Sunday, February 22, 2015

UNITY IN MARRIAGE, by Dan Mayfield

"Be diligent to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace", said Paul, Eph. 4:3. This is true for the church, but it is imperative for the home. "A house divided against itself cannot stand.", Mk 3:25. Divided homes will not stand. And divided homes cannot possibly imprint the right message on children.

A child in a united home will see peace without conflict in the most important areas of faith and values. A divided home will send a different message to the children. Children in a divided home look at daddy saying one thing and they look at mommy saying the opposite. What is the child to do? The child must choose sides OR the child must say Truth is relevant and both "truths" are acceptable. This is the implicit message the parents have sent to the child. 

So parents, work out your divisions. Become united. If you are right in the Truth, then do not sleep or rest until the differences have been worked out. The souls of children are in the balance. The church needs unity in the home because the church is the home magnified. Divided homes make for divided churches and they simply will not stand.

This is God's wisdom and I pray you will see it. If you have a divided home, make uniting it your priority. Speak the truth in love. Sincerely yours.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

TRAIN UP A CHILD... Pro 22:6

[My wife and I raised our five children to be strong Christians who are married to strong Christians. And our eleven grandchildren are being shown the way to follow Jesus Christ too.]

People are dismissive of the promise in Pro. 22:6. I am not, but hear me out before drawing conclusions. The Proverb says to "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Comebacks include, "But they have free will! But so many good Christians have unbelieving children. You can't make people become Christian." Aside from these and other legitimate points, there is reason to believe that with God's helpful wisdom, you will bring your children up to walk with Him. The reason people are doubtful or questioning the Pro. 22 promise might be because they see so little success in parents raising their children to walk with the LORD. The stats don't look good. Instead of listening to the excuses and worrying over the stats, trust God and be the parent God calls you to be.

Here's a truth: All parents influence their children. When your children grow up, you will have imprinted on them. People will look at them and say, "You are like your parents." All parents are "training up their children", but they don't always train the children in the way they SHOULD go. The children are malleable clay, empty containers, and the clay is going to be shaped and the containers will be filled. How and with what is of great importance to God.

In a way, bringing them up to be dedicated Christians is simple. If you really love God, and if you really love precious souls, you are going to imprint that on your children. Likewise, if you really like money, and if you tend to focus on the externals, then you imprint on your children that that is what's really important. It's your passion that counts. Either way, you have trained the children but only one is the right way they should go.

Little children need to see faith in their parents. Little children need quality and quantity time from their parents. The focus in the home needs to be a God-centered focus. If parents are preaching the Gospel of Hockey and the Gospel of Popularity MORE than they are the Gospel of Jesus they hear for an hour on Sunday morning, then the parents are training up their children and they children will go the way the parents emphasized the most. I say this is the easy part of parenting, because it has to do with the parents taking care of their own personal faith in God. This is what each person is in charge of and can affect immediately.

But bringing up the child in the way he should go is also hard. The child is an individual, a human being, with a will of its own that will be exercised! This is normal, but the exercise of that will won't always, often in fact, be guided by personal wisdom. Parents teach the children a myriad of lessons like, "Don't touch that, it will hurt you! Eat this, your body needs it. Share, don't be selfish. Yes, you have a bedtime and don't get out of bed again. Did you brush your teeth? Don't lie and cry "wolf" or your words will be worthless. Do your chores, everybody pulls their weight around here."

You parents are the wisdom that guides and shapes the child's will. This is the hard part where two wills clash. My experience is that the majority of parents are unwise not understanding their role, they don't have a vision of where to take their children as adult Christians, they have desires for their children that are materialistic, and they are just plain weak so that they bend and give in and bargain when the resistance begins. The parents don't want to admit it, but they are training up their child to go the wrong way. They want to say they trained their children up to go the right way, but they continually said one thing while teaching their children the importance of so many useless things.

People hear these words and get hurt feelings. They take it personally, especially if their children are grown or if they appear to be heading in the wrong direction, and so they look for excuses. My point is not to hurt anyone and God knows none of us are perfect parents. So pray. Just pray to be the very best example you can be. Fight for your children's souls. Without compromise.

Will you go to war to save your children's souls? Will you suffer the loss of everything you have to save their souls? Will you move to remove evil influences from your childrens' lives? Will you throw away the thing in your home that you know in your heart is a stumbling block to your children? When you have been imperfect as a parent, will you shed your pride and apologize to your children? How bad do you want for your children to go to heaven?

Humbly yours, Dan

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

TWO DEATHS AND TWO RESURRECTIONS, REVELATION 20

"4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.   5  The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.   6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." Rev 20:4-6
The are two deaths and there are two resurrections.  This is the order of the 2 deaths and the 2 resurrections:

1st death --> 1st resurrection --> 2nd resurrection --> 2nd death

Everyone suffers the first death. Some stay dead and some, like the martyrs he spoke of, do not and they come to life and reign with Christ throughout His reign as King. Everyone takes part in the second resurrection. The second resurrection points to the general resurrection of the "living and the dead" (2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pt 4:5).  Since there is a second resurrection, what does the New Testament say is the first resurrection or life from the dead?  As when the Christian martyrs came to life to reign with Him, it is the Believes in Christ who are not dead but are alive in Christ. Becoming a Christian is a spiritual resurrection and a new life.  Why is this important to "take part in the first resurrection"? Because with the second resurrection, the second death has no power over them (20:6), and they enjoy eternal life unlike those who did not take part in the first resurrection. The majority of mankind is in this spiritually dead state. They are like the woman Paul speaks of, "she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives." 1 Tim 5:6.  Therefore those who don't take part in the first resurrection are still in their sins and will not be blessed at the judgment day. For these, the second death WILL have power over them.

The first resurrection must be the becoming of a Christian. Jesus said,
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." Jn. 5:24. 
"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." Rom 6:4
"12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions," Col 2:12,13 
They overcame the first death, taking part in the first resurrection, and came into life not to spiritually die again. They were raised to walk in newness of life, Rom 6:3-5. They are "born again" and "new creatures in Christ". This is why Revelation 20 says that the second death has no power over them.

So what?  The second resurrection and the second death, which is the judgment of hell, is coming and everyone should be taking part in the first resurrection that they might not suffer this fate. Everyone needs to do is to take part in the first resurrection, and enjoy new life as a Christian.  If a person remains dead in his sins, after the second resurrection, the second death did have power over him.

I believe this is the correct meaning of Revelation 20. I offer this humbly, Dan

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

OBEY AND SUBMIT TO THE SHEPHERDS IN THE CHURCH

"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you." - Heb 13:17
The same word "obey" is used in John 3:36. Some Christians are misled and are opposed to the notion of being obedient to the Elders in the Church. They would dilute the office of Bishop and allow that the Shepherds are examples only and have no authority over the church. But what about that word "obey"? It's more than "be persuaded" or "follow their example". It has the idea of obedience, something beyond merely believing. The NASB says, 36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” So don't just believe what Jesus says, as John 3:16 says, but follow through and actually obey Him or else you won't have eternal life. 

First then, the language in Hebrews 13 is clear on it's face. It says "obey" and "submit" and let them do their work "with joy" or, and this is a warning, "this would be unprofitable for you". Unprofitable means hurtful or harmful. Now do we want to hurt ourselves by not submitting to the Shepherds who are given oversight? I don't think so.

Second, since the Elders are going to give an account to God for the Sheep, how unfair would it be to them if God never told the Sheep to obey what the godly Shepherds are saying? A position of responsibility without authority doesn't exist except among fools - and God is no fool. When you have godly Elders, this opposition to their Leadership doesn't exist. But we live in a culture that's been raised to disrespect all authority, beginning with parents, then teachers, policemen, Elders, and even to God.

This "oppositional defiant disorder" (ODD) against the Presbytery (see 1 Tim 4:14), which I have been seeing for some time, has no place in the church of our Lord. Respectfully yours, Dan

Monday, February 09, 2015

WHERE IS YOUR SOLOMON'S PORTICO?

The early church met at the temple,  not to carry on their lives according to the Old Law, but it was where people were and they went to there to teach the sinners about the Gospel, Acts 3:1.  The early church met at Solomon's Portico which was, my understanding anyway, a public meeting place for friends and for discussion, Acts 3:11.  This was the way to take the Gospel out "out of the church building", so to speak, so that it crossed paths and intersected with the lost world.  That being said, where is your "Solomon's Portico" where you live?  Where do you mix with sinners so you can save some of them? 
"9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world." 1 Cor. 5:9,10
"10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.", Matthew 9:10
"5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.", Lk 19:5-7
Years ago I had a preacher tell me he spends 40 hours a week in the office working on his sermons. He said his job was not to evangelize but to preach.  I was a young Christian but it didn't sound right to me. Not that he shouldn't spend quality and quantity time on preaching, but I understood then that being light in the dark world and being salt and that confessing was not going to be very effective if it's only done in the safety of the church building.  How can the Preacher preach that Christians ought to evangelize if he excluded himself from it?  I would like to think that every Christian, including the Preachers and Elders, are living lives that intersect with the sinful world so that some in the world will be saved.

I offer this humbly because I'm a work in progress. Sound off and share with where your Solomon's Portico is.  - Dan

EVERYBODY HAS THEIR PREFERRED RELIGION

The atheist has his religion and he takes every opportunity to confess it, sacrifice to it, and to tell everyone about its precepts. There are many who are found to be sinners by the atheists practicing and proclaiming their faith. It is an old religion they practice.

The COEXIST guy in his car with butterfly stickers and political stickers are his attempt to evangelize and push his religion. And not a few people in the world are made to understand their sins by the COEXIST guy. I want to ask one of these guys sometimes, if I can get them to pull their Subaru over, just what is the Pentagram symbol doing there and how do you "coexist" with Satanism?

Along this line, I was talking to a very nice man the other day who had spent many years in the California sun before moving back to his Minnesota home and family -and so he talks with this gnarly, surf boarder inflection. He's a guy who sees God as being so loving that He could never send anyone to hell. This California dude, who I enjoy speaking to, is evangelizing his religion to me. Oh, and he criticizes his mother and others for a sinful judgment of gays and Muslims. Being so closed-minded is a sin in his religion. Of this type of religious guy, the saying fits that the only sin is the sin of intolerance. Well that's not entirely true that this is the only sin he sees because he shared how he just hates the long drive to work because he is worried about the "carbon footprint" he's laying down. He's heard and accepted the Gospel of saving Mother Earth. He's doing wrong, according to his religion, and he knows it. I don't know how he's going to find forgiveness.

When talking to gnarly dude, I told him the words of Christ that anyone who doesn't believe in Him and tries to be saved through some other name, will die in their sins. I quoted John 8:24; 14:6; and Acts 4:12 and he just looked at me like he didn't know what to say. At that moment there was a friendly collision of religions. I said to him that I believe Jesus is the Son of God who is risen from the grave and that Jesus' words carve out a very specific and exclusive path to eternal life.

Everyone is religious. The people in Athens were religious but Paul quickly let them know that most religions were wrong. "I see that you are religious in every respect", he said to them, and then he then went on to tell them to repent and follow Jesus Christ because God has fixed a day He will judge the world in righteousness.

Let me say a final word about the word "religion". When the new age, 'christian', religious guys sells his religion by promising it is not a religion, but is instead a relationship, please understand that he is a charlatan. Until he can prove to you that James 1:26,27 is void, I recommend that you strive to be part of the "pure and undefiled religion" of Jesus Christ. I humbly offer this for your consideration. - Dan

Saturday, February 07, 2015

CHRISTIANS AND THE NECESSITY TO ATTEND WHEN THE SAINTS ASSEMBLE TO WORSHIP GOD....


"not forsaking our own assembling together" - Heb 10:25
Can call yourself a Christian if you don't assemble with the saints? Certainly you can call yourself a Christian if you don't assembly, but that doesn't mean you are one. You can call yourself a tree, a dog, or a man can call himself a woman, but that's make you one. Disciples of Jesus Christ don't keep to themselves and aren't aloof from the church family. 

Because there's no way to argue otherwise, and so some employ the tactic of maligning those who do regularly attend worship. They say, "Some people attend and are hypocrites....therefore 'going to church doesn't make them a christian.'" Arguing that "going to church doesn't make you a Christian" to prove that attendance isn't necessary is a straw man argument and it is faulty reasoning. But it is common reasoning used by not a few people. Of course "going to church" doesn't in an of itself make you a Christian. No one would disagree. No more so than does getting wet in water "in an of itself" makes you a Christian. There are people who get wet and have no faith and there are people who attend who don't worship in spirit. So certainly there are so-called brothers who attend worship, 1 Cor. 5. So yes, attendance alone doesn't make you a christian. But this fact is only a diversion from answering the question at hand that IN the church assembly is the only place you find the true Christians.

A person who won't assemble with the saints is someone who doesn't understand God's plan and this person needs to learn the way of God more accurately. I offer this humbly for your consideration.
By assembling we help the Leaders to account for our souls, Heb 13:17 says, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you." This needed accountability is only part of the reason attending is necessary.

- Dan

LAW: ARE CHRISTIANS UNDER LAW?

I am not living under or amenable to the the Law of Moses. That has been done away and made obsolete, Heb 8:6,7,13; Gal 3:24,25; 1 Cor. 8:20.

But that does not mean I am not under a law. Now as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am under what the New Testament calls "the law of Christ", 1 Cor. 9:21; Gal 6:2; "the perfect law, the law of liberty", Jas 1:25; 2:12; "the royal law", Jas 2:8; "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus".

Under this more perfect law, established when Jesus Christ died on the cross, Heb 9:15-17, by faith striving to put away all wickedness and live according to God's will, though I am imperfect, God counts me as perfect, as perfectly keeping His will. Thus for my faith, He credits righteousness to me. I am justified by faith for living according to the commandments of Christ, Mt 28:19,20.

Be saved today by obeying the Gospel, for what will be the outcome for those who do not obey it, 2 Thess 1:7-9; 1 Pt 4:16,17; Rom 10:16.

I offer this humbly.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRIT AND SOUL OF MAN, 1 Thess 5:23


The word "spirit" in the Bible comes from the Greek pnuema, and refers to man's spirit, the holy spirit, and to evil spirits. So pnuema refers to the part of man that lives on beyond the grave.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Paul says, 
"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Here we see three parts of a man which are separate from each other: spirit, soul, and body. "Spirit" is the Greek pnuema. "Soul" is the Greek psuche.

The soul is used interchangeably for that third part of man (not his spirit and not his body) which is the breath/life animating force AND also it is used for the spirit of man.

"Soul" in 1 Thess 5:23 is speaking of the life/breathe/animating force of man. In that passage, the "spirit/pneuma" of man is the part of man that goes to heaven or hell, and thus the "soul/psuche" part of man must refer to the life/breath of man - because Paul is not being redundant, by repeating himself.

However, and this is the confusing part for some, the Greek psuche/soul can also refer interchangeably to the spirit of man that goes to heaven or hell (see James 1:21, 5:20; and Rev 6:9). By receiving the word implanted, you save your souls, Jas 1:21; 5:20. There the soul/psuche is - most agree - talking about the spirit of man that goes to heaven or hell. It was the souls/psuche of the martyred Christians who were seen under the altar in heaven. Context tells which usage is appropriate understanding of the soul/psuche.

Another possible example of soul/psuche being used for the spirit of man include Mark 12:30 where the command is for us to love God with all of our heart, SOUL, mind and strength (nor in the Luke 10:27, Mt22:37). Is the command telling us to love God with our life/breath or is it telling us to love God with our spirit? I would be interested to hear others thoughts.

So what?  What's the point then of Paul's words to the Thessalonians?  Well if body, soul, and spirit speak of the entire man, as he also said, "may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely", then may not part of the Christian be unsanctified or unholy at the coming of Christ. Paul is wishing them to be fully sanctified until the coming of Christ.

Humbly I offer this. Dan

Thursday, February 05, 2015

THE COWARDS' CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES: AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO ELDERS AND PREACHERS


How does a long time conservative/scriptural congregation become a liberal, denominational

paradise? Choices.
The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesian' Elders that ravenous wolves would arise amongst themselves and to be on guard for the flock. But what if the Elders decide to ignore the apparent problem? They rationalize it's a small matter. They think it will go away. They think he's only one person and we will keep the balance of "power". But soon, without the Elders realizing it, a lot of new members have entered the church and they are coincidentally of the same mind as the lone, ravenous wolf. Then new Elders are put forward and one or more of them is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Soon the church will be destroyed. It's all to do with really bad choices and it's on the basis of fear.

How does the church lose its way? By ignoring sin in the camp. It's just a little bit. But the sin of one begins to make some lose confidence in the Elders. And the sin, "it's just a little bit", begins to influence others to have a little bit of sin in their lives. The little bit of sin becomes, sooner or later, something permeating the entire church, 1 Cor. 5. It's all to do with fear of confronting real sin in the church. The church must be vigilant to address sin that's happening in the camp, (learn the lesson from Achan, Joshua 7).

How does the church go from being an awesome, vibrant church into just another "celebration" denomination where worship has become a party? By not clinging to the Word of God. God's Word gives us the pattern to follow. The pattern examples of the Bible are vital and essential to the healthy church remaining unified. Preacher and Elders and spiritual men and ladies had better be ready to strap on the armor to fight the good fight of The Faith when they see someone enter the church who makes assertions and claims that cannot be established in Scripture. Faithful Christians know that if it isn't exemplified in Scripture, then it is forbidden for the life and worship of the church. It is the wolves and the leaven in our midst who will argue, and fool a few, that whatever is not specifically forbidden is allowed to be incorporated into the life and worship of the church. The latter was the attitude of Martin Luther and you see the inventions he and others like him brought into the church following that principle. We must cling to the Word of God if we are to remain the vibrant, united, and loving church of Christ. Cowards need to know they must join the fight of The Faith or else they will be a hindrance. There's no sitting on the sidelines in these matters.

How does the church go from being the New Testament church to just another denomination? By losing the best and most spiritual members because they left when they could not longer be a part of a place where the Leaders are too cowardly and fearful of putting a stop to the wolves and false teachers and the practicers of sin. These cowardly choices do not happen in a vacuum. They happen in and to the church. And the godly members who lament the apparent acceptance of a little sin will only stick around so long. They leave. And no vacuum remains empty. Who will fill the vacuum? Weak Christians? Wolves? Poor cowardly Leaders? All of the above and more BUT not strong Christians. The Elders who thought they could tolerate a little bit of sin or that they could have an Elder or two who were not of the same mind because they reasoned they would keep the balance of power have learned that the balance has tipped away from them. Now the once conservative Elders either change their minds and accept the false teachings and sin or else they die off and get replaced by the liberal-minded wolf.

All of this change happened because way back, ten or twenty years ago, the Leaders did not address sin. They were afraid to confront. They might lose a "valuable" member who might only be better with time. They were not concerned about sin as they should be and allowed a little sin to fester. Well now look what the wound of sin has become! I have personally witnessed strong congregations become liberal congregations. These are in Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, but it happens everywhere. As long as we are alive we must never ever let this happen on our watch.

Humbly yours,

INSPIRED

What inspires you? What keeps you moving? What makes you jump into action? What keeps you faithful? What stirs your spirit? What makes you break your silence? What causes you to take a stand, even alone? Are you more likely to come to church if there's going to be food afterward? Are you less likely to come to worship if coinciding with it is a family gathering over food? Are you less likely to speak up and boldly defend God's truth if it means confronting a friend? Are you more likely to boldly tell the speak up and defend the truth if it's someone you don't particularly like? What is it that trips your trigger, as the saying goes? Is it righteousness, for the sake of righteousness, that you act on the basis of principle regardless the costs? Or is it just personal and based on whether or not it directly affect you? Are we really looking long-term, heavenward, or are we Christians who are just another iteration of worldly? Humbly I offer these questions. - Dan

Friday, January 30, 2015

THE PURE AND THE IMPURE, Titus 1:15

The news tells the story of a 40 year old woman who married herself and went on a honeymoon. This is not a marriage. It's a mockery of marriage. The devil is the destroyer because he destroys everything good. Marriage is a lifelong covenant by God. The devil makes it a mockery. A child is innocent. The devil defiles children. The devil is behind the idea of children being sinful. It makes men look upon children as sinful and naughty. The devil is behind drinking and drugs because they destroy lives. The devil is behind gambling because it destroys finances and families. The devil and his people are behind obsessive government because it destroys the family unit that is the first government. Adam and Eve were a family before there was a government. Family precedes government and yet government has become this Behemoth monster that takes over everything. Darwin is of the Devil because it destroys faith by having put their faith in a stupid, blind, powerless, unscientific theory of evolution. 
Paul said, "15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled." Titus 1:15. 
People who are pure. the Christian soul, looks out with pure eyes and sees the purity and beauty of God in everything. It's why Christians even love the sinner. Even the vilest of sinners have a soul and the image of God is stamped on even the worst of men. But an ungodly, unspiritual, impure person, sees dirty. He thinks dirty. He makes everything dirty. An impure person is driven by his lusts. He sees no sacred and so by his lusts he defiles everything. To the impure, marriage can be with a tree for all they care. Children can be exposed to immoralities. Nothing is right to the impure until everything he sees is made to satisfy his lusts. The footballl game must be made impure, not family friendly. Every movie isn't complete until there is nakedness in it.
___________

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

EVOLUTION IS ANTI-GOD (no matter what the Pope says)

Christians, do we care that our own children are being indoctrinated every day in public schools, in TV ads and animated shows, that God didn't create but instead they evolved from nothing? Do we think there's no destructive end for our children when we allow their little minds to be filled with belief systems that are antithetical? The world cannot be round and square at the same time. The mind won't both to be accepted. Good and Evil cannot be equally embraced. The mind won't allow acceptance of both. Evolution is a belief system that is diametrically opposed to the Christian faith. Contrary to what the godless of the world assert, there's no science to support the spontaneous generation of life. There's not science to support the trans species evolution.

I have two books on my shelf. One is a book on beginner's Greek. The other book covers intermediate level Greek. The books are different. One book contains more information than the other. There are similarities between the two but they are also very different. It takes intellectual thought to develop both books. And the "evolution" from one book to the more complex book cannot happen by accidental processes no matter how many eons of time are granted it. The development of a book takes thought. Thought precedes the making of anything. This includes the making of a book or the making of a living organism. When evolution that one species evolved to another species, evolution is asking for something greater than the miracles of 6 days of creation or the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Evolution needs a infinite number of miracles to occur with each of its evolutionary steps. For each new species is a new book written in the DNA of the organism. So the Pope claims evolution is consistent with Christianity? What a delusion is being sold to our children!

Christian parents, for reasons that can't hardly be explained, are allowing the godless belief system to be implanted into their children's minds. A good friend who teaches Sunday School shared the following with insight: "[Y]esterday, in a Sunday school class I was teaching, in the Lord's church, 11 out of 11 four and five-year olds responded in unison with a loud and boisterous, "NOooo!", when I asked if humans and dinosaurs ever lived together. This was after weeks and weeks of instruction on the days of creation and a specific set of instruction that dinosaurs are animals. Then I asked that question. The parents believe in evolution and put them in public schools, this is not just in the Catholic church." This is real world, folks. The local congregation may not be pushing evolution, but it is silent on the topic. And the kids are being indoctrinated outside of the church. I fear the inevitable clash of systems when the children can't connect the dots and make their belief in God to mesh with their beliefs about so-called Science.

What should Christian parents do? Be warned and equip your children. Yes, some people decide the best option is to home educate their children. Others choose a private school. And others don't have the money, or ability, or maybe they just don't think the school system is bad enough for taking such a drastic step, but these still parents must address the lies their children are being told. It's OK for parents to tell their publicly educated children that teachers don't always get it right. When it comes to the hot topics of our day like marriage, the definition of family, the acceptance of transgenders, and evolution, Christian parents MUST sit their children down and lovingly teach their children what God says.

And I say this in love. Dan Mayfield

Friday, January 23, 2015

DELAYED GRATIFICATION and SPIRITUAL MATURITY

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age", NKJV, Titus 2:11-12
In the present age, the Christian is thinking about the spiritual gratifications that come from the presence of God. Momentary pleasures don't hold the appeal that the future blessings in heaven do.
...
Animals don't think beyond the piece of meat in front of their nose. So they eat it. It doesn't matter that it's not theirs. The animal has no rules. Humans who don't care about God are going to necessarily think short-term. They will steal. They will cheat. They will kill. All of their choices are only weighed against possible consequences in this life. The eternal judgment or pleasure of God doesn't come into consideration.

The nature of the Christian walk is one of making choices between the flesh and the spirit. The immediate gratification that fleshly men make is wrong to the Christian. So he chooses against such things that he might be found pleasing to God.

Growing up is the process or maturing from infancy to adult. And it is often a battle to overcome childish ways. Growing up as a Christian is a process of maturing from the childish and unspiritual ways of the past life to become the full grown Christian. This growth takes dedication, diligence, striving, and overcoming. It's a real battle. And without the battle, there is no maturing so the infant remains an undeveloped infant. The spiritual baby that isn't challenged will continue to act like the fleshly and carnal animals who see the piece of meat and eat it whether it should or not.
Paul reminds the Christians about living in the present world in a way that is sober, godly, and righteous which is very much against the grain when we are used to instant gratification.

God's saving grace reminds us of the value of turning away from the worldly path and to live as spiritual adults. It's not that there is no gratification in being a follower of Christ, it's just a delayed and better gratification.
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Here's the link to an interesting article on the societal problem of Instant Gratification, "http://www.bucknell.edu/communications/bucknell-magazine/instant-gratification-and-its-dark-side.html, Accessed 1/27/2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

IF IT DOESN'T SAVE, THEN IT ISN'T THE COMPLETE GOSPEL

I have heard people try to minimize what is the Gospel - a "core Gospel" if you will - to distinguish it from the response to the Gospel. I gather that the purpose of this effort to narrowly define the Gospel is to then be able to say that a wider or broader segment of religious organizations, namely denominations, are preaching the Gospel. This premise, which I believe is false, leads to the false conclusion that these denominations are doing the Lord's work of spreading the Gospel. Let me challenge that.

Let me illustrate my point of what I think is the goal of narrowly defining the Gospel. Let's say that the Gospel is defined as the love of God. If that's the Gospel, and if preaching the Gospel is preaching about the God of love, then a very wide and broad segment of religious society could be said to be faithfully proclaiming the Gospel. The defining of the Gospel in the narrowest of terms, or too narrow of terms, must be challenged so that we aren't unfaithful.

Though Paul gives a synopsis of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 as centering around the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, these are not all there is to the Gospel. These are not the complete Gospel and I'll tell you why.

The complete Gospel must include teaching not only the doctrine of Christ, but also the proper response to the Gospel.

The Gospel saves. Romans 1:16 says the Gospel is God's power to save to everyone that believes it. The Gospel when preached and obeyed results in salvation. Without the obedience there is no salvation. And if a person is not saved, washed in the blood and added to the kingdom of Christ, we have to conclude that something less than the Gospel was preached.

Since denominations stop short of teaching what Ananias taught in Acts 22:16, and they stop short of teaching what Philip taught in Acts 8, and they stop short of teaching what Paul taught in Colossians 2:12,13, and they stop short of teaching what Paul said in Galatians 3:26,27, then their work doesn't result in people being united with Christ death, burial and resurrection in the waters of baptism and therefore they are not saved.

At best, preaching the Gospel of Jesus without also teaching what He said in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15,16, is only teaching a partial Gospel. Without obedience and adult immersion, they don't preach the Gospel Paul wrote about in Romans 1:5,16; 6:3-5; 10:16;16:26. In the end, a partial Gospel does not save. Jesus said, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." The Gospel calls for repentance and baptism and holy living. 1 Peter 3:21 says "baptism saves you".  Since we know it is the Gospel that saves, it must save at baptism. Simple. It's still grace. It's still faith. The salvation is still a gift. But the moment Gospel salvation is first received is in the waters of baptism. The salvation of the Gospel only occurs when a person responds to it in obedient faith. It's simple, really. Preaching the "core Gospel" might make the tent bigger, but it doesn't fill the tent with the saved. If repentance and baptism are not called for and obeyed, then the complete Gospel isn't preached.

I say this in love and respect. Sincerely, Dan Mayfield

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