Sunday, September 30, 2012

Elements of Productive Bible Study: Interpret, Part 1

By John MacArthur

When it comes to Bible study, too often people want to jump straight to application. They might be faithful to read God’s Word, but they skip an important step on the way to applying it to their lives. And in many cases, that application comes from only the most basic, shallow knowledge of what Scripture truly says and means.
You can’t dig deeply into the riches of God’s truth if you only have a surface understanding of its meaning. If you truly want to apply God’s Word to your life, you cannot skip over the important step of interpretation. It’s not enough to simply know what the Bible says—we must strive to know what it means by what it says.
It’s a matter of, as Paul charged Timothy, “rightly dividing the Word” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV). Left to our own understanding, we might be able to make some limited sense of portions of Scripture. However, other passages would leave us as clueless and confused as the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:31). In fact, without careful interpretation, you could wind up with a different application of biblical truth for each person in your family, your Bible study group, or even your congregation.
In order to interpret the true meaning of Scripture, there are a number of gaps we need to bridge. Since the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Greek, and even some Aramaic, there are language gaps we need to cross. Why did the biblical authors use the words, phrases, and idioms they used, and what did they mean to the original audience? And do our translations of those words and phrases capture their full meaning, or is there more to it than is instantly apparent in our English Bibles?
Along those same lines, we need to bridge the culture gap. We need to understand how the biblical authors thought and lived, and how that influenced what they wrote. You can’t appreciate the full weight of the parable of the Good Samaritan or Christ’s interaction with the woman at the well if you don’t understand the tension between Jews and Samaritans. We don’t need to contextualize Scripture to make it relevant today—we need to understand its original context and how it shaped God’s Word.
In addition to language and culture, there’s also a geography gap. Even a basic understanding of Old and New Testament geography can make a significant difference in your understanding of a particular text. How many times have you consulted the maps in the back of your Bible? Just that basic information helps bring vivid detail to the life and ministry of Christ, His disciples, and many other Old and New Testament figures.
Finally, when it comes to interpreting God’s Word, we need to bridge the history gap. Knowing Pilate’s background and the mistakes he’d made with the Jews helps you understand why he was so willing to hand Jesus over for crucifixion. Knowing about the wicked lives of the Roman rulers helps you understand the kind of persecution and opposition Paul and the other apostles faced. Don’t fall into the trap of treating God’s Word like a collection of fables, fairy tales, and ancient proverbs. Knowing the real history that shaped the events in Scripture helps bring them to life in your study.
The work of bridging those gaps is interpretation, and it’s a vital part of any thorough, productive Bible study. It can seem like daunting work at first, but it’s the only way to get past a shallow, surface understanding of God’s truth. To help you with that, tomorrow we’re going to look at five key principles of Bible interpretation.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Where do we draw the line between these “new miracles” and miracles mentioned in the Scriptures?

Question:  We are trying to stand to defend the faith and have come across people believing in the evidence of gold dust, jewels from heaven – stuff from the Toronto guys ages ago. Is God limited in the way he performs miracles today in the modern era? If there is no example in the Word, then basically it’s not from the Holy Spirit but another spirit? Are we “limiting” God by unbelief? Where do we draw the line between these “new miracles” and miracles mentioned in the Scriptures? If we stick to the Word-based miracles only—is that limiting God?
Response:  We have had opportunity to see these areas of concern close up and have heard statements such as “touch not the Lord’s anointed,” or “don’t quench the Spirit with your unbelief.” This attitude is one of the weaknesses of the Pentecostal, or Charismatic, movement. According to 1 Thessalonians:5:21, we are to “prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” Since the Lord is not politically correct, “all things” means “ all things ,” including the things that are His. There is a direct implication that the Lord is confident that the things that are His will stand the test. So, no, we do not limit the Lord by the test. In fact, testing is what He commands.
Further, the signs and wonders movement turns the biblical model upside down. Too many are going from place to place seeking to have an experience. The  biblical  model shows us people who were seeking God, who then, in turn, had an experience.
Peter and John were not seeking an experience as they “went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer...” (Acts:3:1). They sought God in prayer. It was God who drew their attention to “a certain man lame from his mother’s womb [who] was carried [and] laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple” (v. 2). We know the “experience” and opportunity created as the formerly lame man entered “walking and leaping and praising God.” The experience was something arranged and orchestrated by God, not by a controlled setting, music, or other stimuli.
As you point out in your [full] letter, there is no end of fraud that has been uncovered. The “gold dust” falling from heaven has sometimes been scientifically tested, as in the case of Brazilian evangelist Sylvania Machado. As  Charisma  magazine reported, “John Arnott of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF) canceled a scheduled four-day appearance by Machado after sending a sample of the flecks that cascaded from her head on the first night for testing. A geochemist at the University of Toronto concluded the specks did not contain any gold or platinum but were some type of plastic film” (, cited 5/7/01).
Satan always seeks to counterfeit the genuine. When Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, it became a serpent. Pharaoh’s sorcerers, however, “….also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods” (Exodus:7:11-12). Up until the sorceror’s serpents were swallowed, their “feat” might have been convincing to some.
God’s servants are not validated by the most amazing miracles. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah:8:20). Some point to Acts:16:20, which reads, “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” Please note, however, the “signs” confirmed the “word.” The  word  remains the focus. There may be all sorts of wonderful signs, but if the word is deficient, the signs are of no value.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Given Evidence and Reason, Why Faith?

Question:  If evidence and reason are essential parts of faith, I don’t see why God should demand faith at all. Why not give us the proof of everything? To have to take that step of faith seems unreasonable to me.
Response :  The answer to your question is dictated by our own limitations, not because of some unreasonable demand that God makes. In order for everything to be proved and reasoned out for us, we would have to be equal to God. Obviously we are not: We are finite and God is infinite. We simply don’t have the capacity to understand everything about God and His universe. Therefore, we need to trust Him when He tells us about things that we cannot fully comprehend. That’s where faith comes in.
What we can understand of the universe and of our accountability to God from reason and our conscience is sufficient to point us in the right direction. Knowing on the basis of the evidence that God exists, we ask Him to reveal Himself to us and to show us His will for our lives. We are willing to trust Him in whatever He tells us, even though we cannot understand it all. We discover (as we shall see) that He has spoken to us in the Bible, and very clearly and comprehensively.

Faith Reveals a Universe Beyond Human Comprehension
True faith opens to us a knowledge of God and His truth that we could not otherwise discover. Such is the value of faith in God. Once we know Him and have confidence that we are indeed hearing from Him, then we understand His truth by believing what He says. As a result, we can know and  understand what would otherwise be impossible for us to grasp. For example, the Bible declares:
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews:11:3)
These words, penned nearly two thousand years ago, clearly tell us that the universe was made out of an invisible substance. No one at that time nor during the many centuries that followed had the scientific knowledge to provide the evidence to support this statement. The  proof  had to wait until modern science had caught up with what the Bible had said 1,800 years earlier.
Today we know that the entire universe is composed of an invisible substance called energy. In spite of the brilliant advancements of science, however, though we know much  about  energy, we still don’t know exactly what it is. Yet by faith the believer knew all he needed to know: that God spoke the universe into existence by His infinite power and that He made it out of something that is invisible.
That these words are found in the Bible is one of many reasons to believe it rather than any of the other scriptures that are sacred to the world’s many religions. By contrast, those scriptures, far from containing statements that science can only confirm and never refute (as is the case with the Bible), contain numerous ridiculous ideas that reflect the level of understanding of mankind at the time and of the culture when and where they were written.
It was once believed that the earth was flat and was supported on the back of a tortoise floating in a sea. The Greeks thought that Atlas, a giant, held the universe in his arms. The Egyptian account of creation involved gods (such as the sun god, which was born on a flower), some of whom were part animal and part human. Plato thought the world was a living being and that earthquakes were caused when it shook itself. The Bible, though written in the same time period and by men who lived in these same cultures, is completely free of such myths. Even the Qur’an, of far more recent origin, contains Arabian myths. As it has often been pointed out:
The Bible is the only ancient book that is accurate in all scientific details. Other ancient holy books from the East include legends and errors too childish for consideration. Even comparatively modern books like the Koran abound in historical and chronological blunders.
There are many other reasons for believing that the Bible is, as it claims to be, God’s infallible Word.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jesus Gets Tough... Part One

Sep NL Cover.jpg
When writing or even thinking about the biblical Jesus, problems may arise. One of them occurs when we focus on just one of His attributes and lose sight of His many others. This can give us a distorted view of our Lord and Savior. It’s also possible for us to not even consider a particular attribute of His, which likewise can distort our true understanding of His character as revealed in Scripture. All of Christ’s attributes are related, and, of course, they are all perfect in every way. Moreover, Jesus is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews:13:8). He doesn’t change. So, what’s with this title—“Jesus Gets Tough”?
Well, the title has to do primarily with  our reaction  when we read that Jesus acted or said something in a way that may startle us. We’re surprised because we may not have considered that particular characteristic of our Lord although it is clearly presented in Scripture. For example, He is called the “Lamb of God,” and quite often we see Him reflecting qualities of meekness and gentleness, including the aspect of His being the sacrificial “Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.” But in contrast to that, He is also “the Lion of the tribe of Juda” (Revelation:5:5). He appeared to Joshua with sword in hand as “captain of the host of the Lord” (Joshua:5:14).
At His Second Coming, He will lead an army to rescue Israel from the nations that desire to destroy it. No characteristics that we think of as lamblike will be involved in that scenario. Neither did He reflect the characteristics of a lamb when He overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple. Yet He is and will forever be the Lamb of God  and  the Lion of Judah along with all that those titles imply. They all are an indication of the perfect qualities of the  biblical  Jesus. I emphasize the adjective “biblical” because it is only through the Scriptures, through which Jesus Christ has revealed Himself, that anyone can know Him in truth. All other perspectives are mostly what men think about Him. Mormons perceive Him as a family man, married to Mary Magdalene and Mary and Martha. The PETA people say that He was a vegetarian. The gays promote Him as gay, and so on.
But believers can also fall prey to a distorted view of Jesus. We therefore need to question ourselves as to where we are getting our thoughts about Him. Is our understanding from the Word Himself, or from man’s opinions, speculations, and even “scholarship so-called”? If it’s the latter group, then it’s certain that “another Jesus” will be fashioned in our minds (2 Corinthians:11:4). He will be a counterfeit Jesus who can benefit no one. A continual refrain from the Emerging Church leaders, who desire to “reinvent Christianity” to make it more accommodating to our culture (particularly to young adults), is “We love Jesus, but we don’t like his church.”
You have to wonder what Jesus they’re talking about. Even a cursory reading of the Bible would show them that the church is His  bride  (temporal flaws and all) who will be taken to heaven when He returns for her. Additionally, there are popular movements, trends, and books that feature  isolated characteristics  of Jesus and doctrines of the Word that distort a correct biblical view. These include books such as Rob Bell’s bestseller  Love Wins  and Brennan Manning’s  The   Ragamuffin Gospel , both of which take the doctrine of love far beyond the teaching of Scripture—the former in the heresy of universalism, the latter implying that God, in His love, simply winks at our sins.
Yet even we who have walked with Him for many years, who love Him and desire to please Him, can also fashion a distorted view of Jesus if we major on a particular attribute of His at the expense of others. Understanding that a biblically balanced view of Jesus is vital, we need to consider one characteristic that seems to have been intentionally dismissed—or at least purposely avoided—in the church today. In fact, in my more than three decades as a believer, I don’t remember ever hearing a sermon preached on the subject of Jesus “getting tough” with His church.
To leave that characteristic out of our understanding of Him will lead to problems in our walk with Him. The gospels certainly give us information regarding His sternness with the Jewish religious leaders as Jesus confronts their hypocrisy. The Lord also offers a few rebukes directed at Peter and the other apostles, whose inspired writings became foundational for the developing church. The Epistle to the Hebrews, however, is the first book that indicates a rather tough characteristic of Jesus for those who are His own—who are, in fact, His bride: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews:12:6-7).
We’re given specific reasons for the Lord’s discipline of those whom He loves: it is “…for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews:12:10). Nevertheless, it’s not until the Book of Revelation that we see Christ in a lengthy and very stern light regarding His bride. John, the apostle beloved of Jesus, is taken aback by the appearance of the One upon whose breast he had rested his head when Jesus dined with His disciples (John:21:20).
That former intimacy with Jesus seems to have been lost in this startling vision of his Savior:
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. (Revelation:1:12-16)
We can’t know what was going through John’s mind at seeing such an imposing image of his Savior, but we do know his reaction:  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead ...(v. 17).
Jesus could have appeared to His beloved disciple as when John last saw Him after His resurrection, but He chose to send John (and us) a very different message. I certainly don’t understand all the symbolism involved, but one doesn’t need to in order to come away with a very sobering impression. His hair, His eyes, and His feet all seem to represent purity and the process of purification. The instrument Jesus chose for His purifying process is “a sharp twoedged sword.” That which comes out of His mouth can only represent the “Sword of the Spirit,” His Word (Ephesians:6:17), which we learn in Hebrews:4:12 is living and powerful and is a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
There is nothing timid about the symbol that Jesus selected to represent  His Word . A sword is not only a weapon of war; it is also used for clearing one’s path—for cutting away that which would entangle and choke out life; moreover, a surgeon’s “sword,” the scalpel, can pierce one’s “joints and marrow” to excise cancerous tumors. That is how sin in one’s life must be dealt with. The psalmist wrote, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm:119:9). Jesus prayed to the Father that those who follow Him would be  set apart  from the world by Scripture: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John:17:17). That was our Lord’s prayer for the disciples who walked with Him then, and it is the same for those of us who follow Him today. The first three chapters of Revelation are quite unique in Scripture. In them we see Jesus directly addressing, encouraging, but mostly correcting the church. To say that He “gets tough” with His bride would hardly be an abuse of the text.
The churches to whom He was speaking existed during the time that John wrote Revelation and were located in the Roman province of Asia, which is now modern-day Turkey. Six of the churches were within 100 miles of each other; Laodicea, the furthest south, was about 200 miles from the northernmost church of Pergamos. None of those churches exist today, although the problems that Jesus raised can be seen throughout church history.
William MacDonald, in his  Believer’s Bible Commentary , gives an overview: “ Ephesus:  The church of the first century was generally praiseworthy, but it had already left its first love.  Smyrna:  From the first to the fourth century, the church suffered persecution under the Roman Emperors.  Pergamos:  During the fourth and fifth centuries, Christianity was recognized as an official religion through Constantine’s patronage.  Thyatira:  From the sixth to the fifteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church largely held sway in Western Christendom until rocked by the Reformation. In the East, the Orthodox Church ruled.  Sardis : The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were the Post-Reformation period. The light of the Reformation soon became dim.  Philadelphia : During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were mighty revivals and great missionary movements.  Laodicea : The church of the last days is pictured as lukewarm and apostate. It is the church of liberalism and ecumenism.”
Such general observations ring true to history, but they are not exclusive. One can also see various aspects of the things Christ addressed to the seven churches in local assemblies throughout the world today. In other words, the churches of Revelation are alive and not so well (five of them at least) wherever believers dwell together today. Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, and Laodicea all had issues that Jesus wanted corrected. And He still wants this in our own churches. As the text clearly shows, these are not merely  suggestions  on His part.
The church at Ephesus had many standout qualities: good works, perseverance, and critical discernment regarding doctrine and leadership. Even so, Jesus takes the fellowship to task regarding a very important issue: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hath left thy first love” (Revelation:2:4). We are not told exactly how the believers came to lose their “first love,” but we can get an idea from Scripture. Their good works, which should have been a byproduct that grew out of their love for Jesus, very likely took precedence over the relationship the Ephesian believers had with Him. The Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Galatians seems applicable here: “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians:3:3). A believer’s love of the Lord  must  be central to whatever he does. When that begins to slip, what follows is an automatic slide into efforts generated and accommodated by the flesh. To whatever degree the flesh has its way, to that degree God’s grace is displaced. Our works need to be “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah:4:6).
There’s little doubt that the church in our day would be even more prone than the Ephesians were to displace their love for the Lord, considering that we have been so influenced by the “self” teachings that have entered the church: self-esteem, self-love, self-worth, self-image, self-confidence, and on and on to self- ad nauseam . Furthermore, a preoccupation with self makes it difficult to recognize and receive a stern correction. We’ll see that clearly when we consider the church of Laodicea.
The common refrain is “You can’t mean me!” because most of us have been conditioned to think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Romans:12:3). Moreover, many Christians are of the opinion that Jesus surely wouldn’t say or do anything to lower a believer’s self-esteem. That’s the Jesus of psychobabble and so-called Christian psychology, who is a false Christ fashioned by fleshly men. This is the Jesus whom the world loves, who is all about accommodating mankind, and who certainly doesn’t square with His Word. He is especially foreign to the chapters of Revelation that we are presently considering.
The consequence for the Ephesians, who were drifting away from their “first love” and who failed to repent of having abandoned their focus on the Lord, would be the removal of their “candlestick”: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation:2:5). There is no deep secret in the symbolism of the candlestick. It represents quite simply the light of Christ, who is the “Light of the World,” i.e., the Word. The only way for one’s love for Christ to increase is for believers to grow in their personal relationship with Him by the  continual reading and living out  what the Word of God teaches.
Without that discipline, the love of Christ, who is “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” will inevitably wax cold. And as that light dims, it follows that a believer will have no basis for biblical discernment and will therefore cease to produce any spiritual fruit. Notice that Jesus said, “ I will  come quickly, and will remove thy candlestick….” One of the points I want to emphasize here is the fact that it is  Jesus himself  who is correcting His church. He is the one “getting tough” here.
There has been a tendency throughout church history that continues today to deal with biblical correction when it is presented by “shooting the messenger” rather than heeding the message and repenting. Although the messages have been true to the Scriptures, a common ploy in rejecting the message has been to dodge the convicting biblical subject by diverting attention to God’s less-than-perfect messengers, who thus become vulnerable targets. But that’s not the case with the Messenger to the churches in the Book of Revelation. Both He and His message are perfect and cannot be subverted. Furthermore, Christ’s strict admonitions have never been more needful for His church to heed and make the necessary corrections than they are today, in this time of great spiritual delusion and rampant apostasy to which His bride finds herself more and more susceptible.
As this series continues through chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, many will have to come to grips with a characteristic of Jesus of which they may not have been aware—but it is imperative that we all know Him and love Him as He is in truth.   TBC

Monday, September 17, 2012

God's Standards vs. Our Standards

Have you ever heard these questions:

  • Why would a loving God send good people to Hell?
  • Won't God accept that my good deeds outweighed my bad ones?
  • How can God judge Hitler and someone who had only done little sins with the same Hell?
  • What about the person who has never heard of Jesus, why should they go to Hell?
 Well, many of these types of questions arise from a lack of understanding about God's standards compared to ours. How a Holy God sees sin, is much different than how we view it. The right justice required for sinning and punishment for it, is obviously different than what we think someone deserves. Why?
 As humans, we sometimes see our sin as not all that serious. Yes, we lie, lust, cheat, etc. But it is not as bad as rape, murder, or adultery. We naturally claim our own goodness and that we do more good deeds than bad. So most people believe that are fit to go to Heaven if they have not committed the "mortal" sins. I was one of those people at one time.
 The Lord sees all sin as deserving punishment: "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (James 2:10) Sound harsh? That is because a Holy God demands perfection. God's nature is perfection and nothing about Him is evil or sinful. So God's law is righteous and holy: " For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. "(Romans 7:11-12)
God's law is good because it reveals our sin and what true righteousness is! Therefore we get a glimpse of God's standards and His nature. God is a good Judge and good judges punish sin! Even if your sin is "just a lie" compared to murder, God must punish you for breaking his Holy Law! 
Hell is God's wrath against sin and evil, and because God loves what it pure, Hell exists because sin must be punished!
 Now we all know we have broken God's law. We all stand guilty before Him. "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) But the next part of that verse gives us hope: "and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (v. 24) The "all" here is not saying all of humanity will be saved, but "all" who have placed their trust and faith in Jesus Christ to save them will be justified freely. Being justified means: to be made right with God or declared to be forgiven.
 Jesus being God's Son came to earth to fulfill the demands of perfection and died in our place as a perfect man in order that we could be set free from the punishment that God's standards of holiness deserve! Our standards are weak and feeble! It will not add up on the day of judgment! All our goodness is as filthy rags compared to the absolute perfect nature of God. That is why we need Christ to step in our place and do what we could never do ourselves! 
 No, we are not naturally "good" people! Some people are more sinful than others, but we are all nonetheless, sinful at heart! We all need Jesus because none of us lives up to the standards God has given, only Jesus has done that!  
 Place your trust in Him today and turn from your ways:

"Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon." (Isaiah 55:7)

IN Christ -Dustin

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dinner With 40 Atheists

Most who profess atheism aren't really "atheists." After a few moments chatting with them about the fact that every building is proof that there was a builder, and that creation therefore is proof that there is a Creator, many change their minds. Or if, confronted with the fact that they believe that nothing created everything, they default to agnosticism, that something did create everything.

But then there's the staunch atheist. This one is a challenge. He is the "new" atheist, is the marlin of deep-sea fishing, and he doesn't give up easily. As a fisher of men, I have found that this type of atheist is always ready for debate. He will take the bait, the hook, and any line you give him, and give you a run for your money.

The staunch atheist has the zeal of a religious fanatic. He is fundamentalist in his belief that there is no God-and, armed with basic Richard Dawkins phrases, he is ready for a fight. For him, atheistic evolution is a hill to die on, because that worldview opens up a pleasurable world of immorality. He thinks that it gives his license for fornication, pornography and every other sinful pleasure his wicked heart desires. To him, there are no moral absolutes, because there is no God, and therefore no Moral Law. He is unreasonable, angry, and he is bitter at God and will color his speech by blaspheming the name of the God he doesn't exists. The atheist is someone who pretends that there is no God.

Late in 2007, I was invited to have dinner with 40 atheists. This was a group, who, once a month gathered for dinner in the local IHOP (the International House of prayer), to discuss…God, and how they don't believe in Him.

I wanted to show these atheists that I loved them, as most in this category have the impression that Christians don't like them. I didn't go there to win an argument, but to win them.

A friend and I arrived about five minutes early, shook hands with them, and sat down. After the orders were taken, I quietly approached the waiter and told him to give me the bill for the entire party of 40 people. When he brought it to me I was almost shaking with excitement. If someone had tried to take it from me I would have physically fought them. I felt like I used to feel with my kids early on Christmas morning. When the group found out that I had personally paid the tab they were very grateful, polite, pleasant, kind, and extremely thankful. Listen to 1 Peter 2:15  "For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." The experience was a highlight of my life.

Then about ten of us huddled around a table and talked about the things of God for about an hour. It was up close and personal. My friend, Mark Spence (the Dean of our School of Biblical Evangelism) answered every question and objection they had, calmly and eloquently.

I took copies of my new book, How to Know God Exists, and all the folks at our table wanted one (it's a strange feeling signing books for atheists). Then we posed for pictures, and left, almost bursting with joy after such a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with these people.

So next time you meet an atheist, see if you can buy him a hamburger. You will not only silence his mouth with food, but you will show him that you love him.  

-Ray Comfort

Learn more about Ray Comfort's ministry at

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sin's Deceitfulness

In my experience in sharing the Gospel with unbelievers, I often run into a problem that effects most people when it comes to giving their lives over to Jesus Christ. The problem is the deceit of sin!
What I mean by that is people begin to see the truth about themselves and Christ, and begin to count the cost of following Jesus. That is a great thing to do, because even Jesus said: "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it  lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him." (Luke 14:27-29)
But where a lot of people stop and decide it is not worth it to follow Christ, is when they begin to think about their life and all the things they would have to give up to follow Him. Thus, the deceitfulness of their sin comes in and tells them, " There is no way I could give up my friends," or "I can't stop drinking and partying, life would be so boring without it!" People love their sin, whether it be the outward manifestations of it, or simply the sinful thinking they love to indulge in. 
Sin deceives the person into thinking the cons far outweigh the pro's when it comes to getting saved and following Christ! 
For those of you who have come to know Christ and are born-again, clearly the choice should be an easy one. That is, because we have seen the light and have been set free from sin's bondage! That is why I believe Jesus said: "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44) People do not have the full strength in themselves to make the right choice and follow Jesus! The Holy Spirit has to help them count the cost and surrender their lives over to their Creator!
I know this to be true, because when the Lord was drawing me to Himself, I had a war going on within me! I thought about how good sin made me feel and how the lifestyle change could be too much to bear! But thanks be to God, He showed me what sin had done in my life and the eternal consequences I would have to endure had I not gotten saved: "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24) To die in your sins, that is, to not have them wiped away by Christ, would mean an eternity in Hell paying for them! It is so true that: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31) Fearful if you haven't surrendered to Christ and gained forgiveness of sins! But joyful if you've been saved from your sin and enter into the joy of your Lord!
Yes, sin is deceitful and will give people a ton of excuses as to why they shouldn't follow the Lord. But thank the Lord that whom He calls, he justifies ( makes right with Him), whom he justifies, he glorifies! 
For those of you who are counting the cost now, yield to the Holy Spirit, for today is the day of salvation! There will come a time, when it will be too late to choose, and the Lord could be saying to you: "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (sinful living)!" (Matthew 7:23) 
In Christ -Dustin

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What if YOU had been there on Sept 11th, 2001?

What if you had been in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001?  What would have happened to you?  You could have died, and you would have had to face God. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement" (Hebrews 9:27).  You would have gone to Heaven or to Hell forever. (Luke 16:22-23).  If you had died on September 11th, do you know for sure that would have gone to Heaven?  You can know!  To be sure you are on your way to Heaven, you must know four things............

Read here:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dethroning the Judge (Creation vs. Evolution)

Evolution was introduced as an atheistic alternative to the biblical view of creation. According to evolution, man created God rather than vice versa. The evolutionists' ultimate agenda is to eliminate faith in God altogether and thereby do away with moral accountability. Intuition suggests a series of questions to the human mind when we contemplate our origin: Who is in control of the universe? Is there Someone who is sovereign—a Lawgiver? Is there a universal Judge? Is there a transcendent moral standard to live by? Is there Someone to whom we will be accountable? Will there be a final assessment of how we live our lives? Will there be any final judgment?
Those are the very questions evolution was invented to avoid.
Evolution was devised to explain away the God of the Bible—not because evolutionists really believed a Creator was unnecessary to explain how things began, but because they did not want the God of Scripture as their Judge. Marvin L. Lubenow writes,

The real issue in the creation/evolution debate is not the existence of God. The real issue is the nature of God. To think of evolution as basically atheistic is to misunderstand the uniqueness of evolution. Evolution was not designed as a general attack against theism. It was designed as a specific attack against the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is clearly revealed through the doctrine of creation. Obviously, if a person is an atheist, it would be normal for him to also be an evolutionist. But evolution is as comfortable with theism as it is with atheism. An evolutionist is perfectly free to choose any god he wishes, as long as it is not the God of the Bible. The gods allowed by evolution are private, subjective, and artificial. They bother no one and make no absolute ethical demands. However, the God of the Bible is the Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Judge. All are responsible to him. He has an agenda that conflicts with that of sinful humans. For man to be created in the image of God is very awesome. For God to be created in the image of man is very comfortable. (Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils, 188-89).
To put it simply, evolution was invented in order to eliminate the God of Genesis and thereby to oust the Lawgiver and obliterate the inviolability of His law. Evolution is simply the latest means our fallen race has devised in order to suppress our innate knowledge and the biblical testimony that there is a God and that we are accountable to Him (cf. Romans 1:28). By embracing evolution, modern society aims to do away with morality, responsibility, and guilt. Society has embraced evolution with such enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever they want without guilt and without consequences.
It's important to remember that evolutionary theories (e.g., favorable mutation, millions of years) did not arise from honest scientific inquiry—evolution is science with an agenda. Evolution began and continues in rebellion against the Creator, ignoring the Lawgiver and dethroning the Judge. Even its science is afloat on a sea of irrationality, supported only by the murky depths of contradiction and speculation.
Many professing and influential Christians are ignoring that evidence these days—i.e., the origins of evolution—when they encourage us to harmonize evolutionary theory with the Bible. Why surrender the ground to unlawful rebels? Why dialogue with the enemy about this? Why give the interloper a voice?
There are far too many who claim Christ's name but are not delighted with His law; they are not content to meditate on God's Word day and night. Rather, they are intimidated by the counsel of the wicked (evolutionary theory), are attracted to the way of sinners (desire for relevance and academic credibility), and are longing for the seat of scoffers (positions of respect and influence). Try as they may, there's no dethroning the Judge; they'll meet Him one day.

By John MacArthur

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tell the World - LeCrae

Now I'mma tell the world, tell em
I'mma tell it everywhere I go
Tell the world, tell em
Yea I'mma billboard
Tell the world, tell em
Cast Him like a radio
Tell the world you are to know
I'm brand new

(Verse 1)
Uh, I know one thing's true
I don't even really deserve to know you
But I... I'm a witness that you did this
And I'm brand new so I... I'm ready to go
And I'mma tell the world what they need to know
A slave to myself but you let me go
I tried gettin high but it left me low
You did, what they could never do
You cleaned up my soul and gave me life, I'm so brand new
And that's all that matters
I aint love you first, but you first loved me
In my heart I cursed ya, but you set me free
I gave you no reason to give me new seasons, to give me new life, new
But you hung there bleedin
And you died for my lies, and my cheatin, my lust, and my greedin
What is a man, huh? that you're mindful of em?
And what do I have to deserve this love?

Tryna make the moments last
Holdin on to the past
But like a hero in a dream
Christ came and He rescused me!
Now I'mma tell the world, tell the world, tell em
I'mma tell it everywhere I go
Tell the world, tell em
Yea I'mma billboard
Tell the world, tell em
Cast Him like a radio
Tell the world you are to know
I'm brand new

(Verse 2)
I can't offer you nothin, but your care and kindness keep comin
And your love is so unconditional, I get butterflies in my stomach
I got the old me in the rearview, gotta new me, gotta clear view
I was so dead, I couldn't hear you
Too deep in sin to come near you
But you drew me in, and cleaned me up
And take me home and beamed me up
Before you do, just let me tell the truth
And let these folks know that I done seeing your love
And it's everlastin, infinite
It goes on and on, you can't measure it
Can't quench your love, they can't separate us from the love of God
It's no estimate
My face look the same, my frame done rearranged
But I changed, I promise I aint the same
Your love is so deep, you suffered and took pain
And died on the cross to gimme a new name
Aint nothin like I seen before
I gotta beam to glow
Was low, down, and dirty but you cleaned me Lord
You looked after me, you keep rockin me
Imma tell the world and aint nobody stoppin me

Tryna make the moments last
Holdin on to the past
But like a hero in a dream
Christ came and He rescused me!
Now I'mma tell the world, tell the world, tell em
I'mma tell it everywhere I go
Tell the world, tell em
Yea I'mma billboard
Tell the world, tell em
Cast Him like a radio
Tell the world you are to know
I'm brand new

(Verse 3; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
He is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Yea, I'm brand new

Now I'mma tell the world, tell the world, tell em
I'mma tell it everywhere I go
Tell the world, tell em
Yea I'mma billboard
Tell the world, tell em
Cast Him like a radio
Tell the world you are to know
I'm brand new

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Bible is like No Other Book: Telling the End from the Beginning

Bible Prophecy is a collection of writings that claim to predict not only the path of modern human history, but also the signs of its eventual destruction.

The Daniel Project puts these prophecies under a journalistic microscope, discovering that many appear to have already come to pass. Writings by the prophet Daniel claim to predict - with uncanny accuracy - the Big Brother surveillance society, climate change, terrorism, and the rise of conflict within the Middle East.

Known as "the real Nostradamus", Daniel's take on his future - our present - is like the musings of a rollercoaster Dan Brown novel -- the dark implication being that what we perceive to be the truth is in fact masking a deadly pattern beneath...

With the hype over the '2012 prophecies' gathering momentum... welcome to The Daniel Project.

[This film is being distributed by Mercury Media International for cinema, TV, DVD and VoD.

If you can't wait, or want to watch the extras and discover more about Bible prophecy and how to be 'One of The Wise', you can purchase a pre-release Special Edition boxed set at

Monday, September 3, 2012

What will be the Strong Delusion or Lie?

 "And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
( 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

With all the hype of  2012 and the Mayan Calendar, I began to think about the delusion and lie that God will send the world after the church is raptured to be with Lord. There could be a bunch of possibilities as to what this lie is:

1. The millions of missing adults/children was due to an extraterrestrial abduction to rid the earth of those who would stand in the way of world peace. 

2. We see that because of millions missing from the earth, it is a sign that what the Mayans predicted was coming to pass: "the end of the world" as we know it.

3. This crisis: which is millions of missing adults/children/babies, will strike fear into the hearts of mankind in which the "New World Order" will have to be established in order to insure safety and that everyone is accounted for. This would include a tracking devise or as the Bible says: " He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:15-17)

4. The Anti-Christ (Global Leader) will rise to power and claim to have the answer as to why all these people are missing from the earth. This would be the lie or delusion God sends people as judgement because they did not believe the truth! "The coming of the lawless one (Anti-Christ) is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." ( 2Thessalonians 2:9-10)

Any one of these examples could be used after the church is taken to be with the Lord. It would be the perfect situation if millions of Christians and children/babies (who are under the age of accountability) are missing to instill a lie or delusion that would deceive the entire world! That would perfectly implement what the Bible says about a coming One world government, religion, and economy! All means to insure "Peace and Safety" to a world in distress over the disappearance of their loved ones. 
For those of you who see this a purely science fiction, I challenge you to examine the Bible in light of its fulfilled prophecies and the prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled! The God of the Bible knows the future and has blessed those who love him with revelation of what will soon take place!
It is my prayer for those who have not received Christ or the "love of the truth, that they might be saved," to do so before it is too late! Jesus is coming soon to first take his church from the hour of tribulation that will judge the earth, and then will come back with his saints to rule and reign on the earth! It is my prayer that you turn from your sin and turn to Christ for salvation! 
In Christ -Dustin