Today is the day!

I got up early this morning to get ready for my wife and I to return home from Virginia after bringing our oldest son up to Liberty for his freshman year.  I was playing around on the computer when I thought about it being a while since I have put anything on my blog.  To my surprise I logged on to find out the last entry was the trip to Liberty for CFAW.  It is amazing to think back since that blog and realize the blessings, love, and mercy of God on our lives.  I am looking forward to great things from him and know that God has a plan for his life.  Today will be hard as we leave him behind with his new life but I am excited about his future and his willingness to follow the Lord!

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Life Changes

This week I am taking a break and taking our oldest son up to Liberty University for College for a Weekend, or “CFAW” as they like to call it.  We drove up from South Georgia, leaving at 3am and arriving about 12 hours later due to a 2 hour hold up in Atlanta for a traffic accident.  Even with the bad traffic, I realized that it was a special day- just my oldest son and I in a car for hours.  We enjoyed talking about different things, laughed, and even shared a little road rage together LOL.  It was something that I will always have as a memory and remember warmly for years to come.  No computers, internet, etc. to bother us- just an open road (most of the time) and conversation.  Nothing ground shaking happened- we didn’t solve the world’s problems, he didn’t have a miraculous decision on a major, I didn’t learn patience while driving- we just enjoyed being together as Father and Son.  We arrived and went through check-in and I helped carry his things to his dorm room he will be sharing for the weekend with some current Liberty students.  Up to this time, it had not really settled in that this is a dress rehearsal for a few months down the road when I will do this for real.  My wife and I will drive our son to college- not for a weekend- but for a new chapter in life in which we will continue as a divided family.  He will stay and pursue the calling God has put on his life and we will return to our home to continue to raise the other 2 sons that God has put in our care and trust.  It’s exciting, it’s stressful, it’s scary, it’s sad- it’s life.  As I walked away and left him yesterday I realized he is becoming the young Godly man that we have prayed for all our lives.  I left a man desiring to get a glimpse of his future in a few months, Lord willing.  A man that desires to follow God and know His will.  A man that is more interested in the facts of God’s Word and promises than the fallacy of the world.  I am a proud father- and I give all glory and honor to Jesus Christ who hold us all in His hand.  Sunday I will pick him up and we will begin our trip back home after spending the night with our friends.  I don’t know what the future holds for my son, but I do know my heavenly Father does and He is in charge of it.  What a relief it is to know all of this is out of our hands.  All I have to do is look forward to the days ahead and the drive home.

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*We live in a world of rebellion today.




-Anti-authority (parents, school, work, etc.)

*Rebellion is glamorized in Hollywood, music, etc.

*Why is it so easy do disobey? How do you feel when you act in disobedience?

-The Bible speaks of there being “pleasure in sin for a season”

-It makes you dull to the things of God.

-When realized it makes you very depressed and defeated.

*Today, let’s look at Obedience and how it affects our Christian Walk.

I. Obedience defined

a. What do you consider to be “obedience”?

i. Following orders from parents, employers, spouses, etc.?

ii. Abiding by laws of our nation and government?

iii. What about doing what God says to do?????

b. “Obedience is doing what those in authority request or want. It is the opposite of ‘doing your own thing’. True obedience involves doing what an authority wants immediately, respectfully, joyfully, and completely. Obedience requires the submission of the will of the individual to those in charge. True obedience ultimately stems from submission to God.” John Stormer

II. What is God’s attitude regarding obedience?

a. Obedience is better than sacrifice. I Samuel 15:22

b. David was a very obedient person and is described by God as “a man after mine own heart.” Acts 13:22

c. Obedience is one of the most important words in Scripture!

III. What is God’s attitude regarding disobedience?

a. Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft. 1 Samuel 15:23

b. Mosaic law required stoning to death for rebellion! Deuteronomy 21:18-21

c. God takes disobedience very seriously.

IV. The source of true obedience.

a. Jesus says: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15

b. “If a man loves me, he will keep my words.” John 14:23

c. God’s commandments are not grievous. I John 5:3

d. “We love him, because he first loved us.” I John 4:19

V. Promises and blessings related to obedience:

a. I John 3:22 “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

b. If we live in disobedience, we do not love Jesus as we should, and therefore our prayers can be hindered.

c. John 15:10 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

d. When we are obedient, we live in the love of Christ. What a blessing!

e. Matthew 6:31-33 promises that when we put God first and follow in obedience there will be three things that are taken care of: food, water, clothing.

f. John 15:14 says that obedience makes us a friend of Christ! “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

g. When we obey God’s Word, the love of God is perfected in our lives according to I John 2:5 “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

h. James 1:22 says that if we hear only and do nothing, we deceive ourselves!

i. Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus compares an obedient life to that of a wise man.

VI. The attitude in Obedience

a. We must remember that it is AGAINST human sinful nature to obey.

b. Only through training in God’s Word and the Spirit’s work do we become better at it. So- we MUST have the right attitude!

c. Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” It needs to be a DELIGHT for us to obey God!

d. A common saying is “Obedience is doing what you are told, when you are told, and with a right attitude”.

e. Deuteronomy 26:16 says that we are to obey with our whole heart and soul.

i. Not like when parents asked us to take out the trash or clean our room when we were young!

ii. When we obey with actions and rebel with our heart that is not obedience.

f. Joshua 1:7 requires us to be strong and very courageous.

i. There are times it is very tough to be obedient to God and His Word from a worldly, human standpoint.

ii. Who wants to be shot, tortured, or martyred for simply having a Bible and trying to learn and follow God’s Word?

iii. How would our practices RIGHT NOW in regards to prayer, devotion, witnessing, etc. change if we had persecuti0n and torture right here in our own city?

1. Are we doing enough to even get caught?

2. Could they tell us apart from any other person?

3. Example: showing kindness to strangers, praying publicly before meals, handing out gospel tracts, participating in Lifechain, etc.?

g. We should obey quickly and not delay! David said in Psalms 119:60 ” I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.”

h. Luke 5:4-7 is the story of the disciples and fishing. They are commanded to let down their nets on the other side even though they had caught nothing to this point.

i. Sometimes- it will seem useless to follow God’s commandments from a human standpoint!

ii. When God’s Word contradicts our own judgment- FOLLOW GOD!

i. Matthew 21:28-31 is the story of the two sons working in the vineyard. One repented and went after saying NO, the other said YES but never went.

i. Good intentions alone are NOT sufficient for obedience!

ii. Remember it requires both our heart and soul.

VII. What are some areas of God-directed obedience?

a. There is a God-given chain of authority that has nothing to do with equality, value, or worth!

i. God the Father-God the Son-Husband-Wife-Children

ii. The Lord Jesus was an obedient son!

1. Obedient to the Father’s will. John 6:38,39

2. Obedient unto death. John 10:30

3. Obedient to earthly parents. Luke 2:51

4. All the while NOT in any way being unequal with God the Father! John 10:30 “I and my Father are one”

b. Five areas of Authority requiring Christian Obedience:

i. Marriage. The wife is to submit to the Husband. Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; I Peter 3:1-6.

ii. Home. Children are to obey their Parents. Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20

iii. Work. Servants are to be obedient to their masters. Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:22.

iv. Society. Every citizen is to be subject to higher powers. Romans 13:1-7

v. Church. Every member is to submit to those that have the rule over them. Hebrews 13:7,17

vi. We are to obey in these areas with the same attitude as we would obey God! YET- aren’t these the biggest areas of REBELLION today?

1. Husbands don’t follow God – wives don’t follow husbands – children don’t follow parents.

2. Militant unions; anarchists; terrorists.

3. Church splits, church bosses, members who resist authority.

VIII. What about MY obedience?

a. What is my responsibility to authority?

i. Romans 13:1-7 says that I am to fear, give tribute, follow custom, and honor offices of government.

ii. Hebrews 13:7-17 says that I am to obey and submit to Pastoral authority.

iii. I Peter 2 talks about submitting to Kings, Governors, etc. Honor all men, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king, servants being subject to masters, etc.

iv. The golden rule for understanding spiritual things is not intellect, but obedience!

1. John 7:17 “if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine”

2. We disobey and wonder why we don’t grow spiritually.

b. What do we need to work on today?

i. Obedience to God’s Word in our daily life? (What we say, how we act)

ii. Obedience within the framework of marriage and home?

iii. Obedience within framework of Church? Government? Work

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The Christian Bucket List

This week’s lesson is a simple question for every Christian- What are some things we need to get done here on earth before we meet our Saviour?


Recent movies, books, discussions have focused on a “bucket list” for your life- things you want to get done or experience before you die.

 It is not a bad idea- BUT- is there a more important “bucket list”? An ULTIMATE “bucket list”?

 There is a list of things that every believer should want to accomplish before they meet their Savior!

 Today we will talk about a few- there are probably many more!

 What would you put on your Spiritual “bucket list”?

 Remember- Salvation is the MOST important decision in life! Today we are speaking about things for the believer- those who already know the Lord, have been baptized, and are members of a Bible teaching Local New Testament Church.


1. Have a consistent clean account with the Lord

a. We live our lives in such a way that we immediately confess sin when the Spirit brings it to our attention.

b. Spurgeon said: “keep short accounts with God”.

c. This first item envelopes our entire Christian walk as a whole- to have lived a Godly life as much as is in us!

d. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

2. Complete God’s will for your life

a. We all have a plan for our lives written by an almighty God!

b. What do you feel the Lord calling you to do?

c. Have you made taking steps to fulfill His will for your life a PRIORITY?

d. It’s never too late to start.

e. Matthew 20- workers in the vineyard- started different times but all received same reward.

3. Read God’s Word through in its entirety!

a. This is NOT a race to say you did it in a certain amount of time.

b. Quality time reading and meditating on God’s Word from start to finish.

c. Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

d. Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

e. God’s Word can keep us out of TROUBLE! We must know what it says for it to help us!

4. Have a CONSISTENT personal Prayer and Devotion time every day.

a. The hustle and bustle of life can make this very hard.

b. We must find time to spend with God every day.

c. As the old saying goes- if we are too busy to spend time with God then we are too busy!

d. Make a priority of spending daily time- get up early, stay up late, lunch breaks, driving, whatever it takes to get into a deeper relationship with the Lord.

e. George Mueller- Evangelist, Missionary, worked with Orphans. Read his Bible through over 200 times and half of those were on his knees! He documented over 50,000 specific answers to prayer that were made to God alone and no one else!

5. Actively take a role in your Church- take responsibility and do something!

a. There are SO MANY things that need to be done within a church fellowship! Have you ever helped?

b. It involves your time! But it is so worth the reward.

c. Nursery, Vacation Bible School, Teach a class, Help with a Bible Study, S.O.W. ministry, choir, special music, greeters, ushers, etc.

d. Pray about and commit to a few things that you can do very well. You can’t do it all!

6. Lead someone to Christ

a. Most times, this involves having to pour into someone’s life- getting to know them and developing a trust to share the Gospel.

b. Sometimes it can be a spontaneous moment that the Spirit lays on your heart to immediately approach and present someone with the Gospel.

c. In any case- are YOU willing to step out in Faith to do this?

d. Remember we have a command to share the Good News.

e. Start by giving out tracts, leave for waitress, gas pumps, store clerks, etc.

f. Look for ways to develop deeper friendships with neighbors, co-workers, etc.

7. See your entire immediate family come to Christ.

a. Every one of us should desire to see our kids, spouses, parents, siblings come to know Christ before they or we come before the Lord!

b. What active steps are we taking to help proclaim God’s love and redemption to them?

c. Our kids- are we taking every chance we get to reinforce God’s PERSONAL offer of salvation that they must decide for themselves? Start when they are born praying for them to know Christ early in their life!

d. Claim God’s Word- pray for salvation for the souls of your family.

e. Reminder- don’t do, say, or live in a way that detracts from the Holy Spirit working in their life!

f. Live a testimony that shows them an authentic, changed, joyful, and peaceful person!

8. Suffer for Christ

a. This comes in many different ways.

b. Be willing to suffer shame, mocking, berating for a stand we take for Christ and His Word.

c. Is there ever a time that we have given up something great that would have been ours yet it violated Scripture OR we were led by the Spirit to not accept and we refused?

d. Sometimes it involves getting out of our comfort zone- taking a BOLD stand! (Life Chain)

e. 2 Titus 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

9. Be a CONSISTENT tither to the Lord’s work

a. How many unnecessary bills have been paid with God’s money? (remember it’s ALL God’s!!!)

b. How many vacations, boats, cars, jewelry, guns, etc. have been purchased with money that should have been tithed to the Lord?

c. There is no justification for not tithing! There is NOTHING we can use as an excuse.

d. It’s stealing from the God who allows us to have everything we do right now!

e. Are we so UNTHANKFUL and UNGRATEFUL and UNTRUSTING that we can’t trust God to supply our needs if we give Him the small amount He asks?

f. Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

g. My family has seen this over and over and over again. God is true to His word.

10. Personally get involved with Missions

a. Participate in a short or long term mission if at all possible. (even if it is after we retire!)

b. Consider taking a vacation to serve if possible!

c. There are local and long distance missions- find something that you can do.

d. Don’t forget children’s homes, homeless shelters, soup kitchens- they all have hurting people!

e. Write letters, pray, call, email, encourage our missionaries.

f. Take time to get to know them personally.

g. Stop by and read the bulletin board each month – so you know how to pray.

h. Take note of the missionary spot light- use that as a weekly prayer tool.

i. Don’t forget our missions table in the back of the sanctuary!

j. Financially take a part in supporting Missions.

k. Take the PRIVILEGE of feeding or hosting a missionary when in town!

l. I have some project ideas for 2016 for our class! Stay tuned!

11. Be Physically, Mentally, and Financially Healthy- these SUPPORT a good testimony to the world!

a. We know it’s the temple of the Lord- we should do more to take care of it.

b. 1 Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having provise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

c. Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

d. I think there is balance between these two verses.

e. There are so many benefits to healthy living- we should take time to do our best to make wise decisions in our nutrition and exercise.

f. Mentally we should desire to be healthy, not stressed, panicked, etc.

g. Remember to cast our care upon the Lord- trust in Him for direction.

h. A personal goal of us all should to NOT leave debt for our kids.

i. We should also desire to live debt free in order to better support God’s Work.

j. We should have an emergency financial plan. More to come next year on that.

k. Be a faithful steward.

l. Set goals and PRAY and DO! We have to do our part if we trust God to do His.

12. See MIGHTY answer to prayer!

a. We are talking MIRACLES here!

b. We should have great answers to prayer that have no explanation other than “God did”!

c. Look for ways to pray in faith for God to show His mighty Hand so that we can give Him the glory and honor!

d. Use our triumphs as testimony to an almighty God.

e. I am cancer free today! That is a wonderful testimony to a God that answers prayer!

f. Daniel 11:32 “…ut the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”

g. Matthew 19:26 “…ith men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

h. Psalm 81:10 “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

i. Keepiing a journal/prayer journal is a great way to remember what God has done for you when you are going through tough times.

13. Practice Sacrificial giving

a. Look to the Lord’s guidance on this and be willing to obey.

b. Important to be honest to your debts and not use bill money for something UNLESS you have clear leading from the Lord to do so. (A bad testimony to never pay bills but be seen putting extra money into church and other needs)

c. Reminder that if you aren’t tithing, then this really doesn’t apply to you because you need to honor God with that first!

d. Have you ever given up vacation, rainy day money, etc. to fill a need God placed on your heart?

e. The poor seems to be better at this than we are- they will share food when they don’t have it, money when they don’t have it, etc.

f. If you really want it to be sacrificial- there may be times when it is ANONYMOUS.

g. Remember whatever we do- do it with JOY!

14. Establish a Legacy

a. What heritage are we leaving our children? Grandchildren? Greatgrandchildren?

b. Proverbs 22:28 “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

c. Will it be said of us- He/She followed Christ? He/She was faithful?

d. Will our church family miss us when we are gone? Will there be a hole to fill?

e. Be a compassionate and dependable Friend

i. Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

ii. Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

iii. Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…

iv. Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

f. Be a stellar spouse

i. Song of Solomon 4:10-11 “How fair is thy love…my spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips…rop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.”

ii. WOW! The spouse has great love, smells good, is affectionate, has kind words, and has clean clothes!

iii. Are we guilty of trying to look good for everyone else but our spouse? Do they get 2nd best because we are so tired of having to impress everyone else?

iv. Proverbs 18:22 “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.”

v. Proverbs 19:14 “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.”

vi. Proverbs 12:4 “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

vii. Proverbs 31 woman! Prov 31:11 “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…

viii. Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

g. Be a wise parent

i. This only comes through being grounded in God’s Word and raising kids God’s way.

ii. Proverbs 5:7 “Here me now therefore, o ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.”

iii. Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.”

h. Be a responsible child

i. Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” There is no age limit mentioned here!

ii. Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” Again… No age limit mentioned here!

iii. I Timothy 5:4 “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to REQUITE their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.”

iv. We should care for our parents- no matter what they have done to us, no matter what we have to sacrifice- it is our duty to the very best of our ability to see they are cared for.

The Christian’s Bucket List…

???What else would you put on your list?

???What things do you need to work on?

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Knowing God’s Will For Your Life- Part 2

This week, we look again at how to know God’s will for your life.  There are boundless resources on the internet, in commentaries, and above all IN GOD’S WORD on this subject!  I have studied several discussions, lessons, sermons, etc. and what follows is the culmination and summary of the “golden apples” from all the orchards of study helps!  I hope you find something to help you on your walk with the Lord.

Psalm 37:23


A. God’s written will is already recorded in Black and White for us!

a. This is the best place for any Christian to start looking for God’s will for their life!

b. If we are unwilling to follow God’s general, recorded will- He will NOT make known His specific will to us.

c. God’s will can be in Positive AND Negative commands!

i. Negative: 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…”; “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together…”; “Be not drunk with wine…”

ii. Positive: “Go ye into all the world…”; “Pray without ceasing…”; “Be filled with the spirit”

B. God has already outlined 6 clear traits for each and every life. We need to make sure that we are meeting all 6 of these attributes in our life in order to have a clearer picture of God’s specific unspoken will for our life!


i. 2 Peter 3:9 God “is not willing that any should perish…”

ii. If you aren’t a believer- a child of God- you are not even able to have a relationship or fellowship with Him so you could NEVER know the will of God for your life.


i. 1 Thess 4:3 “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…”

ii. We are to be set apart and be Holy for God.

iii. We are to be holy in actions, word, dress, attitude, etc.

iv. If we are not trying to live and represent Christ, then it will be hard to know and discern God’s will for your life.


i. 1 Peter 2:13-15 “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…for so is the will of God…”

ii. We honor God by honoring the authority He has ordained.

iii. We should have a servant’s heart!

1. Husband/Wife relationship

2. Parent/Child relationship

3. Employer/Employee relationship

4. Pastor/Church member relationship


i. Ephesians 5:17 “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

ii. We need the filling of the Spirit in our lives to know God’s will.

iii. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit and better able to be controlled to make the right decisions as related to God’s will for our lives.


i. 2 Timothy 3:12 All who will live godly will suffer persecution.

ii. If we aren’t ever in a position where we suffer for Christ, then we need to check our Spiritual walk! As mentioned by the Pastor- you have to give up/forfeit things here on earth to serve Christ the way He intends!


i. I Thessalonians 5:18 “…in EVERYTHING give thanks…”

ii. God wants us to have a GRATEFUL spirit!

iii. Being thankful for all of God’s blessings will affect every area of our life.

iv. Thank Him in the valleys and on the mountain tops!


*After we have committed to doing the written will of God found in His Word- then we can focus

on God’s unwritten will for our life!

A. Prerequisites for Guidance

a. We must be obedient to God’s written will found in His Word. If we won’t follow His written commandments, why should He reveal anything new to us?

b. We must be willing to DO God’s will before He ever shows it to us!

i. It’s not a “let me see and I’ll decide” kind of thing.

ii. Saul in Acts 9:6 said “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?”

iii. We need that kind of submission to God and His will for our lives.

iv. God’s will is not a menu that we pick from to add to our own personal plans.

v. John 10:10 “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”

vi. We should want all the great things God has planned for us!

B. 7 Signposts that we can follow in discovering God’s specific will

a. Signpost #1 The Word of God

i. Psalm 119:105 The Word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light unto our path.

ii. God will never lead us contrary to what His Word says.

b. Signpost #2 Prayer

i. James 1:5 states that if we lack wisdom, we are to ask of God and he will give it to us.

ii. Many times you may pray and as you continue to pray you feel the Spirit moving you towards or away from a situation.

c. Signpost #3 Godly Counsel

i. Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

ii. We need good GODLY Counselors in our life! Men/Women who believe and follow the Word of God. They can help give us practical advice through leading of the Spirit.

d. Signpost #4 Circumstances

i. Recognize that God does OPEN and CLOSE doors.

ii. There are times when we will have the peace of continuing or changing directions as we seek God’s will amidst our circumstances.

e. Signpost #5 Common Sense

i. 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

ii. God states that we can have a disciplined, self-controlled mind.

iii. Are we controlling our thoughts? Garbage in = Garbage out

f. Signpost #6 Personal Desires and Giftedness

i. God does not wish to make us do things that are very unattractive or very uninteresting!

ii. God has given us all certain abilities, interests, and gifts.

iii. God will most likely lead you according to the abilities He has given you!

iv. Psalms 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

v. If we are delighted in following the Lord, we will have God-placed desires in our heart.

g. Signpost #7 Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit

i. Romans 8:14-16 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God…”

ii. If we are in the correct relationship and fellowship with God, we should have clear leading.

iii. Isaiah 26:3 God says He will “keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee BECAUSE he trusteth in thee.”

iv. Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

v. We should let God’s peace govern our lives!

vi. Just remember! We should consider all the sign posts and allow the peace of God to be the capstone! We should never just go on “the heart alone” because we know according to Jeremiah 17:9 it can be very deceitful.


a. Remember- a prayerless life can never be a God-guided life.

b. Problems with habitual prayer:

i. Difficulty finding a daily period immune from invasion of our busy, hectic lives.

ii. Difficulty in stilling our minds to focus on God and away from this world’s problems.


c. Very interesting questions for a Spiritual “Check up” on our relationship with Christ if we have a barrenness of an overcrowded life:

i. Which comes first? Religious service or knowing God?

ii. Which has more importance? What I do or what I am?

iii. Which means more to God- Quantity or Quality?

iv. Which means more to Christ – my work for Him or my prayerful love for Him?

v. In my Christian life and service, which is more vital – Ability, Activity, or inwrought holiness of character?

vi. Do we wish to meet God having known Him deeply personally or as someone who did many things for Him?

d. FACT: ALL the results of any activities we consider priority in life in relation to Christ are DEPENDENT upon and determined by the place we give prayer in our life.

e. 4 levels of Prayer can be seen in Scripture:

i. A necessity – prayerlessness is a spiritual grave!

ii. A duty – a moral duty of worship to our God.

iii. A privilege – Access to the highest of thrones!

iv. A delight – heart to heart communion with God!

f. A good order of Prayer to get into habitual prayer in our daily lives:

i. Express Worship

ii. Express Thanksgiving for all our blessings

iii. Intercede for others, use our written list

iv. Pray for ourselves- our deepest needs and longings

v. Have a time of silence just for listening! “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth” I Sam 3


A. Don’t forget that God answers in 3 ways:

a. Yes

b. No

c. Wait

B. Remember our greatest discoveries and blessings often come through our sorest trials.

C. Remember in divine delays there is always a gracious purpose.

D. “We can’t always see the hand of God in a situation, but we can always trust the heart of God” Spurgeon

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Knowing God’s Will For Your Life – Part 1


In order to study this topic and get the most out of it, it is very important that we realize from the start 4 simple truths that God’s Word plainly teaches:

1. Truth #1- God does have a will for each of our lives.

a. Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”

i. There is a divine predestination for our lives! (Ordered: “koon” 3559 “to set up, erect, prepare, provide, to establish)

ii. There is a divine delight in following God’s will! God delights in us following His will and yet we will be delighted by following God’s will as well because we are in fellowship with Him!

iii. There is divine support when we follow God’s will. (Upholdeth: “sawmack” 5564 “take hold of, bear up, stand fast”)

b. Saying- “The steps and the stops of a good man are ordered by the Lord”

2. Truth #2- God’s will is GOOD for us!

a. Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

b. God knows what is best for our lives. There is no better Captain to chart our course.

3. Truth #3- God wants us to KNOW his will!

a. Ephesians 5:17 “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

b. God says that it is the wise man that knows what the will of the Lord is. SO- He must make it known if He tells us to understand His will!

c. He does not wish to hide His will from us.

4. Truth #4- We can ENJOY God’s will!

a. Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

b. God’s will is not “runner up” to a successful life that we think we could have had- it’s THE life that He has ordained for us.

c. Even in the midst of trials, persecutions, and set backs- if we are in God’s Will we can find peace and joy in the fact that we are doing business for the king!


A. God knows our NATURE as no one else does.

a. Psalm 139:1-4 lists 5 things that God knows about us. “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.”

b. He knows our (1)downsitting; (2)uprising; (3)thoughts; (4)ways; and (5)words

c. God knows the most extreme mundane things about us all the way to the most secretive tucked away Dungeness corners of our hearts. There is absolutely nothing hid to Him.

B. God knows our FUTURE as no one else does.

a. Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet…”

b. God is not bound by time – He sees it all simultaneous. We can trust Him!

c. He sees the ups and downs, the trials and triumphs. Trust Him to prepare us!

C. God has a PURPOSE for each of us as no one else has!

a. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee…”

b. John 15:16 states that God has chosen us and ordained us to bear fruit for Him.

c. Psalm 139:17-18 “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

d. What a great message that God THINKS about us! We are not just an accident, not just a random evolutionary mistake. We are made in the image of God and made with a purpose!


A. Mistake #1: “God’s will is hidden”

a. Terminology confuses young Christians. “I’ve found God’s will” can sound like God hides it and we have to look for it to find it.

b. These phrases simply mean that as we mature in our walk with God and are open to the Spirit’s leading, we can more clearly see the will of God.

B. Mistake #2: “Well, this is something I really want to do, so it can’t possibly be God’s will.”

a. Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

b. As we sincerely seek the Lord, His will and our desires begin to merge together. Our desires are replaced with “God-centered” desires.

c. God’s will is not “second best” or undesirable! It is BEST!

C. Mistake #3: “I haven’t gotten a definite answer yet for every part of this problem, so I’m not going to do anything.”

a. We can’t sit in fear and not move forward in life to serve Christ!

b. We must earnestly seek God’s leading and step out in faith.

c. If He loved us enough to die for us, He isn’t going to play games with our life!

D. Mistake #4: “Well, Lord, I’ve decided that the best way I can serve you is…”

a. We shouldn’t plan our life without God and then try to force Him to approve it!

b. You can’t compromise with God! “I’ll make a lot of money and give it to You”

E. Mistake #5: “I’ve disobeyed the Lord. I missed His will sometime ago, and now I’m doomed to “second best”.

a. Look at Peter! (Rebuked God, Denied Christ 3 times, cursed, etc! YET he was used GREATLY in the Lord’s service!) There is always hope for us.

b. Look at Paul! I Timothy 1:13 “…who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy…” God can use us in spite of our past! Don’t think you are trash!!!!!


A. So what if we absolutely can’t discern God’s will for our lives?

a. We must acknowledge we might have hidden sins that need to be confessed.

b. We must acknowledge our walk with the Lord may not be what it needs to be.

B. Let’s look at James Chapter 4 and some possible areas we may need to consider:

a. Following sensual desires. James 4:1 “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that WAR IN YOUR MEMBERS?” LUST

b. Putting yourself first. James 4:2 “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”

c. Praying with the wrong motive. James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

d. Choosing the wrong friends. James 4:4 “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoseoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

e. Failing to confess known sin. James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

f. Refusing to be humble. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

g. Prideful heart. James 4:13-17 “…For what is your life?…ye rejoice in your boastings…therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

C. If we have active sin in our life we MUST confess it and get “in tune” with God so that we are able to discern the Spirit’s leading in our life!

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Dealing with Stress God’s Way

Philippians 4:4-9

  1. Ways to deal with different types of Stress in our daily lives:
    1. PERSONAL STRESS:  alarm clock, kids to school, the maze of everyday stress!
    2. Limit your focus to the concerns of the day.
    3. Matthew 6:34  “Take therefore no thought for the morrow:  for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
      1. Don’t worry about what we have to do tomorrow.  Focus on what is going on right now in front of us today.
        1. This doesn’t mean that we don’t prepare for tomorrow!  We still have homework, deadlines, etc. but it is how we manage it and keep it in perspective.
        2. This speaks of things that are out of our control, things that we may not yet clearly see an answer or solution to.  Don’t get bogged down.
    4. Keep reminding yourself of the supernatural nature of the Christian life!
    5. Romans 8:31  “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
      1. Our resources are limited – God’s resources are NEVER limited!
      2. We never once, as a believer, will wake up in the morning and face the world alone.
        1. Even at our worst backslidden state, there is still an air of Grace that surrounds the child of God.
        2. All the more reason that we should keep our lives clean and ready to serve!  To know that He loves us that much!
    6. When we do face bad times, rough spots, trials, catastrophes – remind yourself that this is normal.
    7. I Peter 4:12,13  “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  But REJOICE, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
      1. We all have different bad times, low spots, etc.  The common denominator is that it upsets our security, lifestyle, routine, etc.  We must remember this is NORMAL.
    8. MARITAL STRESS:  Yep…  you know we have to talk about it!  Did you know it now takes 600 more hours per year to maintain the same stand of living today that we’ve grown accustomed to in the last 30 years due to the extremely busy schedules of life today?
    9. We must have compassion.  We need to put our self in our spouse’s shoes.
      1. Jesus had compassion and is our role model.
      2. Funny way to see it =  WWGD?  What would Grandma Do?
        1. Think of the love and compassion a Godly Grandmother shows.
        2. Her focus is always on the grandchild- full of compassion!
        3. We should show that same compassion of a Grandmother to our Spouse.
    10. We must compromise with each other. 
      1. Not compromising Biblical truth- but self interest.
      2. Matthew 5:41  “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”  We should be willing to do for our spouse AND MORE what we are willing to do for someone else.
      3. Finances are a HUGE stressor in a marriage!  Be smart with the money and resources that God has given you.
      4. Recognize that one of you will be better with the finances than the other.
      5. Guys- not every night is date night.  Ladies- not every night is sappy movie night!
          1. When an issue arises we should ask:  “Is the difference worth the price of peace between us?”
            1. Honor each other’s “domains”
              1. Man with the “manly” things.  He picks out the BBQ!
              2. Ladies with the things of the home.  She gets to pick the furnishings!
            2. Old saying:  “When momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy”
            3. Try to honor and respect each other in every decision our the marriage.
  • When confrontations must occur- LOVING confrontation is the Biblical way.
  • Ephesians 4:15  “speaking the truth in love”
    1. It takes BOTH elements –
      1. Willing to speak the truth to each other based on God’s Word.
      2. Speaking the truth IN LOVE
    2. If the conversation is difficult, serious, etc.
      1. Be willing to pray right up front together and ask the Spirit for guidance.
      2. If things get frayed in the middle- stop and pray some more!
      3. No “missile” prayers when praying together!  “God help her to do what is right”; “God help him to see he is wrong”
      1. FAMILY STRESS:  Yep – there’s additional stress when you add kids.  Did you know?????
          1. Expect added stress with the first child…and the second…and the third…..
            1. First child – scared of people holding it, scared of it catching a disease, etc.
            2. Your house is doomed.
              1. You will find toys in the strangest places.
              2. Desitin will come out of that….or NOT.
            3. There will most likely be a “booger wall”  Go ahead and prepare.
              1. The house will never be that clean again.
              2. There will be things broken!  Price of kids and parenting.
            4. A dare from a sibling is basically a warning something is about to cost you money.

      2. When children enter their teens, the parents are entering midlife so family stress reaches its peak at this time.
      3. If we have taught our kids to love, honor, and obey it will pay off during these times.
      4. Start NOW if you haven’t!  Continue more and more if you have!
      5. Remind them as they grow up of their COMMAND to “obey your parents in the Lord”  and to “Honour thy father and mother”  Ephesians 6:1-2
      6. Don’t forget our patience has continued to decline with our age and bodies!
  • JOB STRESS:  A LOT of stresses are created by the economic necessity to do a kind of work you don’t enjoy doing in order to make a living.  Can I get an AMEN!  God wants us to enjoy the work we do because it is our way to represent HIM in the community and work force!
  • If we enjoy our jobs, they will become LESS stressful. 
  • If you are in an area you feel you are not gifted to do, then pray about this and seek God’s will! 
  • Is He calling you to something else?  Are you willing to work hard to make the change to capitalize on the gifts God has given you?
  • Stay focused on your job and career responsibilities.
  • Don’t get caught up in the politics and petty issues of the work place.
  • Remember our work ethic is a part of our testimony!
  • Develop the mental and spiritual ability to put an invisible boundary between your workplace and your home life. – Treat our home like our Sanctuary!
  • PUBLIC STRESS:  Long lines at the airport, grocery store, WALMART; national and world politics, taxes all lead to extra stressors on our lives!
  • We need to be filled with the love of God. 
  • Romans 13:9  “…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”
  • I Corinthians 13  No matter how displayed our faith may be- if we don’t have love we can be useless to God’
  • Show Christ as well as we speak Christ.
  • We need to be tolerant (when it does NOT conflict with Scripture) of those who differ from us so that we can be in a position to reach them.  Tolerance has become a BAD word today.  It doesn’t have to be.
  • Matthew 11:19 Jesus was a friend of sinners.
  • Are we willing to engage in relationships/communication with those who believe differently (or don’t believe at all) in order to win them to Christ?
  • We need to have and practice Patience.
  • Tolerance and Patience are works of grace that keep us from having a meltdown!
  • They help us to contain the pressures and stresses of every day life.
  • CHURCH STRESS:  Stress at our Church???? YES.
  • Just like life, work, family, marriage, public.  There is stress in church.
  • Recognize people are hurting (like we may be) around us in our church family.
  • Our Church is made up of individuals (like us) who have many of the same stressors we do on a daily basis.  Maybe even more than us at times!
  • Remember that no one is perfect.  NO ONE – not even us.
  • Realize that you can’t do it all by yourself AND you can be on every committee, project, ministry that there is and do a good job.
  • Choose and commit to those things that God is leading you to do and that you are gifted for – AND DO THEM WELL.
  • Don’t try to do everything – burn out WILL happen.
  • When we have overloaded ourselves with church work, it will affect our marriage, family, work, and public ministry.
  • What’s the Conclusion?????
  • Rejoice even when we are in difficult circumstances!
  • Pray so that worry is abated.  “People who pray tend not to worry.  People who tend to worry, often forget to pray.  It’s really that simple”
  • Think – take responsibility!  We can think on positive or negative things.  When we focus on God, He becomes bigger and our problems become smaller.


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Principles of Godly Leadership


  • Wisdom – Proverbs Chapter 8
    1. Proverbs 8:11  “For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
      1. Is true wisdom the desire of our leaders today?  Is it our desire?
      2. What does the world seek in place of wisdom today?  Fame,Fortune,Popularity
    2. Proverbs 8:15  “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice”
      1. It’s hard to read this verse in light of today’s leaders in our nation.
      2. Wisdom is lacking in Washington.
    3. We are in very dire need of wise leaders today!  In church, society, government, homes, schools.
    4. Wisdom is a very important part of Godly leadership.
      1. Are we seeking wisdom in our daily lives?  At work, school, home, church?
      2. Are we “wise enough” to recognize when we don’t use Biblical wisdom?
  • Integrity –
    1. Proverbs 11:3  “The integrity of the upright shall guide them:  but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.”
    2. Proverbs 19:1  “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
    3. Integrity is a dying virtue in our society.
    4. The line between truth and lies in the world’s eyes has become very blurry.
      1. The world takes success however they can get it.
      2. Cheating, Lying, Fraud, etc. is rewarded by the world.
    5. How is our integrity?
      1. What would our friends and coworkers say about our integrity?
      2. What would the world say about our integrity?
  • Love –
    1. Proverbs 20:28  “Mercy and truth preserve the king:  and his throne is upholden in mercy.”
    2. Proverbs 17:17  “A friend loveth as all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
    3. Luke 6:27  “…Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.”
    4. Our love is best displayed in times when there is absolutely nothing in it for us and even better when it may COST us to love!
      1. Coworkers at work who may talk bad about us.
      2. Family members who continue to let us down and break our hearts.
      3. Staff who may disrespect you and slander you.
    5. Do we look for ways to love?  There is usually always an opportunity for love and mercy!
  • Good Advisors/Counsel –
    1. Proverbs 11:14  “Where no counsel is, the people fall:  but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
    2. Proverbs 25:4-5 “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.”
    3. How many times problems in our lives could have been avoided had we just listened to godly counsel!
    4. No single man can be a great leader- that man/woman has people in their background that has helped to shape them in their godly transition.
    5. Godly counsel along with the Spirit’s leading makes great Leadership.
    6. Every leader needs a trusted adviser.  The ability to listen to the advice of others is the mark of a great leader- not a weakness!
    8. There is also a place for trusted “accountability” advisors.
  • Self Control –
    1. Proverbs 28:15  “As a roaring lion, and a raging bear, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.”
    2. If we can’t control our actions, then people will not trust or respect us as leaders.
    3. How are we at self control?
      1. Do we have “melt downs”?
      2. Do we lose our temper over small things?
      3. Are we quick to react with our tongue before we process with our mind?
    4. When we don’t have self control, it makes our dependency on Christ and our foundation on God’s Word seem fake to the world and to those we serve or lead.
  • Awareness of his/her influence –
    1. Proverbs 29:2  “When the righteous  are in authority, the people rejoice:  but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
    2. We have influence as leaders!  Good and bad!
      1. Parents- we shape and mold our kid’s actions, beliefs, tempers, etc.
      2. SS Teachers, Pastors, Youth Leaders- we influence those who we are allowed to serve.
      3. We set the “atmosphere” at work.
        1. If we are “moody” and “shifty” day to day, it makes for a horrible work environment and causes those under us to not trust us nor respect us.
        2. If we are down, the staff will be down.  If we are excited and enthusiastic, it makes it easier for staff to be that way.
        1. Who are we following?
        2. Who are we leading?
        3. Who are our kids following?
  • Compassion –
    1. Proverbs 29:14 “The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.”
    2. I Peter 3:8  “…be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another…”
    3. Good leaders (and Christians) have and show compassion!
    4. Christ was our example- He was moved with compassion in the Scriptures.
    5. Love and compassion go hand in hand.
      1. You can love and not have compassion (fathers, husbands, etc. who love their families but aren’t moved with compassion when pain or accidents happen – “man up” or “big kids don’t cry”.
      2. We need to love those in our charge AND show compassion.
        1. When we are able, put ourselves in their shoes.
        2. When we are able, do what we can to help the situation.
        3. When we are able, show Jesus with no expectation of reward.
  • No Need for Public Approval –
    1. Proverbs 29:25  “The fear of man bringeth a snare:  but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”
    2. Acts 5:29  “…we ought to obey God rather than men.”
    3. This decision is made before we are leaders!  We must decide that God controls our life.
    4. We can never have complete harmony with God and the World at the same time!
    5. Are we willing to be ostracized by the world and stand for Christ?
      1. Kentucky Clerk – Not issuing marriage licenses to sodomites.
      2. Bakeries/Photographers – refusing to provide service to sodomite weddings.
      3. Standing against Abortion – when it is being more accepted in America and the world.
  • Moderation –
    1. Bible speaks against Kings, princes, deacons, pastors not being given to wine or strong drink.
    2. Commanded to not be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit.
    3. But what about other things that calls for moderation as a Biblical leader?
      1. Balance of hobbies with responsibility
      2. Balance of our personal pursuits with Biblical duties
      3. Balance of our daily living with our walk with God
    4. There are so many other things we need to moderate:
      1. Diets
      2. Exercise
      3. Finances
      4. Education
    5. Great Leaders moderate their lives Biblically so that they can be a good testimony for others and to glorify God.
  • Submission to God –
    1. Proverbs 21:1-2 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water:  he turneth it withersoever he will.  Every way of man is right in his own eyes:  but the Lord pondereth the hearts.”
    2. Perhaps this is the MOST important trait of Biblical leadership.
    3. We must submit our mind and life to God and allow him to guide us in His perfect will.
    4. If we submit to God, then our lives will reflect it and show a true testimony of Christ to a lost world and fellow believers.
    5. We should never be ashamed to let those in our leadership KNOW that we are a believer and that we follow Christ.
      1. Look for opportunity to share Christ.
      2. Look for opportunity to incorporate Biblical practices into leadership.

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This week I will be teaching on Apathy in Sunday School, and it has really caused me to stop and think about how easily we are sidelined in the cause of Christ. It is a constant and daily battle to keep our minds focused on the reality of our position in this world and what is to be gained or lost for all of eternity. This thought was reinforced at Prayer Meeting last night when, again, the topic was that of our society and how complacent and lackluster we as Christians have become in America. Things that use to move us with great zeal and compassion now at best raise a spiritual eyebrow only to sink back down into the boggy religious quagmire we now find ourselves living in. It seems that everyone you speak to is “saved” yet why are our families, communities, and churches decaying all around us? It is a challenge for all of us to remember daily the ultimate reason for our drawing breath each day- to worship God and bring honor and glory to Him! What better way to do that than to lead a life that is reflective of Christ’s teachings and actions? Go tell someone today!

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Heaven’s Ambassadors

This weekend I had a great time doing what I love to do – BBQ! We competed in a BBQ competition with some of the greatest cooks in the country – and I got a good south Georgia whoopin’. While that part was not fun, it made me see that you can’t just up and compete after a 2 year hiatus and expect to get anywhere near a competitive score much less any money or trophies! To win at professional BBQ you have to be willing to put in extra time, money, and YES- calories to practice practice practice until you get something worth someone talking about. Just because you think it’s good doesn’t mean that you are going to have your own Food Network show the next week! Professional BBQ is subjective. It is based on what a chosen group of 6 people at an assigned table thinks about your food. There are certainly just going to be times that you do everything you knew to do and yet still fail miserably at awards time. I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman this weekend that was assigned the spot beside me in the contest. I would only know him a short while, but in the small amount of time we were there, he was nice and gracious to allow me to try some of his competition food- including his chicken that he went on to win 1st place out of 72 teams with a perfect score! We joked during turn in that “hey – they changed the turn in spot to the campground down the road” and “they just said we are supposed to turn the boxes in upside down” and just had a fun time enjoying what we both loved to do. Shortly after the awards ceremony, that gentleman returned to his site to pack up to leave for home and went into cardiac arrest. He died shortly thereafter and I found myself faced with a hard reality: That gentleman was at that moment forever ushered out into eternity – where was he? In all the fun and camaraderie of competitive BBQ talk- why didn’t I ask him about his relationship with God when I had the opportunity? I was ashamed to face the fact that it is so easy to talk to total strangers about BBQ yet keep our mouth shut when prompted by the spirit to share Christ. We are Heaven’s Ambassadors! It is so easy to become lazy in our walk with Christ and comfortable with the fact that we have been blood bought and redeemed and have our place in Glory secure. A man that took time to share some BBQ tips with me to help me get better at my craft just the day before was now dead! What is also sad is that I wasn’t moved enough to share with him the greatest information of all – that there is a risen Savior for sinners like us who loves us and wants us to be reconciled to God so that we can one day spend eternity in Glory. Apart from that gentleman, only God knows his relationship to Christ and where he is at this moment. What a sobering thing to know that we may very well be the last testimony of Christ to someone on this earth at any given time on any given day. Have we became so cold and callous that the reality of Hell no longer moves us to speak to a dying world about a Living Savior?

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Family Outing in St Marks!

We had a great visit this past weekend to St Marks and the preserve! We enjoyed walking on the beach, seeing the many beautiful animals and the old historic lighthouse. So many beautiful things around us put us in constant reminder of God and His love for us and His creation. We didn’t see any bears, jaguars, or other elusive things- but we did get a big laugh at the visitor’s center when we read someone logged into the journal there that they saw a “skunk ape”. We also made a quick stop at Wakulla Springs but this is definitely a stop for warmer weather! We hope to go back real soon!
Lighthouse at St. Marks

Beautiful beach

Boys on a beach

Comin' in

Hanging out

Wakulla Springs

Soakin' up the sun

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Very informative website!

The Fundamental Top 500

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God’s Creation

It was a very cool morning for Southwest Georgia this morning!  My wife and I sat on the dock admiring God’s creation in the warm sunshine.  Woodpeckers, sparrows, cardinals, squirrels all busy gathering and feeding.  What a great reminder about God’s awesome power, grace, and love for us!  To know that He cares even for the sparrows should make us feel emboldened to approach his throne as an adopted child on a regular basis.  The fruit trees throughout our yard are now entering the window of time for pruning so that we can get an abundant supply of delicious things in the fall!  It made me think of my spiritual growth and the need for “pruning” out the dead places in my walk with Christ and nurturing growth through the reading and meditation on God’s Word.  Unlike an annual chore for the fruit trees, as Christians we should be “pruning” on a constant basis- getting rid of unwanted sprouts of bitterness, jealousy, hatred, and other carnal snares.  We should all commit to that spiritual “pruning” today and see what God can do in our lives!

The backyard view from my writing desk.  God's wonderful, beautiful creation!

Looking out our office window at God’s beautiful creation!

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Happy New Year!

We have made it to 2015!  Wow… it seems like just yesterday we had started 2014, but time continues to move forward.  So many things in the world today make me wonder- how much longer until Christ’s return?  The news is constantly alive with hate and lies aimed at Israel and in America we continue to decline as we drift as a nation further from God and His Word.  So- is there a positive outlook?  Of course!  We have yet another year to proclaim the good news of the Gospel and to let God’s Word shine through us and our lives every day.  Whether at work, home, school, or anywhere in between, we have the opportunity — the obligation— to represent our King.

It is also a time of year for resolutions.  I am horrible with resolutions!  But what better time in our lives than now to choose to make changes to have a greater impact for Christ and His Kingdom?  All of our victories in life must be based on the foundation of the preparation made through His Word.  We should decide and commit to spend that necessary preparation time daily in His Word and in prayer.  What soldier can truly go forth and battle successfully for a commander to which he has not given an earnest ear and attentive spirit to know the battle plan?

We all fall short daily of accomplishing all we are capable of with time management, prayer, and preparation through the Spirit.  No one likes to hear that their priorities are not in order — especially me!  But— are our priorities truly in order?  As we start 2015- are we doing what is necessary to accomplish every task that is humanly possible by our part, so that God can move in those areas that only He is sovereign?

Happy New Year!  What a great thought as we enter another year that brings us closer to the return of our Savior!

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Personal Missions – That means me!

This week, while preparing for teaching a Sunday School lesson, I have been reflecting on the importance of missions in the life of every Christian.  We recently had a missions conference at our church and it was a great experience.  Using that as a spring board, I had written my lesson and at the end, I finished with an acronym that I wanted to share below.  While I wrote this  out myself, I am sure that credit goes to many other similar acronyms I have read and speakers I have heard over the years.  It is most likely a compilation of them all.  In any case, I was wanting something that helped keep me focus every day on what my calling is as a redeemed Child of the King!  I used the words, “PRAY DAILY”:

P Pray every day with focus on personal and spiritual matters.
R Read God’s Word every day expecting to get something out of it!
A Acknowledge all sin in your life and repent.
Y Yield to God’s calling on your life.

D Discern the situations around you in your daily interactions with people.
A Ask God for opportunities to share the Gospel.
I Invest in people! Look for opportunities to grow relationships.
L Love people as Christ would love them. Compassion and Mercy in every circumstance.
Y Yield to the leading of the Spirit! Be available to be used!

That’s it! It’s simple, but I’m a simple person! I hope it can help keep me focused and maybe it will be a blessing to others as well.

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Missions – For Everyone!

We are having a Missions Conference at our church this week.  As I have listened to the messages, the missionaries, the programs, one thing has been made very evident to me.  Missions is not just a few people being called to go with the Gospel.  Missions is a command placed on every believer by God!  Our part in missions is certainly varied, yet all are called to help disperse God’s wonderful plan of Salvation across the Globe.  As one speaker put it so plainly last night- there are 3 responses to the call of missions on the Believer’s life:  (1)You can GO! If you can’t go, then (2)You can help SEND!  And sadly, if you don’t do either of these, then (3)You can live in disobedience to God’s Word.  So what part are you willing to play in the call?

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I realized today it has been a LONG time since I have shared anything on my blog!  I guess the word that comes to mind is “committed”.  I haven’t been very “committed” in this blog lately, but I had good intentions.  I would like to put entries on here consistently but, while my intentions are good, I just fail to get it done.  It made me think about our Christian walk.  How many times do we have the best intentions and just fail to get it done.  Reading God’s Word, prayer time, ministry, etc.  It takes commitment!  It helped me to remember that everything we do for God should be 100%!  So… while my blog suffers at times, it is my desire to always be committed for God on a daily basis! 

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Unseen Hands

Yesterday, about 2:45 am I set out for Georgia from West Nebraska.  My family and I will be moving back to Georgia for jobs that my wife and I have been offered.  My entire trip was mapped out, planned, and all the details decided.  My family and I said our prayers, goodbyes, and shared hugs the night before and I was on my way early.  I travelled through the night without any issues, through long stretches of nothing and towns miles apart.  About 11:30 yesterday morning, while going through Kansas City, MO, I exited the interstate to get gas.  I noticed something that smelled like it was burning and then noticed smoke coming out from my driver side FRONT tire!  Sure enough, my front brakes had locked up on me.  My first reaction was helplessness.  Here I am in an enormous town compared to my 3,600 population back in Nebraska – who do I call?  My wife and I had discussed AAA just a couple of months earlier.  I pulled out my membership card and started the process.  With that initial work done, my focus then became one of anxiety quite honestly.  Why did I have to break down here????  I think I honestly had to get that question out to be able to appreciate the answer.  Why?  Because God ordained it!  I could have been stranded on the side of a road somewhere in the barren lands of Nebraska and Kansas at 4am, but God allowed me to make it to a safe place where help would be readily available.  God also allowed me to be stopped at a gas station and not going down the road at 65 mph while pulling my enclosed trailer.  For every anxious excuse I might have, God has an answer.  I am suppose to start my new job tomorrow, yet I am still over 17 hours away from home- but the friend I will be working for is a Christian who simply said to “drive safe and get here when you can”.

So, this morning I sit in a hotel room.  I am thankful for the unseen hands of God’s protection, His direction, His mercy, and His love.  I did find out that both REAR seals had blown out of the rear of my jeep.  Wow… and I just noticed smoke on the FRONT tire and never knew anything was wrong with the back.  The mechanic told me everything looked good on the front and that the brake had just temporarily locked up.  I’m not a mechanic, but I know my front from my back!  Had God used the temporary lock up to get my attention so that the rear issues could be found and repaired to prevent an accident later down the road?  All I know is that God is good – all the time.  Sure, I have spent quite a little fortune here in repairs, hotels, meals, etc. but I am safe.

Later this afternoon, I will hopefully, by God’s grace and providence, be able to get back on the road.  I don’t know what else is in store for me on this trip.  I have a LONG way still to go.  I do know that God is good – all the time.  We have a way of just uttering that without much thought as we go through life unaffected for weeks or months sometimes without major obstacles, worries, or financial problems.  Sometimes it takes a wrecker service, mechanic shop, and nice warm shower in the safety of a hotel room to allow us to experience that.  It is then up to us as to how we will realize and appreciate that thought in the coming days.  Thank you Lord, for your blessings and unseen hands at work in our lives.

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New Seasons

Today I am a man without a job.  Not permanently- but it’s a weird feeling.  Yesterday was my last day at a job I have been blessed to have for the last 8 years.  I have met great people and had an excellent boss.  The Lord opened the doors for me to return with my family to my hometown of Southwest GA and a wonderful job opportunity there.  I will miss my family and friends here in Nebraska, but so look forward to new challenges that await back home.  Our life has gotten so hectic over the last year that I have been unable to really focus on my Biblical training or just life in general.  I look forward to new opportunities and returning to a church home where sound fundamental Bible preaching exists without the ever present ecumenical push by Pastors unwilling to stand strong on God’s Word and a clear cut plan of Salvation.  No – we are not all the same, No – we are not all in some pie in the sky church if we just “believe in God”, No – we are not all God’s children and just have different ways we come to Him.  My Bible plainly states by my Father that the ONLY way to Him is through His Son Jesus Christ and through the process of recognizing I am a sinner, asking for His forgiveness, turning from that sin, and asking His Son to be my Lord, Savior, and Propitiation for that sin and stand in my place!  It is not based on anything I have done, can do, or will do in the future to merit or to retain that Salvation.

As I see our Country continue to unravel and decline in moral and spiritual matters, I am saddened to know that we are most likely seeing a nation who is coming under judgment by a Holy God.  While it is so easy to get upset about Satan and his crowd ruining the spiritual fabric of this nation, I think we must realize that sadly much of this problem can be traced back to the spiritual cancer and decay within the walls of what once were fundamental Bible preaching and believing churches and institutions.  A revival of God’s people is greatly needed throughout the land if we would desire to once again see homes, churches, communities, and country following the old path and standing on God’s Word.  Until then, each one of us has the responsibility to do our part to lead our families in the way that pleases the Lord and seeks to fulfill His will in our own lives.

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The History of Biblical Interpretation

 When did Biblical interpretation come into use?  Why did it come into use?  Is there a correct or incorrect way to interpret Scripture; and, if so, are there consequences to its misuse and misapplication?  This paper will attempt to trace the early beginnings of Biblical interpretation through the post reformation era and the consequences on human history with each method. The majority basis for this discussion will be drawn from the work of Pentecost (Pentecost, 1958).  

 The topic of interpretation can be summed up in two schools:  Literal (also known as historical-grammatical) and Allegorical.  Both of these schools are very different in their approach to Scripture as will be shown.  The beginning of Interpretation as presented by Pentecost is generally held to be during the time of Ezra and the return of Israel from exile (Pentecost, 1958, p. 16).  Nehemiah, chapter 8, records that the people gathered together to hear the Scriptures read after being lost and neglected for many years.  Scripture records that, “they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8, KJV).  The need existed, due to the ignorance and neglect of Israel, to have the once familiar Scripture not only read to them, but also explained to them in detail.  The job called for a dissection of the Scripture and a presentation to the people in language they could understand and relate to as they had exchanged their native language with Aramaic while in exile (Pentecost, 1958, p. 16).  The job of Ezra would have been to read to them Scripture in the native tongue and translate its truth into the language of the people.  This task no doubt was a literal translation and explanation of Scripture as supported by Pentecost (Pentecost, 1958, p. 16).  It is clear that the method which Ezra executed, the Literal Interpretation, was indeed used by God to reach the people as Scripture records that the people understood what was read to them and became very sorrowful for their lack of respect and place of God’s Holy Word in their lives.  So much so, that Ezra, the Levites, and Nehemiah had to encourage the people to remain joyful in that the Scriptures had been found and had been declared unto them once again so that they could understand and obey God’s Word (Nehemiah 8:10-13, KJV).  Ezra’s approach to Scripture in a straight forward, literal rendering of interpretation gave the people God’s message as well as rendered results in God’s people.  The Literal Interpretation approach enabled God’s people to understand God’s Word in a straightforward sense by taking God at His word for what was required to have a relationship with Him.

The Literal Interpretation “gives to every word the same meaning it would have in normal usage, whether used in writing, speaking, or thinking” (Issues in Theology, 2012).  Unlike today where so many different types of commentaries, textbooks, and other study helps are available for review, Ezra would have had only the pure Scripture in front of him.  There was the absence of the huge volumes of literature that exist today that have perverted and twisted Scripture to make it conform and reach a goal or idea within a denomination’s belief system.  Ezra relied on Scripture and nothing but Scripture.  He read, believed, and presented the Scripture in the Literal method of hermeneutical practice.  Because of this, the people under Ezra had a clear and understandable Word of God.

Not only did Ezra practice a Literal interpretation of Scripture, but it can also be shown that the process of Old Testament Interpretation as a whole involved a Literal Hermeneutical approach.  While Rabbinism had flaws that would cause its end result to be incorrect, the method of its approach to Scripture was Literal. This fact is further supported by the Catholic Theologian Jerome who confirmed the Literal approach to Scripture as being Jewish (Pentecost, 1974). The problem, as stated by Pentecost, in their arrival of wrong Spiritual doctrine was not due to Literal interpretation of Scripture, but was indeed in their misapplication of that information (Pentecost, 1974).  Rabbinical interpretation of Scripture was completed under thirteen rules which were further amplifications of the previous seven rules of Hillel (Killian, n.d.).  These rules promoted a literal interpretation of Scripture and to this discussion there is no other conclusion.  The weakness to this system, however, was the practice of Letterism, which involved the strong held beliefs by the Rabbinical schools that every single item within the Scripture, including grammatical and numerical inferences, were there for a purpose and that from a text many meanings could be drawn out (Ramm, 1970).  These fallacies, along with the strongly respected existence of tradition laid a snare in which many interpreters of this time fell into thereby causing false application of Scripture (Ramm, 1970).

During the time of Christ, Literalism appears to have been the majority hermeneutical practice among the Jews (Pentecost, 1974).  This was also the case with the Apostles and New Testament writers (Pentecost, 1974).  In fact, during the first century, it is the Egyptian Jews who are first seen using allegorical application to hermeneutical principles in attempt to be more like the Greeks (Pentecost, 1974).  It is Philo who begins using the Allegorical approach to Scripture in hopes of marrying the Greek and Jewish belief systems together so that it would be accepted by what he considered to be a more advanced Greek society (Pentecost, 1974)..  The rise of Allegorism could be, in part, the result of a period of time in the first century in which many problems existed for Biblical interpreters during that time.  Included in these were the fact that there was no established cannon of neither the Old or New Testament texts; work was being built upon previously false translations of Scripture; rules previously employed by Rabbinical schools were wrongly applied to the texts; and there was abundant pagan and Jewish practices within society thereby further causing confusion and roadblocks to an honest attempt at interpreting Scripture (Pentecost, 1974).

The Patristic period saw the emergence of three different hermeneutical schools of thought late in that era that arose out of the chaos of differing philosophical, cultural, and religious beliefs (Pentecost, 1974). These schools were known as the Literal and Realistic; the Allegorical; and the Historical and Grammatical (Pentecost, 1974).  This period is generally held to be from the death of the Apostle John to the middle ages, 100-450 A.D. (McMahon, 2013).  It is during this time that the church underwent persecution from Roman emperors yet still became a legal religion under Constantine is 321 A.D. (McMahon, 2013).  Two cities that were of importance during this time in the teaching of hermeneutical processes were that of Alexandria and Antioch.

Aristobulus was part of the foundation of the Allegorical school of which beliefs Philo would eventually adopt and expand on false conclusions from poor exegesis of the Scriptures.  The goal of Philo, as already discussed, was to create an environment of perceived harmony among both Jew and Greek philosophy so that the educated Greek society would welcome the antiquated Jewish Mosaic law.  To accomplish this, Philo accepted and promoted earlier concepts of Aristobulus that Greek Philosophy arose from Old Testament teachings and that Greek philosophers, including Aristotle, were simply using tenets of philosophy already put in place by Moses and the Prophets earlier in time (Pentecost, 1974).  Philo had great influence with these teachings within the school of Alexandria and relied on the Allegorical method to mesh the two society’s religious and philosophical beliefs together (Pentecost, 1974).  This school of thought was further moved forward through the teachings of Pantaenus and Clement of Alexandria, who believed in divine origin of Greek philosophy and therefore the only way that Scriptures could be understood was through the Allegorical lens of interpretation (Pentecost, 1974).  Origen would later develop, at the school of Alexandria, the formal allegorical method by which Scripture would be exegeted.  His approach included a three point approach that acknowledged that:  (1) Scripture had a literal meaning but hid a higher idea; (2) Scripture had a moral meaning that could be used to edify the people; and (3) Scripture had a mystical sense for those of higher intellect who could draw from the deeper knowledge (Pentecost, 1974).

The sad reality of the heretical use of the Allegorical method during this time was that it was the answer for two other false approaches to Scripture.  The first was ecclesiasticism, which placed the church as the supreme authority of Scriptural interpretation (Pentecost, 1974).  Augustine was the first to use this approach which made Scripture conform to the church and its perceived interpretation of its content rather than the opposite (Pentecost, 1974).  The second false approach, as already discussed, was that of Jewish Letterism.  This was also a belief that the people desired to be emancipated from as well as other philosophical heresies of the time (Pentecost, 1974).  The dilemma seen with any of these approaches is that those seeking to know the reality and truth of Scripture are bound to the teachings of mortal men as divine proclamation.  The Allegorical method, in its attempt to fuse Greek Philosophy and Jewish Law, was a colossal compromise by early scholars which did great harm to Scriptural integrity and further deprived the people of this period from a plain and truthful view of Scripture.

The School of Antioch stood in stark contrast to that of Alexandria in that it rejected the Allegorical method and stood firmly for the use of a Literal interpretation of Scripture (Pentecost, 1974).  Diodorus of Tarsus is credited as the founder of the School at Antioch with a strong emphasis placed on the literal exposition of Scripture (Pentecost, 1974).  It was his student, Theodore of Mopsuestia, however, that was the true star pupil of the day with the ability to best represent this system to the world.  His study of Scripture was guided by  three steps:  (1)the sequence of thought of the writer; (2)the phraseology and separate clauses that are being used in the passage; and (3)an arrival of a properly exegeted passage that is capable of being understood and applied (Pentecost, 1974).  In the end, it was the Allegorical method of interpretation that prevailed due out of necessity for ecclesiasticism which Augustine presented that required the engine of Allegorical interpretation to make Scripture fit beliefs and practices of the church and ensure that the church would continue to maintain power and control over the people.  Had it not been for this political agenda, the School of Antioch could have changed history had it prevailed and possibly prevented centuries of heretical teaching and misfortune among all of humanity.

Following this period, and as the result of the School of Antioch being dismissed as heretical practice, a spiritual darkness from the seventh to sixteenth centuries ensued which produced nine centuries of silence from practically any fundamentally sound literal interpretation of Scripture (Pentecost, 1974).  During this period, there was no solid attempt to draw a correct view of Scripture, but rather a continued heretical practice of twisting the Word to fit the needs of the governmental church and its corrupted leaders.  There was, no doubt, a remnant of believers during these dark years who held a literal view and belief in Scripture, but the vast majority of subjects were trapped in the quagmire of misapplied and abused Scripture.

Thankfully, these long dark years of spiritual ignorance and corruption began to turn around during the time known as the Reformation Period (Pentecost, 1974).  It is during this time that people such as Valla rightfully concluded that Scripture, to be rightfully interpreted, must be viewed through the lens of the laws of grammar and language (Pentecost, 1974).  This would call for a literal interpretation hermeneutic, and thus popularity of this approach slowly began to gain traction.  Erasmus was another key person during this time who laid strong importance on the grammatical interpretation of Scripture, and thereby also shining light on the practice of a literalistic approach (Pentecost, 1974).  This Reformation Period was indeed the catalyst that caused the return to a literal approach to the interpretation of God’s Word.

It is also during this time in history that, as allegorical interpretation began to lose its grip on the world, that a new doctrine began to emerge among the reformers.  This doctrine would later be known as the Perspicuity of Scripture (Breshears, nd).  Simply defined, Perspicuity of Scripture implies that anyone of any intellect is able to read the Word of God and draw from it the means of Salvation and how to live a life pleasing to God (Breshears, nd).  With this idea came the growing desire to put Scriptures into the language of the common people, as well as a growing revelation among the people that the Governmental Church was not the voice of God.  With the new found freedom in private religious study came a growing public consensus that God’s Word is for every person – not just a select few who are said to speak on His behalf.

One of the key figures during this time was Martin Luther.  Luther believed strongly in the practice of a literal interpretation of Scripture, but also on the importance of using correct grammatical principles in this process (Pentecost, 1974).  Luther was very dedicated to seeing that the common person would have not only the Word of God, but the hermeneutical mechanics whereby to correctly discern and interpret its message (Pentecost, 1974).  Luther’s belief included the idea that traditions of the church were not necessary to understand the pure Gospel, but rather the Gospel could be understood by any person as it was God’s desire for every person to know Him and had written His Word in such a way that this could be accomplished by anyone desiring to know the truth (Breshears, nd).  Perhaps the greatest gift that Luther gave to the Reformation Period was his work of putting the Word of God into the German language – the language of the common people – in his own land and for the first time in history, allowing every man, woman, child, family, and community the ability to read and understand God’s message (Breshears, nd).  This act would be greatly rejected by the church, so much that it was viewed as an act of incompetence and danger placing Scripture into the hands of the unlearned laity.  In contrast, however, it would finally provide the people with the Spiritual freedom they had needed (Breshears, nd).

Martin Luther’s rules for interpretation were quite simple, yet very foundational to the Christian faith and practice.  Luther believed that the final authority of any interpretive measure rested in Scripture alone, and that Holy Scripture was all sufficient and without need for any further clarification or addition from the church, government, or mankind (Pentecost, 1974).  This also extended to each individual passage, whereby Luther rightly contended that every passage has but one very clear and definite meaning, and that other ideas or applications drawn from that intended meaning is simply man’s opinion (Pentecost, 1974).  This belief upheld the doctrine known as perspicuity of Scripture and in doing so, thereby greatly rejected allegorical interpretation as a valid tool and proclaimed it as heretical practice (Breshears, nd).  Finally, Luther was perhaps one of the first to maintain the ability, privilege, and right of believers to make private judgment in line with doctrine of spiritual priesthood of all believers and apart from the need of oversight or explanation of the church (Pentecost, 1974).  Martin Luther provided much fuel to the fires of the Reformation and helped bring a world out of Spiritual darkness.

John Calvin was also very instrumental in the Reformation.  Calvin’s defense against allegorical interpretation was so strong that it was said that no one had produced such a  stance in Philo’s method in over a thousand years (Pentecost, 1974).  While Calvin, like Luther, believed in the Perspicuity of Scripture, he also maintained that such knowledge came with a deliberate and consistent attempt to study and draw from God’s Word that which God desired for mankind to know.  He maintained that it was through the illumination by the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer that helped to bring about this understanding, and that the church was to be used as a nurturing element of every believer through its use of sound biblical teachers (Breshears, nd).  Calvin introduced the new exegesis known as grammatico-historical during this period which gave more credence to the Literal interpretation of Scripture.  His method reaffirmed the thought that the original Bible authors indeed had one concise thought for a passage, which could be literal or figurative, but not both at the same time (Pentecost, 1974).  He further stated that explanation of Scripture and application of Scripture are two separate actions, but the application of Scripture must always be in line with the explanation of the text (Pentecost, 1974).  Calvin’s work would continue to be used to help influence a new generation of scholars and preachers over the next two centuries, of which the truth of Scripture and need for Literal interpretation would continue to grow and gain popularity.

The Reformers held a critical and most crucial place in history in relation to turning a world of darkness back towards proper interpretation of Scripture.  Their work enabled the masses to once again begin viewing God’s Word as the supreme authority and without need of any additional aid or revision by the church, tradition, or other written works (Pentecost, 1974).  The Roman Church would attack this progress in 1545 with the Council of Trent (Breshears, nd).  The purpose of this council was to reaffirm the church and its sole authority of the interpretation and administration of Scripture.  Those who wish to continue to promote interpretations outside of the church were deemed to be heretical and punishable under law (Breshears, nd). Well into the 17th century, Protestants and Catholics continued to debate this position.  The foundational issues of the debate continued to be:  Who has the supreme authority to interpret Scripture? What method should be used to interpret? And how does one handle the unresolved unclear portions of God’s Word (Breshears, nd)?  Progress in the battle for religious freedom came very slow and with great assault from the opposing side.

Post-Reformation would continue to be a time of growing and establishing, once again, the literal interpretation of Scripture.  Even the church and its attempt to silence the masses of their right to individual interpretation through laws and punishment was not enough to quench the desire for a man to know his God on a personal level through studying the written Word.  There were great men during this period who also stepped forward to drive the continued success of this method.  One of these men was John Augustus Ernesti, who proclaimed that the Bible must be interpreted with the same process and principles as any other book (Pentecost, 1974).  His school taught based on these principles which did much to strengthen the stand for a literal method of interpretation.  Ernesti also produced a work on New Testament interpretation wherein four principles were introduced that would become invaluable to the student: (1) only the literal sense of Scripture should be maintained; (2) allegorical and typological interpretations should be rejected except only in those cases where it is clear that the author intended for the passage to be interpreted in that light; (3) the Bible should always be interpreted just as any other literary piece would be; and (4) dogma cannot be used to arrive at a literal sense (Pentecost, 1974).  Ernesti’s work would be a beacon of truth in the interpretation of Scripture in whose reach would extend into modern times (Ramm, 1970).

The Post-Reformation period did much to continue to return the people to a literal sense of exegesis that was began by the work of the Reformers such as Lutheran and Calvin.  It must not be forgotten, however, that the origin of the literalistic approach to interpretation of Scripture began with Ezra many centuries before, but due to greed and a desire to control the people, the allegorical interpretive method was allowed to take traction and derail proper exegesis of Scripture for centuries.  It is therefore necessary – if not absolutely mandatory – that the student of the Bible today maintains the strong literal hermeneutical approach to Scripture.  The student of the Bible must guard against any attempt to be led down the road to allegorical interpretation that desires to spiritualize Scripture and bring people back into the bonds of having Scripture and doctrine mandated to them by heretical systems and teachers.  Truth – absolute truth – is to be found within the pages of Holy Scripture and is available for all who wish to partake.  God’s Word is not a spiritual gift that is hid for the few to know and understand, but rather a proclamation to the world to proclaim to every person how to have a personal relationship with Him.  Scripture is not relegated to mystical sayings and hidden meanings that must be defined by scholars and those in power, but rather is simple enough that a young child can draw from its waters without fear of drowning and the old saint can dive into its depths and never reach its end.  God’s Word is the source of life, redemption, and eternal abode.  The message of Scripture should be understood and interpreted in the same light as its true Author- literally.


Issues in Theology. (2012). Retrieved October 20, 2012, from Ezra Ministries:

Breshears, G. (nd). The Perspicuity of Scripture. Retrieved October 22, 2013, from Western Seminary:

Killian, G. (n.d.). The thirteen rules of Rabbi Ishmael. Retrieved September 2, 2013, from Betemunah:

McMahon, M. (2013). Introduction to historical theology- The Patristic period. Retrieved September 2, 2013, from A Puritan Mind:

Pentecost, D. J. (1974). Things To Come. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.

Ramm, B. (1970). Protestant Biblical Interpretation. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Cushing-Malloy, Inc.



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