Daily Bible Reading and Prayer Time

We have started a new year and that is always a great time to remind ourselves that we should be in God's Word daily.

 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8 

To meditate on it day and night we need to be in it every day. There are many ways to do that. I find that following a Bible reading plan helps to keep me consistent. There are several out there.

Ligonier Minstries has several to choose from.
The Navigators has one I really enjoy.
Bible Gateway has even more.

Most of these plans have you read through the Bible in a year. While it is good to try to get the entire Bible read in a year you also want to focus on depth. So while this is great for your quiet time/devotional reading you will also want to be studying it more in depth. Sometimes the reading will reveal things to you that you want to explore more fully. Make sure you take the time to do that while still going on with your reading. Hopefully you are also involved in a church where your Sunday School or small group has some deeper study material as well.

Prayer is also an important part of our daily walk with the Lord.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2
pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

A prayer journal is a great way to keep track of your prayers. It gives you a way to commune differently, keep track of answered prayers, and assure that you are consistent. You can make your own journal or buy one. I like this one because it encompasses both the daily prayer and reading using the Navigators format. It also has several extra helps for prayer focus for each day and month.

Whatever you choose to use or don't use, be sure to be in the Word and pray every day. If you love Jesus you will want to spend time with Him. Remember that we talk to Him through prayer and He talks to use through His word. As the year 2017 gets under way let us be dedicated to spending time alone with Jesus.

Islam Vs Christianity discussed by Nabeel Qureshi

As terrorism begins to touch our soil again there is much discussion about Islam and its relation to Christianity. Does it teach peace? Do they worship the same God as Christians? While it may seem that these answers are obvious, we must address them with both truth and tact. We are commanded to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. We can not reach others with the gospel if we are not revealing our love for others. Nabeel Qureshi is a former Muslim who has a heart for his people to know the truth. Here is his take on these issues.

Q&A Does Islam Really Teach Peace?

He also answers the question Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God in his article at RZIM. You will find it very enlightening and full of both truth and love.

His book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells the story of his conversion from Islam to Christianity.

Francis Chan Simple Truth About Baptism

Below is a video clip of Francis Chan trying to address the confusion about his teaching on the Holy Spirit and baptism. In it, he makes a several errors with this explanation of his exegesis of Acts 2:38.

His first mistake is on quoting only one scripture for his defense. Chan acts as if the only passage that discusses the issue is Acts 2:38. If that were true, it would indeed be simple. But it is not. Not only do other Scriptures address the same questions and events, the order and answer are not always the same. We will discuss that later.

The second mistake is making a straw man for his argument. He acts as if those who question the passage automatically assume that these events are somehow not important. He says he got questions that ask can you be a Christian without being baptized, repenting, or having the Holy Spirit? I actually know of very few denominations, if any, that teach you can be a Christian without having the Holy Spirit. In fact, even those who like us teach that baptism is not required for salvation itself, teach that it would be something a true follower would do. Maybe he did receive a few letters to that effect, but I doubt that was the issue most of them had with his teaching. Therefore speaking about an audience that doesn't really exist, makes his argument seem more justifiable, but it does not mean that the answer is therefore true.

So, let us go through his statements and discuss them according to the whole teaching and context of Scripture. We need to let Scripture interpret Scripture, not Francis Chan interpret it for you. If you look closely you will see that it is Scripture itself, not our unwillingness to obey, that makes us stop and ask if Acts 2:38 is the order and ordinary method of salvation.  If it is, why does it contradict other passages within the very same book, written by the same author, and spoken by the same apostle?

In the beginning when Chan is speaking about the confusion he asks what is actually the real problem most people had with what he said, "When does the Holy Spirit actually come in? Do I get the Holy Spirit without being baptized?" He then answers with a question rather than a clear statement to clarify what he believes. He simply asks, "Why do you ask?"

For the next 5 minutes or so he goes on to speak about the question, but he never really answers these specific issues while doing so. He also presupposes he knows why we ask. He thinks we are asking because we simply want to disobey Acts 2:38 because it does not support our personal doctrine. What he doesn't address is why we actually ask. So let me tell him.

Francis Chan, I want to know if you teach that one must repent and be baptized with water in order to receive the Holy Spirit. Is that what you are teaching? Be clear and answer with yes, or no.

Why do I ask? Because to say that water baptism is necessary before one receives the Holy Spirit contradicts Scripture, specifically Acts chapter 10.  Let us go there for a moment.
Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were greatly astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 So he gave orders to have them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days.
It is apparent here that these believers received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized with water. Therefore that makes me question whether one can use Acts 2:38 as a standard order method of salvation. The same Peter who said so simply, "“Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." also said, "No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?"

Is Peter contradicting himself? Is Scripture contradicting itself? I ask this because it needs to be answered and understood, not because I simply don't like what Peter said. In fact I very much respect what Peter said, but you have to listen to ALL of his sermons, not just one, in order to get correct doctrine.

Francis then goes on to say that in the early church they didn't ask any questions after that, they just did it. But what did they do? According to Chan he says they "repented, got baptized and were filled with the Holy Spirit" as if that order was specifically followed. However, Scripture merely says, "So those who accepted his message were baptized." The order is not specifically addressed.

Then he goes on to chastise those who "ask a bunch of questions" as if checking to see if what you are being taught is truth is somehow wrong. According to Chan, in the New Testament, the early believers just obeyed. Well some of them did, but if they all simply obeyed then many of the New Testament books wouldn't have even been written because some were written specifically because there was much division and arguing in the early church. However, later in Acts 17:11 we read of the Bereans who were searching the Scriptures carefully to see if what Paul was teaching was true. They were called noble for doing this, they were not criticized for it. So what is wrong with looking at Acts chapter 10 and comparing that to what Peter said in Acts chapter 2?

Speaking of Paul we read, still in the same book of Acts, that he was once asked the same question Peter was. "What must I do to be saved?" According to Francis Chan you would think that his answer would be the same as Peter's since it is so simple. As Chan said, "Peter's response was you need to repent, be baptized, and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And yet, Paul responds differently.  He merely says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” Is he suggesting that Paul was wrong?

You don't have to be a great scholar to obey the message and be saved, but you do need to know what the message is to go and preach it. To do that you need to examine the whole of Scripture, not merely one verse.

Then Chan goes back to his straw-man argument suggesting that people who tell you to say a prayer to receive Christ are suggesting that repentance and the Holy Spirit are not necessary for salvation. Who says that?! That couldn't be further from the truth. But just because their presentation method is different does not mean what they are asking people to do is incorrect. The one common thread throughout the book of Acts is that the experience of being saved looked different for them all. Some were told to repent, others merely to believe. Some were told to be baptized, some asked to be baptized. You see these differences because Acts is a historical narrative, not a theological guidebook. It is not about how it is to be done, but rather what happened. Since historically each experience was different we are left with the how unanswered. The method with which to reach people is left up to us, the message, however is not.

Then for a moment Chan almost gets it. He says "it was simultaneous to them." With that I can almost agree, when they believed, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a simultaneous action. However, only 2 of the actions can happen simultaneously. Something has to compel you to go into the water and be baptized. The question is, is it your desire to repent and believe or because you have already repented and believed?

It is either your desire to repent and believe that compels you to follow in water baptism and when you are baptized with the water you simultaneously receive the spirit but your repentance has already taken place.


You believe (repent) and are filled simultaneously with the Spirit and that then compels you to get baptized with water. That is what we see happened in Acts chapter 10. That is the order we have a clear picture for in the Word of God. So what is wrong with teaching this to be true and correcting those who do not?

It sounds to me like Francis Chan either believes that water baptism is necessary to receive the Holy Spirit which is hard to explain in light of Acts chapter 10. Or it could simply be that he doesn't want to take a stand either way for fear of offending some of his followers. Whatever the reason you can't simply suggest that questioning is wrong and that the truth of the matter is not important. Especially when many are using the confusion to lead people into a false conversion and reliance upon their act of baptism by water, rather than on the blood of Christ alone.

Paul didn't immediately baptize everyone who he preached to and he was glad about that. He was called to preach the gospel, not baptize, because the gospel is not tied to baptism. Nor does it suggest that a baptismal pool must always be available for salvation to take place.
1 Corinthians 1:14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name! 16 (I also baptized the household of Stephanus. Otherwise, I do not remember whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—and not with clever speech, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless.
Yes, many were baptized immediately and that is what we should desire to do. However, salvation was not dependent upon it for salvation is not of works.

Ephesians 1:13 And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)—when you believed in Christ—you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.

Bill Nye to Debate Ken Ham

Were you aware that on February 4th Bill Nye "the science guy" has agreed to debate Ken Ham, the founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum?  I have heard statements from Bill Nye and I am amazed that he has no idea who or what he is even debating.  He seems to be under the impression that creationists don't "believe in science."  That, however, couldn't be further from the truth.  It will be interesting to see who actually uses more scientific evidence during the debate.

You can watch this debate live online for free.  It will also be available on YouTube shortly after it has aired live.  They are not sure how long that will last so if you can't watch live, tune in soon.  A few days after the debate digital downloads and DVD copies will be available for purchase.  They can also be pre-ordered now.  Be sure to check out debatelive.org for more details. 

Evolution Vs. God

Today Living Waters released their new video Evolution Vs. God which does an excellent job displaying how evolution requires faith.  Interviewing both university students and professors Ray Comfort can not seem to find any proof of evolution. In fact, most end up admitting that they believe based upon faith.  Companion guides are also available and if you want to purchase the DVD for evangelism purposes the price is even lower.  You pay only $2.00 for 10 or more, $1.50 if you purchase 500 and only $1.00 each.  Another way to spread the word is share the video which is free on Youtube.  Watch it below and get inspired to stand up for the truth of God's Word which speak truth from the first verse until the very last.

If You Profess Christ Your Lifestyle Will Change

Everett asked:
I read your teaching on 1John1:9 It really makes sense, but I would like to ask a question? We know the bible says no liars, idolaters, slanderers or homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God. Let\'s use homosexuals for my question since it is so socially excepted in this generation. If a homosexual excepts Christ genuinely by saving faith and is converted also recognizing that homosexualality is sin and agrees with God (1John 1:9) by confessing,but continues his lifestyle? Is he still go to heaven? The bible says no? According to guided by truth teaching on 1 John 1:9 would in not matter his lifestyle not change,but only confess agree with God that it is sin remaining in fellowship but not losing his salvation? Because of eternal security? 

There is a difference between someone struggling with sin and someone blatantly living in sin and refusing to call it for what it is.  The problem is that you are asking the wrong question.  The question should not be whether the person is still going to heaven, the question should be were they ever going to heaven to begin with? 

We are told that you will know followers of Christ by their fruit, not by their verbal affirmation of Christ.  Yes, it is with our mouth confession that we are saved, but that is not what Jesus tells us to look for when determining whether or not someone truly knows Him.
"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  19 " Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits. 

21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  22 " Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'  23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you;DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'  Matt 7:15-23 NASB

So no matter what a person confesses to believe we look at their actions not their words to see if it is true.  The person can claim all day to be saved but if they choose to continually live a lifestyle of rebellion it is evident by their fruit that they were never really saved to begin with.  Jesus will not say to them "Go away I no longer want you" but rather "I never knew you."

A Christian will want and desire to follow the teachings of Christ.  Can a homosexual struggle with and fall back into his sin and still be saved?  Yes it is possible, but that would be the exception rather than the rule. At some point that person would really show remorse and repentance and turn back to following Christ.  That is how it is with any sin.  Every time I catch myself struggling with the sins listed in the passage you referred to like lying, greed or slander I am convicted and stop doing it.

Note that it does not say those behaviors are what sinners do, but it is who they are.  These are not lists of things we can never do to inherit eternal life but these are characteristics that define who a person is.  I have lied, but I do not live a lifestyle of lying.  There is a difference.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Cor 6:9-13 NASB
Verse 12 actually says these things are now lawful, but that doesn't make them profitable or beneficial.  We should want to refrain from these behaviors and the fruit of our life should show that we do.  Our fruit should show that we follow Christ.  It is by our fruit that we are known.  If you see a Christian not bearing fruit it would be worth finding out if they truly believe what they profess with their mouth.  Chances are they do not.  I can say all day that I believe in or trust a pilot to safely fly a plane but if I am unwilling to board the plane because I am afraid that they can not safely fly it then I truly didn't believe in the pilot after all.  My actions did not prove my words. A Christian should have actions that prove what they believe.  The actions do not earn them salvation but they do reveal that they are saved.

Where would you invest your money?  With a person who claims to be honest but has been convicted of embezzlement or with one whose actions actually prove them to be honest? Of course it would be the latter because you look at their fruit knowing that it is the proof of what they actually believe.  What they say doesn't matter if what they do proves those words untrue.  It's the same with Christianity.  Claiming to be saved does not actually make one saved. Believing in Jesus Christ does.  Now only God will know for sure if they truly are saved but if a person has no fruit of salvation I would minister to them as if they were lost until they really understood the impact of the gospel to the point where it was affecting their behavior and beginning to bear fruit.

Are they ashamed?

Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things?
No, they are not at all ashamed.
They do not even know how to blush!
So they will die, just like others have died.
They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,”
says the Lord. Jeremiah 6:15 

There are many problems with our country today.  We face economic struggles, health care costs that keep rising, broken families, abuse, neglect and poverty yet each one can be tied back to singular problem.  Sin - for which no one is ashamed. 

Christians today often wonder, how did we get here?  How did we get to the point where homosexuality is accepted and Christianity is scorned?  Where people demand pay for little or no work? Where health care is considered a right regardless of the fact that their poor health is often due to their refusal to make healthy choices?  Where we look to the government to tell us what is right and wrong, what we can eat, what we can drive, what we can buy, what we can own and even what we can say?

It boils down to this: They are not at all ashamed.  We have allowed society to silence us against immorality and taken shame away.  By doing that immorality has flourished and it's consequences are quite costly, both spiritually and economically.   Ironically the only people allowed to be shamed are Christians.   It is politically incorrect and almost considered a crime to call a person a sinner, especially if they are a homosexual.  However, shaming Christians into silence is not only acceptable, it is encouraged.  It brings the words of Paul to life in a whole new way.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes

I have quoted the verse since I was a very young Christian and while it was always gladly spoken, it has not been until recently that I have truly felt it's need.  Our society is trying to make us feel ashamed of the gospel, the Word of truth.  They say that it is intolerant and bigoted to say there is only one way to heaven or that the sexual affection of one person to another is immoral if they are not married or of the same sex. 

Christians, we must not be ashamed of the gospel and therefore must not be silent. We must stand our ground.  It is not going to be easy and it will get harder with each passing day.  Irrespective to the words in the constitution our nation is literally choosing to place the freedom to sin above the freedom of religion.  While we do need to remember that all things must be done in love with gentleness and respect, the truth must still be told and it will not always find willing ears.  The truth can hurt if the person is not willing to repent but it must be said. The truth is this:

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh  are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity,  idolatry, sorcery,  hostilities,  strife,  jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions,  factions, envying,  murder,  drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!
These are not diseases, mental health problems or lifestyle choices.  These are sin and the result is death in an everlasting hell.  According to Jeremiah, the world will be judged for it's lack of shame.  For standing in the face of God and mocking Him and refusing to feel shame to the point that they will not even blush.  This will be their ruin. I do not want that for anyone, and neither does God "because he does not wish for any  to perish but for all to come to repentance."  But His patience with man will come to an end.  We need to reach out in love and share the truth with others before the time runs out.  We will not reach them by shouting, picketing, or saying hateful things  but we will reach some if we speak the truth in love.  The good news is that those who repent and believe will no longer be put to shame. 
Romans 10:9-11 because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”