Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: 1 Peter

Will Christians ever run out of people to share the gospel with?

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Will Christians ever run out of people to share the gospel with?

Matthew 28:16 (ESV) Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Those of you who follow me on social media will be aware that my wife, my child and I took a short vacation to the central coast of California recently. I love going to the beach and visiting at the ocean as it has certain refreshing qualities that allow me to forget problems and issues that come by on a day to day basis. It is also good for us as a family to make good and happy memories with each other.

Often times, I vacation in Cambria and Morro Bay in California and this time was no different. I have history there as my wife and I honeymooned there and I have many happy memories in that small part of the Pacific coast. What was different is that this time I had the opportunity to visit with a friend of mine who pastors the Calvary Chapel in Cambria. What may be surprising is that the message was not the message I will tell today, but something that came to me on an early Saturday evening as I am making sandcastles with my daughter.

The beach is a curious place, regardless of when you visit it is never going be exactly the same, the creator God who fashioned the universe simply by saying it, the one who measured the heavens with the span of his hand sent a tiny (by his standards) wave to shape and reshape the shoreline of the beach.

Can we count the sands of the beach? Or the salt in the water that comes and moves the particles to and fro, refreshing them, cleansing them and placing them where God desires them to be at that appointed time? The answer is obviously no, but God knows the number.

We are like those particles, our lives have meaning and when we do what we are meant to and connect with our creator God then we fulfil what God has for us. Christians have one task in this world and often times we don’t do that well, sometimes we get caught in a sideshow. Sometimes we do the “holy things” and get involved in arguments that we believe are for God, sometimes they are sometimes they are not.

An example of this is from my own personal archives, I have been guilty in the past of posting on social media about an issue that will generate discussion; I justify it to myself as I am “getting people talking” but really I am generating discussion to flex my intellectual and theological reasoning muscles. Whilst it is good to share the gospel, doing so in such a prideful way is by far not the best way to introduce Jesus to them. These discussions can degenerate very quickly and are often a deterrent to people looking to search out God.

One job, you only have one job!

Revelation 12:11 (ESV) And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Our job is to share the love of Jesus Christ by sharing with those that the LORD has given us opportunity to speak to. I make a big thing of learning the names of the checkout people at my local supermarket, building a relationship with them, cracking jokes, putting them at ease, wearing Christian T-shirts and always looking for a way to talk about Jesus in a way that will be receptive.

I am also called to host a bible study with my wife in our home, this world is hurting so bad and my wife felt a calling on our heart to talk about pain and suffering using biblical characters as examples, it is such a blessing to serve and to share with people. I have a great love for the people in the city that I now call my home and my desire is to introduce as many of them as I can to Jesus Christ.

I apologize if this sounds like a commercial for myself, it truly is not. The unfortunate reality is that many Christians (me included) do not take most of the opportunities that God places before them and if we as Christians were to do so, we could literally be the difference in people’s lives.

Personally, I cannot be saved for anyone else! All I can do is be the vessel used to carry the living water to the participant. The Holy Spirit will prick the heart of those hearing it and people have the same choice that Adam and Eve have, they can choose to follow God’s plan or choose to not follow God’s plan.

This world is not my home; I am just a passing through!

Here is the deal, this world is temporary! Once we pass from this life it is too late to talk about our “eternal future”. As much as I love my new home in my adopted country, if the LORD was to move me on, I would be personally sad but I would comply as the LORD has a plan for my life.

I take great solace and inspiration from the prophet Jeremiah, who was 40 years in ministry and no one listened to him. If that was me I would be very discouraged and questioning my mission left, right and center. Jeremiah did not, he just kept right on to the end of the road, he knew that God was using him and his life, he did not know why but he knew he was being used by God.

We have to be compliant like Jeremiah, we can’t want to do the work of God and move God along, God will do things in his time. When you are following God’s will obedience is key, we don’t always see the big picture so we don’t always see why God moves in the ways that he does.

What about the title?

Matthew 9:35 (ESV) And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

The answer is obviously no. As Jesus said, the harvest is plenty but people are not doing the work. When I think about the city that the LORD has placed me in or some 11,000 souls. I know that I cannot save one of them, but the LORD will put me in touch with many of them as I go around my daily life.

Pray for me (and one another)

My prayer for me is personal boldness, order in my life so that in season and out of season I will reflect the LORD in all that I do, take the opportunities that I am given to represent Jesus, give testimony on how he has changed my life and I pray for wisdom to say what needs to be said and not say what does not need to be said.

Folks, we need to get out there and engage the culture positively for Jesus Christ. I am reminded of a song I used to sing as a high school student back in Scotland…

“Be bold; be strong, for the LORD our God is with you”

God will always open doors for us, we have to stay on mission and always be ready to give a defense for the faith that we have in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 3:15) Sharing Jesus and allowing someone to make the choice to go to heaven is showing great love. I certainly do not hate anyone enough to condemn them to an eternity separated from God.

I pray this was a blessing and please share, like or comment below
TGBTG
TTE

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All along the watchtower – a morning with Jehovah’s Witnesses

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All along the watchtower – a morning with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

1 Peter 3:14 (ESV) But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

This Saturday morning just past, we had a visit from some local members of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was pretty much arranged from last week when the LORD gave me an opportunity to redeem myself for the first time I met these people.

Rubbish first impression

The week before I was not prepared to receive visitors, my wife was ill, lying on the couch and I saw them as an unwelcome distraction on my front porch. Really I was trying to get rid of them so I could attend to my wife. They (It was two ladies the first time) were persistent and I agreed to meet them again Saturday just passed. (3rd January)

I mention this as I wish to give a balanced account of what happened. I am not wishing to record that I did a wonderful or super theological thing and also wish to show that I didn’t do it well the first time. If this was a test from God, I most certainly flunked it the first time.

God is good all the time and he allowed me a do over and I am truly grateful. When the lady I saw the first time came back, she brought an older gentlemen who within a few minutes of discussing with him advised us that he had been a JW since 1978.

Doing what I was created for

I love it when people come to my door and ask me to talk about Jesus. (It doesn’t happen all that often so this is an opportunity made of 24 karat gold) When people from the JW’s or the LDS church come to your door and try to teach you another gospel that is contrary to the word of the LORD, take it as a tremendous opportunity to give witness to the gospel that you believe in.

Hence the feature verse. Several years ago I came across an apologetic evangelist called Charlie Campbell and his ministry called “Always Be Ready”. He spoke at the local Calvary Chapel in Visalia about the dangers of the Emergent church; I was that impressed that I checked out many of his other apologetic talks. Unsurprisingly he has one also on the Jehovah’s Witness organization.

So between the first time (the previous Saturday) they came to my door and the second I read up in what they believed, possible topics I could engage them in and we were ready.

Discussion topics

They came by and their opening line was about relevance of world topics such as the Paris attacks. They then focused in on how similar our beliefs were and tried to sound out if we read the bible. We also confirmed that we would be using a copy of their bible (New World Translation) we confirmed that we did read the bible and when they were discussing their beliefs they touched on a few areas that they have unique beliefs. (Compared to Christians)

1) A non-belief in a literal hell
2) A belief that everyone will be with Jesus regardless if you have chosen to believe or not.
3) A denial that Jesus was God or the trinity as a whole
4) A belief in “soul sleep”
5) A two tier heaven

Where do I start? Well my wife was keen to use their translation of the scriptures to avoid “translation difficulties” and this allowed us to focus on the topics that mattered.

1) A non-belief in a literal hell, 2) A belief that everyone will be with Jesus regardless if you have chosen to believe or not & 4) A belief in “soul sleep”

These three beliefs tied in together in the discussion that we had, they pushed the belief that regardless of the actions that you took in this life, you would not be separated from God, that there would not be an actual hell that you would go to.

This begs the question “why did Christ die?” if it was not for the substitution of our sins, my wife was the driver in the conversation and allowed them to state their case clearly and concisely in order to get where they were coming from.

We didn’t get to this scripture due to time constraints, however I was trying to get to John 14:6 where Jesus advises that “I am the way, the truth and the life, no-one comes to the father but by me”.

This doctrine ladies and gentlemen is a lie from the pit of hell. The bible advises the existence of a literal separation from God, that those who choose to separate themselves from their creator will get their wish. Once you enter a posthumous state, time is up and the choice then has been made, there is no cooling off period (or soul sleep)

3) A denial that Jesus was God or the trinity as a whole

We had the most fun with this one, the gentleman hypothesized “well who can really tell when Jesus came about?” So I took him to John 1:1, albeit in the New World Translation they have changed the wording from “God” to “a god” trying to remove Jesus as the Son of God.

It is important to see where they are coming from before you enter into that discussion, I then took them to Genesis 1:1 to show that the plurality of the word used for God shows more than one entity involved in creation, the fact that the Holy Spirit is mentioned by name and the fact that God (Father) says phrases such as “let us make man in OUR image”.

The last scripture I took them to, to show this was in the later part of the book of John (John 20) where Thomas, who originally doubted fell to his knees and stated “My LORD and my God!”

The interesting thing that they did do is they brought up Isaiah 9:6 and really tried to labor the point that he was only a “mighty God” and that “many people who were renowned in those days were known as gods” Of course my wife and I (mainly my wife at that point) were defending the position that we have a much higher view of Jesus being both God and man.

Because of their beliefs they also do not belief in a resurrection for Jesus. They believe that Jesus was a created angel as opposed to the propitiation for our sins. They do preach Jesus but not the Jesus of the bible. They attempt to remove the deity of Christ, ranking him as similar to an angel.

5) A two tier heaven

They kept referring to a “ruling class” and “everyone else” in heaven, so they do believe that there will be different zones in heaven dependent of what you believed at the time. I am assuming (this wasn’t explored due to time constraints) that the JW’s will be in the ruling class and that everyone else will be in the lower tier of the glory of God.

Perhaps I am misquoting them when I say heaven, they spoke about living on a paradise earth as opposed to a literal heaven.

So if everyone is in the presence of God at the end of the road, what is the point in what they are doing?

Well I had to look into that further as I did not explore that further at the time of the conversation. The JW’s believe that you have to be a baptized participating member of their organization in order to get a type of works based salvation. (Paul refutes this in Ephesians 2:8)

We did not get into their belief in the 144,000 also, I was hoping to but again we only had 40 minutes and we packed a lot into that time.

Treat them in LOVE

Most people try to get rid of JW’s as quickly as possible (like I did the first time) but I have learned from my error. These guys, whilst I believe that they are in error and are putting their faith in something that will not achieve what they hope it will, are still people and still require the love of Christ.

1 Corinthians 13:1 (ESV) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Here is the deal, I can be as convincing as I can be by stating things that make sense to the mind but I do not have the power to save someone. I can be used by God to witness to these witnesses (see what I did there?) however it is only through belief in Jesus Christ and the individual accepting his free gift of grace can he be saved.

Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Follow up?

Is really up to them, they have an open invite to my door anytime, however the chap who had been in the faith since 1978 was getting a little frustrated when we stated our beliefs. My hope and prayer is that they do come back; I love situations like this as I enjoy having an open invite to state my belief in Christ Jesus and my wife really is tremendous and was literally glowing when stating her faith. She truly is a blessing and really led the line at the beginning.

They stated that they would come back and left a “Watchtower” magazine that they would discuss with us upon their return. One hopes they do, if they have to do door to door time as part of their works based theology, I would much rather that they did it with us that would give them questions to stretch their faith than someone who may become a convert.

I have a great deal of love for them and prayed a lot for them over the weekend.

I pray this article was a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Four – December 24th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Four – December 24th

Thank you for reading our twenty fourth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be seated at Gods right hand. We read this is the book of Psalms chapter sixty eight and one hundred and ten which both are awesome pieces of prophetic scripture…

Psalm 68:18 (ESV) You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there. 19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah 20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

Like so many of these prophesies, David writes about his individual situation before and after this piece of messianic prophecy. When I read this piece of scripture I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church in chapter four verse eight where Paul quotes this as referring to the messiah Jesus of Nazareth. (The Christ) I have attached the first 10 verses for context of the full manner of scripture:

Ephesians 4:1 (ESV) I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

From this piece of scripture we see fundamental basic Christian doctrines, there is One of the following.

1) One body
2) One spirit
3) One LORD
4) One faith
5) One baptism
6) One God and Father

Paul confirms that Christ ascended but also writes that “he led a host of captives” which would be the Old Testament saints into the glory of heaven. The sacrificial system that came before Jesus was good, but it only temporarily put away sin it was never meant to grant eternal life. Jesus died for the sins of the world, past and present. When sin was conquered then the faithful of old were led by Christ into glory.

1st Peter also confirms that only the blood of Jesus (not of the animal sacrifices) was enough to “pay the ransom of sin” here is the verse in full:

1 Peter 1:17 (ESV) And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Going back to Psalm 68, the best explanation I have heard for this was said by the founder of Calvary Chapel Chuck Smith Senior when he said…

“But hell, prior to the death of Christ, was separated into two compartments. One compartment was of suffering for the unbelievers; the other was a compartment of comfort by Abraham for those who were trusting in the promises of God and in the fulfillment of God’s promise. Now these Old Testament men of faith all died in faith not having received the promise, but seeing it afar off they held onto it and they claimed that they were just strangers and pilgrims here. And they were just looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God. Now when Jesus died, He descended into hell. He who has ascended is the one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, it is then that He led captivity captive. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 61, the prophecy concerning Christ, it said, “He is going to set at liberty those that are bound and open the prison doors to those that are bound.” Set at liberty those that are chained, open the prison doors to those that are bound. Those that were bound by death, waiting with Abraham for the promise of God. When Jesus died He descended into hell and He preached to those souls that were in prison. The glorious fulfillment of God’s promise. The redemptive program is complete. The blood has been shed, whereby your sins are now put away once and for all. And now with their sins put away, they can ascend into the heavenly scene. So when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. And then He gave gifts unto men. That is, within the church, He gave gifted men as apostles, as prophets, as evangelists, as pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the saints. So, Paul quotes this in Ephesians 4, and of course, it just ties together a whole group of scriptures. Luke, the sixteenth chapter; Acts, chapter 2; and Ephesians, chapter 4; and the reference there in Peter where He went and preached to those souls in prison; and Isaiah 61. So you can look those up and find them tied together.” Credit – Pastor Chuck Smith Snr. Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa C2000 Series

Explained it way better than I ever could. Let’s look at Psalm one hundred and ten:

Psalm 110:1 (ESV) A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I  make your enemies your footstool.”

This gives a great insight into where Jesus is in the kingdom of heaven. At present he is sitting at the right hand of the father, which is why it states The LORD says to my Lord. Father God is speaking to the Son and gives the messianic promise also that his enemies will be trampled underfoot.

One Messiah – Two comings

Skeptics of the bible raise the question and claim that this could not possibly apply to Jesus as he did not trample his enemies underfoot when he died on the cross. I would say that it had a partial application during his first coming (conquering sin and death) and will be fully fulfilled in his second coming.

This verse is quoted as a Messianic Psalm in the book of Matthew chapter twenty two:

Matthew 22:41 (ESV) Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? 45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Jesus had been questioned by the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Herodians about different points of scripture and always had given answers that were straight from God and had exposed flaws in their theology and now Jesus asks the Pharisees a question when they were all together. He came to them when they were at their strongest, they loved to debate great points of scripture and show themselves holy among their peers.

He asks a question about himself as he knows that they do not believe that he is the Christ. You see, Jesus was a threat to these guys, they quoted the Rabbis who had gone before them when they interpreted the scriptures, Jesus did not. Jesus spoke with authority straight from the father and these “holy men” knew that he was different.

In asking this question he could see where their hearts were, whether they were asking for knowledge sake or whether they were genuinely seeking. Jesus asked a similar question of his disciples in which the Spirit revealed to peter who Jesus is.

Jesus used the thing they held upmost, the scriptures to demonstrate who he was. He knew they were going to answer “The Son of David” because that was one of the great titles of the messiah (See the earlier blog on this title) It is unknown whether they did not know of Jesus lineage and that through this mother and mothers husband he qualified as a “descendent of David.

The part they didn’t get was that the messiah was both human (Son of David) and divine (LORD of David) which is why they could not answer Jesus. Jesus accurately shows them that the Son of David was also the messiah; the messiah was also the LORD God coming with all authority given to him by the Father. And let’s look at Mark chapter sixteen that shows that he was actually lifted up…

Mark 16:19 (ESV) So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

What a fulfillment of scripture right here in the book of Mark (and also in yesterday’s verse in Luke chapter twenty four) He quite literally went to “prepare that place for us” and he fulfilled prophecy right there and then.

Jesus is in heaven at present and he desires that you join him. As we look at Christmas and draw an end to our advent series, I ask that you examine closely the claims of the messiah, hopefully the case that I have put forward in these twenty four parts will in some way to resolve some questions you had about who Jesus is.

December 25th is the day we hold in memory to remember the one who came to die for our sins and was the author of the faith that bears his name (Christian) My hope to you is that you get a Christmas gift that cannot be bought but it is worth more than gold. I of course refer to the gift of eternal life.

Jesus went through all this so we can join him in heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Ladies – win them without a word

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Ladies – win them without a word

1 Peter 3:1 (ESV) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

It is not often that I get to brag on my wife, however if it was not for her beauty and her kindness, I am convinced that you would not be reading this blog today. I have reviewed the above verse over and over again in my heart and used to have it memorized. The reason for this devotion to this small chunk of scripture is simple – I have lived it!

You see, up until late 2005 I was a raging alcoholic, an impending marriage to the lady who is now my wife did not stop me from my self-destructive path. A quiet Sunday morning in a small Calvary Chapel in the west end of Glasgow, the week after I quit drinking was step one on a path to where I am today. (If you want the full story check out my “testimony” page)

My wife Chelsea also blogs, if you have not had an opportunity, then please check out her blog at this link. But she “showed me Jesus”, we made mistakes along the way for sure, but I certainly would not have the unshakable faith I have today had it not been for my wife.

This is a call to arms to all women who may or may not want to obey this scripture, the husband is meant to be the head of the home and the wife is the keeper of the home, in today’s modern families both or either partner (I use that word because marriage is a partnership) may not have to do the traditional roles. I know that in my household, both of us earn money because of our different gifts.

Will they be won over by your conduct?

I can only speak for me and say that I was. There is something so beautiful about a God fearing woman; from a man’s point of view I must not do anything to pierce that. People get very literal with this passage and mean it that if you don’t have braided hair and wear lots of jewelry that you are somehow less of a Christian. I know that such things don’t interest me and my wife is beautiful to me most when she is her, when she loses herself in the worship of the LORD. That is real beauty!

Also if you are reflecting your Savior then you will inspire discussion into where it comes from, if you are infectious for the LORD then you will have comfort in times of trial and also you will have the love and honor of your husbands.

Missionary dating

Despite the fact that my wife and I are a success story, I would not advocate missionary dating. I know that for my daughter I would like a man who is a strong Christian and an effective leader in the home. I want my daughter to have what my wife has and also all the things my wife does not have. I know no man is perfect but I do want the best for my daughter.

Outward adornment

We have to be really careful with what we hold in our hearts, the reason I say this is that we can get really discontent with all of the stuff that we do not have. This is counterproductive as we then fail to recognize the many blessings we have. If we live in the western world I can guarantee that we have more than we need, even in the most abject of poverties, but we still whine when we see others on vacation or others get new “shiny things”.

We then start to question God and question whether we are truly being blessed. It is hard because the human heart will naturally covet perishable things and things that are temporary.

Vicious cycle

This leads to chasing what others have, coveting other folk’s things in order to “get ahead” and when we get in that mindset, we get desperate. We start taking on more things, to get more stuff and life becomes far more complicated than God would ever have planned.

Then we start getting into cycles like debt, depression and un-fulfilment because there is that “God shaped hole” that we are trying to stuff our stuff into. It is all perishable; it is as good for you as eating fruit that has gone off. I know in my life I am guilty of this and need to devote more time to the finer (Godly) things in life.

Call him LORD

Maybe not literally, my wife does not call me lord and I am not sure how I would feel about it if she did. But in her heart I know that she loves and respects me. Do I tick her off? Of course I do? Do we bicker? not very often, Am I all that she needs? (Ouch) Guys this is our part! The next few verses tell us that

Do not hinder your prayers

1 Peter 3:7 (ESV) Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

We have to love our wife’s, it is not a dictatorship, it is a partnership. We have promised on our wedding day to love, honor and cherish. Every day when I come home from work, I am glad that my wife is there, sometimes she is teaching lessons and sometimes she is there to greet me, either way I would not choose anyone else.

Out of everyone I know, I pray for my wife most of all. Partly because she has to live with me, but as she is the primary educator in our family, she has a lot on her shoulders. I understand that she doesn’t have a 9-5; hers are more like 8-12 midnight.

Love your wives by doing more

Like I say guys, it is a team effort, don’t complain about the dishes, get off your butt and go do them! Same with the laundry! It won’t kill you, just do what I do and seek advice of you are not sure. (I didn’t once and I now have a pink football jersey!)

My hope is that in this blog you found something useful, edifying or challenging, as usual please share, comment or like below.
TGBTG
TTE

Solemn 9/11 thoughts

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Solemn 9/11 thoughts – Pray for our enemies

1 Peter 2:13 (ESV) Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,fn whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

That dark day

It is that date again, the dark date that has appeared when I stare at my calendar this morning. 9/11, September 11th.

Not since that date in 2001 has that day been “just another date in late summer/autumn”. The date that struck so many, not just in the cities that were affected, but the whole world wide. People in New York went to work as normal that day not realizing that as the clock went closer to 9am they were that step closer to imminent attack.

Those of us who are old enough to remember that horror that happened that day, personally I was working at an American company called “Morgan Stanley” at the time, it happened around 2pm our time in Glasgow Scotland and I had just came out of a meeting to see Sky news on the big TV at the boardroom, it was replaying what had happened in New York.

By the time I was on my first break two planes were down and we were hearing unconfirmed reports (at that point) that the Pentagon had been attacked by a passenger plane. We all know how that day played out and how devastating that day was for the American people and the west as a whole.

The British Prime minister at that time, Labour leader Tony Blair judged the mood of the British people well by stating that “we were all Americans” specifying that in adversity the “special relationship” between London and Washington D.C. was very much intact. It also told the world that if you attack our friends, be prepared that we “have their back”.

Since 9/11 – A new patriotism

There is nothing like adversity to bring a people group together, whether that is based on ethnicity, skin pigmentation, religion or in this case nationality. When the back is against the wall you find a joint identity to band together and use the strength in numbers psyche.

There became a new surge in American pride, flags were raised, people backed their leaders, and people came together and wanted to recover together. People questioned themselves in matters of faith and many people sought out answers from God.

This morning when I drove out of my small town where I live in Central California I saw that all up the main street is American flags hanging from every lamppost. As a non-American, I am happy to see this. I believe that a strong America is the one who has worth in who they are.

I am good with a new patriotism as long as it does not take us further away from God.

New America – Forgive and rebuild

The strong America that I speak of is the one that forgives their enemies, as we learn to rebuild, New York has already done so and buildings will rise again, we will remember the fallen on many nations who have fallen defending that right called freedom.

Many folks remember those in the services in the NY/NJ Port authority area and rightly so, but 9/11 was the beginning of a military campaign where many young men of many nations gave so much, in many cases gave their lives to protect the way we live.

This may shock people but I do forgive the folks who planned, executed and carried out these terrible attacks in both September 2001 and beyond, in places like Washington DC, London, Paris, New York, Benghazi, and Jerusalem and many other places.

Pray for your adversaries

This part will not be popular and frankly I don’t really mind. My savior Jesus Christ taught many messages that were uncomfortable for the people to hear but does not make them any less correct. Despite your feelings on your enemies you have to be willing to humble yourself and pray for them.

We are commanded by Jesus to “love your enemies” don’t get me wrong, this is all temporary, beyond what we do for the kingdom of God, everything whether it be wealth, health or whatever is top of mind for you today, it is all temporary.

I cannot do anything about the terrorist who wishes to terminate me because of who I believe in as my savior, I can however love him and pray for him. If we genuinely believe in Jesus Christ, regardless of whom the enemy is, we have to be prepared to humble ourselves and pray for the salvation of that enemy.

If we get them saved and following the true Jesus, then we can eliminate that foreign threat. How is that for foreign policy?

Go to Hell terrorists!

I will be frank and say that I don’t think I have never hated anyone enough to actually want them to be thrown in the lake of fire. I don’t write these words because I want the terror threat to go away. I do, but I also want people to be saved.

Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, for everyone, of every nation, every tribe, every ethnicity and every religion that has been embraced, Jesus came to save them all. Remember the words in John chapter 3 “God so loved the _____” (the word is world)

There is a place in heaven for people who were born into the Muslim culture, if they seek out the way (John 14:6) the truth and the life and accept Jesus as their savior, they will be saved.

Jesus loves you

This message is for you ISIS, This message is for you Al-Queda, This is for you rebels in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Eastern Europe, Israel, Jordan, Syria, India, Kuwait, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Turkey, Sudan and anywhere else that breathes hate to the west.

To our enemies both domestic and foreign, I want to pray for you! I want you to find the love I have in the Jesus of the Bible!

The message is simple; the Jesus in the Qu’ran is not the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus is the Son of God, equal with God and is the only way to heaven (or paradise) it is not through Jihad or holy war.

Imagine if 9/11 was the gateway to getting our enemies saved and into heaven? Would you pay that price? That is probably the toughest question to answer and I mean it with all reverence and with no disrespect to those who have lost so much due to this conflict

God bless and I pray this was a blessing, challenge and please share to whom you wish to see this, comment and like below
TGBTG
TTE

Teach no other doctrine

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This book was a letter that was originally written by the apostle Paul, to Timothy as instruction about his pastoral duties in Ephesus. I find it encouraging and wanted to share this portion of what I was reading to you today. This is intended as a gentle exhortation rather than a “mini sermon”

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [so do]. 1 Tim 1:3-4 (KJV)

Now the interesting thing about this scripture, is that it tells us to teach “no other doctrine” but literally a translation from the Greek would be to command to not to be deviating from the truth, the truth in this case being the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Also it goes on to say, do not be attentive to inventions, falsehoods (Greek word was mythos – where we get modern day myth from) and genealogies that foster debates, rather than seeking Godly edifying.

Sometimes we are all guilty of showing how “holy” we are by how we can explain theology, or how we can impress by using “holy words” we need to be careful that we are doing it for Gods glory rather than our own.

Please do not thing I am bagging on people who debate all the time, (some are called to do that – that is their ministry!) because in 1 Peter 3:15 we are told to But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

All I am asking is that your heart be right, by all means defend Gods word, but do it for Gods sake!

The Bible is God’s infallible word, in the first part of Genesis we see that the Bible states that there was only one beginning “In the beginning, God.”

The Bible goes on to say that God (‘elohiym – plural of ‘elowahh – The triune god) created the heavens and the earth. There is no debate, this is exactly how it happened. Debates only happen when we try to apply mans ‘wisdom or logic” to Gods word. Which leads us into “sound doctrine”.

The command to teach sound doctrine is one that is used so much; it goes without saying that when we approach God’s word to teach, it must be with reverence and fear. When I teach I am still mindful and prayerful that I do not butcher what I have in front of me.

I do not try to apply my thoughts and bias to what the Holy Spirit is teaching me. (in some cases the lesson is for me, in some cases the lesson is to be shared to help others!)

I guess it all comes down to the heart and only God can see that, when I am wanting a reality check of where I am in my Christian walk, I read the book of James. I then take note of the things that “need improvement” and get set to do them.

Lastly, although it is not mentioned here, a really important thing to be doing for each other is to be in prayer for one another, we need to be lifting each other up and seeking Gods will in the lives of not just ourselves and families, but also the communities that God has allowed us to work in.

I hope this was a blessing
God bless and TGBTG
TTE

Not your average Mother’s Day blog!

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1 Peter 3:1 (ESV) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

This is the story all about how…(why do I have the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme in my head?) a woman I would later call my wife showed me a change of path that would change my life when she introduced me to my saviour.

Yes this is Mothers Day and yes most if our messages today will be messages of love about their mothers and how they were wonderful, I have them too, but I would rather give you what the LORD has put on my heart.

I went to a church that I normally do not attend today with my wife, my daughter, my parents and my wife’s mother (Radiant Visalia) and this was the text that was spoken, I felt God speaking to me and thought I would share what was laid on my heart.

Is this not “Missionary Dating?”

This article is not one in support of “missionary dating”! What this means for those of you who are unsure is dating a non-believer in order to convert them, this usually does not work and will usually lead to the believer leaving the faith or the relationship will die, not always a good thing!

My wife (now) and I were, (to quote Phil Collins) Against all odds as I truly was not walking with Christ when we first met! However the promises in the Bible are true and do work! I am living testimony to that!

“…so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives…(v1b)”

Won without a word! (And anyone who has ever met me will know I am a storyteller) That was me! When you are sold out for Jesus and infectious, people ask questions, my lady served me, she showed me grace, she won me without nagging, she lead by example, that a what I mean by saying it works! I have personal testimony!

When I met my wife I was a drunken loser who lived his life in a ever decreasing circle of self fulfilment that was leading to my demise! She saw more for me than that and I am grateful for her! I would not be who I am today without her love!

What does this have to do with Mothers Day?

Well almost five years ago, my wee princess was born! She truly was the icing on the top of our family cake. My wife lights up when she can just “be mommy” it is truly a God given calling.

We are also going through “Foster/Adoption” with our local county so I pray that we get through it and as our family gets bigger, then we grow together in love and in the LORD.

I pray this blesses all you mothers as it is not a normal Mothers Day blog.

God bless and TGBTG
TTE

Division isn’t just long!

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Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

I love the apostle Peter, I suffer from the same “foot in mouth” syndrome that he did. As he grew in his Christian faith he became a dynamic ambassador for Jesus Christ. I pray that for myself also.

Time and time again, Christians fall into a trap that is set by the evil one sets (see verse above) in military terms it is called “divide and conquer” it is a well known military technique and begins as follows.

Step one – Confusion

Cause confusion, cause a diversion, pepper it with good stuff, step back and watch the chaos ensue. This is done in warfare by the enemy flanking, reducing visibility by means of a smoke bomb or canister that will disorientate and then the aggressor will fire from the new position making the victim think they are firing on their side and fire alongside not realizing they are harming rather than helping.

Step two – divide

At this point he victim is in disarray, radio chatter forecasts that the enemy is everywhere and the best chance of getting someone back alive is to scatter into either individual formations or at the very least smaller formations to increase the targets and to make it harder for the enemy to prevail (theory being that multiple targets are harder to catch that a formation of “sitting ducks”)

Step three – conquer

Like most plans borne out of panic, they have decreased the chances of survival, instead of increasing the targets, the confusers are able to take out the remaining victims out one by one due to out numbering and seeing the direction they are fleeing to. Eventually it turns into a huge game of “British Bulldog” with a company searching for the “strongest” one of the company who by this time is weak. Defeat ensues.

What is this to me?

We are at war dear Christian! 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that the devil will do what I have stated above, he will attempt to cause confusion, he will send in people that call themselves pastors, teach against the word of God, teach the word of God in error and lead people astray.

I am not talking “minor theological issues” such as do we do one cup communion versus little cups, or interpretational issues that have formed little quirks in peoples beliefs. I am talking about Pastors who are leading the people who are seeking Gods word astray to heathenistic, man made ideas that are contrary to the word of God.

Like the above introduction, they will state that they are on the side of the LORD. They will walk like a duck and talk like a duck, however they cause harm rather than help. They quite often introduce Jesus + something else. Regrettably these movements will be popular as they will focus on giving entertainment as opposed to the whole counsel of God. They will be very religious but not relational. This is fertile ground for the adversary as he can move onto step two.

They are easy to divide having no root in the word of God. They split from the flock, go it alone and are in a worse situation than before. Eventually they fall out of fellowship (even the bad one they chose for themselves) and become as the world.

I pray for the church

The devil will do this on a grander scale with churches. I go to a church that “benefitted” from a church split. There is nothing more harmful for koinonia of believers than toxicity of previous hurt stemming from an in amicable break up from a previous church. Regrettably, even in a Christian setting, controversy is far more able to breed than forgiveness.

This is the Devils playground. The fires of pride will be stoked and unless the heat is taken from it, I know that it will cause fragmentation and division. I have seen churches split over minor disagreements, I know a church in Glasgow that was Presbyterian in denomination, and they split from their Pastor and moved in next door with the Baptists, horrible situation and proof that even although we are forgiven, we are still fallen men and women.

I am not advising us to unite in the face of heretical doctrines; I am however stating that we should not seek to be quarrelsome, looking to divide at the drop of a hat. (Really what I am trying to say is summed up wonderfully in 2 Timothy chapter 2)

Learn from my mistakes

How do I know this, I lived this! Be careful dear Christian! If you are in a church that doesn’t teach the Bible first and last and teach it well, then get out of there. I wish that when I was younger I head read an article like this. I was young, impetuous, proud and thought I knew better.

I started by having a little Jesus and the World, thought I could get the % right! Boy was I wrong, I church-hopped, escaped accountability, hid the fact that I was slipping away from Jesus and the things of the LORD. Eventually I did not return, the hangovers became more frequent on a Sunday morning and in my opinion it just wasn’t worth the effort. I had no grounding, no roots, hadn’t read the Bible in months and eventually I walked out of a church door for the last time in a long time.

I had no beef with God; I just wanted what i wanted. I didn’t see myself at war with God. Just apathetic towards him and the blessings I had. I had to learn many slow, hard lessons before I came back, humbled, no longer proud and willing to listen this time!

My prayer for you as you read this is that you become broken, if you know someone that needs to read this then please forward it to them. I came back to God a different person. My prayer is that this article will help someone turn to God.

See also

A vision of clarity for the church (part 1)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 2)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 3)

God bless and TGBTG
TTE