Keeping Themselves Holy

In 2 Chronicles 31:18 we are given this interesting note.

They were enrolled with all their little children, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, the whole assembly, for they were faithful in keeping themselves holy. (2 Chronicles 31:18, ESV)

King Hezekiah of Judah is getting things organized while leading the people back to God. He and the people destroyed all the high places, cleaned up the temple, and re-instituted sacrifices, tithes and offerings. The enrollment spoken of is for the Levite families in order to receive food distribution from the tithes and offerings. Remember that the priests (sons of Aaron) and the Levites were mainly tasked with taking care of the temple and sacrifices and didn’t own much land for the production of food.

What caught my attention was the phrase “they were faithful in keeping themselves holy.” First, they were faithful, meaning to keep doing what they were supposed to be doing. Second, they were keeping themselves holy, which means to follow the Law in avoiding unclean things such as pork and shellfish in addition to bathing and washing clothes and so on. Third, the faithful keeping of these things made the families holy, meaning separate and different from the usual run-of-the-mill people of the world.

In modern times, as in ancient Israel, there are many people who wear His name yet are not faithfully keeping themselves holy. Many claim to be cleansed by the blood of the lamb Jesus, yet ignore His Laws for maintaining and refreshing that cleansing. It’s as if they think that one shower is enough for the rest of their lives. They also teach against the Law, and persecute those like me and my family who realize that the Laws are just as valid for believers now as they were when they were given and even all the way back to the beginning.

The church, sadly, is not faithful in keeping itself clean. In fact, they are proud that they preach Jesus and at the same time deny His word of life. They do what is right in their own eyes, following the ear-tickling Nicolaitans they have chosen for leaders and mixing the Word of Truth with lies, traditions, and philosophies of men.

A picture that has stayed with me for decades came from the movie The Mark of the Beast popular in the ’70’s. There was a scene at one point after the so-called Rapture of a church that was empty except for the pastor preaching. I have since come to realize that the picture is false. The churches with be full for the most part if in fact a Rapture happens as they believe, because the people are not faithfully keeping themselves holy.

Shalom

Bruce

An Aide to Spiritual Growth

Some people have told me that they experienced a big improvement in their walk with God when they had a vision of the resurrected Christ.

I wanted to do better in my walk, but how does one go about getting such a vision? Details were light or non-existent. I remember one Calvary Chapel pastor encouraging the congregation to “visualize the throne room and Jesus sitting there.” Well, I could do some imagining, I guess, but that didn’t help. I was aware I was just making it up.

Since I found that Torah is for all believers, I have actually seen the Father and the Son as I read His Word and do what He says. I’m making a lot of changes for the better in my growth and walk with God, but some of the changes I need to make are coming slow. Do I need a vision of the resurrected Christ to become a different, more righteous person?

As I was pondering this a few days ago, I had what I think was in fact a vision. But it wasn’t of the resurrected Christ. I think God gave me a better vision, one which is going to help much better.

He gave me a vision of myself.

I don’t mean the same type of vision that some believers claim to see of Jesus. I mean God gave me a view of myself as He sees me, with emphasis on my character development (or lack of it). I got a glimpse of myself as I really am, which cut through the image I have of myself normally. We want to think the best of ourselves, and we craft an image that we hope is true. But most of the time it isn’t true. It’s just wishful thinking.

The downside to seeing yourself as you really are is it’s very discouraging. The upside is, when you accept the truth about yourself and take responsibility for your actions and for changing your actions, then you can make progress in moving closer to God. The reason is that as you draw closer to the light of the Father you become more aware of what you lack in perfection or holiness. You can either patch over your flaws with fig leaves as did Adam and Havah, or with improved vision you can accept and change.

It was painful looking at my history and seeing the bad decisions, the unwillingness to do what God said I should do, the times of stunted growth; simply because I didn’t want to give up my comfort.

So in a sense I did get a vision of the resurrected Christ through eating and drinking His body and blood (hearing and doing His word). But what really got me was the vision of myself as I really am.

I still need a lot of work, but the job is actually easier with an honest, albeit painful, self-evaluation.

Shalom

Bruce

Audiobook for Whole Bible Christianity Available

It took a while, but an Audiobook version of our book Whole Bible Christianity is now available. It’s about 15 and a half hours, narrated by Bruce. You can get it free if you sign up for a trial membership at Audible.com. You get a free audiobook when you first sign up for the service. After the first month it costs $15.00 per month but you get one free book per month too.

If you click this link to view the print version, then click on the Free with your Audible Trial button and stay with Audible for two months, not only do you get two free audiobooks (for $15.00 the second month) but we get a $50.00 bonus! You can exchange any audiobook you decide is not for you, and your credit for one free book rolls over to the next month if you don’t use it. Even if you cancel membership after a while you can keep all your audiobooks.

What a great deal! Whole Bible Christianity, Blessings Pressed Down and Overflowing audiobook for free, a bonus to us, and you get more free audiobooks.

There’s also the print version of the book, and Kindle version for a pretty low cost. The Kindle and audiobook versions do not have the Scripture Index with almost 1,500 entries from every book in the Bible, and the audiobook doesn’t have the footnotes, but still you can listen on the way to work and back or read on a Kindle at your leisure. Get all three and get it all.

Shalom

Bruce

Crucifying Another Christian

Well, they’ve got another Christian up on the cross.

The Duggar family is the latest to donate a sacrificial lamb for the slaughter, and the morally bankrupt media are gleefully driving in the hypocritical nails. The corrupt and flaming leftist Lena Dunham writes a book detailing the sexual abuse of a younger sister and the Pontius Pilates of this age just yawn.

But a man who has proven himself to be an exemplary adult, who paid for his sins while still a minor, and whose record should’ve been sealed, has those same neo-Roman officials washing their hands.

You and I both know what is really going on. The people who don’t shrink back from following God are being torn down, just like that guy who walked here 2,000 years ago. This world cannot stand anything or anyone associated with God, especially those high profile people who make People magazine. The goody two-shoes are despised and always will be. Even reformed, repentant goody two-shoes are targets, not because what they have done is so wrong or so different from the normal behavior of the godless but because the depth of godless hate runs so deep. Those oh-so-tolerant Canaanites simply will not tolerate someone who reminds them they are on a path to hell.

If the Duggars are smart they’ll be preparing lawsuits as I write. Hopefully they won’t chicken out and hide behind a few frequently misinterpreted Scriptures about loving everyone and letting God be the judge. There is more at stake here than just hurt feelings or resignation from a job. The fight is not physical, it’s spiritual. Christians are being wrongly maligned left and right (mostly left) and there are solid biblical reasons for using our God given judgment to push the darkness back even if only a little. Our weapons might be spiritual, but there’s nothing wrong with smacking the lions on the nose with a sword every once in a while. Or the Pilates.

Shalom
Bruce

A Whole Bible Look At Romans 9 through 12

The third video in our Romans series is up, and I’ll bet you’ve never heard Romans this way!

Shalom
Bruce

Deadly Affirmation

Six times greater chance of suicide.

Average life expectancy 8 to 20 years shorter.

Nearly 100% cheating ratio.

Eight times more likely to contract hepatitis.

Fourteen times more likely to contract syphilis.

5,000 times more likely to contract AIDS.

Above average alcoholism and drub abuse rates.

Almost 100% regression into steadily increasing violent actions including sadism, masochism, pedophilia and murder.

These are some of the statistics. They are the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the truth about the homosexual lifestyle. When we “affirm” this choice, either by remaining silent or openly supporting the choice of a friend or relative, we literally condemn the person to vastly increased torture, pain and suffering.

I know. I’m not supposed to say things like this in a blog post. I’m supposed to write stuff that makes you feel good. Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. God will make everything better. There’s nothing really wrong with you – it’s the environment or your parents or your pastor or that pork you ate in your burrito last night. I’m supposed to continue making comfortable, soothing, encouraging music like those guys did on the deck of the Titanic, playing my heart out like there is nothing wrong, all while people are hanging on railings by their fingernails or clawing at the deck to avoid plunging into the icy embrace of death. But hey, as long as you can hum a tune as you’re going down it’s okay, right?

While only 2% of the population, homosexuals have much greater incidences of pedophilia, abuse, and murder. About 30% have had over 1,000 partners, about half of which they are with only once. A little fewer than half have had over 500 partners. This induces much callousness and indifference to the treatment of others. It hardens the heart and makes repentance extremely difficult. It also makes a mockery of marriage.

The reason more people don’t condemn the homosexual lifestyle choice and would rather “affirm” it? Because generally the behavior is a result of sexual abuse, physical and mental abuse, divorce and other sins coming from heterosexuals. We are the ones creating the homosexuals with our own hateful behavior. But we don’t want to renounce our sins, and we don’t want to be identified as the source of further evil. So we “affirm” the fruits of our own destructive lifestyle choices which in turn affirms our own sin.

The church has been the leader in backing away from God’s Word in order to “affirm” our own lifestyle choices. We have been giving ourselves permission to sin since sin entered the world. We don’t like the Law, and we call it “old” or “ceremonial” or at best for Israel only, so we can merrily indulge ourselves in whatever makes us feel better.

The gospel is not “God loves you” (though He does). It’s not primarily a message about you, it is about Him. The gospel is “God with us.” When God is with us so is His Word. We can’t have His love without also making the choice to affirm His lifestyle by living His Word. When we refuse to affirm the homosexual lifestyle, we affirm His lifestyle. We also affirm the fact that we are the ones responsible. We are the ones who divorce at the drop of a hat and will usually drop it ourselves. We are the ones abusing our children in hatred and thus encouraging them to turn to even more hateful lifestyle choices than our own. We are the ones who have abandoned His lifestyle. We have cut ourselves loose from the anchor of His Word in the bay of His love to drift out onto a sea of hate.

For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. (Obadiah 15, ESV)

We are the ones who have to examine our own choices, confess and repent of the wrong ones, and affirm His ways over ours. There is hope and restoration available, but only in repentance, not affirmation of death.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. (Micah 7:18, ESV)

Shalom
Bruce

Jeff Durbin on Street Level Apologetics

A pastor at Apologia Church in Tempe, Arizona, Jeff Durbin gives a great presentation on some general apologetic approaches. I like his energy, his use of Scripture, and his willingness to be bold. He’s also got a lot of excellent points you could incorporate into your own conversations. Even if you are not as bold as he.

I don’t agree with all his positions. He misses the point of the Law, and tends to question Christian orthodoxy while holding on to many of it’s tenets with “closed hand.” But he still seems to have a great deal good to say; worth listening.

Shalom,
Bruce

The Last Days Have Come

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be:

 

    lovers of self
    lovers of money
    proud
    arrogant
    abusive
    disobedient to their parents
    ungrateful
    unholy
    heartless
    unappeasable
    slanderous
    without self-control
    brutal
    not loving good
    treacherous
    reckless
    swollen with conceit
    lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
    having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

 

Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

 

Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. (2 Timothy 3:1–9, ESV)

 

I don’t see how much more “last” the last days can get than where we are now. Can you?

Contradiction – A Loving God Executes Judgment

There are no contradictions in the Bible. Yeah, I know, if you’re a believer you get the contradiction thing thrown at you all the time, but it’s just not true. The word contradiction literally means (from Latin) “to speak against” and includes “assertion of the opposite” or “direct opposition between things compared.” It is asserted that the Bible contradicts itself, therefore it cannot be believed. But it’s not the Bible that is contradictory, it is the person viewing it.

 

Usually the reason for the contradiction is all in the head. A contradiction is perceived because of limited understanding, limited information, or limited willingness to do what God says. Mostly it’s the lack of willingness. You can tell this by the extra tag on the alleged contradiction such as “I can’t believe in (or follow) a God who says He’s a God of love but would wipe out an entire race of people.” The “I can’t believe” statement gives them away. What they really mean is “I don’t want to do what God says and I’m using this as an excuse to do it.”

 

God is all love, but He is also all justice. He doesn’t stop being loving in order to be just, nor does He stop being just in order to love. He is always good, right, and holy. His love and justice go together. By definition whatever God does is good, right, holy, loving and just. We may not see it, or agree with His actions, but that does not mean that God contradicts Himself.

 

Have you ever heard it said, “You haven’t done what I’ve done” or “You wouldn’t understand what I’m going through because you haven’t been through it yourself” or similar statements? It’s wrong (do we have to hit a finger with every kind of hammer out there to know how it hurts with all of them?) but let’s go with the thought for a minute. People who trot out the contradiction thing judge the Bible without actually doing what it says. They haven’t “been through it themselves” so they will not understand. Their “natural minds” refuse God’s living oracles which affects understanding. They have no intention of doing what God says, therefore they think a contradiction exists in the Bible when it only exists in their head.

 

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14, ESV)

 

So if you are accosted by a person who insists on contradictions, just tell them they don’t understand because they haven’t been through what you’ve been through!

Suicide Silence

I’ve been quiet for a while (no pun) because I’ve been struggling with writing an article about suicide. Recently a nephew went out this way, and this brought back memories from a few years ago when an acquaintance went out by her own hand also. It has taken some time to put down my thoughts on paper (okay, a word processor) and arrange them in a readable format. The article has some very personal testimony, and is very blunt. The connecting subjects of divorce, homosexuality, depression and anger are part of it, so exercise caution in reading. There will be many who do not like the truths I included, and I will be attacked. Here are some of the opening paragraphs, and there’s a link at the bottom for the whole article on wholebible.com

 

Her name was Theresa, a woman who killed herself at the end of December 2004 by jumping from a cliff on a hill near my home. She left behind eight kids, a broken marriage, and saddened friends. I knew Theresa a little because a few years before she died I answered an ad she placed at a local music store for people to form a band. We played together a couple of times; she was gifted with writing songs and playing keyboard and guitar. It didn’t work out for us to keep playing together because she lived in a town about 45 minutes away, so I mostly lost touch with her except for a couple of emails. Once she attended a Bible study we had in our home but as I remember the distance again was too great so she didn’t keep coming. I was reacquainted with her when I saw the newspaper article telling of her death.

 

I thought at first that she could not possibly have committed suicide, because the last I knew she seemed to be well adjusted if melancholy and bitter over her divorce. She had, I heard, solid relationships with a Baptist church she attended after she moved to our town, loved her kids, and had various friends. I suspected foul play; she couldn’t have jumped; she must have been pushed. But as the details were related to me, they found her footprints at the top of the cliff showing she was running towards the edge, and she had to jump far enough to clear a ledge just below the lip of the cliff. What sort of pain and anger, I wondered at the time, drove her to run toward her own destruction like that?

 

More recently a nephew of mine also decided to end his life. I didn’t know him at all, really, because he lived in another state and he’s the son from a previous marriage of my sister-in-law’s second husband. I met him a couple of times when he was a teenager. He was a likable, quiet kid who was into computers and was an amateur astronomer. According to friends he was smart and had two astronomy magazine articles written about some of his work. Like Theresa, he also seemed stable and there was no warning that he was feeling suicidal. Neither left a note, so we can only guess at the final straw that caused them to self-depart this physical plane.

 

As I understand it, for a few days before Theresa killed herself she wore duct tape over her mouth. One of her kids asked her why, and she said “no one was listening to her anyway.” She was right, in a way. We don’t want to hear it when someone is contemplating their own demise. After they’re dead we wonder why they didn’t seek help, but before they go it’s too uncomfortable to consider. Even if they did talk people have difficulty with answering. We can’t even talk about it very well after our loved ones are gone, so how much harder is it when they’re alive?

 

Read more online at www.wholebible.com