Luke 9:23-26

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Luke 9:23-26 (NASB) And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Who has crucified their own flesh daily?  Who truly follows Christ?  What does it mean to follow Christ?  We all want to save our lives.  None of us want to die.  To crucify yourself you must take up your cross and follow Jesus all the way to Golgotha.  When you rise in the morning, see the sinful desires of your selfish flesh.  See how they would entice you to do things to appease them?  Wage a violent war against the natural man who is tied to you.  He is dead already if you are saved, but his corpse is always before you.  We fight what he used to revel in.  Put those desires to death.  Crucify your worldly desires and have them supplanted by the new affections of the regenerated heart.  As this occurs, you’ll praise God for the loss of your old life and the gift of your new one in Jesus.  To do His loving will, to carry it out in the world that is perishing, to show grace where it is not merited, to have mercy on those in need, to give to them the words of life, the gospel message of Christ Jesus, the Lord, Master, and Author of our faith, granted to us along with repentance while we were yet sinners, enemies of God, under the condemnation of sin, freed by His grace and imputed righteousness.  Proclaim salvation from sins in Him to all the world.  What good is earthly pleasure on this temporal plain when such a thing as an ageless age exists, where time is not marked?  Our lives are short compared to such an existence.  What is discomfort or tribulation here, even much of it, compared to eternity with God?  Be bold in preaching His word and the gospel of His redemptive work on the cross.  Be bold in the preaching of His resurrection from the dead.

Review of the book, “Walls Fall Down” authored by Dudley Rutherford

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In the first part of every chapter Rutherford adds fictional dialogue to the historical narrative of Joshua 6:1-20. I can’t begin to tell you how much I dislike this when people do it. It seems so presumptive. Many people won’t have a problem with this. It is just a personal preference with me. I understand for movies and other media it is common. I just personally don’t appreciate it. You really have to be careful that you don’t change the meaning of the word of God in so doing. It isn’t a risk I think is advisable. There are even some commentaries and study Bibles that have made a mess of the Bible and their authors are usually trained theologians.

I appreciate the concept in the first chapter to take the focus off of our problems and to seek after God’s greatness instead, but he takes it to a different place on page eleven. Rutherford writes, “God can and will make the walls fall down in your personal Jericho, and the first step in accomplishing this feat hinges upon your ability to grasp His greatness” I think he is contradicting Himself a bit here and sounding like a prosperity preacher. So I have to, “grasp His greatness” before God will make walls fall down? Throughout the book there looks like there is a lot of conditional statements. Granted there are some conditional statements in the Bible, but we have to remember that God is sovereign and will accomplish His will.

Rutherford says much that I can agree with on the trinity, omniscience, and omnipresence, of God. He also encourages us to read the Bible daily. Then on page 23 he has to scare me again with this kind of lingo, “This truth leads you to trust not only in His knowledge and wisdom but also in the strategy He has already prescribed for your victory. How awesome that we serve an omniscient God who is willing to share His knowledge with us so that we can conquer the impossible obstacles in our lives.” Now if he is talking about God conquering sin in our lives by the gospel than that would be great, but it doesn’t seem like that is what he means. There is a theme throughout the book that looks like Rutherford is saying that God will conquer every trial we have, oh and sin to. I don’t want to be unfair. He does attempt to make a distinction between the false prosperity gospel and the true gospel. He just comes off as a little of both in his terminology.

On page 42, in chapter two Rutherford makes a good point about God’s promises. When he says something is going to be, it is a certainty and we can and should act on it as a reality yet to be realized. He ties this in with Gods sovereign purposes for us as individuals. Throughout the Bible we can see where God has used people for certain purposes of His and we have purposes. God will use us as He has planned. Subsequently he starts laying out the notion of trusting in God’s plan for your life and how that will look. I agree with him here, when we believe something we behave as if it is true. If we trust God and His word we will behave accordingly.

He teaches tithing as in 10% and something Christians are supposed to do. This is not a true doctrine for Christians. According to the New Covenant we are to prayerfully consider how much to give and then do so with a joyful heart. Some people might be convinced to give 70%. Would you tell them that their obligation is only 10%? I don’t think so. Some people are very poor and are in debt. It would be irresponsible to tell them, “God wants His 10%”. The author missuses a few idioms. One that should have been caught by the editor was, “Shark invested waters” instead of, “shark infested waters.” He quotes Joyce Meyer, Rick Warren. He misapplies and incorrectly exegetes the story of Gideon to imply that it is better to have 300 committed men than thousands of self-serving ones. The text is obviously about God cutting the numbers down so that He gets the glory for winning the battle and not the army. The book isn’t very deep at all. Representative of most of the Christian books out there, a mile wide and an inch deep, like a puddle in a parking lot. He doesn’t endorse works righteousness. He tries to teach obedience to God relationally and God will bless you. I honestly don’t think he is trying to teach you to obey to get a blessing, although it would be very easy to take what he is saying that way. Read with caution; eat the meat throw out the bones. He keeps talking about victory, but over what? He takes until the end of the book to get around to it. I am still not sure of what I just read. Maybe instead of this read, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan or, “The Holiness of God” by R. C. Sproul.

I received this book for free, and am not obligated to give it a positive review.

If you’d like to purchase this book here is a link on Amazon

Lost, Saved, Baptized, Rinse and Repeat.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I got saved and baptized when I was a kid, but then I walked away from my faith, and now that I’m an adult, I have come back?” Then, they get baptized again and share their testimony. After a few months of being, “back” they walk away again/backslide. A while later they decide they need to recommit their life to Christ, so they come back to Church and get baptized again. I don’t know how many times, in the Nazarene Church I attended, I heard someone say this, but it was a lot. I didn’t know how to understand this then. I didn’t have the Biblical knowledge to know this was wrong. I knew it was wrong intuitively, but couldn’t build a case Biblically.
I struggled with this myself. Was I really saved that time when I was 19? If so, why am I still fighting these temptations to sin in my life? The Nazarene Church taught, “Entire Sanctification” back then. It was a doctrine that said it was possible for a person to mature spiritually, in this life, to the point where they no longer sinned. I got so frustrated with my constant failings. I cried out to God and told Him, “I can’t do it! I can’t stop sinning! If You want me to stop you are going to have to stop me!” So then came about a 10 year period where I gave up fighting the sins that were too hard to stop on my own. Sure I gave the outward appearance of being a Christian when I was at Church, but at work I still acted like a child. I used profanity all of the time, I told dirty jokes, I engaged in low humor, I entertained hateful thoughts against others because of their political beliefs, and I liked what I saw on television, except I would still cringe when a show used blasphemy. I knew I was doing wrong. I knew from what the Bible said, I was doing these things because my heart desired to do them. I also knew in my head that I didn’t want to keep doing them.
The Church also taught that you could become apostate or lose your salvation if you continued to sin after being saved. This was the doctrine of, “Apostasy.” I remember asking the Pastor about what it said in Hebrews 6, about not being able to be saved after losing your salvation by continuing in willful sin. He explained that was correct. I asked him how anyone can stay saved if that was true. Another person quoted the passage about forgiving 70 times 7. They were trying to tell me if I repent, Christ will keep forgiving me, but if I didn’t repent, and then died, that I would go to hell. All of this didn’t jive with what I was reading in the Bible. It seemed as if people were just cherry-picking passages out of the Bible to justify the way they wanted to live.
The denomination had its own definition of sin. I couldn’t justify it with what I had been reading in the Bible. I knew I was a sinner. I knew I kept committing sins. I felt powerless to be holy like the Church said I must be. My best efforts kept failing. That is why I gave up. The Church said sin was a willful transgression of a known law of God. I asked, “What if I fell into traffic, looked up to see a truck coming, cussed, and then was killed before I could repent?” I was told that was just a mistake, not a sin. So I asked, “What if, I blasphemed instead of cussed, in the same scenario?” I was told I might go to Hell. I was having a difficult time understanding being saved if it was always precariously perched on the narrow ledge of my flawed capacity.
I went down the roads of, “Easy Believism” and “Cheap Grace.” I rejected the doctrines of, “Entire Sanctification and Apostasy.” While I was confused and erring I still knew and was strongly convicted that this was not right either. There is something I am missing. I was going through a very difficult time in my life.  I didn’t trust God with my money, I didn’t trust God with my marriage, and I proved I didn’t trust God by my actions.
A good friend suggested I read the book, “Crazy Love” written by this, Chinese American Pastor from California, with a shaved head. I was not at all anticipating the affect it would have on me or my life. Francis Chan’s book was a kick in my guts. It wasn’t a cruel kick, but rather one that was used by God. He got my attention and exposed how I was lukewarm. I was going to be told, “depart, I never knew you.” It was also about the same time this new radio program was playing on the local A.M. station. This funny, yet serious man named, “Todd Friel” with, “Wretched Radio” kept chipping away at what I had been told by the Church, with truth from the Bible. He was presenting a Reformed view of soteriology. (salvation) It was rocking my world. I was also listening to a local theologian on the same station. His name was Matt Slick. At first I was like, “What’s with this clown’s name? Is he a used car salesman or what?” So I was curious. I went to his website, “CARM.ORG” I read many of his articles and listened to his program and Todd Friel’s program intently and found myself nodding in agreement with them. I got on the internet and watched video after video from Matt Chandler, David Platt, Paul Washer, John Macarthur, R.C. Sproul, Leonard Ravenhill, Martyn Lloyd Jones, and so on. It was like I had this table with a billion puzzle pieces on it, and I only had a couple of corners figured out with some clouds, and these two men were helping me put the pieces together faster than I had ever done before. One day after most of the pieces were put together it was like someone nudged the table and the remaining ones fell into place. It was one of those epiphany moments you have in life.
I don’t want to forget to mention the affect that, “Witness Wednesday” on, “Wretched Radio” had on me. I heard Ray Comfort and Todd Friel presenting the real gospel message to people on the streets and on college campuses. I finally heard the gospel after 15 or so years of believing I was a real Christian. Instead of hearing, “You’ve got a Jesus shaped hole in your heart. Won’t you let Jesus in? God is a gentleman and won’t come in unless you ask Him. He is waiting at the door of your heart, won’t you let Him in?” I was in a state of shock. It was so simple. Why hadn’t anyone preached this to me before?!? Why? Why? Why?! I was so angry with the Church, my friends, and most of all me. How could I not get it? Faith and repentance! Du!
What I had known to be the Christian faith was off by just a scant amount, it seemed Christian, but it was out of phase. Through all of these influences in the middle of my suffering, I heard about real saving faith and repentance that are granted by God. Faith I couldn’t force myself to have in 15 years of trying. Repentance I couldn’t force myself to do, and the effects of these two things. I found myself running headlong into a study of Reformed Theology, the Reformers, the Puritans, and God’s sovereignty. My wife would ask me if we could talk about something other than religion. My co-workers were probably wondering what was going on with me. I would talk about my faith with everyone I met and share the gospel with them. I started evangelizing wherever I went. I actually read my Bible from cover to cover with a reading plan from R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier. I consumed scripture like I had never done before. The word of God became alive to me. Doctrine after doctrine fell into place in a harmony I had never before experienced in all of my piece-meal Bible reading.
I’d be remiss, if I didn’t tell you about the great help Dr. R. C. Sproul’s book, “The Holiness of God” was to me. He corrected the low view of God, the high view of man’s abilities, and the marginal view of sin that I had. It fixed in my head how holy God is, how helpless man is, and how offensive sin is. With this knowledge firmly ensconced in my mind, I could finally put the false teachings behind me.
You see, people don’t get saved and then lose their salvation. They don’t get resaved over and over again. You get saved ONCE! If your life isn’t characterized by growth in knowledge of personal sin and in holiness you aren’t saved. It never happened. Do you read your Bible regularly? Do you hate sin in your life, the sin you used to make room for? Do you love to go to Church and be with God’s people and worship Him together with them? Do you trust Jesus alone for your salvation and righteousness? Do you love to do good works, not out of a sense of duty or obligation, but rather do… YOU… LOVE… to do the good things God has prepared for you to do before creation?
A saved person is a new person. They are a different person. They have a different nature. They are born again. They died to themselves and were resurrected with Christ a new person. I never got this in all those years. I suspected there was more to this religion, but I couldn’t grasp it. I couldn’t comprehend it… yet! Then God worked a double miracle in my life of regeneration, and justification. I trust Him to complete the sanctification that He has started in me. I desire to be conformed to His word and will instead of shrinking from it. I love Jesus! I hope you will to.  Watch the video to get the gospel presented to you.

Review of the KJV Study Bible in Black Genuine Cowhide from Holman

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What we have here is a King James Version study Bible from Holman covered in genuine cowhide black leather.

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The leather is soft and flexible with a nice grain to it.  The entire Bible flexes and bends very easily without being too floppy.

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The inside cover is lined.

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It has a sewn binding which enables it to lie flat when opened fresh out of the box without requiring to be broken in.  It will also last much longer with this kind of binding making this Bible an excellent long term Study Bible.

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It comes with two ribbon markers.  One is black the other is silver.  The ribbons are good quality, not those flimsy thin things you find in cheaper Bibles.

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The utilization of full color features is eye catching and will invite the reader to explore many side studies, however due to the full color features the pages do stick together right out of the box and require some working in.  Be careful not to tear any pages while you are separating them.  Included are a one and three year reading plan to keep you on track.

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The books have introductions, time-lines, and outlines.

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The headings, chapter and verse numbers are in blue.

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The words of Christ are in red.  The print is in a two column format with references in the center column. The font is crisp black 9 point font, with high contrast against the white paper behind it.

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The page edges and spine are gild in silver.

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This a well crafted Bible made here in America, that will give you many years of service backed up by a lifetime warranty.

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If you are in the market for a study Bible you have many options these days.  You can opt for a signature one like a, “Macarthur Study Bible” or you can choose one with numerous contributors like the, “ESV Study Bible.”  Why would you choose the Holman KJV Study Bible?  I know my KJV only friends won’t want this Bible because it lacks the Authorized Version stamp of approval because it has a copyright.  I know my hipster friends won’t want it because it isn’t gender inclusive enough for them.  I know my peers won’t buy it because, “The KJV is too hard to understand…”  To all of them I say, “You don’t know what you are missing.”  Listen I love the NASB, KJV, ESV, NKJV, and HCSB translations.

I’m not so misinformed or deceived that I’ll write off a Bible translation just because of some laymen’s haphazard critique.  I read and study for myself and accept Biblical counsel from men who are more learned and mature.  Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the history behind translations like the KJV and the Geneva Bible.  This particular Bible has so many articles, notes, maps, pictures, and helps that it would be ridiculous to write it off just because it is KJV.  Matter of fact most people that have a problem with KJV have not even really tried to read one.

I think after you look at some of the pictures, and realize how well constructed this Bible is and see many of the wonderful features it includes it might generate some new interest in this venerable old version.

Here are a list of features that I might have left out;

Full-color page designs
Full-color maps, charts, and reconstructions
Extensive book introductions and commentary notes
40-page concordance
Essays on practical and theological issues
Feature-length articles on the origin and transmission of the Bible
41 photos
62 timelines
59 maps
20 articles and essays
16 illustrations and reconstructions
15 charts
A helpful glossary of 17th century expressions relative to the KJV’s signature phrasing
Self-pronouncing text
Two-column text setting
Center-column cross references
The words of Jesus in red
One- and three-year Bible reading plans
Presentation page
Family Registry
Two ribbon markers
Silver page edges
9-point text size
9.50″ x 7.00″ x 2.25″
Product Information

Format: Cowhide Leather
Number of Pages: 2304
Vendor: Holman Bible Publishers
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.50 X 7.00 X 2.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1433603780
ISBN-13: 9781433603785

Review of the Hardcover In Touch Ministries NASB Holy Bible from Lockman Foundation.

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I know, you don’t see that many reviews of Hardcover Bibles these days.  Well, get over it.  This is a well constructed Bible and you’d be missing out if you overlooked it as a daily reader.  I mean, seriously, this is a great Bible for reading.  It arrived, wrapped in plastic like the picture above shows.  The hard cover may not be supple like leather, but it add structure.  You can hold this in your hands and it won’t flop all over the place.  Plus, since the binding is a sewn one you won’t be fighting the cover to keep it open.  Matter of fact if you look at the pictures I’m posting you can see many of the great qualities of this wonderful value.  It is a New American Standard Bible (NASB) one of the most accurate English translations.  It is printed on high quality paper with excellent contrast with the texts sharp black 10 pt. font.  Very easy on the eyes to read for long periods of time.  There are no notes or references in the text to distract you.  The text is in a double column format.  The margins are nice and wide for all kinds of note taking.  The text block is very well glued into the book board.  Lockman Foundation gave this thing a lifetime warranty.

They rounded the spine.  You can also see the signatures and how they are stacked before being sewn to the signature tapes.

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You can see the open side here.  It is nice to see attention paid to manufacture like this.

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This Bible comes with a 70 page concordance in the back as well as some really useful maps.

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Here you can see how the Bible just opens flat right out of the box without needing to be broken in.

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Another great feature of this binding is that they glued the first pages and last pages further up to keep the Bible bound in the cover and stop the pages from coming out.

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and just look at the contrast of the black text on this bright white paper.

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This particular Bible is printed right here in the good ol’ U.S. and it is very affordable.  You should definitely keep one at your desk.

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You can purchase one of these on Christianbook.com or Amazon.com

I included a feature list from another website at the bottom of the review for your convenience in case I left something out.

Here are some pictures I took of this Bible.  I included a ruler in some of them so you can get an idea of the dimensions;

Presentation page
10 point type
Double-column format
Concordance
8 Full-color maps
Unique binding that allows the Bible to lie flat
Smyth sewn binding
Expanded margins of 1″ for extensive note taking
Imported high quality French paper that doesn’t bleed through
Reinforced spine for increased durability
A lifetime guarantee
Hardcover
Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 1564
Vendor: Foundation Publications Inc
Publication Date: 2000
Dimensions: 9.75 X 7.0 X 1.75 (inches)
ISBN: 1581350732
ISBN-13: 9781581350739
Availability: In Stock
Text Layout: Wide Margin
Text Size: 9-10 Point
Text Color: Black Letter

I’m really rotten

I’m really rotten. When I am weary, people can catch a whiff of the corpse that is with me. I can try to perfume my corpse and cover it with ornate raiment, but that stench permeates and exudes forth in my futile efforts to conceal my corruption. It might not be evident to all, but it is ever before me, haunting my conscience with the knowledge of all I’ve done wrong and failed to do good.  Only the continual washing of grace can cleanse the festering corruption. One day that rotten body of death will no longer be with me. I will be glorified in Heaven with God. I will be finally free from sin in all of its forms.  By the obedient loving work of Jesus on the cross and the Holy Spirit in my regeneration in accordance with the Fathers will, I will know what it is to be free from sins corruption for all eternity, an ageless age!  O how I love Jesus!  Praise His name!  The one who saves the hopeless and gives victory over sin!