openly bigoted thoughts against Theism? Would an Atheist disqualify an Atheist’s candidate who spoke as much concerning their views which boast against the thoughts of Theistic Americans?

The denial of presidential candidates to support homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle and atheism as a popular belief is not “mak[ing] [a] law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” but simply a moral standard of such candidates of which governs their life. To require such to lay their moral standards aside to govern the people of the United States as president is absurd. There may be many things I do not like concerning the ideals of some candidates, but to claim they should be disabled to run merely for reason of which I disagree with them, would not the list continuously grow as to there would be no one able to run at all?

I fail to see how Austin Cline read my entire article and came away with, “If it isn't possible to be bigoted against a choice, then it isn't possible to be bigoted against a Christian — don't Christians make a choice to be Christian?”

I note, “The hype of the article seems to be that of “anti-atheist bigotry” mostly, but I believe I have discussed the topic of bigotry concerning theist/atheist belief concerning homosexuality before where I note, “Do we not notice that both sides (Christian and Atheist) hold strict contradicting views, which are intolerant of the other? It all comes down to faith vs. unbelief, and that is where our security lies.””

Austin Cline claims, “Besides, I've never heard any atheists say that a Christian is being a bigot for simply observing that, under traditional Christian theology, atheism or homosexuality is sinful.” But, truth be known, the atheist does not mind the Christian having such views in the privacy of his own house or his little church, but as soon as he makes his voice heard aloud or as in running for president the same instantly becomes a bigot by the very bigots (one that is stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own) that demand America change its policy on marriage and to remove God from all walks of life.

So, whereas Austin Cline asks “Which atheists, exactly, say this? I notice that Timothy Waldrop doesn't actually offer any quotes and Vjack's post certainly doesn't make any such statement.” I reply, keep looking for their words and speech are spread throughout the news, books, and blogsphere.

At the end of Vjack’s article, he states, “It is time for Americans to ask ourselves whether bigotry is a characteristic we desire in our leaders.”

Which is why I note, “An atheist candidate could be no less a bigot than a theist one. For the atheist is “stubborn and complete intoler[ant of the] creed, belief, or opinion” of the theist. Just as the Christian tells the atheist they may not believe in God and the homosexual they may live in sin unto themselves, though calling on them to repent, but do not try to have the world accept your lifestyle, so does the atheist tell the Christian to keep their beliefs of God, against non-belief and immorality in their churches and homes, but do not try to have the world accept your lifestyle.”

I do appreciate the fact that Austin Cline writes, “Presidential candidates who say they are theists aren't being bigoted and they aren't doing anything wrong. Presidential candidates who want to use their office to promote their theism or other religious beliefs are not necessarily engaged in bigotry (it's theoretically possible, depending upon what exactly they do), but they are at the very least violating the spirit of the First Amendment because being elected president confers upon a person specific civil authority, not any religious authority.”

However I do disagree with his thought that “Presidential candidates who want to use their office to promote their theism or other religious beliefs” “are at the very least violating the spirit of the First Amendment because being elected president confers upon a person specific civil authority, not any religious authority.”

Again, for the President to speak out against homosexuality and atheism is not “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; therefore, how can one be in violating the First Amendment? And for the record I did notice Austin Cline’s use of “the spirit of the First Amendment” which is usually based on the spirit within the one trying to make the words of the forefathers stand by their claim which most often it is not the case – which is why the letter of Jefferson is often quoted in conjunction with such, although letters are not U.S. documents such as the First Amendment is.

We see again the twisting of the tide of Austin Cline upon my post where he writes, “Here we have a more explicit statement of what appears to be Timothy Waldrop's position: everyone is a bigot, so what's the big deal if Christians are bigoted against atheists?”

My claim was never in favor of bigotry, of the Christian nor the Atheist, I merely noted the fact that bigotry (whether great or small) often lies within each of us.

Then Austin Cline continues down his slope of misunderstanding by stating, “If you pay attention, though, you'll find that Timothy Waldrop has contradicted himself. Waldrop originally admitted that bigotry against people because of their race is real and is wrong, but based on the definition he is using bigotry against race isn't possible — after all, race isn't a "creed, belief, or opinion."”

I did not say that bigotry against race was not possible, but that it was different than bigotry concerning homosexuality and atheism in the fact that one cannot change their skin but they can decide to change their lifestyle and beliefs.

As for Austin Cline’s question, “I'm not aware of any "judgment" which "Atheism" may be threatening against Christians — even if we accept as valid the treatment of atheism as an ideology or philosophy which should be capitalized, there are no atheist "judgments" against Christianity which Christians might in theory have to be worry about. The closest to this might be the assertion that Christianity is wrong, but I can't believe that's what Timothy Waldrop has in mind. ”

As concerning: “Atheists are scared of the judgment Christianity may bring upon them” Atheist are indeed scared that God (though they deny God, Christians know it is He who works through us) through Christianity could possible bring forth a spiritual revival within our nation thereby exposing all of the lies of Satan and ungodliness making it extremely difficult for one to live in open rebellion against the God of Heaven and the Scriptures. (**Not by force, but mere shame and conviction**)

As concerning: “Christians are scared of the judgment Atheism will bring upon them” Christians realize (or should) that if we continue to allow the god of this world to proceed as he has to rid the nation of God and that which is right, we will find ourselves sinking further into sin, and will soon been judged by the very wrath of God.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.