Learning From Consistency

Recently, a friend asked me some questions regarding speaking in tongues. As you read through the scripture on this topic, you can learn a great deal.

What are you doing when you speak in tongues? According to 1 Corinthians 14:13-14 you are praying in the spirit. People have lots of questions about this subject, many of which can be answered by simply carefully reading 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. However, some issues will not become clear unless you also consider the body of scripture throughout the book of Acts.

One question I am asked repeatedly is why I believe that all Christians can and should pray in tongues. Depending on how you read some verses in 1 Corinthians, it can be argued that not everyone receives the gift of tongues. I will not dwell on the reason why these verses may not be properly understood, except to say that if you read carefully, you will see that there are gifts as well as manifestations described. However, a more compelling argument regarding who can pray with tongues can be found in the book of Acts. There are five accounts in Acts where people believe in Jesus and accept him as savior. In all of these records, the people spoke in tongues. In fact, in one instance, when they declared their faith and did not speak in tongues, the leadership of the church was alarmed. This is because the normal response when someone received salvation was that they spoke in tongues.

This was the outward sign which always accompanied the reality of the inner presence of the holy spirit. The five sections are located in chapters 2, 8, 9, 10 and 19. It is important to understand the truth that all Christians are equipped to pray in the spirit. It is also equally important to understand the concept of how scripture clarifies issues by providing consistent patterns. When you come up against a verse which seems difficult, take a breath and look for other scripture which addresses the topic at hand.

I attempt to teach this, and other keys in the pages of my book as I present the various topics covered. As you will see, much of the scripture can be understood directly in the verse being read, but there are times where the surrounding scripture must also be included in order to get a complete picture. In some cases such as the one described here, you must search throughout scripture for references to a particular topic and consider the whole body of information in order to gain proper perspective.

Are you named in heaven?

I often hear people say that as long as we live decently and are good to others, we are on the road to heaven. The particulars really do not matter. After all, we are really all serving the same God. He just has different names and takes different forms for the various faiths in the world.

Indeed, some say that we do not even need to worship God, as long as we live ethical, honorable lives. First, pleaseknow that I am very thankful for anyone who lives in a peaceful and ethical manner. However, for the most part, I do not believe people live godly lives unless they truly believe in God.

If you have read any of my other posts, it should not surprise you that I believe in God and that I am a Christian. My standard for truth is The Bible. Because I believe that the bible is the written record of God’s will and testament, I strive to always base my beliefs on the proper understanding of the scriptures.

The closer you look at scripture, the more accurate it becomes. There are numerous accounts in The Bible which give amazing detail concerning events which occurred many years after they were written.

If the scripture is everything I believe it to be, then it should be our standard for truth. We should study it to learn who God is, if he is, and how to be a part of his goodness and life. The bible tells us that there is only one path to God, and that is through Jesus Christ.

Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
1 John 2:23 (KJV)

Many people oppose this doctrine. They stress inclusiveness and open-mindedness. While I respect the right of others to believe and live as they see fit, I am not the one who decides who is written in God’s book of life. That is God’s decision, and the scripture clearly gives us the criteria God uses to decide whether or not an individual makes the list.

This is not harsh or unreasonable. Rather, it is loving. None of us are good enough to earn the right or privilege to live a life with God. Nevertheless, he sent his only begotten son, who was pure and lived a perfect life. He laid down his life as a payment for us. We are corrupt and sinful. Nevertheless, if we surrender ourselves to be followers of Jesus, we can become partakers with him in the very life of God!

We do this by saying affirmatively that he is Lord and we believe that he died, was buried and was raised back to life after spending three days and three nights in the tomb. Then, we strive to line our lives up with the life of Jesus.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)

There are some other details which you should learn and begin to understand, but these simple verses are enough to show you literally what is required of you if you want to become a part of the family of God.
My book contains a great deal of information on this topic. I invite you to read and enjoy it.

So are there many roads which lead to God? Well, if the bible is right, the answer is NO. But the path which has been paved for us is straightforward and clear.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6 (KJV)

Does God Still Do Miracles?

Lately, I have been reading a book
by Kathryn Kuhlman called: I Believe In Miracles.

I love books such as this one, because they help raise my vision and expectations concerning what is possible with God.

I absolutely believe that God works miracles today, even as he has throughout history.

When I discuss this topic with most Christians, the conversation often moves toward the concept of God working miracles through modern medicine.

I have great respect and admiration for the dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to help people become and remain well. Nevertheless, God’s ability to heal and perform countless other miracles is not limited to what can be accomplished as God works through people.

Indeed, there are wonderful inventions, techniques and procedures performed every day by professionals, many who pray for and acknowledge the hand of God working together with them as they do their best to help people. The best and smartest professionals in all walks of life know that they need divine assistance if they are going to succeed.

If you believe what The Bible says, you must conclude that God is just as willing and able to perform miracles today as at any other time in history. You can read this in many places throughout the scripture, but here is one worth remembering.

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Malachi 3:6 (KJV)

Experiencing The Peace Which Goes Beyond Understanding

Several years ago, I attended a Christian service which included a ministering session. That is, there were men and women who believed in the laying on of hands according to the words of Jesus in Mark 16:17-18. I too believe in this and was seeking a greater understanding and confirmation of God’s love and power, so i walked to the front of the room and became involved.

A gentleman placed his hands on my shoulders and began to pray for me. He asked God to show me his peace, love and power. The prayer was soothing and calming. After the prayer was completed, I thanked the man and praised God, but basically felt nothing. I turned and began to walk back to my seat.

About half way, I felt an amazing warmth come over my entire body! There was a sense of peace surrounding me. It was overwhelming! To this day, I can not adequately describe it, but it was awesome and beautiful. It felt like I was wrapped in a blanket of power and love. I paused in amazement! I almost felt that I could not move, yet I was in control and continued walking. There was no fear – only peace, power and love. When I reached my seat, I sat down and a friend sitting a few seats away called to me. He said I was radiant. He saw a glow about me.

The presence of power remained with me for several hours! This was not merely a psychological occurrence. As I mentioned earlier, I initially did not notice any effect after the laying on of hands and prayer. My thought was that this was nice, but wasn’t expecting any further result. During the four hours or so of experiencing the power of God in this way, I spoke, but didn’t say much. I focused on being thankful to God and the Lord for the beauty, peace and power of the experience.

To this day, the experience remains vivid in my heart and has never been repeated. Nevertheless, it has confirmed God’s love and power to me in a magnificent way. I recall this whenever I lay hands on anyone to pray for them.

Saved By What?

You might be surprised at the number of times I have been asked if I believe that you can lose your salvation. Even though we are saved by grace through faith, many Christians seem to be bound and determined that they can save themselves. Well, they don’t put it that way and they don’t even intentionally claim that they can really do it. However, their reluctance to accept salvation as a gift from God inevitably leads them down the path of attempting to establish their own righteousness through their works.

Now, some of you are probably wondering if I am suggesting that you can live like the devil now that you have been saved by grace. Actually, to some degree, you can, but there are consequences. I’m sure you have heard that you reap what you sow. That’s still true. You do not attain or lose your salvation based on your works, but your quality of life now and in eternity are both affected by your behavior. If you have confessed Jesus as Lord, and you believe that God raised him from the dead, the scripture states that you are saved. That’s it! It’s final! It also says that since God has recreated you spiritually, your nature has been changed. You are righteous. Yes, that’s what I said, righteous. You are holy. Your holiness is not determined by your behavior. If this were not true, it would be impossible for you to behave in a holy manner. You see, we often get things backwards. Instead of trying to obtain holiness by doing the right things, we need to realize that we have been made holy, therefore, we should change our behavior accordingly. If we have truly accepted Jesus as the Lord of our lives, we must do our best to live like him.

We are able to live holy lives because we have a new nature. Yet, since we are still human, we do not always live up to that new standard, even when we really try to do so. God understands our situation. He does not continually remind us of our failings. If you are constantly being beaten down because you sometimes fall short, remember that the devil is your personal accuser! He’s the one who loves to remind you of your past sins. The holy spirit can, and does, bring your sins to mind when you need to make some lifestyle changes, and perhaps for other reasons, but be careful not to fall into the trap of letting the devil smack you in the face with past sins which God has already forgiven.

God and Jesus Christ have given everything for us! We should be thankful and focus on loving one another rather than on hating ourselves.

God’s Reward

There are times when we put forth great effort to do a job or help someone, and
our deeds seem to be taken for granted. Does anyone appreciate our work?

It is pleasant to have our works acknowledged and appreciated by others, and it is good to be thankful and express your appreciation to those who show you generosity and kindness. But even when everyone else fails to notice, God sees, understands, appreciates and rewards us openly.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 6:6

The Blessings Of Liberty

When I consider the gross abuse of power currently taking place within our government, from the president on down, I can only conclude that God is still blessing those of us who love and attempt to follow is ways. Without his grace and mercy, I doubt that we would still have freedom and prosperity in this great nation.

We have a president who supports the Muslim Brotherhood. This group is a band of extremists who support violence and oppose every appearance of Christianity. We have a president who also supports total chaos with regard to immigration.

We have a congress which is largely contented to remain divided along party lines with no concern for principle. I trust that there are men and women on both sides of the aisle with godly convictions and standards, nevertheless, very few are willing to stand up for the truth.

We have men and women in the media who intentionally present incomplete and biased stories with the goal of deceiving their readers into believing their lies.

Given the nature of my previous posts, you may be very surprised by this one. However, there are times when it is necessary to openly oppose evil. Too often, Christians tend to shy away from judging things. When people do good things, we should openly commend them. When they do evil things, we should openly oppose them.

One thing which is not different about this post is that I truly believe in the goodness and kindness of God. I also remain committed to continue in prayer for our leaders and our nation. We are still one of the greatest Christian nations in the world, and I pray that we will recommit ourselves to the wholesome values and actions which have made us great throughout the years. Our freedoms are constantly under attack! Nevertheless, as long as we trust and seek to follow God, he will continue to bless us. We can not afford to allow evil to advance unabated.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
2 Timothy 2:1-2 (KJV)

Pentecost Drawing: we have a winner!

Congratulations to Al, who won the drawing! He will receive a Special Edition hardcover copy of my book.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Pentecost. I plan to post an audio study on the topic in a few days. Thanks to those of you who have posted during the contest. Please continue to write and let me know what you would like to see and hear in this blog.

New Features

I am planning to add several new features to the blog, such as audio studies. I have added a mailing list subscription form which I will use to keep interested readers informed of events via Email. I plan to begin publishing a newsletter, which will be distributed to this list.

For your convenience, here is a link to the
Welcome Page

I invite you to use the form on this page to subscribe to my mailing list.

Remember to submit comments to the blog between now and Pentecost, which occurs on June 8, 2014. I will use your entries to compile a list and draw a winner from the group. One of you will receive a Special Edition hardcover copy of my book!