Religion Vs Christianity

I have had this truth on my desk for years. It is an excellent reminder of our place in our Heavenly Father’s hands. He first takes us as clay and puts us on the potter’s wheel to mold and shape us into what He wants us to be. The end result is a vessel, a tool or a utensil to be used for HIS Glory! There are a lot of religions in the world today and the center of those religions aren’t always a person or “deity”, but many times a “thing”!

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Run, Run The Race

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1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.”

Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”


The Apostle Paul speaks a lot of the analogy between our Christian walk and that of a “race.” Paul, being not just a Jew, but a Roman as well, and as a soldier would have been very familiar with the Ancient Olympic Games. The Ancient Olympic Games had evolved from a “stadia” or a foot race into many other games and especially the horse and chariot races that Paul would have been familiar with.

The races occurred usually during one of two religious ceremonies to honor and deify the ancient Greek gods. It was a time when truce between armies of the region would be called, and politics for the most part would be put aside. But Paul in most of his Scriptural writings concentrated on the actual “racing” aspect of the games.

The analogy is not lost on this age that we also live in due to the level of fervor surrounding not just the modern Olympic Games, but other sports such as Football, Baseball and Basketball to mention just a few.

It should be no surprise then, that the analogy that the Apostle uses, written under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is still very applicable and fitting today! When I was a younger man, I used to run a lot, it was something I was good at. In my early High School days, it was Cross-Country running. I tried hurdles, but didn’t do good, but found out I had stamina to run distances. The thing about a runner is that there is always a reason to run. Whether it is for a goal such as a ribbon or trophy, for health reasons, or even for sponsored donations to help a worthy cause, as the Apostle Paul wrote it was for the prize at the end of the run, the crown as it were.


It hasn’t changed either in whatever you choose to “run” for. There is always a goal, something to be realized upon your finish. Unlike running though in the natural world where our “prize” is a perishable crown as Paul writes, when we are running a spiritual race, which equates for the most part as a long-distance or marathon race, we are running for something that can’t be taken from us, that can’t rust and break down or be destroyed.

Yet with any type of race, there can be stumbles, obstacles, hurdles as it were to climb over or to overcome. I learned early on that even though these “setbacks” can cost me the win, the ultimate goal of any runner is to finish. Paul makes this clear when writing to the various Churches. It’s the goal of the finish, of crossing that finish line where the real reward lies. We can’t look back upon the times we tripped or had to overcome an obstacle for those things are in the past and will always be a part of our past.

I didn’t have family support when I was running in Cross-Country, I was doing it for myself and to a degree for friendship. I always envied the other kids that were running who had a family member on the finish line, cheering them forward. Yet, inevitably, it had to be what was inside that caused each of us to keep moving forward no matter how winded or weary our muscles felt, that goal line was always in front of us until the very end!

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of the same thing when face discouragement or even troubled times in our Christian walk. As Christians, walking a spiritual walk as compared to just a religious lifestyle, we DO have, as the writer says, a “great cloud of witnesses,” who are cheering us on, who have shown before-times that this “race” CAN be won and we CAN successfully cross that finish line, as did others before us!

Discouragement, disappointment may and most likely WILL come, but by pushing aside the burden of those things, we continue to press forward with the goal in sight! We do this by keeping our spiritual eyes focused on what is ahead, neither looking to the sides at what is going on around us, or what we have already passed behind us!

Lately, I have had to re-evaluate MY running to see where my “sight” has been focused. This is what a runner does after every race. He looks back and analyzes what slowed him down or what caused him to stumble. Now, granted, unlike the natural runner who can do race after race, after race, we have one go at this marathon and we HAVE to run it with endurance, as the writer of Hebrews encourages. But, we are able to analyze, by the power of the Holy Spirit within, what is driving or motivating us, what is causing us to slow or to stumble, at all times while STILL in the race!

The only time a Christian “could” lose the race, would be if we were to give up completely. Now, I won’t get into it here, but the Bible does tell us that in the Last Days, there will be a great falling away or Apostasy. Some don’t believe in this Apostasy, or it doesn’t apply to Christians, yet the Bible speaks of it and just like Repentance is turning away from the darkness to the Light of Christ, Apostasy in the sense mentioned is turning away from the Light of Christ back to darkness.

My point is this, the choice to FINISH the race is always in your hands given the analogy of the writer of Hebrews and the Apostle Paul! This is why you lay aside discouragement, disappointment and even the sin that the Hebrews writer says can “easily ensnare” or slow us down!

We do this by first and foremost looking to Christ Jesus who is the Author AND Finisher of our faith AND by considering what He went through at the hands of sinners so that we might obtain the “prize” waiting at the goal-line! Christ Jesus is our sponsor AND trainer through the power of His Holy Spirit! When we consider what He has “put up” for each of us to be able to run, and when we can consider what He went through and we take to heart His teaching, then we have the ability and are equipped to cross that finish line!

We must never assume, no matter how far we have run, or how LONG we have been running that we have arrived, for to assume that we have arrived at the goal before the finish line is to stop in our tracks just shy of the goal! We haven’t, none of us, achieved a perfect course UNTIL we break that ribbon at the finish line and only then have we achieved the goal set before us.

I guess the real moral written here, is to run and to never give up. No matter how weary, we have a constant source of energizing Power available to us in the Holy Spirit. No matter how many times we stumble, we have a Redeemer and Savior that has already run this course against impossible odds and has beat the odds! This was ALWAYS His Father’s plan for us through His Son!

But we HAVE to enter the race and once entered begin running! Here’s a secret to keeping our eyes on the prize; unlike in the natural where the prize is shown as a motivation to those running and seen by all, in the spiritual, we have been told and retold and reminded again and again what that prize will be and the worth of that prize. We don’t actually see it, we have to “visualize” it in the spirit through faith. We have to go from believing what that prize is, in the beginning, to actually KNOWING what that prize is, BECAUSE we are getting closer to the finish line and our vision gets clearer and more focused the closer we get!

The closer you become to your trainer, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the more you learn and “relate” to the Father and the more you recognize the prize He is offering you, BUT, you have to START running towards that goal!

What we as individuals need to do, is not just to run this race, but while running, we need to encourage one another to keep running. Just like that “great cloud of witnesses” we need to cheer one another on, remind each other that this race HAS been run by others and that the finish line is within each of our grasps.

The day that our feet step over that goal-line, will be for each of us individually the greatest day in our lives and our lives will truly begin eternally right there!!! Unlike when I was younger and envious of the other runners that had a parent cheering them on at the finish line, we are each going to experience our Lord and Savior with outstretched arms, welcoming our final footsteps into our new life! What a PRIZE that will be!!

Hebrews 3:6, “but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

14 “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, . . .”

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The Great I Am

Thanks to my Brother in Christ, Randy Summers for posting this on Facebook!

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Show Us A Sign

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Matthew 12:38-42, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.”

Matthew 16:1-4, “Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.”

Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

14-16a, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life……..”


“Show us a sign. Prove to us that You are Who You say You are!” Or for this present age, “prove to us that what you say (preach/teach) is true!” “If God is real, if Jesus is truly His Son, show us a miracle!”

I want to ask you, “as a true believing Christian, a follower, a student, a disciple of Jesus, the Christ (Anointed One), how many times have you been confronted in a normal conversation with your friends, family or co-workers, concerning your belief?” It is rhetorical and yet, even though I don’t get out much anymore, I still am asked that question, or presented with that situation, both in the “real” world and online.

I am asked those questions not just about the existence of God, MY Heavenly Father (not just any god), but also about the Bible; and why do I insist on calling it the Living Word of God?! After all, before proving that the Bible is more than just a book, that it is in fact God’s Book, you have to prove that there is a God! Don’t you? Show us some signs and wonders, some real miracles! Then we will believe!

When I was younger and just newly “saved,” born-again, spiritually reborn, whatever term you choose to use, I truly thought it was my duty to defend the Bible. After all, it was the Bible that opened my eyes to the TRUTH that I personally had been missing. You have to understand, right before my 17th birthday, I was and had been a “religious” kid. I was raised Catholic, (NOT knocking Catholics at all, just speaking from MY limited experience) baptized in the Catholic Church, had been through Confirmation, been an Altar Boy, attended Catholic school (part of the time in grade school), attended Catechism, but, still had so many questions about God and mankind in general. I LOVED talking to anyone who would listen and reciprocate when in High School, about “religion!”

The Church says this, we observe that, we don’t do this, this is what “we” believe. And YES, we had a big, a huge Catholic Bible sitting on our living-room coffee table. I used to try and read it every chance I got, but when I would ask the young Priest of my Parish what something meant, I was told the reason there are Priests is so that THEY can interpret and teach from the Bible because it is just too complicated for the “normal” person to understand.

It was about in my junior year in High School when I became friends with a young man who “seemed” to share my interest in “religion.” When I would talk to him about what the Church says is this or that, he would listen and then tell me that the Bible says this. He was never confrontational, just confident that when I said the Church said something, he would question its basis or foundation and then counter with what the Bible stated. I learned that when he would give me a Scripture, I could go home, open that big, huge Bible on our coffee table and sure enough, for the most part it said the same thing almost word for word!

That’s when the Holy Spirit started doing something within me! Like the proverbial fish gazing at a hook, I was seeing the bait dangling in front of me and hungering for what was there, and I was getting ready to strike at it, “hook, line and sinker!” It was the temptation of having real, deep probing questions answered in a simple, non-confrontational way! My thirst for more knowledge of Who God is and why are we (mankind) even here, and why did He create us, was promisingly close.

For me, the Word that became alive and living, the Word that caused me, NOT to turn from my “faith,” but caused me to move into a different direction, was when, at the time, my best friend (he is now my brother-in-law) quoted 1 Timothy 2:5-6, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, …….”

To be honest with you, he quoted the first SEVEN verses, but it was verse 5 and 6 that opened my eyes and changed my life forever! It was soon after that I was able to attend a special youth service his little church was having and as soon as the preacher called for people to come up to the altar, I struck with full force at that “dangling fish hook!” That night, I surrendered my heart, mind and spirit to our Heavenly Father in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and my life was never the same!

I said my life was never the same. It’s not like I had years and years of life behind me, but my thirst for knowledge ABOUT God, turned into a thirst for not just more knowledge, but an actual relationship WITH Him! I’m going to share something with you though, it didn’t go well with my family. My mother wasn’t concerned as much (she was my step mother and always took me to church) but my father would have none of it, for we were Catholic and that was that! (He NEVER went to Church though still claimed to be a Catholic), but my grandmother on my real mother’s side was ecstatic, for though she also was a die-hard (and very devout) Catholic, she told me my real mother (who passed when I was three) was the same as me, always going to other churches with her girlfriends.

I ended up moving out of our house with only the clothes on my back at age 17. My Aunt took me in, until I was 18. But oh was I learning! And the JOY I was experiencing despite all the teenage troubles and such!!! The only thing I told my best friend during those times, is that when someone makes a commitment to surrender their lives to Christ, maybe, just maybe we should let them know that it is analogous to accepting a bouquet of roses; it’s a beautiful thing, but beware of the thorns! The enemy of our soul, the devil, would love for us to remain ignorant and unquestioning, and when you make a life-changing decision like that he tries to wound you with “thorns” but you can’t have a relationship with our Heavenly Father through Christ Jesus without questions and without truly KNOWING Who He is and His unconditional love for each of us! And THAT takes experiencing what He has in store for you! THAT was my sign!

You might be asking at this point what any of this has to do with the main title and the topic of people asking about proof of God or the legitimacy of His Living Word. You know that old saying, “hindsight is better than foresight?” Well, it couldn’t be more true. When I left the Catholic church, it was at a time in the late 60’s when it was going through a lot of major changes. I had begun attending the local Community College and many of the students in my classes were Catholic friends. They could not understand my “denial” of the faith AND I was upset that the Catholic Church hadn’t been the one to show me what I considered a new and real truth! But – I tried so hard to prove that God was more than a thought and His Word WAS living and true! It took the Holy Spirit some time for me to realize AND recognize that Christ Jesus has His TRUE followers in every church that is not afraid to speak His Name or recognize Him as Savior. By the same token, I had to learn that every church who teaches Jesus as Christ also has those who are there out of tradition or obligation and not necessarily for the same personal reasons or with the same personal experience as myself.

This is the importance of the verses quoted above that the Apostle Paul penned to the Philippians when he told them to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13. It IS God our Creator, our Heavenly Father Who does the work in each of us and it is for HIS good pleasure and will, it is only our job to be pliable and yield to any direction He wishes to take us. But – it IS a personal experience and we should view it with awe and sincerity before Him!

I have learned through time that the real PROOF of the veracity of the Bible, the Living Word of God is found in those of us who follow its teachings and precepts with a sincere and surrendered heart, mind and spirit. The proof is in the FACT that IT never changes, but it changes US! The same is true of the manifest Word of God, Christ Jesus, as the writer of Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Now in the Scriptures cited at the top of this article, I gave two different examples of times that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried to trip Him up and trick Him with demands of signs and wonders to prove Who He was. At least two different times, they demanded the same thing despite what He had already accomplished up until those times. These religious leaders had the writings of the prophets and patriarchs to guide them and show them what they needed to know to believe the truth that was standing right before their very eyes. The sad fact of the matter is, they had twisted and perverted the Words they had until that time to the point they couldn’t even recognize them manifested in the Man standing in front of them! It is no wonder that Jesus called them out and told them they were a “wicked and perverse generation!”

Today it is exactly the same and we are at a nexus; history is repeating itself all over again within the spiritual! The religious leaders of our day aren’t called Pharisees or Sadducees though; today they are called by other titles, but their lust for power and position is no different and they are doing all they can to take the Proof of the Living Word and by culling and ripping out of it what is an inconvenient truth for the maintenance of their power and egos, they teach a watered-down, twisted gospel so they can continue in their supposed authority. Then they have the audacity to say to those that teach the WHOLE counsel of God, “show us a sign! You are NOT Christian, prove to us by what authority YOU teach, for Christ would not do that thing or do this thing!” In their attempts to grow in number and influence, they forget that our Heavenly Father DOES LOVES ALL His Creation, but He does NOT love His Creation’s sinfulness and when they (His Creation) reject as false the only true Redemption available to them, they deny it is really God’s way to demonstrate that a part of His Loving Nature is also by demonstrating He is also a Just God! You cannot have unconditional, agape love, mercy AND grace without Godly justice as well!

Jesus told them as He is telling us today, “Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”—Matthew 16:3b.

Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

But today, it is not “politically correct” to point these things out. After all, you might lose some of your congregation, you might ostracize someone or a group of people as a whole. Isn’t it better that they at least attend and hear SOME of the truth rather than chase them away with the WHOLE truth which might offend them? What about letting them “work out their own salvation with fear and trembling” I ask?

I’ll give you or present you with a sign; AND it was not given to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, but to His followers. It was given not so that His disciples would fear, but so that they would be prepared and remain steadfast. It was given so that His TRUE followers would remain ever vigilant. I’ll present you a sign with the very words of Christ Jesus:

Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

4-13, “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

35-39 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

The signs, the proof, the TRUTH is all around us. We need to remain vigilant and steadfast. We need to demonstrate by actions our love for others WITHOUT compromising the truth in the process. There are those coming using the (in the) Name of Christ, yet do not KNOW Him in a personal, surrendered life way. We have to be aware, be discerning and we have to cling to what the Word of God says is truth.

Jesus, Himself stated this as written in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

How can this even be? Doing great wonders and performing signs using His Name, yet He clearly states He doesn’t (didn’t) KNOW them! Just because we SAY we are a Christian and believe in (a) god, doesn’t mean we have a personal, “submitted to His will,” lifestyle that is directed and guided by Him, the One True God, our Creator, our Heavenly Father.

The best sign we can give? The best proof we can provide? “….work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13.

I’ll show you a sign, I’ll give you undeniable proof:
WE AS TRUE CHRISTIANS ARE LIVING THE SIGN AND THE PROOF!!

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Really Old Humor On Scrolls

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Free to Choose

Thanks to The Conservative Christian for this from Facebook!


John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Knowing we ARE His children, makes our choices a whole lot easier!

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No Foundation? The End!

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Luke 6:47-49, “Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
“He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. “But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

John 1:12-14, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”


I went through a couple of months where I couldn’t keep away from the news. Politics, world events, all the unsavoriness of what populates most news today. Since I am conservative in my beliefs, I pretty much kept to one news organization, so it took its toll on me. Seeing all they had to offer and dealing with increasing pain in my crippled knees and lower back didn’t help my outlook either. Excess pain SEEMS to heighten awareness and perspective, but much of the time it clouds or “filters” what you are actually seeing.


Then I just got fed up enough to actually cut it off cold-turkey except for the occasional online news “blurb” that might strike out at me. Of course, no matter what we are going through, we still have to live life away from the television or computer and sure enough, I couldn’t escape the “news” that was happening all around me in everyday life!

Now you have to understand something; as a Pastor (active behind a pulpit or not) I believe that we NEED to stay informed of world events, for it HAS an impact on our lives in general, but especially our spiritual lives for those of us who are trying and practicing to be true disciples and followers of Christ Jesus.

There’s an old saying that “knowledge is power” and for the most part, it is true, as long as the knowledge can be utilized in a wise way. Knowledge by itself is only trivia if it doesn’t affect your life in a positive way, even if only a little bit positive. For a true Christian, it comes back to what the Apostle Paul stated in Romans when he wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28.

But witnessing the “news” and “world events” taking place around me on a local basis in the lives of those I pass by on a daily basis has made me realize that to many, knowledge, and especially wisdom, once referred to as “common sense” is sorely lacking.

I’m going to be blunt so you are going to have to bear with me. I have said for some time now that common sense has died. What used to be referred to as common sense, or normal, everyday wisdom has long been forsaken. When you witness someone who displays any kind of sense at all today, it is truly uncommon!

Pastor Roland, you are being “harsh and unloving again with statements like that!” Yes, I’ve been told that – many times in fact and yet I am speaking facts that are being witnessed by many who even today rely not just on “common sense or wisdom” but who walk by a spiritual wisdom, guided by the Holy Spirit! I am NOT the only one who is witnessing or has witnessed the demise of a commonality of good sense that used to direct our lives!

The sad truth is that it has progressed from something that I have written about and spoke about for quite some time now; self-centeredness or selfishness, which I have taught for years is the opposite of true love or loving! Loving, I state because true Godly love is an action, doing, NOT a noun or feeling. Love doesn’t become the noun, or the “thing” UNTIL it has actually taken place to the benefit of another life!

You may be wondering what I am leading up too with an introduction based on foundations, but the truth is, it isn’t just common sense that is lacking. Because common sense has been replaced as a “guide” or a “direction” for our lives and the way we interact with one another we have witnessed an epidemic and in actuality a PANDEMIC of stupidity that has risen across this world as it gets ever smaller and smaller due to technology! Wasn’t technology supposed to MAKE our lives better and more fruitful? Instead with the increase in knowledge that the Prophet Daniel wrote about that would take place in Daniel 12:4, we see with that knowledge also an increase in stupidity! Notice, I DID say stupidity and NOT ignorance! Ignorance can be cured and corrected, but stupidity is a disease of choice! How can knowledge increase to the degree it is and yet stupidity reach globally pandemic volumes?

By now you must know, where I’m heading! Foundations. Foundations are the literal bedrock of what not just secure and stable buildings are built upon, but also lives and especially spiritual lives. I am making a point to specify SPIRITUAL lives as opposed to religious lives. The love of money can be religious and we all know the Bible says it leads to evil. (Again, not money itself, but the love or IDOLIZING of money). There are many, many things in life around us that have become religions of themselves. Being religious does not make something spiritual.

Paul wrote to his beloved student and disciple, Timothy this concerning learning and knowledge and how it relates to TRUTH: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-7.

Before you become incensed that I would post the scriptures targeting gullible women as defined in verse 6, remember the times of which Paul was speaking to Timothy and the problems the early church was having with gossip and other sins. Today, we could substitute the term people just as you could for the term men in verse two! The POINT of the scripture is that it is not JUST perilous times that will come, but a time of learning, Paul says ALWAYS learning, knowledge on the increase, BUT never able to come to the knowledge of the TRUTH!!! What does that mean? Simply put, always learning and gaining new knowledge but always walking in stupidity, lacking the general COMMON sense that used to lead us in the past!

This is why we can have religious organizations and religious people who claim to be something and yet they are NOT spiritual! They DENY, Paul writes, the power of the Spirit, yet still retain their traditions and rituals so they appear to be religious! No wonder the Heart of our Heavenly Father is heavy with grief! No wonder so many true Christians look around and see all the religious entities and yet never sense a breakthrough into the manifest presence of Christ Jesus Himself!!

When “religious” leaders take the Living Word of God and decide to pick and choose what they will and will not follow, when they decide what is and what is not relevant for today they are doing exactly what the Apostle Paul prophesied to Timothy in keeping the FORM of godliness, but DENYING the power behind TRUE Godliness!!!

I started noticing this years and years ago when one religious fad after another would rise up and grab hold of the church-going people because some charismatic, honey-tongued preacher or teacher would take certain Scriptures out of context and weave great sounding doctrines that tickled the ears of all those who heard them! I also watched as true Christians fought with the concept of some of these doctrines as the truth unfolded in their personal lives and those of us who stood upon the WHOLE counsel of God had to do damage control with the TRUTH of the whole LIVING Word!

These teachers and preachers (and I use the term loosely) didn’t and still don’t understand that what they are doing is taking a jack-hammer to the foundation and turning parts of that foundation into rubble that is as worthless as sand or pea-gravel; and not able to secure and stabilize the building (life) that is standing on it! The sad part about it is that it is always, just a little here, and a little there until the very foundation itself is totally undermined!

When you start compromising the Living Word of God, when you start taking the parts that will make you popular but leave out the parts that are necessary to make the building strong, you are wounding Christ Jesus again by tearing out His Heart, or His Character or His Spirit! In essence, you are closing the very door to a relationship with His Father that can only be had THROUGH ALL of Him, because parts of the Living Word of God are NOT convenient, or might cause controversy or dispute within the four walls of your RELIGIOUS organization and you substitute that lie that comes straight from the devil and call it love, or tolerance. Yet like the blind leading the blind, you have already led many into the proverbial ditch, because you failed to understand that the strength of the building is in the FULL FOUNDATION and the form of the foundation is based on the cornerstone, which IS Christ Jesus!

When the Word of God tells me that there is ONLY one way to the Father, and that way is the Foundation already laid in the person of Christ Jesus, and when a religious organization says it’s alright to allow those living in sin to lead a religious organization and to lend their sinful teaching to its doctrines, then that religious organization is moving its building from the foundation and placing it on a bed of gravel or sand and it will NOT stand the storm that is already blowing upon us. As that wind becomes stronger, ONLY those built on the SOLID foundation will stand what is coming and coming so very soon.

I’m going to end this article with the LAST part that the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and show you by the LIVING Word of God, that though we will face this ever growing storm and as the stupidity continues to increase and the LACK of the knowledge of the TRUTH is learned by those we come into daily contact with, we can have hope in Christ Jesus for them and we can still LOVE those afflicted because of Christ Jesus because Paul gave us this promise, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

ALL Scripture is given by inspiration, not just some, not just the convenient ones, but ALL Scripture and it is ALL profitable for doctrine, for reproof (for putting on the right track and proving truth) and for CORRECTION of falsehoods and for instruction on how to be righteous, (for whom is it given?) that the MAN OF GOD, may be complete and equipped for the task at hand!!!

If you are a man (or woman) of God, you can only be equipped for what is at hand by standing upon the WHOLE FOUNDATION (Christ Jesus, the WORD) and facing the world, however perilous it becomes, on the strength of that foundation and that foundation alone!

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Giving Thanks in ALL Things

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1Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

2Corinthians 4:15, “For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

2Corinthians 9:10-11, “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 3:16-17, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

1Timothy 4:4-6, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.

Psalm 95:2-3, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods.”

Psalm 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

Psalm 106:1, “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

Psalm 107:8-9, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.”

AND ON AND ON WITH SO MANY MORE!!!

As with all things spiritual, the action of giving thanks becomes second nature with practice and it is then that the emotional or feeling of thanks comes to the person giving thanks. Thanksgiving is a day to remember all the blessings that we have been given so freely from the Lord.

In giving thanks in ALL things (even those seemingly not so good) we remember what the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

So remember; this day is a day to remember ALL those many blessings and the reasons for them, but EVERYDAY should be a day of giving thanks!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND MAY GOD’S BLESSINGS CONTINUE TO ENRICH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOUR LIVES!!

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Doppelgänger

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*Doppelgänger

In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a paranormal phenomenon, and in some traditions as a harbinger of bad luck. In other traditions and stories, they recognize your ‘double-goer’ as an evil twin.


2 Corinthians 4:

2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (Bold emphasis added by me).


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My wife and I were watching one of those popular crime dramas the other day and the title of the episode was the same I am using for this article. Now it was done to instill a bit of humor into a serious subject, but I am using it with the *preferred definition as set down by Microsoft Bing when I did a search of the word.

My Brother in Christ, Russ Hall, (WordPress Blog, Facebook Page) a long-time internet friend and peer whom I met when first involving myself in online “ministry” inspired me with the picture above that he had posted on his Facebook page. It has ceased to surprise me, for a long time now, what avenues the Holy Spirit uses to provide inspiration and direction for a message. As with so many others of my brothers and sisters, we are facing an uncertain future concerning not just politics, but the right to express ourselves religiously.

Lately, when I have written a new article, or have posted a new teaching, it has been rather “sin heavy” as a friend has tried to delicately share with me. What is surprising is that for many, many years, I have NOT concentrated so much on our sin nature, but much, much more on our REDEEMED nature, which you must admit is a lot more positive and acceptable to read and hear.

It’s just that lately, the state of our societies has demonstrated the truth that human nature, in general, just hasn’t changed that much since the time of Adam and Eve, and I believe that the closer we come to the time of Jesus Christ’s return, unapologetic, unredemptive human nature will become more and more prevalent.

This “foundation” I’ve laid out brings me to the point of why I have been “preaching” or teaching so much on the acknowledgement AND identification of sin. I know what you’re thinking; everybody knows right from wrong; everyone knows what sin is via the Ten Commandments. But yet — sin has become more socially acceptable and more prevalent today. Yet, every spiritual Christian KNOWS that it takes more than just knowledge of sin to be redeemed spiritually!

Still, we have churches today that are teaching that sin is relative; the Bible is not literal when it comes to our sinfulness; there are many paths to salvation; as long as there is love and peace, continued sin is not eternally significant, etc., etc. Churches are allowing gays to be in positions of leadership, same-sex marriages are being accepted because after all, love is all that matters, despite the fact that the Bible is clear about what REAL love is and what REAL sin is!

Main supposed “Christian” church denominations today are opening up areas of their churches for Muslim prayer mats pointing toward Mecca AND they are calling for boycotts AGAINST our spiritual brothers, the Nation of Israel, siding with RADICAL Arab factions claiming that Israel’s actions are against humanity! I have said this for years (literally years) now, that what was once right is now wrong, and what was once wrong is now right.

We forget that Jesus Himself stated, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” – Matthew 10:34-39. (Bold emphasis added by me).

Jesus came to show the TRUTH about God’s relationship with man and to show AND provide the path to a relationship back with the Father. But in that, He showed that He is the ONLY path and in showing that truth, that very truth would be a sword, cutting relationships that would stand in the way of loving God Almighty with all that we are!

When I was an Associate Pastor at Calvary Chapel in Arizona, we combated against blatant New Age practices that weren’t just in our community, but had infiltrated several main-stream “Christian” denominations located in our community. With continual fervent prayer AND education identifying and attacking the practices we made big headway AND many brothers and sisters were made aware of the dangers of so many New Age teachings and practices!

This brings me to the inspiration behind Brother Russ Hall’s picture and the title of this article. You have to KNOW first, what the truth is and you have to understand that TRUTH, spiritual TRUTH is NOT relative. Truth is true and it comes from ONE source and one source only, our Heavenly Father, God Almighty in the image and likeness of His Son, the Living Word, Jesus (the Anointed One) Christ! It is written with the pen of men in the Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the written representation of the Living Word! The written Word and the Living Word are in total and perfect agreement and harmony and there is no contradiction, what so ever!

If you choose to discard the Bible, the Truth of God Almighty and His RELATIONSHIP with mankind, His creation, you have nothing to base a life of spiritual liberty or freedom upon, for everything else is deception and lies from the “god of this world.” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

There are two churches operating in this world today. The TRUE Church, the Bride of Christ, and its doppelgänger, the false twin. They look the same and much of the time, they outwardly speak the same, but the difference is beyond the heart, in the spirit; and from the spirit, their works are revealed!

2 Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”

My question to you, CHRISTIAN, is this; if the devil and his ministers can look and act like TRUE servants of God’s Word today, than how are YOU going to defend yourself and your loved ones from what is false? If you Bible is “metaphorically” gathering dust today and it is just used for show or some religious talisman, than how will you be able to JUDGE (Matthew 7:15-27) the truth and those speaking it?

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I know when I start speaking of judging (discernment) many of my brothers and sisters start getting nervous and jittery, but I want you to read the following Scripture and then go back when you have time and read the account that this Scripture refers too. Acts 17:10-11, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These (Bereans) were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Bold and Parenthetical comment added by me).

The Bereans accepted the word with readiness, BUT/AND they searched the Scriptures to make sure what they heard was the truth! They weren’t doing it with the motive of finding fault with Paul and Silas’ teaching, rather they were searching so that they themselves wouldn’t be at fault with accepting a teaching that wasn’t directly from the Lord! They were discerning (judging) the truth to be just that, the truth!

Today we have so many who go to church to let the preacher/teacher do the work of the Bible and so many do not even pick up their Bibles to see if what is being taught is true. This is a sad indictment of the church today, but if you are a person who takes the time to read and study and see what the Word of God does say, you see the truth of what I am saying and as a spirit-led Christian, it has to concern you as well.

The reason we have main-stream churches allowing New Age practices to be a part of their churches as well as the other sins that have permeated the church is because people are relying on their feelings and what a personable teacher tells them rather than explore the Word for themselves. People are looking for happiness in church, happiness which depends on circumstances and feelings, rather than on spiritual joy, something that is deeper and derives from a relationship with the Holy Spirit and NOT based upon circumstances, but rather on truth. Feelings change, the Word of God does not!

What is sad is when instead of living a life based on the Spirit and the Truth of the Living Word of God, people look at world situations and apply their emotions, feelings that change with circumstances rather than the solid foundation of the Word of God. Because of this you hear social terms like tolerance, harmony, unity and compromise. Yet sadly for the deceived, the Word of God teaches exactly opposite and does not endorse conformity to the world. We hear all “well-meaning” church people tell others using worldly wisdom that we have to take care of those in the world.

That is NOT why Jesus came and that is NOT the instruction that Jesus gave the disciples just before He left this world for a season. Jesus came to reestablish a relationship with the Father that was lost due to man’s sinfulness. He came to reiterate the choice that mankind has, but that knowing not all will choose that renewed relationship and thus the outcome of that particular choice! Many, many churches today have become a place of social and political influence, totally neglecting the truth and the spiritual influence we have been called to share with the world!

Identifying sin and encouraging one another to spread the good news of the Gospel and the whole Counsel of the Word of God is no longer the priority. Rather, in an effort to gain membership and finances, to gain influence over the local communities is a sign of success in many main-stream churches.

This is why we have so many who claim to be Christians who can look at our political leaders and without remorse or a second thought, could place their approval behind those that have a proven track record of corruption, criminal activity, scandal and disdain for their fellow man. A TRUE Christian could judge (discern) someone who is false by the works and deeds that have gone before and make a spiritual determination. This determination would be based on the truth of the Word of God. But, instead we have those claiming to be Christians saying others are lying about the deceit and corruption and what is important is the policies this person or that person speaks on (feelings and emotions).

We hear so many of these doppelgänger churches speaking of unity and harmony in the world as if this is some thematic premise of the Bible. Yet when it comes to what the Bible says, Paul in Ephesians speaks of unity in the Spirit, unity with brothers and sisters, NOT unity with the world! Ephesians 4:1-3, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This Scripture is not talking about loving the world or being in unity with the world in the bond of peace, it is talking and Paul is addressing those in the emerging Church!

walking-in-lightThe Apostle John tells us this fact about the world and reiterates the truth of what Jesus stated when He said He didn’t come to bring peace but a sword. It reiterates the truth that our Redeemer commands us to love Him AND the Father more than ANYTHING the world offers, including people! 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.“

But don’t be deceived by those telling you that it is the earth itself, the natural world and creation that our Lord is telling you to hate! He is saying the world system, the world organization and the sin that runs the way the world progresses when it comes to seducing mankind. The natural world, the Lord made FOR mankind, for his dominion and for his pleasure!

If someone claims to be a Christian and doesn’t recognize sin for what it truly is and especially when it is blatantly in front of us, then you have to be discerning and ask yourself, if they can’t recognize sin, then how can the Spirit of Christ dwell in them, for the Spirit of Christ frees us from that sin and helps us protect our loved ones, both in our families and churches from the ravages and deception of sin. It is an indication of blinded eyes and a veiled mind as 2 Corinthians 4 states emphatically! We have been commanded by the Word of God to identify the false prophets, the bad fruit which can only come from bad trees, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the doppelgänger which wishes to deceive and cause to stumble with worldly wisdom rather than the righteousness and foundation of Biblical truth!

We ARE to study the Word of God personally, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13. (Bold emphasis added by me). But we are to study the Word of God to protect the many members of the Body of Christ as well. We truly ARE our “brother’s keepers!”

We are entering a time and I believe are there now, when True, Spirit-filled, Gospel oriented Christians will have to make a stand against the charlatans, the phony church, the doppelgänger church, the one that wishes to deceive. We will either stand for Christ Jesus, the True Jesus Christ, or we will stand for the phony that will attempt to deceive many and those that have no foundation based in the WHOLE Word of God!

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Hang in There Little One, it Gets Better!!!

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I am always looking for good clean Church-type humor. This was posted on Facebook and I couldn’t resist! It is one of the funniest things lately!!! En-joy!!!!

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