Easter 2016

Happy Easter!
He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

As I thoughtfully consider the awesome event of The Resurrection, I am once again reminded that not only was Jesus willing to die for all of us, but God was faithful to the promise that he would raise Christ from the dead.
I am amazed and thankful for the many men and women throughout history who have given their lives for righteous causes, but Jesus alone endured the unimaginable torture and humiliation which ultimately resulted in our redemption.

Many die for the good of others, but only one has secured the victory over death: Jesus Christ.
Even as he was raised with a spiritual body, so we also will be like him when he returns. However, even in this age, those of us who have accepted salvation through Christ, can live new glorious lives. This is because we have received holy spirit.

Let us rejoice as we celebrate the victory and never forget that we are now a part of all that God and Christ have accomplished for us!
Leah found a very nice rendition of one of her favorite hymns and shared it with me. I would like to complete this post by sharing it with you.
Watch here.

First Book Signing Of 2016

Hello everyone! I hope all of you had a blessed holiday season and enjoyed some relaxing family time.

For those of you who will be in the area, my next book signing event will be held at The Viewpoint in Columbus, Indiana, on Saturday, February 6, 2016.
I will speak about the book, the writing experience and there will be time for questions and discussion.
I will have softcover books, ebook cards, and Special Edition hardcover copies available for purchase. If you wish, I will be honored to sign them for you.

Read the announcement posted on the Viewpoint website.

Everlasting Life: In Progress

We are often confused, and even deceived, concerning the things we read in The Bible.
Don’t get me wrong. The scriptures themselves are in no way deceiving. They are always true. Certainly, we must properly understand and apply them in order to get the desired results. We must also make a conscious effort to keep things in proper order and perspective.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. In numerous situations, I have been in conversations with other Christians who say they believe in the power of God, yet when I encourage them to pray, expecting God to bless and heal them, their body language tells me that they have no faith along these lines.
Somehow, they have a multitude of reasons why God’s word doesn’t work for them. Either they don’t deserve God’s blessings, or perhaps they feel they should bear the “judgment” which others deserve. Some tell me that the kind of miracles and healings I describe are either “not for today”, or they simply place more faith in the facts than the truth of scripture.
After all, we have to face reality, right? If God wanted us to be healed, we would be! He has his reasons why he decides to bless some and not others. I challenge you to show me a single scripture, when rightly applied, will support that theology. If God never changes, how can we believe that he is so volatile and inconsistent?
Unless we push ourselves to do otherwise, we tend to believe the things we see and disregard those things yet unseen. That sounds like the opposite of faith, doesn’t it? Bingo! While we’re in the midst of our daily lives, it is all too easy to fall into this deception. That brings us back to my original premise.
We should not ignore the facts we see all around us, but we also must pay attention to the truths which are clearly taught in scripture concerning us. For example, I hear many Christians teaching, in great detail, the things they understand about The Shemitah. Although there are many applicable principles to be learned on this subject, such as allowing the land to rest every seventh year, in order to keep it healthy and thereby able to produce abundantly for the long haul, we must also remember the completed work of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, most Christians do not truly believe in the completeness of their salvation, nor do they believe that they are living in God’s favor. When we confessed Jesus as Lord, believing that God raised him from the dead, we received holy spirit. This event marked the beginning of our everlasting life! Eternity does not start when we die. For a Christian, it is already in progress.

In The Bible, there are different administrations (times and seasons). Because God is consistent, there are things which are carried throughout the ages, however, there are also those things which are superseded as we move forward in biblical history.
Lately, I have heard many discussions by Jonathan Cahn and others, regarding the Shemitah and God’s judgment. If you listen carefully to these presentations, you will usually find that they do state that for a Christian, these things have already been covered by the completed work of Christ. I must say, however, that they do a poor job of communicating. That is, they place so much emphasis on the gloom and doom, that the truth of our redemption becomes a mere afterthought.

We must be mindful of the fact that our thoughts and words have a profound effect on our results. God is not in control of everything. We have an enemy, who works tirelessly and skillfully to deceive us into behaving in a manner which is not conducive to receiving the blessings of God. I spend a great deal of time on this topic throughout the pages of my book. I truly believe this is one of the key factors affecting the quality of our lives as Christians.

The Land Of The Free; The Home Of The Brave

When did the Supreme Court become the legislative branch of government?

The Congress is the legislative branch of the government. The Supreme Court is the judicial branch.

Obviously, most of our legislators are not schooled in the law of the land. Some of them are celebrating the decree stating that marriage is no longer defined as the union of one man and one woman.

There are two major problems with this recent decree.

First of all, it is not a law. That’s right! It is not a law because the Supreme Court can not make laws. They determine whether or not laws presented to them are constitutional, but they do not originate or pass any laws.

Secondly, since God ordained and defined marriage in the beginning, no man has the authority to change a law of God. Furthermore, God’s laws override the laws of men.

If two individuals of the same sex wish to enter into a permanent partnership and privately express their love for one another, they may do so. Employers already have provisions for so-called domestic partners, thereby enabling almost any couple to share insurance and other benefits.

I respect the right of an individual to follow their sexual preferences, however, intimacy is a private matter. Explicit sexual public displays are always unacceptable regardless of those involved. In addition, the homosexual lifestyle is destructive and detrimental to everyone. As with other behaviors which contradict the will of God, the LGBT way of life brings harmful results on those who take part in it. Nevertheless, I am no less willing to love and teach them.

Marriage is, and always will be, the union of ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN.

It is not the union of two men. It is not the union of two women. It is not the union of one man and several women. It is not the union of one woman and several men.

Is this country still the Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave?

We still have some of our freedoms, but they are constantly being challenged and systematically, stripped away at a rapid rate.

Many people hold the laws of men in higher esteem than those of God. They confuse the separation of church and state with the separation of God and country. Any time a nation passes a law which contradicts the laws of God, they are opposing God and everything which is good.

Are we still brave enough to fight for what is right? The U.S. Constitution was framed to provide religious freedom, promote the general welfare (not provide it), and secure the blessings of liberty for all of our citizens.

We can not permit unlawful actions to continue in our government. The recent action of the Supreme Court is both unlawful and ungodly. If our current government leaders do not stand against, and correct the situation, they should all be replaced by men and women who are willing to serve the people they represent.

Finally, many people, including some Christians, will disagree with my assessment of these things. This is primarily due to the skillful deception being used against them. If we do not keep ourselves sharp regarding the ways, works and goodness of God, we can not think in a godly manner and come to sound conclusions.

We must recognize evel when we see it and never assume that God is somehow responsible for it. If we do not begin to care enough about our freedom to work to preserve it, we will lose it!

Why Was The Man Born Blind?

At our May Prayer Breakfast, we read three verses in the ninth chapter of the gospel of John, concerning the healing of the man born blind. In order to gain a more complete picture of the situation, we read the three verses from three different versions of the bible.
Each version adds some interesting perspective to the event.


And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
John 9:1-3 (King James Version)
 

In this version, we see that Jesus and his disciples met a man who was blind from birth.
The disciples asked Jesus who sinned, the man or his parents that he was born blind?  Jesus told them that neither had caused the blindness, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
You could take this to mean that God caused or allowed the man to be born blind so that Jesus could heal him.  In fact, this is the way these verses are most often taught.  In my understanding of God’s nature, this causes a major problem.
There are many verses in scripture where God expresses his desire to bring only good things to his people.  He always longs to bless and prosper us and never to harm us.  Nevertheless, without gathering the many scriptures which testify to this truth, we can see it simply by looking at these verses in two other versions.
 

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.
John 9:1-3 (The Message)
 

Here we see a somewhat different emphasis.  Jesus does not attempt to offer an explanation as to why the man is blind.  Instead, he draws the focus of the disciples to what God can do in the situation.
I believe the third version provides the clearest rendering of the situation.
 

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth.
Jesus’ disciples asked, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?”
“No, it wasn’t!” Jesus answered. “But because of his blindness, you will see God work a miracle for him.
John 9:1-3 (Contemporary English Version)
 

In this case, we are told that because the man is blind, God will work a miracle for him.  There is no indication that he is blind so that Jesus can heal him.
Once again, the cause is not stated, but clearly, Jesus wants his followers to understand and focus on the fact that God can and will miraculously heal the man.

No loving father would hurt his child so he could then heal him.  In a sense, most often we turn the cause and effect in these verses upside down, much as the disciples did.  They wanted to blame the man or his parents.  Unfortunately, we mistakenly blame God.
Taking all three of these versions together, the emphasis is on the goodness and power of God and the compassion of Jesus Christ in healing the man.
There is no attempt to explain the cause of his blindness.

Based on numerous references throughout scripture, we know that all sickness and infirmity originates with Satan.
At the time of the fall of man in the garden of Eden, sin was introduced and thereby, sickness and death. In the least common denominator, this is why the man was born blind in John chapter nine. This is also the reason we sometimes deal with these things during our lives. But this is not the end of the story.

  As we are reminded each time we come to The Lord’s table for Holy Communion, the body of Jesus was broken for us and his blood was shed for us.
He bore all of our sicknesses and infirmities in his broken body; he cleansed us from all sin by his shed blood.
Let us fix our focus on this twofold victory!

New Blog Homepage

In addition to our original web address, there is now a new domain which points directly to this blog.

The address is: http://www.understandingscripture.com

Due to the high volume of spam we were receiving, it became necessary to limit comments to registered users.

Please visit the Welcome/Registration page and supply your name and a valid Email address, and I will send you your login credentials.

We welcome your comments, suggestions and valuable contributions. As you will notice, we are using a new, pleasant theme. I hope you enjoy it.

Right With God

The enemy always works to point an accusing finger at the children of God. You are unworthy! You don’t deserve anything but punishment! What good are you, anyway! Don’t bother asking God for anything – he won’t pay any attention to you because you don’t deserve his attention!

How many times have you heard those words, or other similar accusations being whispered in your ears? Well, instead of paying heed to that destructive logic, take hold of this powerful truth from scripture.

God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 (Complete Jewish Bible – CJB)

I have read this verse from other versions, but this rendering is one of the best ones I’ve seen. Jesus was a man dealing with human weaknesses just as we do. Yet he never sinned. Not only that, but he willingly suffered unspeakable torture to pay for all of our sins. He could have walked away, but then we would have remained in the condition which Satan speaks of when he reminds us who we were. Notice that I said we were – not we are.

Those of us who have professed Jesus as our Lord and savior are part of a new kind of person. We are no longer people with broken, powerless spirits, but now, in Christ Jesus, we are God’s new creation. Our new, holy spirit is perfect! It can not sin. Yes, we still fall short and sin in our body and mind, but our spirit is righteous just as Jesus is righteous. Our new spirit is holy just as God is holy! Read this over and over until you begin to believe it, because it is the truth!