Harvard Study – Benefits of Church Attendance and Prayer

“A study by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that kids and teens who attend church at least once a week were happier as “20-somethings” than people who did not attend services.

Youth who prayed every day experienced similar benefits, according to the study, with both groups having lower risks of substance abuse and depression as adults, and being more likely to volunteer.

More than 5,000 subjects were followed from eight to 14 years.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and understanding of parenting practices,” said study author Ying Chen. “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

Baptist Message

As a parent of four grown children, I whole heartily agree with the findings of this study. Keep them in Church under good Bible teaching. It will prove to be a great blessing to them ALL their lives.

God bless you!

Carl

The “Lie” Comes Into The Open

[10] and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. [11] For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, [12] in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (Emphasis added)

In the end times, the people who did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved but took pleasure in wickedness are going to receive a deluding influence from God so that they will believe what is false, “the lie”. Many bible scholars say this is the same “lie” that Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden when he tempted her to eat the prohibited fruit. He said “…you will be like God…” (Genesis 3:5). In many of Satan’s deceptions today, we see this same “lie” still being used. I would like to share a little about one avenue through which many are being deceived.

I recently read a pamphlet entitled Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “Christianity” and the Emperor’s New Clothes by Warren B. Smith (2015) of Lighthouse Trails Publishing, Inc. Mr. Smith was a member of the New Age Movement until God delivered him and he became a biblically born again Christian.

He shows that the ancient “lie” of Eden is now called the New Age doctrine of spiritual Oneness:

“….Oprah was unleashing two very public New Age classes. And these classes were teaching millions of people that the way to save themselves and the planet was not by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior but rather by accepting the “God” and “Christ within”. As Williamson put it in her book A Return to Love: Reflection on the Principles of A Course in Miracles: “I accept the Christ within.”

“In defending her New Age beliefs, Oprah Winfrey would argue that what she is promoting is for the good of the world, and she tells detractors —-“I am not a New Age anything, and I resent being called that.” While Oprah is free to call her New Age teaching whatever she wants, a rose by any other name is still a rose. Oprah and her spiritual colleagues are New Age because they all teach the heretical New Age doctrine of spiritual Oneness—We are all one because we are all “God” and we are all “Christ”. As Marianne Williamson writes:

“We are all one, we are love itself. “Accepting the Christ” is merely a shift in self-perception.”

In another section Mr. Smith talks about Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth which Oprah recommends and held an online seminar with the author. The book

“….describes how the world is at a crisis point and that we are in dire need of spiritual help. Tolle insists that humanity must “spiritually evolve” in order to avoid personal and planetary disaster. According to Oprah, Tolle and New Age teachers everywhere, “spiritually evolving” means “shifting” and accepting the New Age/ New Spirituality belief we are all divine —-i.e. we are all “God”. In his book and in his first class with Oprah, Tolle reiterated the same teaching that key New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard received from her New Age “Christ” —–“Evolve or die”. Thus, what people were basically being told by Winfrey and Tolle was —if you don’t “shift” to the New Age/New Spirituality point of view, planet earth may be destroyed and humanity may become extinct. This echoes what Barbara Marx Hubbard’s New Age “Christ” told her. He made it clear that in the future, those who refuse to see “God” and “Christ” in everyone will eventually be eliminated by what he describes as a spiritual “selection process”.

The “lie” is that we are Gods and Christs ourselves! Really?

If you have read the Bible and had your understanding enlightened by God’s Holy Spirit, it is obvious to you that this is a “lie” and a whopper of a “lie”. The God of the Bible said

“…For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me….” (Isaiah 46:9)

There is only one true God and only one Christ, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of mankind. This “lie” is nothing but the repackaged demonic “lie” of eastern religions. Each of us is a created being in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. Not a god or Christ.

The problem of the New Age Movement is that they are listening to the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), satan, who fell from his exalted position in God’s creation because of this very thing, he wanted to be God. And it did not happen and will never happen!

I encourage you to purchase this little booklet (cost is less than $2) at Lighthouse Trials Publishing and read it for yourself.

Now be faithful to warn your kids and extended family about this “lie”. Appreciate your time. I hope you were enlightened by this article.

God Bless You and Yours!

Carl

Our Priceless Treasure

“The Bible is the most priceless possession of the human race.”

Halley’s Bible Handbook (1965)

For the most part, prior to the time of the Reformation, lay people were not allowed to read the Bible and, in most cases, were not even allowed to have a Bible. The Popes of the Roman Catholic Church of that day decided who could read and have the Bible.

For example:

Pope “Hildebrand ordered Bohemians not to read the Bible. Innocent III forbade the people reading the Bible in their own language. Gregory IX forbade laymen possessing the Bible and suppressed translations. Paul IV prohibited the possession of translations without permission of the Inquisition. The Jesuits induced Clement XI to condemn the reading of the Bible by the laity. Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, and Pius IX all condemned Bible Societies.” Halley’s Bible Handbook

Some groups, such as the Albigenses (1208 AD) and Waldenses, who were fortunate enough to have the Bible, believed it, lived it, and preached it. For this, the Albigenses people group was murdered by the order of Pope Innocent III and the Waldenses were murdered and severely persecuted by the Catholic Inquisition, surviving only in the alpine valleys southwest of Turin, Italy. The authorities burned their Bibles and the people who had them.

With the advent of the printing press, it was impossible for the Popes and civil authorities to suppress the Bible. Men read it and their eyes were opened.

“There was study of the Scriptures in their original languages. Renewed knowledge of the sources of Christian doctrine revealed the vast difference between the native simplicity of the Gospel and the ecclesiastical fabric that professed to be founded on it. The Reformation owed its being to the direct contact of the mind with the Scriptures, and it resulted in the emancipation of the human mind from priestly and Papal authority. ” (Halley’s Bible Handbook)

Out of this revelation of Biblical Truth, men like Luther, a Catholic priest, and millions more threw off the traditions and commandments of men that had kept them enslaved and, for the first time in probably 1100 years, a multitude of people begin to walk in biblical truth as the Savior intended. As a result, the Western nations were changed forever.

Some may say “Why are you writing about something that happened 500 years ago?” It is because I find among the Protestant Church today, especially among the young, an almost total ignorance about the Reformation. If the Protestant Church is to remain free, it must understand the issues that brought about the Reformation. Issues that made millions of people endure being tortured and burned at the stake or drowned instead of expressing loyalty to the Pope and his church.

May you find your Priceless Possession today and begin to let its Light overcome any darkness in your life. May its Truth set you free from the enslaving teachings and commandments of men.

May God richly bless you,

Carl

God’s “Abundant Lovingkindness”

Recently while studying Psalms, I became acquainted with the beautiful Hebrew word “chesed“. David used it in Psalm 5:7 where he is saying that the only way he can enter the Lord’s house is by His abundant lovingkindness, not by any merit of his own.

But as for me, by Thine abundant lovingkindness [chesed] I will enter Thy house, at thy holy temple I will bow in reverence for Thee.”

The Moody Bible Commentary says the following about chesed in this scripture:

“The term “lovingkindness” is chesed which specifically indicates God’s covenant love, His faithful and continual expression of what is best for those who are His own under the promise of Abrahamic covenant.

The Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12 included three components: land, a nation, and, most importantly to us Gentiles, an expansive blessing. The blessing is to Abraham (a Gentile), his descendants and then to all the families of the earth.

God promised Abraham in Genesis 12: 3

“….and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Note that

God’s love is seeking to ‘push’ His blessing as far as His justice will allow.”

Moody Bible Commentary

We Gentiles should say a big thank you to God for including us in His wonderful covenant.

The Messianic Prophecy Bible Project says the following about “chesed” :

“This other Hebrew word for love is more difficult to translate into English. Chesed is a love that cannot be sentimentalize; it has the attributes of strength, steadfastness, loyalty, and devotion that stem from a covenant between God and Israel or between people.

It has been translated as loving-kindness, mercy, steadfast love, compassion, loyalty, goodness, great kindness, favor and loyal-or leal-love.” (Leal is a old Scottish word that means “loyal and honest”.)

They go on to say:

Chesed does not dismiss the need for holiness and righteousness but, mercifully, despite failings on the part of the Jewish People, makes a way through unmerited kindness toward love for His covenant.

In fact, chesed is quite often paired with the Hebrew word translated mercy and compassion: rachum.  (see Isaiah 54:8; 63:7; Lamentations 3:22)

“And I will betroth you to Me forever, and I will betroth you to Me with righteousness and with justice and with loving-kindness [chesed] and with mercy [rachum].  And I will betroth you to Me with faith, and you shall know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:19–20 [21–22])

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but my loving-kindness [chesed] will not be removed from you, and my covenant of peace will not be shaken,’ says the LORD who has compassion [rachum] on you.”  (Isaiah 54:10)

The Hebrew word chesed also appears in Leviticus 20:17 where the Law states that a man who uncovers the nakedness of his sister has committed a chesed: here it is translated as “a disgrace”.

In writing “chesed,” it suggests that the man has crossed a Divine line, giving chesed the added sense of being “characterized by overflowing and lack of boundaries.”  (Aish)

In this case, chesed is given a negative connotation.  But when holiness is the connotation, the intent is that the one who loves does so without boundaries — an act of love characterized by overflowing grace, mercy and giving.

To summarize, chesed is a love characterized by strength, steadfastness, loyalty, and devotion which is not limited in quantity to its recipient, but overflowing, abundant to meet the needs of His people.

We see this same characteristic of “overflowing” in Romans 5: 17 where Paul writes:

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Emphasis added)

Here the word “abundance” means “superabundance”. Grace enough to save me with even more grace poured out on top of that! A superabundance of God’s grace poured out for my sins establishing me in His covenant as His child forever. God’s wonderful mercy toward His children!

King David was saved the same way we are. He was looking forward to Calvary by faith and we are looking backwards to Calvary by faith. It truly is by His abundant lovingkindness that anyone, OT or NT, is saved from the guilty and penalty of their sins and enter into His kingdom. He made a Way when there was no way.

Let us give thanks for His loving kindness and the superabundance of His grace in our lives today.

Carl

The Power of The Gospel: “Such Were Some of You”

The apostle, Paul, today will give us insight into how God’s power can deliver people from bondage. I pray this blesses you and yours.

[9] Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, [10] nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. …

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB (emphasis added)

In this scripture Paul is writing to the Corinth church in Greece. He is telling them people who practice certain sins will not “inherit the kingdom of God” or in today’s vernacular, “will not go to heaven when they die”.

This Corinth was the “new” Corinth created by Roman Emperor Julius Caesar as a retirement city for veterans of his Roman legions. The “old” Corinth was destroyed a hundred years before by Emperor Achaiacus, for rebellion and its citizens were sold into slavery. It was this “old”Corinth that contained the temple of the goddess Aphrodite, with its 1,000 – 10,000 (the number varies) temple prostitutes. In Paul’s day it was still a very immoral, wicked city. In the Hellenistic Greek world, the term “Corinthian” was associated with whore mongering and prostitution.

Into this immoral culture came Paul, preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the sins of the world; the Light shining in the darkness. Through His preaching, the power of God was released and many pagans trusted in Christ for salvation. As a result of their faith in Christ, they were born again.

Being born again CHANGED them. CHANGED them from the sinful people he had listed in verse 9 and 10. He says of them in verse 11:

“Such were some of you….”

God working in their lives caused:

Adulterers to quit sleeping with other people’s spouses and to become faithful to their spouse.

Fornicators stopped sleeping around, instead learning to possess their own vessel (body) in sanctification and honor (I Thess. 4: 4 ) and glorifying God in their bodies (I Cor. 6: 20).

Idolaters stopped worshipping demon inspired false gods and started worshipping the one and only True God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Homosexuals stopped sleeping with men and recognized the God-given natural function of the female (Romans 1: 7), in a marriage context.

The effeminate men quit playing the part of the female in the homosexual relationship and became the men God created them to be.

Thieves stopped stealing from others and started giving to others.

Drunkards stopped abusing alcoholic drink, resulting in soberness.

The covetous changed from “acting unethically to obtain more,” to being satisfied with what they had. They probably became givers.

Swindlers stopped extorting people to obtain money and other things. These also probably became givers.

Revilers stopped speaking rudely of others, maligning people’s character.

Paul goes on to say that this CHANGE happened in the Corinthians because when they were born again God did three things to each one of them. He:

1. “…washed…” them – Titus 3:5 says the following

“He saved us ….. by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

2. “…sanctified…” them – God set them apart from sin to Himself resulting in a willingness to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. They separated themselves from sin and grew in personal holiness.

3. They “…were justified..” – based on their faith in Christ, God declares them righteous before Him. They received the Holy Spirit in themselves.

CHANGE came in these people’s lives (and ours) because they were “washed, sanctified and were justified”. It is the work of a loving, forgiving God who loved us enough to send His Son to the Cross for our sins so we could be saved from the guilty and penalty of our sins and be CHANGED.

In closing, the Shantung revival in northern China (1920 – 30s) was a work of the Holy Spirit. He used a Miss Marie Monsen, a Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran, to awaken the missionaries and the Chinese church.

She asked everyone she met if they had been born again. As you can imagine, many missionaries and church members were greatly offended. But God used this and her teaching on sin to remove the blinders from the church members. Many were just religious and had never been born again by the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, they had not CHANGED.

Others realized that at some point in their Christian walk, they had stopped confessing their sins; thereby, stopping the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The CHANGING had stopped.

You see, being religious will not really CHANGE you. In Colossians 2:20-23 Paul is speaking about religious decrees (don’t eat this, don’t touch this, etc.) and he shows the futility of such man-made religion in verse 23:

“These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self -abasement and severe treatment of the body, BUT ARE OF NO VALUE AGAINST FLESHLY INDULGENCE.” (Emphasis added)

Trusting only in the work of Christ on the Cross can break the bondage in a person’s life. Jesus said you MUST be biblically born again to experience victory over fleshly indulgences. Paul, in our opening scripture is saying that the Corinth believers used to be controlled by fleshy indulgences but God CHANGED them. They, like many church members and pagans today, were practicing many forms of sexual sin and other wicked things but God set them free from their bondage.

Have you been CHANGED, my friend? Have you been biblically born again through faith, and faith alone, in the work of Christ! If you have not, today is a good day to ask Jesus to save you from your sins and to be washed, sanctified and justified by the Holy Spirit.

Don’t settle for “religion” or the “traditions of men”. The Lord Jesus is vastly different from “religion”. He is True Life and Freedom.

Carl

Christ: The Power and Wisdom of God

“For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search from wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, BUT to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Corinthians 1:22-24 (Emphasis added)

“What God has done in Christ crucified is a direct contradiction of human ideas of wisdom and power, yet it achieved what human wisdom and power fail to achieve. It does……..deliver man from his bondage….”.

The First Epistle to the Corinthians – HNTC

Carl