This was a very difficult testimony for me to watch, as it is so very similar to my own conversion story. My greatest fear is that there are so many more people sitting in church wearing themselves out, unregenerate, and unaware of the eternal consequences. The lie that saying a quick prayer can get you out of hell, that you can earn your way into heaven by saying that prayer, has fooled millions. Satan is so deceptive, he found a way to lull the world into this deception. Between this and evolution is it any wonder that we are seeing such a great falling away in the church?
I hope Charo’s testimony will be as much a blessing to you all, friends, as it was to me.
Last week we talked about the Strong’s Concordance, a wonderful Bible help that is invaluable. Another Bible help that is comparable, and in some respects even more helpful depending on the type of study you’re doing, is the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge.
If the Concordance is often left unmentioned, the Treasury is virtually invisible. This book is an absolute treasure, true to its name! I’m not sure how it is possible that the churches have forgotten the hard work believers have put into the blessing and edifying the body of Christ, but it’s time we were reminded.
The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge is usually printed with R. A. Torrey’s name, although he promoted the book, he wasn’t the author.
Torrey was an important American evangelist who was even the superintendent of a little-known
school, although it was called something different back then, it’s now known as Moody Bible Institute. He was also born a decade and a half after the book was published, in 1830. Samuel Bagster was the man behind this jewel, this particular saint had a heart for getting the Word to more people.
If you’re doing a word study I strongly recommend the Concordance, however, if you are just reading a verse that you want to go deeper on, the Treasury is the place to go. It connects the verses, whereas the Concordance just gives you one word at a time. There are over 500,000 references in the TSK, and as with the Concordance, the entire book is available in App form! You can also find several websites offering this tool free, along with inexpensive copies for your own library on Amazon.
I hope you will all find this book friend, and use it, and that it helps each and every one of you grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“People tell me judge not lest ye be judged. I always tell them, twist not scripture lest ye
be like Satan.”
― Paul David Washer
There are many places in the Bible where it warns us to be careful not to take God’s Word out of context. This is no small matter, this is a deep concern.
We are told to be on guard, watchful of the untaught and unstable who will distort to the word. So what happens when the world of unbelieving church goers pick one verse and use it to their advantage? Chaos, confusion, manipulation, and even spiritual death. This, then, is truly a matter we must address. As believers, we’re given the wonderful blessing of the Holy Spirit, who, coming to make His abode within us, will teach us all things. Confusion on God’s Word need not stand, friends. Not when we have the Helper to clarify. Remember, Christ spoke in parables to the unbelieving multitudes, but in private He expounded the parables to his disciples. If we are true followers of Christ, we do not have to remain in darkness as to the truth of God’s Word.
Now that we are in the light we must be wary of false teachers, false preachers, and false gospels. There are men from within our churches who arise speaking perverse things. These men twist the scripture to fit their own desires.
One such scripture that is well known, and well used, is ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’. Whew…well, in that case, I guess we better let our brothers and sisters fall into sin without helping them back up. I guess we better not proclaim the Gospel to the world because in doing so we pronounce judgment over sin. You cannot hear the good news without first understanding there’s bad news.
Luke 12:57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
Jesus is speaking here to the people about how they can discern the weather, but do not discern the time they were in. They are not judging for themselves what is right.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul even writes about how the congregation there should have judged one in sin, and how he had already judged the man and given him over to Satan that his spirit might be saved. Those are some stern words, however, Paul is speaking of salvation…is there a greater, or more weighty matter?
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples, he gives many ‘blessed are,’ and ‘woe to them’, then he says…
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which do good to you, what thank have he? For sinners, also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye, therefore, merciful, as your Father also is merciful. JUDGE NOT, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:31-37
Whoa…what a minute…did Jesus just tell us to judge not, then in John 7:24 contradict himself? Of course not. So, what happens when we take the full counsel of God?
Matthew 7 Jesus expounds on the point, to further explain what we are being required.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? OR how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother‘s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Are we told here that after we remove the beam from our own eye that we should ignore the speck in our brother’s eye? No, we’re told to work on our own sin so we can see better to help our brothers. This is judging righteous judgment, the command not to judge is referring to hypocritical judgment. Therefore, again, it is so important to take the full scriptures and not cherry pick the ones that fit your own agenda.
In Roman’s 2 Paul writes “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for, in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
So we see this repeated over, and over again. Judge righteously. How? It’s the heart friends, it always comes back to the heart. God is the very one who judges our hearts, He sees why we judge one another. So often we pick the flaws out in others that are actually things we don’t like about ourselves. This is a small example, but it is true also for sin. Men living in the sin of adultery preach the loudest against, as to not appear guilty. This is the sinful type of judgment, to judge others while sinning yourself.
We should first deal with our own sin, confess it, repent of it, ask for forgiveness for it. Then, when God has granted us the strength to overcome that sin, we will see clearly to help others out of it as well. There is no better testimony than to throw down the shackles of sin, not by our strength but through God’s Grace.
As always friends, take the whole counsel of God’s Word.
Be good Bereans, and study to find yourselves approved.
For today’s blog, I asked some folks if they had any questions about Genesis, creation vs. evolution, or the likes. I got back some awesome questions!
The first one was asked by Linda C. (This is the only one I’m going to answer today since my response was so long)
Linda asked why the fruit offering wasn’t as good as the meat offering with Cain and Abel. This is such a fantastic question! It’s always important for us to look towards scripture to interpret scripture. This is even more important in the case of Cain and righteous Abel, seeing how it is the only source we have.
There is a lot in the OT that is simply not explained, or expounded upon, until the NT. As many faithful men throughout the ages have quipped ‘The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is the in the New Testament revealed.’ Like the brass serpent in the wilderness, our Messiah saves us in so many ways, not just from sin, death, and damnation…but also from confusion.
Genesis 4:2-7 tells us that Cain and Abel brought to the Lord their minchah, translated offering. Cains offering was rejected, while Abel’s was accepted. God then warns Cain not
to be angry, but to rule over sin. Was Cains offering rejected because it was fruit and not meat?
Minchah is translated throughout the levitical law as ‘meat offering’. However, there are other words frequently used when referring to sacrifices, such as olah olah, so we cannot come to a decisive conclusion based on a word study if Abel’s offering was accepted simply because it was meat and Cains was not. We do see though, that when Adam and Eve sinned God killed an aminal to cover their sins, giving an example of the sacrificial system and a foreshadowing of the final sacrifice in our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is possible that by the point reached with Cain and Abel everyone understood that offerings brought before God needed to be blood sacrifices.
If we were Old Testament believers we could go back and forth for a while, but we are blessed to be in the New Covenant! So this question is cleared up in the NT. Jesus calls Abel righteous in both the gospel of Matthew and Luke. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abel gave his offering by faith. Even repeating that his sacrifice was more excellent than Cains. John, the revelator (try not to sing the song, I bet you can’t do it) not the baptist, also refers to the Cain in his epistle 1 John. He tells us to love one another, not as Cain. He speaks of Cain as a son of Satan and calls his works evil. He hated Abel because he was evil, but his brother was righteous. It always comes down to the heart. God searches the heart.
Cains sacrifice would have been rejected no matter what he had brought. Proverbs 15:8 tells us that God hates the sacrifice of the wicked. Proverbs 21:27 calls the sacrifice of the wicked an abomination. John tells us Cain was wicked, even Cains actions cry out to his wickedness.
This is not just Biblical history, it’s a warning to all who read it. Those who come before the Lord with a wicked heart might fool the righteous, but they will never fool God. We cannot become righteous of our own accord, we must believe that Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, then rose again. We must cry out in repentance of our sins, and becomes slaves to the Lord who bought us out of the chains and bondage to sin. In Pauls letter to Timothy, he reminds him to work through his salvation through fear and trembling. We need to do this, and we also need to remember that the world, just as Cain did, will hate the righteous. Even unto death. They hated Christ and murdered Him, a slave is not greater than it’s master. If they hated Him, they will hate us.
We must, as Christians, take the Bible seriously. How do we know that Cain and Abel even ever existed? Because Jesus Christ verifies this, and the disciples led by the Holy Spirit do as well. What happens if we don’t take Genesis as literal history? Then we have no reason to hold to the Gospel or saving Grace. Why? It was only due to the first Adam sinning that God sent His only begotten Son, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, to atone for all sin. For by one man sin entered the world…you see our entire belief system hinges on Genesis. I can trudge through fossils, data, and more archeological evidence each Monday, but it would all be pointless without one certain agreement, Genesis is history. World history. Our history. Stand firm on the whole counsel of the Word, friends!
I want to start by making very clear here that I am in no way intending on heaping condemnation onto my brothers and sisters in Christ. I mean only to edify the body and help explain a possible reason for the lack of prayer and study within the church.
I also want to clarify that this is not going to make sense to those who are not believers but are instead Christians in name only. I know this for certain because I never understood this the entire decade I was pretending to be a Christian. I was perfectly happy being spoon fed the word and even happier to take your word for it. This is the reason why false teachers are so successful, we can see them on every “Christian” channel preaching a different gospel, a different Jesus, and a different god. A more common term for this would be heresy, there are more notable speakers teaching heresy, or even worse, blasphemy, then there are teachers proclaiming the true gospel.
I began my Christian faith wondering how we got to the place where famous preachers could announce loudly that Christ wasn’t the only way to Heaven and still manage to have any credibility. I think I can say assuredly it’s because of a lack of prayer and study within the body of true believers.
Let’s start with prayer. Before I was saved prayer was something I did out of obligation, it was done with a general sense of annoyance. The first few months after I got saved that changed, slowly at first, and then like a snowball falling, collectively the idea of what prayer began to drive me to my knees. The annoyance then became the need to do anything else besides study and prayer. What changed?
Before being saved I was perfectly happy to listen to TV evangelists twisting scripture to fit their worldly desires. I also enjoyed anything that was new information, as one enjoys the discovery channel. It didn’t have to be accurate, and I certainly wasn’t going to crack open my dust collecting Bible to check. Once I was saved the Word of God became the primary source, and great men expounding on it needed to be consistently vetted. More so than that, the Word became spiritual food. I felt a hunger for it I had never felt before, the desire to immerse myself in the Bible and to understand what I was reading was overwhelming.
This change led me to a greater understanding of both prayers, and study. What is prayer for the believer? It is one of the greatest gifts God has given us.
We are granted the tremendous honor of coming before the throne of God with our thanksgiving, supplication, and requests. This is the very God who had saved me from the chains of sin, a pointless life, and from eternal damnation. I get to come before Him, He hears me. Never once have I ever deserved the honor of coming before the King of Kings!
What brought me to this conclusion? Understanding what the Word is. John teaches us that in the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. That Word became flesh…when we pick up Gods Word we need to recognize that on every page we are seeing Holy Spirit inspired Words. The majesty of this is too great for me to understand, however, what I do see is the tremendous blessing we have been given to have the Word.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to have been an Apostle before the cross? The Holy Spirit hadn’t come, Christ hadn’t risen, all they have was the OT to go on. They were waiting for the Kingdom to come! They thought Christ was about to bring it down. What do you mean you’re going to die? What about the Kingdom? All the way up until Jesus Christ, Messiah, Lord, Savior, ascended the disciples were asking about the Kingdom. It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit came that they finally understood the OT. We have the benefit of reading that very revelation they were given.
Can you imagine also what it must be like to live in a country where this Word is illegal? How precious every page must be to believers, and every second they can spend reading it. It is easy to take for granted the amazing blessing some of us have to freely read the Word. I even have the Septuagint on my phone, along with every type of translation. How blessed is this generation? As blessed as we are ignorant of said blessing.
So, what do you do if you’re one of the many believers who does not understand the Word, and find very little joy in reading it? Or perhaps even less joy in praying? First, let’s remember that there are those out there particularly gifted in these areas, we should not compare ourselves to one another. Our comparison should always be Christ. Secondly, let us remember that we need to be growing in grace and knowledge. If you want to enjoy these things but the desires of the world are overpowering you bring it before the throne in prayer. Ask to thirst for God’s Word, ask God to help you love Him with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. We can do nothing apart from Him.
Finally, friends, be good Bereans. Paul called the Bereans more noble then the Thessalonican’s because they accepted the Word while searching the scriptures to see if it was true. We need to take every thought into captivity, which means we cannot continue to accept what the TV evangelists, or even our own pastors, preach without checking its accuracy against the Word of God. Not partial scriptures, but the whole counsel of the Word.
I hope this helps you all grow in prayer and study, friends, to show yourself approved.
Today I’m going to review a different type of book, the Strong’s Concordance. Some might have already found this treasure, however, since I spent a decade in church without ever hearing about it, I thought I would give it a quick review.
What is this Concordance I speak of? It’s AMAZING that’s what it is! Strong’s Concordance is a book written by James Strong published way back at the end of the 19th century.
I cannot even imagine what it took to complete something this extensive before there was google.
This must be why it’s full title is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
This wonderful gem lists every word written in the Bible, in Hebrew and Greek, along with every scripture you can find it. What is the best part about this book? Good question! The best part is that it is now in app format. You type a word in from your Bible, click search, and it brings up every place within the KJV that you can find said word.
With this book, next to your Bible you will be able to dig far deeper than before. When you want to understand where the full armor of God came from you can search each word and find yourself awestruck by how much of the NT is quoting from the OT.
There is a Hebrew tradition called the law of first mentions. This dictates that to understand a word you first need to find it where it first appears in the text. Take the context of the first appearance and apply it to the text you are reading. I’m not saying this is the only way to study, but it certainly is a fun way to look at it!
There are a few different versions of the Concordance, but I have been very blessed by the free one I downloaded on my smartphone. If you like to study away from the screen there are many versions available on Amazon which cost much less than you’ll spend at a Christian bookstore.
I hope you find this Bible help has much of a blessing as I have friends!
I had hoped tonight that my husband would have a testimony for me to write, but the hospital he works at has been very busy. Today is the 8th shift he’s taken in a row! He’s even had to switch from day shifts to night shifts, and thrown in a few 16 hour days between it all. Not real sure how he has the ability to work so hard!
So, instead, tonight I thought I would give some further insight into my journey from false religion to freedom. Before receiving salvation I followed a specific form of legalism. Although I was surrounded by the ‘name it and claim it’ crowd I found their hypocritical behavior disturbing. Not back biting, but pastors daughters having affairs with members of the youth. Or the 30+-year-old man who came to the youth meetings was treated like a youth, and as such preyed on 14-year-old girls. Didn’t these people know that if you didn’t look like, sound like, or act like a Christian then you probably weren’t one? They actually had the more consistent faith. They worshiped self in all the ways the ‘health and wealth’ teachers had told them to do.
What was I doing? Hiding my sin to the best of my ability. I was going to earn my way into heaven through cleaning the outside of the cup. But after becoming a new creature all I could see was the rags my righteousness represented. So I was shocked that, after finding true salvation, legalism once again found it’s way into my theology. Just in a different way.
This time it was through the messianic movement. After being set free from the chains of sin I wanted to show God how much I loved Him, and how grateful I was! It wasn’t long before a friend approached me about keeping the OT. I poured over material, teaching, preaching, and scriptures. It didn’t add up, but I was in too much of a hurry to love God. Did it matter if I worshiped Him the way His Word told me to? (Jesus said repeatedly if you love me keep my commandments) There are so many mediums with which we can get information. I was inundated, and way over my head. Like the Pharisees of Christ’s time, I placed heavy loads on my family that they were unable to bear.
It didn’t take long before the Holy Spirit began revealing the truth to me, those He loves He prunes. What we need to search for is the whole counsel of God’s Word. We can not cling to Galatians 4 while ignoring John 13. We need to take all our thoughts captive, compare what we believe to be true to the actual truth of the Bible. This gives us a greater picture.
As it always is with God, it’s about the heart. Why was I trying suddenly to keep the Shabbat, and the festivals, feasts, and other laws? To impress God or these new friends? To do what was right, or what was right in man’s eyes? In the end, it was clear that I was still trying to gain my way through my own works.
Don’t get me wrong, I think having an understanding of the law, festivals, feasts, and Shabbat is extremely important. Everything in God’s Word is important, inspired, and true. My righteousness, however, is still as rags. That is why I needed a Saviour!
When it comes to the scriptures, context is key! We can read something into the text that has nothing to do with what Gods Word is really saying. It’s far easier to do for those of us who are still trying to learn Hebrew and Greek. Those languages are so much richer than English! It’s no wonder, then, those false teachers repeat Psalms 82 as a way to back up their heretical view that they, themselves, are gods. Ironic, as that scripture is talking to corrupt leaders of Isreal.
This is what makes the contexts so imperative, context and the full council of scriptures. Only in this way can we correctly worship the King of kings. The first scripture I read after being saved was 1 Corinthians 8:2. It sums up perfectly my natural tendencies as a ‘know it all’.
So after a year in heart-wrenching prayer, I started back at the beginning. Now, having learned my lesson the hard way, I take each Biblical belief to the Word. How does it stand the test of scriptures? What does church history have to say about it? Are there commentaries that conflict? Are there trustworthy men expounding it? We must be able to have an answer for what we believe friends!