When asked by Pew research to define what Jesus’ teachings were, people answered:
Take care of the environment
Buy from companies that pay fair wages
Live healthy and exercise
Not bad things at all, but Jesus actually didn’t say any of that. What did Jesus actually say? We can find his commands in the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And his commands, his directives, were on his mind when he stood in front of his disciples before going back to heaven. He told them to “Go. Make Disciples. Baptize them. And teach them to obey EVERYTHING I HAVE COMMANDED” (Matthew 28:19-20).
What if we focused on obey everything Jesus commanded? If you look at and seek to obey his commands, you’ll find everything you need for a dynamic spiritual life that will make an eternal impact. There are commands for situations, like “What happens when someone attacks me?” Jesus says, Love them, Bless them, Pray for them. “What happens if I’m running out of food?” Jesus says, don’t worry. The father knows your need and will provide.
You also find commands that give meaning and purpose for all of life and that you can literally build life on. Like, “Seek first the kingdom of God” and “Love God and Love Others” and “Go and make disciples.” Jesus commands give us more than enough to build life on and to know how to live in difficult times.
And the best news of all. We’re not alone when it comes to obeying Jesus. This is not a checklist that we have to struggle with. That’s religion. And its powerless. These commands are given in the context of relationship that Jesus paved the way for with his own life. Jesus, as part of this relationship, has promised to put these commands in the hearts of those who follow Him (Ezekiel 36:27). And he has promised power to obey in the person of his Holy Spirit to live within us. To struggle with obedience to Jesus may reveal something amiss about your relationship with him. Obedience is a product of an abiding relationship with Jesus. Saying no to Jesus’ commands is saying “I am the Lord of my life. Jesus, no thanks.”
Saying Yes to Jesus is a way of life. For the person who has made Jesus the leader of their lives, we find joy and strength in obedience to him. It’s the best yes of every life and should be the first yes of every day for those who follow him. Have you said yes to Jesus today?
I am currently listening to several FREE audio books from The Berean Call and would like to recommend them for your consideration. They are also available as podcast, and I believe they are available on YouTube.
The Berean Call is a Christian biblical discernment ministry out of Bend, Oregon, USA founded by Dave Hunt. Brother Hunt, along with Ed Decker, authored The God Makers (1997) which is a shocking expose of what the Mormon church really believes. After Mr. Hunt went to be with the Lord, T.A. Mahon assumed the leadership. He and Mr. Hunt authored several books together such as The Seduction of Christianity (2013). Mr. Mahon is a former Roman Catholic.
I listen to the following books using The Berean Call’s free app. They also have a free newsletter for those that may be interested.
The audio books are
A Woman Rides the Beast by Dave Hunt – the following description from Apple Podcast:
“In Revelation 17, the Apostle John describes in great detail the characteristics of a false church that will be the partner of the Antichrist. Was he describing the Roman Catholic Church? To answer that question, Dave Hunt spent years gathering research and indisputable historical documentation (primarily Catholic sources) providing information not generally available.
Are you missing half the story about the last days? Virtually all attention these days is focused on the coming Antichrist—but he is only half the story. Many are amazed to discover in Revelation 17 that there is also another mysterious character at the heart of prophecy—a woman who rides the beast.
Who is this woman? Tradition says she is connected with the church of Rome. But isn’t such a view outdated? After all, today’s Vatican is eager to join hands with Protestants worldwide. “The Catholic church has changed,” is what we hear.
Or has it? In A Woman Rides the Beast, prophecy expert Dave Hunt sifts through biblical truth and global events to present a well-defined portrait of the woman and her powerful place in the Antichrist’s future empire. Eight remarkable clues in Revelation 17 and 18 prove the woman’s identity beyond any reasonable doubt.”
What Love Is This? by Dave Hunt – the following description is taken from Apple podcast:
“Many sincere, Bible-believing Christians are “Calvinists” only by default. Thinking that the only choice is between Calvinism (with its presumed doctrine of eternal security) and Arminianism (with its teaching that salvation can be lost), and confident of Christ’s promise to keep eternally those who believe in Him, they therefore consider themselves to be Calvinists.
It takes only a few simple questions to discover that most Christians are largely unaware of what John Calvin and his early followers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries actually believed and practiced. Nor do they fully understand what most of today’s leading Calvinists believe.
Although there are disputed variations of the Calvinist doctrine, among its chief proponents (whom we quote extensively in context) there is general agreement on certain core beliefs. Many evangelicals who think they are Calvinists will be surprised to learn of Calvin’s belief in salvation through infant baptism, and of his grossly un-Christian behavior, at times, as the “Protestant Pope” of Geneva, Switzerland.
Most shocking of all, however is Calvinism’s misrepresentation of God who “is love.” It is our prayer that this volume will enable readers to examine more carefully the vital issues involved and to follow God’s Holy Word — not man.”
East Windby Ruth Hunt – the true story of Maria Zeitner Linke, a German Christian, who was born in Russia prior to the Russian Revolution and, after her family escapes Siberia and returns to Germany, they endure World War II and she spends nine years in Stalin’s Gulags.
These are only three of the many free audio books offered. If you are looking for a book to listen to, I hope you can find something in their offerings.
Thank you for stopping by the blog! I hope you are enjoying sweet, daily fellowship with Jesus Christ and God the Father and your brothers and sisters in Christ.
If you cut off the tails of cats, will they give birth to tail-less kittens? Of course not! Yet, more than 3,000 mainstream biologists were dismissed, imprisoned or even killed for disagreeing that a similar idea might work when applied to plants.
Soviet genetics research was effectively destroyed in the 1930s and ‘40s because the scientist at the head of the Soviet Academy of Agriculture Sciences squashed all dissent from his own view. And he had the power of the communist state behind him!
His name was Trofim Lysenko, and he believed the Soviets could transform Siberia into “a land of orchards and gardens” by “training” seeds to handle cold weather and harsh conditions. He believed that plants could be engrafted to permanently change the heritable characteristics of the stock. Such ideas were based on Darwin’s predecessor – the early evolutionist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829). Lamarck argued for evolution through inheritance of acquired characteristics. In other words, build up your muscles so you can then pass bigger muscles on to your kids.
Charles Darwin wrote his book On the Origin of Species in 1859 to make Lysenko’s ideas seem more scientific by appealing to “deep time” to allow for the imperceptible changes we cannot observe, and appealing also to “natural selection” to try to make the heritable changes more plausible.
But Lamarck was the first to suggest the famous evolutionary scenario of giraffes acquiring a long neck. Giraffe parents supposedly stretched above other animals to reach the leaves of tall trees. And thus they passed on their increasingly stretched necks to their offspring through succeeding generations.
Lysenko was an evolutionist too impatient for Darwin, so he put Lamarckism into practice. For example, he believed he could transform a spring-wheat species into an autumn-wheat species via 2 to 4 years of autumn planting. It would supposedly condition them to “a revolutionary change”. But genetically this was impossible since the spring wheat species had 28 chromosomes in 4 sets of 7, and the autumn species had 42 chromosomes in 6 sets of 7. Change and adaptation is always limited to within the original species or “kind” by virtue of the genes needing to be there in the first place – put in place by our Great Designer and Maker. Lysenko’s plantings on the collectivist farms never took hold or simply rotted away. Geneticists in free market countries knew Lysenko to be a fool.
But Lysenko and the Soviets under Joseph Stalin were true believers in the ideology that mankind needed to “reset” the old and traditional (“bourgeoise”) ways. And that this could be made to happen as society “toughed it out”. In other words, they believed in Marxism. “Tear down the old order to build a new one.” Build it back better! Sound familiar?
Great famines took place in the Soviet Union under this ideologically driven pseudo-science and the false hope it raised. The famines were made worse, of course, as private farms were stolen and put into collectives, and successful farmers were persecuted. Lysenkoism was kept in place throughout Stalin’s life, and it ruined agriculture in other communist countries, too. These included Eastern Europe and Communist China, where horrible famines took place in the 1950s under Mao Tse Tung.
As I’ve pointed out in previous letters, we are bombarded today with much pseudo-science, not only Evolutionism but also Climate Change Alarmism. We are fed fear and false hopes which are driving a “great reset” of world culture, education, government and economics. Many are on board with it – just as they were in the days of Lysenko, Stalin and Mao.
Every storm or series of storms now gets blamed on Climate Change – which is, of course, ridiculous. What little science there is in an agenda-driven pseudo-science becomes tainted by whatever assumptions about earth history enter the narratives or computer models. And much scientific research is funded by government grants. The research grants are written with a desired outcome in mind, and those applying for the grants know in advance whether to assume Evolution or to assume man-made Climate Change.
An interesting development is the new awareness of how much Communist Chinese money is funding elite American University research. Since the Department of Education recently began enforcing Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 for disclosure of university funding, it has come to light that most of the $6.5 billion of undeclared university research funding has come from Communist China. And much of it is to promote climate alarmism – considered a weapon for distracting and weakening the U.S. economy.
We need to keep going back to the Bible. That’s where the truth is. The desire for a “great reset” goes all the way back to the Serpent in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lies, and they wanted their “eyes to be opened”, “to be as gods”, knowing (a perfected knowing of) good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). They wanted to be “enlightened” (as they were in a way, vs. 7) and, therefore, they went along with the temptation to tear down the original order.
This Satanic philosophy of tearing down God’s order is what Karl Marx promoted (The Devil and Karl Marx, P. Kengor; Marx and Satan, Rev. R. Wurmbrand). It also manifested at the Tower of Babel, as Nimrod (whose name means “to rebel”) argued against God and for the “enlightenment” of making themselves “as gods”. Nimrod is the classic type of anti-Christ. It should be no surprise to see in our day a great push for a Great Reset to One World Economy, One World Government and One World Religion under a controlling system apart from God.
But we know from the Bible who wins in the end. And we know that those who follow Christ will win with Him! Thank you, dear friend, for helping us reach others from “all nations” with the message of truth! The Bible is true, and it is to be believed and proclaimed so that more can believe!
If you take a look at the most fantastic schemes that are considered possible: teleportation, warp drive, parallel universes, other dimensions, artificial intelligence, ray guns, you realize that they can be possible if we advance technology a little bit.”
So said Michio Kaku, a physicist and futurist with deep insight into AI and other phenomena shaping into mighty waves that will wash over civilizations in the eras ahead. 
But will these waves of discovery and utilization advance humanity or mount into a tsunami that wipes out societies and the people within them?
The answer to that question lies in a realm that many see as irrelevant: the spiritual.
Yet, the spiritual implications of artificial intelligence should be the most important of all. If utility rules, then we are no better than a heartless inventor seeking better and less expensive means to commit genocide.
The alarm must be sounded: a tsunami is charging toward us while many stand on the beach like surfers watching the rise of the highest wave and anticipating a good ride on its lethal crest.
I and others who warn of the spiritual implications of AI are not Luddites like woolen workers in 16th-century British mills who sought to destroy the new devices that might eliminate their jobs.
I confess that I wrote this column, as I did my book, Who Will Rule the Coming ‘gods’? on a smart machine linked to other smart machines worldwide. I know the benefit of personally having an MRI scan rather than invasive exploratory surgery, a look through ultrasound at our great-grandchildren nestling in their mother’s wombs, and instant communication with friends across the continents, to name a few.
Yet the more I study artificial intelligence and the looming spiritual crisis it will send surging upon a world casting off belief in the transcendence of the God revealed in the Bible, the greater is my concern.
There are crucial questions that can only be addressed satisfactorily in the context of the spiritual, like:
Who is writing the algorithms?
Who is wiring in ethics and values? (This could prove the most important of issues in a future where the machine decides who can live and who must die).
To whom or what will the machine be accountable?
What are the humanitarian boundaries for the machine’s powerful use?
How is it possible to keep the machines from falling into the hands of tyrants who worship and heed only themselves?
The Metaverse may already be beyond restraint. One “Bad behavior in the metaverse can be more severe than today’s online harassment and bullying, says a recent report. “That’s because virtual reality plunges people into an all-encompassing digital environment where unwanted touches in the digital world can be made to feel real and the sensory experience is heightened.”
Last March a Meta chief technology officer told his team that moderating or restraining how people use the Metaverse is “practically impossible” at any scale.”
This makes even more urgent the question: Who will rule the coming ‘gods’? What kind of people?
The most serious concern: Will transcendent-hungry human beings come to consider that the machine is so powerful it is godlike and merits our worship?
This issue has already raised its head. Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer, founded an AI-based church. The “deity” it worshipped, said Levandowski, “is not a god in the sense that it makes lightning and causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it (but “god”)?
Though the AI church no longer exists (at my last reading), the concern of AI taking the place of the transcendent God is growing because the human being made in the image of God must have transcendence. We are spirit, soul, and body. When our body longs for water, it can drink it in. But what about the desperate thirsts of the spirit and soul?
If a person is stranded in the Sahara for days without water, he or she will drink from any old pit, no matter how many camels have wallowed in it. So, we can grow so thirsty in spirit and soul that we will drink from any moldy well, any filthy stream.
This is injuring the human race now, and in the future people will give themselves to any machine or device that will quench the thirst in spirit and soul.
For good reason, Henry Kissinger warns that AI “will prompt consideration of what it means to be human.”
In fact, in the AI age and its fascination with transhumanism, there is a desire to make Imago Dei, the “image of God,” into “Imago machina”—the “image of the machine.”
Will we be healthy users of the wonderful technology advancing in our age or will it use us, making us its slaves?
That question can be answered only in the context of the spiritual, especially the understanding of God’s transcendence.
That is the only backdrop by which we can see our true humanity and distinguish ourselves from the machine.
Wallace B. Henley, a former White House and congressional aide, is author of Who Will Rule the Coming ‘Gods’, a book exploring the consequences of the exponential development of artificial intelligence in a society that is rapidly losing the sense of God’s Transcendence. He is a teaching pastor at Grace Church, The Woodlands, Texas. Source: Christian Post
Suspected al-Shabaab militants tortured and killed at least six Christians, five of whom were reportedly beheaded, in a terror attack on a village in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region that borders Somalia, according to reports.
“It is an ugly sight of people’s bodies lying dead and houses smoking with fire. This is undeniably an awful terrorist attack,” said Pastor Stephen Sila, who was at the site of the attack in Widhu village in Lamu West on Monday morning, the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported.
“I counted seven houses that were torched down, four bodies of people burned beyond recognition inside the houses,” he was quoted as saying. “A body shot dead right outside a burned house and another beheaded body next to it. Other villagers escaped into the dark and the police are still looking for them.”
The attack took place at about 4 a.m. local time while people were still sleeping, Lamu County Commissioner Samson Macharia told local media.
Five of the six killed had their hands tied from behind before they were beheaded, reported Kenya’s The Standard newspaper. “All the deceased persons had their hands tied from behind. Also several houses were torched within the locality and property of unknown value burned,” it said, citing a police report.
The pastor who spoke to ICC added: “The residents have gathered and are asking why the security officers were not doing enough to protect the Christians from being attacked by the Somali militants. There is a standoff now, but more police officers are arriving to pick the bodies and also evacuate those who need emergency medical attention.”
Commissioner Macharia also called it a terror attack and said security forces were hunting for the militants in a nearby forest, where they might have disappeared after the attack.
In the country’s northeast, the al-Shabaab terrorist group has been a constant threat.
Al-Shabaab has fought for years to overthrow the Somali government. The group has been responsible for attacks on both sides of the Somalia and Kenya border as it has long vowed to retaliate against Kenya for sending in troops to Somalia to fight the group. UnmuteDuration 23:59/Current Time 1:29Advanced SettingsFullscreenPauseUp Next
In April 2015, al-Shabaab carried out one of its deadliest attacks when it stormed the campus of Garissa University. On that occasion, militants were said to have separated Muslims from non-Muslims and proceeded to execute all non-Muslim students. At least 148 people were killed in the attack.
Kenya was ranked 49th on Christian support organization Open Doors USA’s 2021 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
While it’s a Christian-majority country, persecution has spread in Kenya, Open Doors says. “Particularly, Christians with a Muslim background in the northeast and coastal regions live under constant threat of attack — even from their closest relatives. Our research revealed that Christians were attacked and forced to flee their villages, and Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab has infiltrated the local population to monitor the activities of Christians in those areas.”
Organized crime is also a serious problem in the country, Open Doors adds. “Corrupt officials often fail to take measures against persecutors — increasing the potential for further incidents against Christians.”
A church leader overseeing the Lamu West Africa Inland Churches told ICC that believers are still at risk in the country. “The enemy is still roaming free within our region,” he said. “We are saddened that six Christians have lost their lives and left their families, and the entire body of Christ is hurting. We call upon the government to heighten its commitment to protecting the people of this great nation of Kenya.”
Dear Reader: please remember in your prayers our brother and sisters in Kenya who are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. Also pray for the salvation of their persecutors and that they would be brought to justice.
The Center for Astrophysics / Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) is an astrophysics research institute founded in 1973 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One thing they do is study dark matter and dark energy. “All the atoms and light in the Universe together make up less than 5% of the total contents of the cosmos. The rest is composed of dark matter and dark energy.”
In the natural realm, dark energy is an invisible mysterious force that “is counteracting gravity to make the universe expand at a greater rate.” In the spiritual realm, man’s sinful nature is an invisible wicked force that corrupts the heart and mind at an expanding rate. The effects of dark energy can be measured in the Universe. For example, “cosmic microwave background measurements show dark energy contributes about 68% of the total energy content of the universe.”
Likewise, the effects of the sinful nature can be measured as well. “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealously, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like” (Galatians 5:19-21).
God communicates with us through two books: the book of nature and Scripture. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psalm 19:1,2). “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
Astrophysicists, regardless of their spiritual convictions, are constantly immersed in God’s book of nature. And the cosmological discoveries over the past 25 years have convinced many astrophysicists and other scientists that our universe had a highly intelligent causal agent.
In his 2006 book, Many Worlds in One, Alexander Vilenkin wrote, “With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
Robert Jastrow is an astronomer who founded NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. In his book, God and the Astronomers, Gastric writes, “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the Earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover … That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”
Paul Wallace wrote a book titled, Love and Quasars: An Astrophysicist Reconciles Faith and Science. One reviewer stated, “Wallace interweaves his own story through seasons of faith and doubt. With candor, he leads us to his own liberating vantage point as a Christian and scientist: the necessity of wonder.”
Werner Heisenberg was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics. He said, “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.
In order to know God personally, one must know the Messiah. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well” (John 14:6,7).
While physical laws govern the universe, God established the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:1-21) in the Old Testament to govern His people. And “the Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).
Jesus said the Holy Spirit “will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin … because men do not believe in me” (John 16:8,9). Read the 10 Commandments every day for a month and ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sins against God’s perfect Law. You will begin to understand that your sins are by far your biggest problem. “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
George Ellis is a South African astrophysicist who was a collaborator on the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems. Ellis stated, “God’s nature is revealed most perfectly in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, who was sent by God to reveal the divine nature, summarized in ‘God is love.’”
In order to receive the love of God into your heart, you will need to bow your knee at the foot of the cross as you confess your sins to God. Trust Jesus to forgive you. And then begin to live for the One who created all things, including “things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible…” (Colossians 1:16). This includes dark matter and spiritual light.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). There is still time for you to “come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:8). But this window of opportunity will not stay open forever. While the Universe continues expanding at a greater rate, the number of minutes you have left to get right with God is shrinking.
Dark matter and dark energy cannot remove even one of your sins. Jesus, however, can wash away all of your sins and bring you into a beautiful eternal relationship with your Father in Heaven. You see, the path to Paradise was revealed in Christ’s first sermon: “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.
When David Livingston started his trek across Africa, he had 73 books in three packs, weighing 180 pounds. After the party had gone 300 miles, Livingston was obliged to throw away some of the books because of the fatigue of those carrying his baggage. As he continued on his journey his library grew less and less, until he had but one book left— his Bible.
Jesus said: Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 KJV) Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian poet and philosopher, said this passage was the most beautiful passage in the Bible.
But what is conversion? Converted comes from “con”, with, and “vertare”, to turn – “to turn with.” The big question in life is, is my face or my back toward Christ? The first step in the new life is to turn your back on the old life and face toward Christ. You do not do that alone – there is the “with”. The moment you throw your will in His direction, He is there with you. He helps you to do what you can’t do – to break with the old life – but that decision to turn around is your decision. There you stand alone and as a free moral being you make the decision alone, severely alone. The moment you make it, however, He is “with” you.
“The Christian church with all its faults is the greatest serving institution on earth. It has many critics, but no rivals in the work of human redemption… No other institution has done anything like it—none whatever. The fact that the church has been able to survive the dead weight of a large proportion of its membership unconverted is a proof of its essential soundness and vitality. A minority of converted people keep its soul alive.”
E. Stanley Jones, Conversion: From Lane Corley blog – Church Planting, Mission Strategy and Life in SE Louisiana
During the years when I spoke in hundreds of meetings around the world, I found it increasingly difficult to effectively communicate testimonies from the church in Asia to believers in “free” countries. Often when I spoke in meetings, people looked at me as if I had just dropped in from another planet.
I became aware that the spiritual dynamics of the persecuted church in Asia were completely different from those in western Christianity. The differences were so stark that I sometimes felt I was interacting with two different faiths. Even the most basic understanding of God’s character appeared to be fundamentally different.
For example, on one occasion in China I shared a powerful testimony from the Mru tribe of Myanmar. The Mru number about 25,000 people, most of whom are Buddhist. The gospel had recently experienced a breakthrough among them, and several Mru villages had turned to Jesus Christ. The Buddhist monks were furious when they heard about it, so they hired two gangs of thugs and sent them to the Christian villages to beat the believers, rape the women, and burn down their houses.
Armed with chains and machetes, the first group of thugs made their way on foot to the Christian area. Before reaching their intended destination, however, a freak electrical storm descended on them as they traversed a mountain pass. All of the men were killed by lightning. The lightning also struck the 400-year-old Buddhist temple in the Mru township, burning it the ground.
The second mob of would-be persecutors traveled to the Christian villages aboard a large raft. As they made their way down the river, a thick fog suddenly enveloped them, making it impossible to see where they were going. A barge sliced through the fog, struck the raft, and hurled the thugs into the rapids, where they all drowned.
When news of these events reached the Mru communities, the fear of God fell on them. Realizing that the Living God had displayed his awesome wrath, hundreds of people turned to Christ and repented of their sins.
When I shared this testimony with the Christians in China, they literally jumped up and down with joy and shouted “Hallelujah!” at the top of their voices. They rejoiced in the judgments of God, as the Bible says, “Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, Lord” (Psalms 97:8).
Just a few weeks later I found myself standing in front of a congregation in Texas. As I shared the same testimony from Myanmar, I looked out at a sea of grim faces staring back at me. There was no rejoicing in that meeting and not a single “Hallelujah” was uttered.
After the service, an elderly lady came forward to confront me on behalf of the other church members. She strongly rebuked me with the words, “Our God is not like that brother. Our God is a loving God!” I noticed many people behind her nodding their heads in agreement
Like that congregation in Texas, many believers imagine God to be a cuddly, teddy bear-like figure whose main purpose is to encourage and bless them. They think God is so gentle and loving that he would never harm a fly, and Christians who dared to mention his wrath or coming judgments are often pushed into a corner and considered a threat to the peace of the church.
With such a skewed, chummy attitude toward God, it is no wonder that many Christians no longer fear Him. They love to hear about how John reclined at the dinner table by leaning against his best friend Jesus, but few remember that the two men met again many years later. This time the resurrected Lord was dressed in the robes of a Roman judge. John, who was absolutely terrified, wrote, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead” Revelation 1:17.
Source: Paul Hattaway, An Asian Harvest (Monarch Books, 2017), p.262-264 (Excellent book which I recommend and can be ordered at Asia Harvest.)
“every individual Christian will find in the communion of a local church the most perfect atmosphere for the fullest development of his spiritual life.” ~ A.W. Tozer
My observation is that most people never experience “the fullest development of his spiritual life” through the church or see the great value, because they may GO TO CHURCH, but they don’t get involved in the LIFE OF A CHURCH. There’s a big difference. Going to church makes you a CONSUMER of its services. Getting involved in the life of a church puts you in “COMMUNION” with a life source fed by God himself. The Apostle Paul said it like this
“From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” ~ Ephesians 4:16
It’s consuming vs. serving, sharing life, supporting, being supported, building up, being built up, etc.
The enduring image of church for me is that of a forest. A forest stays strong, even in dry seasons, because BENEATH THE SURFACE, the roots of the trees are feeding off of one another for growth & strength. Roots can’t share their life with a tree that just lays itself upon the surface. It has to take root & do life with the others.
“I tried church, but it didn’t help.” Probably not, if you just showed up every now & then with little commitment, little humbling of yourself, little sharing of your life, little getting involved in relationships, little investment in ministries, little digging deep to support & be supported.
I love the Tozer quote, because I’ve experience it. Now, don’t read it wrong. The church is NOT a “perfect atmosphere.” Far from it. It is the perfect atmosphere for spiritual development BECAUSE of its imperfections. Relationships with people that are struggling through life together, growing as individuals, utilizing unique gifts no matter how imperfectly. And seeing God in Christ feed & nourish & heal & empower each other. It’s a beautiful thing! But you won’t see it on the surface by just GOING TO CHURCH.
Source: Pastor Lane Corley @ lanecorley.com (his blog)
A man walked into a Christian bookstore in an Arabic-speaking country. “I want your best book on the defense of Christianity.” The bookstore manager handed him Evidence That Demands A Verdict in Arabic.
As the man left he exclaimed, “I’m doing my dissertation on destroying Christianity.” Six months later the storeowner baptized the student who had become a believer.
Source: Josh McDowell & Sean McDowell, PhD – Evidence That Demands A Verdict – Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN:
The opening quote is Josh McDowell’s response to a question concerning his favorite story about the impact of Evidence That Demands A Verdict on unbelievers. If you do not have this book, I recommend that you consider purchasing a copy or obtain a copy through your local library. Whether you have questions yourself concerning Jesus Christ or you know someone who does, this book, written by a former atheist and his son, would lead you to the Truth.
If you are a Bible teacher or just a disciple of Christ, the book is a great reference for Church history and help in understanding the Scriptures.
May God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son, richly bless you daily with love, joy and peace.
TBC: “Prima Christianity” “has other sources of divine revelation” such as “the ‘Holy Spirit,’ created order, traditions, charismatic gifts, mystical insight, angelic visitations, conscience, common sense, the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else.” For the full article, please click the link below.]
During the sixteenth century battle between the reformers and the Roman Catholic church, the reformers developed the Five Solas which demonstrated their core beliefs in contrast to the Catholic Church from whom they were separating. The first of the five was Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone. Over the preceding centuries, Rome had developed a tradition that placed the teaching magisterium (College of Cardinals) in union with the Pope, as the final authority for faith and practice. As we point out in “Thus Saith Rome,” the view of the Roman Catholic Church was and continues to be that Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, which we also believe. However, in addition, the Roman Catholic Church held that their church tradition is likewise inspired by the Holy Spirit, and both sources are on an equal par with one another. Additionally, the Roman Catholic Church held that the College of Cardinals in conjunction with the Pope is the only authentic, infallible interpreter of Scripture and tradition. This allowed Rome to have continually evolving doctrines, far removed from what the scriptures actually teach. We have a short sampling of the effects of Prima Scriptura – the Roman Catholic position – showing some of the changing doctrines of Rome since the 4th Century . Interestingly, this position of evolving doctrine also tends to be the view of today’s Progressives. One of the major areas this impacts for Progressives is morality and human sexuality. We touched on this a bit in “Is Progressive Christianity Christian?” Progressives want to be viewed as Christian and see the need to include the Bible and a modified Jesus in their faith in some way for credibility and validation. Prima Scriptura provides the vehicle through which “mystical insight,” “the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else” is given a heavy hand in assessing “truth,” apart from –and overriding – the clear teachings of scripture on a given subject.
For the last 8-10 years, The Reformation Project, founded by Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian, has been making a concerted effort to replace the clear teaching of the word of God with an experience, “the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else” as inspired truth equal or even superior to Scripture. Jennifer Hatmaker, who shocked much of the evangelical church in 2016 when she called for full inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the church, is a speaker at the 2021 Reconcile and Reform National Conference put on by The Reformation Project. The title of both the conference and the organization is clear. However, unlike The Reformation of the 16th century, this reformation is not to bring the church back to the Word of God as the final authority for faith and practice, but to “reform” the church in the opposite direction, embracing Prima Scriptura in order to reconcile and embrace LGBTQ+ as acceptable and pleasing to God. They do claim to be a “Bible-based, Christian organization,” but the Bible is definitely not the final authority for faith and practice, for them or Jen Hatmaker.
The Progressive leaders at The Reformation Project assert, “The Christian tradition doesn’t address sexual orientation.” Notice they do not claim or even hint that sexual activity isn’t discussed in Scripture or the writings of the early church. Instead, they sanction LGBTQ+ based upon “the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else.” They implicitly admit additional revelation “for what a believer should believe and how they should live” when they write: “Affirming Christians are not overturning the Christian tradition on LGBTQ people. Until recent decades, there has been no Christian tradition on LGBTQ people.”
This is misleading at best. Indeed, we don’t find LGBTQ, with or without the +, in either scripture or church dogma. The term had not yet been invented. So, although the words in current usage are not found, the teaching on these behaviors most definitely is. The Scriptures and church tradition are very clear – sex outside of the marriage of a male and female is sin. That includes adultery, fornication, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, and more.
The LGBTQ+ issue is rather a prominent flashpoint in our time. But there are many ways that people of our age are attempting to justify their behavior, to turn right and wrong upside down. Self-justification is a deadly pursuit in the end, and so useless. It’s not a matter of good people vs bad people, because everyone has transgressed God’s standards. There are no “good people” in their own right. (Romans 3:10) Jesus Christ is the only One who never transgressed God’s perfect standard. Christians are people who believe (about themselves) what God says is true and gladly accept His gift of a pardon. Without God’s loving provision on our behalf, no one would be considered by God as “righteous.” God justifies those who believe that He has saved them, through absolutely no goodness of their own.
The scripture teaches there is a Day when God will judge mankind based upon His Holy standards. It’s rather appropriately called “Judgement Day.” Any person whose name is not written in the Lamb’s (Jesus’s) Book of Life shall stand before God in that Judgment. (Revelation 20:11-15)
My daughter’s story is no longer novel. Stories like it are occurring in your state, your town, and perhaps even on your street. Gender dysphoria — the incongruence between the mind and the body — moves stealthily and quickly to invade girls and boys alike.
But this isn’t a cautionary tale. It’s a warning.
My daughter was an ultrafeminine girl since birth. She insisted that her room be painted pink, and she refused to wear anything but dresses until third grade. She avoided her older brother’s toys and sports, choosing tea sets and Shopkins, a series of tiny, collectible toys.
Her favorite activity was to slip into my closet and don my few sparkly clothes and shiniest of heels. She rejected sports in favor of art and sewing.
That all abruptly changed when she turned 12. As her body matured into young womanhood, she stopped begging for a bikini and avoided any clothing that accentuated her figure. She hid her breasts under men’s extra-large sweatshirts.
I remembered doing similar things as my body changed, so I didn’t worry at first.
Then, my daughter immersed herself into anime art and cosplaying, the hobby of dressing like fantastical characters. I supported her creative side.
I didn’t know that anime and cosplaying can overwhelm a young mind. I didn’t know that anime and cosplaying involved gender-bending themes and that the community crosses into pedophilic and sexual themes.
I also didn’t know that the older cosplay community groomed the younger cohorts.
During that same time period, my daughter went through Teen Talk — a Manitoba, Canada-based program that says it provides “youth with accurate, [nonjudgmental] information” on “sexuality, reproductive health, body image, substance use awareness, mental health, issues of diversity, and anti-violence issues” — at her public school.
She came home with a whole new language. She and all her girlfriends discussed their labels — polyamorous, lesbian, pansexual. None of the five girls chose “basic,” their term for a straight girl.
Now, I was worried.
She distanced herself from her old friends and spent more time online. I checked her phone, but I was not astute enough to know that she had set up “appropriate” fake social media accounts for my viewing.
An older girl showed romantic interest in her. I barred that girl from our home. I learned later that she had molested my daughter.
When my daughter was in the eighth grade, as a Christmas gift, I took her to SacAnime, an anime convention in Sacramento, California. There, she met a girl three years her senior, but light years more mature. That girl mesmerized my daughter with her edginess or magnanimous personality.
The older girl went by “they.” After their meeting, my daughter got a boy’s haircut, stopped shaving, and asked for boys’ underwear. My daughter parroted everything about the older teen.
She started making gross TikTok videos, her language became vulgar and she redecorated her room to look like a cave. She self-pierced her nose with one of those bull rings. She broke every family rule. She was morphing into an emo-Goth-vampirelike creature. She was unrecognizable. Her personality descended into anger and rudeness.
The summer before ninth grade, she announced that she was transgender. Post-announcement, she began to threaten suicide. She sunk into deep depression.
Almost everyone that she was conversing with was a stranger, except for the SacAnime friend, who sent her a self-made masturbation video. The discussions on the Discord platform online involved fetishistic sexual conversations. Kids were sending each other erotica, including involving incest and pedophilia.
Older girls were instructing younger girls how to sell nude photos of themselves to men for money.
Girls bragged about their different mental illnesses. They talked about which drugs do what. They talked about how they are really boys, not girls. They discussed “top surgery” (that is, having their breasts removed) and “packers” that create a bulge in one’s pants to imply the presence of a penis.
My daughter’s electronic devices were filled with TikTok videos and YouTubers talking about how great they feel now that they had “transitioned.”
There were messages in which strangers told her to kick my head in because I was a “transphobe” for refusing to call her a male name.
I went nuclear. I took the phone and stripped it of all social media — YouTube, Instagram, Discord, Reddit, Pinterest, Twitter. I even blocked her ability to get to the internet. I deleted all of her contacts and changed her phone number.
I sat next to her while she “attended” school online via Zoom. I deleted YouTube from the smart TVs and locked up the remotes. I took every anime book from her room. I threw away all of her costumes. I banned any friend who was even the slightest bit unsavory.
I involved the police about the porn. I printed out the law and informed her that if anyone sent her porn, I would not hesitate to prosecute.
She hated me like an addict hates the person preventing her drug fix. I held my ground, despite the constant verbal abuse.
After going through seven mental health professionals, I found an out-of-state psychiatrist who was willing to examine the causality for my daughter’s sudden trans identity.
I immersed myself in reading everything on the issue, talking to other parents and other professionals. I worked unceasingly to re-create the bond she and I used to share.
After a year and half of utter hell, my daughter is finally returning to her authentic self — a beautiful, artsy, kind and loving daughter.
I am not sure what the actual ingredients for the magic potion were for alleviating gender dysphoria in my daughter. The formula will vary, but what I did was, after a very brief misstep of using a male name, our family and all of the adults in my child’s life only used her birth name and corresponding pronouns.
We did not permit social transition, although we could not control the school setting. Unbelievably, our local Catholic high school refused to follow our edict.
As I mentioned previously, we pulled the plug on all social media and her access to anyone other than those persons we vetted. I forced my daughter to listen to specific podcasts on the subject while driving her to school. I printed out stories about female de-transitioners (women who had medicalized, but then regretted their actions and returned to living as a woman) and left them throughout the house.
I left all of my research out in plain view, including Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, Gender Dysphoria: A Therapeutic Model for Working With Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults by Susan Evans, and other books.
I followed the advice of Parents for Ethical Care’s podcasts and the book “Desist, Detrans & Detox: Getting Your Child Out of the Gender Cult” by Maria Keffler.
I worked hard to take back the close relationship my daughter and I had once had. I bit my tongue until it bled. I took her anger and only responded with love or walked away when I knew I would respond poorly.
I caught her in vulnerable moments and hugged her or climbed into her bed. I stopped looking at her as though she were the victim of a scheme or a monster.
I let her know that I would never stop fighting for her. I let her see my posters from the protests I attended. I peppered her with questions that demonstrated the illogic of the gender ideology. I happened to have funny gender-critical memes on my computer when she walked into my office. Most importantly, I held my ground. I refused to accept her delusion with compassion.
I know that I have to continue to be tenacious as the gender ideology has crept into every facet of life. But for now, I can breathe a sigh of relief.
Charlie Jacobs is the pen name of a California wife and mother of two teenagers. Until recently, she worked part time in a professional capacity, but is now dedicated to educating other parents about how gender ideology can overtake a child.
You feel sorry for us in India because of our great poverty in material things. We who know the Lord in India feel sorry for you in America because of your spiritual poverty. We are praying that you also might come to church with a hunger for God and not merely a hunger to see some form of amusement.
Bakht Singh, Indian Church Leader Quoted in An Asian Harvest – Paul Hattaway – Asia Harvest – Monarch Books, Oxford, England
“The Bible in another language is like a leaf floating on a river; it takes a very long time before it absorbs enough water to sink to the bottom. …The Bible in my own language is like a stone that is thrown into the river; it plunges in and sinks straight to the bottom — it falls right into my heart! Bible Translator in Asia
“To have the Word of God in our language is the greatest richness we could have.” Rafael Ahuanari, director of the Federation of Evangelical Churches of the Peruvian Amazon
“Reading the Scripture in another language is like eating a banana with the skin on. Now the Scripture in my language is satisfying —like a sweet banana. I can’t get enough of it!” woman from Asia
“I never understood the Word to this level, nor been as moved by it. It penetrated me right to my bones and touched my inner being.” Pastor in Benin
“Many families have been waiting for the Quechua Bible as if it was very delicious bread.” A Quechua pastor
“The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It never needs a furlough and is never considered a foreigner.” William Cameron Townsend, Wycliffe Bible Translators
“It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom. “ Horace Greeley –
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrew 1:1-2 NASB)
…it was really the Ruler of all, the Creator of all, the invisible God himself, who from heaven established the truth and the holy, incomprehensible word among men, and fixed it firmly in their hearts. Nor, as one might suppose, did he do this by sending to men some subordinate –an angel, or principality, or one of those who administer earthly affairs, or perhaps one of those to whom the government of things in heaven is entrusted.
Rather, he sent the Designer and Maker of the universe himself, by whom he created the heavens and confined the sea within its own bounds—him whose hidden purposes all the elements of the world faithfully carry out, him from whom the sun has received the measure of the daily rounds that it must keep, him whom the moon obeys when he commands her to shine by night. And whom the stars obey as they follow the course of the moon. He sent him by whom all things have been set in order and distinguished and place in subjection—the heavens and the things that are in the heavens, the earth and the things in the earth, the sea, and the things in the depths and in the realm between;
God sent him to men.
Now, did he send him, as a human mind might assume, to rule by tyranny, fear, and terror? Far from it! He sent him out of kindness and gentleness, like a king sending his son who is himself a king. He sent him as God; he sent him as man to men. He willed to save man by persuasion, not by compulsion, for compulsion is not God’s way of working. In sending him, God called men, but did not pursue them; he sent him in love, not in judgement. Yet he will indeed send him someday as our Judge, and who shall stand when he appears? …
Do you not see how they are thrown to wild animals to make them deny the Lord, and how they are vanquished? Do you not see that the more of them are punished, the more do others increase? These things do not seem to come from a human power; they are a mighty act of God, they are proofs of his presence.
As a matter of fact, before he came, what man had any knowledge of God at all? Or do you really accept the idle nonsense talked by those plausible philosophers, some of whom asserted that God was fire—the very thing that they are on the point of going to, they call God! —while others claimed that he was water, and others said that he was yet another one of the elements created by God? And yet, if any one of these lines or argument is acceptable, then each and every one of the other creatures could in the same way be shown to be God. No, this is just quackery and deceit practiced by wizards. No man has ever seen God or made him known, but he has manifested himself. And he manifested himself through faith, by which alone it has been made possible for us to see God.
Excerpt from Letter to Diognetus by Quadratus of Asia Minor from his Apology to Hadrian (AD 129?) – Taken from Early Christian Fathers – Translated and Edited by Cyril C. Richardson, Washburn Professor of Church History in the Union Theological Seminary, New York, 1996, Simon & Schuster Publisher(Scripture, two paragraph breaks and bolding added for emphasis)
Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
Many Christians are willing to accept what Genesis has to say about creation with one exception. They don’t want to accept the six days as literal, natural, approximately 24-hour days. Did you know that there are other important portions of Scripture that depend on those six days being literal and normal days?
In Exodus 20:11 the Lord is giving the Ten Commandments to Moses. The Lord is explaining the principle of the Sabbath in this verse. God’s explanation says that man shall work six days and rest on the seventh because God Himself made the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Therefore He blessed the seventh day. This truth is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:13.
Surely no Christian would argue that the Ten Commandments are poetry to be taken figuratively. The Lord is confirming here that His work of creation really occupied six normal days and that He rested on the seventh normal day. If these days were actually long ages, then we should work for six long ages before we take some rest. We can be sure that this is not what the Lord has in mind.
If the Ten Commandments should not be interpreted literally because of this connection with creation, where does that leave us? Surely the creation days, by the Lord’s own confirmation and commandment to us, are literal, natural, approximately 24-hour days!
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You have given us one day out of seven for rest and worship. I thank You for the commandments because they teach me Your will. Most of all, I thank You for Your salvation so that I can look to You and not to my own obedience for assurance of my salvation. Amen.