Archives for : August2010

Failing to put God first

“A gallon holds 128 ounces. If one puts 138 ounces into a one gallon container, 10 ounces will spill over the side. This is a simple idea to grasp. I believe the same concept is part of the reason attendance suffers, especially on Sunday and Wednesday evening. Not only attendance, but participation in the work of the church is certainly not engaged in as it should be. In our society we have more than enough material possessions and activities with which to fill our time so many that we are unable to contain them in the 168 hours we have each week. Just as with the gallon container, if we try to fill our week with more than 168 hours, some other activity must be sacrificed. How often is it that one’s service to the Lord is that which is sacrificed? Let us fill our lives with more activities for the Lord. When we do, we will naturally rid ourselves of things that steal our time and service from the Lord.”
–Tom Wacaster

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The garden of daily living

First, you come to the garden alone,
while the dew is still on the roses….



1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul


1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness


1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another


1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another


1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends


Loving your neighbor as yourself

1) Do we have a neighbor that we are hoping will move out sometime soon?
2) The Bible is a book that quite often speaks about “neighbors.”
3) In the Old Testament “neighbor” is usually a fellow Hebrew.
4) In the New Testament “neighbor” is much broader – anyone who has a need.
5) Jesus said a little something about “neighbors” in Mk. 12:31.
6) Let’s see what this verse says – READ Mk. 12:28-31.
a) Jesus said we are to love our neighbors and love them as ourselves.
b) If there is a forgotten command in the Bible, this is probably it.
7) There is a lot more information about “neighbor” than I expected to find.
8) More than 100 times in the Bible we find information about our neighbors.
a) Ex. 20:16 says – READ
b) Since we are to “love our neighbor” (Mk. 12:31), lying about them cannot be right.
9) Verse 17 goes even further– READ
a) READ Ex. 21:14.
b) The Hebrews had to be kind to their neighbors.
c) State Farm Insurance used to have a little jingle about being a “good neighbor.”
d) Lev. 19:18 prohibited the people of Israel from having a “grudge” against the people of Israel.
e) The latter part of this verse says “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
f) Bearing a grudge is not in harmony with loving neighbors as ourselves.
g) In a group of this size it is very likely that at least some have a grudge against a neighbor.
h) This verse says the destruction comes from the “mouth.”
10) If we are a Christian, we want our words to neighbors to be “seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6).
11) We want to do this because of our next reference, Prov. 12:26.
a) The wise man said the “Righteous is a guide to his neighbor.”
b) The “righteous” can often be a spiritual guide to others by being a good neighbor.
12) Our next passage is a very sad verse.
13) Prov. 14:20 says – READ
a) The wise man said the “poor is hated by his neighbors.”
b) Jesus was a friend to the social outcasts of His day and time.
c) This should also be true for us.
d) Prov. 14:21 – READ
14) Some despise a neighbor.
15) Others go even further – they “devise evil” against neighbors (Zech. 8:17).
16) God said “do not do this.” This is also not loving our neighbor instead of ourselves.
17) Instead of trying to hurt neighbors, we need to see how we can help them.
18) Neighbors are not always good neighbors, no matter what we do.
19) In Rom. 12:20 Paul said we are to “heap coals of fire on people” by doing good to them.
20) This is God’s strategy for dealing with difficult neighbors.
21) Our neighbors should see that we are Christians.
22) After we have set a good example, we should try to teach them.

The Keeley Institute

In studying from an old Bible commentary on Second Peter by J. Nieboer I came across a reference to the “Keeley Cure” for alcoholics and was curious if many others have heard of this “cure” (please take the survey below). Also below is a short description about the “Keeley Cure” from wikipedia

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“The Keeley Institute, known for its Keeley Cure, was a commercial medical operation that offered treatment to alcoholics from 1879 to 1965. Though at one time there were more than 200 branches in the United States and Europe, the original institute was founded by Leslie Keeley in Dwight, Illinois, United States. After Keeley’s death the institute began a slow decline but remained in operation under John R. Oughton, and, later, his son. The Keeley Institute offered the internationally famous Keeley Cure, which drew sharp criticism from those within the mainstream medical profession. The Keeley Institute’s location in Dwight, Illinois had a major influence on the development of Dwight as a village. There are only a few remaining indications in Dwight that the Keeley Institute was once a major force.”

The Pencil Maker

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.

“There are 5 things you need to know,” he told the pencil, “Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.”

“One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone’s hand.”

“Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll need it to become a better pencil.”

“Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.”

“Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.”

“And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.”

The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart.

Now replacing the place of the pencil with you. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God’s hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems in life, but you’ll need it to become a stronger person.

Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.

And Five: On every surface you walk through, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to do your duties.

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Do you do the devil's will?

a) A government may have a “will” for its citizens.
b) If we are employed at a secular job, our employer has a “will” for us to accomplish.
c) Stores and other businesses have a “will” for consumers.
2) The devil has a “will” for mankind. God also has a “will” for people.
3) As individuals we also have our own “will.”
4) Lots of people and organizations and lots of people want us to do lots of things.
5) Since there are many “wills” to choose from, which will should we choose?
6) We might not only ask which will we should choose, we should ask WHY we select the one we do.
7) The Bible encourages us to choose God and His will.
8) In Mt. 7:21 Jesus spoke of the “will of the Father.”
a) Jesus said only those who do the “will of God” will be in heaven – READ Mt. 7:21.
9) In Mt. 18:14 Jesus said it is not God’s desire that any “little ones” perish.
a) Virtually every person or organization has a “will” about some things it likes and dislikes.
b) Our government wants its citizens to do certain things and avoid other activities.
c) Such is also true for God.
10) Mk. 3:35 says doing the will of God allows us to be regarded as His brother, sister and mother
11) Eph. 5:17 says “understand what the will of the Lord is.”
a) Paul believed it is possible to understand God’s will.
b) This may take some time and effort, but it is possible.
c) In Eph. 5:15 Paul said, “look carefully how you walk” (be careful how to live).
d) Why be careful? We need to be careful because we can step outside the will of God.
12) Not only can we understand God’s will, we can do it and do it with great sincerity.
13) Eph. 6:6 speaks of doing God’s will “from the heart” – here is the full verse READ
14) Peter recognized that some will “suffer” because they do God’s will (1 Pet. 4:19).
15) Today people sometimes suffer because they are trying to do the will of God.
a) Heb. 10:36 says those who do the will of God “receive the promise.”
b) This is what all people want—this promise is conditional. We must do the will of God.

1) Christians should seek to do the will of God because of the God’s record.
2) 700 years before Jesus came into the world it was said the Lord would be born of a “virgin,” Isa. 7:14.
3) When Jesus came into the world, this is exactly what happened, Mt. 1:18, 23.
4) Isaiah also predicted that Jesus would be named before His birth (Isa. 49:1) – READ
a) This is precisely what we find in Lk. 1:30-31.
b) Micah (5:2) said Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and this happened, Mt. 2:1.
5) Jeremiah (31:15) said Jesus would create sorrow for many people and did (Mt. 2:17-18).
6) The trip Jesus and His family had to take to Egypt (Mt. 2:14-15) was a subject of prophecy (Hos. 11:1).
7) 400 years before Jesus came to the world (Mal. 3:1) it was said He would have a forerunner.
8) In Ps. 78:2 we learn that the Savior would speak in “parables.”
9) When we study the Lord’s life, we find Him teaching with parables.
10) Isaiah said Jesus would be “despised” (Isa. 53:3) and “rejected” (Isa. 8:14) without cause (Ps. 69:4).
11) Hundreds of predictions were made and all fulfilled down to the last detail.
a) These predictions help demonstrate why we need to follow the will of God.
12) God shows us through predictive prophecy that we can and should rely on His will. 1 Jn. 2:17

Sunshine Magazine

The following story seen in “Sunshine Magazine” about a professor of psychology illustrates how difficult it is to love others.

Although he had no children of his own, whenever he saw a neighbor scolding a child for some wrongdoing, he would say, “You should love your boy, not punish him.”

One hot summer afternoon the professor was doing some repair work on a concrete driveway leading to his garage. Tired out after several hours of work, he laid down the towel, wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and started toward the house. Just then out of the corner of his eye he saw a mischievous little boy putting his foot into the fresh cement. He rushed over, grabbed him, and was about to spank him severely when a neighbor leaned from a window and said, “Watch it, Professor! Don’t you remember? You must ‘love’ the child!”

At this, he yelled back furiously, “I do love him in the abstract, but not in the concrete!”

That’s so true. It’s easy to love people “in the abstract”. It’s easy to talk about love and the importance of love. What’s much more difficult is to love people in “concrete” ways, especially when we’re dealing with people are very unlovable, who have been unkind and irritating to us.

But love is not something for us to talk about — it is something for us to demonstrate in some very practical ways, as John makes clear in this familiar passage:

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)

How about it — are you loving in the abstract, or in the concrete?

Alan Smith

Do not pinch me

As I was standing in a checkout line I witnessed a small child literally “pinch” the cashier. This cashier expressed her displeasure at having her arm repeatedly abused by the youngster, but the dad didn’t seem to mind. Finally the cashier became very vocal; I didn’t write down her exact words but it something like “HEY THAT HURTS!” At this point the father told his son “it is not nice to pinch people” and then turned back to focus on his purchases.

As soon as the father and his arm pinching son were out of earshot the cashier told me she would have “spanked this child had she been his mom.”

Many in today’s world would not agree with her thinking, but the Bible is on her side. Proverbs 22:15 says “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; (But) the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

If people refuse to properly discipline their children they may end up with a finger pinching child or behavior that is far, far worse.

Wendy and Jill

Imagine two women; we will call the first Jill and the other Wendy. Tomorrow Jill gets so upset with Wendy she wants to kill her.

Since Jill knows she cannot personally murder someone (Rom. 13:9), she contacts a “hit man” to kill Wendy. Jill believes God will understand and accept her decision because the Bible never says “Thou shall not hire someone to commit murder for you.”

If the preceding paragraph sounds absolutely absurd and wrong, congratulations. Jill’s reasoning is wrong. The lack of a specific prohibition in the Bible does not mean something is right.

The next time someone tries to justify some idea or practice based on the claim that “the Bible does not specifically prohibit it,” remember this silly example about Wendy and Jill.

Divine bells, Exodus 28:34-35

1) Some judges are telling people some clothing is not allowed in their courtrooms.
2) In Bakersfield, CA a judge does not allow people to wear flip flops.
3) Another courtroom closer to home – Michigan – says blue jeans are not allowed.
4) No shorts are allowed in a Dover, Delaware courtroom


1) Ex. 28 provides us with details about the clothing worn by Aaron.
2) In Ex. 28:2 we learn that Aaron’s clothing was “beautiful.”
3) Threads of various colors were used to construct this clothing (verse 8).
4) Engraved stones were also part of the clothing (verse 9).
5) Two pure twisted gold chains were part of the outfit (verse 14).
6) The collar was to be made in such a way where it would not tear (verse 32).
7) We want the information in verses 34-35 – READ
a) There were “golden bells” on Aaron’s priestly attire.
b) These bells were not just for show – they actually made a sound.
c) The bells warned people like Aaron that serving God was a very serious matter.
8) The message of Ex. 28 is still very relevant for our day and time.
9) Today people can become lax about God and spiritual things.
10) If we are somehow involved in the worship, we need to concentrate on what we are doing.
11) It is true that we are talking about the Old Testament and it is true that we are not high priests.
a) 1 Pet. 2:9 says Christians are a “royal priesthood.”
b) 1 Pet. 2:5 – READ
c) What are our minds focused on when it is time to offer up a spiritual sacrifice in worship?
12) If a lot of people thought about Ex. 28 and 1 Pet. 2, they would worship very, very differently.
13) 1 Cor. 11:29 – READ
14) Some of the Corinthians were “not discerning the Lord’s body.”
15) Paul said this would bring about “condemnation” (judgment).
16) Notice the verse that follows – READ verse 30.
a) Three key words stand out in this verse: WEAK, SICKLY, DEAD.
b) Worship is a time to come to God and say: You are great, holy, and our creator.
17) Most congregations would not try to create rules if people simply understood the seriousness of worship.
18) When it comes time for worship, we need to “remember the bells” in Ex. 28.
19) These items were a reminder to be serious and reverential about worship.

What is heaven like?

An 85-year-old couple, having been married almost 60 years, died in a car crash. They had been in good health the last ten years mainly due to her interest in health food and exercise. When they reached the pearly gates, Peter took them to their mansion which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite and Jacuzzi. As they “oohed and aahed”, the old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. “It’s free,” Peter replied, “this is heaven.”

Next they went out back to survey the championship golf course that the home backed up to. They would have golfing privileges every day, and each week the course changed to a new one representing the great golf courses on earth. The old man asked, “what are the green fees?” Peter’s reply, “This is heaven, you play for free.”

Next they went to the club house and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisines of the world laid out. “How much to eat?” asked the old man. “Don’t you understand yet? This is heaven, it is free!” Peter replied with some exasperation. “Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol tables?” the old man asked timidly. Peter said, “That’s the best part…you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is heaven.”

With that, the old man went into a fit of anger, throwing down his hat and stomping on it, shrieking wildly. Peter and his wife both tried to calm him down, asking him what was wrong. The old man looked at his wife and said, “This is all your fault! If it weren’t for your blasted bran muffins, I could have been here ten years ago!”

If only we knew what lies ahead, we might not be so hesitant to leave what lies around us. We cling so tightly to what we see, wondering if anything could possibly be better. But we have God’s assurance that His children have an inheritance far greater than anything we can even imagine.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Our inheritance is “incorruptible”. In a day of transient fads, it’s difficult to find anything permanent. But in our heavenly inheritance we’ll finally know real permanence and unending security.

Our inheritance is “undefiled.” Isn’t it disgusting when your freshly mown lawn is cluttered with beer cans thrown from passing cars? When beautiful lakes and rivers are choked with pollution? Even truth is perverted, morality is corrupted. But there will be no such defacing of our heavenly inheritance. The heavenly inheritance is for those who appreciate the beauty of being with God.

Our inheritance is “unfading.” In this world, life fades with age. Even relationships with friends and sometimes even with family members can grow stale. But, in heaven, everything remains as fresh as it is at the outset.

Alan Smith

God's grace in Titus 2:11-13

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…
Titus 2:11-13, ESV

Men and women through the centuries have extolled the magnificent grace of God. Beloved old hymns and countless sermons have impressed upon the minds of multiplied millions the wonders of God’s undeserved yet unreserved kindness to man. Consider the following brief points from the inspired words Paul wrote to Titus…

A. God’s grace brings salvation (v. 11a).
B. God’s grace has appeared to all men (v. 11b).
C. God’s grace teaches six crucial concepts (v. 12-13).

We must renounce ungodliness (v. 12a).
We must renounce worldly passions (v. 12b).
We must live self-controlled lives (v. 12c).
We must live upright lives (v. 12d).
We must live godly lives (v. 12e).
Doing all the above will enable us to anticipate the return of Christ (v. 13).

–Source unknown

God's Law Of Marriage, Divorce, And Remarriage Applies To All People

People approach the very sensitive subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage in several ways. Some, ignorant of what Jesus says about it, are a law to themselves and come up with any number of “alternatives” including living together without marriage, homosexuality, adultery, and the like. Some have become stricter than Jesus, saying that divorce for any reason is a sin. This is making a law where God has not (Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19). Some have become less strict than Jesus, making allowance where He has not. One of the most common allowances is the idea this law does not apply to everyone. Also, some have tried to make the sin of adultery something other than what context shows it to be. Here are five reasons why God’s law of marriage, divorce, and remarriage applies to all.

(1) Jesus Goes Back To The Beginning Of Creation (19:4,8). Jesus is not teaching something that was limited to His own time and it certainly was not an articulation of the Law of Moses (see 19:7-8). Instead, Jesus goes back to the dawn of time to Adam and Eve in the Garden. Jesus, in giving His command, reaches behind Moses to “the beginning.” This shows a timelessness to the command. God designed it a certain way, man distorted it, and Jesus dictates a new way that is universal in nature. He points ahead by pointing back to the beginning.

(2) What God Has Joined Should Not Be Separated (19:6). When two people have a right to be married, whether or not a preacher or religious person performs the ceremony, God is joining those two together. Verse nine gives God’s only exception for allowing the marriage bond to be severed and only then for the one against whom fornication is committed (the “innocent party”)(see the last phrase in verse nine). There is no qualifying phrase beyond that one exception to justify ending one marriage and forming another.

(3) Jesus’ Teaching Is Explicitly Clear (19:9). It truly takes “expert help” to misunderstand what Jesus teaches here. Take out the exception and here is how the “rule” reads: “Whoever divorce his wife and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” That could not be clearer! The exception is also perfectly clear.

(4) The Disciples’ Reaction (19:10). Their reaction is actually extreme. They conclude that it is better not to get married. Jesus does not validate such thinking, but it gives us insight in to what they understood. Jesus’ law for marriage, divorce, and remarriage is stringent! If “adultery” merely meant “covenant breaking,” would the disciples react so? One would simply need to “repent” of having broken their marriage vows, and then enter another marriage. If Jesus meant that, the disciples would hardly have reacted at all.

(5) Christ’s Final Response About Eunuchs (19:11-12). Jesus clears up any doubt by how He ends this discussion. He speaks of three classes of eunuchs-those born that way, those made that way by men, and those who make themselves that way “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” Being delicate here, we understand what it means to be a “eunuch.” That cuts to the heart of what our Lord is saying and one of the blessings accompanying the marriage relationship. Those who divorce for reasons other than the exception Jesus gives in verse nine would have to be in that third category of person discussed in verse 12.
This is not a truth that can be delivered with cold stare, pounding fist, and judgmental heart. It is one that more likely will be accompanied with breaking heart, blinding tears, and extreme hesitation. Probably nothing is more unpleasant to teach, but as part of the “whole counsel” (Acts 20:27) it must be taught. Culture cannot be the authority on this matter. Neither can emotion. Instead, as always, we must let Jesus be the authority (cf. Col. 1:18; 3:17; Matt. 28:18). — Neal Pollard

Was Jesus taught by an Indian guru?

“Russian writer Nicolas Notovitch, whose writings are popular among New Agers today, describes Luke as saying Jesus ‘was in the desert until the day of his showing unto Israel’ (Cf. Luke 1:80)” (Correcting the Cults, p. 146). “This, Notovitch declared, proves that no one knew where the young Jesus was for about sixteen years. He said he had found documents substantiating that Jesus went to India and learned from Indian gurus to raise people from the dead and cast out demons” (ibid).

If Mr. Notovitch had taken the time to read a little bit of the context (see Lk. 1:76), he would have known Zacharias was describing John the Baptist instead of Jesus. The problem with many people today is that they do not read the Bible or they do not read enough of it.

Brad Price

A spiritual GPS

Many travelers today use a “GPS” to help them reach their destination. GPS stands for “Global Positioning System.” According to the Garmin Company website, “The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use.”

The Garmin Company also gives an explanation of how the GPS works: “GPS satellites circle the earth twice a day in a very precise orbit and transmit signal information to earth. GPS receivers take this information and use triangulation to calculate the user’s exact location. Essentially, the GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received. The time difference tells the GPS receiver how far away the satellite is. Now, with distance measurements from a few more satellites, the receiver can determine the user’s position and display it on the unit’s electronic map.” *

Isn’t it fascinating how satellites “in the heavens” are used to determine our location on Earth and gives guidance as to travel routes that we can use to reach particular areas!

Yet, the use of the GPS illustrates the fact that we ALL need guidance from Heaven above! Long ago, the prophet Jeremiah exclaimed: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (10:23).

What you and I need is “God’s Positioning System” For God knows where we are, where we need to be, and how to get there. As we consult the divine GPS (God’s Word, Psalm 119:105), we can answer the following questions:

Where are we? We are “in Sin.” Due to our wrong choices, we are guilty of sin (James 1:13-15). Due to our sins, we are lost and doomed, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Where do we need to be? We need to be “in Christ.” In Christ, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). Those “in Christ” can look forward to living eternally with God in heaven (Romans 6:23).

How do we get there? We “get there” in and through Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). One who puts his trust in Christ (Acts 16:30-31), turns from his sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), and confesses Christ (Romans 10:9-10), and is baptized (immersed) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) is placed by God “in Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27). Then, as long as one remains faithful to Christ, the promise is that one day – by the grace of God – he will enter into heaven (1 John 1:7; Revelation 2:10).

According to “God’s Positioning System” – the divine GPS, where are YOU?

Won’t YOU submit your life to Christ so that you can be found in Him and on your way to heaven? (Philippians 3:9)

— David A. Sargent

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Serving God ALL OUR DAYS

1) If we listed all the things we do tomorrow, would our list of tasks include the item found in Lk. 1:75?
2) It is God’s will that people “serve” Him (Verse 74).
3) The additional detail in verse 75 might cause some people to sit up and take notice.
4) How often does God want us to “serve” Him? ALL OUR DAYS is what we find in Lk. 1:75.
5) We find this same idea as early as Deut. 6.
6) Deut. 6:1 refers to the time when Israel would arrive in the Promised Land.
7) Deut. 6:2 is the verse we want – READ
a) God told the Hebrews to keep “all His laws” ALL the days of their lives.
b) For the Hebrew people, religion was a lifetime commitment.
8) God says there is to be a religious commitment to Him that lasts for our entire life.
9) Every single day we are to think about God and our commitment to Him.
10) Is this how we approach life?
11) Someone might think that is a lot to ask.
12) Someone might even say: “If I do this, what is in the deal for me?”
13) God promised to help and bless His people, Deut. 6:3.
14) God’s will for Christians is expressed quite well in our next reference, Eph. 1:4.
a) Paul said God did some “choosing” before the world was created.
15) God did “choose,” but he chose a “class” of people, not individuals.
16) Those who fall into the class of the obedient and the righteous will be saved.
17) Those who decide to disobey will be put into a class that God has chosen for condemnation.
a) God wants people to be “holy and blemish” before Him.
b) We know from Lk. 1 that this is God’s will for our lives every single day.
18) Some things in life take almost no work.
19) Other things in life take a long, long time.
a) How long will it take for a person to become “holy and without blemish”?
b) For people to do well at living the Christian life, they need daily practice.
c) Christians need to daily follow the instructions in the Bible to be the type of people God wants.
20) If we try to serve God all our days we will be “holy and without blemish.”
21) If we do not act in this way “all our days” we will unholy and fully of blemishes.
a) Eph. 4:24 – READ
b) God also allows us to have a “new life.”
a) In the Old Testament Abraham was told to “walk before God” (Gen. 17:1).
b) More than 150 times in the Old Testament we read about “walking” before and with God.
c) This concept is also found in the New Testament.
2) Jn. 8:12 says the followers of Christ do not WALK in darkness.
a) For all of our days we need to strive to walk in the light.
b) Rom. 6:4 says the saved “walk in the newness of life.”
c) Every single day we should try to walk in the newness of life.
3) Many think they will find and serve God in their latter years.
4) This is not God’s message to us: Walk before Him with “all our days.”
5) We start out in the right way very early in life and we continue in that way.
6) If we miss out on the early years, we get on this road as quick as we can in our later years.

Can people really speak in tongues?

The modern tongues movement is usually traced back to Charles F. Parham (1873-1929). Parham was a former Methodist minister who opened a Bible college in Topeka, Kansas. He believed people could receive a great outpouring of divine power. After hands were laid on one of his students (Agnes Ozman), this girl “spoke in tongues.” Soon more than 30 other students were also “speaking in tongues.” Parham then took the Pentecostal or “full gospel” message to various parts of the United States (Galena, Kansas; Lawrence, Kansas; El Dorado Springs, Missouri; Joplin, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Orchad and Houston, Texas) and this movement continues at the present time throughout the world. Before Parham many others wrote and spoke about tongue speaking, including: Irenaeus (130-200 A.D.), Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), Chrysostom (345-407 A.D.), Augustine (354-430 A.D.). For a fuller study of this subject see Hoekema (pp. 10-33).

Some excellent books have been written on tongue speaking, two of which are “The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues” by John P. Kildahl and “What About Tongue Speaking?” by Anthony A. Hoekema. Kildahl was a psychotherapist who studied tongue speaking for ten years (his work was sponsored by the American Lutheran Church as well as the National Institute of Mental Health). He traveled coast to coast listening to tongue speakers use their gift and explain their beliefs. He also recorded his own personal observations.

Hoekema was Professor of Systematic Theology at the Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His book is largely based on lectures given at the Conservative Baptist Seminary in Denver, Colorado in 1964 and this material focuses on a Biblical and theological evaluation of tongue speaking. In addition to these resources, which are cited below, readers are encouraged to consult and study the chart on tongues located in the commentary on 14:2 in this book.

Tongue speaking is sometimes called glossolalia, a term based upon two Greek words: Glossa (the tongue) and lalein (to talk or speak). Many who now claim to speak in tongues profess to follow Jesus, but “Glossolalia or speaking in tongues is not restricted to Christian experience. Ecstatic utterances of a divinely inspired nature are mentioned in early Egyptian writings. The oracles of Delphi, Dodona, and Epirus among many others, which laid claim to prophecy, sometimes through the spirits of the dead, appear to be related to glossolalia” (Kildahl, p. 11).

Questions and answers about tongue speaking:

Are all tongue speakers members of the Pentecostal movement? No. As indicated in the preceding paragraph, non-Christians (heathens) have claimed to speak in tongues. In recent times tongue speakers have claimed membership in the Lutheran church, the Episcopal faith, the Presbyterian church, the Baptist faith, the Russian Orthodox religion and even Catholic churches. “The Church of the Latter-day Saints—popularly known as Mormons—was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith in New York. Belief in gifts of the Spirit was one of its articles of faith. Emphasis was placed on ‘the gifts of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc’” (Kildahl, pp. 17-18). Some of the early Quakers also professed to speak in tongues; one of the best known was the so called “Ranters in England.”

Claims about tongue speaking have come from many different countries including the United States, Sweden, Norway, etc. Gromacki (The Modern Tongues Movement, p. 9) noted how some Eskimos in Greenland are said to have engaged in tongue speaking. Their “religious services are led by the angakok, the medicine man or priest. In these services, there is a definite attempt to get in touch with the nether world. The services are characterized by drum beating, singing, dancing, and nudity of both men and women.”

Claims of tongue speaking have not only been world-wide, they have sometimes involved the very young (in some cases children as young as four are said to have spoken in tongues). Tongue-speaking claims also pre-date the New Testament. One claim comes from the “Report of Wenamon,” approximately 1100 B.C. A young worshipper of “Amon” is said to have become possessed of a god and spoken in a frenzied and ecstatic language.

Why do people want to speak in tongues? There may be many reasons, but Kildahl (p. 4) noted that this “experience brings peace and joy and inner harmony. Glossolalists view it as an answer to prayer, an assurance of divine love and acceptance.” See, too, the How intense is the tongue speaking experience question and answer below.

Are people taught to speak in tongues? True tongue speaking (the divine gift from God) was not “taught.” The Holy Spirit determined who received this gift (1 Cor. 12:7-11) and Christians were automatically able to speak in tongues (languages they had never learned) without any prompting or guidance. Today, what is called tongue speaking, is often a “taught gift” (people are trained to “speak in tongues”).

Shortly after this author became a Christian, a member of the Pentecostal movement offered to “teach him to speak in tongues in less than ten minutes.” Similar offers are still made and Kildahl (p. 3) offered a specific example of how this is done. People have knelt as a group “and the leader encouraged them to try to ‘receive’ this ability. He went from one to another, laying his hands on each person’s head. Bill told me that with a prayer in tongues and with encouragement, the leader asked him to make an effort to move his lips in a free and relaxed manner. ‘Say after me what I say, and then go on speaking in the tongue that the Lord will give you.’ ‘Aish nay gum nay tayo…’ prayed the leader and waited for Bill to repeat the same sounds, and then go on in his own words. Bill tried. ‘Aish nay gum nay tayo…’ and then stopped. ‘Aish nay gum nay tayoo…Aish nay gum nay tayoo…’ The leader, keeping both of his hands on Bill’s head again prayed that Bill would open himself to receive the ‘gift of the Spirit.’”

Tongue speakers have even gone so far as to grab the chin of a non-tongue speaker and say, “I’ll move your chin; make the sounds I have made” to help someone start speaking in tongues. This process makes a mockery of God’s power and the true gifts. It is also contrary to what we find in the Bible (read carefully Acts 8:15-18 and Acts 19:1-6). Kildahl also noted (p. 3) how two participants in this group “tried earnestly, and the leader exhorted them, placing his hands on their heads, but the words never came.” Kildahl concluded (p. 74) that “tongue speaking is a learned phenomenon” and “is explicable in rational ways” (p. 85). For additional information on this point see the commentary on 1 Cor. 12:10b.

Do tongue speakers often misapply Bible passages? Yes. Advocates of tongue speaking frequently try to inject the supernatural into parts of the Bible where such was never intended by God. One example of this is found in Jas. 5:7, a passage that speaks of the “early and latter rain.” The original thought is that farmers in Palestine literally rely upon rain for their crops. The early rain comes at the end of October or November and loosens the soil so farmers can plant their crops. The latter rains come in March and April and help crops mature. Pentecostal teachers have claimed that the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 is an example of “early rain” and our day and time is “the latter rainy season.” Since we allegedly live in the “latter rainy season,” Pentecostal teachers have said “spiritual gifts are still available.” Paul refuted this idea in places such as 1 Cor. 13:8-10.

Pentecostal teachers have also incorrectly claimed that other verses such as Acts 4:31 (Christians “were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word with boldness”) refer to tongue speaking. Other texts such as Rom. 8:26 (the Spirit makes intercession for Christians that cannot be uttered); Eph. 5:19 (Christians sing “spiritual songs”); Eph. 6:18 (Christians pray “in the Spirit); 1 Thess. 5:19-20 (“quench not the spirit” and “despise not prophesying”); and 1 Pet. 4:11 (“speak as the oracles of God”) have been misconstrued to support Pentecostal claims. Because these incorrect interpretations come from people who claim to be led or directed by the Holy Spirit, their misapplication of various passages is on-going proof that people claiming to be led and directed by the Holy Spirit are not true servants of God (this point is also discussed in the commentary on 12:3a and 12:3b).

Have Pentecostal believers ever “tarried” (waited) for the Holy Spirit to come upon them? Yes; in some cases people are said to have “wrestled with God” to receive Holy Spirit baptism or the “gift of tongues.” This false idea is based on Lk. 24:49, a passage where Jesus made a promise to His apostles. Heaven fulfilled this promise on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5, 8; 2:1-4). Aside from this specific promise to the apostles, no individual or group of people in the New Testament was ever told to “tarry for the Holy Spirit.”

Do those who speak in tongues believe tongues are always for the same purpose? No. Some regard tongues as a sign that someone has received Holy Spirit baptism and this sign may be temporary (i.e. the person may only be able to speak in tongues for a while and, then, the gift ceases). Others think tongues are given and this sign is permanent. Still others claim that tongues are for “devotional use” (i.e. this gift helps them pray, give thanks or sing). There are also those who think tongues are “congregational” (they are to be used at or during a worship service).

How strongly do tongue speakers believe in their “gift”? One man, and his opinion seems typical of tongue speakers, said: “I do not know what language I have and I don’t question it. I believe it is from God and that is good enough for me” (Kildahl, p. 7). Since members of the Pentecostal movement usually elevate their experience above what the Bible says, this is one more proof that it is not of divine origin (compare 1 Thess. 5:21 and Mt. 7:21-23).

Do tongue speakers believe they are receiving a message from God? In some cases, yes. Kildahl (p. 8) noted how one said, “God will use this gift when God wishes to give a direct message to the people.”

While all the errors associated with claims about tongue speaking are troublesome, this one is especially serious. When people believe God is still giving messages to people through their “gifts,” but the Bible says heaven’s message to man is already 100% complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3), we must either accept the claims of tongue speakers and reject what Paul and Peter said or accept the claims of the inspired apostles and reject the claims of tongue speakers. We cannot believe both New Testament teaching and Pentecostal claims. For more reasons why Pentecostalism conflicts with the Scriptures, see the commentary on 12:13b.

How intense is the tongue speaking experience? “Emotionally, the experience was one of fantastic release, comparable in intensity to sexual orgasm, or to the sense of freedom just after an intense stomach cramp subsides” (Kildahl, p. 46).

Is it fair to say that tongue speakers elevate their experience over the Bible? Yes. If a tongue speaker is feeling discouraged, “he can begin to speak in tongues and recall that God is with him, that glossolalia is a special gift from God, and that he can unload his problems through releasing his feelings in tongue-speech. Each time he speaks in tongues, he performs a physical act which he surrounds with a set of beliefs reconfirming that he is a special person, specially blessed” (Kildahl, pp. 46-47). First century tongue speakers could use their gift for personal edification (see 1 Cor. 14:28 and the comment on this gift), but now that the Scriptures have been completed, edification comes through the New Testament (Acts 20:32).

Why did the Pentecostal movement become so popular in the twentieth century? There are several answers to this question, but only a few of them will be listed here. Pentecostalism was zealously promoted and too many preachers were unwilling or ignorant to refute the false claims. A third reason for its popularity is that people want a “taste of the supernatural.”

Does Pentecostalism make other claims? Yes, and many of these claims lay great stress on what is material instead of what is spiritual. Pentecostalism has often focused on solving man’s earthly problems (healing the sick and prosperity to the poor). In some foreign countries Pentecostalism has offered protection from witchcraft and promised children to the barren. Pentecostal preachers have often stressed physical blessings instead of stressing the terribleness of sin and man’s need for salvation. While Jesus and the apostles did heal and help the poor, these acts were only tools to help people with their greatest need: Salvation.

The emphasis by Pentecostal groups on material prosperity, especially in the United States, has been unmistakable. This author has spoken with “tongue speakers” who said their relationship with God was financially beneficial to them (i.e. they went to bed with $5 in their pocket and woke up with $10). Kildahl (p. 8) reported this as well: “He (Jesus, BP) is our banker—He puts money in our pocket, He makes a $5 bill stretch into a $10 bill, He pulls us back from danger and covers us from unknown dangers.”

Do people believe their “spiritual gifts” increase their spirituality? Yes. It is often claimed that having a gift such as tongues provides people with a new and greater level of spiritual maturity. While this is a popular belief, it is false and Paul showed the error of this claim in this letter. The Corinthians excelled in gifts such as tongue speaking, but they suffered from internal division, lawsuits, sexual sin, and possibly drunkenness at the Lord’s table (be sure to read 1 Cor. 3:1). Also, rather than indicate maturity, as shown in the discussion on 13:10-12, spiritual gifts were a sign of spiritual infancy.

What are the basic conclusions about tongue speaking? Hoekema (p. 126) rightly quoted V. Raymond Edman who said, “there are really only three possibilities: Either glossolalia today is of the devil, or it is a genuine gift of the Spirit, or it is a phenomenon which, without being either primarily inspired by the devil or by the Spirit, has been psychologically induced.” Since modern tongue speaking is not “of the Spirit” (see the commentary on 1 Cor. 13:8-10), what is now done is either psychologically induced, a tool of Satan, or both. Let’s not forget that Satan “fashions himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) and he has previously used “signs” to lead people astray (Mt. 24:24). Satan’s signs are called “lying signs” in 2 Thess. 2:9.

What Bible books refer to tongue speaking? Only three New Testament books refer to tongue speaking (Mark, Acts and First Corinthians).

Where can we find all the New Testament verses on tongue speaking? See Mk. 16:17; Acts 2:4-11; 10:46; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12:10, 28, 30; 13:1, 8; 14:2, 4, 5, 6, 13, 14, 18, 19, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28). For a contrast between the Biblical gift of tongues and modern claims, see the chart located in the commentary on 14:2.

Are tongue speakers consistent in how they handle the Scriptures? No, and one terrific example of this is found in Mk. 16:17-18. Jesus said people would “speak with new tongues” (verse 17) and “take up serpents” (verse 18). Each of these statements is expressed exactly the same way in the Greek text (Jesus used the future indicative to describe both actions). If Mk. 16:17 means tongue speaking is for today, believers are also to handle snakes (verse 18). There is no way to say that tongue speaking can be done unless one is also willing to handle snakes. Since Pentecostal teachers do not want to handle snakes, they have been forced to re-interpret the word “snakes” to mean “enemies.” This is just one more example of how people “wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16).

What happens today when tongues are “interpreted?” Many times the “interpretation” is very general or people claim the tongue speaker was expressing thanksgiving to God. Kildahl (p. 63) cited an example of a young man who attended a meeting and said the words of the “Lord’s Prayer” in an African dialect he learned in his youth. There was an “interpreter of tongues” present at this meeting and the interpreter said the young man said Jesus’ second coming was imminent! The words were incorrectly interpreted and a false prediction was made about Jesus’ final return. For a discussion of the genuine gift of “interpretation of tongues,” see the commentary on 12:10c.

Do tongue speakers often rely upon a leader? Yes, and Kildahl (p. 44) said his research showed it was “vital” for tongue speakers to have a “complete sense of trust and confidence in the leader.” On this same page he described how tongue speakers often refer to their leaders: “‘That man is a holy man.’ ‘He is fantastic, I never met someone who is as sincere and dedicated as he is.’ ‘He truly lives every moment close to the Lord.’ ‘She is utterly charismatic, her whole life is a gift from God to the rest of us.’” This author has heard similar claims from the tongue speakers he has encountered. In fact, as Kildahl (p. 44) said, it can be “difficult to distinguish whether glossolalists were talking about their leader or about Jesus.”

“It is not surprising that a profound sense of trust in a leader is necessary for beginning to speak in tongues, just as it is for the induction of hypnosis” (ibid). Kildahl also (p. 50) said: “We never met a deeply involved tongue-speaker who did not have some leader to whom he looked for guidance” and the “importance of the leader was well illustrated by the fact that the style of glossolalia adapted by the group bore a close resemblance to the way in which the leader spoke” (ibid, p. 53).

Has modern tongue speaking been viewed negatively? Yes. In the past some have regarded tongue speakers as naïve and gullible people who accepted things without investigation. Today those who claim to speak in tongues can be found in virtually every walk and profession of life (doctors, lawyers, ministers, professors, etc.).

Why do some people speak of the “Holy Ghost” and others refer to the “Holy Spirit?” Many within the Pentecostal movement seem to prefer the word “ghost” because this term more quickly stirs the emotions and passions of people. Ghost has an almost eerie sound to it and is useful in creating an environment that is often not “decent and orderly” (compare 1 Cor. 14:40).

While the KJV normally uses the words “Holy Ghost” instead of “Holy Spirit,” there are four places in the New Testament where the KJV says “Holy Spirit” instead of “Holy Ghost” (see Lk. 11:13; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 1 Thess. 4:8).

For more information on “tongue speaking” and spiritual gifts feel free to get the free on line Bible commentary for First Corinthians from at this link:

Is the church the same as the kingdom?

The answer to this question is both “yes” and “no.” In some places “church” and “kingdom” are virtual synonyms. In other passages “church” and “kingdom” do not mean the same thing.

Jesus said His people would partake of the Lord’s Supper in the “kingdom” (Mt. 26:29) and Paul said this activity is done in the “church” (1 Cor. 11:20-22). In Mt. 16:18 Jesus spoke of the “church” and then immediately spoke of the “kingdom” (Mt. 16:19). Paul said the saved are “translated into the kingdom” (Col. 1:13) and then spoke of the “church” just a few verses later (Col. 1:18). In this same book he referred to “fellow workers in the “kingdom” (Col. 4:11) and then spoke of the “church” (Col. 4:15-16). Paul wrote to the “church” at Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:1) and then said these Christians had been “called into the kingdom” (1 Thess. 2:12). The Hebrew writer spoke of the “church” (Heb. 12:23) and then said these saints had access to the kingdom (Heb. 12:28). Jesus’ blood purchased a “kingdom” (Rev. 5:9-10, ASV), but Acts 20:28 says Jesus’ blood purchased the church. Just as there are different words in the New Testament that describe “elders” to describe different facets of an elder’s work (compare Tit. 1:5 with Tit. 1:7), so “kingdom” and “church” are sometimes used in this same way.

While many passages do use “kingdom” and “church” interchangeably, these two words are not always identical. In Mt. 8:12 when Jesus said “but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth” He clearly was not referring to the church. Satan has a “kingdom” (Mt. 12:26), but this kingdom is certainly not the church. At the end of time when Jesus invites the saved into the kingdom (Mt. 25:34) He will not be inviting people into the church.

In places where “kingdom” and “church” are not interchangeable, the word “kingdom” generally has the sense of “rule.” All are “in the kingdom” in the sense that each one is accountable to God for his or her actions (i.e. God reigns or rules over all people). Only those who become Christians are “in the kingdom” in the sense of being a member of the church and thus part of the saved.

Are you part of the “kingdom” in the sense of the church? If not, I encourage you to do a basic study of Christianity at this link:

Brad Price

Children are an heritage of the Lord

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). No gift or asset exceeds their value, the value of children! And, no, they do not always drink their drinks “spill-free,” make 100s on their tests, make us proud by their conduct, or get along with others just so. Yet, who would really trade them in?

Parents must be a present force for good in their children’s lives! They must seriously and joyfully undertake the privilege parenting presents. Adults should regularly have a physical to ascertain their fitness. In the same way, parents should have a regular spiritual to ascertain their fitness as parents.

Upon examination, some parents find their:

HEAD in the clouds! Some children could never be guilty of any wrongdoing under any circumstances. The teachers and others children with whom the child has problems are always to blame. Really?!

MIND in the gutter. Where will many children view their first pornography or nudity on the screen? Yes, in the home. Mom? Dad? Are we guarding our lips (Titus 2:8) and hearts (Proverbs 4:23)?

NOSE to the grindstone! Sixty-hour workweeks, ten hours in commute, forty-two hours for sleep, and parents have left, at most, eight hours per day for their children. If one bathes and dresses for work, chews his meals with care, buys groceries, pays bills, and watches the average daily dose of TV, how much time do the kids get?

Down in the MOUTH! It is true, children imitate the behavior modeled before them. In an age of grumbling and complaining, parents must teach by example that such is not the way God wants to act (cf. Acts 2:14).

EYES on the prize! Spiritual focus is vital for successful parenting to occur (2 Corinthians 5:7). When parents emphasize Christ above all, emulate Christ rather than any other, and esteem heaven rather than earth, children being to see things more clearly, too.

The Great Physician says it all (parents should pay extra special attention) when he says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). Parents, let’s always work on “shaping up” for our children’s sakes!

–Neal Pollard


Most have heard about the “very small meltdown” (his mom’s words) Steve Slater had aboard a JetBlue flight in New York City after an extended run-in he had with a foul-mouthed, rude female passenger with a lethal roller bag. He is an instant celebrity, hailed by large numbers of people as a folk hero and gutsy. News stories about the incident have included background music by Johnny Paycheck, playing the line, “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more.” By all accounts, Slater got on the plane’s intercom, used profanity, grabbed two cans of bear, deployed the emergency slide, and thereby exited the plane in reaction to the inflamed woman passenger. He was arrested at his home and faces a potential jail sentence of seven years. Most pundits agree no jury would convict Slater because too many are empathetic to him and enthusiastic approve of how he handled himself.

I have seen many rude passengers on airplanes. Even frequent fliers act entitled and behave badly in pursuit of their perceived rights. It sounds like Slater had a bad case scenario on his hands, but he has galvanized an image for himself that is not conducive for good in our society. Slater symbolizes a growing attitude toward such fundamental landmarks like authority, law and order, civility, and responsibility. He jeopardized the safety of people on the ground, broke clearly stated industry rules, used profanity over the loudspeaker, and has remained to this point mostly unapologetic.

People have said they wish they could pull a “Steve Slater” and walk away from their job so flamboyantly. Only the economy and related economic realities keep them in check. Is he the working man’s hero? Or is he the latest symptom that betrays a societal, spiritual sickness?

If everyone were to behave like Mr. Slater did yesterday, society would be on the brink of collapse. Blatant disregard for others already characterizes a great many people in our world. Outbursts of anger, clearly condemned in scripture (Gal. 5:20), certainly do not characterize “those who belong to Christ Jesus” and “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24). Can you imagine a world where everybody did what they felt without regard for the other person? New Testament writers urge self-control and deference to others, even if it means going a second-mile and turning the other cheek (Matt. 5:39, 41). We are to repay evil with good (1 Th. 5:15). We are not to return evil for evil or insult for insult (1 Pet. 3:9). Mr. Slater did not accomplish those things with his little meltdown, and he should not be hailed as a hero. What a wonderful day it will be when the cult heroes are those who are renowned for their civility, dignity, and selflessness!

–Neal Pollard