“He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” Psalm 18:34
Every mission to India we visit an old aged and widow’s home. Pastor Israel, one of our India partners, lovingly cares for these women by providing a home, daily food, blankets, clothing, and fellowship. His mother used to be a part of this ministry before passing away a few years ago. This has become a very special place for us to visit as we have fond memories of his mom and have gotten to know many of the other women. Even with the language barrier, smiles and hugs knit our hearts together.
After greeting everyone through our translator (Pastor Israel’s youngest daughter, Jennifer), I introduced another team member, Jim, to share a message. On the drive here, with nothing prepared, we prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to lead us. I was thankful upon arriving when Jim spoke up and said God had put something on his heart to say. Jim’s message was powerful as he told the women that their best days are yet to come. How can you say that to a group of women who are bent over with crippled knees and weathered skin; women in the last stage of life who have been through so much and are left alone with no other family then each other? You can say that because they know Jesus! Continue reading
Samuel was getting old. He had served God his entire life and given leadership to the nation of Israel throughout his adult years. Now, as he approached the end of his life, he assumed that his sons would follow in his steps and provide godly leadership. “But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” (1 Samuel 8:3)
The people of Israel did not want to follow Samuel’s sons, so they gathered together and made their demands known. They said to Samuel, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” (1 Samuel 8:5)
Samuel was displeased with their request. But the Lord said to him, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.” (1 Samuel 8:7-8) Continue reading
Before getting into Romans, a few observations are in order about the epistles written by the Apostle Paul. He wrote the 13 from Romans through Philemon for sure but I see a number of indications he probably also wrote Hebrews. If so, there are fourteen epistles wherein Paul reveals the Gospel of the Grace of God he received directly from the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 16:25. Fourteen is significant since seven in Scripture signifies Spiritual perfection so fourteen implies a measure of double Spiritual perfection. *
2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” and Paul’s epistles are arranged in this order:
· Romans presents doctrine/instruction,
· The two epistles to the Corinthians are reproof for not living according to the teaching of Romans,
· Galatians is correction for turning away from the doctrine of salvation by grace in Romans, back to following the Law,
· Ephesians presents doctrine/instruction,
· Philippians is reproof for practical failure of the doctrine of Ephesians,
· Colossians is correction; teaching believers to shun philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, and continue in the doctrine of Ephesians, recognizing we are complete in Christ, the Head of all principality and power, Continue reading
From our earliest interactions with other kids to our adult years, we find that there are three things that tend to impress others. People seem to be nicer to those who are smart, athletic, or rich. Think back to your school days. Was it not the smart kids whom the teachers seemed to favor? Was it not the athletes who received the cheers of the fans? And did not the wealthy seem to have lots of friends?
God doesn’t play favorites. He’s not impressed if a person is smart, athletic, or wealthy. Think about it. God created the entire universe. What is our intelligence compared to His brilliance? Or do you think He is wowed by a man lifting a few hundred pounds or running fast? God formed the scorching sun and stars, and He threw the planets into their orbits. And wealth? What’s a billionaire to Him? The Bible reveals that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, meaning His resources are without limit.
If God is not impressed with our assets, then how do we garner His attention and favor? God answers that question in Jeremiah 9:23-24, when He says, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and KNOWS ME, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” Continue reading
If by sovereign you mean that God is above everything else, with no one having authority over Him, then yes.
If by sovereign you mean that God decrees, or decides, everything that happens, then NO. God is not to blame for murders, rapes, human trafficking. He is not to blame for bribery or lies or extortion or a multitude of other sins. The Bible clearly says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:13-14). Man is the problem. None of us can say, “God made me do it.” God is NEVER an accomplice to our sin.
Some would ask, “If God is at the top of the heap, then how can anything happen without His permission?” Giving permission and causing something to happen are two different things. God has sovereignly made the decision to give people the freedom to make their own choices. From grabbing someone else’s toy to grabbing a package off someone’s porch, people are accountable for their wrongs. God is not to blame. Just because God KNOWS everything that will happen, it doesn’t mean that He DECREES or FORCES it to happen. Continue reading
“Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me.” —Bohemian Rhapsody
Sometimes I feel like I live in a bubble. It seems as if nearly every waking moment my mind is racing as I struggle to figure out what we can do to stop the onslaught of evil that is enveloping this land.
It is not the evil that troubles my sleep. It is the apathy. It reminds me of the old saw about the high school social studies teacher who asked his students what was the most pressing need facing the nation. To his despair, the most common response was, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Any way the wind blows….
But my frustration doesn’t come from a gaggle of high school students who couldn’t tell the difference between a paper dollar and a solid Gold Eagle coin, but from the frumpy, sports focused men who attend the regular men’s “prayer breakfast” at your average evan-jellyfish assembly.
This really hit home last Monday night as I watched a stadium full of grown men paint their faces and jump up and down in hopes of cheering the LSU Tigers to victory in the National Championship game in The Big Easy. Continue reading
Most of us remember the Christmas story in which a Grinch’s heart grew three sizes in one day, all the result of seeing how the townspeople deep down in their hearts valued love and fellowship above that of Christmas presents. But what really is behind changing one’s heart? In the Holy Bible, Jeremiah 17:9 states: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; who can know it?” And so the challenge begins …
Interestingly, science recently discovered that the heart has its own brain. There also is evidence that the heart receives and responds to stimuli before the mind processes it. This suggests that this internal organ is much more than a muscle that pumps our blood. Mark 7:21-23 enlightens us further: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Perhaps a good place to begin in purifying our insides is to reflect on how God measures our hearts. Even though King David killed to gain Bathsheba, thus making him an adulterer and a murderer – God called David “a man after My own heart” – David continually had a heart for seeking and knowing God. He never made excuses for his sins and always went to God with his problems, pouring out his heart to him. Continue reading
Can a person who doesn’t know Christ capture God’s interest? Does God consider anything they do to be good, or are all their actions sinful in His sight? An interesting event takes place in Acts 10 that answers those questions. Before a supernatural encounter with God, the Apostle Peter considered non-Jews (Gentiles) to be so sinful that he wouldn’t even set foot in a Gentile’s house, let alone hold a conversation and share the Gospel with them. But after his experience with God, it changed how he regarded people of other cultures and ethnicity.
“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, ‘Cornelius!’ Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’” (Acts 10:1-5; 11:14) Continue reading
This is to introduce my “Faith Studies” series and offer a thank you to Northwest Connection Publisher JoLinn Kampstra for your invitation. These studies are based on the belief that the only truth about the true standing of men and women before Creator God is found in Scripture, that is, the 66 books of the Bible, all written by Jews, Romans 3:2 who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, 2 Timothy 3:16. References will be from the King James Version (KJV) because that’s what I’ve used for almost 70 years. Of course, the reader is invited to reference the translation with which they are comfortable.
The Bible is a commentary on itself. In order to understand it, Scripture must be compared with Scripture, consideration given to the immediate context in which a word or passage occurs, all while depending on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:14 – 15. In these studies, I rely heavily on J. B. Smith’s Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament (NT), which uses numbers assigned to each Greek word in the Greek manuscript/s from which the English NT is drawn. This concordance lists the various English words translated from each Greek word. For instance, Continue reading
The anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, is upon us again. And here we are, 61 million abortions later.
Some of the most powerful spokespersons against Roe are those who survived an attempted abortion. At least 300 Americans alive today are in that category. Here we will highlight three such survivors.
A couple of months ago, I heard a dramatic talk from Gianna Jessen of Tennessee. Born in 1977, Gianna survived a saline abortion, and her story has been told in a Focus on the Family book, Gianna: Aborted, and Lived to Tell about It.
Gianna has even run two marathons, despite the cerebral palsy caused by the abortion-attempt. It took her several hours longer than the average runner to complete the 26.2 miles. But she made it. Twice.
Some say she lacks a “quality of life,” but she asks (as I recall), “Who are you to judge my ‘quality of life’?” Thanks to the faithfulness of the Lord, she has a high “quality of life,” thank you very much.
Another survivor is Melissa Ohden of Missouri. I had the privilege to interview her for Christian TV recently. As a child she knew she had been adopted. But not until she was 14 did she learn the back story. Continue reading