Glad Tidings

Indoctrination Education

1 Aug , 2020  

GT—Volume 17 Issue 8

Indoctrination Education

“William Temple characterized this as a ‘cut flower civilization.’ It appears beautiful, but is cut off from its roots, the value system that nourished it. Signs of withering may be detected in increased criminality, salaciousness, profanity, vulgarity, and uncontrollable drug culture. Instead of emphasizing values proven by years of societal experience, liberal education has frequently capitulated to the demands of pressure groups that have never been exposed to, or have never gained an appreciation of, these values. Legitimate criticism has asserted that often in the past morality has been taught but not practiced. But it is infinitely more difficult to practice if it is not taught. Freedom of inquiry need not be accompanied by freedom from morality.” (W. Ivan Hoy, “Education and Morality” Baker’s Dictionary of Christian Ethics, Carl F.H. Henry, Ed. Baker Book House Company, 1973, Pg.200)

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Our public educational system has been overcome by educators who either do not know or do not care what children need to know to live effectively in the world. They have promulgated a curriculum that omits the basic responsibilities of schools and teaches curricula that usurp the responsibility of parents.

Unhappily too many parents are complicit. They have abrogated their responsibility to train their children, opting for the schools to be the baby sitters, so both parents can work.

I witnessed the genesis of the parental side of the problem. In the 1960’s, I worked in mortgage living. Our culture expected that the men would work outside the home and the women were mothers, they raised the children. Our lending practices expected a home to be purchased on the basis of the man’s salary. The wages a woman earned were extra. So, lending policies were to assess whether a woman was in the child-bearing ages and whether her job was “professional”. To secure a loan, lenders had to consider that women who were likely to have children were also likely to stop working when children were born. That would necessarily decrease the security of the loan. Women who were professionally employed were less likely to have children interrupt their earning capacity.

Then the Law changed. Lenders were required to assess a woman’s earnings the same as a man’s. Thus, the “extra” when included allowed couples to by a better home or have more money for other things.

I watched the consequent escalation of home prices, so that after five or more years, women were forced to work in order to afford a starter home.

That put strains on young families, causing homes increasingly to be out of reach for young couples. The snowball effect was that children were raised by childcare agencies, because their mothers needed to work to afford a home. That in turn eliminated the home nurture and the loss of family values inculcated in the children from the beginning of life. In addition, young couples were forced into apartment living, instead of a home with a yard. The children in early development had no place to play outside on their own; no opportunity to explore more broadly, no place to make mud pies (don’t discount the value of mud pies). dove-vector-clipart

Public School Curricula

The Federal, Government acknowledge the problem in our public schools. Our children are getting an inadequate education to compete with children of other nation’s schools. My wife, Ruth, when teaching Middle School, several years ago, pointed out to her class that they were not competing against one another for jobs. When they grew up, they would be competing with people educated in other nation’s schools.

A 2004 report, titled Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts, found that employers and colleges are demanding more of high school graduates than in the past. According to Achieve, Inc., “current high-school exit expectations fall well short of employer and college demands.” The report explained that the major problem currently facing the American school system is that high school graduates were not provided with the skills and knowledge they needed to succeed in college and careers. Furthermore, “While students and their parents may still believe that the diploma reflects adequate preparation for the intellectual demands of adult life, in reality it falls far short of this common-sense goal.” The report also stated that the high school diploma itself lost its value because graduates could not compete successfully beyond high school, and that the solution to this problem is a common set of rigorous standards. (“Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts”Achieve, Inc. December 10, 2004.)

Over the last 20 years, the Federal Government has passed several laws in an attempt to rectify the failure of the public schools:

I have not been able to find any significant improvements in student outcomes.

Another hindrance to student education is the teachers’ union. They refuse to allow financial rewards for excellent teachers. They also protect inadequate teacher from being fired. Thus, the quality of teaching is generally lower that it should and far less than optimal.

A further problem it the hazard that students and teachers experience. Discipline is hamstrung by political correctness. Teachers cannot exercise corporeal punishment, cannot even touch students. If a student chooses to be rowdy and disrupt the class. The teacher has few options. She can send the student to the Principal’s office, if she or he willing go. If they will not, she can call in the Principle, who is also under the same restraints. In the meantime, no education goes on, so all the students lose out.    dove-vector-clipart

Alternative Schools

The three main types of alternative schools are

  • Charter Schools
  • Private Schools
  • Home Schooling

Charter School is “a public school that operates as a school of choice. Charter schools commit to obtaining specific educational objectives in return for a charter to operate a school. Charter schools are exempt from significant state or local regulations related to operation and management but otherwise adhere to regulations of public schools — for example, charter schools cannot charge tuition or be affiliated with a religious institution. (because they are publicly funded)

In other words, charter schools are publicly accountable—they rely on families choosing to enroll their children, and they must have a written performance contract with the authorized public chartering agency. Charter schools are also autonomous—they have more flexibility in the operations and management of the school than traditional public schools.

They are generally more effective in teaching and in producing competent graduating seniors.

A study conducted by the Washington State Charter School Commission showed that on average, median rates of growth were higher at Commission-authorized charter public schools, as compared to the schools that students would have been assigned, based on their home address.  (

Private Schools are privately funded and have curriculum independent of public schools. They are able to focus on the student’s needs and to guide the students to a better education. Generally smaller, they are able to fewer children in their classes, giving students more personal help. They challenge the students to higher achievement. The do not let slow learners fall behind. Classes are taught by independent teachers that can often write their own curriculum.

We thrive on competition and challenge. We are dynamic, innovative, decision making, action oriented people.  We like nothing better than to spot an emerging need of families or society and respond to it quickly with an appropriate program or service.

“We cherish autonomy. We can act, unfettered by Boards or Trustees or elected officials. Of course that does not mean that we have no one to answer to for our actions. Far from it, we are governed by the free market. If we provide the quality of programs and services that families want and need, we attract and retain students: if not, students go elsewhere. We know of no better regulator that that.  (National Independent Private Schools Association)

Home Schooling is increasing in popularity.

… parents educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or private school. Families choose to home school for a variety of reasons, including dissatisfaction with the educational options available, different religious or educational philosophies, and the belief that children are not progressing within the traditional school structure.  (What Is Homeschooling? A Guide for Parents and Students)

While the overall school-age population in the United States grew by about 2.0 percent from spring 2012 to spring 2016, data from 16 states from all four major regions of the nation showed that homeschooling grew by an average of about 25 percent in those states. If the data from these states are representative of what happened in the other states during those four years, then homeschooling is continuing to grow in both absolute numbers and as a portion of the overall school-age population.  (Homeschooling Growing: Multiple Data Points Show Increase 2012 to 2016 and Later)

In far too many cases, parents do not have a choice. The public school is “free”, but parents still have to buy all school supplies and there are costs for lunch and activities, etc. Most cannot afford private schools. There are far too few publicly supported Charter Schools. Too many parents are engaged with work, so home schooling does not fit their schedules.

Further the teacher’s unions fight hard, spending large amounts of money to advertise and lobby to keep the status quodove-vector-clipart

What’s A Parent Gonna Do?

Our culture has changed drastically. When I was growing up, parents were expected to train their children. They instilled in their sons and daughters basic morality. They taught them to be generous to others, to be respectful of elders, to be polite. to not hit, to not lie, etc. They taught by example, by correction (when given something, “Say, ‘Thank you’. “Say, ‘Please’, when asking for something.”) We were also taught by discipline. Spanking was common. The joke was, “The board of correction applied to the seat of the problem.”

We grew up in a polite society and we continued to make it polite. Because of common morality taught, the culture was safe for children. Adults looked after children in the absence of their parents. That was because the social interchange was based of the Judeo-Christian morality, i.e. the Commandments of God.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind.  And a second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”   (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

This meant we treated (and were trained to believe) everyone was equal.

Parents were the first “school teachers”. In our fragmenting society, parents are losing the responsibility of training their children. In three generations we have gone

Today young Christian parents, believing parents, that is, need to depend greatly upon the Holy Spirit to give them wisdom. He knows the godly way to raise their children. That takes time, repetition, both home education in Christ’s life and teaching, and in addition, a faithful church school to reinforce the parents’ godly instruction.

Teens need a strong faith to counter the peer pressure to adopt the immorality rampant in the culture. They need to be able to stand up to the ridicule for keeping pure. They need to have ready answers for the Hope that is within them.

Tragically all believing children need to understand from an early age that most of the authority figures will be teaching them ways of living that are wrong according to their parents and God. Parents must be engaged in the public schools more diligently that in previous generations. They MUST know what the schools are teaching their children. Parents must demand that their sons and daughters be excused form improper and/or sinful instruction.

While we all pay taxes to support public schools, parents must face the financial sacrifice of educating their children in alternative schooling. Charter schools are often a good alternative, but there are so few of them (only 14 in all of Washington State) that there are likely none available. A private Christian school either Protestant of Catholic, is likely an expensive option, but they are worth the sacrifices. I can personally testify to both – sacrifice and worth. Home schooling (with sacrifices) allows the parents to continue their godly influence through High School. It also makes possible family exploratory outings.    dove-vector-clipart

God Is Alive And In The Family

Parents are not alone. That is what is so great about Omnipresence. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are with each one of us all the time. Believers have merely to turn their attention to Him and they have the resources of the universe at their disposal. Parents have the privilege of additional help, because the Almighty God is keen on educating children in the most holy faith. Our Father wants His wee ones and children and teens to be comfortable in turning to Him often for instruction, for help, for deliverance from threats, and just because they love Him. Jesus has many lessons to teach children of all ages, so He is there with parents giving them what they need. The Holy Spirit of truth, will manifest gifts of wisdom, discernment in parents as they are open to Him. He will teach all about Jesus and help the children remember what they need when they need it.

God has not gone away to tend sheep in other pastures. He is right here now and always, listening to you, regardless of whether you are listening to Him. He is deeply concerned with the correct teaching of children. The Holy Spirit is not a teacher of “Christian things” exclusively. He is co-Creator, along with the Son and the Father, of the universe. He knows math and all the sciences, history, geography, reading and writing, current events. He knows everything that children need to know to function in and alongside this society.

He can and will teach “bad stuff’ to train children what to avoid. It is not enough to train in what is bad, He also trains in what is good to replace the bad.

God loves Children. He loves parents. He loves Believers. Put them all together and you have a winning combination. Parents can be confident that Their Gracious Lord will guide them to the best Schooling for their children. They can trust that Their Savior will lead them through all the sacrifices, struggles, threats and attacks to a successful and well-rounded education for their children.  One that will give them a good foundation and get them started on the right path.

There is no power in Hell or on earth that can withstand the family that prays, all well- trained and one in the spirit. Our Farther is glorified in their praise. Jesus is triumphant over the world the flesh and the devil through them. The Holy Spirit will build up the children to be world-beaters as they mature. Which also means they will be world-changers, making this a better place to eagerly await His Coming.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus to rebuild the world as it was in the beginningperfect in glorifying God!    dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in one issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: Have you been saved by Jesus?  Have you been released in the Holy Spirit?

ANSWER: Obviously these are personal questions that only you and Jesus can answer truthfully.

You must face yourself in the mirror each day and in so doing you will know the truth. You are either in bondage to the self and Satan, or you are in bondage to the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul taught,

… and being made free from sin, ye became [bond]servants of righteousness.  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members as [bond] servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members as [bond] servants to righteousness unto sanctification.  (Romans 5:18-19)

All who are not saved are lost. But what are the lost saved from? There are only two kinds of people in the world, children of God and enemies of God. You know, when you think of it, it does not make good sense to be an enemy of the greatest force in the universe, the one who created you and has your life in His hand.

In John’s Gospel he states,

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.  (John 3:36).

This points out the Jesus, Who is God’s Son is the deciding point. You are either surrendered to Jesus and saved or surrendered to Satan and lost.

John made it more explicit,

He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life.  (1 John 5:12).

Therefore, to be saved is to be delivered from God’s wrath and from eternal torment in Hell. It means that you are an adopted Child of God and have an eternal home with God your Father in love, joy and peace–and a lot more!

The second question refers to Jesus emphasis on “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

Read Acts 2 for the initial coming of the Holy Spirit. Everyone who is saved has the Holy Spirit living in his or her spirit. The “release of the Holy Spirit” refers to the believer recognizing the Holy Spirit within and then giving the Spirit permission to fill her or him and overflow in the manifestations of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11 for one of the lists).

The Holy Spirit is the power of God. When He is released the believer has power to testify to his own salvation, witnessing to unsaved people. The Spirit gives the believer power to withstand attacks, both physical and spiritual. He is a boon companion in joy and in trouble. He comforts, guides, teaches. He is a very powerful friend that is always at hand. Believing in Jesus starts one on the journey to God’s Kingdom. Releasing the Spirit gives you help along the way.

QUESTION: Where is the Prince of Peace when people are rioting and destroying and killing?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Jesus, You said, “Let the little children come unto me, and forbid them not.” You said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better to tie a millstone around your neck and be cast into the depth of the sea. You said, “Except you become as a little child you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

That tells us that You are deeply concerned with children. They are most vulnerable, because they are innocent. Their innocence endears them to You. That is why You call all of mankind to come to You in the innocence and vulnerability as a child. 

Father, You love children so very much, it is a wonder that You put them in our clumsy hands and charge us with the responsibility of being stewards to start them on their lives. You have charged us to nurture and train them to be fit to take on the responsibilities as an adult. You have given us the responsibility to nourish them; to feed them healthy food, to feed their spirit with godly nourishment, and to train their minds to think critically, so as not to fall for deceitful allures that lead to evil thoughts, words and deeds.

We are struggling upstream against the current. The world is so full of evil, with wrong thinking, temptations of the body, the mind, the will and emotions. Strengthen our spirits to stand in the evil day (that is every day in this fallen culture). We would be faithful to You and to be a beacon of truth, righteousness, godly sense and an island of peace in the stormy waters of our society.

We can only do that in Christ. Give us the desire to seek after Jesus to the extent that we with Paul can truly say, “For me to live is Christ!” Only with Your help (or more properly) only in Christ can we stand in the hurricane of immorality, sectarian politics, inter-racial hatred, dishonesty of our leaders. and the pernicious people that assault us each day seeking to delude us offering bogus help.

Jesus, I need You every hour. You are my gracious Savior. In You I need have no fear. Thank You for teaching me that fear is a failure to fully trust my Father, and depression is losing track of Jesus my Savior; further, that worry is another manifestation of failure to trust my Father. My children are raised and thanks to You they love You and serve You. And so, it is with my grandchildren. 

My lovely Lord, these blessings are mine because of Your coming into my life. Holy Spirit, Your power and gifts have drawn me into Jesus and out of the world. I am deeply grateful to You as well. Thank You Father. Thank You Jesus, Son of God and Savior. Thank You Holy Spirit my Guide and Counselor.

Hallelujah!! Hallelujah! Amen!

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Glad Tidings

Love in Marriage

5 May , 2020  

Married Love

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote Sonnet 43 as a poem of love for the person she cherished. It was dedicated to her husband, poet Robert Browning.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.    (1850)

This is an impressive expression of love. The breadth and scope she describes are total commitment to her loved husband. It springs from a magnificent passion.

Over the last several centuries, romantic love has dominated among the “loves”, i.e. love of God, love of country, love of parents, love of friends. For the centuries before romantic love has only been in the background. Marriages were arranged by parents, who tended to consider romance a distraction. Fathers would seek a “profitable match” for each of his daughters. That meant a man of good prospects; which meant he would be able to support his wife and family.

In mostly agrarian societies, the prospective husband needed a grant of land from his father. Then He would build a dwelling for his wife. Often there was a bride price to pay; likely in the form of livestock.

Land, a dwelling and livestock were tokens of a responsible man, who could take care of the father’s daughter and ensuing grandchildren, providing for them well. Most importantly, the husband would provide the basic necessities for his family. Secondarily, that the groom was responsible and capable enough, so that the bride and the children did not have to come back to be an additional burden on her father.

Thus, marriage was, foremost, a practical matter. Romance was a luxury that agrarian societies could most often not afford. Survival was always tenuous, so a young man’s abilities were the singular concern and a girl’s romantic ideas were of no account.    dove-vector-clipart

Married Love Today

We are no longer an agrarian society. Survival is not tenuous (in case you hadn’t noticed). We are by any reasonable measure a rich society. The vast majority of families may have working parents, so they have the income to provide the basic necessities. There are many luxuries that today are considered “necessities”, but they could be eliminated, saving the family a significant amount of money. The family would still be able to have the necessary (please note the word) food, clothing and shelter.

Because of our wealth we have the luxury of romantic love that seems to dominate all the kinds of love. In romance movies a young woman will be asked about her fiance. She responds, “Oh, he’s got a great job with opportunity for advancement. He really is good to me. He is good with children (all important qualifications).” The best friend presses, “Good, but do you love him?!” That is the single most important qualification. Forget the fact that he has never had a steady job, lives in a basement room of his parents’ home; mostly plays video games.

While I do no seek to toss away romantic love, I do insist that it is far overrated and needs to become the crust on a meat pie, good to have, tasty, but the important part is the healthy filling.

Commitment in Marriage

Love is not “hearts and flowers”. True love is commitment.

The traditional vows are a solid commitment and surrender through thick and thin, war and peace, ups and downs. “I, (Name), take thee, (Name), to be my wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance: and thereto I (give/plight) my troth.”

Can you see the length, width and depth of the commitment a couple affirms to one another, the community and to Almighty God?

One of the modern bastardizations of these solemn vows is to change “so long as we both shall live” into, “so long as we both shall love”. By that they define it as romantic love that is not permanent, but is emotional and flies away at a whim.  dove-vector-clipart

For Better Or Worse

In any human relationship differences crop up; tares are sown among the wheat.

During the dating and engagement, a man and a woman are on their best behavior. They are displaying their attractive qualities. They either hide or explain away any negative characteristics. The attraction to the other puts pressure on one to avoid anything that would make the other think again about continuing in the relationship.

Once married, the security of the commitment allows greater freedom to be “yourself”. Time wears away the effort to project “sweetness and light”. Overlooked differences during courtship become sharp differences, that lead to serious arguments. If the commitment is not strong the marriage can be broken off as soon as the honeymoon period is over.

When the relationship is based on a firm commitment, true love will rise above sharp differences. The first several years are the “shakedown cruise”. Those are the times when the “gloves come off” and the “warts show”. “I am angry with you, now, but I love you and I will not leave you.” A couple in real love enjoy the making up, because of the contrast of the loving sweetness to the separation caused by the broken fellowship.

Working Together in Marriage

There is a deep joy in working together, each sharing strengths to accomplish an important goal. The mutual thanks for one another’s contribution invigorate their love and deepens and enhances their intimacy.

Loving intimacy in a secure marriage commitment make procreation a deep and exhilarating joy. The companionship of the birth of a child supercharges the mutual admiration of the one for the other. A man’s wife needs her husband’s strength, love and concern to weather the agony of the birth process. The husband’s deep concern for her struggle breaks forth into amazing gratitude to her, when he holds that baby, she suffered to present to him and to the world. They have been partners in creation and birthing. Their bond of love is not romantic, but transformational.

As the decades pass, children and care for them often interferes with the relationship of the wife and husband. Committed love, seeks ways in the midst of an overfull life to reconnect on a foundational level. Once the children are launched, the couple can recapture the interrupted relationship. They are able in a more mature way to build their intimacy. For many (but I fear too few) they become “Golden Years” of working together, recreating together, laughing together, planning together. Through it all, they have satisfaction in what they have accomplished together. They rejoice together in one another’s awards for the works each has done separately

Toward the end of life, the diminishing ability and the struggles with infirmity and sickness place a heavy burden on each. The extra care one must have for the other in a deeply committed love is not a burden on the soul. It is a joy to care for the treasured one. In ways far beyond words, the gift the needy one gives is to receive the ministrations of the healthier one. Even the knowing that it cannot be repaid in kind, is a gift. This is love that is pure, strong and to be treasured as something far more precious than “houses or lands”.  dove-vector-clipart

For Richer Or Poorer

When I was a teen and contemplating marriage – off somewhere in the dim outer reaches of life, one of the things I was aware of was that a man needed to have a good-paying job to afford a wife. The “two can lie as cheaply as one” was a romantic fallacy. It is the reality of youth that most married couples do not have the income to be comfortable.

When I married Ruth, the ethos was that the man provided for the family. The wife was not expected to work. Thus, the pay of the Man set the standard of life for the beginning family. Newly married young couples generally struggled financially, during the early years, until the man worked his way up to a pay level that makes life more comfortable.

When Ruth and I got married, I was selling real estate. Laura was born shortly before our first anniversary. Susan came two years later. I was struggling financially. I could not make sales often enough. I was able to change jobs to obtain a regular salary that did provide adequately for our family.

Through the years, we have been both rich and poor. We have learned to live as the Apostle Paul,

I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want.   (Philippians 4:12).

Money in Marriage

Controversy over finances is one of the sources of acrimony in marriages. The increasing needs of a growing family often outstrips the ability of the parents to provide. The decisions over spending of scarce resources can lead to acrimony; and too often they become continuing tension, separating the couple.

On the other hand, riches can also be a separating influence in the life of the couple. A man in a high-powered job brings home an enormous paycheck and provides a large house with swimming pool and all the extras. But he is never home. The woman becomes engaged in a social circle and in her husband’s absence, looks for companionship elsewhere. Riches do strain the commitment.

We must submit to God’s plan for our lives. We must come back again and again to Paul’s affirmation of contentment, stated above.  dove-vector-clipart

Until Death Parts Us

Our Sovereign Lord God planned for Marriage to be the foundation of Civilization. He brought Eve to Adam, and they loved and worked together. They had children and they became a family. As family groups increased, that became the genesis of civilization. They built relationships among the various family groups and began the complexity of interrelationships.

This is where God’s laws of love modified frictions between groups. The learning process began in families, starting with the interrelationship between man and woman in marriage.

God purposed that “these two become one flesh”. His desire is that they unite in agreement over life’s direction, shared purposes, combined goals. He has revealed the truth of strength in numbers.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.   (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

The Wife and Husband are the basic church.

Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.   (Matthew 18:19-20)

God’s will is for mutual submission, at the same time a wife is to defer to her husband.

… subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything.   (Ephesians 5: 21-24)

This submission of the wife seems to our culture very hard duty. Until we look at God’s directive for husbands,

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it;   (Ephesians 5:25).

He is to sacrifice himself for her. He is to nourish and cherish” her. This is a mutual collaboration, a covenant relationship with strong demands laid on both husband and wife by our Righteous God.

Submitting to One Another

It has been said that the woman has been given command to submit to her husband because she, being more spiritually attuned would tend to take over the spiritual leadership. Without the command to submit, forcing the man to be the spiritual leader, many men would and do drop out, spiritually.

On the other hand, husbands have been commanded to love their wives, sacrificially. Men tend to love their work most. Peter gives husbands further instruction,

Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered.   (1 Peter 3:7)

In this mutual relationship of loving commitment, couples grow into that “one flesh” relationship”– shared hopes, dreams, ideals, purposes. All are indications of the “one flesh” that a married wife and husband share. As they age together, they ripen in their love and understanding of one another. Their psyches are so attuned that they can finish one another’s sentences. They agree on all the major issues in their lives. They are synchronized in their absolute trust in God’s love and provision.

God becomes the glue that holds them together. As they each grow closer to Jesus through the decades of their lives together, they grow closer to one another. Jesus is the one who lives in both and is the buffer that smooths the rough edges of each to make them an increasingly better fit as life together prolongs.

There comes a time that each is aware of the approaching end of life. It is rare that both die at the same time. Therefore, there is a growing concern of one being left alone. The three-fold mutual love is so strong that the thought of separation can be devastating.

However, God steps in and gives the believing couple assurance that the separation will be brief. The rejoining in Paradise will be joyful beyond imagining. Further, the marriage that lasts a lifetime gives each and both a preview of the love that awaits around their loving God’s throne.

God promises the surviving spouse the comfort of the Holy Spirit. God fills the hole left by the departing spouse. He surrounds the grief and mutes the anguish. He gives the one left a new direction that steps off from the foundation laid by the married love. Our Father knows our need and has already put in place what is needed to compensate for the loss of a life-long love.

God gives us the Grace for each day and joy in the remaining life that buoys the spirit. Anticipation grows in the meantime; anticipation of being unshackled by the flesh; anticipation of being reunited not only with the spouse, but also with all the loved ones that have gone on before; and then the anticipation of the glorious, magnificent entry into the Presence of God!  dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in this issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I will publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: Why did Abraham lie to Pharaoh, saying, Sarah was his sister?  (Genesis 12:10-20)

ANSWER: Because he was afraid. He and Sarah (and household) fled famine in Canaan for the breadbasket of Egypt. Abraham looked at the reality of the situation. His household was powerless against the might of Pharaoh. Sarah was beautiful. Pharaoh was an absolute monarch. The ethos of the broader culture was against stealing a man’s wife, but not against killing him and then taking her. So, to protect himself, he sacrificed Sarah. The lie was a half-truth. He had married his half-sister.

But his action raises several issues. A man ought to protect his wife at the risk of his own. He could have slipped into the large nation of Egypt and remained unnoticed. He should have trusted Go to protect both Sarah and him.

First, we must not expect A.D. 21st Century mores out of 20th Century B.C. people. That culture put a lower value on women, so the sacrifice of one’s wife was the natural thing to do.

Second, Scripture does not say, and I can find nothing that requires, immigrants had to check in with the local constabulary, bringing one to the notice of Pharaoh.

Third, Abraham had experienced יהוה, Jehovah, for only a short time, so he may not have been aware of God’s intimate care of each individual.

Pharaoh did take Sarah into his Harim. God protected Sarah from being molested and he sent a plague on Pharaoh’s household. Some scholars think it was a plague of barrenness in both women and animals. We do not have a time frame, so perhaps the evidence was a rash of stillborn sheep and cattle.

Apparently, God had spoken the truth to Pharaoh, that he had usurped another man’s wife and that was the cause of the plague.

Pharaoh was furious. He had given Abraham sheep, oxen, he asses, menservants, maidservants, she asses and camels in exchange for Sarah. To get rid of Abraham and the plague, Pharaoh sent him away, demanding back none of his gifts to Abraham.

The moral of this story is NOT “Honesty is NOT the best policy.” We learn from Abraham’s mistake that we can trust God in even the most threatening situations. God not only takes care of us but rewards us.

Unhappily, Abraham did not learn to trust God. Ca. 23 years later (Ch. 20), the King of Gerar, Abimelech had eyes for Sarah. Abraham again lied. Again, Sarah was taken into a Harim, again the king was plagued, again, God punished the king and demanded Sarah’s return and insisted that gifts be given to Abraham. Some of us are slow learners.

QUESTION: Why is fear a faith-betraying emotion?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Father, our nation and our world are in a serious state due to the corona virus. Is this Your judgment poured out on us for our rejecting You? You sent plagues as punishment among the Children of Israel. They were seriously afflicted, but You sent release each time. You sent a plague as judgment against Israel because of King David’s sin. Upon His repentance You stayed the plague.

Lord, our Righteous God we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have sinned against Your divine Majesty. Have mercy upon us for rejecting You and putting our trust in man’s abilities. We have embraced materialism and rejected spirituality. We have legislated against praying to God publicly in government, in schools. Business for fear of law suits has proscribed prayer and even saying Your name, unless it is a swear word. We are stripping our nation of any reference to God. We have made our schools into indoctrination institutions against faith in You. We have presided over the slaughter of innocents, legislating ever broadening the legal aborting. We have legally codified the abomination of homosexuality. We have made divorce, which You hate, easy. We have legalized the “marriage” of homosexuals. We have embraced “recreational sex” and made fornication and adultery common as peanuts.

“There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine indignation; Neither is there any health in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over my head: As a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds are loathsome and corrupt, Because of my foolishness.” (Psalms 38:3-5)

We, through our own fault, have wandered away from You, our One and only God. We have become altogether corrupt. We have no ability to make restitution for our flagrant sin.

Have mercy upon us, Almighty God. Have pity on our weaknesses. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot even turn away from sin and turn to embrace You, for our own strength is leached away by our egregious sin,

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, And blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; And take not thy holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; And uphold me with a willing spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; And sinners shall be converted unto thee. (Psalms 51:7-12)

Have mercy on us. Deliver us from our unrighteousness. I worship You, o, most holy One. Unworthy as we are, honor us with deliverance, as we continue to praise Your holiness. Hallelujah!! Hallelujah! Amen!

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Glad Tidings

Hearing God’s Voice in the New Year!

1 Jan , 2020  

GT—Volume 17 Issue 1

Joseph Chooses to Honor Mary

Joseph was a spiritually attuned man. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was apparently an adulteress. When he thought in his own generosity, instead of accusing her publicly, he chose to put her away quietly. Not muss, no fuss, no publicity. I’m sure her parents (Joachim and Anne, according to tradition) were relieved, since a public denouncement would have meant stoning.

But, when Joseph had a prophetic dream, everything changed for him. He was obedient. He embraced Mary in marriage. He embraced her pregnancy. He embraced the reality that he was to be the earthly father of a child of the Holy Spirit. It is clear that Joseph was a godly man. He was sensitive to God’s leading. He, unwillingly, but submissively took his late-stage pregnant wife on a 70-mile donkey ride to pay the required taxes. The ride precipitated Mary’s labor.

Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, he urgently sought a room where her baby could be born. Urgency forced Joseph to accept an otherwise unacceptable stable for animals. Cleanliness was a problem, but the body heat of the animals brought warmth to an otherwise chill night. Scripture doesn’t give us word of the birth, but I suspect with importance of the child, birth went according to nature and the mother and child did fine.

Mary and baby were somewhat recovered from the process, when Joseph was confronted with shepherds who rattled excitedly about an Angelic announcement about the baby. His first inclination was to drive those trespassers away. But Mary invited them in, so Joseph relented. Their joy was contagious, so by the time they left, the atmosphere in the stable was ebullient. dove-vector-clipart

Three Royal Visitors

Mary and the Baby Jesus could not travel the 70 miles back to Nazareth for several weeks, while they grew stronger. They had to have a better place to stay and they had to eat. Joseph began searching for a home and work. Likely his carpentry skills were needed in the town so he was able to obtain work. His skills became known so his part-time soon became full-time. I suspect he was able to rent a small house for the three of them and rig an outdoor “shop”.

It was a year and a half later, while he was planing a door he was making, when he heard, “Carpenter!” Joseph turned to see several richly attired men on camels. A camel driver was speaking to him.

“The star,” he pointed up. Yes, there was that beautiful, magnificent star overhead. It had been there night and day for all these months. People had gotten used to it and stopped remarking about it.

“May I assist, you?” Joseph responded.

He began in a strange language, but switched to Greek which was the trade language. His accent and Joseph’s rudimentary knowledge of Greek were making communication difficult, but not impossible.

“Yes, we have a baby boy,… You want to see him?” People had long since stopped asking about the Baby, since he was just like all babies, except precocious and quite perceptive to human feelings.

“Please wait, while I speak with my wife.” Joseph placed the plane on the work bench, wiped his hands on a clean rag, brushed sawdust and chips off, before going into the house. “Mary, there are several rich strangers who want to see Jesus.”

The Baby began to dance around and chanted “Let me see!” Let me see!”

“Joseph, my beloved, it appears that we must bring them in,” Mary smiled in answer.

The personages crowded into the small room, and while they nodded and greeted Mary respectfully with long flowery (and somewhat indecipherable) phrases, their eyes kept darting to the Child that was their main interest. With a wave of her hand toward little Jesus, she gave permission for them to concentrate on the Child. They clustered around and volubly, but unintelligibly to Mary and Joseph, conversed. They nodded and fell to their knees and obvious prayer. Joseph couldn’t tell whether they were praying to Jesus or about Him to God.

Jesus stood calmly, excepting their adulation, smiling. As they quieted down, He reached out His tiny hand and touched each one on the cheek. Joseph could tell that each one felt resoundingly blessed. There were a few moments of silence then the Christ Child said laughingly, “Go home.”

It was as if they had awakened from a beatific dream. They reluctantly rose. One went to the door and called to the camel driver. In a few moments he came in with three containers. One of the personages took from the camel driver a cruse that appeared to contain about a log (ca. one pint) of oil. Another man took a pot (ca. 1 pint) of ointment. A third took a coin cask. They turned to Joseph, handing each gift in turn. They saluted Joseph and Mary, and did obeisance to the Christ Child, and then left.

After thanking the men Joseph had set the gifts aside and formally bowed in thanksgiving. With them gone it was time to examine the gifts they had left. He opened the log. “Mary this is frankincense! This much is worthy about 30 years labor!” Next, he reached for the pot. This one has myrrh!” This, too is a fortune!” Setting the pot down he picked up the cask, “This one is heavy.” As he tipped back the lid, his eyes got big. “There must be one hundred shekels of gold here!” He sat down on the floor, in a daze.

“What does it mean, Joseph?” Mary asked.

“It means I’ll never have to work again,” but he thought a minute. “I like working, making things with my hands.” He looked at his wife, “My dearest, I’ll never stop working. But one thing sure. We’ll never go hungry!”

Joseph Dreams and Angels Speak

It was several nights later that his peace was disturbed. Unaccountably even with his new-found riches, Joseph felt apprehension. He expected to feel satisfied, even complaisant, but instead it felt like a warning. He did not speak of his confusion to Mary. He fell into a deep sleep. He dreamed that the same angel that had assured Joseph to take Mary for his wife, came again. But this time with a warning. The angel warned that Herod was a severe threat to the Christ Child. Joseph must pack and immediately take his family to safety in Egypt.

When he awoke, shortly before dawn, Joseph began planning. It was 35 miles to the sea coast and to connect with the “Way of the Sea”, the shortest way to Egypt. Then it was nearly 200 miles to the  in the Nile delta. By easy stages it would be nearly a month journey, traveling every day but the Sabbath. He had enough money to get to the coast and the city of Ashdod, where he could exchange one of the gold shekels for 15 silver shekels, much easier to use to pay and would raise fewer questions, thus drawing no attention. That would be enough ready money to get them to a home in Egypt. Thus, Joseph again listened to God and saved his family and the Messiah. dove-vector-clipart

Listening To God

At the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew we have repetitions of the lesson to listen to and obey God. But first we must turn to Luke. There Zechariah, an old priest had a visit from the Archangel, Gabriel. Zechariah was not open to hear of a miraculous birth to his wife, without a sign. He had been a priest for many decades, so the vision of an angel should have opened his heart to listen, believe and obey. Instead, he questioned and asked for a sign. Much to his embarrassment, the sign he was given was to be mute for nine months, (Luke 1)

In contrast, Mary a teen-age virgin, in simple faith said to Gabriel, “I am God’s serving girl. He may do with me what He desires.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.  (Luke 1:38)

Simple surrender to God’s will. Her heart belonged to God, so she was submissive and obedient.

“and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

The young have far fewer learned preconditions to faith.

Whereas, older more educated and experienced in the world have more baggage to overcome in seeking to be in relationship with Christ. They have learned to test everything to see if it is true. Too many bad experiences taint the simple faith of youth.

Joseph was a mature man, perhaps middle age (which in those years meant over 30). Nevertheless, his openness to listen to the angel made him obedient to strange, inconvenient, and uncomfortable commands of God. Joseph did not dither. He did not test the waters or tempt God, asking for “fleeces”. His simple faith led him to obey. As a result, he first saved Mary, and then he saved the Messiah.

As Mordecai said to Esther,

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then will relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house will perish: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

God’s will be done! If His will is done by you in obedience, you will be blessed, as was Esther and Joseph. But if not by you, and God has to pass on to someone else, then, at least you will lose your blessing and, at worst, you will suffer for your disobedience.

Hesitating to Obey

Too many believers today are more afraid of what “people will think” than what God thinks. They are concerned that they may be taken as a fool, so they do not act on God’s promptings. When we turn a deaf ear, we train ourselves not to listen to The Holy Spirit’s promptings.

One of the understandings of habits is that reinforcement increases learning. If we say, “Yes,” to anything, it is easier to say, “Yes,” the next time and harder to say, “No”. If, after a string of yeses, a “No” breaks the string, it weakens the impetus to say, “Yes”, the next time. The reverse is also true. A string of not listening to the Lord, makes it harder to hear Him next time.

Remember, God is Omnipresent. He is here all the time! The Holy Spirit dwells in the spirits of believers. He is speaking to guide us all the time. Listen to His direction and follow it.

Sure, you will make some (many!) mistakes and feel a fool. But pour the salve of Christ’s forgiveness on your wounded ego and smile broadly and declare that you are a fool for Christ.

Keep trying to live under the immediate directions of your Master. In so doing you will soon learn to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.”   (John 10:27-28dove-vector-clipart

Obeying God

The Believer who hears, but does not obey, has not really heard God’s voice. God does not speak in, “If you, please?” or “When you have a mind to.” His word is LAW!

I once heard a missionary say, when he was a teen he was at a meeting when a visiting missionary gave an altar call, “If the Lord is calling you to the mission field, step down front. I want to pray for you.” The missionary I was listening to said, “I hid under the piano, hoping the Lord would not see me.” Obviously, since he was a missionary, the piano was an ineffective hiding place from God’s missionary call.

“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall overwhelm me, And the light about me shall be night; Even the darkness hideth not from thee, But the night shineth as the day:” (Psalms 139:7-12)

God calls each believer to life-long holy work. God’s retirement is “outta sight!” “it’s Heavenly!”, but not in this world. He is a severe taskmaster,

“But who is there of you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say unto him, when he is come in from the field, Come straightway and sit down to meat; and will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded? Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:7-10)

We have been saved because God loves us. He has given us release from the burden of sin, robed us in Christ’s righteousness. Our war with God is at an end and we have peace with God. Nevertheless, while we are in this world, God has work for us to do. Jesus said

“Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. It is as when a man, sojourning in another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants, to each one his work, commanded also the porter to watch. Watch therefore: for ye know not when the lord of the house cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:33-37)

When we apply this Parable to all of us, we must generalize the application. Jesus used the porter as the example. He was to keep watch diligently, since the master likely would return unexpectedly and catch the porter slacking off. The application is that God has assigned us believers (each and every one) work to do, according to each one’s ability. Our job differs from one another, but we are our brother’s keepers.

A Habit of Obedience

As long as we have breath, we are to be attentive listeners to God’s directions and to do as God calls us. Our Lord knows our strengths and weaknesses. In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus stated the Master gave out Talents “according to his several ability”.

“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his several ability; and he went on his journey.” (Matthew 25:15, cf.14-30)

Jesus knows what you are capable of doing. He will give you responsibilities to carry out that will stretch you, test you and give you great satisfaction in their accomplishments.

In fact, we are less confident of our capabilities than Jesus is. We are more apt to give in too quickly.

Life is hard. We live in a fallen world. We are strangers in a strange land. After being born again, we are remade for God’s Kingdom of love, kindness, mercy, generosity; whereas, we live in a material world that is broken and we live in a culture of, “Me first, and the devil take the hindmost!”

Thus, to walk with Jesus takes concentration and effort, because we are fighting upstream against the current of the world, the flesh and the devil. Everything around us tells us we are going the wrong way. It is hard to persevere, impossible on our own. Holding tight to Jesus’ hand we can carry on, if we keep holding on.

So, settle it in your heart and engage your will to listen carefully to Jesus. Learn to filter out all the static of the material and the negative spiritual world. Remember, “My sheep know My voice.” Focus on what your spirit knows. Then do it.

Love God and Love Others

Basic ground rules are Love God & Love others!” Jesus wants you to acknowledge Him in all you do. Then He wants you to care for the needy, minister to the sick, and to proclaim the Good News that Jesus still saves, so all may come to Christ.

As you kneel to pray, give your heart wholly over to Jesus. Set aside all your activities and cares, while you humble yourself before Almighty God to worship our Great God and praise Him without reservation. Then arise from your knees equipped to minister in His name. Build up other believers by always praying for them and giving them what God requires of you. Always leave them with a blessing.

Look for opportunities to lend a helping hand, particularly with the aged and invalid. There are more opportunities around you than you will see in just living your life. In Christ “Lift up your eyes, for the fields are ripe unto harvest,” and you are the laborer the Master has sent into the fields to reap what He has sown. Hear and obey. dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in this issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I will publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: What does it mean to be a saint?

ANSWER: We have a confusion of terms because in the 10th Century, Ulrich, bishop of Augsburg was a great man of God. When he died in A.D. 973, John XV, Pope of the Catholic Church canonized him as an especially godly man.

That began the Roman Catholic Church policy of recognizing significantly holy men and women, declaring that they were credited with more merit than they needed to achieve heaven, thus, there was a bank of “Merit” that accumulated and that Roman Catholics could tap into it to seek for answers to prayer. Thus, began the practice of appealing to the “saints” for help in life.

In the Bible the term “saint” occurs often, 20 times in Psalms and 8 times elsewhere in the O.T.

In Romans 8 times, Ephesians 9 times and The Revelation 14 times, plus 29 times more in the N.T.

Hebrew language has two primary words for “saint” – 1st, “khaw-seed” = “kind, i.e. religiously, pious (a saint) a godly (man, good, holy (one), merciful, saint. 2nd, “kaw-doshe” = “sacred” (ceremonially or morally), “God” (by eminence), an “angel”, a “saint”, a “sanctuary”, “a holy” (one).

The Greek has only one word – “hagios” = “an awful thing”, sacred (physically) “pure’, blameless” or “religious”, “consecrated”, (most) “holy” (one, thing), “saint”.

Both languages treat the word “saint” as a general term, i.e. anyone can be a saint, whose life comports to godliness.

In the New Testament, the term pertains to all believers. Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice for all the sins for all of mankind. Everyone, regardless of race, sex national origin, or position in society, can come and surrender to Jesus as Lord. He washes their sins away in His blood. Further He justifies them and covers each one with His robe of Righteousness! Their surrender and His action transform each one into a saint., a sanctified one.

No special merit; the most heinous criminal in all the world, if at the moment of death repents and asks Jesus to save him, in the next moment is a saint.

Now, in human terms, that does not seem fair. “How come he or she gets rewarded after living a life of crime?”

God is not interested in what we have done, but where our hearts are. When our hearts turn to embrace Jesus, that is all God requires.

In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus told of a Master who paid workers the same amount, regardless of how long they labored. This was a picture of life. Everyone who comes to “work” with Jesus is rewarded by becoming a saint.

QUESTION: Who was the fourth King of Israel?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Lord Jesus, You are gracious beyond what I can understand. You, Who are the Son of God, You Who were instrumental in Creation, You Who will be the Judge of all men at the Last Day, have offered salvation to mankind. Fickle, ungrateful, rebellious, people disdain Your offer. Despite the affront, You continue to offer it.

As Sovereign Lord God You could force us to take Your offer of salvation. You could cut off everyone who refuses Your first offer. Either response for the rebuff, would be understandable and is Your prerogative. But Your love is not peevish. It is not vengeful. Your Love is unconditional, in that You continue to offer forgiveness and salvation as long as a person lives.

America is 243 year-old. In our advanced years we have to a large extent decided we do not need You any more. We have declared You, Lord Jesus as a persona non grata. We have made You the untouchable of our society

Your name cannot be mentioned in government, schools or in entertainment (unless it is used in blasphemy).

Despite our blindness, we desperately need You to govern us. We have made an effort to govern our nation without You for the last half century, or so. We have made a perfect mess of this nation. Our peoples that were a melting pot of cohesive nationalities and cultures have fragmented into national, racial, political cliques, vying for supremacy. We have thrown away Your morality of loving all people, preserving life, respecting others and others property. We have traded godly love for fleshly lust. We have rebranded what is true, and real and natural and made our own definitions, arrogantly declaring we are what we are not.

Have mercy on our stupidity. Have mercy on our delusions of grandeur. Forgive our usurpation of Your prerogatives. Forgive our displacing You in the temple of our lives with statues of ourselves. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts with the blood of Christ, strip us of our sin-filthed rags and reclothe us in Your righteousness.

Renew a right spirit, a godly attitude of seeking after You, “as the hart thirsteth after the water brooks”. Give us a spirit to acknowledge You, a heart to praise You and a will to glorify You in all we think, say and do. Help us our God! Help us God Almighty!

 Hallelujah! You are worthy of all honor glory and praise!


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Glad Tidings

The Ol’ Time Religion

7 Oct , 2019  

GT—Volume 16 Issue 10

Music as Praise to God

A Christian radio station in our area advertises that it is the source for classic Christian music. Then it raises the question of veracity by playing the recent upbeat gospel music (unknown by us ‘ol’ fogies) and the 7/11 gospel, i.e. seven words repeated eleven times.

I hasten to state that I am not dismissing all the modern Christian music. There is much that leads me (us) to rejoice in Christ. Much is a fresh sound that has an emotional appeal.

But I still prefer the traditional hymns of the Church. They are time-tested and have a clear statement of the Gospel. We can zero in on the words and be led to the “Throne of Grace”.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.   (Hebrews 4:16)

Many are statements of our position in Christ. Many are clear glorification of our Masterful and Majestic Lord and God.

Jesus admonished the Church at Ephesus:

But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.  Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.  (The Revelation 2:4-5)

The Hymns that have been written over the last several centuries were written by those who understood the truth of the human condition and the Truth of the Gospel, variously expressed in creative poetry. Their words have been matched with grand music. The vast majority are set so they are easily sung by congregations. This makes for body worship, with each person offering her or his heart in the music to our Lord.  dove-vector-clipart

Hymn Writing and Singing

Praise To The Lord, The Almighty

Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the King of creation; O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation: All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near, Joining in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth, Shelters thee under His wings, yea so gently sustaineth: Hast thou not seen How thy desires er’ have been Granted in what he ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee; Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee: Ponder anew What the Almighty can do, If to the end he befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!  All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!  Let the Amen sound from his people again:

Gladly for ay we adore him.

For the believer, praise of God is a natural outcome of the truth of what He has done in, to and through us. First in this hymn we acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all Creation. We acknowledge that it is from the loving God that our salvation comes. Implicitly we are witnessing to the sacrificial death of the Son of God so that we can live eternally. We affirm that in Jesus is the source of our health and continuing life. Then, we reach out in evangelism to invite all within the sound of our voices to adore the One true God with us.

Next in song, we affirm His eternal loving care – physically while we are in this life; and then throughout eternity in His glorious Presence. The third verse declares God’s omnipresence; living and working in and with us. It affirms the magnificent promise of His friendship. The closing verse exhorts all people (and animals) to join in the glad chorus of praise, because we all ought to adore Him.

Spirit of God, Descend On My Heart

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling:
Oh, let me seek Thee, and, oh, let me find!

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies:
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The baptism of the heaven descended Dove:
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

This Hymn is addressed to the Holy Spirit, calling for His presence. We know that we are weak and fickle and easily led astray, so we call upon God’s mighty Spirit to make us love God properly. We acknowledge the Old Testament affirmation that we are to love God with all our heart, mind and strength.

We affirm that we are not seeking some mighty miracle, but only to see Jesus more clearly in the midst of a hectic, fallen world.

Then we address the Holy Spirit directly to appeal to Him to make Himself known to us in the midst of the hurly-burly of this material life, thus keeping us from temptation, impatience and discouragement.

The final plea is to teach us to love God with a heavenly mindset; to be single-minded in our devotion. We cry out for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit to empower our faith so that we can love our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit with a sacrificial love that is all consuming, like the flame that consumes the sacrificial victim on the altar.

My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In this hymn we express out faithful love for Jesus throughout our lives, from the moment of salvation, when we first become aware that our sin is displeasing to our Farther. The result for the righteous is to seek to eliminate sin from our lives. The reason is in the second stanza – Jesus first loved us and sacrificed everything for us in His accepting the nails, the thorns, and death for us and for our salvation.

We assert that our love will be faithful throughout our lives and even when we face that dread last enemy – death. Even then, we will love our Savior.

We look forward to our translation into God’s eternal glory where, standing before His throne we will have been completely cleansed and rid of sin and have received our unmerited rewards.  In that eternal moment we will love our God unrestrained, completely.

Joy To The World!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!  Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Here is unrestrained music to glorify God. Angels announced the birth of King Jesus; the heavens rang with the song, “Glory to God in the Highest!” Jesus is not only the King of the Jews and of redeemed believers from all ethnicity, but, in fact, he was slated to reign over the fallen world, as well. So, joy indeed to the world! This being true, the admonition is that every heart of man should prepare to receive the King of kings.

He is also the Savior. He has come to redeem mankind from sin. He has also come to remake the world in the process of God’s time. It will be perfect as it was before the Fall of Man corrupted God’s Creation. Therefore, all the animals, plants and minerals join in the resounding joy.

King and Savior means that sins and sorrows can cease. We can enter into His creative work in the world, setting aside our sin, because of Christ’s redemption; we can throw off sorrow, knowing that this is but a temporary affliction, because Jesus is triumphant over all!

His rule will establish truth as the outstanding element of our lives. His grace will overflow the governments of the world and they will operate to prove that His righteousness will be predominant and universal.  dove-vector-clipart

Music to Soothe the Savage Breast

“Music has charms to sooth a savage breast,” (Poet William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697: ACT I. SCENE I.)

King David established courses of musicians and choirs to ensure that the House of God (first the Tabernacle of David and then in the Temple when it was completed). They played in their courses on a rotating plan that had music on the sanctuary 24 hours a day.

“And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren the singers, with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding aloud and lifting up the voice with joy.”  (1 Chronicles 15:16)

“So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed, with cymbals of brass to sound aloud; and Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries set to Alamoth; and Mattithiah, and Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps set to the Sheminith, to lead.  And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was over the song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.”  (1 Chronicles 15:19-22)

“And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: and David had upon him an ephod of linen.  Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, sounding aloud with psalteries and harps.”  (1 Chronicles 15: 27-28).

Apparently, God enjoys music. He enjoys it soft and sweet. He also enjoys it loud and brash. What He does not enjoy is self-serving music that is performance for the sake of glorifying the performer. Unhappily that is much of the modern church music.

The role of all in the worship service is to glorify God, and then to be open for God to edify each one worshiping. If the music enhances those two purposes, then it is truly a worthy worship experience. If instead, the music is to gin up emotion so that the performer has a gratifying time and the people have an emotionally good time, but without the heart connection with Jesus, then it is an idolatrous performance.

I have been in churches where the music group was “cookin’’”, but the people in the congregation were only singing the words with no indication that they were in touch with Jesus. I have been worshiping in churches where I had to worship in spite of the music. I have struggled under the performance artists who have no sense of being an accompanist to the worship of the congregation. Instead they were the professional performer, expecting the congregation to follow along.

Music as Worship of God

Music in worship is a blessing to God. His desire is to have all His children in unity and glorifying Him. That is where the sacred hymns have a decided advantage. Their words and music are uplifting and they are food to our spirits. There are numerous new songs that are enhancing to worship as well. Those old composers were reliably mature in the spirit as well as gifted. They capture the truths of God’s Word and our lives in Christ. When all who have come to worship our Great God sing those kinds of hymns and songs, we are ministering and being ministered to in the sense of.

And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-21)

It is an old truth, and I do not believe it becomes trite by often repeating it: God loves us and wants the best for us. He said via Jeremiah,

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

He gives us the best music to worship Him. That is why Christianity has such a plethora of beautiful, spiritually uplifting music. No other religion has such a developed theology sung regularly by congregations gathering to worship.

Buy a good one, if you do not have one. I recommend “Hymns for the Family of God” by Paragon Associates, Inc. Nashville

May I suggest that you open the hymn books you have at home and include singing a hymn or two in your regular family worship (even the choruses to hymns can enhance family and personal worship.).

Paul tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) It is not a corruption to say “worship without ceasing”.  You can incorporate singing of hymns in your worship, while walking through this fallen world. God loves to have you close to Him.  He loves to have you holding Him central, as you deal with the vicissitudes of life.  Worshipping with the family of God is vital, but living daily in the Presence of God by worshiping and praying as an ongoing practice becomes an undergirding foundation that carries you through the attacks, failures, griefs that occur to all of us.  We find, in Christ’ Presence, great joy that cannot be diminished.

I will sing unto Jehovah as long as I live: I will sing  praise to my God while I have any being.” (Psalms 104:33)

God loves His children.  He demonstrated great love in giving us His Son to save us.  He truly wants to spend time with us.  So, He is with us every minute.  To make life fully satisfying, we need to be with him.  That is what our Father longs for,too.  He has placed that reality in our future.  We don’t have to wait until we enter His Presence through death’s door.  We can enjoy His Presence every Day!  Sing to His glory the Hymns of faith.  dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in one issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: How can the Holy Spirit dwell in us?

ANSWER: We tell little children to ask Jesus to come into their hearts. One of the questions they ask is, “How can a big, grownup man fit inside me?” They do not have the concept of immaterial spirit. The Holy Spirit, being Spirit, easily “fits” in the hearts of believers. Jesus breathed on His Disciples the evening of the first day of the week and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

As God breathed life into Adam (Genesis 2:7), just so Jesus breathed the living Spirit into the Disciples (and us). That was (and is) not only the regeneration of the dead spirits within us, but it was (and is) the imparting of the Holy Spirit to believers.

That is how the Holy Spirit “gets here”. That raises another question, “What makes the Holy Spirit stay?” We are sinners. When we are born again, we are regenerated. Our sins are forgiven, but we do, in fact, continue to sin. Why is not the Holy Spirit revolted by each sin we commit after our salvation? Why does He not fly away? We give Him many reasons each day to abandon us. Why does He stay?

Because the Holy Spirit is God’s guaranty that we are saved. Paul taught,

… to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,—in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory.   (Ephesians 5:12-14).

In God’s economy, Christ’s blood covers our sin and Jesus has clothed us in His righteousness; therefore, we are an acceptable home for the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God is omnipresent.  He is everywhere all at once, all the time.  He is actively present and available to every believer

Those who acknowledge His presence and defer to Him, are constantly in communication with God the Father.  Any believer can open her or his heart for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist taught and Jesus taught:

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but there cometh he that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not [a]worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you [b]in the Holy Spirit and in fire:” (Luke 3:16)

“But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The Holy Spirit’s power transformed the Disciples from frightened believers in Jesus to courageous proclaimers of God’s truths in Christ.  That same power is available to each believer who is willing to receive.

QUESTION:  What does it mean to be a saint?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Holy Spirit, God divine, reveal to me Who and what You are.  Teach me about Jesus and reveal to me truths that I have not seen in times past.  You are the Wisdom of God.  Grant me to know what is profitable for me.

I come to You with empty hands. I raise them in surrender to Your Majesty. Fill my mouth with Praise of Your splendor. Fill my heart with songs that will glorify You and edify my spirit.

You are the glory of all anointed servants of God. You give them power  to conquer, wisdom to adjudicate, love to embrace and help, and mercy to forgive.

I praise You for Your work in my life. You have taught me about my Savior. You have introduced me to the riches in Your Word. You have guided me in my decisions. Thank You for your manifold ministries in my life. 

I behold in Your Word the glories of the throne room of God.  I have an inkling of the Glory of our Father on His throne and of the wonders around His Presence. We have an image of our Savior, the Lamb of God. Help me to see Your Presence with the Father and the Son. Show my dull mind how You are depicted in Your vision given to brother John. 

As the author of the Book, You are not seen, just as the one who takes a photo is not in the picture. It is Your efforts in John’s heart that allowed him to reveal those images to us. Your magnificent humility holds You back from the center stage. And as the director is never on stage in a play, You are in obscurity while glorifying the Father and the Son.

In Your self-effacing stance, You teach us to be brothers and sisters, always lifting up others into the spotlight, while quietly working the works of our Father. Give me the shelter of obscurity to concentrate on God’s purposes and to accomplish great things that give glory only to Him. Stifle my yearning for recognition. Give me the satisfaction of my Father’s quiet approval. Let me find deep pleasure in worldly shunning, while my Father takes pleasure in my efforts on His behalf. Keep me under the shadow of Your wings in intimate relationship with You and separate from worldliness and applause.

Blessed Holy Spirit, speak to me in that still, small voice that is for me alone. Allow me the courage and the privilege of proclaiming Your Name, so that others will begin praising Your Majesty, glory and dominion over their lives! Hallelujah most magnificent God, Almighty.  Hallelujah! 



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Glad Tidings

This Amazing Machine!

17 Sep , 2019  

Photo by Chermiti Mohamed on Unsplash

GT—Volume 16 Issue 9

Our Bodies are a Marvel!

As I am creating this issue, I am typing, while at the same time I’m hearing the lovely sounds of Classical music. My ears are receiving sound waves all the time, waking or sleeping. Those invisible waves beat against our ear drums on both sides of our heads. Those vibrations are funneled into the ear by the shape of the external ear and the ear canal. As the sound waves impact the ear drum it vibrates according to the variations of the sound waves. The vibrations of the eardrum cause the three bones of the middle ear to vibrate, transferring sound energy to mechanical energy. The energy is transmitted to the cochlea, a snail-shaped, liquid-filled organ. It has hairs and nerve endings that pick up the mechanical sound waves. Pitches or the specific sound frequencies stimulate specific individual hair cells in the inner ear. Thus, certain frequencies cause specific hair cells to respond. The hair cells translate the pitches into nerve impulses. Each ear has two nerve pathways, one to the left side of the brain and one to the right side of the brain.

What all that means is that I can hear beautiful harmonies. I can distinguish strings from wind, from brass and percussion. By concentration I can hear the violin or the cello, the flute or the clarinet, the french horn or the coronet, the timpani or the snare drum and in the midst of the sound pick out the tinkle of a triangle.

But that is only the beginning. I see the letters on the keyboard and they are quite different from those on the screen. The eye distinguishes letters in both fonts.

When I glance up to look out the window, but only for a fraction of a second, I can clearly see the trees, the lawn, the patio, the side of the house with windows and a door. All in living color. All in perfect definition, not blurred by the movement of my eye – Amazing! It is the most natural thing in the world, because we have grown up with such routine actions and impressions.

But how does the eye work? It has a clear lens attached by muscles that change its shape according to what we are looking toward. If it is close work our eye compensates by muscles tightening to make the lens more round. Conversely, to focus on far away objects, the muscles relax to make the lens more flat. The iris expands to allow more light to enter the eye in dim light and contracts to reduce the impact of bright light.

The retina is at the back of the eye. The lens focuses the light that falls onto the retina, which converts light into electrical impulses. The photo-receptors, include rods and cones. Rods are sensitive to black and white, while cones distinguish colors in daylight. The image that falls in the retina is upside down. This complex, inverted image is transformed into an electric code that is transmitted by the optic nerve to the visual center of the brain. There the brain decodes electrical input into a visual image inverted to give us the “right-way-round” sight.

There are too many “systems” for us to examine in this brief exposition – the circulatory system, the cardio-pulmonary system, the nerve “tree”, the complex organ that is the skin, the skeletal system, etc.

Let’s explore one more: the digestive system. There are four main processes in digestion: ingestion, digestion, absorbsion and assimilation. The whole process after a person places food in the mouth, chews it and swallows it is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. We have no volitional control of any part after we swallow.

The mouth reduces the food by slicing and grinding. Saliva is incorporated to lubricate and begin the digestive process. This is ingestion.

Digestion occurs as ground food is swallowed into the stomach. The stomach manipulation and addition of acid further reduces food into its constituent parts, i.e. macro-nutrients (carbs, fats and proteins), and micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals).

Absorption by the small intestine takes fluid and nutrients into the bloodstream, primarily simple sugars, salt and alcohol.

The uptake of the nutrients into cells and tissues is assimilation. The last part of assimilation is the reassembly of absorbed nutrients into complex organisms – cells, blood, organs, etc.

Remember all of this is beyond your control. Your autonomic nervous system “knows” how to do everything exactly right so that the bones receive calcium and not sugar; that the blood receives fluids and not bone-building material, that your eyes receive fluid for tears, and your ears wax and not the reverse.

We live in a fantastic machine. It is built to transport us through this material world. It is flexible, strong, reliable, and has the amazing ability to heal itself without our direction or effort. We cover a cut with a bandage to prevent contamination. The coagulation of blood seals the wound and the cells regenerate tissue that is exactly appropriate – skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscles. Break a bone and all we have to do is immobilize it and the bone knits together.  dove-vector-clipart

The Machine Transports What?

As a transport machine, this amazing Body works effectively. It carries our bodies to the table and carries fuel to our mouths. It moves us efficiently and easily around this planet’s surface. It has the ability to interact with others in both friendly (hugs and kisses) and aggressive ways (football tackles).

Consider locomotion. Walking takes strength and agility. Your legs alternate in carrying your body weight. The interchange requires balance as your transfer the weight of your body from one leg to the other. Your ankles adjust to the ground, whether on cement sidewalks or rough, plowed ground.

Then when speed is required other systems come into play. The heart accelerates to increase the nutrients and oxygen needed by the more active muscles. Your lungs increase the processing of air to accommodate the increased the oxygen-fueled burning up of energy. Think of the flexibility of spine, legs, arms, ankles, toes that come into play as you take a simple walk around the block.

That is all mechanical. What the body truly transports is you. And what is “YOU”?

We have had many of our young men injured in our various wars. Does the loss of an arm or leg, make a person any less of a person? It effects the person, no doubt, but the person is not diminished one iota.

Stephen Hawking contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) when he was 21. He went on to become the world-renowned theoretical physicist, despite the crippled and contorted body and his inability to speak. His amazing machine was tragically and profoundly broken; nevertheless, it did not change who he was, nor prevent the real Stephen inside from becoming great.

Who we are is not determined by our body! The body transports who we are to accomplish what we desire to accomplish. dove-vector-clipart

Survival Of The Fittest?

Most scientists tell us it was an accident. There are numerous other creative theories of the start of our world. A random lightning strike into primordial soup (or “goop”) that sparked life. The drastically shocked atoms became alive to form molecules and the molecules formed simple cells. As the cells got bigger some broke apart and those who did could grow again and feed more efficiently. Some say “lost city smokers” in the depths of the oceans exuded amino acids that combined with iron attracted hydrogen and oxygen compounds that then formed RNA. RNA became more robust and made viruses, which were alive and began reproducing. A few believe life was seeded on earth by meteors from distant stars. But there is no evidence of the non-living material substances transforming into life, let alone reproducing life.

Scientists believe the Earth is ca. 3.5 to 4.5 Billion years old. If life originated as a single cell, that cell reproduced and its second generation reproduced and over time, became more complex forming rudimentary botanical life with photosynthesis. And it formed biological life with sentience. Those respective molds or viruses had mutations, accidental changes in the basic structure that enhanced survivability. On the biological side, after several billions of years, a human was formed containing ca..30 Trillion cells (30,000,000,000,000). Humans have not only sentience, but love, a moral sense, a sense of justice, a conscience that plagues us when we do harm to others.

This Theory of Evolution (not a law, because there is no proof and because it is not reproducible, as the Law of Gravity is proved, every moment we live – ask your skinned knee from falling) has many unanswered questions. For instance, “Irreducible Complexity” (“a single system composed of several well-matched interacting parts that contribute to basic function; wherein removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, pg. 39) means that all the parts must be in place and working together.

Above I described the eye. Having a light-processing portion of the brain would be of no value unless there was a way to get exterior light to the brain. The optic nerve would be useless unless there were a light sensitive brain and a source of light. The cornea would have no survival value unless there was a lens to focus exterior light on the rods and cones and an optic nerve to transport the electrical impulses to the light sensitive brain. The eye consists of irreducible complexity. Without one of the several parts in place, the other parts could not enhance survivability and therefore would not be kept in the gene pool.

Mathematicians have taken the 400 Billion years and the huge numbers of changes necessary to transform a-one celled living creature and calculated that even 100, 000,000,000,000 years would not be enough for random mutations to form the 30,000,000,000,000 cells in the modern human being. One has stated that there is more chance of a tornado hitting a junkyard, whipping around scattered parts and leaving behind a fully assembled and airworthy Boeing 747, than for Evolution to produce us.

Despite the extreme complexity of the body, this amazing machine, scientists have great faith in evolution. Just think how this amazing machine converts a hamburger – a complex of bread bun, made from wheat, and eggs, and sugar, etc., the hamburger, made from muscle tissue and fat (in turn made from grass and grain), a slice of tomato, a piece of lettuce, a slice of pickle, some dressing, perhaps catsup or french dressing, add french fries, and a chocolate milk shake, into its constituent parts of protein, fat, sugar, vitamins, minerals and distributes them to bones, nerves, organs, while separating out the waste products – solids and liquids. The body processes them further, recycling some of the fluid in the blood stream.  dove-vector-clipart

God’s Wonderful Plan

If you were walking in the woods and discovered a pocket watch lying on the ground, you would pick up the watch and examine it. Opening the back cover, you would see the finely machined gears and wheels. In examining it more closely, you would discover that it was powered by a main spring which was wound by the stem. In contemplating the watch and its ability to measure time, you would naturally assume that its wheels and springs, hands and crystal just happened to fall together in a workable whole out of the natural minerals in the soil and rocks. Right?

Of course not! You would know from just picking it up that it was manufactured by someone of intelligence and upon opening the back would know it was engineered by an extremely skilled maker.

It is a wonder that intelligent scientists, well educated and studied in anatomy refuse to see that truth that the human body did not come together by chance. The human body (or for that matter any animal body) could not have developed on the basis of faulty mutations. Faulty, because mutations by definition are a change in the nature of something. That which was proceeding along a natural course gets interrupted and becomes something else. But the something else gets outnumbered by the natural and soon disappears.

It is far more logical to observe the handiwork of a master engineer. Think back on the few parts of the body were have investigated here. Our eyes are doubled, so we have depth perception. The lens is focused by minute muscles so we can see clearly both distant and very close objects. God designed eyes in those ways.

God planned you to be based on a common, very functional design. Two legs for a bipedal transportation, balanced by a bubble in the inner ear. He designed your digestion to be omnivorous. You can eat vegetables and meat. He gave you the ability to taste a wide variety of tastes. His love for your enjoyment gave you the pleasure of chocolate, of strawberry ice cream, of coleslaw, and fried chicken, of the mixed flavors of lasagna or borscht.

It is amazing that injuries heal. That is because our living Lord created the capability in our cells to regenerate. The blood coagulates over an open wound to protect from infection. Then the body sends in fibroblasts, a type of cell that helps rebuild skin tissue. These cells break down the clot and start replacing it with proteins, primarily collagen. This is a well-planned process. It does not happen unless an injury occurs.

He gave you emotions. And not just fear, anger, contentment, restlessness. But a spectrum of feelings from exuberance to grief. They, to a great extent, define who you are. God made you a reflection of Himself. He takes great joy in obedience and in ministering to the needs of others. He is deeply saddened by our sin and rejection of His sensible and productive way to live. dove-vector-clipart

The Great And Loving Engineer!

Every time you use your manipulative hands and fingers to remove a jar lid or play an instrument, to pick up a pin, give praise to God for creating you the way you are. He could have made you like a turtle, instead he made you more like a gazelle. Recall,

I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well.  (Psalm 139:14)

Set aside all your education that tries to tell you the lie that you are an accident by multiple mutations. Common observation and common-sense shouts of a loving Creator. Recognize His fingerprints all over your life.

Not only has He Created you physically, but Almighty God has done so much more. He built into this world the reality of His redemption. His perfect world was ruined by man’s sin. As a result, we live in a broken world of natural disasters, of human inhumanity to man, of sick violence and murder against the weak and defenseless.

But our loving God has given us the wisdom to recover from natural disasters. We see disparate groups of people coming together to rescue, restore and rebuild, while succoring the injured and comforting the grieving. That does not come from “survival of the fittest”, but from the love of God exercised through believer and unbeliever, alike.

While never turning a blind eye to sin, God does not hold a grudge. Man destroyed God’s perfect world by his sin, still God has brought redemption to us. He has opened His heart and accepted us as His children.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving devotion for those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:11)

As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, So Jehovah pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust. (Psalm 103: 13-14)

But the lovingkindness of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, And his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, And to those that remember his precepts to do them.” (Psalms 103:17-18)

He wants all people to live according to the precepts He has given to us, because that is the best way for us to live. Acknowledging Jesus in every hour and every part of our lives is the only reasonable thing to do. God loves us! dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in one issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: What is Propitiation?

ANSWER: Propitiation comes from the Hebrew ίλασμός (hil-as-mos) = “conciliate, atone for [sins], be propitious, be merciful, make reconciliation for”. While it is used only three time in the New Testament it is a powerful concept.

For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:23-25);

My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)

Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

God established sacrificial worship in the Old Testament for the purpose of atoning for the sins of His chosen people. The blood of the sacrificial lamb (and other animals) was shed to propitiate the anger of God against sin.

God knew His people would sin. The Children of Israel also knew that they would sin; therefore, there needed to be a way to appease the just wrath of God against their inevitable sinning. God in His mercy set up the sacrificial system. The death of the lamb was both a substitution and an object lesson. The substitution was life of the animal for the life of the sinner. The object lesson was to teach that sin had dire consequences.

Jesus death on the cross was the once and for all propitiating sacrifice for our sinning. As Paul and John teach, Jesus, the God-man died in our place. As we have faith in the Blood of Christ, it becomes the propitiating sacrifice that atones for our sins. We are free, because God, out of love for us, sent His Son to be our substitute and our atoning sacrifice.
Jesus said

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.   (John 15:13)

QUESTION: How can the Holy Spirit dwell in us?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

My gracious God, all praise be to You. You are most holy. You are majestic. Praise Your Glory, Your Majesty, Your Love for Your People.

Your magnificent Creation, even in this broken state, is glorious. That testifies to the power of Your creative ability. You exercised Your word and said “Let it be.” And it was. You created it and us perfect. But we, Father, messed up your perfect world. We have corrupted everything we have touched.

Only Your grace has kept this world functioning well and providing well for all people. You have made its beauty mask the ugliness of corruption that has saturated the world and our lives.
I am amazed that You have granted us the beauty of this world. It is wonderful that You have given us the heart to appreciate all the beauty around us. Even our ungodly architects can create beautiful buildings. Nevertheless, the beauty of those committed to Your will and way far out shined the work, the art of unbelievers.

It is beauty from “both sides”. You, Holy Spirit inspire today’s work as You did the People of God in building the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. So it is with created beauty. It is especially beautiful to the believing beholder, because we see Your inspiration in the work.

Your love for us is represented in the world around us. Note the majesty of the mountains; the stark beauty of the desert and then the startling transformation when cacti bloom. A walk in the forest excites praise for the beauty of Your Creation.

The passing parade of people display the beauty You have designed in the variety of the people. Skins of all hues, hair of all colors, but what enlivens one’s beauty is the smile. You have created us to smile, to experience happiness and reflect Your joy. Dwelling in Christ is the seat of joy. You, our Savior enlighten our lives with the beauty of worship and the joy of living in Christ. Come now, Lord Jesus, visit Your servant with the grace of Your love. Fill my life with Your goodness. Make me to be a servant worthy of Your service. Open my heart and allow me to pour out Your grace onto the people around me – believers and unbelievers alike. Give me the beauty of holiness, so that I may attract others to Your beauty.

Oh, My God, my King and Savior, there are so many distressed people around me. They have no eyes to see Your beauty. They have no heart to appreciate Your loveliness. Have mercy on them and break through their resistance to Your truth. Give them the eternal, unshakable hope of Your love. Melt their frozen hearts with the warmth of Your Spirit.

Holy Lord God I praise You. I worship Your beauty. I praise Your loveliness. I magnify Your glory. Praise You, My Father. Praise You, My Savior. Praise You, my Teacher. All glory in all the world belongs to You and only to You. Praise God!


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Glad Tidings

Good Versus Evil

7 Aug , 2019  

Photo by chris liu on Unsplash

GT—Volume 16 Issue 8

God’s Morality Abandoned

This never ends well. It always leads to more and more awfulness.

History is full of terrible examples of how evil is perpetrated in the name of what people have decided is “right”. It can be painful to consider. But we have reason to hope and rejoice! God has shown us what is always “right”!

Right in His Own Eyes

At the end of the book of Judges in the Old Testament is the history of the horrific war between the 11 Tribes of Israel and the Tribe of Benjamin. The operational phrase was “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

Chapters 19-21 of Judges in the Old Testament of the Bible record a real and awful history of what happened to the People of God when they began to live without God. The depravity of man began to assert itself, leading to the further depths of depravity. There appears to be no “good guys”.

A Levite and his concubine were on their way home. As night fell thy arrived at Gibeah, a town in the Tribe of Benjamin. One of the residents offered them hospitality, according to the law of God. As they were settling in for the night, lewd, ungodly men pounded on the door. Lusting for homosexual relations with the Levite guest. To assuage their sexual lust, the Levite sent his concubine out to the wolves.

Gang raped, she died of the multiple assaults. The Levite took her body home, then callously butchered her body and sent parts to each of the Tribes of Israel. The other Tribes were furious at the horrific assault on the woman. They gathered to punish the offenders.

The Tribe of Benjamin not only refused to condemn the perpetrators, but rallied to defend their city of Gibeah from retribution against the offenders and the Israeli assault against the city that harbored the assailants. And so the two sides went to war with each other.

There were three battles in that tragically internecine war. The loss on both side was over 60,000. That was bad enough, but in victory the Tribes of Israel went berserk, rampaging through Benjamin. They destroyed every town and slew all the men, women and children. When their blood lust was exhausted there were only 600 men of Benjamin left alive.

The fury against the tribe of Benjamin caused the people of the Tribes to view all those of Benjamin as aliens, so they swore a sacred oath that they would not give their daughters to Benjamin for wives. As tempers cooled and the reality of the situation dawned on them, the eleven Tribes realized that Benjamin, without wives, was about to become extinct. Their oath (stupid and unthinking as it was) prevented them from providing Benjamin survivors with wives.

They did a head count to discover who had not joined in the war against Benjamin. Only the city of Jabesh-gilead had not come to fight.

Therefore, the Tribes of Israel attacked Jabesh-gilead, slaying all the males and the older women, saving only the virgins. There were 400 virgins left alive. These they turned over to the surviving Benjaminites. But they were 200 short.

Benjaminites seize wives from Shiloh, By Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld – Die Bibel in Bildern, Public Domain

What to do? They needed 200 more Israeli virgins, but they also needed to keep their oath. Someone reminded them that there was going to be a feast at Shiloh. During the feast the virgins danced in the evening. They told the 200 wifeless Benjaminites to hide in the vineyard adjacent to the celebration ground where the virgins danced. They instructed the men to pounce on the virgins as they were dancing, and carry off 200 to supply wives for Benjamin.

When the families of the abducted women complained, the elders of Israel asked them to forgive the kidnapping. The elders conceived that plan, because they had not been careful to save wives for the Tribe of Benjamin men out of the wholesale slaughter.  dove-vector-clipart

A Summary of Evils

  1. Vile men sought to sodomize a man
  2. He callously sacrificed his concubine
  3. Those vile men gang-raped and murdered her
  4. Instead of giving over the perpetrators for just punishment, the foolish pride of Gibeah and Benjamin defended them
  5. Misplaced fury led Israel to a stupid oath
  6. Three battles slew over 60,000 soldiers
  7. Blood lust led to mass murder and destruction of all the cities in Benjamin
  8. Realization – too late – of the consequences of their stupid oath and their out-of-control rampaging
  9. Unwilling to break their oath before God led to further carnage as they slaughtered the families of 400 virgins
  10. To provide a full number of wives the elders of Israel plotted with Benjaminites to provide more sex slaves
  11. 200 virgins were kidnapped in the midst of celebratory dancing

All of these terrible results came about because morality of God had been lost. The loss of morality that caused mass murder and ruined lives resulted from abandoning God. dove-vector-clipart

Man’s Inhumanity to Man

By Pavel Semyonovich Zhukov (1870-1942): Lenin. Collection Of Photographs And Stills in two volumes, vol. 1, Russian edition, Moscow, 1970: page 302.

History has too tragic many examples of the depths to which people will go to dominate other people. Without God, people easily turn to utilitarian thinking “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” This isn’t actually a proverb, however. It’s a justification used by Vladimir Lenin regarding the killing of thousands of Russian citizens during his push to produce a “better, more wonderful” Communist state.

As Chancellor of National Socialist Party, Adolf Hitler wanted to produce a pure Arian race (prompted by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche’s concept of the superman [Übermensch], who justifies the existence of the human race.). Therefore, Hitler carried out his plan to exterminate all the “inferior races”. His inhumanity branded Jews as sub-human and relentlessly murdered 6,000,000 true humans.

Those many godless systems discounted humans as either tools to be used to attain goals, or they considered people as obstacles to be eliminated.

Communism, an avowedly atheist religion, seeks to replace Christian morals. Communists advocate disinformation, i.e. lies, to advance their addendum. This has the unintended consequence of fomenting a culture of deception. It makes liars and cheats out of people in general. Factory workers over report their completed work to “meet” quotas. Managers misrepresent that they have met or exceed their factory’s goals that are set by the central committee. This sort of deception went up the line in Russia causing a series of 5-Year Economic Development Plans. When the first did not work the Central Committee began a another of 5-Year Plan. Still, there were bread lines, potato, lines, toilet paper lines, etc., etc., etc.

This deception filtered into the general population. Without a standard of morality, people became pragmatic – they did whatever worked to achieve what they needed. The people became cheats, liars and thieves.

In A.D. 2000, I went with a team to St. Petersburg, Russia to help in the construction of a Christian College. A Professor at the College needed an instructor of Christian Ethics. The believers in the school were so permeated with the immorality of the Soviet Communist regime that they retained the culture of deception and theft. They stole from one another, cheated on tests, and lied so often that those were endemic characteristics. Despite true conversion and embracing Jesus as Savior, they had not embraced Christian morality. The College needed instruction in righteousness. The godlessness of the regime had debased the people. dove-vector-clipart

Ungodly Morality

In 1993, I was on a mission in Pakistan. The first night at a guest house in Lahore, at dinner was a Christian missionary and a young man he had converted. The young man had had a successful button business, which afforded him an exclusive apartment in an excellent district and an expensive car.

When his family heard that he had become a Christian, they took away his business his car and his apartment. His brothers were hunting for him to murder him. According to Islam Sharia Law, “Conversion by Muslims to other faiths is forbidden under most interpretations of sharia and converts are considered apostates (non-Muslims, however, are allowed to convert into Islam). Some Muslim clerics equate this apostasy to treason, a crime punishable by death.” (

Often, direct relatives are the first and heaviest persecutors of believers from a Muslim background. For many Muslim families, leaving Islam and converting to another religion brings “shame” to the family. In moderate families, a new Christian may be ignored or excluded. In stricter families; forced separation, divorce or the removal of children are all common. ( Murder sanctioned by law is reprehensible, but sanctioned fratricide, murder by brothers is horrific callousness.

How then do we describe a mother’s murder of her own child?

New York’s Reproductive Health Act was signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision

The RHA permits abortions when — according to a medical professional’s “reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case” — “the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.

In other words, women may choose to have an abortion prior to 24 weeks; pregnancies typically range from 38 to 42 weeks. After 24 weeks, such decisions must be made with a determination that there is an “absence of fetal viability” or that the procedure is “necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” That determination must be made by a “health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized” under state law, “acting within his or her lawful scope of practice.” (

“Patient’s life or health” is an open door to perform abortions (murders of healthy babies up until and including the moment of birth). The mother can decide she does not want to be burdened with rearing a child. The doctor can affirm the “fear of the burden” is a mental health issue that qualifies. Thus, babies: beautiful girls and handsome boys are severed from life without remorse. After all, “It’s a woman’s right to choose!”

This is America’s “man’s inhumanity to man”. We have denied humanity to the child being grown within the mother’s womb, by describing he or she as a “clump of cells”. This inexcusable euphemism is a dehumanizing of the real baby formed by the father’s sperm and the mother’s ovum, which when united has the 46 chromosomes of a human and a complete DNA of a human. The Zygote (from Greek ζυγωτός zygōtos “joined” or “yoked”) “is a eukaryotic cell formed by a fertilization event between two gametes. The zygote’s genome is a combination of the DNA in each gamete, and contains all of the genetic information necessary to form a new individual.” (

By any rational definition that is a human, alive; and rightly should be loved and nurtured by both father and mother; but especially by the mother, since she has by God (or if you must, by nature) been built to house and nourish the infant, protecting its life from a hostile world.

Tragically there are two victims of abortion. The first is the child who is poisoned or dismembered in the womb. The second is the woman. She has been sold a lie to gratify her convenience, “There are no consequences.” In contrary fact, many, if not most, women commonly experience some guilt, grief and depression. In reality, they are murderesses. There are a number of more debilitating consequences: “nightmares, auditory hallucinations of babies crying, suicidal thoughts — reported in a study done in Ohio by Suicide Anonymous Hotline over a 36-month period, of the 4000 women who called, 1800 had previously had abortions.” (   dove-vector-clipart

Righteousness Under God

These cases described above are “right” sanctioned by state law; what society decides is “right”. What society rejects is “wrong”.

The reality is that society is fickle. What is “right” today may be at a stroke of a pen “wrong” tomorrow. Mankind is only safe under a universal determination of what is right and wrong that does not change.

During the English Reformation, the evangelicals were initially persecuted by the Catholics – imprisoned and slain. Then the evangelicals came into power. They persecuted Catholics – imprisoned and slew them. Then Catholic Queen Mary was crowned and again the Evangelicals were imprisoned and slain.

Unless he was fast-footed and a chameleon, A Bishop, within the course of 50 years, could find himself on the wrong side of religion! Thus, a dependable, universal standard of right and wrong is necessary for an ordered society.

Only God’s standards are universally applied to all mankind, throughout all time. They a are utterly dependable.

Often times they are uncomfortable to a person or a nation. That does not make them faulty. God loves his Creation. He loves all the people he has created.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16, 17)

He wants them to live in love and peace. He established laws to preserve life and to make society work for the benefit of all who live in accord with God’s Law. He has laid out a world that is not only beautiful, it is bountiful. There are ample resources for all people to live in comfort. God has set up the world, not to be a comfortable bed with automatic food dispensers and perpetual entertainment. He has established righteous laws that require each competent person to secure a living from the world. Work is not only to provide the necessities to keep body and soul together, but to give mankind, men and women dignity, self-respect, and pride of accomplishment.

There is one fly in the ointment. The world was not created to be eternal. God intended it to be a temporary, perhaps “training ground” is as close as we can come to what this temporary world is for humans. We have been told (and believers know to be true) that God has an eternal Plan that is unlimited. This world is limited, so it is but a “stepping stone’ to God’s NEXT.

He loves us. So, God has something far better than this temporary and faulty world. He gives us inkling in the two Testaments. The Patriarchs had a foundation of insight into God’s revelation of the LAW, summarized in the Ten Commandments that were based on:

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  (Deuteronomy 6:5)

… and amended by Jesus:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)

That should have been enough, but God knows us completely.

He knew that He would have to actually become a man and share our world and life, then be the sacrifice for our sins. What glorious demonstration of His love! He demeaned Himself from Almighty God to become one of His creatures. Jesus the God-man imparted teachings to His Disciples and they to us, giving us an upwards look, a window into eternity. Our Lord set our sights on eternity with our Great and loving God.

For everyone who has believed the truths that Jesus is real and living God; there is an eternity of basking in God’s unlimited love; believers will be caught up in God’s eternal peace; and will experience ever increasing joy.

That is too wonderful to fully appreciate in our present limited state. Nevertheless, the truth is far greater than we can conceive.

It is ours because God LOVES us!    dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in this issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I will publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: Why did Adam pass the buck to Eve?

ANSWER: Almighty, totally Righteous God walked in the Garden with Adam, apparently each evening. Adam could walk with God, because Adam was also wholly righteous. Then one day, Adam was not there.

Then the man and his wife heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the breeze of the day, and they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

He was hiding because Adam had sinned. He was guilty and ashamed. God called to Adam and he came out from hiding in his leaf clothing. “Who told you that you were naked,” God asked. “Have you eaten the fruit of good and evil?”

Instead of answering directly, Adam immediately implicated Eve and blamed God,

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. (Genesis 3:12)

Adam was overcome by sin.

  • Adam disobeyed the one command God gave
  • He was ashamed of his naked body
  • He feared God’s judgment
  • He felt guilt for the first time
  • He wanted to escape God’s censure
  • He naturally tried to shift the blame to escape the full wrath of God
  • Eve was an easy target
  • Instead of protecting her, he blamed her

It is abundantly clear that sin had overwhelmed his love for God and his love for Eve. A righteous man would have acknowledged his own fault and sought to protect his wife by allowing the blame to fall on him, “I wasn’t there to protect her from temptation. I didn’t refuse the proffered fruit. I didn’t come to You to plead for You to have mercy on her.”

Adam is a prime example of the sinful response. We who are seeking to walk with the LORD must study Adam’s bad example and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to walk in righteousness, so that we can walk with God.

To do so, we must keep short accounts with God.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (Psalms 51:3-4)

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24)

Honesty before the all-righteous God is the only policy!

QUESTION: What is Propitiation?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Father, life is too much with me! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I long for release and surcease and peace. I have far more to do than I have time to do it. Important things are set aside to beat back the crises.

Just as I see a window to do the important, something crops up to demand immediate attention.

This in not the way You want me to live. Jesus, Your Word promises, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3) You told us that You were leaving us peace that the world cannot give – perfect peace!

Oh, My Lord God that is what I need – Your perfect peace. Please, Holy Spirit produce in me Your fruit of peace. Oh, my precious Savior Your Love is here now!

Oh! Gracious God, You have overcome all my fears. Oh! Father You are holding my heart and giving me what I need!

Oh, precious Savior You care for me and You carried all my sins on the cross at Calvary.

Oh! Sovereign God You have triumphed over all.

Nothing, nothing, no thing, no spirit, no person can afflict me, no pile of responsibilities can overpower me. You have my calendar and my daily work schedule in Your hands. Give me the grace to comply and address each item as You direct.

What is important is Your love for me and that I, out of gratitude, love You and love those around me. My God, steady my thoughts on You. Give me the grace to set all, ALL in this world aside so I can be more loving.

All the important and vital things in my life and the work I MUST accomplish are in fact negligible in the scope of eternity. They are all temporary and at the moment You Come Again, our Lord and King, they will be as chaff in the wind.

Give me that perspective when I begin to take my responsibilities too seriously and begin to be pressured. Grant me the equanimity to say, “I can do some more tomorrow. Now I need to praise my loving Lord!”

You are my first and overwhelming priority. I love You, My God. I worship You My King. I rely upon You my gracious Holy Spirit to guide me in what is needful; to stop me in what is unnecessary.
You are worthy of all honor, glory, majesty and praise! Praise the Holy LORD God. Praise the magnificent King! Praise the loving Father! Praise the marvelous Lamb of God! Praise the giving Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Glory be to Thee throughout the whole Earth!



Glad Tidings

Freedom in Christ Jesus

7 Aug , 2017  

Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

GT—Volume 14 Issue 7

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Glad Tidings 2017The battle cry of the French Revolution in 1779 when the people sought deliverance from the oppression of uncaring kings. The royalty continued spending money, while the income of the nation fell.  This required extensive borrowing. The peasants were starving while the royalty feasted using borrowed money. France was bankrupt. The people could see that the feudal system was a failure. The concept of human reason promoted by 17th Century philosophers led intellectuals to believe that society governed by common people was the “natural order” and “Reason”, based on humanistic ideals, was the governing principle.

The Revolution was based on Enlightenment ideals, but not on a godly foundation. It sought to bring about popular sovereignty and inalienable rights. Those rights were based on those revealed in historic Christianity, but their French humanism sought to uphold rights while discarding God. Tragically, the Revolution degenerated. Eventually, with no godly morality, no one was safe from the Guillotine.

MaximillianMaximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre was born in Arras, France, on May 6, 1758. Thirty years later he was instrumental in bringing about the Revolution. It was his outcry in Estates General of the French legislature that brought about the guillotining of King Louis XVI.

Robespierre became a leader of the Committee of Public Safety. He instituted the Reign of Terror in which some 17,000 were guillotined. He was a calculating man who used his position to eliminate his opponents in that chaotic government. Ironically, Robespierre fell into disfavor and he too was guillotined in 1794.

The Fight for FreedomThe first French revolution was only the beginning of the turmoil.  There were a number of coups in the ensuing years.  Napoleon Bonaparte, a general in the Army in 1799, along with others overthrew the French Directory and replaced it with three-member Consulate, of which Napoleon was the First Director.  The Directorate revised the French Constitution, making Napoleon Director for life in 1802.  He crowned himself as Emperor in 1804. Ten years later, after several disastrous military defeats, he was forced to abdicate.

Essentially Napoleon destroyed the French Revolution, creating a confused back and forth government of “popular” governments and monarchies that alternated. The French Revolution, based on human reason, failed.  dove-vector-clipart

Certain Unalienable Rights

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another.

One Hundred years later, when the English government became oppressive, the American colonies, sought many avenues of reaching a reasonable accommodation. The King and the Parliament were in accord to keep the Colonists under the English heel.

Declaration_of_Independence_(1819),_by_John_TrumbullThe Colonies realized that there was no hope of bargaining with the English. They believed their only avenue was to declare their independence. Their basis for seeking separation from the monarchy was rights guaranteed by God. They looked to Him as their foundation. Enshrined in the Declaration of Independence was their rationale,

…separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”  They continued, “… all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  Declaration of Independence

This was no riot and there were no kangaroo courts to railroad the King or members of Parliament to be executed. The Declaration was an honorable statement of the disagreements between England and the American Colonies. It was a last-ditch attempt to diplomatically seek redress from the King.

This was in contrast to the riots and the murder of thousands of royals among the French. The difference was that the American Revolution was under the authority of God; whereas the French Revolution, begun just three years later, was under the authority of reason. Unhappily, “reason” depended upon who was doing the reasoning. Since the “reasoner” changed with the changing tides of politics in the French Revolution. The “reason’ for executions changed.

There were few executions in America. A lot of blood was spilled in the many battles with the British, but that was because England declared war on the Americans. The latter was not looking for a fight. To avoid a fight, they exercised great initial restraint.

In The Light and the Glory, by Peter Marshall, Jr. and David Emmanuel, they point out that the inferior Colonials against the greatest army in that day should not have won. Through the War, there were a series of “saves” of George Washington’s army. Had any one of them failed, the war would have been lost for the Colonists. These were miraculous incidents orchestrated by God.

Boston_MassacreTwo incidents, both perpetrated by the British were sparks that ignited the war. First was the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770. British soldiers responded to cat calls and snowballs, by firing into the mob, killing 5 Colonials. The second was five years later, “the shot heard around the world”, April 19, 1775, when the British marched to Concord to seize stores of Minutemen arms and ammunition. They encountered a small force on the Lexington Green. An exchange of shots resulted in eight Colonials killed and ten wounded.

God’s hand has been on America in bringing believers seeking to worship Him to this continent. He preserved the seed of a nation through the Revolutionary War. He prompted the Declaration of Independence. God’s Spirit guided the Framers of our Constitution with wisdom. They were believers who had a realistic view of the sinfulness of man and man’s thirst for power. They carefully divided the government into three Branches to provide checks and balances against any one growing a dominating role in the government.

Years before, George Washington was a Commander of Colonial troops supporting the British Army during the French and Indian War. He distinguished himself in the Battle of Monongahela when the British General Edward Braddock was wounded. Washington, astride a horse, took command. He extracted the British and led them to safety. Colonel Washington had two horses shot out from under him. His coat had four bullet holes, but Washington was unscathed. The Indians thought Washington was a miracle man, powered by their “Great Spirit”. God kept him safe.

God’s hand has been on America in bringing believers seeking to worship Him to this continent. He preserved the seed of a nation through the Revolutionary War. He prompted the Declaration of Independence. God’s Spirit guided the Framers of our Constitution with wisdom. They were believers who had a realistic view of the sinfulness of man and man’s thirst for power. They carefully divided the government into three Branches to provide checks and balances against any one growing a dominating role in the government.  dove-vector-clipart

Stewardship of the Legacy

Tragically the foundation in Christ has been discarded. It appears we have adopted the failed French foundation, “Reason”. It did not work for them and it is not working for us. Each political party has “Reason” to pass pet projects when in the majority.  The next party in power has “Reason” to pass theirs, discarding the former’s.

The check on this foundation of Reason is a theologically educated populace. Those who are steeped in Scripture, look to the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit to guide their lives, decisions, and votes. They have learned that Human reason, while valuable, can “run off the rails”, if not guided by the hand of God. We are in danger of losing our legacy. We have lost the impetus of Christianity.

engelv_supremecrtcases.weebly.1We are short of the critical mass to correct the course of our Nation because the populace is uneducated in Christianity and there are far too few believers in Jesus as the Lord God, Creator, and Governor of the universe and of nations. This began to be critical when the Supreme Court decided to exclude prayer from our schools in 1963. They sought to make a “neutral” decision. In fact, the banning of prayer has created two distinct problems.

First, they have banned all faiths, which means that they have banned all foundations of morality. This has created an absence of authoritative behavioral standards, except, “Because I told you to!”. This ebbs and flows with the current psychological trends. Thus, teachers have too few and too weak tools to discipline unruly students.

The second is that the local schools unconstitutionally infringe on the rights of students to freely exercise their religion. Christian students have been denied the freedom to pray in school. They are denied the right to express their faith.

By squelching the expression of the Christian faith our society has moved away from a morality-based culture. Such a culture has limits on behavior, which provides the classroom order students need for effective learning.

John_F._Kennedy,_White_House_photo_portrait,_looking_upWith three generations quarantined from exposure to Christianity, there are numerous adults who have little conception of the faith and the morality that is the basis of society. This is evident in the lack of courtesy we see among too many people. The failure to inculcate the respect for others that Christianity teaches has made our society far more self-centered. This is reflected in the attitudes toward our government. President Kennedy proclaimed in his inaugural address January 1961,

…ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Tragically, far too many are expecting our government to provide them a basic living.

This self-centered approach means that they vote for the politicians that offer them the biggest handout. There are a growing number of theologically ignorant and also politically ignorant voters. This is a combination that is dangerous for the stability of the nation.

America began as a Christian nation. That idea has become today out of favor, seeking instead to be multicultural. This emphasis upon diversity has fragmented our nation into political interest groups that are pitted against one another to gain the most for their pressure group.   dove-vector-clipart

Established in Christ

George Whitfield in the Great AwakeningGod established an ideal human government, first by separation from a despotic overlord. Next, by guiding the American Colonies to found a new government on Christ. He then guided forty-one men to write and approve a masterful Constitution that formed a great government.

Earlier, as our Lord saw the Colonials straying from His path of righteousness, the Lord God Holy Spirit used John Wesley and George Whitfield of Britain and Jonathan Edwards of Massachusetts to ignite the Great Awakening of 1740. The power of the Holy Spirit drew thousands to Jesus and revived multitudes of others to full trust in Jesus as sovereign Lord.

The New England preachers following that powerful revival called for liberty in Christ. They fomented the Revolution, seeking a new nation under God.

The Colonials were predominantly Christian believers in Christ as God. Their habit was to use “Deity” and “Providence” as euphemisms for God and Christ, nevertheless, they were devout believers in Jesus Christ.   dove-vector-clipart

Founding Fathers’ quotes

George Washington Quote

It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.

“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained”, George Washington, 1st President of the United States

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” Patrick Henry, Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution.“And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty.” John Adams, 2nd President

“The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. John Quincy Adams, 6th President

“The Bible will also inform them that our gracious Creator has provided for us a Redeemer, in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; that this Redeemer has made atonement ‘for the sins of the whole world,’ and thereby reconciling the Divine justice with the Divine mercy has opened a way for our redemption and salvation; and that these inestimable benefits are of the free gift and grace of God, not of our deserving, nor in our power to deserve.”, John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The American Revolution was founded on the firm understanding that

If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  (John 8:36)

The Framers of our separation from the English determined to preserve the independence of the people from any rule but that of Almighty God.  They recognized that God had ordained human rulers.

Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God.  Therefore he that resisteth the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God: and they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same… (Romans 13:1-3)

The rulers were in turn subject to the rule of God. The Colonists did not foment the violent overthrow of Britain. They, in the Declaration of Independence, stated their reasons for declaring the American colonies independent,

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect <sic> their Safety and Happiness.   –Declaration of Independence

In the Declaration, they listed 28 cases of abuse that the English government put upon the Colonies.

The Framers declared it was the duty of such a people to throw off that despotic government. Finally, they appealed to God to confirm the rectitude of their actions. They consigned their cause, the seeking of Liberty, to the judgment of Almighty God. He approved their stance in Christ and their establishing a government that rested on trust in God.    dove-vector-clipart

Restoration in Christ

Jesus the Lion and the Lamb

The true and only source of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity is the risen, victorious Son of God, Jesus the Savior.

God now calls us to reaffirm our allegiance, not to our Nation, but to our God. It is important to us to preserve America. It is not important to God to preserve our nation or our government. What is important to Him is the state of our hearts.

First, He wants our hearts, not in part, but the whole, including all our errors and our sins. He wants our complete devotion.

Next, Christ wants us to love our families, our neighbors, strangers and our enemies.

Empowered by God‘s love working through us, He wants us to proclaim His righteousness and be demonstration projects of His righteous in us. Like the prophets of old, Jesus wants us to decry the evils in our culture. He wants His Chosen minority to declare His righteousness among the people, and to call them back to worship of the One true God.    dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in one issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep your answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: Are there Guardian Angels?

ANSWER: Yes. God’s angels are his messengers. They serve His purposes with instant obedience. One of the ministries of our loving Father’s angels is to keep watch over His children, those who have been adopted into His family, i.e. those who have surrendered to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Scripture has many references to God’s angels ministering to and protecting God’s children.

For he will give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways.  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.   (Psalm 91:11, 12)

They are all around His faithful to shield them.

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and he delivers them.   (Psalm 34:7)

Angels are God’s warriors against the demons and against human evil.

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” (Daniel 6:22)

Second, legions of angels await God’s call to battle with human and demonic forces arrayed against God’s Son and His children.

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Or thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and he shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52-53)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, there are two examples of ways Angels minister to us personally. In our anguish, they strengthen us.

… saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.  (Luke 22:42-44)

We are surrounded by guarding angels. However, they are at God’s bidding, not ours. God knows us intimately and loves us extravagantly. He has our lives in His hands. He allows some things either bad or good to come into our lives. Probably, times without number, and at His bidding angels prevent things natural and demonic from affecting our lives.

Our role is to focus on God. We may be aware of the angels that surround us, but we must not become distracted by our curiosity about angels. Let the One Who is of Prime Importance be the dominating influence in our lives. Keep our thoughts centered on Jesus, and allow Him to direct the angels in our lives.

QUESTION: What can believers do to bring America back to Christ?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Almighty Father, I bow in submission before your sovereignty. You are my savior and my God. I worship You. 

When I consider the marvelous gift You have given Americans I am amazed that You are so overwhelmingly gracious to us. You have given us a free land. You have made us the most prosperous nation in the history of humankind.

Further You prompted our Founding Fathers to draft and approve a government that was comprehensive and limited. You gave us the freedom to change our government peaceably. You warned the Framers of our Constitution of the sinfulness of humanity, so, My LORD, You gave them the wisdom to build into our government checks and balances, so none of the three branches of government could dominate and form a dictatorship.

Father, we are far from the idealism of the Founders. We have lost sight of You and have turned our backs on Jesus. We have excluded Him from our national decision-making. We have banished Jesus from our schools. We are told that witnessing for You makes for a hostile workplace.

Have mercy on us, O Righteous Judge. Deliver us from our foolishness. Renew our minds to again embrace the truth that without You, we are poor, and blind and naked. We are without hope in this world and the next without Your love. Save us from our self-contrived suicidal plunge over the cliff of materialism and relativism.

Lord Jesus, Our Savior, release the power of the Holy Spirit upon us to convict us of our sin and chastise us for straying from our Foundation, which is You, Christ, our Lord. Bring us back into Your sheepfold, where we are safe from our own folly.

You are our gracious King, whether people acknowledge You or not. You are the One who runs the universe. Your ways are the only correct ways. Your government is the only righteous rule; therefore, we desperately need Your Hand controlling our lives, our government, and our leaders. Rescue us from the enemy’s attacks. Hold back the forces of darkness and give us Your marvelous light of godly wisdom to recapture the godly vision of our Founders.

America has the potential if guided by godly men and women who trust completely in Your guidance as did our forefathers. If You will have mercy on us and send us leaders that will declare Your truths as their and our nation’s guiding principles, we will rebuild what we have destroyed. But nothing can be done without You.

Thank You for Your love for us. Thank You, Jesus, for Your love for me.

Unto God Almighty be all Honor, Glory, Dominion, and Power!


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Glad Tidings

You May Think Easter Is Over

30 Apr , 2017  

GT—Volume 14 Issue 5
Glad Tidings 2017

Jesus Alive in Our Lives

Ruth and I, early in our life in Christ, were advisors to a church youth group. One Easter morning we went to a sunrise service, then had an early pancake breakfast at our church and afterward went to an Easter Egg hunt at my sister’s home. That night, after a very busy day, Ruth went into labor and our first daughter, Laura, was born the next day.

Aside from all that excitement, I remember something that struck me. As part of the sunrise service, they had an abbreviated Passion Play. The scene in the Garden of Gethsemane ended with the arrest of Jesus by soldiers. They dragged Him off resisting and fighting them.

I have reflected many times on that erroneous depiction. While it was dramatic, it was clear that the script writer or director and likely the actors had not read the Scripture. Jesus made it abundantly clear that He was willingly going to the cross. He stated He could call 10,000 angels to deliver him. He told Peter not to resist. He was and is God. No one could have forced Jesus against his will. The sight of Jesus fighting his captors was actually blasphemous. It made the Son of God out to be a weak and powerless man.

The dignity of Jesus was on display throughout that night. He wrestled alone in the Garden, but embraced His Father’s purpose, and so nothing could demean Him. The High Priest railed at Jesus,

“And the high priest stood up, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:62-64).


Jesus appeared to His disciples a number of times after his Resurrection and before His ascension. He appeared to others of the faithful as well.

In the same manner, he did or did not respond to Pilate and Herod.In the same manner, he did or did not respond to Pilate and Herod.

With the same dignity, after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and those he loved (Mary Magdalene and Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, plus others). Jesus was completely in charge, unhurried in His comings and goings.

With the same authority, Jesus confronted Saul on the road to Damascus and He confronted me in my living room. Because Jesus is God He is the same Risen Savior that He was on that first day He arose from the tomb.  dove-vector-clipart

Resurrection Life

I am confident that most of you have experienced a meeting with Jesus that transformed your life from that of self- and world-centered to being Christ-centered. The Holy Spirit drew you to Jesus and your life became transformed as your spirit came alive in Christ. That day you died and were resurrected. You died to sin and became alive to Christ.

It was a day that was like any other day, except spiritually you breached history. You were back at Golgotha where the nails that pierced Jesus’ hands and feet also nailed your sins to the cross with Him. When He died, Jesus carried your sins with him into death. 2,000 years ago, they became no longer yours.

You were born again to life incorruptible. You became washed in the blood of Christ so that God no longer sees your sin, but He sees your alive spirit and your soul cleansed and pure. God no longer sees the filthy garments of worldliness, self-centeredness, but he sees you clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Paul teaches that we are no longer chained to sin. Unhappily, all who are born come forth with that burden of sin chained to them. They are servants of sin and cannot escape. Mostly people do not want to escape. It is not until Jesus the Resurrected Son of God breaks that chain and liberates believers from sin, death, and Satan, that we become truly who God intended us to be.

Liberated from the weight of sin we are free to grow in the resurrection life Jesus has given us. We are free to learn about the deep, deep love of Jesus for us. We are free to develop the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives – Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Meekness, Self-Control.

God intends believers to be magnets by living in the spirit. His resurrection life manifested in them will draw two responses from the unbelievers. It will draw them to covet (positively) what is reflected in the life of the believer. It will draw out of unbelievers’ distaste, rejection, and even persecution. The believer’s life will, by its contrast, uncover sin and guilt. Most rationalize their sin through the sophistries: there is a “new morality”, there is no truth, everything is relative, there are no standards, or there is no life beyond this one, so it doesn’t matter what one does; because death is the eraser.   dove-vector-clipart

True Life In The Face Of Negativity

The Good Friday attacks on Christians in Egypt show how desperate the unbelievers are. The Christians there are no threat to Egypt or to Islam. But the violence of unbelievers against the very existence of Christians shows how fearful they are of truth. Their souls are so corrupt they see non-combatants, believers going about their lives in peace as a threat to the evil life they have chosen to follow.

In America, we have the same mindset, but currently without the physical violence. There are those so afraid of the influence of the truth of Christianity that they are seeking to erase all vestiges from view.

White CrossOver the centuries in America, crosses have been erected to give honor to God and to Christ. Most of them have been empty crosses, symbolizing the Resurrected Christ, Christ triumphant over sin and death. Because the silent message of crosses frightens unbelievers, crosses have come under attack. Suits forced their removal. The 10 Commandments are so threatening to people in courtrooms that they have demanded their removal.

Nevertheless, Believing Christians continue to witness individually. Nevertheless, individuals communicate the Gospel of the Resurrected Christ to other individuals and there is a spiritual transaction that occurs. One more believer’s name is inscribed, indelibly in the Book of Life.

“Behold, Jehovah’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” (Isaiah 59:1)

We are coming to the place where on college campuses, that have been traditionally sites for free and open discussion, Christians’ Constitutional right of free speech has been stifled. College instructors who dare to present their faith publicly are persecuted, censored, refused promotion or dismissed.

We are coming to the place where on college campuses, that have been traditionally sites for free and open discussion, Christians’ Constitutional right of free speech has been stifled. College instructors who dare to present their faith publicly are persecuted, censored, refused promotion or dismissed.    dove-vector-clipart

Persistence of Christianity

Christianity has weathered 2,000 years of persecution. The unbelieving Jews first crucified their Messiah and then persecuted His followers. The Romans tried for 300 years to stamp out Christianity. Islam, since the 8th Century, has sought out and slain massive numbers of Christians in the Near East, Africa, Eastern Europe, India and Southeast Asia. Islam has attempted to wipe out its most formidable competitor for men’s’ souls.

Christianity is like a half-filled balloon. One stamps on it seeking to burst and destroy it, but it expands right next door. The early Church Father, Tertullian stated, “The blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

The world seeks to wipe out the Church, But Christians must not forget that the One, true God is the Author and Finisher of our faith individually and of the Church corporately. God delivered His message to one man, Abram, who delivered it to his son and he to his son and he to his 12 sons. The Children of Israel came out of Egypt ca. 2,000,000 strong. During over 40 years wandering around the Sinai wilderness, God shaped them into People of God. They entered the land God had promised and changed the name from Canaan to Israel. For nearly 1,000 years the Children of Israel inhabited more or less of the Land of Promise. They were more or less faithful to the One, true God. In punishment, the Jews were exiled from the Land for 70 years. As strangers in a strange land, they kept the faith. Upon return to the Land, they were more or less faithful.

Then, in the process of God’s time, Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God proclaimed the Good News. There was forgiveness of sins and the Kingdom of Heaven was at the door. His death brought a new paradigm. The risen Christ became the touchstone of faith. The Holy Spirit founded the Church of Christ with 120 faithful. Immediately 3,000 more were added. They scattered throughout the Roman world to become seeds of the Gospel of the Resurrected Christ. As I mentioned for 300 years Rome sought to eradicate Christianity; only to have Christianity take over the Empire.

God has kept faithful remnants to produce a massive movement that has touched the lives of 100s of millions of people. From time to time there have been persecutions that have wiped out small to large groups of believers. Still, the Resurrected Christ has continued to bestow upon believers resurrection life that secures them from death. Bodies die, but Christians do not.   dove-vector-clipart

With All The Options?

Why is faith in the Resurrected Jesus so persistent? What is it about Christianity that defies the attempts to crush it out of existence?

The simple answer is faith in the One true God. He protects His own. The supporting reality is that Christianity is based on truth. Truth is persistent because it is reality. Reality isn’t just believed, it IS. The resurrected Christ isn’t just believed, He lives. He lives in the lives of believers. He lives in the believing Christian Church. He lives in the world, independent of the Church and believers. He is God.

Modern MartyrsBelievers withstand torture and death. This is reality. They stand firm in faith because they know that even in horrific circumstances and even when they face death, they also know that God loves them. And in return they love God. They persist because they have hope anchored on the truth that their lives are not material, but spiritual and eternal. They know that their loving Lord has a place for them in His Kingdom, where they will live eternally. They know that this life will soon be over whether by a persecutor’s sword or by old age. Upon death, believers will be rewarded with celestial bodies that are incorruptible. Sickness, aging, grief will no longer exist for them. They are endowed with eternal joy in the love of God.

Yes, there are many religions to choose from and there are vast numbers that are adherents of other religions. By far it is a one-way street. Adherents of other religions convert to Christianity by thousands every year. The number of true Christians that convert willingly to other religions is a minuscule fraction.   dove-vector-clipart

The Power of Faith

I do not have the strength of faith to stand up to torture. However, I am not under such severe persecution. I know that My Lord will give me the strength to stand firm when I need it.

“For which cause I suffer also these things: yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2Tim. 1:12)

The Holy Spirit is the power of God. He is in the believer and with the believer. When we are born anew in Christ we receive the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity comes as One. We are adopted into the family of God to be his sons and daughters of God. We surrender to Christ and receive from Him forgiveness of sin and His righteousness, which entitles us to eternal life. We receive the presence of the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee that we are in Christ and have eternal life in the Presence of the Father.   dove-vector-clipart

Power to Live in a Hostile World

However, the believer must have power to live the life of a Christian a hostile world. Jesus came to the Disciples in the Upper Room, where they locked themselves in for fear of the Jews. The Lord God, Jesus the Christ breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit. That was the moment they were born-again. They became believers, Christians.

Disciples receiving the Holy SpiritBut they still didn’t know what they were about, Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” He went back to his former trade, “Well, it was fun while it lasted, but back to reality.” Jesus met them on the seashore to give Peter his mission, “Feed My sheep.” On Ascension Day, Jesus indicated that the Disciples were thoroughly His men. They had been born again. They had received the Holy Spirit to be in them, but they had not received the power of the Spirit to be with them. Jesus said that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit “not many days hence.” That was to be their empowering for ministry.

It is Jesus plan that all believers be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Most have not opened themselves to His power. They operate effectively on their own strength of faith and their witness is effective. However, God wants us to rely upon Him totally, not on our own strength. He has provided the Baptism in the Holy Spirit to be that empowerment. The release of the Holy Spirit allows Him to work in a believer’s life and He cannot until he or she lets go of the steering wheel and allows the Holy Spirit to drive the believer’s life.

The concept is scary. “Will He send me to Outer Mongolia to live in a yurt, drinking Yak milk and trying to learn the language? Will he send me to Arabia to preach on the street corners to be martyred?

I refrain from guaranteeing that God will not do that with a believer. But I will affirm that the ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit is a glory whose price it far above diamonds.

The Holy Spirit manifests his power in individuals through “Gifts”

  • Wisdom – supernatural understanding and counsel
  • Knowledge – revelation of something not learned
  • Faith – supernatural belief God will do the impossible
  • Prophesy – speaking words of God, often encouragement
  • Healing – restoration from physical maladies.
  • Miracles – changes in natural order by God’s power
  • Speaking in Tongues – a language that is not learned can be either private prayer or public declaration
  • Interpretation of Tongues – gives the sense of the Tongue offered as a public declaration.
  • Discernment of Spirits – supernatural recognition of good or evil spirits in a person or region

Each Gift is not the possession of the believer. “The Spirit gives severally as He will.” However, when the believer is open to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as needed and at God’s discretion, she or he will “manifest the Gift or gifts appropriate. The Holy Spirit is in charge.  dove-vector-clipart

God’s Power is for All

The Holy Spirit’s power is for all believers, as are all the Gifts. There are times in a believer’s life when a situation is beyond him or her. That is where the power of the Holy Spirit and the manifestations of the Spirit are available and essential to meet the believers’ needs.

Kid with Glasses

Shout for Joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. (Psalm 33:1)

One of the attendant blessings that accompanies the Holy Spirit is a release of Joy. We see in the Psalms and in the Prophets interspersed with the cries of deliverance and warnings of condemnation, there are peons of joy where the writer is caught up in the glory of God. He cries out in Loud Praise, joyfully proclaiming the Glory of God. To be sure there are quiet, meditative prayers. However, the boisterous joy in the Presence of God and the outpourings of holy love for God can be like the crowd at ball games when their team wins a tight game. In truth, these joyous celebrations outnumber the contemplative.

When you consider it objectively, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is far greater than winning the World Series or the Super Bowl. It truly calls for praise and great joyfulness, empowered by the Holy Spirit. God said that Adam and Eve in their perfection were naked and unashamed. It is good to allow your love for the Lord to be shouted out and not be ashamed. It is good for one to release one’s control to the Holy Spirit and while moving emotionally out of one’s comfort zone, trust that the Holy Spirit will do all things decently in order.

The Lord is worthy of our most energetic praise and worship. Hallelujah! Christ is Risen! Christ is risen indeed, Hallelujah!   dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This will be a recurring feature. I will pose a question in one issue. You will have the opportunity to send me answers. I will publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: What does it mean to be among the elect of God?

ANSWER: God is the creator of all that exists. He is the Potter and all that is material is in His hands. God can shape and reshape anything.

He has perfect knowledge of everything, even our thoughts

“O Jehovah, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, And art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, But, lo, O Jehovah, thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalms 139:1-4)

Since this is true, God has already decided who will be a part of His Kingdom and who will not.

Those to whom he gives the faith to believe are the elect.

God’s offer of salvation is free to all, but there are many who choose not to heed His voice. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice.” One looks at one’s family and friends. Because we love them we want them to be part of God’s eternal joy. But some refuse.

It breaks my heart that a sister and a brother refused my sharing of the Good News that Jesus was offering them a free ride into blessedness in eternal life.

They are in God’s hands now, but I fear I will not see them in God’s Kingdom.

God’s elect have embraced Jesus as their only Lord and Savior. They can live in His love, knowing they are secure for eternity. Therefore, whatever befalls this body, we know that we will have an imperishable, celestial body that will be free of pain and suffering for eternity. We will be able to bask in the love of God and enjoy the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as not only invited guests, but also as honored guests.

Yes, in a sense, the elect is an exclusive club. But it is open to all comers regardless of anything in their former lives. Even the most hardened criminal, who truly repents and believes in Jesus is welcomed. The poorest beggar, the most ignorant, the offscouring of the world who embrace Christ are welcomed with open arms. The richest men and women of the world, who love Jesus are the elect. It is neither lack of money nor bags of cash that matter. It is the heart. If the Holy Spirit has given one a love for Jesus and led her or him to surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior, that is the admission to the exclusive club of the elect.

QUESTION: Are there really demons in the world?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

Holy Spirit, Spirit divine, open my eyes to see You as the true power of the Resurrection. Deliver me from the veil over my mind that prevents me from understanding spiritual things.

Lord Jesus, Risen Savior, I am humbled that You went willingly to the cross to die in my place. I need Your Spirit’s touch to release me from the bondage to habits of mind that do not expect You to act in my life.

Holy Spirit give me a lively faith to go boldly through my life, discarding all inhibitions that prevent me from loving my Father with abandon, prevent me from proclaiming the truth of the Gospel with clarity in all places, prevent me from worshipping exuberantly, and prevent me from bubbling so with joy that I become infectious to those I am with.

I love You Father, I love You, Jesus, I love You, Holy Spirit. I honestly desire to be conformed to the image of Christ. I want to be in Christ.

Give me the heart to discard all that prevents me from loving You with an unguarded heart. Give me the eagerness to serve you regardless of the cost. Give me the openness to embrace all you send to me, despite my sensibilities and my prejudices.

I give You glory. You are my majestic Lord God. You are the magnificent and glorious King of kings. Let all the earth praise You. Let the stars sing to Your glory. Let the planets leap for joy at Your creation. The brooks dance with joy as they obey Your laws to run down to the sea. The trees applaud Your wisdom and they grow according to Your placing of them in their position. The mountains grow up at Your command and submit to wearing down according to Your law.

Now Lord Jesus come quickly to earth and restore Your perfect peace. Bring about the promise that all nations will come to You in humble submission. We long for Your gracious reign from one end of the world to the other. We long for that unanimity of worship with every other person on the face of the earth. Your Righteous Reign will instill in us a worship of enormous joy encompassing the whole world as all peoples and languages and races join in choruses of song, rejoicing in Your love and relishing Your universal peace.

Hallelujah, my God and King.

Hallelujah, my Savior and Lord.

Hallelujah, my Spirit of power.

It is marvelous that I can own You, God. It is my privilege because You own me. My heart is Yours, as is my mind, hands, and feet. My future is Yours as was my past.

I surrender all to You my God! Amen

Glad Tidings

New Year, New Opportunities for Love!

2 Jan , 2017  

GT—Volume 14 Issue 1
Glad Tidings 2017

Party! Party ! Party!

New Year’s Eve is the time for parties, whether we go to a large public party where one can get lost in the crowd and lose all inhibitions, or go to an intimate party with friends or family.

Seattle’s major celebration is held at the Space Needle. The city arranges for a fireworks display to be fired from the Needle. Fire bursting out all over it. Ladders of light-fire work their way up the Needle. The circular roof lends a crowning effect with colorful fountains and multicolored explosions.

We had watched the fireworks on TV a number of times, so several years ago, Ruth and I decided to see it in person. We bundled up. We arrived early and parked some distance away, to avoid the crush to escape after the show. Then we walked the long distance and picked out a site near the base of the Needle, but far enough back to see the full show. We were there long enough to get chilled and began to be anxious for the show to start so it would be over and we could get back into our car and warm up on the way home.

Seattle winters do not give us much snow. The snow we do get comes overnight and melts off (usually) during the day. Because of the Japanese Current our temperature is mild. Not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter. But we have a lot of rainy weather in the winter. The air at 42o makes a damp, chilling cold that seeps into your bones.

Fog Steals the Show

About 15 minutes before the fireworks were to go off, fog rolled in. Within 10 minutes the Space Needle was engulfed. We could barely discern it through the fog. At the stroke of midnight the fog lit up. The smoke of the fireworks thickened the opaqueness of the fog. We could not see the fireworks, but the fog glowed in alternate colors and pulsing glows. It was a bit of a bust.

When the fog stopped glowing we figured it was over and hustled back to our car to turn the heater on BLAST! – and then wend our way home through the traffic. We agreed through chattering teeth that the TV was a better option for future years.

Joyful New Year’s Eve

Perhaps the best New Year’s party we celebrated was ‘72/73’. We lived in Maine, so there the snow was deep and old by the end of December. January nights plumbed the depths of the teens below zero. We drove about 20 miles to a party in a community center with friends from all over southern Maine.

Ice coved branches in Holden Wednesday, Christams day. After several days of freezing rain in Maine tens of thousats of people were still out of power two days after the storm. Gabor Degre | BDN

Ice covered branches after several days of freezing rain in Maine.

The party began at 10 PM, with singing Christmas songs and a before midnight pot luck supper. Then more singing until just before midnight. And then we prayed in the New Year. We broke out in singing and dancing. The joy of the Lord filled our hearts and the love we shared was deep and rich. We prayed and sang and danced some more until after 2AM. As we were leaving, we discovered a freezing rain had come in. Everything was covered with a glaze of ice. Discretion likely would have made us wait until midday to leave, but nothing daunted, we hugged goodbye and amid prayers and blessings we all went our separate ways to skate home. We felt we were floating on angels’ wings as we negotiated the ice-slicked roads. It was a glorious celebration that is emblazoned (or should I say iced) on my memory.    dove-vector-clipart

Loving with Valor

Is discretion the better of valor? That depends upon what you are facing. Driving in heavy traffic, the answer is definitely, “yes”. When applying for a job, it depends upon the situation. But in matter of loving, valor is to be recommended.


Research shows a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in many ways.

Scientists tell us that for better general health we need many hugs each day. Most people go for days without hugs. Humans are relational. We have deep needs for the affirmations of others. Some of the best affirmations are hugs. With a hug, we communicate love.

One of the common factors in grief over the death of a parent, spouse or child is, “I didn’t say’ I love you’, before she or he died”. This teaches us that we should always express our love to those who are near and dear to us.

There are misanthropes who do not like to be made a fuss over. They just don’t love people. But they are few and far between. By far the vast majority of people miss genuine expressions of love.

Some people hold off because they are not comfortable in a personal relationship. It is likely that they, as much as anyone else, need that positive affirmation of love that such a personal connection communicates.Too often we misuse discretion and repress our inclinations to make a loving gesture or say a loving word. We fear we may be intruding on a person’s personal space. We fear that we may be misunderstood.

It is a devotion to the caring that leads to giving what they need.

Let’s make it clear. I am not talking about the erotic love which is lustful, nor about the friendly feeling toward acquaintances. I am discussing the deeper more generous love that one has for another, leading to caring deeply for their welfare. It is a devotion to the caring that leads to giving what they need.

The majority of us need someone, or perhaps several someones, who care when we are happy or sad; who are willing to go out of their way to be with us; who find time in their busy days to include a visit, a phone call or a letter.

Love is Inconvenient

Love is inconvenient. Love is demanding, but love is worth the discomfort. Our desires are often in conflict with our love. But because we love we set aside our plans and do for another.


“Love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life.” — Truman Capote

When we love, there may be a blowback. When I was in the Army at one point I was the Assistant Gunner on a 106mm Recoilless Rifle. It had an open breech, so the back blast was equal to the muzzle velocity. It could blow a wooden box set behind it to splinters. While this is an exaggeration, it illustrates the impact of love rejected.

Nevertheless, most times, when we express love, it warms our hearts, also. The more love we give the more we have to give. The more we give the better we feel. Love is often difficult to express, but when we do give love, we find out how easy and how rewarding it is to give.

When we love, there may be a blowback. When I was in the Army at one point I was the Assistant Gunner on a 106mm Recoilless Rifle. It had an open breech, so the back blast was equal to the muzzle velocity. It could blow a wooden box set behind it to splinters. While this is an exaggeration, it illustrates the impact of love rejected.    dove-vector-clipart

What About Joy?

Should we exercise discretion in our display of joy? People have differing temperaments. Some people are emotionally restrained, others wear their emotions on their sleeves. The setting overrules one’s natural proclivities. If the Seahawks had completed that shovel pass for a touchdown in the last few minutes of their second Super Bowl there is not a Seahawks’ fan in the world that would have exercised discretion; exuberance would have exploded. The stadium and homes all over would have been rocking on their foundations.

Our culture has embraced the concept that enthusiastic joy at sporting events is acceptable; whereas, public expressions of ecstatic joy are generally frowned upon. In David Wilkerson’s book, The Cross and the Switchblade, he tells of his grandfather coming to preach at his father’s church. The grandfather considered the church had grown too formal and stodgy. He had them open the windows and sing out their joy in the Lord. That was not enough. He had them march around in the church to let the neighbors and the Neighborhood hear their joy the Lord.


Exuberant joy comes spontaneously when a child is born.

Exuberant joy comes spontaneously when a child is born. Everyone celebrates. Laughter and shouting are natural expressions of great Joy. The shepherds on that night were at first fearful, but with the assurance of the Angel, they began to listen to the Good News.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, watching their flock during the night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Then the angel told them, “Stop being afraid! Listen! I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people. Today your Savior, the Lord Messiah, was born in the City of David. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

Suddenly, a multitude of the Heavenly Army appeared with the angel, praising God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who enjoy his favor!”

When the angels had left them and gone back to heaven, the shepherds told one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what has taken place that the Lord has told us about.” So they went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in the feeding trough. When they saw this, they repeated what they had been told about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. However, Mary continued to treasure all these things in her heart and to ponder them. Then the shepherds returned to their flock, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.   (Luke 2:8-20)

The import of the news caused them to abandon their sheep and race to Bethlehem. There they saw a baby. Something about that baby caused them exceedingly great joy. They were so joyful that they went back laughing and singing, telling everyone the Good News that the Savior had been born.

We must remember it was night when the Angels appeared. It was even later when the shepherds went back to their flocks. In those villages, there was nothing to do but have supper and go to bed at nightfall. The only folk out at night were shepherds. I speculate that as they went through the village, the shepherds were making so much noise that people were leaning out windows and doors to discover why they were making so much commotion. Their joy spilled out all over that village.

God talks about joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy…   (1 Peter 1:8)

I’m for that! Let’s share our exuberance! Let the world know that there is joy in this life. Our society has, like the Wilkerson church, gone stodgy. The only joy we allow is in sporting events. Let’s communicate there are other reasons for outbursts of Joy.         dove-vector-clipart

Let There Be Peace On Earth

For over a century there has been nearly perpetual war waging somewhere in the world. This battered world and its people need peace. It is a precious commodity. In peace people are healthier. Economies are better off. Children grow up in security and become better adjusted adults.

Alfred Nobel, Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist., and was very interested in social and peace-related issues and held what were considered radical views in his era.

Because peace is so hard to obtain in this world Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) included a prize for peace along with those for science, medicine and literature. Global peace seems impossible to achieve, except for short periods of time in local areas.

Therefore, in this troublesome world there is another important type of peace sorely needed, which is achievable; peace at heart for individuals. When we can face the hardships and troubles that naturally occur in life with joy and love we can live in peace. Many people have found in the midst of life a place of peace. They have established an attitude that is realistic but not alarmist. They have come to a place where they have confidence in life. They go to bed in peace and wake up joyful at the prospects of a new day.

Some cynics will say they are Pollyanna’s or delusional. Either may be the case, but not necessarily. They are content with their lot in life. They are happy in their families. They are people who reach out to help others and gratefully receive help from others. Essentially, they live in a different world, because they have an entirely different outlook on the world they live in than many of their neighbors. They have experienced severe setbacks and disappointments, but they do not allow those real events to steal their peace. Their hearts are so full of positive things, there is no room for doubts, fears or worries.     dove-vector-clipart

The Fruit of the Spirit


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.   Galatians 5:22-23

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” and six more.

For our purposes, we will concentrate on the first three. These are characteristics that develop in the lives of Christian believers, who are living their lives in Christ.

Jesus gives believers the Holy Spirit to dwell in them. He is God’s guarantee that He will keep His promises. As one of the three Persons of the Trinity, He will guide our lives to please God, warn us when we are about to sin, and will convict us when we have sinned. The more we conform our lives to the template of Jesus’ life the better we will be able to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. They are fruit. A tree does not have to strain to produce. Fruit are the natural outgrowth of the DNA of the tree, the nutrients available to its roots and the water the tree receives. In the same way, the Fruit of the Spirit are the natural outgrowth of a spiritually healthy Believer.

As we submit our wills to the Spirit’s work in our lives, He will transform our hearts to be more malleable to the influence of the will of God. This is reflected in the production of the Fruit. People can see how readily we follow he Spirit and conform to Christ by the Love Joy and Peace in our lives.         dove-vector-clipart

The Fruit of Love

When a people receive new life from Jesus, one of the first things most are aware of is love. There is a sharp awareness of the phenomenally great love of Jesus coursing through one’s life. As we learn more about the sacrifice Jesus willingly made to redeem us, we are filled with loving gratitude.

The love that is unbidden and fills the believer’s heart is so deep and fresh. We find we want to be in the Presence of Jesus, so we talk to Him often. As we talk, his love flows down to us engulfing us in His loving Fellowship.

Love communicates acceptance.

Amazing love for God who needs nothing and who can get nothing from us gives us life eternal, freedom from our sins and (wonders of wonders!) adopts us into His family. That is a love that communicates acceptance. It is a powerful force motivating believers to cling to Jesus.      dove-vector-clipart

The Fruit of Joy

When you are loved so extravagantly, the sense of well-being is expressed in joy.

Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I will say, Rejoice.    (Philippians 4:4)

The joy that God gives can be the multiplied exponentially. I mentioned the joy that filled us as we drove home on ice-covered streets. It was the overflow of being with Jesus and worshipping him reverently and enthusiastically.

There are many passages in Scripture that refer to the exuberant joy in worship.

And David danced before the Lord with all his might…    (2 Samuel 6:14a)

Shout into God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of joy,   (Psalm 47:1)

…for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.”    (Ezra 3:13)

These are people who had no self-consciousness, because they were overwhelmed by God-consciousness. People who worship today have the same God-consciousness that overwhelms their inhibitions and displays exhilaration in Christ. They are showing off, but not for man, but for God.

A woman asked her priest, “Why do you shout when you praise? Do you think he is deaf? He responded, “no, and I do not think He is nervous, either.”    dove-vector-clipart

The Fruit of Peace

This Peace is not quietness or absence of conflict. It is an inner contentment of the spirit that comes from God. When we are born again, Jesus applies His blood to our sins, so that God no longer is offended by our sin, but He sees the righteousness of Christ. This transforms us from enemies of God and subject to His wrath, into sons and daughters of God who are accepted in the beloved; therefore, we have peace with God.

…an inner contentment of the spirit that comes from God.


The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. Psalm 28:7

Knowing that the Holy Spirit abides in our lives and that wherever we go we are in Christ, gives us such peace that we can go through life calmly above the strife.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.    (Romans 14:8)

We have assurance that we will always be loved. We have the joy of the Spirit that rings in our lives and we have the knowledge that we will live with God in blessing for eternity. Those truths, and more, make the situations of this life pale in importance. Our lives here are so short, and our love of our Lord will be so long, that the trouble of these lives cannot touch our peace.

God is our Ultimate Companion

That is the glorious truth: we are the Lord’s! That truth can take all the stress out of life. We not only have an eternally secure future in the blessings of the Almighty God, but we also have Him as our intimate companion sharing all the experiences of this life with us. We can lose everything in this life, but that is immaterial to our place with the Lord. He is the source of Love, the object of our Joy and the guarantor of our Peace. Glory to God in the highest and Peace to His people on earth!      dove-vector-clipart

Questions Demanding Answers

This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in one issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.

QUESTION: Who were the Magi and why did they come to see the Baby Jesus?

ANSWER: Magi were a priest class of Median origin. Perhaps they came from Susa, a capital of the Parthian Empire ca.850 miles (ca. 6-weeks) east of Jerusalem.

They studied and experimented in many disciplines, philosophy, natural science, medicine. They were dream interpreters, soothsayers and diviners. They studied the celestial bodies and looked for signs that could influence human lives. They were a cross between Astronomers and Astrologers.

These Magi had studied the writings of many cultures. In Jewish writings, they discovered intimations of a great king who would rule the world. So, when a new star appeared, they sought to find what it portended. They settled on the arrival of the Jewish Messiah. Apparently, they did not have the writings of the Prophet Micah, so they went to Jerusalem to inquire where He would be born.

As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, even though you remain least among the clans[b] of Judah, nevertheless, the one who rules in Israel for me will emerge from you. His existence has been[c] from antiquity, even from eternity.   (Micah 5:2)

Over the centuries scholars have sought to determine what was the natural cause of the notable, long-lasting, but not permanent star. Two theories stand out, but each has its problems. One theory was that several of the planets came into conjunction, thus combining their respective lights to appear as one remarkably bright “star”. However, the time in conjunction would not be long enough for the Magi to discoverer it, do the research and then travel for a month and a half. The conjunction would break apart in a matter of days. By two weeks the planets would be so separate their lights would no longer be combined.

Another theory that has better credence is a supernova. Supernovae are exploding stars. Their light intensifies for two weeks to a month to a peak, then it diminishes for three to five months. A Nova could brighten the night as a “star” for 3 to 6 months. This would give the Magi all the time they needed to discover and travel from Susa to Bethlehem.

The problem comes in extra-Biblical history. Ancient cultures noted and recorded what the scholars interpret as supernovae. They can compare histories in concurrent cultures to date various supernovae. No record has yet been found of such a nova that lasted for 3-6 month. If it drew the Magi on such a journey it would have been a significant nova that the number of cultures extant at that time would have recorded it.

The explanation that the scholars will not accept is God. He created a phenomenon in the skies to announce the birth of the God/man, the only Son of God, whose name is “Jesus”, “Savior”.

QUESTION: If God is all knowing and God, He will do what is best. Why pray?

The Holy of Holies

Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.

My God and Father, My God and Savior, my God and empowerer; How magnificent are Your ways!

Father, before you laid the foundation of the world You chose to create man for You to love and to love You.

Jesus in the counsels of eternity You agreed to relinquish all the characteristics of Sovereignty and to become a servant, submissive to Your Father and submissive to the real needs of man. That is humility and heroics that are beyond conception.

Holy Spirit, You agreed to be the pawn in the game. You are the guarantor who has come to live in the hearts of all believers.

This Covenant of Grace is the greatest promise and bargain in History.

My part as beneficiary is zero. I am an heir who has done and can do nothing. Without earning it, You, Almighty God, bestow the cleansing of my sins, the righteousness of Christ and the Life everlasting!

I love You, Lord God. I have known Your unwavering love for me. I have lived in Your Presence. I have experienced Your unhesitating forgiveness. My heart is full of You and when I stop to consider all You have done for me, I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude for you.

I shake my head in wonder that You have done all this for me. I am worth nothing compared to You, the one true God and Only Son of God. I am flawed and broken, but You in grace and mercy reached out with Your pure hand and touch my uncleanness. You loved me when I was your enemy, when I was running the wrong way. You cared enough for me to stand in my path until I ran into You. You sent Your Holy Spirit to chase me down the years and days until He caught my unwilling heart that brought me face to face with the real Presence of Jesus.

When I am quiet before You like this, my love for You grows in my heart and flows out to You. I don’t care about the problems of life, because I am with You. The true perspective comes to the fore. It is my life in Christ that is vital. My life in the world is important, but it is transitory. It is but a sneeze, making a big noise and causing my body to convulse, but instantly over and soon forgotten.

Come, my LORD, take me to Your home and the place You have for me. I long the shed this skin of worldliness and be clothed in the righteousness of Christ, that pure, spotless and seamless garment of praise to You; worthy because Jesus generates it and the Holy Spirit makes it worthy.

All honor, glory, dominion, power and praise belong to You O, holy and majestic God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May I join with all the Cherubim and Seraphim in crying, “Holy, holy, holy!”?

May I join with all the arch angels crying, ‘Worthy is the Lamb!’”?

May I join in with the Patriarchs and Apostles in casting all my achievements at Your feet?

         Hallelujah!                      Amen!

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Christ and Culture,Glad Tidings

Glad Tidings Introduction and Purpose

16 Dec , 2016  

Glad Tidings Christian EpistleGlad Tidings© is a monthly Christian Epistle. It has been published since January, 2004, and distributed free of charge by email. It is also published monthly on this website.

Since Glad Tidings© is sent to all comers. It contains an article that seeks to investigate themes that are common to people in general, and Americans especially. Articles begin in a general discussion and conclude in a Christian context.

In addition to the one thematic article, there are two features:

  • Questions Demanding Answers” posits a question that may trouble believers and/or unbelievers. It asks recipients to respond with answers of 250 words or less. The following month the best answer is printed.
  • The Holy of Holies” is a concluding prayer written in the first person, speaking directly to God. This can encourage the reader to make this his or her own prayer.

Those interested in receiving the monthly Glad Tidings © may Like us on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up for the monthly email publication of Glad Tidings ©.

It is a joy to share with you the truth of God’s love for all of us, and the redeeming power of the Gift of Jesus as sacrifice to pay the price for our sins. Through receiving this free gift of Jesus as our personal Savior, we may all become God’s children, and we have the hope of spending eternal life with Him.

The Shepherd’s Fool, Ted Bradshaw

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