Friday, February 27, 2009

John 4

I created the above image in Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

1The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

Above image of Jesus and Samaritan Woman copyright Visual Impact Resources Ltd 2006

9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. [Or, 'do not use dishes Samaritans have used.'])

10Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

11"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

15The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

16He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

17"I have no husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

19"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

The Disciples Rejoin Jesus

27Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"

28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ[Or, 'Messiah']?" 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."

32But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."

33Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?"

34"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

Many Samaritans Believe

39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers.

42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

Jesus Heals the Official's Son

43After the two days he left for Galilee. 44(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.

46Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48"Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."

49The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."

50Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour."

53Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed.

54This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.

In the time and location where this event took place, men did not talk to women in public. Women were seen as second-class citizens, or as owned property. If a man were seen talking to a woman in a public place, people would likely think he was trying to obtain services from a prostitute. But Jesus not only did not limit Himself to the cultural taboos of the day, He also was not afraid of what people might think.

To add to that, Samaritans were hated by Jews, and were seen as half-breeds or inferior. So, Jesus talking to this Samaritan woman might be compared to a white man (who was not her owner) talking kindly and acting nicely to a black female slave in America during the days of slavery in the United States. If a white man showed compassion and love and kindness and favor to a black slave during those days in America, he would be hated, have obscenities and derogatory statements yelled at him, and possibly even have his house burned down or even be killed.

According to David Carson, “The Samaritan woman said to Him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9) In a later episode at the temple in Jerusalem, John records what becomes a hostile encounter between some Jews and Jesus. It is interesting to note the terms used by the Jews in their attack on Jesus: “The Jews answered Him, ‘Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?’” (John 8:48) They could think of nothing worse to say about Jesus than to call Him a Samaritan."

Note that the woman wanted this everlasting water which Jesus talked about, not so she could have everlasting life, which Jesus was talking about, but so that she wouldn't have to go to the well every day to draw water. She was still looking at the carnal, fleshly, earthly things. But Jesus reproved this thinking.

Salvation came to other nations through the Jews, and Jesus of course preferred the Jewish worship (since they alone worshiped the true God) over the pagan practices that other nations participated in. Yet here, Jesus talks about this being done away with, because God would soon be revealed as the Father of believers in EVERY nation (since the gospel would spread all over the known world).

According to Clarke's Commentary:
"John 4:10 "If thou knewest the gift of God" signifies a free gift.
A gift is any thing that is given, for which no equivalent has been or is to be returned: a free gift is that which has been given without asking or entreaty. Such a gift of kindness was Jesus Christ to the world (John 3:16) and through Him comes the gift of the Spirit, which those who believe on His name were to receive. Christ was not an object of desire to the world - no man asked for him; and God, moved thereto by his own eternal mercy, freely gave him. Through this great gift comes the Holy Spirit, and all other gifts which are necessary to the salvation of a lost world.
'Living water' - By this expression, which was common to the inhabitants both of the east and of the west, is always meant spring water, in opposition to dead, stagnant water contained in ponds, pools, tanks, or cisterns; and what our Lord means by it is evidently the Holy Spirit, as may be seen, John 7: 38-39.
As water quenches the thirst, refreshes and invigorates the body, purifies things defiled, and renders the earth fruitful, so it is an apt emblem of the gift of the Holy Ghost, which so satisfies the souls that receive it that they thirst no more for earthly good: it purifies also from all spiritual defilement, on which account it is emphatically styled the Holy Spirit; and it makes those who receive it fruitful in every good word and work."

John 3

I created the above image in Adobe Illustrator CS2.

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. [Or, 'born from above'; also in verse 7]"

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit [Or, 'but spirit'] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You [The Greek is plural] must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. [Some manuscripts: 'Man, who is in heaven'] Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. [Or, 'believes may have eternal life in him']

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, [Or, 'his only begotten Son'] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. [Or, 'God's only begotten Son'] This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." [Some interpreters end the quotation after verse 15]

John the Baptist's Testimony About Jesus

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew [Some manuscripts: 'and certain Jews'] over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ [Or, 'Messiah'] but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.

"The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God [Greek: 'he'] gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." [Some interpreters end the quotation after verse 30.]

"He came to Jesus at night"

Possibly Nicodemus came at night because was afraid of public association with Jesus, or he wanted a lengthy discussion without interruptions. But the timing is significant for John in terms of the light/darkness motif (compare 9:4, 11:10, 13:30 (especially), 19:39, and 21:3). Out of the darkness of his life and religiosity Nicodemus came to the Light of the World. John probably had multiple meanings or associations in mind here, as he often does.

"Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

For Nicodemus, all the signs have meant is that Jesus is a great teacher sent from God. His approach to Jesus is well-intentioned but theologically inadequate; he has failed to grasp the messianic implications of the sign-miracles.

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

The word has a double meaning, as pointed out by Z. C. Hodges. The word may mean either “again” (in which case it is synonymous with palivn) or “from above” (s.v., BAGD). This is a favorite technique of the author of the Fourth Gospel, and it is lost in almost all translations at this point. Think of the effect on the contemporary evangelical terminology of being “born again”!

John uses the word 5 times, in 3:3, 7; 3:31; 19:11 and 23. In the latter 3 cases the context makes clear that it means “from above”. Here (3:3, 7) it could mean either but it seems that Hodges is right that the primary meaning intended by Jesus is “from above”. Nicodemus, it seems, understood it the other way, which explains his reply, “How can a man be born when he is old? He can’t enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” John the Evangelist often uses the technique of the “misunderstood question” to bring out a particularly important point: Jesus says something which is misunderstood by the disciples or (as here) someone else, which then gives Jesus the opportunity to explain more fully and in more detail what he really meant.

...Nicodemus...misunderstood Jesus’ words. He over-literalized them, and thought Jesus was talking about a second physical birth, when Jesus was in fact referring to new spiritual birth.

"Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

Water and wind come from above. Isa 44:3-5 and Ezek 37:9-10 are pertinent examples of water and wind as life-giving symbols of the Spirit of God in his work among men. Both occur in contexts that deal with the future restoration of Israel as a nation prior to the establishment of the messianic Kingdom! It is therefore particularly appropriate that Jesus should introduce them in a conversation about entering the kingdom of God.

We are not saying that the verse should be read as a direct reference to the Holy Spirit, but that both water and wind are figures which represent the regenerating work of the Spirit in the lives of men and women, a truth pointed to by the OT passages mentioned above. These were passages which should have been familiar to Nicodemus as “the teacher of Israel” (cf. 3:10).

What is born of physical heritage is physical. What is begotten by the Spirit is spiritual.

"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things?"

There is irony in Jesus’ question here: “you are the teacher of Israel (a spiritual leader) and don’t know these things?”

This carries the implication (at least) that Nicodemus had enough information at his disposal from the Old Testament Scriptures to have understood Jesus’ statements about the necessity of being born from above by the regenerating work of the Spirit.

When we ask what passages Nicodemus might have known which would have given him insight into Jesus’ words, we could return to Isa 44:3-5 and Ezek 37:9-10. But even more astounding is the passage proposed by Z. C. Hodges as the “seed-bed” for the ideas in Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus: Prov 30:4-5.

“Who has ascended into heaven, and descended [John 3:13]? Who has gathered the wind [John 3:5, 8] in his fists? Who has wrapped the waters [John 3:5] in his garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, or his Son’s name [John 3:15-16]? Surely you know! Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who put their trust in him [John 3:15-16].”

(Commentary is from Exegetical Commentary on John 3)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More Bible proof: Temple relics unearthed

Archaeologists discover official seals from Kingdom of Judah
Posted: February 23, 2009
10:39 pm Eastern
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

"JERUSALEM – Israeli archaeologists yesterday announced the discovery of a large building dating to the time of the First and Second Temples associated with Hezekiah, the King of Judah.

The Israeli government's Antiquities Authority oversaw the excavation in the southern Jerusalem village of Umm Tuba. The agency said its archaeologists unearthed the remains of an ancient building consisting of several rooms arranged around a courtyard, containing pottery and other artifacts from the First and Second Temple Periods.

The finds include official government seals bearing the names of Ahimelekh ben Amadyahu and Yehokhil ben Shahar, who were high-ranking officials in Hezekiah's government. The life of Hezekiah, the son of King Ahaz is detailed in the biblical books of Kings, Isaiah and Chronicles. Hezekiah was the 13th king of independent Judah.

Archaeologists also found a Hebrew inscription – dating 600 years after the Kingdom of Judah seals – on a fragment of a jar neck, characteristic of the beginning of the Hasmonean period. The ancient building was partially destroyed during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem.

The finds are the latest in a mountain of unearthed remains giving a clearer picture of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem during the First and Second Temple periods."

You can read the rest of the article at WorldNetDaily.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

John 2

I created the above image in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Jesus Changes Water to Wine

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. [Greek: two to three metretes (probably about 75 to 115 liters)]

Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Jesus Clears the Temple

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me." [Psalm 69:9]

Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. [Or, 'and believed in him'] But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

Verse 3: "And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine."

"On the backgrounds of this miracle J. D. M. Derrett, an expert in Oriental law, points out among other things the strong element of reciprocity about weddings in the Ancient Near East: it was possible in certain circumstances to take legal action against the man who failed to provide an appropriate wedding gift. The bridegroom and family here might have been involved in a financial liability for failing to provide adequately for their guests.

Was Mary asking for a miracle? There is no evidence that Jesus had worked any miracles prior to this (although this amounts to an argument from silence). Some think Mary was only reporting the situation, or (as Calvin thought) asking Jesus to give some godly exhortations to the guests and thus relieve the bridegroom’s embarassment.

But the words, and the reply of Jesus in verse 4, seem to imply more. It is not inconceivable that Mary, who had probably been witness to the events of the preceding days, or at least was aware of them, knew that her son’s public career was beginning. She also knew the supernatural events surrounding his birth, and the prophetic words of the angel, and of Simeon and Anna in the Temple at Jesus’ dedication. In short, she had good reason to believe Jesus to be the Messiah, and now his public ministry had begun. In this kind of context, her request does seem more significant." (from Exegetical Commentary on John 2)

Verse 4: "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come."

"(Jesus’ reply to his mother): According to Liddell-Scott-Jones the vocative is “a term of respect or affection”. It is Jesus’ normal, polite way of addressing women (Matt 15:28, Luke 13:12; in John, 4:21, 8:10, 19:26 and 20:15). But it is unusual for a son to address his mother with this term. The custom in both Hebrew (or Aramaic) and Greek would be for a son to use a qualifying adjective or title.

Is there significance in Jesus’ use here? Most likely. It probably indicates that a new relationship exists between Jesus and his mother once he has embarked on his public ministry. He is no longer or primarily only her son, but the “Son of Man”. This is also suggested by the use of the same term in 19:26 in the scene at the cross, where the Beloved Disciple is “given” to Mary as her “new” son."
"(literally, “What to me and to you, woman?”)"
"The Hebrew expression in the Old Testament had two basic meanings:

(1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say “What to me and to you?” meaning, “What have I done to you that you should do this to me?” Examples: Judges 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kings 17:18.

(2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his, he could say to the one asking him, “What to me and to you?” meaning, “That is your business, how am I involved?” Examples: 2 Kings 3:13, Hosea 14:8.

Meaning (1) implies hostility, meaning (2) merely disengagement. Meaning (2) is almost certainly to be understood here as better fitting the context (although some of the Greek Fathers took the remark as a rebuke to Mary; I feel such a rebuke is unlikely).

In the immediate context the meaning is clearly “It is not yet time for me to act.”

"The word (literally, “hour”; “time”) occurs in the Gospel of John in 2:4, 4:21, 23; 5:25, 28, 29; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 16:25; and 17:1. It is best seen as a reference to the special period in Jesus’ life when he is to leave this world and return to the Father (13:1); the hour when the Son of man is glorified (17:1). This is accomplished through his suffering, death, resurrection (and ascension—though this is not emphasized by John). 7:30 and 8:20 imply that Jesus’ arrest and death are included. 12:23 and 17:1, referring to the glorification of the Son, imply that the resurrection and ascension are included as part of the “hour”. In 2:4 Jesus’ remark to his mother indicates that the time for this self-manifestation has not yet arrived; his identity as Messiah is not yet to be publicly revealed."
(from Exegetical Commentary on John 2)

Verse 6: "And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece."

"Significantly, these stone jars held water for Jewish purification rituals. The water of Jewish ritual purification becomes the wine of the new Messianic Age."
"Each of the pots held 2 or 3 metrhtai. A metrhth'" (literally, “measure”) was approximately 9 gallons (39.39 liters); thus each jar held 18-27 gallons (78.8-118.2 liters) and the total volume of liquid involved was 108-162 gallons (472.7-709 liters)!"
"The conversation between Jesus and his mother appears incomplete. Did she persist in her request in spite of his initial refusal? What did she expect Jesus to do? Catholics have often appealed to this passage to support the power of Mary’s intercession. But this is certainly not the point intended by the author of the Gospel as the reason he includes the account in the narrative.

The author gives the point of the story, as far as he is concerned, in 2:11. He tells us what the sign accomplished: through it Jesus revealed his “glory” and his disciples believed in him. Thus, the first sign has the same purpose that all the following signs will have: revelation about the person of Jesus. Scholarly interpretations to the contrary, John does not put primary emphasis on the replacing of the water for Jewish purification, or on the change from water to wine, or even on the resulting wine. John does not focus on Mary and her intercession, nor on why she made the request or whether she pursued it further after Jesus’ initial response. John does not focus on the reaction of the master of the feast or the bridegroom. The primary focus, as for all the Johannine stories, is on Jesus as the One sent by the Father to bring salvation to the world."
(from Exegetical Commentary on John 2)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Are you a good person?

Other versions of the Good Person Test:

The Good Person Test

911 Christ

Need God

Living Waters

The Way of the Master

Ray Comfort's Audio Message

Jewish Ten Commandments
I am the Lord your G-d who has taken you out of the land of Egypt.
You shall have no other gods but me.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your G-d in vain.
You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.
Honor your mother and father.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness.
You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

The Ten Commandments in Exodus:
"And God spoke all these words:

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
(Exodus 20:1-17)

The Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy:
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
(Deuteronomy 5:6-21)

The Law ("Torah") was never meant to save (since no one can perfectly keep the Law), but was meant to be a mirror, to show us our need for a Savior.

"Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." (Galatians 3:11)

"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." (Romans 3:20)

In order for people to keep the Law, we would have to be perfect---as holy and righteous as God is. Therefore, for people to become children of God, it would have to be by some other way than keeping the Law. Christ Jesus provided that way. He provided a way to free us from the requirements of the Law, by His death and resurrection. Therefore, Christ has become the end of the Law for Christians, and it is faith that saves---not the Law.

"For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8:3-4)

"Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." (Romans 10:4)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

John 1 (NIV)

The Word Became Flesh

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood [Or, 'darkness, and the darkness has not overcome'] it.

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world [Or, 'This was the true light that gives light to every man who comes into the world'].

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, [Greek: 'of bloods'] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, [Or, 'the Only Begotten'] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, [Or, 'the Only Begotten'] [Some manuscripts: 'but the only (or only begotten) Son'] who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

John the Baptist Denies Being the Christ

19Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ. [Or, Messiah. "The Christ" (Greek) and "the Messiah" (Hebrew) both mean "the Anointed One"; also in verse 25.]"

21They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."

22Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"

23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' " [Isaiah 40:3]

24Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

26"I baptize with [Or, 'in'; also in verses 31 and 33] water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."

28This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Jesus the Lamb of God

29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."

32Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."

Jesus' First Disciples

35The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"

37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"
They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

39"Come," he replied, "and you will see."
So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.

40Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter [Both Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) mean 'rock']).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me."

44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

46"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.
"Come and see," said Philip.

47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."

48"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."

49Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."

50Jesus said, "You believe [Or, 'Do you believe ...?'] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 51He then added, "I tell you [The Greek is plural] the truth, you [The Greek is plural] shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Holocaust

The Holocaust also known as haShoah, is the term generally used to describe the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, as part of a program of deliberate extermination planned and executed by Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler.

The Holocaust is a graphic example of the corruption, depravity and sinfulness of man.

Most of the videos and photos I researched concerning the Holocaust were too graphic and disturbing to include here. I also do not wish to go into graphic detail here, to describe all the horrendous and shocking things that occurred. Therefore I shall merely include some links below. Please note that some of the below websites contain disturbing photos.

For more information, see:
-The Holocaust: Crimes, Heroes and Villains
-United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
-Jewish Virtual Library 20th Century History: The Holocaust: Links A Cybrary of the Holocaust
-The Holocaust: Comprehensive Sites
-The Holocaust: A Tragic Legacy
-The Holocaust/Shoah Page
-Holocaust Encyclopedia

Friday, February 20, 2009


Fertilization normally takes place within one day of intercourse, but can occur up to six days later. At fertilization, the genetic composition of a preborn human is formed. This genetic information determines gender, eye color, hair color, facial features, and influences characteristics such as intelligence and personality.

Three (3) Weeks after Fertilization, the eyes and spinal cord are visible and the developing brain has two lobes.

Four (4) Weeks after Fertilization, the heart is beating and a circulatory system is in place. The portion of the brain associated with consciousness (the cerebrum) and internal organs such as the lungs are beginning to develop and can be identified.

Seven (7) Weeks after Fertilization, muscles and nerves begin working together. When the upper lip is tickled, the arms move backwards. The portion of the brain associated with consciousness (the cerebrum) has divided into hemispheres.

Nine (9) Weeks after Fertilization, more than 90% of the body structures found in a full-grown human are present. The medical classification changes from an embryo to a fetus. This dividing line was chosen by embryologists because from this point forward, most development involves growth in existing body structures instead of the formation of new ones. The preborn human moves body parts without any outside stimulation.

Ten (10) Weeks after Fertilization, all parts of the brain and spinal cord are formed. The heart pumps blood to every part of the body. The whole body is sensitive to touch except for portions of the head. The preborn human makes facial expressions.

Twelve (12) Weeks after Fertilization, electrical signals from the nervous system are measurable. After an abortion, efforts to suckle will sometimes be observed.

Fourteen (14) Weeks after Fertilization, the preborn human makes coordinated movements of the arms and legs.

Sixteen (16) Weeks after Fertilization, the preborn human makes eye movements.

Eighteen (18) Weeks after Fertilization, the portion of the brain responsible for functions such as reasoning and memory (the cerebral cortex) has the same number of nerve cells as a full-grown adult.

Twenty (20) Weeks after Fertilization, the preborn human sleeps, awakes and can hear sounds.

Up through approximately this point in time, according to the Supreme Court's rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a pregnant woman can abort at will.

Twenty-four (24) Weeks after Fertilization, the blink-startle reflex and taste buds are functional. The preborn human will swallow more amniotic fluid if a sweetener is added to it. The grip is strong enough to hold onto an object that is moving up and down. If born and given specialized care, the survival rate is more than 80%.

Twenty-eight (28) Weeks after Fertilization, if exposed to an 85 decibel noise while sleeping (about as loud as a blender), preborn humans exhibit the motor behaviors that accompany the crying state. Premature infants born at this time are more sensitive to pain than infants who are born at 38 weeks, and infants who are born at 38 weeks are more sensitive to pain than infants at 3-12 months after birth. If born and given specialized care, the survival rate is more than 95%.

Thirty-eight (38) Weeks after Fertilization, average point in time when humans are born. At birth, the medical classification changes from a fetus to a neonate.

At any point prior to birth, according to the Supreme Court's rulings in Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a pregnant woman can abort to preserve her health. One example from Roe v. Wade of what may be considered harmful to a mother's health is the work of caring for a child. The Roe v. Wade verdict provides several examples of what may constitute a risk to the health of the mother. These include the stigma of unwed motherhood and the distress associated with the unwanted child. Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which were issued by the Supreme Court on the same day with the order that they are to be read together, mandate that abortion be legal up until the point of birth if any one physician willing to perform an abortion decides it is necessary to preserve a mother's health.

In 2007, twin brothers Ieuan and Gabriel Jones were born at 31 weeks gestation. Eleven weeks before this, it was found that Gabriel was underweight and his heart three times normal size. Doctors thought he would die and suggested an abortion to protect the life of his twin. An attempt was made to sever his umbilical cord, but doctors were unable to cut through it. Subsequently, the mother's placenta was cut in half to isolate the twins from one another. The boys were delivered via caesarian section, and as of November 2007, were seven months old and both healthy.

Gianna Jessen was born in 1977 after surviving an abortion at seven-and-a-half months gestation. She has cerebral palsy as a result of the procedure. She is now 31-years old and is a marathon runner, writer, singer, and travels the world to campaign against abortion.

In July 2000, two registered nurses who worked in the labor and delivery unit of Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois testified before a U.S. Congressional subcommittee. Both described instances at the hospital in which they had personally seen babies who were born alive after an abortion and left to die without any care or comfort provided. A spokesman for the hospital�s parent corporation estimated that 10-20% of the abortions it performs on preborn human with genetic defects result in live births for short periods of time.

(The above information is from Just Facts: A Resource for Independent Thinkers)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Bible

The Bible has been analyzed far more than any work in the history of the world. It has survived despite the many times in history that it has been made illegal (it is illegal even today in apparently 51 countries), the times that all found copies were burned (For example, in A.D. 303, an edict to destroy all Bibles was decreed by Rome. Anyone found with a Bible was killed), etc. The Bible has been one of the most censored books of all time. It has also had more translations and more editions than any other book in the history of publishing.

Papyrus and parchment were used until paper was invented in A.D. 105. Many major ancient writings written on such vulnerable material vanished altogether. Yet there are a number of surviving manuscripts of the Old Testament written before the birth of Christ. Many works of antiquity have simply disappeared over time. One scholar indicated that all works in existence from the A.D. 50's and 60's would fit between bookends placed a foot apart. Even great works of history and literature have very few early manuscripts in existence. Unlike the Bible, the earliest existing copies of other great works were actually completed hundreds of years after the originals. The Bible, in contrast, has many more copies that were written much closer to the events they document. Major existing manuscripts for classic literature include: Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar (we have 10 early records, and there is a span of 1000 years from them back to the actual event); History by Pliny the Younger (we have 7 early records, which were written 750 years after the event); History by Thucydides (we have 8 existing early records, and the first existing manuscript was made 1300 years after the event); History by Herodotus (we have 8 existing manuscripts today, made 1300 years after the actual event); Iliad by Homer (the second most prevalent writing) (we have 643 early records, and there are 500 years from the actual event to the first existing manuscript). And the New Testament? We have over 24,000 early records and there was a mere 25 years from the actual event to the first existing manuscript!

The Bible contains many facts regarded as ridiculous at the time, which have been verified as fact today. It gives instructions on dealing with things like mold, as well as infectious and contagious diseases, and introduces quarantine---before things like microscopes existed, or people knew anything about germs or air-borne diseases.

Archaeology has unearthed such things as the walls of Jericho and other conquered cities, found precisely as indicated in the Bible.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have provided phenomenal evidence for the credibility of biblical scripture. For example, the nearly-intact Isaiah Scroll is almost identical to the most recent manuscript version of the Masoretic text from the 900's AD (Scholars have discovered a handful of spelling and tense-oriented scribal errors, but nothing of significance), corresponding to Isaiah 53 in today's Old Testament---yet this text was dated 100 to 335 years before the birth of Jesus Christ!

The word "Bible" comes from the Egyptian word for parchment, byblos. The Greek word biblios means 'books' or 'scrolls.' Later, it was translated into Latin, biblia, meaning "book." The Bible is more than a single book. It is a library--ta biblia, which means "the books." It consists of 66 books written by over 40 authors from all walks of life: Kings (David and Solomon), a political leader (Moses), a prime minister (Daniel), a Pharisee (Paul), a military general (Joshua), a shepherd (Amos), a tax collector (Matthew), a doctor (Luke), a cupbearer (Nehemiah), and fishermen (Peter, James and John)---a very unlikely group to author the most revered book on earth. It contains books of history, law, prophecy, poetry, proverbs, and songs. It was written over a span of 1500-1600 years in about 13 different countries on 3 different continents in at least 3 different languages. It was written under different situations: in a palace (Daniel, 540 B.C.); in a prison (Paul, A.D. 60); while traveling (Luke, A.D. 60); while fighting (Joshua, circa 1390 B.C.); in the wilderness (Moses, circa 1430 B.C.); in a dungeon (Jeremiah, 600 B.C.); during times of joy and despair (David, 1000 B.C. and Jeremiah); etc.

Adding complexity to the divine design of the Bible are the vastly different styles in which various books are written. Yet they miraculously tie together in theme, message and even many detailed cross-references. A God Who wants to communicate to all kinds of people in all kinds of situations would use all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. Writing styles are also designed to communicate in different ways.

References that were used for research for this article:
-"Is the Bible Really a Message from God?" by Ralph O. Muncaster
-All About Archaeology
-Daily Word of Life
-The Word website
-100 Banned Books: A Review
-Yahoo! Answers

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Would the Modern Preacher Have Done? (Paul Washer)

"I worked in a country for many, many years of my life, where everybody believed they were saved, because as infants they were baptized. They can commit every abomination and hellish form of device and thought, and yet they believe they're saved, because when they were infants they were baptized---and Baptists scoff at that---and I tell you, Baptists do the very same thing today. The only thing is, it's not infant baptism---it's repeating a prayer. Treating salvation like a flu shot."
-Paul Washer

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"God is all loving. He would never send me to Hell."

"God is not all loving. The Bible doesn't say he is 'all loving', It says that God is love. He's not a slave to love. The Bible sees that He's also just, holy and righteous. When people say that God is all-loving, they are implying that God is so loving that He wouldn't send people to Hell. Let me ask you a question. If a man sexually abused children, tortured them, cut their throats and said that he would do it again if he had half a chance, should a judge punish him? Of course he should. If the judge is a loving man, wouldn't he still punish that wicked person? Of course, and God will punish all wicked men, even though He is 'love.'

"My god would never send anyone to hell"

Do you realize that you are breaking the Second of the Ten Commandments by saying that? You have made a god to suit yourself. Your god would never send anyone to Hell, because he couldn't. He doesn't exist. He's a figment of your imagination. You have made a god you feel comfortable with. I did the same for many years before I became a Christian. You believe that because the god you have conceived in your mind has a low standard of morality. Did you know that the God of the Bible - the God you have to face on the Day of Judgment - commands you to be perfect? He is perfect, and He will judge you with a perfect Law that demands perfection."
(Also can be used to respond to "My God would never create hell", etc.)"


Monday, February 16, 2009

"God is unfair in that Hitler and a dear old lady (who never accepted Jesus) will both go to hell."

"Sinners often accuse God of being unjust, because they assume that everyone will receive the same punishment in hell. God's judgment, however, will be according to righteousness (Acts 17:31). This verse shows that there will be degrees of punishment. See Mark 6:11."


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Who made God?

" To one who examines the evidence, there can be no doubt that God exists. Every building has a builder. Everything made has a maker. The fact of the existence of the Creator is axiomatic (self evident). That's why the Bible says, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1). The professing atheist denies the common sense given to him by God, and defends his belief by thinking that the question "Who made God?" can't be answered. This, he thinks, gives him license to deny the existence of God. The question of who made God can be answered by simply looking at space and asking, "Does space have an end?" Obviously, it doesn't. If there is a brick wall with “The End” written on it, the question arises, "What is behind the brick wall?" Strain the mind though it may, we have to believe (have faith) that space has no beginning and no end. The same applies with God. He has no beginning and no end. He is eternal.

The Bible also informs us that time is a dimension that God created, into which man was subjected. It even tells us that one day time will no longer exist. That will be called “eternity.” God Himself dwells outside of the dimension He created (2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2). He dwells in eternity and is not subject to time. God spoke history before it came into being. He can move through time as a man flips through a history book. Because we live in the dimension of time, logic and reason demand that everything must have a beginning and an end. We can understand the concept of God's eternal nature the same way we understand the concept of space having no beginning and end - by faith. We simply have to believe they are so, even though such thoughts put a strain on our distinctly insufficient cerebrum."


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is God biased? Is it fair to save only some?


"Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, once said,

"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it" (Matthew 7:13, NASV).

If it is true that many more people on this planet will end up spiritually lost than saved, how can we realistically consider God fair?

If by “fair” we insist on meaning that God be absolutely equitable in how He relates to, or gifts, every individual, then we end up with what may amount to an impossible criteria for even an omnipotent God. No two individuals --not even clones-- could ever be given the exact same gifts and circumstances in life. But if by “fair” we mean decent, just, good, gracious, and objective—then yes, God is eminently fair to all men.

There is, of course, also a sense in which God, who alone knows and is able to factor in every nuance and detail of an individual's personality, awareness, background, abilities, life-circumstance, and potential response(s) to general revelation, may already have conceivably been fully equitable (if such could ever be known) in His relationship with men.
(Daryl E. Witmer)

But... if a man can't choose God until or unless God has first chosen him, and drawn him in grace to Himself (John 6:44), and if God does not draw all men equally, or offer the exact same opportunity to all men to be saved, then it would certainly seem that He is being partial.

"...who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, 'Why did you make me like this,' will it?" —Romans 9:20

"For there is no partiality with God" —Romans 2:11

"Partiality, in the sense that objectors commonly use the word, is impossible in the sphere of grace. It can exist only in the sphere of justice, where the persons concerned have certain claims and rights." —Loraine Boettner
(in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, © 1932 P&R Publishing)

"Damnation is rendered to the wicked as a matter of debt, justice and desert, whereas the grace given to those who are delivered is free and unmerited, so that the condemned sinner cannot allege that he is unworthy of his punishment, nor the saint vaunt or boast as if he were worthy of his reward. Thus, in the whole course of this procedure, there is no respect of persons." —Augustine

"If it be objected that God must give every man an opportunity to be saved, we reply that the outward call does give every man who hears it an opportunity to be saved. The message is: 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'" —Loraine Boettner
(in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, © 1932 P&R Publishing)

"A beggar who contemptuously rejects the five dollars offered by a benevolent man, cannot charge stinginess upon him because after this rejection of the five dollars he does not give him ten." —W.G.T. Shedd

"If it be asked, Why does God not bestow the same or equal blessing upon all people? we can only answer, that has not been fully revealed. We see that in actual life He does not treat all alike. For wise reasons known only to Himself He has given to some blessings to which they had no claim...and has withheld from others gifts which He was under no obligation to bestow." —Loraine Boettner
(in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, © 1932 P&R Publishing)

R.C. Sproul says, "We ask about being fair. I don't think God owes it to anyone who doesn't want Christ to give them the desire to want what they need. He doesn't owe that to anybody. The problem is that if God does it for some, why doesn't He do it for all? I can only say to you that I have no idea why He doesn't do it for all. But this I do know and ask you to think about carefully: Just because He does it for some in no way requires that He do it for everybody else--because grace is never required. God always reserves this prerogative 'I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.' It's not up to us to direct God's mercy." (R.C. Sproul in Now, That's a Good Question, © 1996 Tyndale). Emphasis added.

Dick Dowsett, a missionary with Overseas Missionary Fellowship, considers, "I find it hard when I think of my Libyan neighbors, knowing that there are virtually no known Libyan Christians today. We would be callous in the extreme if we did not long to find some way whereby some of them at least could be saved.

But the biblical way to achieve this is not to look for hints in Scripture to encourage our wishful thinking. Rather, it is by the loving and costly friendship and evangelism of committed Christians that Libyans will be won. We can hardly blame our forefathers for their deals with Islam if we do not seek to make amends by giving Muslims the chance to hear the Gospel when they come here." (God, That's Not Fair, by Dick Dowsett, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, formerly China Inland Mission. Reprinted April 1983. Excerpted from ch. 4.)

What about those who have never heard the gospel?

The traditional Christian position on this subject is that no one can or ever will be saved apart from Christ. Jesus Himself once made the following categorical statement: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." (John 14:6) Yet in the case of a native tribesman living deep in some remote African jungle who has never heard of Jesus Christ, what will God do--if He is, in fact, a just God?

Many theologians teach that "God will give eternal life to anyone who responds to His general revelation in nature and in conscience... [however this] doesn't mean that a person can be saved apart from Christ. It would be that the blood of Christ or the sacrifice of Christ was applied to that person even though he did not have any conscious knowledge of Christ." (as quoted from William Lane Craig in a debate held at Willow Creek Community Church, June 27, 1993). Romans chapters 1 and 2, referring to the general revelation of God in His creation, is often cited for this response. But this position can only be inferred--it is not explicitly stated anywhere in Scripture.

What actually happens to those who have not heard the gospel of Christ depends upon several factors.

1. It depends first of all (but not finally) on how they have responded to God's general revelation. In the case of those who have neglected or rejected such general revelation (no doubt the case with the vast majority of those who have never heard of Christ), they're lost, condemned for all eternity to a real hell. But note--they are not condemned for what they haven't heard. They are judged for what they have heard and rejected. In this sense, as R.C. Sproul rightly states, "there are no innocent people in the world."

2. In the case, however, of the one who has never heard of Christ, yet sincerely worships God as he knows Him, and lives consistently with moral law as he understands it, we do have some grounds (Acts 10 et al) to believe that God may be pleased to grant a further special revelation involving the Gospel of Christ Himself, which one would then, in turn, either accept or reject. Exactly how or when would God arrange for such a further revelation? Might I Peter 3:18-20 or 4:6 somehow correlate with Romans 2:16 here? The Scripture allows many such details to remain hidden, while being unequivocal about the fact that God will judge with perfect justice (Psalm 98:9). (Could this be what is happening on a widespread basis in the Muslim world today?)

Does all this detail somehow seem trivial to you? Be certain that it is not! In fact, this subject in all of its related subtlety is absolutely critical. Among other things, for instance, correct Biblical exegesis on this subject provides an unequaled incentive for the continued Christian mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. As Romans 10:14 says,

"How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Will all mankind eventually be saved?


"Most everyone has a vague hope and trust that things will eventually turn out all right and that he will sooner or later get to heaven. Few and far between are the funeral services at which the preacher dares to suggest that the deceased may have departed in the other direction!

Nevertheless, people need to be aware that the Lord Jesus Christ clearly warned that it is easy to end up in hell.

"Enter ye in at the strait gate," He said, "for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13, 14).

This same Lord Jesus, who spoke so often and so fervently of God's love, and who Himself perfectly manifested the love of God, was at the same time the one who spoke more often of hell than did anyone else in the Bible. He warned, for example, that the time would come when He would have to say to many people:

"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).

The doctrine of the “remnant” is found through all Scripture. In every age there has been only a small number of people who were approved of God. In the days before the great Flood, Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” for many years, but won no converts except his own family. The Bible says that "few, that is eight souls were saved" (I Peter 3:20) and that, for the other, "God spared not the old world,… bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly" (II Peter 2:5). Jesus Christ said: "The flood came and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:27).

The days of the early patriarchs were similar.

"They all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13).

The Jews, alone among the nations, were then called and prepared as God's chosen people. To them, God said:

"The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people" (Deuteronomy 7:6, 7).

But even among the Jews there were only a few who really cared for God.

"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name" (Malachi 3:16).

This condition was not significantly changed by the coming of Christ. As far as the Jews were concerned, some, of course, believed on Him as Messiah and Savior, but the nation as a whole rejected Him. The Jewish “remnant” was to be recognized thereafter by their acceptance of Jesus as their long-awaited Redeemer. Paul said:

"God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew… Even so then at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:2, 5).

Beginning from Jerusalem, the gospel of Christ was commanded by Him to be preached to all nations. But there was never a promise that all who heard the good news would believe it and turn to Christ. To the contrary, Paul warned in his final letter that "all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:12).

The very meaning of the word "church" (Greek: ekklesia, meaning "those who are called out") indicates that the true Christian church would always be composed of a relatively small group of believers called out of the masses of humanity to be “separated unto God.” Emphasizing this, the Lord Jesus promised:

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

Therefore, when Christian preachers and evangelists preach that most people are lost and warn them to "flee from the wrath to come," it is not because they are unloving and self-righteous, but rather because they could not be truly Christian and do otherwise. They simply believe the words of Christ and try to obey His command.

Once, indeed, someone asked Jesus the direct question:

"Lord, are there few that be saved?" (Luke 13:23).

He answered simply:

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and not be able."

Now the remarkable thing about all this is that, although most people will die without ever being saved, any person can be saved simply by believing on Christ as his Lord and Savior! The “narrow way” which leads to eternal life is Christ Himself. Jesus said,

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

Christ died on the cross to atone for all our sins and rose again to assure our full forgiveness and justification before God. Now, anyone who really desires to be saved can receive this great salvation merely by trusting in the Lord Jesus as his personal Savior. He says:

"And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 2:17).

But to the great numbers of people who will die in their sins, He says:

"Ye will not come to me that ye might have life" (John 5:40)."

Author: Henry Morris and Martin Clark. Excerpt from The Bible Has the Answer, published by Master Books, 1987.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


"Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by [Or 'for;' or 'in'] Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

The sin and doom of Godless men
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about [Or, 'men who were marked out for condemnation'] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord [Some early manuscripts, 'Jesus'] delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

A call to persevere
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting nowhere mighty fast

In today's society, we spend time watching TV, watching movies, reading and replying to e-mail, going on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace, running errands, driving here or there...and, for those who attend church, we may sing in the choir, or be on the church council, or serve as an usher...

Much activity. A lot of motion. But is there spiritual progress?
Like a rocking horse, are you moving constantly, but not really making any progress, sometimes even sliding backwards? Real Christian growth is not achieved by much activity. Christian growth can be achieved when we face trials, tribulation and persecution. But spiritual growth will not happen unless we spend much time in the two basic foundations that are necessary for real Christian growth: intimate, quality time spent reading and studying God's Word; and quality time spent in sincere, heartfelt prayer to Yahweh God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Time spent in praising God is also important, and we get our spiritual exercise by witnessing to others and telling them the good news, that they can only be saved from Hell if they surrender their lives to Jesus Christ. But the foundation is Bible reading/study and prayer.

Don't be like a rocking horse, with much activity but no real progress.
Spend time in God's Word and in prayer today.

I drew the rocking horse above in Adobe Illustrator.

(The basic idea for this article was inspired by Rocking Horse Christians)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bargaining with God...and...'Porn Again' for God

Bargaining with God

"Little Johnnie desperately wanted a bright red wagon for Christmas.

His friends were writing letters to Santa Claus, but Johnnie decided to go one better.

"Dear Jesus," he wrote, "If I get a red wagon for Christmas, I won't fight with my brother Hank for a year." Then Johnnie thought, "Oh, no, Hank is such a brat, I could never, ever keep that promise." So Johnnie threw away the letter and started again.

"Dear Jesus, if I get a red wagon for Christmas, I will eat all my vegetables for a year." Then Johnnie thought, "Oh, no, that means spinach, broccoli and asparagus. Yuck! I could never ever keep that promise."

Suddenly, Johnnie had an idea. He went downstairs to the living room. From the mantel above the fireplace, he grabbed the family's statue of the Virgin Mary. Taking the statue to the kitchen, he wrapped it in newspapers and stuffed it into a grocery bag. He took the bag upstairs to his room, opened the closet and placed the package in the farthest, darkest corner.

He then closed the closet door, took a new sheet of paper and wrote, "Dear Jesus, if you ever want to see your mother again..."
(from: Christian Jokes)

I drew the above 'little red wagon' in Adobe Illustrator

'Porn again' for kingdom of God
Ex-stripper starts Christian ministry to help people tied to sex industry
from WorldNetDaily

"A former stripper is taking off all pretense when it comes to the Word of God, as she's on a mission designed to bring porn stars, nude dancers, and people addicted to pornography closer to salvation.

"We pattern our ministry after the very ministry of Jesus by actually going to the people who need him," says Heather Veitch, who performed in Las Vegas and California. "Our desire is for people to see that Christianity is anything but boring and restrictive. In Christ, we are free to experience adventure, pleasure, forgiveness, hope and peace."

The 31-year old full-time hairdresser has created a sparkling website called JC's GirlsGirlsGirls which has had 40,000 hits in three months. The concept was launched this summer in the wake of the alcoholism death of a friend and co-worker from a strip club in Colton, Calif. So far, it has helped several nude dancers to start attending church.

A Christian for the past five years, Veitch also cares for her terminally ill husband and her two children, ages four and 13.

"As a successful Vegas stripper, I lived life to the extreme," says Veitch. "I partied with celebrities, traveled, and found pleasure in the lifestyle that stripping provided. However, deep down inside I was terrified to die. Feeling like I would eventually pay the price for the life I lived, I began 'bargaining' with God."

"The pleasure, excitement, attention and love I get from living my life in the way God planned is far better than the unfulfilling and regretful life I lived before asking Jesus into my heart," she adds.

Also part of the JC's Girls team are Lori Albee and Tanya Huerter, married teachers who grew up in Christian homes, and appear in glamour-gal shots on the website.

"They remind me of 'Charlie's Angels,' but they are for real!" says documentary filmmaker Bill Daly in an on-site testimonial. "They're fighting false glamour with real spiritual beauty."

The gals also run a blog on site, providing the public with the latest information.

An entry from Heather dated Dec. 1 reads: "Lori, Tanya, and I are learning all about porn conventions. There is so much crazy stuff that you need that we would have never thought of ... like carpet."


Monday, February 9, 2009

The origin of the candy cane

OK, I know it's not Christmas. But sometimes at work, I have drawn things that never got published. Like back in December, I drew several toys and other Christmas-related items, and they never got published. So, I thought to myself, "What can I use them for? I mean, after all, I did spend time drawing them, so I might as well use them for something." And, since I have recently been having a hard time coming up with blog articles (when I first started this blog, I would have material lined up for months in advance, but now, it's getting harder to come up with stuff), I thought, 'Why not try to use some of the graphics I drew in some blog articles?' I remembered that, during Christmastime, there are e-mails that go around that tell the origin of the candy cane, and, since I drew a candy cane a couple months ago, I figured I would use that as a start. So, here we go. The below article is from

Raising Cane
The origins of the candy cane.
Elesha Coffman | posted 8/08/2008 12:33PM

"Lately we've been getting a lot of e-mails inquiring about the origins of various Christmas customs. We'll take a look at some of these legends, starting with the candy cane.

From searching the Web on "candy cane story," I learned that the confection's conception is a very hot topic among Christians. On countless homepages, as well as in several gift books, every facet of the cane's construction was attributed spiritual significance.

According to most of these sources, a faithful Indiana candymaker developed the treat as a witnessing tool. The candy is hard because God's church is founded on the rock, white because of Jesus's purity (or his virgin birth), peppermint flavored as a reference to cleansing hyssop, and curved to represent a shepherd's staff and/or the letter "J" for Jesus. Accounts vary regarding the red stripes, though they all agree that red stands for Christ's blood. Depending on which story you read, three small stripes might represent the Trinity, or small stripes could mean the stripes by which we're healed, or our small sacrifices in comparison to Christ's ultimate sacrifice (represented by a large stripe). One site even suggested that the green stripe sometimes featured reminds us that Jesus is a gift from God, though why green signifies a gift I don't know.

The motivation for candy cane apologetics can be seen in a quote from one of the sites: "Doesn't it seem strange that something we often see as unimportant and insignificant can be turned into something so vibrant, so important, simply by knowing its origin?" Of course, the same site proclaims that candy canes were originally a code between English Christians in the seventeenth century, when all public religious symbols were banned. That's simply not true, and neither are most of the other stories.

So where did candy canes come from? Tradition holds that in about 1670, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral was frustrated by fidgety kids at the living Nativity. He had some white, sugar-candy sticks made to keep the youngsters quiet. The sticks were curved like shepherds' staffs in honor of the shepherds at the stable (score one for the apologists). The idea caught on, and candy sticks became common at living Nativities all over Europe.

In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard put candy canes on his Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio. The sweets gained popularity here, too, and around the turn of the century, they assumed their now familiar properties of red stripes and peppermint flavoring. (Though these elements might have been added for symbolic purposes, there's no evidence to confirm that theory.)

In Albany, Georgia, in the 1920s, a candymaker named Bob McCormack made canes as special treats for family and friends, but the confections were difficult to mass-produce. Then, in the 1950s, Bob's brother-in-law Gregory Keller, a Catholic priest, invented a machine to speed up the process. Other members of the McCormack family worked on new packaging to keep the canes from breaking in transit, and Bob's Candies ( became the world's leading candy cane producer.

So yes, the candy cane's origin was Christian. But it was almost certainly not designed to be the tasty theological treatise it's now purported to be. As Barbara "the cane mutiny" Mikkelson posted on the Urban Legends Reference Pages (, "It's charming folklore at best, and though there's nothing wrong with Christians now finding (and celebrating) symbolism where there wasn't any before, there is something wrong with myths being presented as fact." For the sake of history, I have to agree with her."

I drew this candy cane in Adobe Illustrator.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Prayer Is a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom

By John Piper and Tom Steller

"In wartime, prayer takes on a different significance. It becomes a wartime walkie-talkie and no longer a domestic intercom. Jesus said to his disciples, "You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, in order that whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he may give to you” (John 15:16).

Notice the amazing logic of this verse. He gave them a mission “in order that” the Father would have prayers to answer. This means that prayer is for mission. It is designed to advance the kingdom. That’s why the Lord’s Prayer begins by asking God to see to it that his name be hallowed and that his kingdom come.

James warned about the misuse of prayer as a domestic intercom to call the butler for another pillow. He said, “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3).

Prayer is always kingdom oriented. Even when we pray for healing and for help, it is that that the kingdom purposes of God in the world may advance. Otherwise we have turned a wartime walkie-talkie into a domestic intercom.

Let us pray with the apostle Paul, “that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified” (2 Thessalonians 3:1)."

This article is from the Desiring God Resource Library, "Driving Convictions Behind Foreign Missions," January 1, 1996, By John Piper and Tom Steller

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The 100-year-long prayer meeting

Nicholas Ludwig, aka Count Zinzendorf, was born in Dresden in 1700. He was a part of the Pietist movement in Germany, which emphasized personal piety and an emotional component to religious life. This was in contrast to the state Lutheran Church of the day, which had grown to symbolize a largely intellectual faith centered on belief in specific doctrines. He believed in "heart religion," a personal salvation built on the individual's spiritual relationship with Christ.

As a teenager at Halle Academy, Zinzendorf and several other young nobles formed a secret society called "The Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed." The stated purpose of this order was that the members would use their position and influence to spread the Gospel. As an adult, Zinzendorf later reactivated this adolescent society, and many influential leaders of Europe ended up joining the group. A few included the King of Denmark, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Archbishop of Paris.

In 1722, he was approached by a group of Moravians to request permission to live on his lands. He granted their request, and a small band crossed the border from Moravia to settle in a town they called Herrnhut, or "the Lord's Watch." By the beginning of 1727 the community of about three hundred people was wracked by dissension and bickering. His tenants went through a period of serious division, and it was then in 1727 that Zinzendorf left public life to spend all his time at his Berthelsdorf estate working with the troubled Moravians. Largely due to his leadership in daily Bible studies, the group came to formulate a unique document, known as the "Brotherly Agreement," which set forth basic tenets of Christian behavior. Residents of Herrnhut were required to sign a pledge to abide by these Biblical principals. In addition, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf and others covenanted to prayer and labor for revival. On May 12 revival came. Christians were aglow with new life and power, dissension vanished and unbelievers were converted. This experience began the Moravian renewal, and led to the beginning of the Protestant World Mission movement.

The Moravian Community of Herrnhut in Saxony, in 1727, commenced a round-the-clock “prayer watch” that continued non-stop for over a hundred years. By 1791, 65 years after commencement of that prayer vigil, the small Moravian community had sent 300 missionaries to the ends of the earth.

In 1731, while attending the coronation of Christian VI in Copenhagen, the young Count met a converted slave from the West Indies, Anthony Ulrich. Anthony's tale of his people's plight moved Zinzendorf, who brought him back to Herrnhut. As a result, two young men, Leonard Dober and David Nitchmann, were sent to St. Thomas to live among the slaves and preach the Gospel. This was the first organized Protestant mission work, and grew rapidly to Africa, America, Russia, and other parts of the world. By the end of Zinzendorf's life there were active missions from Greenland to South Africa, literally from one end of the earth to the other. Though the Baptist missionary William Carey is often refered to as the "Father of Modern Missions," he himself would credit Zinzendorf with that role, for he often refered to the model of the earlier Moravians in his journal.

His overwhelming interest in the colonies involved evangelising the native Americans, and he travelled into the wilderness with Indian agent Conrad Weiser to meet with the chieftains of several tribes and clans. As far as we have been able to identify, he is the only European noble to have gone out to meet the native American leaders in this manner.

There are numerous churches in Pennsylvania where Moravians would start a church and school for the settlers and native Americans, and then turn it over to the Lutheran Church, the Reformed Church, or whatever denomination they perceived to be the strongest in that area.

Both John and Charles Wesley had been converted through their contact with the Moravians.

I call this "The Cross Signal," or, "A call for help." I took a photo from "The Dark Knight," and, in Photoshop, changed the bat to a cross, and replaced Aaron Eckhart/Harvey Dent/Two-Face/Gotham's white knight with a photo of myself, adding lighting and a photo filter effect.

OK, since a question was asked about my photo, here is my driver's license photo from a little over 3 years ago, untouched. All I did was scan it in at 300 dpi, crop it, rotate it, and increased the size proportionally to 2 inches width (which decreased the resolution). The white areas are from the plastic covering, which I intentionally did not remove. My color profile photo (which you can see on the right side of my blog page) is the same photo, except I added a mustache with Photoshop. But this photo here is how it originally looked.


"If you wish to know God, you must know his Word.
If you wish to perceive His power,
you must see how He works by his Word.
If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass,
you can only discover it by His Word."
(C.H. Spurgeon)

"I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him.
I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me."
(Hudson Taylor)

"The most important thing in your Christian life
is fellowship with God."
(Peter S. Ruckman)

"To educate a man in mind and not in morals
is to educate a menace to society."
(Theodore Roosevelt)

"Nothing but Christianity will give you the victory.
Until a man believes in his heart
that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Master...
his course through life will be neither safe nor pleasant.
My only regret is that I was so long blinded by my pleasures,
my vices and pursuits, and the examples of others
that I was kept from seeing, admiring,
and adoring the marvelous light of the gospel."
(Francis Scott Key, author of the words of our national anthem)

The above edited information was gathered from the following websites: