I am no better, or no worse, than any other man…

I am no better or no worse than any other man…righteous or evil, good or bad, spiteful or loving, knowledgeable or ignorant!

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We each have the right to choose either the left or the right path at the fork in the road, the narrow or the broad path. Only you can choose for yourself and inform others. But they, too, must make that choice themselves at the time it is presented to them!

Time and again I have touted that the God given, inalienable, right to choose is man’s greatest blessing and greatest curse. We have a life filled with choices and unfortunately we also have a life full of wrong turns, misguided steps, Clarenceand bad decisions. But on a more positive note, we also have that same life filled with wonderful right turns in our time here on this earth. Good memories, fondness of loving moments, and an abundance of blessings that many other will never experience. We all, in the words of Clarence the wayward Angel (“IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”), “have a wonderful life,” despite all of our misgivings, bad choices, wrong turns, and abundance of problems that we incur.

We are not promised a long lustrous life, nor one of pure heartache; a life of wealth and ease and comfort, nor of utter disdain and poverty; we are not promised a life of joviality and partying, nor one of utter boredom and doledrums. We are promised one human life…ONE. We are each handed a gift of life and sadly we tend to through it away by wasting our time on silly activities, when we could be increasing ourselves and our self worth; which would increasingly glorify God, you know YOUR MAKER? We tend to make terrible decisions because we would prefer to have received the winning POWERBALL NUMBERS! Face it, as it may very well be true. I know my life would be easier and in someways better if I had received such wealth. BUT in reality of it all, I would not have learned many lessons that I need to learn in order to become the best ME that I could possibly be. In my opinion, based upon my reading the Bible a time or two over the last (nearing) thirty years: God has a great plan for each and every one of us! (Both those who believe and those who do not.)

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No one has a greater plan for you, or I, outside of God. If we each will allow ourselves to be touched and indwelt by the Spirit of God, He will infuse in us all manners of workmanship as we need to carry out His plan. But this truly means that we each must unlearn much of the garbage we have picked up over the years! Unlearn old bad habits and re-learn good and new habits. (Yeah, it will be tough, but worth it in the long run!)

God could just give us things, wealth, and other forms of greatness, BUT how ah-hah-momentswould THAT show us that it was God who did it??? It would not! How would we learn the lessons that we so desperately need? We would not learn them! If we are to truly glorify God, our Creator, THEN we need to do those things that will aid us to learn all those necessary traits that will enable each of us to to do God’s will and live the example that Christ displayed for us. The only way we can do these things is to learn the hard lessons and truths that will, eventually, lead us to that epiphany…that AH-HAH moment!

But God, as any earth bound father or mother, will not grant the request of charlie-sigheach and every childish whim. Not because He is spiteful, but because we need to learn…many of us the hard way <<sigh!>>. Our parents, together, are the closest we have to understanding God. Our parents purpose is to teach us about God and prepare us for life. Sadly, many parents do not do a very good job of this, they tend to, now-a-days, be their children’s friend or they assert an aristocratic authoritarian command over their children as though they are teaching and instructing them. Instead you have a bratty friend, or end up with a child-like serf with a revolutionary mind set in order to over throw the parents, or they leave the household never to return. (Yeah, just a bit over the top, but I believe you get and see the point(s).)

Depression ScreeningWe can become better people through education and (YES!) through faith and guidance by God. Now when I speak of education, I am not necessarily leaning toward schooling, nor am I discounting it; however, we must learn and understand when we are being indoctrinated and MUST stand against such teachings! I have sat through many courses where the teachers/instructors were indoctrinating me with an agenda in mind. As Ben Shapiroacademicsuicide1 mentioned in some of his writings, you do not want to commit academic suicide by standing against the teacher because he/she is god with respect to your grade. Have you ever seen the movie “GOD’S NOT DEAD“? There are professors (portrayed by Kevin Sorbo) out there just like that, but many are far worse. However, it was a good depiction of some of the travesties of students in today’s colleges and universities. Keep in mind, though, that there are many far worse problems going on these days on college campuses where students are in desperate need of safe spaces because they cannot handle a word or presentation that some guest speakers have for them to hear. University of Chicago responded to such a thing in the proper manner. There was another university in it’s response where it suggested that if the student(s) needed a safe space, they should return home because they were not yet mature enough for the university atmosphere! But, I have digressed from my original premise.

ChristsExampleIt is through our constant and never ending growth in knowledge and wisdom that we can become better people; however, there is one more concern…we must stop measuring ourselves against one another. Stop comparing ourselves to our neighbors, our classmates from high school or college, our peers at work, etc. The best we can do is compare ourselves to the example in Christ!

Don’t get me wrong, competition can be a healthy thing for us but our competitive spirit can be a bad thing, as well. If our competitiveness brings us to the point of pridefulness and greed, that is when it becomes a bad and sinful thing in our life…and we must rid ourselves of it!

I am no better, or no worse, than any other man…I am just like everyone else in this world, but I can be a beacon of hope to others if I would just live and learn from the example Jesus left me!

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

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Repentance

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Just as we learned from Jonah, where the Lord “repented,” though it was not actually the Lord who repented but the Ninevites…the Lord changed His course of action because of the Ninevites’ repentance.  So, cannot God do with us as the potter deals with his creation?

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to  build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. ~Jeremiah 18:1-10 NKJV 

The funny thing is that many look at this and believe this is a contradiction…but is it truly a contradiction? No, I do not believe so. God does not repent in the traditional sense of the word as man would repent. So, what is repentance? According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, repentance means:

There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.

Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one’s own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.

The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

Was God truly “repentant”? No, but as the word means, in one of it’s definitions, He changed His mind. Was it proper for the writer to use the word that he chose to use? Probably not, but it was a means to get across the message that God would change His wrath to joyfulness, because the penitent changed from their evil ways to the ways of God.

 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. ~Luke 15:7 NKJV

With this promise to later on be said by Jesus, could you imagine the joy over the Ninevite’s turning over a new leaf and turning their lives over to God? Such joy to be had and noticed!So, was God sorry? No, He was glad and joyful that those who followed a path of evil had changed their minds and hearts to align with God’s heart and will. But He did change His course of action, instead of destroying the people of Nineveh He blessed them. Jonah went up on the hill to watch the Ninevites revert back to their old ways, because in Jonah’s mind “you just cannot trust a Ninevite!” On a side note God is always sorry and heartbroken that man chooses a path that leads him to Hell, because God “…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

But, of course, man needs to want to do so, man needs to choose for himself that God’s way is the right way, and man needs to believe the word of God. These are choices that we all must make, if we happen to choose the opposite view we are on the precipice of choosing our own destruction and have no recourse of action. Nor can we truly blame God for our actions as we chose to do so of our own volition. This is why I taught and firmly believe that choice is man’s greatest blessing and greatest curse all wrapped up in one!It was on that hill that God had to teach the prophet, or evangelist, a lesson, or two, and gain him back to God’s way of thinking, again. And He did it through a vine.
As mentioned in an earlier post that man tends to get attached to the strangest things. Sadly, it doesn’t take too much for any of us to get attached to much of anything these days. Dogs, cats, lizards, money, work, etc. The list can get very long! Why was Jonah on the hill? Because he just knew that the Ninevites would fail and revert back to their old ways. Thereby, reverting back to their sinful ways and actions…business as usual. 

In the book of Ezekiel, and other places within the biblical text, we are told:

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul. ~Ezekiel 3:17-21 NKJV

God is forgiving, if we are repentant. But God will hold each of us accountable for the sins of our neighbors and brothers IF we do not warn them as we are told to do. We are each called to be ministers, priests, and evangelists. Bearers of the Word of God and therefore, we are to warn all peoples we come into contact with that their souls may live with God.

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We are the “Watchmen”, for the sake of men’s souls and eternal life! This is the endgame of bringing the word to others…to open their hearts in order to bring about a repentant heart that God my yield his mercy and forgiveness. Regardless of how repentant we may be, none of us is good…NO NOT ONE!

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May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences

Choices-Mantra

Racist, homophobe, Islamophobe, Zionist, bigot, xenophobe, white supremacist, hater, etc. are not actual arguments against points people make. They are simply character assassinations against whomever you perceive as your enemy. Yet, you cannot have dialogue without some form of discussion…pretty simple! You can continue to divide and conquer those you disagree with with the empty rhetorical assertions based on half-truths, lies, and misunderstandings OR you can enter into good faith talks with those you disagree with and either come to an agreement, compromise, or agree to disagree.

There are those who say you kill or destroy your enemies by making them your friend. It is  a hard feat to accomplish, but it can be done.

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I live, try to at least, by a certain moral standard – the tenets of the Christian faith espoused within the biblical text. Yet, I am considered a hater. Hmmmmmmmm, a bit hypocritical I believe! Considering the fact that those people who claim me and those who believe as I believe are haters are the ones demanding inclusivity, toleration of their acts and beliefs, etc. Yet, they are so intolerant of my thoughts, beliefs and ideas. It is a sad world we live in these days and it is getting much worse, day by day.

Sadly when you attempt to discuss anything, you get no where because you are deemed to be such a bigoted ass-hat. On that same note, when they want the floor to say something an you yield to them…part of their argument is to denigrate you, part is to assert that theirs is the moral high ground (without proof), and in some cases the rest of the dialogue is espousing anyone who thinks like you should be neutered to prevent any further spreading of this tripe which you speak.

People will refuse to accept your position as being valid – not because they have a valid argument that refutes your position, or that  your position is invalid, but rather because it is the antithesis of the all-inclusive agenda that is being pushed throughout liberal progressive America. Mob mentality, in essence, is what they live by and how they defeat we Christians is through gang and guerilla warfare. There are no arguments based upon common sense, wisdom, natural law, or true sciences. (I refrain from mentioning legal and lawful statutes because they are slowly changing toward the liberal hedonistic agendas that are being espoused since the 1950’s. Then, to make matters worse, they spew hateful epithets, slurs, character assassinations and we Christians are deemed to be the intolerant, bigoted, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, ass-hats…REALLY?

What has happened to society that it has allowed logic and common sense to flee from it’s ability to reason with wisdom, natural law, history, and truthful science???

As a Christian, man or woman does not matter, you are presently in the wrong, simply because you have a moral standard upon which you stand and base your life upon. As mentioned, I try to live by that standard, but I fail daily and I fail miserably! But God is forgiving if you seek His forgiveness. He is gracious to grant each of us forgiveness and salvation of our sins if we are willing to accept His gift.

Salvation is when God forgives a person of his/her sins and saves him from damnation — which is the righteous judgment upon all who have broken his law (i.e., do not lie, do not steal).  This judgment consists of God condemning the sinner to eternal punishment in hell (Matt. 25:46).  This is the destination of all who reject God’s provision for the forgiveness of sins. Being saved from this judgment is only accomplished through faith in Jesus as Savior who is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9). He died on the cross for sins (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). If you want salvation, you need to trust in what Jesus did on the cross, receive him (John 1:12) and turn from your sins (Acts 3:19). Only then can you have eternal life and be with God (Eph. 2:8-9). ~WHAT IS SALVATION? by Matt Slick

Matt Click, a Christian Apologist and host to CARM.org (Christian Apologetic Research Ministry), explains assurance of salvation this way:

Let’s say that we are on a 20 foot boat out in the ocean. We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water. There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in trouble. We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them. It lands just a few feet short. We start yelling and yelling for them to grab the life preserver so we can pull them in. “Come on,” we yell. “Grab it! Grab it!” One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short. “Grab it!” we yell again. He reaches again and his arm plops down in the water from fatigue. The waves slap his face, but he tries again. The other man is simply floating face down in the water. He isn’t struggling at all. But, the first man is trying for that life preserver. He is fighting against the ocean, the wind, and the waves, all which are greater than he is. That is when I ask the person, “Which one of the two men in the water is alive?” Always, the response is, “The one reaching for the life preserver.” “Right,” I say. “He is struggling for life. Dead people don’t struggle for life…. and spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin. Only those who are dead, who have no life in them, do not struggle. The fact that you are struggling against your sin is one very good sign that you are very much alive in Christ. If you were not struggling at all, then it might be true that you weren’t saved. But, since you war against your sins, then it sure sounds like you’re saved to me.” ~THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

While we are assured of our salvation through our faith in Jesus and what He did for us (i.e., dying on the cross in our place.) We each should be crucified for our sins, but we have already yielded a sacrifice. God gave His one and only Son, Jesus, and substituted Him for our place. We each are to be regenerated and renewed creatures in Christ upon our submitting our lives to God and asking Jesus into our hearts. Though we may continue to sin, and yeah that is rhetorical, it is not a license to sin when we give our lives to Jesus. It is we who must rule over our carnal natures, our sinful and the wanton desires of our hearts. By delving into the bible, God’s inspired Word, we can become wiser with respect to what God desires of us and His very will and purpose for us.

Most of us have the problem of focusing on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Most of us have the problem of focusing on the example that Jesus showed us in His life here on earth. Most of us have the problem of using our God give will power to rule over those natural desires that give us immediate pleasure. We are not, nor have we been, promised a pleasurable life of hedonistic tendencies. We were promised a life, one human life here on this earth. We get one chance at this. We will answer for our sins in the flesh during our time on this earth.

Hence, the consequences for our choices while in the flesh. We will be judged. That is why we each must follow the word, not what someone say the word says…but we must read it and follow it ourselves!

If Jesus were alive today, on this earth, instead of the adulterous woman being caught it would have been a homosexual caught in the act (yet, the participant would have been let free because he would have been a man of the higher clergy or something similar.) Jesus’ words would have been just as memorable and applicable to the accusers of the homosexual caught in the act:

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

“…where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

…said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said… “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” ~John 8:1-11 NKJV

Jesus’ words ring true even today. Whether we want them to or not! Trust in Jesus and seek His wisdom. Find a way to get past your anger, lack of focus, and inability to rule over your own mind or body and work harder at it…struggle at it until your dying breath!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

…the way, the truth, and the life…

There is but one way to enter in to heaven, and that is through Jesus the Christ!

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Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6 NKJV

In the words of Dr. Michael Licona, or some variation as I recall, “If there is a true religion, then I owe it my allegiance. If there is the one true God, then I owe Him my true allegiance.”

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Now, there are great reasons to believe that Jesus is the true Son of the Living God. The historical aspect, archaeological aspect, textual reliance and other witness accounts, perhaps the witness accounts of those who are extra-biblical and non-Christians. Perhaps, in comparing the numerous different religions is enough for you and the claims. What of the numerous documentaries comparing Christ to those perceived and asserted other gods, which were supposedly risen from the dead in the same exact way and so on. Unfortunately, if you do the homework and make the comparisons yourself you will find that those assertions are false.

  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did not the Sanhedrin show His dead and mutilated body to the people?
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles preach the resurrection message to the people in Jerusalem? (Where the punishment was certain death by stoning.)
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then why did the Apostles die cruel and inhumane deaths without denying their Lord and Savior?
  • There are those who believe in the “Swoon Theory,” but there is too much to discredit such a belief.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.~Romans 1:16 NKJV

So, what is salvation? According to Matt Slick, CARM.org, “Salvation is being saved from the righteous judgment of God upon the sinner…All who have sinned against God are under the judgment of God.  This judgment is known as damnation where God condemns to eternal hell all those who have offended Him by breaking His Law.” One allegorical representation of the weight of sin upon our soul is:

A Chinese evangelist was once preaching on salvation and the weight of sin. A heckler did what hecklers do best, attempt to shame or embarrass  the evangelist. The response was epic: “If you have a corpse lying in his coffin, will he feel a hundred pound weight on his chest any more than a fifty pound weight?” ~ROMANS, vol. 1, pg. 170, David Grey Barnhouse, (1989)

We are warned by the Apostle Paul for the benefit of our souls that, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV) And at the same time we are promised eternal life being the gift of God, His gift of Salvation through His grace! All we have to do is ask for it and freely receive it. It is that simple, but people do not trust free or simple things. By considering the previously mentioned allegorical representation of sin upon our souls, this statement by the Apostle Paul should help solidify the matter. Our hearts should be weighted down AND we should be looking for the EXIT sign to get out of the cage/prison which we have cornered ourselves into, through every means of deceit, trickery, lying, deciding, etc. YES, we decided our way into a corner and must decide our way out of that very same corner. The decision should be easy and the solution is even easier! Accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, believing He is the Son of the Living God, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven.

It is easy to accept, but rather hard to believe, isn’t it? That is why we must seek for ourselves…researching and studying the word of God. Because we were mandated to:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ ~Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV

Which means we are to love God all our essence and being and by loving Him with all our mind, we are to love Him NOT with blind faith but rather with well informed, studied and researched faith. Loving Him with all our logic and reason! Many people, not just Atheists, believe that to believe in God we give up our reason and logic for blind faith upon the word of the bible alone. That is just not true at all!

God destined us to determine for ourselves through free will to guide our own paths. That includes turning off the primrose path by making mistakes and sinning, because God desired us all to love and honor Him with all of our heart by our free will choice. We will never be perfect, until God makes us so. But we must keep living the life as though we can be perfect by modeling the life of Jesus the Christ. By ascribing ourselves to the word of God and by living our lives accordingly. Not by the law, as presented in the Old Testament, but according to the simple teachings of Christ as presented by His Apostles & Disciples. Those words in the New Testament give a great representation of who Christ was and how He lived. If we use Jesus as the model, how could we go wrong?

Two final caveats:

  1. If the Apostle Paul was changed so dramatically on the road to Damascus from a Christian hating and torturing Jew to become one of Jesus’ greatest Evangelists and Apologists…how can we doubt such a change? How can we doubt such a drastic and dramatic change?
  2. The deaths of the Apostles were gruesome and heinous, to say the least. But no one recanted their faith or belief that Jesus was, in fact, the One True Son of the Living God, the Messiah, whom the Jews had been awaiting. That is another factoid which we must keep in mind. (Consider when the Watergate Scandal was plaguing the Nixon Administration each each of the major players involved made a plea deal and received felony indictments. Each turned on their master.) It defies logic and reason to discount their sincerity!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Some other things you may enjoy from great teachers:

Is Jesus the Only Way? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Is Jesus the only way to be saved? (CARM)

The Assurance of Salvation by Matt Slick (CARM.org)

I came across this site and article, which has changed my perspective on my belief in salvation. I had posted some time ago (Once Saved, Always Saved? Part 1 & Part 2; Aug-Sept, 2015) where I had a problem with the essential belief in “once saved always saved.” This article, along with others by Matt Slick, have through well thought out arguments have changed my mind (for the most part.) I still have certain concerns, however these are personal issues; perhaps, I am trying to hang on to the old in fear of the new, I do not know. Please enjoy…

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ORIGINAL ARTICLE<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The Assurance of Salvation

by Matt Slick

One of the more annoying problems in Christians’ lives is the issue of assurance of salvation. We’ve all been there.  We’ve all wondered if we are really saved or not.  We’ve looked at our lives and actions and thoughts and sometimes just said, “How can I be saved if I am like this?”  I’ve counseled many Christians who have doubted their salvation and who have worked themselves into a worry and sometimes even depression over the issue.  I’ve always thought that the solution was pretty basic.  I ask the person, “Why do you think you might not be saved?”  Almost always the reason is, “Because I have a sin in my life.  Because I can’t beat this one sin.  Because of my thoughts.   Because I keep failing.”  “Okay,” I say.  “So you know you’re supposed to be doing better than you are, right?”  “Yes,” they say.  “I am supposed to be doing better and I’m not.  This is why I doubt that I am saved.”  So, I give them this illustration.

Let’s say that we are on a 20 foot boat out in the ocean.  We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water.  There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in trouble. We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them.  It lands just a few feet short.  We start yelling and yelling for them to grab the life preserver so we can pull them in.  “Come on,” we yell. “Grab it!  Grab it!”  One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short.  “Grab it!” we yell again.  He reaches again and his arm plops down in the water from fatigue. The waves slap his face, but he tries again.  The other man is simply floating face down in the water.  He isn’t struggling at all.  But, the first man is trying for that life preserver.  He is fighting against the ocean, the wind, and the waves, all which are greater than he is.  That is when I ask the person, “Which one of the two men in the water is alive?”  Always, the response is, “The one reaching for the life preserver.”  “Right,” I say.  “He is struggling for life.  Dead people don’t struggle for life…. and spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin.  Only those who are dead, who have no life in them, do not struggle.  The fact that you are struggling against your sin is one very good sign that you are very much alive in Christ.  If you were not struggling at all, then it might be true that you weren’t saved.  But, since you war against your sins, then it sure sounds like you’re saved to me.”  Usually, the eyes brighten at this point.  I then keep going.

“Do you believe there is only one God in all existence, all places, and all times?”  “Yes,” they answer. “Do you believe in the Trinity, that God is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?”  Again, “Yes.”  I continue.  “Do you believe Jesus is God in flesh?”  “Yes.”  “Do you believe Jesus is the only way to salvation?”  Again, “Yes.”  “Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead three days later?”  Another, “Yes.”  “Good,” I say.

1 Cor. 2:14 says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”  I continue by telling them that a natural man is someone who is not saved.  Now, these are absolutely, definitely spiritually discerned truths that they answered yes to above.  They are that there is only one God and that God is a Trinity, that Jesus is God in flesh, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead three days later.  In other words, the fact that the person confesses these things and believes them is further, very strong evidence, that he is spiritually alive.  Usually, the person is encouraged even more.

And finally, I tell them that Jesus gives us eternal life (John 10:27-28) and He does not fake us out when we ask to be forgiven and for Him to be Lord of our lives.  He said in Luke 11:10-13, “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. 11Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  12“Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?  13“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” In other words, you get what you ask for from the Lord (except for sinful and selfish things, of course); He does not bait-and-switch.  If you ask for eternal life from Jesus, that is what you get–no matter how you feel, no matter how your emotions may mislead you.  The truth is that God’s Word tells us that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to us if we ask.  The Holy Spirit only indwells believers.

We all have our struggles and we all need to take into account the fact that we are still sinful and we are going to struggle with our sin.  But, if you begin to doubt your salvation because you don’t “feel” saved, then stop trusting your feelings and start trusting God at His Word.  Ask yourself if you are struggling against your sin.  If you aren’t, maybe you aren’t saved.  But, if you are, then that is a sign of life.  Ask yourself if you believe in the Trinity, that Jesus is God in flesh, and that He died and rose from the dead.  If you do, that is a sign of spiritual renewal.  Ask yourself if you believe what Jesus said about Him not faking you out, about Him giving to you the Spirit if you ask. If you do, then that means you are believing Him at His Word.  Take your eyes off your feelings and failures and put them on Christ, His Word, and His sacrifice.  Trust in Him and Him alone…. not what you feel, not at what you fail.  He didn’t save you because of your works or your “goodness.”  He did not save you because of what is or is not in you. He saved you because of what is in Him: love and truth.

Matt Slick

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

…what I hate, THAT I do

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. ~Romans 7:15-20 NKJV 

Hate1

Talk about a recipe for disaster, eh? The Apostle Paul describes here to us that even he has problems staying on the straight and narrow road to God’s righteousness. And he was an Apostle, though some may differ in their opinion on that. This just goes to show us, layman or common men of God, that we are susceptible  to sinfulness and sinful thoughts. We are men, we exist, therefore we think. There was sometime ago I posted that the average man thinks approximately 70,000 thoughts per day; however, based upon further searching that is a bit high…it is more like 20,000 thoughts. In either case, we are constant thinking creatures, as well as deletion creatures. We delete many of these thoughts because of what we tend to focus on at any given time.

Since this topic is the sinful nature of man:

the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” ~Genesis 8:21 NKJV

When we sin, many, not all men, will tend to dwell upon what they have done. The old adage that we are our own worst critic, is quite true in this respect. We will, those of us that think on our actions and sin, will dwell upon them and mull over them for what seems to be an eternity. So much so that we will whip ourselves into a frenzy of despair or even depression. We all have those moments of disdain toward ourselves. The circular questions which lead us nowhere but to an blocked road without an exit.

  1. Why do I keep doing this?
  2. Why can’t I get past that?
  3. What the hell is wrong with me?
  4. When will this madness stop?
  5. Why do I keep failing God?
  6. Why do I keep failing myself?
  7. Why do I keep failing my wife?
  8. Why do I keep failing my family?
  9. Why do I keep failing my kids?

And the list if never ending dismay can continue until the end of eternity. So of ten we are so focused on the problem that we fail to look toward any solutions. Start asking different questions. More empowering questions. Such as:

  • What can I do to make better use of my time?
  • How can I avert further problems with THIS particular sin?
  • What can I do to glorify God?

The list of how to stop sinning list and the circular questioning list each can go on and on. The fact is that we sin, our imaginations are evil in nature (this we were told in Genesis 8:21 NKJV), but Jesus gave us an out from this problem. Yes, He did touch on the subject with His own  followers (i.e., the Apostles) where He said, in Luke 22:46 NKJV, “Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”” We can follow Jesus’ lead and suggestion to steer away from sin through prayer!

However, many of us do this wrongly. What I mean is that when we pray, we need to pray to God for the Spirit of understanding, wisdom, knowledge and workmanship in order to do something that will essentially glorify God in the long run. Unfortunately, many of us tend to pray not to do something (i.e., to not sin in this or that way again and again.) What we need to do is to pray to glorify God by doing His will, through knowing and understanding His word and gaining the necessary wisdom. Face it, we have all done it as some point in time. BUT now is the time to stop doing things the wrong way. When we gain the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding, and the Spirit of workmanship to do so, we need to pass that on to those around us. Those who also are potentially having the same problem of what I call a “prayerful rut.” A “prayerful rut” Is much like mis-attributed quote to Einstein’s definition of insanity:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Well most of us tend to pray to God in Jesus name to not do “x” or not do “y”. YOU-ARE-WHAT-YOU-THINKWell, guess what? When you do so you first place what you do not want to at the forefront of your mind and, thereby, keep it close in your thoughts.

Like Dr. Robert Schuller spoke, you are what you think about all day long. If that is so, why not think about what you want to, or choose to, do? Eh, what a concept! We need to look at what we desire to become along with praying about becoming such a person, and we need to envision ourselves becoming such a person at all times throughout our day. In so doing, you place those thoughts, as well as, those pictures at the forefront of our minds. By doing this you have a much better chance of becoming what you seek to become than by focusing on what you desire not to do. Also, since our minds work with pictures far more efficiently that with words, prayers, and inanimate thoughts, our minds focus on the pictures and images.

We all have that tendency to do what we desire not to do and not do what we ought to do. But we can change that by focusing on how to better handle and control our sinful natures. I hope this post was helpful to you all! All my prayers to you and the for the betterment of this country, as a whole!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

A time of war, And a time of peace. 

Everything Has Its Time

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
     And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

As written in this wise set of verses in Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…” Everything has a season & a purpose to occur. There is a time for everything under the sun and under heaven. It was once explained to me that without having infinite knowledge, we cannot know everything; hence, there may be a reason for everything and every occurrence but because of our lack of knowledge and inability to see the future and the past – the true reason for something happening might not be known or knowable for 10 years, 100 or even 1000 years, from now. Is this to mean that we are to understand that a person died for a reason that we cannot possibly know for 10, 100, or 1000 years from now? Not necessarily, but God does desire that each and every one of His creation be saved  and know the truth!

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ~1Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV

We see  throughout the biblical text that there are times for everything to happen, war, peach, birth, death, suffering joy, anger, forgiveness, etc. Each and everything occurs in it’s appropriate time. God uses man’s fellow man to chastise him or his enemy (i.e., war.) At other times we are called to protect or defend the weak (also a form of military action.) However, these actions can be personal, or individual. Meaning You, or I, may be called to defend someone who is weaker than we.

Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.

~Psalm 82:3-4 NKJV

We can also see it this way as described by Paul, the Apostle:

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.~1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 NKJV

We are called to aid those who cannot help themselves. Sometimes we are the only one available to help a person. Help with a word of caution, or a word to build them up; admonish them, or guide them. We sometimes can help with but a word. Be wise in how you speak to others. This is why we study the bible and the doctrines within. Because with those words we speak we can be either the starter of war, or we can be the diffuser of chaos and calm things down. Words have started many a war in days long gone by. Now-a-days, that is not as big of a problem. Although, on a more individual level a word can be the difference between a friendship or a fight. There is a time for such things and we each learn from our misguided steps in any direction. At least we hope to learn from our mistakes and misguided notions, but that is not always the case!

He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.

~Proverbs 17:27 NKJV

It pays to be a man of wisdom and of great learning; however, the greatest of learning comes from our experiences from our past actions, both good and bad. Often we learn good decision making skills from the bad decisions from our past. It is quite the conundrum.

Often, our warriors have a battle waged within their hearts and minds, which is called PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury.) Each possess it’s own problems and their individual discussions are best left to those who are either those who have experienced the problems or are medical persons with the technical learning and expertise with those injuries. There are a great many other problems out there which touch on these subjects, but for brevity I will leave it there.

While there is a time for all things, that does not necessarily mean that those things are good for all that are involved. It has been said that if everyone in the world saw the true cost of war, there would be no more war.

War is hell and those that must bear the brunt of the loss, are often not seen and not always acknowledged. We send our sons and daughters off to war and those that return as cargo destroy us; but there are those who return less than what they were, because they cannot come to terms with the fact that they survived and their buddies did not…many of whom, sadly, commit suicide.

War is a terrible thing, but do we have the infinite knowledge required to truly and definitively say that it was an unjust war? We must take solace in the knowledge that God used our children for some greater purpose. That our sons and daughters are in a better place that no longer has sorrow or pain. And that all their tears have been wiped away.

It is my belief that so long as man populates this world, there will be war and killing. Man, while he has the desire for peace, he also has the affinity for troubles and problems. As we grow older, hopefully wiser, we seek something better. We will always need someone to go in and keep the peace or finish the war, internationally or domestically. So, support your troops and military, support your police (state, county, & city). There are bad people, but remember not all are bad!

We all need support from others at any given point in time, they need it always! God uses all of us and God uses them for His divine purpose and plan.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD