What’s with those “Gesis” brothers?

I had only known one of them, until this morning. My acquaintance with “Exe Gesis” began a few years ago when I learned the disquieting fact that English translations of God’s Word are slightly flawed. But for God’s Holy Spirit intervening with his spiritual understanding of the texts, we’d have no way of knowing God’s exact message.

My providential introduction to “Exe Gesis” has blessed me with God’s truth, while his step-brother, “Eise Gesis,” only seeks to make a point, often at the Scripture’s expense. Let me introduce you to both of them. What is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis? presents both “Gesis” brothers in clear, plain language that must make those high-powered Bible scholars blush. And to facilitate those who would rather listen than read, that page has a button that opens a really slick audio player in another browser tab.

If you take your faith seriously, you no doubt take your Savior seriously, and if that is the case, you find his word both a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105), and most importantly, the reason for your eternal hope. Use this opportunity to get to know “Exe.” He’s a friend that will never fail you.

Words of Christ in Red

Opinion-time, everyone. The bug bit me while I was studying Proverbs chapter eighteen—rather odd, as it contains no “words of Christ.” But that’s where it gets interesting; Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Word in the flesh, and he authored the verbal (both the ancient, oral tradition, and the written) Word of God from start to finish (John 1:1-18, 2 Timothy 3:16). In view of these facts, can any part of God’s verbal Word not be Jesus’ words? Highlighting Jesus’ words in the gospels implies that they are somehow more reliable or have more authority than the balance of Scripture, which is theologically unsound.

That said, I understand how novices in Bible-study might prefer “Red-Word” Bible editions, but I would also caution them against assigning those red words undue significance. There is a heresy that says Jesus’ words carry divine authority, but the rest were written by (sexist) men, most especially that male-chauvinist-pig, Paul.

To deny any part of God’s Word is to deny its Author, and we wouldn’t want to do that, would we?

In-Dependence Day

Yes, I realize this post’s title appears to be a typo, but it’s purposeful. I try to live in dependence on God. That’s “in,” not “with.” By living in dependence on God I reside in that state of dependence. As usual, Apostle John said it best when he quoted Jesus as saying: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

This blog’s theme is based on John 15:1-11, so you shouldn’t be surprised at my pouncing on this opportunity. God’s Word, the creative, eternal, second Person of God, the Word he spoke to the Bible’s writers as a love-letter to us, and especially the Word incarnate in God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, are all precious to me.

I pray you have found God’s three-fold Word precious to yourself as well. May you celebrate this In-Dependence Day with full commitment to dependence upon God, and devotion to the Biblical principles that made America, not perfect, but the “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Confusing Biblical Principles

Star Trek’s The Borg

You may be wondering how a science fiction special effects feast like the Borg collective relates to my title for this post. If you’re not a Star Trek fan, you may not even know what the Borg is … or are. Keep reading and find out.

When I hear some ignoramus (I nearly said “pinhead,” but Bill O’Rielly probably has a copyright on it.) spouting opinions about how the Bible contradicts itself, how it’s just some old religious white guys’ attempt to control people, and how science blows it out of the firmament, I get heart-sick, and maybe just a bit stomach-sick. Of course, everyone is entitled to his (or her) opinions, even if they bitterly hold and defend them in the face of strong contradictory reasoning. People who regard the Bible through the foggy shades of cynicism refuse to acknowledge any constructive content therein; even the “Golden Rule” becomes jaded in their biased eyes, as they allege that even if Jesus existed, all those thousands of folks couldn’t have heard him. Not to mention the “myth” of the loaves and fishes.

Jesus’ miracles, however, are small fish (excuse the pun) compared to the New Testament’s weightier principles. Teachings such as Jesus’ blood washing away sin truly violate some folks’ sensibilities. For one thing, “sin” is a four-letter word to them (shows ya what they know), and the Bible’s credibility just goes downhill from there.

I must admit that when you dig deeply into God’s Word, things can get confusing, even if you truly believe it. When I study God’s personal nature, I find anything but a high-resolution portrait of him—loads of symbolism, but nothing I can dig my eyes into. That includes the whole tri-une thing, where God is in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet, the Bible says in many places that God is One. I’ve arrived at a peaceful reconciliation with the Trinity doctrine, and if you’re interested, here’s my rationale: Comparing God’s scope to that of man is a huge stretch, rather like comparing all the water over the whole earth, to one submicroscopic molecule of water vapor. But comparing the words, “God,” and, “man,” is a bit easier. If I consider each of those words as representing a kind or race of beings, I see that man comprises billions of individual people, while God comprises only three. Yet, with all those human beings, we are truly one in nature, as all of us share numerous key genetic characteristics, or attributes. And similarly, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit share key divine attributes, but those three also share one mind.

Obama of Borg

Can you imagine what this world would be like if all human beings shared the same mind? Admittedly, my theory seems like the stuff of science fiction or fantasy, thus explaining the weird photo at the top of this post (The Borg of Star Trek supposedly shared one mind.). That’s the way it seems from the materialistic world view, but no one, including scientists, can honestly maintain that the material universe is all there is. As far as they’re concerned, until “science” officially discovers something, it doesn’t exist. Please keep in mind, I’m not saying my theory—emphasis on theory—holds any water, but like a canvass water bag, though it has plenty of leaks, at least it keeps me cool.

The Bible presents far too many difficult teachings for me to deal with them here, but Tough Questions with R.C. Sproul can certainly help those plagued by curiosity. If you have questions, especially of the nagging kind, don’t just sit on them. Our enemy loves to aggravate reservations of faith and outright doubts. And if you aren’t interested enough to look into the Bible for answers, maybe, just maybe, your master isn’t Jesus Christ.

It Is No Secret


This morning I awoke rejoicing in my God. I don’t know why the old gospel song, “It Is No Secret What God Can Do,” ran through my mind, but I turned what lyrics I could remember into a song of praise to my Lord. To refresh the rest of the lyrics, I turned on my computer to listen to the whole song. What I discovered was a half-truth, but at least it didn’t tell an outright lie. While those who are in Christ have some idea what God can do, we have no idea what he will do.Stewart Hamblen’s lyrics begin with:

The chimes of time ring out the news
Another day is through
Someone slipped and fell
Was that someone you?

You may have longed for added strength
Your courage to renew
Do not be disheartened
For I have news for you

It is no secret what God can do
What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you
With arms wide open, He’ll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do

By now, if you are older than forty you may have the tune running through your head. If not, it goes like this: Ta da da daa daaa da da da da, etcetera. Does that help?

Anyway, while the “arms wide open” part is right, it leaves out the required confession and repentance. That’s anything but a minor omission.

The song goes on:

There is no night for in His light
You never walk alone
Always feel at home
Wherever you may go

There is no power can conquer you
While God is on your side
Take Him at His promise
Don’t run away and hide

The second stanza begins with a gloriously true statement: In his light you indeed never walk alone, and no power in heaven or on earth can conquer you. What puts God on your side? If we don’t run away and hide, but love him with our obedience, we can safely take him at his promise, expressed in his holy word. What a mighty God we serve! And yes, I realize that’s another gospel song.

Depression and Anxiety

How’s that for a downer of a title? If you’re reaction to others’ mood disorders is, “Just suck it up,” you don’t suffer from them. They can’t be dismissed simply as, “the blues,” or the temporary funk of low spirits. Chronic affective disorders are physical issues, caused by screwed-up brain chemistry.

I am too familiar with depression and anxiety, having discovered after a heart attack in ’97 that I’ve always suffered from clinical depression. Too bad it took a myocardial infarction to educate me in the issue.

But don’t despair (If you’re like me, that’s hilarious advice.), there’s pharmacological help out there. But first, how’s your insurance? Don’t worry, I’m not an insurance salesman; I asked that because I discovered a marvelous medication that serves me as a very effective mood-stabilizer when used with an antidepressant (The two medications deal with two entirely different issues). It’s called Provigil, and it’s very expensive. Provigil is a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, marketed as a solution for narcolepsy, shift-work disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea. The experience is similar to that of mild amphetamines, but without the awful side-effects, like addiction. As it’s a controlled substance, getting it requires a doctor’s prescription.

Even with that panacea, though, healing my depression and anxiety requires drawing close to my Savior through almost constant prayer and Bible meditation. But don’t worry, I’m not talking about always kneeling with your hands folded, your eyes closed, and a sick-looking expression on your face. The Bible tells us, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17) If you consistently pursue that course, God’s Word will become part of your frame of reference, filling you with hope and trust in your Lord. Believe me, he works through his Word, even if you can’t find passages that apply to your specific issues.

And remember, it’s not YOUR depression and anxiety; it’s your enemy Satan’s very effective tool for dragging you down. Please don’t let it characterize or define you.

My Rights

Americans express a wide range of opinions and beliefs regarding our rights as citizens of the United States of America, many of which are absolute poppycock. One end of the spectrum declares our right to freedom from religion, while the other extreme defends our right to “keep and bear arms” of all kinds and for any purpose. And all of them cite the U.S. Bill of Rights as the basis of their allegations, though such citations are almost always taken out of context.

I see two foundational human rights upon which all other rights derive their validity: First, we have the right to expect God to be true to his divine nature, as his Word declares it. That rules out most popular beliefs about him, such as, “My god is a loving god, who would never condemn his beloved children to perdition simply for violating a few rules.” Please note that I spelled “god” with a small g, because the word, in that context, doesn’t represent the God of the Bible, but is a construct of New Age religion and wishful thinking.

The second foundational human right is hard to accept; in fact, most folks refuse to accept it. That right is: We must expect to receive the just consequences of our actions. Galatians chapter six is a rich source of principles for godly living, including commands to share one another’s burdens, to avoid comparing oneself to others, to support Christian workers, and the Law of Sowing and Reaping. These aren’t just arbitrary rules, but essential principles for effective body-life. Of course there are many more that are just as important in the New Testament, but I’d have to write a book to enumerate them all. Hmmm, maybe I should, but the trouble with that idea is the church would just ignore it right along with the dozens of other books on the same subject that are better than I could ever write.

Yes, obeying all the various aspects of New Testament law is a daunting prospect, but fortunately for us, God provided the Way around the harsh fate that naturally awaits us sinners. Yes, sinners, ’cause nobody’s perfect. If that thought is new to you, I’m curious what rock you’ve been hiding under.

Grasping our rights without accepting the responsibilities that they carry is plain foolish. Now, we don’t want to act like fools, do we?

Adoption: The Compassionate Option

Today’s Our Daily Bread by Dave Brannon … well maybe you should read it first.

Thanks, that saves me the trouble of telling you what he said. Speaking of adoption, though, my late wife Nancy was adopted into a loving family as an infant. She never had to face potential adoptive parents’ rejection as did the teenage student in Dave’s story. Unfortunately, I only met her adoptive father once before he died, but he impressed me as a man of deep, quiet conviction, full of love to the point of overflowing. Bruce Cunningham’s loving example taught Nancy to love, and in God’s perfect timing she came to love her heavenly Father. That’s not such a huge transition if you’ve known an earthly father’s love.

None of us are truly orphans or abandoned children of God’s creation. Our Father is still very much alive; always was, and always will be. He didn’t abandon us, but because of Adam’s bum deal with the serpent, we’re all born separated from our Father. When we reach the age of accountability and have to choose right or wrong, we invariably choose the wrong.

Galatians 4:4-7   But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[a] Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[b] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

As God created us to love and be loved by him, that separation from him leaves us wanting, rather like the aging orphan who never gets adopted. If we believe in God at all, we often feel that he has abandoned us. To assuage that feeling we look for love in all the wrong places (appologies to Johnny Lee), and settle for second best. Some of us fall for religion’s appeal, hoping to find God there, thinking if we can just “get it right,” God will reward us with his love. Others give up on God, bitterly denying his existence and hating anyone who “tries to shove religion down my throat.”

Even with all our thrashing around, trying different religions, philosophies, and political parties, we can never regain God’s peace by our own efforts, on our own terms. That’s why God’s Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The first chapter of John’s gospel breaks it down into simple terms: 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. Most everyone has heard of John 3:3, where it tells us that we must be reborn, but vss. 1-21 give a more complete picture of this eternally essential truth.

Remember God’s compassion toward you, and rejoice in your adoption as his sons and daughters. Chances are good that I’m preaching to God’s adoptees, but no matter how long you’ve been walking with God in his Spirit, you will profit from reviewing the basics. After all, God commanded us to be ready to explain the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15).

C.S. Lewis on Faith and Feelings

Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders

Have you ever known someone you wanted to totally agree with, but couldn’t? I respect C.S. Lewis, both the man and his work, but I can’t agree with everything he wrote about Christian doctrine. What you see below is one of his statements that I heartily agree with, and I wish every Christ-follower would read it and take it to heart.

“Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

“The first step is to recognise the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?”

From Mere Christianity

In my observations, Christianity seems to be polarized between two extremes: the emotional Pentecostal/Charismatic side, and the analytical scholarly side. Both extremes, of course, include vast numbers of variations, from Charismatics who love God’s Word and spend great portions of their time studying it, to Bible scholars who feel God’s love so deeply they can’t contain it.

“Follow Your Heart”

The recurring theme in Disney’s and others’ “family” movies is, “Follow your heart.” It’s based on the idea that anything that makes you happy couldn’t be bad. That idea, however, almost never works out. I’ve experienced its folly so many times that I hesitate to admit it. Just look at the things people do to themselves because they think it will make them happy: Alcohol, drugs, relationships, sex, cosmetic surgery, and accumulating money and power. If you allow any one of those things to run your life, it will ruin your life.

Nothing is wrong with strong feelings, about God or anything else. What is wrong is basing your life on those feelings. That is what Jesus was talking about when he delivered this parable:

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: (25) and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. (26) “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: (27) and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Feelings aren’t facts, and they most certainly aren’t truth. And too often they work against both.

There’s Power In a Name

False prophets are wolves in disguise.
Politicians also fit that description.

This afternoon I saw some people walking through my complex dressed like they were headed to church. The youngest of the three saw me and smiled, saying quite cheerfully, “Hello. How are you?”As I was slightly taken aback, all I could think to say was, “Blessed,” which was true. I’d been rejoicing in my Savior all day. I was taken aback because I thought they were Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Now, I love those folks because my Savior loves them, even though I heartily disagree with their teachings. I don’t encourage them because of their prepared, canned presentation and prepared answers to whatever I might say to them. I also encourage other Christ-followers not to engage them with rebuttals unless they’ve studied JW dogma and know God’s truth way better than the average believer.

They aren’t unique in propagating a false gospel; other sects, many of which presume upon the name of Christ and pretend to conform to the teaching we have received, claim new revelations that counter God’s Word. I’m focusing here on the Watchtower Society because their teachings pervert the holy Name by which God identified himself to Moses. Our obligation isn’t to debate such false “prophets,” but to obey God’s Word, which tells us:

(6) I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, (7) which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. (8) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (9) As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

Matthew chapter seven quotes Jesus dealing with various kinds of error. As for false prophets, he said:

(15) “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. (16) You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (17) Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (18) A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. (19) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (20) Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Jesus’ words about discerning “good trees” from “bad trees” gives us the key to identifying the liars. All human religions harbor deep, dark secrets known only to the inner circle. Such secrets may involve the founders’ moral transgressions, or hidden doctrines that any reasonable person would see as a lie.

These people name Jehovah and Jesus as if their authority comes from them, when in fact they are usurpers with no valid authority. They prey on those who are largely ignorant of God’s Word and have not been warned about such false teachers. Indeed, there is power in God’s names, both for truth and for error, depend upon who is those using them.