Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

     If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel or motel, you’ve probably seen a Gideon Bible in the drawer.  Perhaps you’ve never read these words in the front of it. “This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is given you in life, will be opened in judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibilities, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents. – Author Unknown     

     Ignorance.  Without the Bible there are many things that we wouldn’t know.  It says in words what God wanted human beings to know about Himself, our real condition, and our future destinies.  The original writings were God breathed and profitable for doctrine (teaching), for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the true Christian might be complete, thoroughly furnished for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).  God the Holy Spirit superintended the writings of those whom He selected to convey to us what He wanted us to know (2 Peter 1:21).  Without the Word of God, we wouldn’t know about these things:

     Death.  Why do people die?  What is death – annihilation or separation?  What kinds of death are there? God told Adam that he would die (physically and spiritually) if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).  Having been tempted by the devil and deceived into thinking that eating of it would result in a good thing – being like God by knowing the difference between good and evil (Genesis 3:5), Adam’s wife Eve ate the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam to eat.  Immediately they realized that they were naked or had been stripped of something (Genesis 3:7).  It probably was their garment of light which believers will regain at the time of their resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:49; Daniel 12:3).  Jesus Himself has a garment of light in heaven (1 Timothy 6:16).  Christians will be made like His glorified humanity, not into a god (1 John 3:2).  Spiritual death involves separation from God and is the condition of every person who is born into this world (Ephesians 2:1).  This is why there is a need for all of us sinners to be “born again from above” (John 3:3) so we can participate in the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

     Salvation.  This occurs the instant we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior (Acts 16:31).  He died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the grave on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  This provision is made for all mankind (1 John 2:2).  Sadly, most people won’t accept God’s gift by faith alone in Christ alone.  They want to earn their way into heaven by doing good works.  Eternal life (God’s quality of life) is the present possession of every believer (1John 5:13).  Do you know for sure that you will go to heaven the moment you die?  Heaven is not the eventual destiny of every person.  Some people don’t want to go to heaven to live with God or His children.  Forcing them to go there would be hell in heaven.

     Forgiveness.  Judicial forgiveness takes place when a person accepts Christ’s death and resurrection as his/her own (Galatians 2:20).  He sees himself as dying on the cross for his own sins in the person of his substitute, Jesus Christ.  He also sees God the Father’s acceptance of the payment for his sins that he made in the person of his substitute (Romans 4:25).  So the life the believer now lives can/should be one that displays the life of God through the manifestation of the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, etc. (Galatians 5:22, 23).  Family forgiveness is extended to God’s children who confess their specific sins to the Father (1 John 1:9).  Sin (lawlessness) can’t cause us to lose our salvation, but it can/will interrupt his fellowship with God (1 John 1:7).  Christians should be willing to forgive others because God has forgiven us of a far greater debt (Ephesians 4:32).  Satan tempts us to have an unforgiving spirit (2 Corinthians 2:10, 11). 

     Rest.  God made us as a three part being.  We have a spirit (mind), a soul (emotions), and a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). These parts need to be refreshed and renewed.  The believer needs to be transformed by the renewing of his mind so he begins to think and view things from God’s perspective (Romans 12:1, 2; Isaiah 55:8, 9).  The spirit that belongs to the believer’s mind (Ephesians 4:23) is the only part of him that is saved at the present time (1 Corinthians 6:17; Romans 8:16).  The believer’s soul (emotions) won’t be saved until the Rapture of the church (1 Peter 1:9).  It needs constant refreshing from the Lord and His Word as He figuratively causes us to lie down in green pastures and leads us by still waters (Psalm 23:2).  A believer who is dominated by his constantly changing moods and emotions will most often make poor decisions in life. Quite obviously the believer’s body is not saved yet (Romans 8:23).  “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).  This is a general rule since there will be a generation of believers who won’t die physically (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).  As good as some people’s bodies may be, they have limitations and are subject to decay and death.

     Reading.  These are just a few things that we can learn from reading the Bible.  “He who can read the Bible but who won’t read the Bible has no advantage over the person who can’t read.”  If you are teachable and willing to change there is hope for you.  The natural, unsaved man living in rebellion against God will find this information to be foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14).  But a Christian can/should continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). 

     Help.  If this article has raised some questions for which you’d like answers, we invite you to contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site at

     “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:13, 14). 

     Time.  “A man ordinarily has time to do all the things he really wants to do.”  “When you kill time, just remember it has no resurrection.”  “Time is like money – you can only spend it once.”  “It is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to try to live in the future, and impossible to live in the past.  Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.”  Our time on earth is a gift from God and needs to be used wisely for God’s glory and the good of others. He decided when, where, to whom we would be born.

     In his book entitled, God Is Not In A Hurry,”* Dr. Warren Wiersbe provides some helpful suggestions for Christians to follow if we would like to utilize our time wisely on earth.

     Awareness.  Begin each day with an awareness of His presence.  Not only is God with His children, He also resides in us (John 14:17; Matthew 28:20).  We wouldn’t know this apart form our reading His Word and trusting in its reliability.  It serves as a light to our path (Psalm119:105) and needs to be studied carefully (2 Timothy 2:15).  We should meditate on it (1 Timothy 4:15), and allow God the Holy Spirit to illuminate our mind to the truth (1 John 2:20, 27).   

     Deo Volente.  Our planning should always include submission to the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14; James 4:15). The devil would tempt us to act independently of God (Isaiah 14:13).  Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  Each New Testament believer should do the good works that are related to his/her spiritual gift (1 Peter 4:10).  (See our “Bible Basics” section on our web site for more information.)

     Breaks.  To enjoy each day to its fullest, each Christian should take “Blessing Breaks.”  This involves our giving thanks to God for what He has done, is doing, and will do for us.  God wants us to thank Him, praise Him, and worship Him.  To worship Him biblically we must use our spirit (mind) and rehearse back to God what we know about Him from His Word.  We can do this by focusing on His goodness, righteousness, omniscience, omnipotence, truth, holiness, and love.

     Limitations.  As with all other human beings, we are limited by time and space.  Sometimes we have to graciously say no to those who ask us to do things for them.  The Chinese proverb says, “Many hands make light work.”  Our God is not a slave driver who makes us work to earn our salvation.  It is a gift from God.  We can express our gratitude to Him for it by our doing good works, but they are not done to pay God back for His free gift of salvation.  God wants His children to be sweetly reasonable, not extreme ((Philippians 4:5).   

     Purpose.  One of our purposes as Christians is to be well pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 5:9).  Sadly, many Christians grieve or quench the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).  If saved, are you displaying the Fruit of the Spirit in your life (Galatians 5:22, 23)?  Those believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit will have a singing, thankful, and submissive heart (Ephesians 5:19-21).

     Relax.  Too many Christians are uptight and don’t know how to relax and rest in the Lord.  Many of them don’t know the promises of God or mix them with faith and enjoy the peace of God in their lives (Hebrews 4:2; Philippians 4:6, 7).  A Christian at ease and in the center of God’s will is a great witness concerning the saving grace of God.

     Judgment Day.  We (believers and non-believers) will all stand before Jesus Christ some day.  He is the Judge (John 5:22).  Will you be judged at the Bema Seat Judgment or the Great White Throne Judgment?  One group will be headed for heaven and the other group will be cast into everlasting torment in the lake of fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthes 25:41, 46). 

     Questions.  If you have questions about what you’ve just read, we invite you to call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site at

*Portions of this article  have been adapted from “God Is Not In A Hurry,” by Warren Wiersbe.  Recommended reading.

  They were so diligent and sincere. They were sure that all the good works they had done for God would result in His allowing them to enter the kingdom of heaven. But then, to their total dismay, they heard the most dreadful words anyone might ever hear, “I [Jesus] never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness…into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 7:23; 25:41).

  What happened? What went wrong? Surely there must be a mistake. These people had prophesied in Christ’s name, cast out demons, and had done many wonders in His name. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

  Will Of God. What is it? When the people asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” He answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him [Jesus] whom He [God the Father] sent” (John 6:28, 29). Notice that He didn’t say, “He who believes and does good works will be saved.” Salvation is not of works lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5). It’s by grace (undeserved favor) alone through faith alone in the Christ of the Scriptures alone and not the Christ of the cults.

  Jesus.  The Bible tells us that He is the God-man who has always existed with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (John 1:1-18). He shares an absolute equality with them (John 5:18; 10:31; Colossians 2:9). As predicted, He was born of the virgin, Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). He lived on earth without sinning (Hebrews 4:15; 2 Corinthians 5:21) so He could die for our sins as the just one for the unjust ones (1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:2).

  Satisfied.  Having satisfied God the Father’s outraged holiness against our sin nature and our personal sins, Jesus was raised (not merely resuscitated) from the dead with a glorified body consisting of flesh and bones but lacking blood (Romans 4:25; Luke 24:33-43; 1 Corinthians 15:50). His bodily resurrection guarantees the eventual resurrection and judgment of everyone (1 Corinthians 15:22-26; Hebrews 9:27).

  Decision. You must make a decision as to what you will do with the Lord Jesus Christ. To ignore Him is to reject Him. What is your honest opinion of Him?  Do you think He is a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord Jesus Christ?  Even if you acknowledged Him to be all that is mentioned above, you could still end up in hell unless your faith rests in Him alone.  The devil and demons believe the facts about Him but aren’t saved (James 2:19). 

  Foolishness.  You may think all this information is nothing but foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14) and reject Him as your Savior. Or you can, with child like faith, believe on Him as your personal Savior and receive the gift of eternal life right now (John 1:12; 3:16; 1 John 5:13). From start to finish, salvation is of the Lord (Philippians 1:6; Jonah 2:6)

  Fools. They boastfully say, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Such a statement is impossible to prove. They should claim ignorance (agnosticism). They might say, “If there is a God who should happen to exist, we don’t believe that He is all knowing and all powerful.”  They think that they can get by with their lawless behavior (Psalm 10:11; 1 John 3:4). Don’t be deceived. God will hold all of us accountable to Him for everything we do and say (Matthew 12:36; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15). He even knows all about our motives (1 Corinthians 4:5).  Absolutely nothing escapes Him (John 2:24, 25).

  Scared? Fear of hell might lead some people to God. But the goodness and kindness of God toward us should be a greater motivator so that we trust in Christ alone for our deliverance from hell to heaven (Romans 2:4). Have you done that yet?

  Friends.  I’ve heard people say that they would rather go to hell and party with their friends than go to heaven to be with God and other Christians. Such people should consider what the rich man who went there and what Jesus had to say about the torments of hell (Luke 16:19-31; Matthew 25:30). Yes, there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain.

  Help. If you’re not sure where you will spend eternity, or have other Bible questions, call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web page: Our web logs (Blogs) are usually a summary of a talk we bring on Sundays. If you want, you can sign up to receive them as they come out.

Have you ever watched the program on TV about the “Doomsday Preppers”?  I find that show quite interesting as I try to line it up with what the Bible says will happen in the future.  Each person has his/her own ideas as to what will bring the world to an end as we know it.  Some fear earthquakes, floods, food shortages, nuclear wars, loss of electricity, plagues, and many other things.  They want to survive the perceived catastrophe and enter the brave new world with their family.

Possibilities.  Perhaps you’ve given some passing thoughts to such things and wonder if they could be right.  Maybe you don’t like to think about such things and so you “stick your head in the sand” and hope someone else will come up with a solution to the problems we face.  Maybe you’re hoping that the government will provide for you if such an earth shaking incident happens.  You might want to think again.  If a ruthless dictator takes over, he will give little thought to you and your needs.  Read what God says about the rulers of this earth (Daniel 4:17, 25).  Find out what such dictators are doing to their people in other countries today.  Believe it or not, it could happen in the U.S. too.

Armageddon.  Do you know what the Bible says about Armageddon?  Where is it mentioned in the Bible?  What events take place before and after it does?  How many people will die during that time?  Who will survive “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7)?  Why will it happen?  How long will it last?  What does one have to do to buy, sell, or trade during this time?  What if a person takes the “mark of the beast”?

  Prepared?  Even if these “Preppers” were able to cover all possible scenarios and survive and enter the brave new world, what will happen when they die eventually?  Where will they spend eternity?  What does it profit a man if survives “Doomsday” and then loses his own soul and ends up in hell (Mark 8:36)?  You are free to disagree with the Bible, but what if there is a hell to avoid and a heaven to gain?  Do you believe what Jesus said about these places (Matthew 25:41, 46; John 14:1-3).

Safety.  Personally, I’d rather admit that I’m a sinner in need of a Savior and that Jesus Christ died for my sins…and rose again bodily from the grave on the third day (Romans 3:10, 23; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  The only condition God has placed on mankind is for us to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and we will be saved (Acts 16:31).  God made His plan of salvation so simple that anyone can receive it and find safety in His hands (John 10:28, 29).  Our deliverance is not based on our good works lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Death.  “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  Death means separation, not annihilation.  All who die will one day be raised from the dead to face Jesus Christ as Judge (John 5:22; Revelation 20:11-15; 1 Corinthians 15:22-24).  What will He say to you?

  Concerned?  Are you absolutely sure that if you died today you would go to heaven?  Why should God let you in?  Is there anything you could do or fail to do that could cause you to lose your salvation once you get it?  If you need answers, call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site and read “God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation.”  Go to  Make sure of your destiny today!

  Most parents get excited when their baby takes his/her first steps.  They hope and pray that their child will grow up to be a normal, well rounded member in society and keep the family name alive.

  Japanese.  Babies learn by watching and listening to others around them.  I learned, as a child, how to speak one of the most difficult languages in the world (Japanese) simply by listening to others talk.  Having learned it as a child, I can speak it without an accent. 

  Imitate Me.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).  What an awesome responsibility parents have.  God wants us to teach our children His Word (Deuteronomy 6:7;  2 Timothy 1:5; 2:2, 15).  Are you doing this?  Do you know about the seven different sets of rules that are found In the Scriptures?  (We have a FREE chart that can help you if you’ll ask us for one.)

  Let’s keep things simple by using the ABCs.  God wants us to –

  Be Advised (Informed).  Many Christians who own a Bible have never read it all the way from Genesis to Revelation. Some of them get hung up on things like genealogies or other topics that don’t seem very interesting or related to them.

  Challenge.  We’re challenging our folks to read the entire Bible with us this year by devoting 15 minutes each day to it.  For those who don’t like to read, we are suggesting that they listen to its being read on a CD or FREE on the Internet.  Having read it, we encourage people to keep a journal of their findings and feelings.  “Biblical meditation” is also helpful (1 Timothy 4:14; Psalm 1:2).   Beware of other forms of meditation that invite evil spirits to take control of your life (1 Timothy 4:1).

  Be Baptized (Immersed).  The Greek (the language of the New Testament) word “baptizo” means to dip completely.  There are other Greek words for sprinkle or pour.  There are seven kinds of baptism mentioned in the Scriptures.  (Ask us about them.)  Christian baptism (immersion) is designed to picture one’s death, burial, and resurrection with the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  It should follow one’s personal faith in Him alone but it is not necessary for a person’s salvation (Acts 16:31-34; Ephesians 2:8, 9).  Water baptism demonstrates our obedience to Christ’s command (Matthew 28:19, 20), enables us to have a good conscience toward God (1 Peter 3:21), and has an influence on others (Acts 8:13, 36-38; 16:33).  (Ask us about “baptism for the dead” that is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:29).

  Be Consecrated (Dedicated). The most logical thing a new Christian can/should do is to present his body to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1, 2).  Too many Christians think that they know better than God how to run their own lives.  But God, who indwells true Christians (John 14:17), wants to live out His life through each one of them (Galatians 4:19).  He wants the “Fruit of the Spirit” to be manifested to other people around us (Galatians 5:22, 23).  Do you know how you get these nine Christ like qualities to manifest at the right time and place toward the right objects?  If not, ask us for help.

  Be F.A.T.F.R.E.E.  Yes, God also wants us to be Faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2), Available (Isaiah 6:8), Teachable (2 Timothy 2:2), Flexible (Acts 16:6), Resilient (1 John 1:9), Evangelistic (2 Timothy 4:5), and Enthusiastic (Philippians 4:4).  Which areas need the most attention in your life?

  Wait.  These are some of the things God wants Christians to do.  Spiritually dead people can’t do anything to please God or earn their way to heaven by their good works (Ephesians 2:1, 8, 9).  We become spiritually alive when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ exclusively as the One who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the grave on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  Have you done that yet?  Do you have Biblical assurance of your salvation?  If you do, is there anything that you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation once you get it?  If so, what would it be?  Do you know what “the sin unto death” is?  Is there an “unforgivable sin”?   Do you think you may have committed it? 

  Help.  Would you like us to help you find some Biblical answers to the difficult questions in life? We’d be happy to share information with you if you are teachable and willing to change when you clearly see what the Scriptures actually teach?

  These articles usually correspond to our talks on Sundays.  If you have questions and/or comments call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site at

  Many Christians are looking in all the wrong places for the answers to their questions in life. Did you know that a Christian has everything he needs for life and godliness within the pages of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:3)?  That’s right.  He doesn’t need to turn to the humanistic philosophies of ungodly men to enrich his life. 

  True Happiness.  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1, 2).  This man will prosper.

  Beware!  The Apostle Paul wrote, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8). 

  Think About This.  We wouldn’t engage in sin (lawlessness) if it didn’t make us us feel good (Hebrews 11:25).  Right?  Why do people engage in illicit sex, take drugs, or get drunk?  It brings them momentary pleasure or takes them out of the real world of pain and misery.  Some have a seared conscience (1 Timothy 4:2) and don’t want to come to the light (John 3:19-21).  But doing this will bring the wrath of God on them (John 3:36) and could lead to eternal condemnation in hell (Matthew 25:41, 46).

  It’s Not Funny.  “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?  Can one walk on coals, and his feet not be burned?  So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife” (Proverbs 6:27-29).  Many people today are suffering from STDs because they had a “one night stand.”  Perhaps you didn’t catch an incurable disease but you may have emotional scars that haunt you constantly.  Would you be interested in learning how you can be forgiven, cleansed, and live a normal, productive Christian life?

  Down And Out?  Have you been trying, without God’s help, to overcome the devil, your sin nature, and the world system?   Are you following God’s prescribed methods for victorious Christian living?  Did you know that each spiritual enemy must be overcome by using three different tactics?

  We’re Not Alone.  Consider this.  The Apostle Paul himself struggled with many temptations?  As a Christian, he wanted to do what was right but often ended up doing what he didn’t want to do (Romans 7:15-25).  It took time for him to learn how to put into practice what the Lord taught him.  He has written this information down for us in God’s Word.  If we take heed to it, we can/should live victoriously over the three kinds of sinful temptations that come our way.  Does this interest you?

  Common.  “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  I’m thankful for this verse because I used to think I was the only one with the temptations and problems I had.

  Be Good.  It’s not enough to tell people to “Be good” or “Just Say No.”  We need to shown them step by step what God wants us to do so we can live victoriously and abundantly in the spiritual realm (Ephesians 1:3).  Maturing Christians can/should sin less often (1John 3:4-10).

  Passion.  It’s my passion and desire to pass on to others what God graciously has taught me. “And the things that you (Timothy) have learned from me (Paul) among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). 

  Teachable?  If you’re teachable and willing to change, there is hope for you.  Otherwise, those who think that they don’t need God and who aren’t thankful to Him for providing us with salvation and His Word, will be given up to pursue their own lusts and end up in ruin (Romans 1:18-32). 

  Quick Links.  To help you find answers to some of your questions in life, we have a “Quick Links” list of places where you can find spiritual help on the Internet.  If you’d like to receive this list, call us at 805-238-3549.  We are continually adding to our web site new information for those who are interested in spiritual things.  Visit

One More Thing.  Christ died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the grave.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ exclusively and you will be saved. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Acts 16:31).   We’re not saved by our good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

“Down from His glory, / Ever living story, / My God and Savior came, / And Jesus was His name. / Born in a manger, / To His own a stranger, / A Man of sorrows, tears and agony.

“O how I love Him! How I adore Him! / My breath, my sunshine, my all in all! / The great Creator became my Savior, / And all God’s fulness dwelleth in Him.” (Sung to the tune of “O Sole Mio”)

  Imagine This.  God the Son came down from the glory of heaven to dwell with men for about 33 years.  During that time He accomplished the mission that God the Father had set for Him to do (John 17:4).

Religion. Man is incurably religious and wants to do something to earn favor with God and entrance into heaven. But Jesus came to judge meaningless religion (Mark 7:5-13).  Had man been able to earn his way into heaven, Christ’s coming would have been in vain. Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve, is “a type of the mere man of the earth.  His religion was destitute of any adequate sense of sin or need for atonement…he worshiped in self will, was angry with God, refused to bring a sin offering, murdered his brother, lied to God, became a wanderer, and was still the object of God’s concern.” – Adapted from Dr. C. I. Scofield

  One Way.  Jesus is a liar, a lunatic, or He is the Lord.  He said, “I am the [only] way, the [absolute] truth, and the [One who gives eternal] life” (John 14:6).  The Apostle Paul rebuked and cast out a demon from a young girl for proclaiming that Jesus was [a] way of salvation (from the Greek translation of Acts 16: 17).  The Apostle Peter affirmed this truth. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  Believe on Him and receive eternal life; reject Him and be condemned and separated from God forever in hell (John 3:18, 36; Matthew 25:41, 46).

Professors.  It’s not popular to be known as a “Christian” in some countries.  However, in our country many people attend church for all kinds of reasons: to make contacts with others for business purposes, to appear religious and upright, to make new friends, find a mate, or a number of other reasons.  But not all who profess to be Christians are true Christians.  Many people believe in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).  Judas was a disciple (follower of Jesus) but he wasn’t a true believer (John 17:12).  When judgment day arrives, Jesus, the righteous Judge who is all knowing (John 2:24; 5:22; 2 Timothy 4:8), will be able to sort out the believers from the non-believers (Matthew 25:32).  In which category will you be found?

Victorious.  Did you know that it is possible, though not very probable, for a Christian not to sin?  Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).  God has provided, within the Scriptures, all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  He has made a way of escape from every temptation a believer faces in life (1 Corinthians 10:13).  In spite of this, a Christian still sins periodically (1 John 2:1, 2; 3:9, 10).

  Confession.  When a Christian sins, he must confess it to God the Father if he wants family forgiveness (1 John 1:9).  We don’t have to confess our sins to another person unless we sin against him/her (James 5:16).  Every New Testament Christian is a priest (1 John 2:5, 9) and Jesus is our only High Priest and Mediator (Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 Timothy 2:5).

  Filthy Rags.  Everything (including all the good works) that a non-Christian does is sin in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-23). If he wants judicial forgiveness, he must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior through the message of the Gospel (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  How do you stand before God right now?

Questions.  Are you merely going through the motions of a ritualistic religion?  Do others see the power of God transforming your life into more Christ likeness?  If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  Are you ashamed of Jesus?  Are you interested in spiritual maturity, bearing much fruit, and enjoying God’s peace?  Are you professing to be a Christian without really being a true child of God?  Do you need assurance of salvation?  Why should God let you into heaven?  If you think that you are saved, do you believe that there is something that you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation?  If so, what would it be?  Are you enslaved to a sinful habit that is keeping your from spiritual growth?  Do you know and claim God’s promises?

Certainty.  If you’re not sure of your salvation, why not place your faith in Christ today?  God can save any and all who trust in Him.  If you have other spiritual needs, let us help.

Contact.  Call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site at

   Sand castle contests bring out the creativity of some people.  Many hours are devoted to building them before they are finally analyzed by the judges.  Winning first prize brings a lot of satisfaction to the developer.  But before long the tide comes in and washes them away.
  Foundations.  While He walked this earth, Jesus told a story about two men who built houses.  One built his house on a solid rock and the other built his house on the sand.  When the winds and rain came the house that was built on the rock stood firmly but the one built on the sand crumbled (Matthew 7:24-27).
  Houses.  Many people today are building their lives on the sands of human wisdom. It seems like the right thing to do but they will end up being destroyed (Proverbs 14:12).  God is left out of their lives.  To the casual observer their lives may look stable but when the pressures, adversities, and hardships of life come they will crumble.  Is your life about to cave in on you?  When it does, to whom or what will you turn?
  Churches.  Local churches are made up of people who assemble themselves together for a variety of reasons.  Some churches are built on the personality of the preacher or the programs for the youth.  How do you select a church to attend?  What do the leaders really believe and teach?  How committed are you to the Lord and His Word?  Is your church being built on the Rock, Jesus Christ?  What does it believe about the Word of God, the person of Christ, and the way of salvation?  Are you supporting an apostate church without your knowing it?  Sometimes false teachers are hard to identify since they appear as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15).  Be a discerning Christian (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1).  
  Grace.  Without God’s unmerited favor toward us and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we can’t be saved from hell and enter heaven.  But His grace is also needed for daily living to face the hardships of life (2 Corinthians 12:9). Today Christians live in the “Dispensation of Grace” (Ephesians 3:2). What do you know about it?  (Go to our web site for a FREE “Dispensational Chart.”  It could open up your understanding of the Bible in a whole new manner as it did for me.) 
  Methodology.  How the church is being built is vital.  Some people and churches erroneously think that the end justifies the means (Romans 3:8).  God insists that His work be done His way or it will all be in vain (2 Timothy 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:14).
  Three Pigs.  Shoddy materials are unacceptable to God.  A house built with wood, hay, or straw can be destroyed easily.  Remember the story of the wolf and the three pigs?  Those Christians who use quality materials such as gold, silver, and precious stones will have their works rewarded someday.  Good works don’t save us (Ephesians 2:8, 9).  They are the evidence of our salvation to other human beings (James 2:18).  Don’t get this mixed up or you could end up in hell.  It’s possible to be sincerely wrong.
  Inspected.  “An unexamined life isn’t worth living.”  Likewise, some day each of our works will be evaluated thoroughly by the One who knows everything (Hebrews 9:27).  God the Son, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, is omniscient and all powerful (John 2:24, 25; Revelation 1:8).  He is the One whom God the Father has appointed to be the Supreme Judge (John 5:22). Nothing escapes His all seeing eye.  The wicked man says in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see” (Psalm 10:11).  Don’t believe that lie.  Furthermore, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).  An atheist needs an awful lot of faith to believe that there is no God.  Since he hasn’t been everywhere in the universe, he ought to be honest and say, “I don’t know if there is a God or not.”
  Fire.  The fire on judgment day will reveal the quality of the works that the Christian did on earth (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).  Those works that meet God’s standards will be rewarded but those that are of poor quality will be burned up.  These verses don’t teach the loss of a true believer’s salvation.  That isn’t possible (John 3:16; 5:24; 10:28, 29).
  Great White Throne.  The same Judge Jesus who evaluates the Christian’s works will later judge the works of the unbelievers.  No one can escape judgment day (Hebrews 9:27).  There is more than just one judgment.  (See our web site for more information.)  It won’t be to determine if he gets into heaven or not but to determine his degree of torment in hell according to the works he did on earth (Revelation 20:11-15).  Yes, there are degrees of pleasure in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:15) as there are degrees of suffering forever in hell (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46).  You don’t have to go there.  Jesus came to deliver us from that awful place (Luke 19:10).
  How?  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for your sins…and rose again bodily from the grave on the third day” (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  Don’t be among those who “believe in vain” and end up in hell by adding “but” or “and” to “God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation.”  To help you, your family, and your friends, we have the Gospel message in 24 languages on our web site:  What you do with Jesus is the most important decision you’ll ever make in life.
  Help?  If you aren’t sure about your eternal destiny or need additional spiritual help, we invite you to call us at 805-238-3549.

Some Christians live heavenly lives on earth.  It’s not that all they ever have are golden-street, pearly gate experiences.  They often suffer deeply but they carry their burdens with peace, faith, and steadfastness.  They are on earth but their heart is in heaven.  Do you know some people like that?

Pigpen.  Other Christians could be called “Pigpen Christians.”  They wallow in sin’s slop, squander their spiritual inheritance and romp around in the slime of selfishness.  These believers are still headed for heaven…but living like hell.*

Spiritual.  When referring to others you might hear someone say, “He’s a very spiritual person.” But what does that mean?  To some folks it might mean that “He is so heavenly minded that he is of no earthly use.”  Maybe you think about someone who acts piously before others but you know he’s simply being  hypocritical like the Pharisees in the Bible (Matthew 23:14).

Definition.  The Scriptures refers to a “Spiritual Christian” as one who orders his life in submission to the Holy Spirit Who then produces the “Fruit of the Spirit” (i.e. Christ likeness) in this believer’s life (Galatians 5:16-25; 1 Corinthians 2:15).  The Holy Spirit will fill him (Ephesians 5:18) and lead him (Romans 8:14).  But the believer is responsible to direct this “Fruit of the Spirit” toward the right objects at the right time for the right reasons (1 John 2:15-17).

Sin Nature.  Every Christian can/should be spiritual from the moment of his salvation.  Sadly many (perhaps most) of them revert back to operating according to their sinful nature.  It was passed down to them from their parents and goes all the way back to Adam and Eve (Psalm 51:5).  This sinful nature which all men have (1 John 1:8) rebels against God and His rules.  It perverts wholesome things into the “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-21).  Like the devil, man has an insatiable desire to live independently of God and do whatever he wants to do (Isaiah 14:14).  Is that how you want to live?

New Nature.  At the time of his salvation, a believer in Christ is given a new nature that enables him to please God (2 Peter 1:4; Romans 8:8).  He doesn’t lose his old sin nature the moment he gets saved (1 John 1:8).  The struggle between the sin nature and the new nature will go on until the Christian goes home to be with the Lord (Romans 7:15-25; Galatians 5:17; 1 John 3:2). This world is not our home; we’re just passing through.  But we don’t trash it as we pass through.  Do your part to keep it clean.

Carnal.  The carnal Christian is saved but is one who acts like “a baby” Christian.  He cannot articulate well or think complex thoughts (1 Corinthians 3:1).  He must be fed on “milk” (1 Peter 2:2) rather than with the “solid food” from the Word of God (Hebrews 5:11-14). Consequently he doesn’t mature normally as he should and brings grief to the heart of God (Ephesians 4:30).  Is that what you are doing right now?

Consequences.  In addition to this, the carnal Christian quenches (renders ineffective) the Holy Spirit and keeps Him from teaching and illuminating his mind (1 Thessalonians 5:19).  Under Divine discipline the carnal Christian will be weak (with physical illnesses), sickly (i.e. having emotional and mental problems), and may be on the verge of having his life terminated prematurely by God the Father (1 Corinthians 11:30; Hebrews 12:5, 6).

Hope.  Because this “carnal Christian” is said to be “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:13) there is hope for him if he will confess his sins (1 John 1:9) and start walking (ordering his life) by means of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25).  He also needs to walk in the light as God is in the light if he wants to have fellowship with God and His children (1 John 1:3-7). Contact us if you’d like more information about this “solid food” teaching in the Word of God.

  Meditate.  Meditation is good when we focus our attention on the true and living God as He is portrayed in the Scriptures (John 4:24).  We should also set our deeper reflective thinking on things above, not on the things of this earth (Psalm 1:2; 1 Timothy 4:15; Colossians 3:1, 2).  Worthless self reformation through such things as eastern forms of meditation can bring greater disasters into your life.  Instead of having just one demon living in you, you could end up with seven (Luke 1:24-26).  The devil and demons are real (Ephesians 6:11, 12).

  Heart.  Man’s heart (mind, will, emotions) is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).  There is none righteous, no not one of us (Romans 3:10-23).  The way that seems right to you could end up in death and hell (Proverbs 14:12).

Beware.  There is a battle going on for the control of your mind (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Satan acts like a roaring lion seeking those whom he can overwhelm (1 Peter 5:8).  But greater is He who lives in true believers than he (the devil) who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Deliverance.  Upon believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who died for our sins…and who rose again bodily from the grave on the third day, you can/will be saved from hell and enter heaven (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  You can also live victoriously over your three spiritual enemies as you live your life here on earth (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Contact.  If you have questions, comments, or need additional spiritual help, contact us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site:  We post new articles weekly on our web log (Blog) to help those who want to know God better, grow in Christ, and serve Him and others more effectively.  We have “God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation” in 24 languages.

  *Adapted from “Strong Reproofs For A Scandalous Church” by C. Swindoll

  “There are no degrees of spirituality.  A Christian is either rightly related to [God] the Holy Spirit or giving way to the lust [strong desires] of the flesh.  The spiritual person may not be mature, but the mature believer must have been fairly consistent in being spiritual.  There are degrees of [spiritual] maturity which the Scripture likens to the growth process from infant to adult.  However, the Christian who walks by the flesh [his sinful nature] hinders that growth by his carnality (Ephesians 4:11).”  Dr. H. L. Schafer, “Maturing In Christ

  Three Part Being.  As human beings we have three parts: a spirit, a soul, and a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12).  Our understanding of these three parts will help us better understand ourselves and others from God’s perspective and why we operate and act the way we do.  We are not advanced animals as the evolutionists would want us to believe.  Believe it or not, we are all descendants of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26, 27; 2:7). Stop making excuses for your sinful (lawless) behavior as they did.  You are responsible to God for your behavior.  An inescapable day of reckoning is coming (Hebrews 9:27).  Prepare yourself for it.

  Spirit.*  This is the realm in which the new birth from above takes place (John 3:6; 1 Corinthians 6:17).  It is the rational part of our being that belongs to the mind and enables us to have a self-consciousness (1 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 4:23).  With his human spirit a believer is able to discern the things that come from the Holy Spirit but an unbeliever doesn’t have the capacity to do so.  Those who want to worship God must worship Him in spirit (using the rational part of our being) and in truth (John 4:24).  The truth concerning God and His attributes is found in the Scriptures (John 17:17). 

  Soul.*  This is the seat of the emotions that interprets the five senses to the mind (Luke 12:19-21; Revelation 18:12-14).  Even this part of the Christian hasn’t been saved yet but will be at the “Rapture” (1 Peter 1:9).  This is why it is dangerous when we allow our unstable emotions to overrule the rational spirit that belongs to the mind.  Those who are habitually being led by the Holy Spirit are the maturing sons of God (Romans 8:14).  Are you one of them?

  Body.*  It, obviously, is the material part of our being and includes our brain.  But it must be distinguished from our mind.  The mind uses the brain but it can and does exist without the physical organ.  This means that there is self-consciousness and awareness after physical death.  The unsaved rich man, who was being tormented in Hades, was very conscious of his own condition and that of the beggar Lazarus who was at ease with Abraham on the other side of the gulf (Luke 16:19-31).  At the present time the bodies of believers aren’t saved (Romans 8:23).  But they will be saved when the “Rapture” takes place (1 Corinthians 15:53).  They will be made like Christ’s resurrected and glorified body (1 John 3:2) with a garment of light (1 Corinthians 15:49; 1 Timothy 6:16; Matthew 17:2).  We will not become gods.

  False Teachers.  Don’t be deceived by false teachers who tell you that all Christians can/should be in perfect health while they are here on earth.  A famous “faith healer” died some time ago from pneumonia.  Even the Apostle Paul and many other believers suffered greatly while they were here on earth (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Hebrews11:36-38).  Those who demand that God heal someone might be blaspheming God.  God is not obliged to heal anyone simply because a preacher demands God to do so.

  Temple.  In the Old Testament times God dwelt in the Temple in Jerusalem.  Today the Christian’s body is the place of residence for God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:13). It must not be defiled by the activities of the sinful nature that still occupies our bodies (1 Corinthians 3:17;  1 John 1:8).  Otherwise God the Father might find it necessary to terminate the life of His child prematurely (Hebrews 12:5, 6; 1 John 5:16).  Our potential years and our actual years are not always the same.  Are you committing “the sin unto death”?

  Perspective.  What are your thoughts about Jesus Christ?  Perhaps you’re asking, “Which Jesus?”  Did you know that there is more than one Jesus in whom people trust?  Each cult and religion has different thoughts about Him and how to obtain deliverance from hell to heaven (2 Corinthians 11:4, 13, 14). 

  Truth.  The Scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ is the God-man (John 1:1-18; 5:18; 10:30) who was born of the virgin, Mary (Matthew 1:23).  All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him and He is equal to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (Colossians 2:9).  There are three persons but only one God (Matthew 28:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 13:14).  No man can fully explain this truth that is taught in the Scriptures.  Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), and performed miracles to validate His claims (John 20:31). Then He went to the cross to die as a perfect substitute for our sins (1 Peter  3:18).  Three days later He rose again bodily from the tomb and was seen by over 500 witness over a forty day period of time (1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Luke 24:33-43).  Then He ascended gradually back to heaven in the presence of His disciples with a promise to return (John 14:1-3;  Acts 1:1-11).  A thousand years to us is like a day to God (2 Peter 3:8).  God may be waiting just for you to believe on Him before Christ returns.

  Trust.  You could know and believe all these facts and still end up in hell.  The demons believe in Jesus but aren’t and won’t be saved (James 2:19).  Not until you transfer your trust from yourself and your good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9) over to the Lord Jesus Christ are you promised deliverance from hell to heaven (Acts 16:31). 

  Security.  Once you do this you are secure forever (1 John 5:11-13).  This doesn’t give you a license to sin (Romans 6:1).  We sin when we refuse to recognize any restrictions or restraints from God and act as though we had none.  God the Father will chasten and scourge His children who act lawlessly (Hebrews 12:5, 6).  Furthermore, there is a sin unto death (1 John5:16).  Many Christians die prematurely for committing this sin (1 Corinthians 11:30).  Don’t be one of them.

  Help!  We invite you to contact us if you need additional information about spiritual things.  Call us at 805-238-3549 or visit our web site:  We add new articles to our Blog (web log) regularly on a variety of subjects to help people know God better and grow in Christ so they can serve Him and others better.

  Pass It On.  God relies on His children to pass on to others what they have received (Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:2).

*Portions taken from “Maturing In Christ” by Dr. H. L. Schafer