Tag Archives: The Holy Bible

Never let us read any portion of God’s Word without looking up for divine teaching!

Never let us read any portion of God’s Word without looking up for divine teaching!

(James Smith, “The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion” 1859)

“Open my eyes–that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.” Psalm 119:18

God’s Book is a book of wonders! It is a wonderful record . . .

of God’s power in creation,
of His wisdom in providence,
and of His grace in redemption.

It has the stamp of infinity upon it. We cannot penetrate its heights, fathom its depths, or traverse its lengths and breadths–but as we are taught of God. The Holy Spirit, who composed it and inspired holy men to write it, must unfold and reveal it to our minds–or we shall never . . .

see its glory,
be impressed with its majesty,
or rejoice in its divine truths.

Never let us read any portion of God’s Word without looking up for divine teaching. Never let us imagine that we know all that is contained in any one verse of God’s blessed Book–for there is a fullness in the holy Scriptures not to be found anywhere else.

Oh, ever blessed Spirit of God, who has given us Your holy Word to . . .

instruct our intellects,
sanctify our hearts, and
regulate our lives–we beseech You to . . .
enlighten our minds to understand it,
open our hearts to receive it,
give us faith to believe it, and
enable us to reduce it to practice in our every-day life!

O may we be given grace . . .

understand the sublime doctrines,
believe the precious promises, and
practice the holy precepts of Your blessed Word!

Lord, unveil to us the types, unfold to us the prophecies–and apply to our hearts, the consolatory portions of the sacred Scriptures. May we hide the Word in our hearts, that we may not sin against You. O to catch the meaning, taste the sweetness, and feel the power–of Your holy truth! O Lord, open our eyes, and unfold the truth to us this night! O Lord, soften our hearts, and bring home Your Word with power!

“Then He opened their understanding–that they might understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45

“Behold, God is exalted in His power! Who is a teacher like Him?” Job 36:22

Nothing Could Be More Arrogant

“It is fashionable in some academic circles to exercise scholarly criticism of the Bible. In so doing, scholars place themselves above the Bible and seek to correct it. If indeed the Bible is the Word of God, nothing could be more arrogant. It is God who corrects us; we don’t correct Him. We do not stand over God but under Him.”

R.C. Sproul, Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow

He flatters himself in his own eyes

Psalm 36:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.

You Have Kept Me Alive

Psalm 30:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

Suck The Honey Out Of It!

Suck the honey out of it!

Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Minstrel”

It is wonderful the effect of a single verse of Scripture when the Spirit of God applies it to the soul.

What power would come upon the soul, if we would grasp a single line of Scripture and suck the honey out of it till our soul is filled with sweetness.

Read Your Bible!

Read Your Bible

by Spurgeon

You know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your magazines and novels than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A mouthful of foam when you are done. But you cannot re ad the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that a man writes, a best seller of the day, is greedily devoured.

“I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
Job 23:12

The Power In The Scriptures

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Why I Believe the Old Book

Why I Believe the Old Book

Charles Naylor, 1920

Do I believe the old Book? Do I really believe it? My heart answers that I do. The deepest consciousness of my soul testifies that it is true. I will tell you some of the reasons why I believe it.

The Bible is the oldest, and still the newest, of books.

God’s book written in the rocks is old, exceedingly old — but God’s book the Bible reaches back still farther. It goes back not only to the “beginning” of this terrestrial world, but into eternity. From past eternity, its majestic sweep covers the whole range of being and reaches into the future eternity. It is, in fact, the book of eternity, and within its folds lie the grandeur and sublimity of the great unknown future.

It never gets out-of-date. Other books have their run of popularity and are forgotten — but the Bible never grows old. No matter how familiar we become with it, it is ever new. To the Christian, it never grows stale — but is always fresh and always satisfying. It ever reveals new depths that we fail to fathom, new heights that we cannot scale, and new beauties that enrapture our vision.

We read it over and over, and repeatedly we see new jewels sparkling within its pages — jewels that delight the eye and reflect the mind of God. From it, refreshing waters break out where we least expect them — and our souls are refreshed like a thirsty man who suddenly finds water on the desert. We may have read a text a thousand times — yet when we look at it again it opens up and presents to us a vista of marvelous truth of which we were before entirely unconscious.

What other book can do these things? When we read a book written by man, however interesting it may be, it soon loses its interest and its charm. We do not find new beauties in it as we do in the Bible. Its treasures are soon exhausted — but the Bible is ever new!

I do not believe that the Bible is man’s book nor that it could be man’s book. Its depths are too deep to come from the heart or mind of man; its heights are too great for him to reach; and its wisdom is more than human. It can only be divine.

The Bible is the most loved of all books.

Wherever the Bible goes, people learn to love and to treasure it above all other books combined. It is the one book that people love — it is the treasure that people hold fast even at the risk of their lives. In past ages when wicked rulers tried to keep it from the people, they could not. At the peril of their lives, people would have it. They underwent dangers and tortures, and shrank not from anything — that they might possess this wonderful book. It is not for what it claims to be — though it claims much — nor for what men claim for it — but for what it is to the individual himself that it is so dearly loved. There is that in the Bible which endears itself to the human heart — and no other book has that quality. Other books are enjoyed and admired and praised and valued — but the Bible, in this respect, stands in a class by itself.

The educated and the ignorant, the high and the low, all races in all climates, when they learn to truly know the Bible, and when they submit themselves to the God of the Bible — learn to love it and to delight in it and are enriched and blessed by it; and because I too feel this deep love in my heart for the old Book, I believe it. I believe that, in some way — it was made for me by One who knew my needs, and that it corresponds to the very essence of my inner self. I could not love it as I do, if it were not God’s book and if it were not true.

The Bible is the most hated of all books.

Not only is it the best-loved book, but it is also the most-hated book. No other book has had so many, nor such bitter enemies. I suppose more books have been written against the Bible than against all other books combined! Men do not hate Shakespeare nor Milton nor Longfellow; they do not hate works on science nor philosophy; they do not hate books of travel or adventure or fiction; they do not hate the other sacred books of the world; they hate only the Bible!

Why this hatred? It can be only because they find in the Bible something that they find nowhere else. What they find there is a true picture of themselves — and the picture is not pleasant to look upon. So they turn away their faces and will have nothing to do with it except to vilify and condemn it. They deliberately misrepresent it and write falsehoods about it. They satirize and ridicule it, using all sorts of weapons and all sorts of methods to combat it, and for only the one reason — that its truth pricks them in their consciences, and they can by no other means escape from it!

It is judged by a standard far more stringent than any other book. No critic would think of treating any other book as he treats the Bible, nor of requiring of any other book what he requires of the Bible. The more men hate God — the more they hate his Word. This has a deep, underlying reason — that the Bible is God’s book, and that in it there is so much of God himself.

The Bible has withstood all assaults.

But though so bitterly assailed through all the ages — the Bible has withstood the assaults of all its enemies and stands victorious still! The Greek philosophers, with all their skill, were vanquished. The greatest intellects of modern times, find themselves baffled before it. The sharpest arrows that unbelief could forge, have not pierced it. The assaults made upon it — have resulted only in the destruction of the weapons used. All through the ages countless theories — religious, philosophic, scientific, or other — have been used against the Bible, only to fall in ruins at last before it and to be rejected even by those who once advocated them.

The Bible endures an amount of criticism that no other book could endure — and instead of being destroyed, it is only brightened and made better known. Could any error endure what the Bible has endured, and live? It is the law of nature that error is self-destructive — but that truth cannot be destroyed; and according to this law, the Bible must be true because of its indestructibility.

The Bible tells me of myself.

My deepest emotions and longings, my highest thoughts and hopes, are mirrored there — and the more settled inner workings of conscience are there recorded. It speaks to me of my secret ambitions, of my dearest hopes, of my fears, of the love that burns within me. My desires are pictured in the Book — just as I find them working in my heart. Whatever picture it draws of the human soul — I find within myself; and whatever I find within myself — I find within its pages; and thus I know that it is true. No man can know me as the Bible knows me — nor picture out my inner self as the Bible pictures me. And since no work of man could correspond with my inner self as the Bible corresponds with me — I know that it did not come from man.

The Bible is the book of conscience.

It is as a mirror into which every man, when he looks, sees himself! It speaks to his conscience, not as a man speaks — yet with a potency unknown to any other book. It is preeminently the book of the conscience. Other books appeal to men’s consciences — but not with the appeal of this book. Other books mirror men — but not like the Bible. In the silent watches of the night, in the lonely depths of the forest, upon the expanse of the sea, or wherever man may be — how frequently is it the case that this book speaks into his conscience in a silent yet thundering voice — and before it, he is awed and silenced and oftentimes terror-stricken. It speaks to the conscience as only God can speak — and therefore it must be God’s book.

The Bible gives comfort and hope.

To what book do those in sorrow turn? To Voltaire? to Ingersoll? to any other skeptic? Do they turn to science or philosophy or poetry or fiction? There is but one book which is the book of comfort. The sad and desolate heart turns to its pages — and as it reads, the consolation of the Holy Spirit, which fills the book, comes into that heart, and it is comforted. It is as the balm of Gilead. It is as a letter from home to the forlorn wanderer. It is as a mother’s voice to the child. Friends may speak words to comfort us — but they cannot comfort us as does the Book. Its words seem to enter into our innermost sorrows with a healing touch. God is the God of all comfort, and it is the comforting God in this comforting book who comforts the soul.

It is also the book of hope. Sometimes man despairs, and he looks here and there for hope, finding none — but there is one book in which hope may always be found. It always has something to offer him to inspire hope with new courage. Therefore it is the hope of the hopeless. In the troubled soul, it brings a calm — brightening dull eyes and causing them to look beyond. It lifts up the bowed head, strengthens the feeble knees, renews the courage, and takes the sadness out of the voice. It is therefore truly the book of hope!

The Bible is the book of the dying.

A soldier, desperately wounded, lay in a trench. The shells were bursting around him; the bullets and shrapnel were whistling through the air; the roar of the guns shook the ground. He was going down into the valley of the shadow of death. Knowing that he must pass over to the other side, he reached into his pocket with his little remaining strength and pulled out his New Testament. Handing it to a comrade he said, “Read to me.” His comrade opened the book and began to read, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God — trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” A smile overspread the face of the dying soldier as he listened to the words amid that solemn and terrible scene. He closed his eyes and lay quite still smiling, then he murmured, “It is well.” And with a smile still upon his face, he passed across to the other side of the river of death.

For what book do the dying call? For just any book? What words do they wish to hear in the final hour? There is but one book for that hour. There is but one book which can throw light into that shadowy valley. That is the Bible. It is the book of the living and of the dying — the book of the sorrowing and of the hopeless. It is just such a book as the loving Father would give to the children whom he loves! It meets their needs in all the details of their lives as only God could meet it — and therefore I can only believe that it is the book of God.

The Bible contains the only answer to the enigma of life.

The “why” of life is found nowhere else. Other books tell us many truths about life — yet its depths and meaning find expression and answer in only one book. The Scripture interprets life; and he who reads the interpretation, knows that it is true because it is the story of himself, and in himself is the witness of its truth. Men have sought everywhere for the secret of life and the things that pertain thereto — but everywhere, except in the Bible — they find only darkness and obscurity and uncertainty. The Bible, however, speaks in no uncertain terms. It speaks the language of him who alone knows the only answer to the enigma of life. If we reject its voice — then we are left in a tangled maze, out of which we cannot find our way.

The Bible outlives all its critics — and is triumphant, when they are long forgotten. It has many times been pronounced dead, but still it lives. It has been called foolish — but its power is not dissipated. It has seen all antagonistic theories of the past, one by one, destroyed and rejected — but it still stands in spite of the critics, in spite of its enemies! Those who anchor their faith upon it — need not fear what voice is raised against it. Neither need they fear what weapons are brought to bear upon it — for it is truth, and those who fight against it fight against God and are themselves ruined!

The Bible is adapted to all people of every race and climate, to the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant. Of no other book, can this be said. It is the Book of books — the book of God! In it God speaks! My inmost heart knows that it is the voice of my Beloved, and leaps for joy!

The biggest loser!

The biggest loser!

There are usually two sides:

the one dangerous—the other safe; the one is uncertain—and the other is sure.

It is always the wisest—to be found on the safe side!

Look at the unbeliever:
He denies the Bible to be God’s book.
He walks by his own reason.
He gratifies his senses and his lusts.
He lives in sin.
He must soon die.
He has no Savior.
He has no true hope.

If the Bible is false—then he is safe; BUT if the Bible is true—then he is damned forever!

He is certainly not on the safe side!

There are many things in the Bible which he does not like.
He is prejudiced against it.
It never prophecies good concerning him—but always evil.
It requires him to change his present sinful course—but he loves it.
He loves sin—and the Bible condemns it.
He gratifies the lusts of the flesh—and the Bible bids him to mortify them.

In a word, there is as much opposition between the Bible and him—as between light and darkness, holiness and sin, truth and error. Therefore he hates it!

At the best, with him all is uncertain, unsatisfactory, and vexatious.

He is certainly not on the safe side!

Now look at the true Christian:
He believes the Bible to be from God. He has examined it. He has evidence of its inspiration in his heart. He fully believes it.
What the Bible says of himself as a sinner—he knows to be true.
What it says of Jesus as a Savior—he has proved to be a fact.
As guilty—he has applied to God for pardon, and obtained it.
As impure—he has sought the cleansing operations of the Holy Spirit, and has experienced them.
His guilt is gone—therefore he has no slavish fears.
His soul is justified—therefore he has peace with God.
He approves of the inspired precepts—and regulates his life by them.
He carries his cares to God—and is sustained under them.
He realizes that God is his Friend, his Father, and his everlasting Portion.
He is peaceful.
He is often happy.
To him death has no sting—and eternity has no terror.
He knows Jesus as his Savior—and trusts in Him.
He knows God as his Father—and walks with Him.
He knows the Holy Spirit as his comforting Teacher—and listens to Him.

He is, perhaps, more tried than the unbeliever—but he has supports, consolations, and pleasures—of which the unbeliever knows nothing. He lives to bless others, to honor God, to prepare for a glorious immortality.

He would not change his worst day—for the unbeliever’s best day!

He is on the safe side!

If the unbeliever should be right—then the Christian is no loser.

But if the Christian is right—and he is—then the unbeliever is the biggest loser—an infinite loser!

Reader, on which side are you? There is but one safe side.

There is no safety for a sinner now—but at the Cross!

There will be no safety at death and judgment—but in Christ!

He who is on the safe side now—will be on the safe side then!

There will be no changing sides then!

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne! All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at His right hand—and the goats at His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father—inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world!’ (the safe side) Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones—into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons!’ (the perilous side) And they will go away into eternal punishment—but the righteous will go into eternal life!” Matthew 25:31-46

(James Smith, “The Safe Side!”)

Abandon The Quarrel

 

Proverbs 17:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The beginning of strife is like letting out water [as from a small break in a dam; first it trickles and then it gushes];
Therefore]abandon the quarrel before it breaks out and tempers explode.

 

A Cheap, Easy Christianity

A cheap, easy Christianity

“Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33

What does it cost to be a Christian?

I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian. A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday, and to be tolerably moral during the week — and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion. All this is cheap and easy work — it entails no self-denial or self-sacrifice. If this is saving Christianity and will take us to Heaven when we die — we must alter the description of the way of life, and write, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to Heaven!”

But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are . . .

enemies to be overcome,
battles to be fought,
sacrifices to be made,
an Egypt to be forsaken,
a wilderness to be passed through,
a cross to be carried,
a race to be run.

Conversion is not putting a man in a soft armchair, and taking him pleasantly to Heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.”

True Christianity will cost a man . . .

his self-righteousness,
his sins,
his love of ease, and
the favor of the world.

A religion which costs nothing — is worth nothing!

A cheap, easy Christianity, without a cross — will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Cost!”)

Wisdom from Above

Holy Bible Verse

James 3:13-18 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Wisdom from Above

13 Who among you is wise and intelligent? Let him by his good conduct show his [good] deeds with the gentleness and humility of true wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant, and [as a result] be in defiance of the truth. 15 This [superficial] wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly (secular), natural (unspiritual), even demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile]. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness (spiritual maturity) is sown in peace by those who make peace [by actively encouraging goodwill between individuals].

God’s Word

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“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

The Wasteland Wanderer & The Power Armour Of God

A screenshot of a Brotherhood of Steel member in power armour stood in a apocalyptic background

 📖 Verse 4 2day ~ Ephesians 6:10-18

 The Armour of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Wasteland Wanderer… 

With the recent announcement of Fallout 4 (released nov 2015) there is a lot of buzz about armour, especially the “Brotherhood of Steel” power armour (my fave). 

Every time i read or hear about power armour or surviving in the wasteland, i think of putting on the full armour of God. 

There is no way at all i’d step out into the wasteland without armour, only the foolish would do that. So why do we think we can stand firm against the dark forces in this world (the true wasteland) while forgetting to equip God’s armour??

Easily defeated…

How easy we make it for the evil one and his dark forces to defeat us without any fight at all. We need to put on each piece carefully and securely making sure it’s pulled tight with the belt of Truth, so we can be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 

A little about Fallout 4… 

Fallout 4 takes place approximately 200 years after a war over resources that ended in a nuclear holocaust in 2077, roughly the same time of events of Fallout 3. The setting is a post-apocalyptic retro-future, covering a region that includes Boston, Massachusetts and other parts of New England known as the Commonwealth.

The player faces all kinds of moral choices, situations, people, mutants and feral l ghouls (and worse), As you encounter more powerful enemies without much armour yourself, you keep wishing that you will find the location of the power armour. The game (like life) is full of choices,  you can choose to do good or you can choose to do bad, and the consequences of these choices send ripples throughout the game and change the way people receive you. 

Each choice determines your destiny!

Putting on…… 

 For us to stand any chance of surviving against the devil’s schemes, powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, we MUST choose to put on the spiritual armour. Unlike the game we know the location of this armour is in prayer. 

 

Ready…..Aim..…Pray!

 

I’m writing this post to urge you to pray on the spiritual Armour of God Ephesians 6 (as listed above). Take a moment and carefully consider the power, purpose and reality of each piece as you put it on. Whether you pray this prayer or a prayer like it, make it a routine that you take seriously.

🙏 Prayer 4 2day! 

Lord, please help me today put on the Full Armour of God so i can stand firm in this spiritual warfare.

Help me put the Helmet of Salvation on my head that I might always remember I am saved, and who I belong to, that my mind is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the mind of Christ and that I may think the thoughts of Christ and reject all others that flood my mind daily.

Help me put the Breastplate of Righteousness on so that I may walk about in Righteousness and others may see your Righteousness in me, and that my heart is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the desires of Christ and reject all others.

Help me keep the Belt of Truth securely buckled on my waist, that I may always be secure in the knowledge of the Truth, always speak the Truth and especially…live the Truth.

Help me fit my Feet with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace, that I may stand firm in the Gospel, and spread the Gospel of Peace wherever I go.

Help hold the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one, strengthen my arm and help me hold it high, that I may use it to protect myself, my family, my household and those under my care, and help me use the Shield of Faith to press ahead and push forward for the kingdom of God.

And Lord, help me take up the Sword of The Spirit which is the Word of God, and use it every day, help me us it to protect myself and others from the evil one through the power and authority of Your Word, and to strike the hearts and minds of those who do not know You calling them towards repentance and salvation, help me use Your Word – the Sword of the Spirit – to cause those who know you but are backslidden to repentance, obedience and service, and to help awaken those who know you, but are asleep so they may obey and serve you, and please help me use your Word to bring, encouragement, strength and wisdom to the Remnant of God through your Word.

Help me serve you this and every day. Please use me Lord. These things I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

God’s Power

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“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Perverting The Gospel Of Christ

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Galatians 1:6-10 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Christian Living

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“There is nothing which I know of which is more unscriptural, and which is more dangerous to the soul, than to divide doctrine from life… The reason for this is that if your life and your mode of living is not the outcome of your doctrine, it is not Christian living; it is something else.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans – The Gospel Of God

Undead: How Faith & The Living Dead Intersect

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 Undead. Author Clay Morgan explores death and the supernatural, explaining how faith and the living dead intersect.

Zombies aren’t just around for Halloween anymore, with the genre finding huge success in Hollywood. AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead, is just one of the many Zombie-focused stories out there today.

Recently, Morgan shared with CBN.com about this phenomenon, what we can learn from these supernatural stories and how Jesus is the epitome of the “anti-zombie”.

What’s a Christian doing writing a book about zombies?

Clay Morgan: I wrote a book about zombies for much the same reason C.S. Lewis wrote a book like The Screwtape Letters about demons—to find light in the darkness. Tales of the supernatural are ready-made for Christianity. Zombies are ridiculously popular and culturally relevant, so zombies are a great way to get someone’s attention. From there we can have a marvelous discussion about spiritual life and spiritual death.

I’m also genuinely interested in the topic and pop culture in general. Millions of people never go to church or learn about biblical faith. For them, entertainment may be the sole medium informing their beliefs of the supernatural. If someone walks out of a movie about zombies or vampires asking questions about life beyond the grave then that’s a great opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about eternal things.

Have you received any criticism for examining themes like horror and zombies?

CM: Nothing major yet, but I certainly expected some. I’m sure some people don’t want anything to do with zombies, even as a starting point for discussing biblical miracles, but anyone who reads the book will see that it’s about much more. The stories are fun, so there’s not much of a horror/zombie vibe for most readers.

Why are we fascinated by the living dead?

CM: In part I think we’re compelled by the world in which they live, a post-apocalyptic environment where humanity as we know it is over. There are no more bills to pay or jobs to pursue or social circles to navigate. There’s equality in the face of death.

As for the monsters, it’s hard to look away from such an uncompromising threat. And on a deeper level we recognize the meaning of an existence with no hope for redemption. Their totality is so threatening. One misstep and it’s over. And the victims in these stories often don’t just die; they are turned into evil monsters which is more terrifying than anything.

Why is being scared entertaining?

CM: For most people it’s exciting, an adrenaline rush. The key is that we aren’t in any real danger, so we pay a lot of money for the illusion of such things. Maybe some of us are just thrill seekers. I suspect that part of it is a desire to find out what our thresholds are. What I do know is that if a horror movie plot like a zombie outbreak really happened it would not be fun! The real thing would be so truly terrifying, but entertainment is a different thing.

What’s your favorite zombie film, and why?

CM: I think the first zombie movie that truly captivated me was 28 Days Later in which a man wakes from a coma after London has already been devastated by plague. In addition to the quality of the filmmaking and suspense the story makes you think about fate and the meaningful relationships in our lives. Most of all, you have to consider what humanity becomes in the face of ultimate depravity. After all, zombies are a visible representation of cursed creation.

If I have a clear favorite, it’s probably Zombieland which balances humor with the fright of a world gone wrong. That one really allows you to see the empty stores and communities and consider what the world might look like during an apocalypse.

What spiritual lessons do zombie stories teach us?

CM: The biggest lesson might be that it’s possible to exist without truly being alive. A lot of us shamble through life, thoughtlessly going through the motions while feeling dead inside. That includes people in churches and youth groups. We may look like we’re alive to the people around us while masking the decay in our heart.

I used to punch in on Sundays and walk away largely unchanged. What are we living for? What is the meaning of our existence? Zombies aimlessly roam around looking for one more chance to gorge on an appetite of destruction, yet no matter how much they feed on what they desire they are always empty. If anybody has ever wondered what’s missing in life they can probably relate to that kind of emptiness. Fortunately, we don’t have to stay that way. God offers ultimate fulfillment, an abundant life.

A section of your book is titled, ‘Undead in the Bible’. Are you saying there are zombies in the Bible?

CM: That idea is really the heart of the book. Most of the chapters in Undead describe the six individuals in the New Testament who were raised from the dead by God. Jesus performed three of these jaw-dropping miracles and became the fourth. Peter and Paul were also used to bring someone back from the dead.

Of course, these individuals weren’t zombies in the Hollywood sense. Like Lazarus, those folks were restored to full life. But the wordplay makes sense since culture is so fascinated with dead people coming back to life. I thought it was pretty cool to show how many times that type of thing happened in the Bible. The same God who brought people back from physical death in the first century is still able to bring us back from spiritual death today.

In Undeadyou say we see ourselves in zombies. How’s that?

CM: The thing about zombies is that they look familiar in their t-shirts, jeans, curlers, and slippers. Other monsters—such as aliens, vampire, or werewolves for example—look so different. We see ourselves in zombies, the worst possible version of our neighbors and ourselves. They hit close to home.

Metaphorically, some of us see frightening reflections of ourselves when we look in the mirror because we know ugly, personal truths.

A major theme of a lot of zombie films and stories is when the living become more monstrous than the zombies in their quest for survival. What is it about zombie movies that help us to examine the dark side of human nature?

CM: You’ve nailed it. Zombie fiction is always about the survivors and how they’ll interact. The title of that show The Walking Dead isn’t a reference to the zombies but to the people attempting to go on. These stories reduce everything to its base. Money and social status don’t help anyone. In such dire circumstances the truth about human nature is revealed, and we know it isn’t pretty. The ancient prophet Jeremiah said that our hearts are deceitful above all else and even desperately wicked. Any good zombie story shows how wicked some people can be.

“Jesus is the anti-zombie”. Please, do explain.

CM: Zombies are the complete opposite to Jesus. They come back from the dead to take lives. Jesus came back from the dead to give life to all. Zombies are damaged, decaying, and terrifying. Jesus came back resurrected in perfection, a beautiful sight to all who believe. Zombies transform people from life to death. Jesus offers transformation from death to life. That’s why I call him the anti-zombie.

Undead also gets into vampires. How does that folklore play into this?

CM: Monster stories often subvert God’s story. For example, vampires receive immortality at the expense of their soul. They take blood to have life which is completely the opposite of Jesus who gave blood so that others might have life. Blood is a central theme throughout both scripture and vampire lore.

The other thing about vampires is that they are the ultimate in selfishness which is something I used to really struggle with. To use another metaphor, spiritual vampires are takers and they can be found anywhere, churches included. We need to make sure we’re not acting like vampires to the people around us by losing sight of what it means to be a servant like Jesus.

Beyond talk of zombies and vampires, this book speaks to deeper issues. What is the message?

CM: The ultimate message of Undead is that God is able to breathe life into each one of us. He wants to transform us, and it will be the most awesome miracle we’ve ever experienced. Spiritual death isn’t just about ignoring God. If we’re honest, some of us may be in churches every week but know that something big is missing from our lives. Like Lazarus, it’s possible to be a friend of Jesus for a while before experiencing a whole new level of his miraculous, life-giving power in a new way.

Who do you know that needs to hear about the transforming power of God? Maybe they’re not even interested in going to church but they just might find Undead engaging enough to discover the mind-blowing force of God’s love.


Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles and information, visit Hannah’s bio page.

A know-It-All Attitude

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Holy Spirit, bring familiar passages from Your living Word to mind. By Your power, make them living and active in my soul! Oh Lord, break me of any know-it-all attitude, so that I can experience You in fresh and new ways today, Amen.

Love Is A Commitment

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“Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.”

Ravi Zacharias

Living & Active Sword

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Holy Spirit, unless You move in my heart and in my mind, the Bible will be little more than words on a page. Guide my thoughts, lead me in my prayers, so that these words might become Your living and active sword in my hand. Amen.

From Death To Life

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Ephesians 2:1-10 Easy-to-Read Version

From Death to Life

In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God. Yes, in the past your lives were full of those sins. You lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. In the past all of us lived like that, trying to please our sinful selves. We did all the things our bodies and minds wanted. Like everyone else in the world, we deserved to suffer God’s anger just because of the way we were.

But God is rich in mercy, and he loved us very much. We were spiritually dead because of all we had done against him. But he gave us new life together with Christ. (You have been saved by God’s grace.) Yes, it is because we are a part of Christ Jesus that God raised us from death and seated us together with him in the heavenly places. God did this so that his kindness to us who belong to Christ Jesus would clearly show for all time to come the amazing richness of his grace.

I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. You are not saved by the things you have done, so there is nothing to boast about. God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do.

The Way You Should Live

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Ephesians 4:17-32 Easy-to-Read Version

The Way You Should Live

17 I have something from the Lord to tell you. I warn you: Don’t continue living like those who don’t believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. 18 They have no understanding, and they know nothing because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives. 19 They have lost their feeling of shame and use their lives to do what is morally wrong. More and more they want to do all kinds of evil. 20 But that way of life is nothing like what you learned when you came to know Christ. 21 I know that you heard about him, and in him you were taught the truth. Yes, the truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to leave your old self. This means that you must stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self gets worse and worse, because people are fooled by the evil they want to do. 23 You must be made new in your hearts and in your thinking. 24 Be that new person who was made to be like God, truly good and pleasing to him.

25 So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,”[a] because we all belong to each other in the same body. 26 “When you are angry, don’t let that anger make you sin,”[b] and don’t stay angry all day. 27 Don’t give the devil a way to defeat you. 28 Whoever has been stealing must stop it and start working. They must use their hands for doing something good. Then they will have something to share with those who are poor.

29 When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need—whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. 30 And don’t make the Holy Spirit sad. God gave you his Spirit as proof that you belong to him and that he will keep you safe until the day he makes you free. 31 Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. 32 Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ.

Temptation Does Not Come From God

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James 1:12-18 Easy-to-Read Version

Temptation Does Not Come From God

Great blessings belong to those who are tempted and remain faithful! After they have proved their faith, God will give them the reward of eternal life. God promised this to all people who love him. Whenever you feel tempted to do something bad, you should not say, “God is tempting me.” Evil cannot tempt God, and God himself does not tempt anyone. You are tempted by the evil things you want. Your own desire leads you away and traps you. 15 Your desire grows inside you until it results in sin. Then the sin grows bigger and bigger and finally ends in death.

My dear brothers and sisters, don’t be fooled about this. Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. God decided to give us life through the true message he sent to us. He wanted us to be the most important of all that he created.

True Riches

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James 1:9-11 Easy-to-Read Version

True Riches

Believers who are poor should be glad that God considers them so important. Believers who are rich should be glad when bad things happen that humble them. Their riches won’t keep them from disappearing as quickly as wildflowers. As the sun rises and gets hotter, its heat dries up the plants, and the flowers fall off. The flowers that were so beautiful are now dead. That’s how it is with the rich. While they are still making plans for their business, they will die.

Faith & Wisdom

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James 1:2-8 Easy-to-Read Version

Faith and Wisdom

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you a reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be.

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So he will give you wisdom. But when you ask God, you must believe. Don’t doubt him. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is blown up and down by the wind. People like that are thinking two different things at the same time. They can never decide what to do. So they should not think they will receive anything from the Lord.

To All The Churches #4

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Revelation 2:18-29 The Voice

Letter to Thyatira

Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Thyatira. “These are the words of the Son of God, the One whose eyes blaze like flames of fire and whose feet gleam like brightly polished bronze:

“I know your deeds, love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your labors greatly increase in quality as you travel along this journey.

“However, I have this against you: you have tolerated that woman Jezebel, who is a self-anointed prophetess and who misleads My followers to commit immoral sexual acts and to eat food prepared for idol worship. I have provided her enough time to turn away from her indecency, but she refuses to turn from these immoral acts. Watch; I will throw her back into her sickbed with those who committed adultery with her, and I will make them a bed of great affliction if they do not abandon her indiscretions and turn to follow Me. I will punish her by striking her children dead. Through this all the churches will know I am the One who relentlessly explores the mind and heart, and I will deal with each of you as you deserve according to your acts.

“I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, those who have not held to the teachings of Jezebel and who remain ignorant of the real meaning of what is called the deep things of Satan, I will not burden you with anything more. Just keep on task, and keep the faith until I return.

“And as for those who conquer through faithfulness even unto death and continue to labor with Me until the close of the final curtain,

I will give them authority over the nations.
And they will rule the nations with an iron scepter,
as fragile clay jars are shattered to pieces.

As I received this authority from My Father, I will bestow the morning star to the victor.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”

 

You’re Blessed

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Matthew 5:1-12 The Message

You’re Blessed

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.”

To All The Churches #1

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Revelation 2:1-7 The Voice

As the story unfolds, we’re told that the lampstands signify the churches. During harsh times of persecution, the faithful often wonder where their Master is. Is He even aware of what they are experiencing? John’s vision confirms what the gospel already teaches: Jesus is present with them even in their suffering, moving among those who dare to bear the light. Lampstands, of course, are not the light. They only carry the light. The true Light that has come into the world is none other than Jesus, the Son of Man (John 8:28).

Letter to Ephesus

The One: Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Ephesus. “These are the words of the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks and moves among the golden lampstands:

“I know your deeds, your tireless labor, and your patient endurance. I know you do not tolerate those who do evil. Furthermore, you have diligently tested those who claim to be emissaries, and you have found that they are not true witnesses. You have correctly found them to be false. I know you are patiently enduring and holding firm on behalf of My name. You have not become faint.

“However, I have this against you: you have abandoned your first love. Do you remember what it was like before you fell? It’s time to rethink and change your ways; go back to how you first acted. However, if you do not return, I will come quickly and personally remove your lampstand from its place. But you do have this to your credit: you despise the deeds of the Nicolaitans and how they concede to evil. I also hate what they do.

“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches. I will allow the one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death to eat from the tree of life found in God’s lush paradise.”

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Help Each Other Be Strong

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Hebrews 10:22-25 Easy-to-Read Version

Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what he promised.

Help Each Other Be Strong

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. This becomes more and more important as you see the Day getting closer.

His Compassions Fail Not

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Lamentations 3:21-25 King James Version

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Your Essential Worship

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Romans 12:1-2 The Voice

Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship. Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.

Paul urges those who read and hear his letter to respond to the good news by offering their bodies—eyes, ears, mouths, hands, feet—to God as a “living sacrifice.” Paul knows well enough that sacrifices end in death, not life. But the sacrifice of Jesus changes everything. His resurrection steals life from death and makes it possible for those who trust in Him to become a sacrifice and yet live. But how do we live? We do not live as before, wrapping ourselves in the world and its bankrupt values. We live in constant renewal and transformation of our minds.

The Bible And The TV Guide

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On the table side by side,
The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is well worn and cherished with pride,
No, not the Bible, the TV Guide.

One is used daily to help folks decide,
No it isn’t the Bible it’s the TV Guide.
As the pages are turned what shall they see?
Oh, it doesn’t matter, just turn on the TV!

And so they open the book in which they confide,
Not the Bible the TV Guide!
The word of God is seldom read;
Well, maybe a verse e’er they fall into bed.
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be,
Not from reading the Bible but watching TV.

So back to the table side by side,
The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is cherished and well worn with pride,
Not the Bible, the TV Guide!

The plan of salvation is seldom heard,
(Nor the love of God, or encouraging words,)
Forgiveness of sin so full and free
Is found in the Bible not on TV!!

I heard Jarrod Cooper (Days of wonder) read this poem on UCB UK


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