Bible

Drop The Ball

Drop the ball – whenever you hear that phrase it’s usually made in reference to someone messing something up, but not when it comes to the New Year!

“Drop the ball” in that context means starting over. It has to do with America’s tradition of watching the “Ball” in New York City drop to light the New Year’s sign when the clock strikes 12:00…or 11:00 if you live in the Central Standard Time Zone. A lot of people enjoy keeping that tradition, while others enjoy sleeping. Eh, to each his own when it comes to that.

So what does that “ball” and the New Year bring with it?  I don’t know honestly. We all have hopes but the fact of the matter is we just don’t know.  Some things can completely depend on us while other things are completely out of our hands. As for the things we can’t control, more prayer in the New Year can help.

But how about the things we can control? Things like spending more time with family, becoming more evangelical or growing stronger in our own devotion to God. When it comes to things like that the “ball” is in our court.

This year, start a new family tradition that lets you “unplug” and spend more valuable time with your family. Use Bible tracts to give to others so they can learn more about the Bible and the salvation that its pages contains (Heart to Heart, House to House has a great selection that covers various topics). If you’re not a member of the church of Christ, make a “resolution” to visit the worship services or Bible Study services of a local congregation in your area.

The New Year gives us a new “ball” of sorts.  I dare you to “drop it” and start living for God. EA

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

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The Eventual Left

It’s happened to the majority of us all, at least to the majority of us who live out in the country. You’re driving along on the road and all of a sudden it happens. You get stuck behind a vehicle that has their turn signal on…blinkblinkblink. And after a mile or ten you realize they’re not actually interested in turning any time soon.

I have a name for this situation. It’s called the eventual left. They’re turning you know…that is eventually I think they are. Sound familiar?

One vehicle I got stuck behind drove for about ten miles with their left turn signal proudly blinking on and off before they finally went around a curve that was sharp enough for them to turn their steering wheel just enough to the left to automatically cut it off. Small pleasures sometimes bring big smiles and laughs. But my “ordeal” wasn’t over. Less than a quarter-mile later that left blinker returned. They had come to a stop sign, and I didn’t know whether or not to believe them by now. They had just driven ten miles with it on and now I’m supposed to just take them at their “word?”

Now, that was only a vehicle, but does this sound like anyone you know? How about yourself?

What I mean is that sometimes we can get stuck pulling an “eventual left” in our life. We keep saying that we’re going to do a certain something for our self or others but we never seem to keep our word. We keep “blinking” but we never act! I think the technical term is procrastination.

Some examples may be becoming more faithful in the services of the church, reading your own Bible more often or inviting a friend or family member to worship and Bible study.

Sometimes it’s not necessarily what we need to do but what we need to stop doing. We keep telling our self or someone we care about that we’re going stop doing some particular thing (drinking, smoking, cussing, loosing our temper, you fill in the blank) but that someday never seems to come anytime between Monday and Sunday. Soon enough people will quit believing us if we keep “blinking” but never seem to make the “turn.”

James said our life is “like a vapor that appears for a little time, then vanishes away” (James 4:14). We are only given so much time to do what we’ve said we would do. We need to make our “lefts” right before we hit the stop sign of life (Hebrews 9:27, John 9:4, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).

Don’t eventually do something for others or God, do it today. Think about it, then act on it. EA

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’”” (2 Kings 20:1)

One of the “Greatest” Bible Verses

I don’t know the author, but there’s a breakdown of John 3:16 that shows how it is one of the “greatest” verses in God’s Word.

It’s called: The Superlative

FOR GOD – The Greatest Love

SO LOVED – The Greatest Degree

THE WORLD – The Greatest Company

THAT HE GAVE – The Greatest Act

HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON – The Greatest Gift

THAT WHOSOEVER – The Greatest Opportunity

BELIEVETH – The Greatest Simplicity

IN HIM – The Greatest Attraction

SHOULD NOT PERISH – The Greatest Promise

BUT – The Greatest Difference

HAVE – The Greatest Certainty

EVERLASTING – The Greatest Duration

LIFE – The Greatest Possession

Now how great is that?

Total Hereditary Depravity, Part 2 – The Bible Simply Does Not Teach We’re Born Sinners!

From Genesis to Revelation you won’t find a single verse that teaches all of mankind is born completely corrupt and incapable of anything good spiritually the moment we’re born! You would think that would settle the issue, but sadly it doesn’t. Despite the fact that the Bible doesn’t teach Total Hereditary Depravity there are some people who still love to try to make it do so!

People who teach we’re born sinners love to quote David when he said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) They don’t love quoting it in context but they still love quoting it. But for some reason they don’t like to quote Job when he said, “But from my youth I reared him [the poor] as a father, And from my mother’s womb I guided her [the widow].” (Job 31:18) I wonder why not???

When did Job say he began guiding the widow??? So what did Job mean by that? Same thing David meant when he said he was conceived in sin! They were both speaking in hyperboles to describe the lifestyle they were living at that particular time. It’s not that David was literally conceived in sin any more than Job was literally serving the widow from the womb! They were symbolic phrases to describe the feeling they had in their heart.

People who teach we’re born sinners love to quote Paul when he said, “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:3) They don’t love to quote it in context but they love to talk about how we’re children of wrath by nature – attempting to make Paul teach that we’re born that way. But they don’t like to quote Paul when he said, “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,” (Romans 2:14). Again I wonder why not???

Never mind the context of Ephesians 2:3 that says the nature of wrath comes from disobedience in verse 2 or that the nature is actually talking about a learned nature, let’s pretend for a second that nature means we’re born completely corrupt, and by nature we can’t do anything good spiritually! If people are born with a nature that can’t do anything good spiritually then how did the Gentiles of the old world follow God’s law by nature??? If people are born with a nature that can’t do anything good spiritually and the heart is nothing but corrupt, then how did Jesus describe the heart as good and honest that the seed (God’s word – Luke 8:11) fell into in Luke 8:15?

How can any of that happen? It’s because we’re not born sinners! We’re not born spiritually depraved! Total Hereditary Depravity is totally wrong!!!

The Bible teaches that we are all born spiritually innocent and we become guilty like Adam when we choose sin over righteousness. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of “knowledge of GOOD and EVIL” – not the tree of “knowledge of EVIL and EVIL.” The heart of mankind goes astray from God – it’s not born astray from God! (more…)

Reasonable questions to ask about the rapture theory…

Every once in a while I still see a bumper sticker that says something like, “In case of rapture this car will be un-manned” or “When the rapture happens you can have the car.” You probably know that the word rapture is a popular one among many people in the religious world. But what you may not know is that the word itself is not used once in the KJV of the Bible and there is no solid support found in the original Greek manuscripts.

Now, I’m not saying that Jesus isn’t returning, that the dead won’t be raised or that the living won’t be caught up. Christ returning is definitely not a teaching foreign to the Bible. Jesus taught His disciples and warned others that He would return (Mark 14:62, John 14:3, 1st Cor. 11:24-26). But the doctrine of the second coming of Christ and the perverted doctrine of the rapture are not the same. One is right and the other is wrong.

Yes, I know the rapture is a popular teaching, but being popular and being right are not the same either. Think about some of the major components concerning the teaching of the rapture. The details depend upon who’s teaching it, but there are several common foundational teachings that crumble when they’re examined along with some clear statement scriptures found in the New Testament.

One major foundational teaching is that Jesus will return secretly to “rapture away” His disciples. If that’s true then why did the apostle John say that when Jesus returned everyone would see Him? Revelation 1:7 says, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” The apostle Paul said Jesus will return with a shout! Why shout if it’s supposed to be a secret? “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1st Thessalonians 4:16) (more…)

Can people perform miracles from God today?

It really amazes me how many people still put so much stock in the modern-day “faith-healers” and “miracle performers” of God. I don’t really see or hear about them very much around my area but they exist, and an untold number of them thrive on TV.

Probably one of the most amazing things about these “healers” is that the same routines manage to work almost as well today as they have in the past (Ecclesiastes 1:9). If people would only pay attention to the difference between the miracles done in the first century and the ones supposedly done today, it would become clear that they are not looking as closely as they should.

First off, why are the people who are “healed” never well-known to the community? Jesus and the apostles healed people who everyone knew about (John 9:1-11, 20-27; Acts 3:1-10, 4:1-12). There was no denying it. News spread fast and facts were verified. With the way the news media can travel and verify things today, not to mention cell-phones, how can a true miracle be hidden from the public? It must be a cover-up, right? The only cover-up that happens is when a hand covers the camera lens of the news crews that are sent to check the “miracles” out.

Secondly, why do the “faith-healers” and “miracle workers” stay away from hospitals and other areas where the sick can be found in large numbers? I am not saying this with sarcasm either. When someone with an undeniable sickness or physical impediment comes to be healed they are told that the reason they cannot be helped is because they lack faith! While it is true that Jesus did not perform many miracles in Nazareth due to their lack of faith (Mark 6:4-5), I still cannot help but wonder if today’s miracle workers would have turned someone away like Malchus (Luke 22:49-51; John 18:10). (more…)

Don’t Leave it up to “Good Fortune”

Things like horoscopes make me laugh. I mean come on, how many different ways can you say the same thing? One close cousin of the horoscope that also makes me laugh is the fortune cookie. What a combination! Good news every time and lottery numbers to boot! Have you ever wondered why your cookie never says, “You are going to win the lottery!” But anyways, despite the silly sayings that most fortune cookies contain, I got one not too long ago that made me smile. It said, “You will receive some high prize or award.” When I read that I thought to myself, “Hey, now there is one I can agree with” and it’s not because of my good fortune, it’s because of my faith.

Concerning his desire to live beyond the grave Paul said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Now what is part of that prize and why could he confidently expect to receive it?

We have one answer in 2 Timothy 4:7,8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul did not rely on good fortune to receive a high prize or award. He did not leave it up to chance. He relied on his willingness to endure to the end. He relied on the promise of God made through the faith that was revealed through Jesus Christ. He relied on the grace of the only Righteous Judge that would give him that prize/award.

Christians are called to have the same mindset as Paul (1 Corinthians 11:1 & Philippians 3:15). We must strive to be like the apostle in our confidence in Christ and in our salvation; but this type of confidence will not be found in a cookie. It only comes from a right relationship with our Creator and Savior based on His directions found in His word (Romans 1:16,17, 10:17; Hebrews 8:10-12).  EA