Tuesday, May 29, 2007


First tier, second tier, third tier and the list goes on. These words are becoming popular in describing different doctrines of the Scripture. Other than being useful in defining to others what you believe, they really are not helpful in the debate over what other SB's believe. The problem is that what you consider to be first tier, they may believe is second tier and the opposite could be just as true. For instance, is eating meat offered to idols a sin? This "tier" is completely trumped by the "tier" that exhorts us to not cause our brother to stumble as well as the tier that if we eat with a guilty conscience, we sin against ourselves. The reference for these is I Corinthians 8:7-13.

My point here is not to argue about eating meat offered to idols but to use one simple illustration of how difficult it is for either myself or another to dictate to others those doctrines that are "essential/first tier" and those that are "non-essential/2nd tier, 3rd tier etc." Does the fact that some Scriptures deal more specifically with my sanctification than salvation make them of lesser importance? Does the fact that some Scriptures deal more specifically with glorification and eschatology mean that they are of lesser importance? Indirectly, such descriptions as tiers imply, intended or not, that some Scriptures are not to be taken as serious as others. That implication, in my book, is indefensible. II TIMOTHY 3:16 ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE PERFECT, THROUGHLY FURNISHED UNTO ALL GOOD WORKS. All Scripture is of serious nature simply because it is given from God.

Who gets to decide the importance of Scripture? God does. Which Scripture is important to God? Apparently, all of it. Otherwise, that which was true of the people of Israel in the time of the Judges will simply be that which is recorded about us. Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. We have a King. Jesus! And we have His word. Obey it. God help us to do that which is right in Your eyes.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007


No, the answer is not a q-tip.

Sometimes, we find ourselves caught off balance. What we expected to hear is not what we actually heard. We ask questions with preconceived notions and based upon our prior knowledge, we expect the questions to be answered in a particular way. If you ask enough questions with such notions, eventually, you can expect to find yourself answered in a way other than what was expected. Preconceived ideas and notions can contribute greatly to poor reception in the exchange of ideas and thoughts. There is one concept, however, that is actually worse than just having preconceived ideas. That concept is: asking a question from someone who will tell you what you want to hear, in spite of what the truth really is.

This concept sounds tempting. Surround yourself with "yes-men". Imagine always hearing what you want to hear. Yes, you have more money in your bank account than what your ledger shows. Yes, you can eat the whole gallon of ice cream without unhealthy side effects. Yes, you can drive as fast as you want. Yes, you can skip any bills you want to this month. Yes, you can hit that person for making you angry. Yes, you can cheat on your spouse without any consequences. By now, your imagination can take you beyond even what I have mentioned here. Yes, you can be saved without repentance. Yes, you can be saved without going through the cross. Yes, you can be saved without faith alone in Christ alone. Yes, there are many paths to heaven. Yes, all men will eventually be in heaven. And if you look long enough and hard enough, you can find someone who would willingly tell you any or all of these things. You could even find, based upon recent article links, Southern Baptist Sunday School Teachers that would agree with you on some of these ideas. However, this post is not about them, but about those of us who would turn to them for answers.

Paul warns Timothy, in chapter 4 of his second epistle to the same, that there would come a time when people would not want to hear sound doctrine and as a result, would raise up teachers that would tell them what they want to hear. Why do they want to leave sound doctrine? What is it that could drive a man to pursue something false? What is it that could drive a man to seek out "yes men"? Paul says plainly in II Timothy 4:3 that it a man's own lust. Since his own lust wars against the truth, man seeks a different truth. Since his own desires war against the desires of God, man seeks a different god. So the question that is appropriate for us to examine is this: To whom are you listening and why? Is it because they make you feel good about yourself? Is it because that what they say does not confront you? Is it because that what they say is convenient for you at the moment and even politically/religiously expedient for you and others? Paul did not tell Timothy to see what tier the doctrine was on. Paul did not say that if it is lower than first tier that there is room for yoking together even though they would be unequally yoked. No, instead he told Timothy to:

1. Preach the word
2. Be instant in season, out of season
3. Reprove
4. Rebuke
5. Exhort with
a. longsuffering
b. doctrine

How do I avoid the sin of listening to my itching ears and lusts? Stay in the word of God. Why the word? It is ready at any moment to reprove, to rebuke and to exhort and that is just the medicine that itching ears need.


Thursday, May 17, 2007


Admit it. We get tired of fighting against sin and temptation. We wistfully look towards the heavens dreaming about how great heaven will be precisely because of what will not have to be dealt with there. Then, when we check back into reality, we falsely conclude that we will not be able to experience such this side of heaven. We resolve ourselves to the thought, I will just yield to temptation this once. Ever been there?

The strength for winning against temptation and sin is not thinking wistfully about heaven. In order for our minds to be strengthened, we must focus on Jesus. Hebrews 12:3-4 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Victory begins in the mind. No, not positive thinking but POWERFUL thinking. Such power can only be derived from thinking on Jesus and what He endured. Jesus endured the cross. Jesus endured death. Not for anything He had done but for the sin of the world Jesus suffered.

Considering Jesus and His sacrifice is the motivation for us to rather die than to yield to temptation. Tempted to yield to sin? Consider Jesus, be strengthened in your mind, and fight sin unto death.

Have a blessed day...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


For any who stop by, please pray for SelahV's husband. According to Peter at SBC Tomorrow, her husband has had emergency open heart surgery today.

I pray that God will grant him a speedy and full recovery and that SelahV will know the peace of Christ as she goes through this dark moment in time.


UNITY...Just What Does It Take?

Unity can be a really scary word, especially when tossed around in religious circles. In fact, it can be so loaded with preconceived ideas and notions that one would almost be tempted to abandon the use of such a word. However, as Satan has always done and will continue to do, he takes the creation of God and seeks to distort it in all forms and fashions to destroy what God has made and to make it distasteful for those who are supposed to enjoy it. He has certainly done this with music, television and literature. He attempts, with great success, to drive wedges between spouses, between parents and children and between true Christians.

I certainly am not in favor of working with any who have differences of opinions about many things. Paul lists truths that are necessary for unity in Ephesians 4:4-6. If I cannot agree with someone on these non-negotiables, we probably will not be able to work together. But in many cases, it is not that we disagree about the foundations in verses 4-6, it is the fleshing out of those truths where we disagree. Verses 1-3, however, address what it takes for unity, true biblical unity, to take place.

1. Walking worthy of our calling
a. with lowliness
b. meekness
c. longsuffering
d. forbearing one another in love
2. Endeavouring to keep unity in peace

Seems to me that when the question is asked, "Can there be unity?", the bigger question is, "Do I have what it takes to pursue unity?" Striving for unity is costly. No, not at the cost of core beliefs, verses 4-6, but at the cost of my personal ambitions, verse 1-3. If verses 1-3 do not describe the one who says he is seeking peace, the chance of finding it will be slim, if at all possible. There can be no peace in unity when one is trying to step on others to get to the top.

No, I am not an advocate of working with others who are not of like faith. Surely the Scripture answers this as well. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? But when it comes to working with those who are of like faith, it seems to me that unity comes when "I" have truly reigned in my own attitudes and actions. That is right, I am saying unity comes when "I" am right with God. What does unity take? People willing to humble themselves before God.

Have a blessed day...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Just for Fun

Occasionally, I will try to post something that you will find humor in but still prompt you to think. With that in mind, I would like to post a few quotes from The Last Laugh. This book was published in 1968 by Hallmark Cards, Inc. These are actual epitaphs taken from head stones.

"A questionable tribute to a man frozen to death in wintertime:
The winter snow
congealed his form
But now we know
our Uncle's warm.

"Here lies one Wood
enclosed in wood,
One wood within another.
The outer wood is very good,
We cannot praise the other."

Epitaph to an unhappy marriage:
Within this grave do lie
Back to back my wife and I.
When the last trump
the air shall fill,
If she gets up I'll just lie still."

Just one more:
"In All Saint's Churchyard, Newcastle England:
Here lies Robert Wallace,
Clerk of All Hallows,
King of good fellows,
And maker of bellows.
He bellows did make
till the day of his death,
But he that made bellows
could never make breath."

I wish for you all a blessed weekend.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Recently, my wife and I went down to the Gulf along the Cameron coast of Louisiana. For those of you who have ever been down to the beach, you do not need to be told that it is no "Florida". Yes, we had an abundance of brown sand and even darker water. Stuff would float up on the beach that only God truly knew the contents of and its origin. Needless to say, our beaches and water were not the main attraction.

Soon coming upon 2 years ago, one mature lady by the name of "Rita" struck the coast of Louisiana with great fury. I had the opportunity of seeing places where houses had been wiped clean from their foundations. I also visited the marsh and found some of those houses hundreds of yards if not miles away from their initial starting point. The nutria are now using some of that "debris" as homes as I'm sure more than a few snakes have as well. But back to the beach.

The water at our beach was so bad that you could not walk out to your knees and see your feet. It was just dirty. Some say, I have never personally tested this, that the water is dirty because of the Gulf currents that bring the sediment, and whatever else the Mississippi River deposits, to our shores. But the storm has done an amazing thing. For however long it will last, the water is now clear and the sand is now clean. In fact, it is crystal clear and just a few yards out, it turns blue/green. I was totally amazed to see this change. I even took pictures so that others would believe me. Yes the storm had caused a lot of destruction, but it had also "purified" a lot of the coast. The beach is actually a place worth visiting now.

We typically do not like "storms" to come our way in life. We do our best at avoiding trouble at all costs. But, sometimes, they come our way no matter how much we try to avoid them. What we usually do not see during the storm is the purging that is taking place as well. Our spiritual lives that had grown cloudy and soiled after the storm, once again are purged and clean. We usually see just the loss but God sees so much more. Lives have been turned upside down, but they are much cleaner now. Perspectives have changed. The frailty of life is once again understood. And the degree to which we had grown dirty and unkempt are more clearly seen once we have seen the crystal clear that has been left behind.

I would not necessarily pursue the storms of life, but when they do visit, know that God is doing a much greater work than you can imagine, especially in the midst of what you see as only destruction. As fire purges metal and iron sharpens iron, storms wash and purge. Try not to focus so much on the destruction, but instead, focus on the purity of that which is left behind. That is the hand of God at work.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work , that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.


Monday, May 7, 2007

Tagged...I'm It.....

Okay, I'm adjusting to this new life in blogdom and someone runs up to me, slaps me upside the head and says tag, your it. So now, I'm supposed to reveal a little, 7 facts, about myself and then tag seven other people who have blogs and who are then supposed to do the same thing on their own blog. Well, here it goes:

Number 1. I only "know" two bloggers. SelahV tagged me and Peter wants to kiss....never mind, just read at SelahV.

Number2. I like to read the dictionary, encyclopedia, medical journals, blogs.

Number 3. I am a news junkie.

Number 4. I love to garden and attempt to grow roses.

Number 5. I am one of the most "self-confident" people you will ever meet.(the requirements are simply that, it did not say the facts have to be good)

Number 6. I love music, especially classical.

Number 7. I love birds and birdwatching.

Okay, go thou and do likewise.


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Does Forgiveness Nullify Consequences?

Evidently, some people hold to the idea that if they have been forgiven by Jesus, there are to be no consequences for them to face. Is this an actual Biblical truth that forgiveness means no consequences or is it just wishful thinking? Obviously, you can tell from my choice of words that I believe it is just wishful thinking. Let's examine an Old Testament passage first. Open your Bible and read Numbers 35:9-34.

It is evident to see that a person truly guilty of murder was not allowed to live. However, if it was without premeditation, the "slayer"(KJV) was allowed to live. BUT, he must stay in the city of refuge or he could be killed by the blood avenger. So while it is obvious that the person is forgiven, the consequences are that he must remain in the city of refuge until the high priest died. Forgiveness does not nullify consequences. Let's look at a New Testament passage now. Read John 20:19-29.

It is evident once again that forgiveness does not nullify every consequence. Now why specifically, other than as a sign, that Jesus still bears the marks of the cross is beyond me. But even though the disciples were forgiven, Jesus still bore the marks of the cross. Their forgiveness, our forgiveness, does not negate the truth that the Son of God was crucified.

Consider now for a moment that a previously convicted pedophile has served his time, paid his debt and now comes to your church. Without a shadow of doubt, the man has "found religion"/"experienced conversion" and now wants to join together with a local body of believers. Are you going to immediately or any time soon, if ever, allow him to work with young men or women in private? The obvious answer is absolutely not and for good reason. It is not that the person is not forgiven from what they have done, but we are not going to put the person in a position to be tempted like that, and we certainly are not going to allow our children to be the bait or the test. The safety of the children and the sanity of the parents rises above the thought of, forgiveness = no consequences. It may be that some time in the future the individual regains trust, but the fact remains, a person can be forgiven and yet still face consequences of their actions.
1. A young couple has sex outside of marriage and she gets pregnant. Does the fact that they are forgiven erase the pregnancy?
2. A person in a drunken stupor drives his vehicle through a red light and kills a family in another vehicle. If he seeks forgiveness from the remaining family and the Lord, does that bring back the dead members?
3. In a foolish stage of your life, you consent to getting a tattoo. As a result, you not only have a picture on your body but you also contract Hepatitis. Does forgiveness mean that the Hepatitis is removed from your body?

Lists of this nature could go on for quite some time but I think those given illustrate the point that forgiveness does not mean there will not be consequences to one's prior actions. One more case and point and I will close. Just because I have chosen to save myself until marriage and you did not does not make me holier than thou. And should I choose to not marry someone who did not wait also does not mean that I have in error judged them or that I am guilty of a double standard or any statement of the ilks of that nature. A life lived in holiness uncovered does make those who lived lives of debauchery uneasy. But if, if I have truly been forgiven of my past sins/mistakes, I will rejoice at the fact that someone has maintained holiness as a virtue. I will not castigate them, I will be encouraged by them. I will thank God for their faithful witness. And should Satan try to use that opportunity to tear me down, I will celebrate in the forgiveness and mercy that are mine as a child of God though I might have a visible scar or reminder of where I have been and what I have done.

Let us not lower the standard so that we feel more comfortable. Let us instead promote the standard of Jesus Christ and give God the glory for those whose lives reflect the holiness of Jesus. One day, we will be free from the consequences of our old lives if Jesus is our Savior. But until then, I will rejoice in the mercy and forgiveness which God, through Jesus, has so lovingly bestowed upon me and I will not think less of anyone who has maintained integrity where I have failed.


You Call THAT Advice???

I seldom read Dear Abby but in my perusal of the news headlines, I came upon this article. You can read it HERE. I guess I must admit it. I still get offended by the world's, and especially Abby's, warped sense of reality. Well, offended might not be the right word. Something more like dumb founded, horrified, amazed, flabbergasted...you get the picture? But it isn't just Abby but the girl in the article as well. The young lady tends to think that being forgiven means no consequences. A man who drives drunk and kills a family in a crash can be forgiven, but it will not bring back the family or undo the horrible hurt visited upon that family. But that is another blog.

This line is what struck me as ranking in the worst advice I have ever seen given.
Cross Chris off your list as husband material."

In my estimation, the fact that Chris IS a virgin and wants to marry A virgin is a sign of being "husband material". He is faithful before marriage, he will tend to be faithful after marriage. And what, may I ask you, could be one of the chief qualifications that we OUGHT to be looking for in a spouse? Might I suggest--Fidelity to God. Now I am going to assume a whole lot here but please allow it for the moment. If Chris is faithful to God in waiting until marriage, does it not stand to reason that his faithfulness to God is what is going to be the trademark of his life. Chris will find himself in many situations in the future, as I'm sure he has in the past, that challenge or tempt his integrity. If Chris esteems integrity before God the ULTIMATE standard, whoever marries Chris will find a faithful spouse for life. It seems that Abby does not view fidelity as important to marriage. And yes, without a doubt, I am saying that fidelity BEFORE marriage is just as important as fidelity AFTER marriage.

The young lady also states that she has had a "conversion" experience. If that is true, why is she not seeking the counsel of God and the Scriptures first, and then other "Godly" counsel, which Abby is most certainly NOT! Instead of admiring and respecting a man who has convictions and considers them important enough to give warrant to deep introspection before he realigns them, he is castigated as being a hypocrite both by the young lady and Abby. I really question the young lady's fitness to be Chris' wife, NOT Chris' fitness to be her husband.

Chris, whoever you are, I say to you that you really need to give great thought and consideration to the fact that this appears in Dear Abby instead of behind the closed doors of a pastor's office or christian counselor. While none of us are perfect, she has shown herself to seek the wrong kind of counsel to which your marriage to her will be subjected should you two actually marry.

If that's what he wants, it's his privilege -- provided he can find one."
This too Chris is just a lie from Satan to get you to violate your fidelity to God. Do not doubt for a moment that God has a spouse for you. Chris, there is a Proverbs 31 woman for you. Keep trusting God!

Finally Chris, it is not necessarily your view on sex that does not bode well for the future, it is the young lady's idea of who is right to go to for counseling.

Proverbs 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

PS: Abby, just stick to telling people which fork to use at dinner!