Thursday, April 19, 2007

Atheism at Its Worst

Atheism at Its Worst

I Peter 2:20 tells us "…but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God"

Christianity has always been under fire from the world and Satan. Being a Christian associates us with Jesus Christ. Jesus warned us that the world would hate us because it first hated him. His message, even the gospel that we are to deliver to the world, offends the sinner. It does not coddle. It is not politically correct. It stirs up the soul as only the God who created that soul can. Since we are Christ's ambassadors and the bearers of God's message, it should come as no surprise to us then that the world hates us.

Not too many years ago, I listened to a self-professed atheist on television say that Christians had no social value; that we did not contribute positively to society. This was most disturbing to me. It is one thing to be hated by the world for who we are and the message we preach, but to be unfairly and unjustly accused of being social slackers is quite egregious.

Even an elementary review of history will reveal that where immorality, poverty and political injustice reared their ugly heads, Christianity was the first to stand up to wage war against it. More charities have been established under the banner of Christianity than all others combined.

No one showed more compassion to the downtrodden and poor than the Lord Jesus himself. When the worldly publicans and sects turned their noses on the so-called lower class, Jesus sat and communed with them. He fed them and met their needs. His instructions to those who would stand in his stead after his ascension included the admonishment to show compassion to those in need and to be socially responsible. One need only read what we call the beatitudes to understand this.

Throughout the ages, his disciples have kept this charge. Multitudes of Christians have faithfully helped the downtrodden behind the scenes in their respective communities, while some have been used publicly by the Lord to positively impact in greater ways. For example, William Wilberforce, who fought vehemently against slavery in the 18th century; and George Mueller, who established orphanages in England to help the children that society rejected.

The people who name Christ as their Lord and Savior have not only contributed to society, but often have taken the lead and stood alone to fight for social justice and equality. They view each individual, regardless of any social factors, as being precious to the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore of great worth.

Conversely, where atheism rules a nation and God is disallowed, injustice and human atrocities occur. In a godless environment indignities are perpetrated upon the lower class and they are kept in a downtrodden state. Ungodliness prevails in societies governed by godless people, because there is no fear of a Holy God.

That an atheist would try to portray society-minded Christians in such a bad light is simply outrageous. It only shows how very dark her world is without God. That notwithstanding, we are told that to be acceptable with God, we are to suffer patiently when our well-doing is called into question.

Christian, be strong. Let those who rail on you unjustly answer to God, for he is the avenger. You keep on for the Lord. Though society's cold wind blows across your path, though you are treated unfairly, though the whole world convene against you, keep on for the Lord for this is acceptable with him and he is the only one you need to please.


The author is a retired Coast Guard Officer with over 32 years of service. He is also a Baptist Preacher and Bible Teacher. He helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" delivers hope and comfort to the reader in a very gentle, yet convincing way. Visit at for more information and tips.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Seeking God

Seeking God
Copyright © 2007 Good News Publications

All too often it seems that people go to God in order to get what He can provide for them rather than simply having a loving relationship. But this is not new as we can see in the Gospel of John.

John 6:24-27: When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Christ knew that they were not there to learn more about God; they just wanted more miracles. They were not seeking him with their heart; they just wanted to be fed. In light of this there is a very interesting verse recorded earlier in the Gospel of John.

John 4:23: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Very few were seeking God, but He was seeking those who would want to worship Him. It seems that people want God's peace, the blessings of health, prosperity and protection. But all too often they look to get these things of God and forget about God Himself. He is more than willing to give us all that we need if we simply come to Him.

Matthew 6:31-33: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

God says to seek Him and all that He has is ours. The Gentiles had to worry about food, clothing and shelter because they did not have a heavenly Father that would take care of them; but for us, there are no worries when we have a heavenly Father Who cares.

Why look for just the "things of God" when you can have God Himself? Those who only wanted part of God were warned.

Jeremiah 2:13: For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Why settle for just a cistern of water (a vessel to put water in and walk away) when you can live at the fountain of living waters? He has already told us that He seeks those who will worship Him. The word "seek" means to strive to find, to ask after, to inquire and it shows intensity and effort. We should be as eager to seek Him as He is to seek us.

Even when the Children of Israel turned away, God was willing to take them back if they would just reach out and seek Him. How could anyone not want to seek such a loving God?

There is a wonderful record in the Gospel of Luke that once again describes the depth of seeking that we should have.

Luke 2:43-49: And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? If you were a parent, would you be seeking your lost child with your whole heart? This is the same word "seek" that refers to us seeking God and God seeking those to worship Him. As truly wonderful as our God is, we should seek Him daily with all our hearts so that we can know Him, love Him and worship Him.


Duke Clarke is a teacher/minister/writer/coach/father/husband with a passionate zest for life. For the past 30+ years Duke has helped others grow and expand their lives. His articles and websites are designed to get you to think and discover life. Check out his information at or

Monday, April 16, 2007

Life is Not Fair

Life is Not Fair
Copyright © 2007 Good News Publications

The United States Constitution declares that all men (referring to men and women) are created equal and that they are entitled to such rights as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's a wonderful concept and we have seen those who have benefited tremendously in their pursuit of happiness and we have seen those who, with little or no pursuit, have not benefited.

Somewhere along the line, we natural-born American citizens have adopted the idea that our constitution puts a demand on life that says life must be fair to us.

This thinking says that since I am born equal to everyone else, I should have what everyone else has as well. There are two problems with this-first they have overlooked the word "pursuit" and secondly, life is not and never will be "fair".

For those that look to God for the matters of life, this is a good thing. While we do believe that life comes from God Who created all things, life is still not fair. Life may present an equal opportunity to all, but there is still "pursuit" involved and even with this pursuit, the results of those opportunities may be unequal. Let me explain.

Matthew 13:3: And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

Now just looking at this verse we have to consider something. When someone sows seed do they receive back just what they've sown? That would be called "fair"-sow one and get one back. But when a farmer sows seed, he always receives back much more, way out of proportion to what he has sown. Now let's look at the whole parable.

Matthew 13:1-9: The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

All seed was the same and had equal opportunity, but not all had the same results, depending on its situation. Even the seed that landed on good ground all had the same opportunity but they produced at different levels. The seed planted did not yield seed for seed but some thirty, some sixty and some hundredfold.

In this parable, Christ tells us that the seed is the Word of God and I John tells us that the Word of God is life.

Life in its basic state has two major components-first that life itself is to be lived and enjoyed then secondly, life has the ability to reproduce itself. Some Christians would say that our main purpose is to give this gift of life away to others meaning to witness to other about life after death.

I believe that the church epistles contain much more about living this life we have now than only being here to evangelize others. The wonderful side benefit of living this life to the full is when we do it, we attract others who want what we have so we can then give it away.

Let's look at another example.

I Peter 1:23: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The physical seed is called "corruptible" not because it is bad, but because it doesn't last forever. But that one seed and one egg unite and multiply many times over, producing more seeds or eggs-once again showing that life produces more than just itself.

Is it "fair" or "equitable" that all we had to do was confess Jesus as lord and believe that God raised him from the dead and we received salvation and everything that comes with it?

God did not design life to be fair or equitable-that would mean equal return for equal effort. Thank God He created it with far greater capacity than that. God designed life to return bountiful, limitless portions to all who pursue it. We desperately need to understand this truth, so we can live our lives to the fullest and enjoy God's blessings are without limit.


Duke Clarke is a writer/teacher/coach to help individuals reach their full potential in life. Go to or for more information.

Homesick for Heaven

Homesick for Heaven

One of the most common concerns in Christians new to the faith is assurance. New converts spend a lot of time working out their own salvation in their minds. Too often they convince themselves that they are not born again after all, because they don't 'feel" like they are.

As they work through their doubts, they fear that the Lord might return before they have ensured that they are right with him. Essentially they fear he may come back too soon. This is human nature. I think most Christians go through this phase. It is hard to accept that reconciliation with God can be as simple as asking his forgiveness and accepting his son, and that one need not feel saved to be saved.

Seasoned Christians, who have grown under the teaching and preaching of their pastor and others in ministry, no longer need such assurance, because the evidence of their conversion is seen in the change wrought in their lives by the Holy Spirit. Somewhere in one's Christian experience, a metamorphosis takes place and we go from worrying that God will come too soon to worrying that he won't come soon enough. Indeed, many older believers have a longing deep inside them to be with the Lord.

While on a break from a workshop he was attending in a neighboring city, a young man rushed to the corner café for lunch. When the waiter came to his table to take his order, both the man and the waiter were stunned at the other's appearance. They were mirror images of each other.

Shaken, the man asked the waiter to sit and talk. They soon discovered that they were brothers, identical twins, who had apparently been separated at birth due to separate adoptions, but who were never told about each other.

As they shared their experiences and got to know each other, they learned that both of them had felt a longing and emptiness that they could not explain for as long as they could remember. It was as if they were incomplete and were waiting for something or someone. Meeting each other by chance had satisfied that longing.

Believers experience a similar longing in their hearts. It is more than just the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives. There seems to be an unseen bond connecting us to our savior. We feel an emptiness that makes us long for heaven's shore. Consequently, until we see him face to face, like the twins, we feel incomplete.

I am reminded of the words of the wonderful song "Beulah Land." The first couple of lines capture splendidly the longing of the Christian heart for that place where they will be in their Savior's presence.

"I'm kind of homesick for a county to which I've never been before"

Young Christian be of good cheer. If you have asked the Lord into your heart, it doesn't matter how you feel, because feelings change. We are fickle, emotional creatures. Trust his Word and not your feelings. You name is written in the Book of Life and it can never be blotted out. If you must feel badly let your ailment be only that you are homesick for heaven.


The author is a retired Coast Guard Officer with over 32 years of service. He is also a Baptist Preacher and Bible Teacher. He helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" delivers hope and comfort to the reader in a very gentle, yet convincing way. Visit at for more information and tips.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Is the Gospel for the Poor?

Is the Gospel for the Poor?
Copyright © 2007 Good News Publications

Today I want to show you a misconception that I believe dominates the Christian Church and has distorted our view of the truth of prosperity. In the Gospel of Luke, Christ said,

Luke 4:18: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,"

Now, having heard this, what picture comes to mind? Most people say, "Look, it says it right there. The Gospel is to be preached to the poor. Doesn't this sound familiar? Almost everyone has bought into it, but I say that it's wrong. Look where it takes your thinking: - We preach the Gospel to the poor - They are the ones who need God's Word - The rich don't need God - The rich don't want God - That's why I never want to be wealthy and get to the place I don't need God - That's why money is bad.

All this thinking is wrong and the reason is, we don't understand the word "poor". People think it is talking about money, but the word "poor" simply refers to lack or meager supply. Have you ever heard the term "poor health"? Does that mean that his or her health has no money? Have you ever heard a farmer say the land was "poor"? Does that mean the land had no money? In both cases it is lack-lack of health and lack of nutrients in the soil.

In verse 18 of Luke 4 it says that he was sent to heal the broken hearted-they were lacking a whole heart and thus poor. He preached deliverance to the captives-they were not free and thus poor. He helped others recover their sight both spiritually and physically-they were blind and thus poor.

It is religion that has taught us that prosperity and wealth are wrong.

Psalm 35:27: Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

As wonderful as this verse is, it takes on even more meaning when you realize that the word for "prosperity" is the word "Shalom" which means "peace". It is a beautiful translation. When you are at peace, you are content, you don't have any needs or lack and that is the perfect picture of prosperity.

Abundance without God is folly: you are spiritually poor so you are not prosperous. But most Christians don't think they have the right to be wealthy or prosper. Prospering is part of being whole; if you don't have it, you aren't whole and that is not how God planned it. You are not whole until you are financially whole and in order to receive that wholeness you must believe that this is at least part of what God wants for your life.

How often have you heard, "You're being spiritual so, you don't need money or abundance-that will just distract you." Distract you? Some of the most distracted people I know are the ones who can't pay their bills. When my checking account is overflowing, I'm not distracted by bills at all-in fact I have more time to spend with God because I am no longer concerned about money. The fact is the only time you don't need money is before you came into this world and when you leave it-but while you are here you will need material things and God wants you to have them in abundance.

Now, I am going to teach you something that will really open your eyes and you had better be careful about sharing it, because you could make some people very mad.

Psalm 112:1-3: Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

Here is a man whose heart is with God and God has blessed him abundantly.

Psalm 112:9: He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.

In verse 9 it says that this man has given to the "poor" and here is where you might get upset. E.W. Bullinger says in his Companion Bible that the word "poor" means "working for a living; poor, not in extreme want, but simply having only what one earns, having nothing superfluous, living sparingly".

How many Christians use their meager living on bare necessities as a badge of their Christian faith, when God says plainly that they are poor? Don't get mad at me; I didn't write the book. So does living meagerly represent God? Not according to this section of scripture.

Now please understand that if you are just getting by, God's Word says you are poor because there is lack. And if you have a billion dollars, but lack health or don't know God-you are also poor because of your lack. So to go back to our original question, "Is the gospel for the poor?" Yes it is, but just make sure you understand what poor means.


Duke Clarke is a writer/teacher/coach/lecturer and minister. He has started a new website to get people to think about their lives and walk with God. He is nondenominational in background and invites anyone to visit and take a look.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What a Difference a Day Makes!

"What a Difference a Day Makes."
The 1950s song by Sarah Vaughn with the same title as this article could not have rung more true. Indeed a day can make quite a difference. The routine of our lives is usually measured in days. There are seven days in the week. This does not vary under any circumstances. It is the same today as it was centuries ago. It is the same in the United States as it is in China. Earth-wide, our week is comprised of seven days.

What does vary, and that to conflict, is the regard assigned to the first day of the week. Christians and the world are at odds as to which day that is. For example, I received a calendar as a gift from my local bank and on the calendar Monday was designated as the first day of the
week. In the Bible, however, Sunday is referred to as the first day of the week.

It may seem like much ado about nothing, but it makes me think of the basic differences between the world and Christianity. The secular world sees Monday as the first day of the week because Sunday is considered part of their weekend. Sunday to the world is a day that belongs to them. It is a day for hedonistic indulgences. It is the end of their hard work week and a time to relax and enjoy their hobbies and pass times. Consequently, they do not attend church.

For believers, Sunday is not the close of a week, but the beginning of a new one, and a new opportunity to serve the Lord. The first day of the week has special meaning for the Christian, for scripture designates it as "The Lord's Day". It is the day that the early church met to worship. It is also the day that the Lord rose from the grave and the day Jesus stood in the midst of his disciples after his resurrection. For the Christian, it speaks of a new beginning, not an ending.

The contrast in perception reflects a deeper problem than just a squabble over which day is which. It reflects the inclination of the human heart to disregard the Word of God and its teachings in order to embrace one's own personal beliefs. Is this not the basis for almost all religious error? The Bible says of the human heart "the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?"

Despite the warning that our hearts (or own understanding) will deceive us, people readily shun Biblical authority and replace it with their own. Once a heart starts down that slippery slope, it is unlikely that it will ever embrace truth again. It may seem much ado about nothing to argue
which day is the first day of the week, but oh what a difference a day makes.

The author is a retired Coast Guard Officer with over 32 years of service. He is also a Baptist Preacher and Bible Teacher. He helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates"
delivers hope and comfort to the reader in a very gentle, yet convincing way. Visit at for more information and tips.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Christ's Death: Was It Good Enough?

Christ's Death: Was It Good Enough by Rob Marshall.

I was feeling very heavy and burdened, or as some people put it, I was depressed. The weight of my sin was hanging on me and I felt that I had to do something about it. My wife suggested that I meet with our pastor, so I called him and set up an appointment.

The pastor and I sat at the table as I began to outline to him why I was certain that God was punishing me. I had committed some sins and felt that God had allowed our son to die because I had been such a sinner. I had scripture references all lined up and I fully expected him to agree with me that, yes, I was a rotten, horrible sinner and God was angry with me.

But instead of agreeing with me, he looked across the table and asked, "What, wasn't Christ's death good enough for you?"

It hit me pretty hard, but I realized that he was right. God wasn't punishing me, I was punishing myself. God had forgiven me, but I had not forgiven myself.

In Galatians 3:3, Paul writes, "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" He was confronting the Galatians because they were falling into the mistake of believing that they needed to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses. And when we look at Paul's statement, we can see that it has broad implications for us.

We may not be looking to be circumcised, or obey the law, but we might find ourselves believing that God only loves us when we read our Bible for an hour a day and pray for at least two hours each day. And while those things are good, and we should always want to spend more time with God, those things do not make us more righteous.

Ephesians 2:8-10 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul talks about the righteousness that we have by faith in Christ (Philippians 3:8-9). Our righteousness is not our own, it is God's gift. God gives us His righteousness when we put our faith in Christ. There is nothing that we can do to earn it, and there is nothing that we can add to it, it is already perfect and complete.

We come boldly before God's throne because Jesus died for us and paid the price for our sins. We never have to be afraid, and we never have to try and earn His love. He loved us while we were still sinners, and as His children He loves us even more.

If you are in Christ, you have been given the most incredible gift, God's righteousness. Let the knowledge of His saving grace sink deeply into your heart, and know that God is working in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13). We never have to struggle and wonder about being good enough, because Christ was perfect, and we are perfect in Him.

When you feel that you have to try and earn God's love, or His favor, just ask yourself the question: Was Christ's death good enough for me? The answer should be a resounding: Yes!

About The Author

Rob Marshall is the author of "Taking On Goliath - How to Unleash the David in All of Us." Learn how you can unleash your faith and overcome any "Goliath" that may stand between you and your dreams. Get two free chapters from "Taking On Goliath" when you sign up for our free newsletter. Just visit:

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Difficult Verses in the Bible

Difficult Verses in the Bible by Gary Kurz.

Can anyone deny that there are passages in the Bible that are very hard to understand and sometimes hard to accept? The question is of course, rhetorical. Certainly no one could make such a claim. Those who would deny that there are difficult scriptures either do not spend much time in the Word or they are simply dishonest. I am not sure which of the two is worse.

From simple questions about where Cain's wife came from, to more complex issues such as the apparent misquote in Matthew 27:9-10; there are literally scores of passages where there seems to be confusion. In some instances it is seems almost impossible to reconcile what is being said with other portions of scripture.

In ministry, it would be relatively easy to avoid the difficulties and not bring attention to them at all. Who would know? And if the Bible was just a book written by men, Biblicists such as me might be inclined to do just that. But the Bible is not just a book. It is the transmitted thoughts and will of Almighty God. It is the Word (and words) of God. It is the final and only authority on truth and fact.

Many have attacked it. Many have tried to prove it false, and in so doing, have been converted by its awesome power and authority. Men will claim that it is full of contradictions, but are not able to point out a single example to support their argument.

Knowing there are those who would jump at the chance to find problems in scripture should not make believers apprehensive or shy in declaring it the plenary word of the Living God. Nor should we refrain from using those portions we feel might pose difficulties to explain. Too often Bible teachers will avoid passages in their sermons and lessons because they imagine there is conflict in what the scripture says.

Difficulty in understanding a passage does not discredit what is being said. Rather it reflects on the knowledge level of the one who sees it as difficult. The fact that we cannot immediately understand or explain the difficulty away does not mean it cannot be solved with proper research and prayer. Sometimes that research takes a long time, but this is the case with almost anything that one wants to learn. I may not understand what the mechanic is telling me about needed vehicle repairs, but I could learn mechanics myself and gain that understanding if I was willing to make the effort.

In my formative years as a Christian, I came across many difficult or hard to understand passages in my studies. Indeed, some of what I read seemed illogical, perhaps even impossible and they tested my faith. Yet I trusted the authority of scripture and accepted it as truth. Years later, with a more sound knowledge of scripture, those same passages posed absolutely no difficulty to me whatsoever. With experience and broader familiarity with scripture, the once difficult passages became very easy to understand.

The Apostle Paul spoke of the "milk" and "meat" of the word. Christians must start out with the milk or easier-to-digest things of God before they are ready to consume the meatier things. It is the superficial or inexperienced reader who adds calamity to a difficult verse. They read something they do not understand and panic. Too often young Christians get bogged down trying to understand something that they simply are not capable of grasping at their present knowledge level. Sometimes spiritual anxiety over such small issues completely consumes them and they run around like Chicken Little declaring that their faith is falling.

The seasoned, faithful reader of the Bible knows that understanding will come in time after appropriate effort is invested in researching the perceived difficulty. They have been down this road before. They have come up against seemingly unexplainable passages that subsequent studies explained. There is always an explanation. God's Word is always correct and without conflict or contradiction.

I am not trying to diminish the fact that there are very difficult passages of scripture that are problematic to the student of scripture. II Peter 3:16 confirms this. We are told:

"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures…"

God openly tells us through the Apostle Peter that some of the things written in the Bible are hard to be understood and we wrestle with them. Why are they hard? Is it because God purposely wanted to hide something from us? Is it because God wants to play a game of cat and mouse with his higher knowledge? No. God does not play games. He wants us to understand, but that understanding must come when we are ready for strong meat. Believers must go through a growing process. Verse 18 of this chapter confirms this:

"But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

In keeping with all the other passages that tell us to "study", "prepare" or "learn", we are told to "grow in grace". The only way to grow in grace is to read the manual (the Bible) faithfully and consistently, building ourselves up in knowledge and understanding.

Increasing our knowledge in the Bible is like any other thing we learn - we must study and learn in order to grow and excel. That is precisely why it is important to not shy away from difficult passages. We need to learn what they mean. If we shy away from them, our confidence in the word will wane and our regimen for study will eventually wane as well.

There really are no difficult passages. There is just a lack of understanding of those passages. This can be remedied through faithful study. The wisest advice I ever received from a man of God I would like to pass on here. He said "Put your nose in the book and keep your eyes on Jesus." The meaning is clear; study and trust the Lord to bring you to a place of understanding.


The author is a retired Coast Guard Officer with over 32 years of service. He is also a Baptist Preacher and Bible Teacher. He helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" delivers hope and comfort to the reader in a very gentle, yet convincing way. Visit at for more information and tips.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Physical Daddies and Spiritual Daddies

Physical Daddies and Spiritual Daddies by Bishop Eddie L. Long

All of us have been birthed by a physical daddy. A good many of us have been lost because of what happened with the relationship of our physical daddy. There has to be a birthing of a spiritual daddy that brings you into everything God has ordained for you.

We have been stifled in this because instead of operating in the covenant order of God, we are suspicious that someone’s trying to take advantage of us. The covenant between the pastor and the congregation is unique. It is not based on a friendship, not exterior performance, but inside. You are in covenant with God because of something inside. It’s spiritual. Don’t worry about the church being so large that you can’t shake the pastor’s hand. There are a plenty of folk who can shake your hand, but not too many can speak to your spirit. It is a spiritual covenant. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away
the foreskins of your hearts. (Jeremiah 4:4)

This does not refer to a physical circumcision. When you hear the word of God, you know there are things God is trying to pull from your heart. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me. (I Corinthians 4:15-16)

The pastor is but a vessel that God uses to tell you what He has to tell you, to circumcise your flesh, so that you do not continue to carry around the things that are not of God. If you do, and those things are not circumcised, your flesh will get infected. The biggest problem in the church is when God allows the church father (pastor) to come do circumcision, but the congregation does not allow it. Tell me about being blessed but don’t tell me to stop fornicating, they say. For God to allow your inheritance and blessings to flow to you, there has to be a circumcision. There needs to be a mark on your spiritual life so that people can tell that you are a son of God.

Understand that there has to be order and covenant. Maintain the spiritual relationship, the order, the covenant, so that you will receive your due inheritance.

About The Author:
Bishop Eddie L. Long is an acclaimed teacher, entrepreneur, author, and modern day prophet to the nations. He currently serves as Senior Pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia just outside Atlanta. Visit him at or go to

Monday, April 2, 2007

Don't Forget to Remember to Forget

Don't Forget to Remember to Forget by Gary Kurz

One of the greatest aspects of God's forgiveness for sins in Christ is the fact that he also forgets them. We have the assurance that he remembers our sins no more. He purposely and permanently puts them out of his memory and never revisits them.

We can conclude from God's example, that sometimes it is better to forget than to remember. It is apparent that Joseph understood this as Moses records in Genesis 41:51 "And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget…."

Joseph had suffered many terrible injustices in his young life. His own brothers hated him for no reason and sold him into slavery. He was accused of a crime he did not commit. He was thrown into prison for an undetermined amount of time. Surely Joseph could have been justifiably bitter. He could have lamented over all that had befallen him. He could have resented that God allowed great adversity and suffering in his life.

Instead, Joseph reached down inside of himself, where his faith was housed, and found the strength to persevere. In faith, with a grateful heart, he named his son Manasseh, which means "forgetting". He reasoned "for God…hath made me forget". The things that had befallen him could have weighed heavily on his heart, but God had given him grace to not only forgive the wrongs that were done to him, but to forget them.

A Pastor I knew sold an automobile to a man. He received half the payment upfront, with the remainder to follow a month later. When he went to the man's house to receive the second and final installment, the man said "I am not paying you another dime. I have the car and I am keeping it". He then slammed the door in the Pastor's face.

Several parishioners advised the Pastor to take legal action. A lawyer friend offered to take the case to Small Claims Court without charging the Pastor for his services. The Pastor politely declined and explained that the few thousand dollars owed did not outweigh the worth of the man's soul and that it was better to forgive and forget the debt than to injure his Christian testimony to the man.

Several months later, this Pastor was called upon to help a needy family in the community. It turned out to be the family of the man who had misappropriated his automobile. When the door opened to the Pastor's knock, the man immediately recognized him and expected that the Pastor might recognize him and turn around and leave.

Instead, the humble man of God greeted him with a warm smile and brief embrace. As the Pastor reached into his pocket for the church check, he looked into the man's face and hesitated for a moment. The man thought that surely the Pastor had just recognized him and had changed his mind about helping. He knew this was a bad idea, asking the man he had cheated to help. He might as well just tell him to leave.

Before the man could speak however, the Pastor said in a soothing voice, "You know, I just don't think my church is doing enough to help. Please allow me to add my personal check to this amount. I am sure you and your family can use it."

As the Pastor wrote out another check, the man fell under heavy conviction and wondered what to say. Surely this Pastor was trying to make him feel guilty. Surely this act of kindness was nothing more than a ploy to work on his conscience.

While the man was pondering these things, the Pastor finished writing the check out and handed both checks to him. The Pastor then asked if he could pray for the family. The man knew that the prayer was going to be a sermon in disguise about fairness and doing right, but he did not know how to say "no" after the kindness he was shown; and so he reluctantly acknowledged "sure, that would be okay."

The Pastor bowed his head and asked the Lord's blessing upon the man, his family and their home. He asked the Lord to bless them financially and to lead the church to know if there was anything else they could do for them. He closed by asking the Lord to draw this family near to him. There was no mention of the automobile, no sermon, no ulterior motive. It was as if the Pastor had completely forgotten the wrong this man had done to him.

A few weeks later, the man and his family came to visit the church that had paid their debts. They heard the gospel message. They heard how the Lord Jesus Christ had paid another debt that they had not even known about. The whole family walked the aisle and received the Lord.

Like Joseph, this Pastor had emulated his Lord and added forgetfulness to his forgiveness. Had he held on to the terrible injustice this man had done, he would never have been able to be a witness to the love and mercy of the Lord. By forgetting, God was able to use him in a tremendous way

Forgetting should be a word used often in the Christian vocabulary. It is far better to forget and forgive than it is to remember and resent.

The author is a retired Coast Guard Officer with over 32 years of service. He is also a Baptist Preacher and Bible Teacher. He helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" delivers hope and comfort to the reader in a very gentle, yet convincing way. Visit at for more information and tips or write to Gary at

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