11-26-2012 12:46:40 PM PST
Topic: Benefits of living for God
Question: How are we to explain that living our lives according to God's will is better, without covering up the "price" involved or watering down any Biblical and practical truths.
I read an internet social feed from a good friend of mine who came to Christ late in life and has a grown daughter who struggles to understand how it is that having God in her life and / or living for God will somehow make life better or fix her problems.
This of course is a hard subject. How are we to convey these truths and be a witness to those around us without leaving out the details of the natural consequences for living God's way in this fallen world with a prowling devil seeking to devour them? We want to be an encouragement after all. How do we tell the whole story in such a way that doesn't make the Christian life look like a downer but avoid insinuations that portray the Christian life to be without severe challenges?
It's not my intent in this blog entry to attempt to give an absolute formula as to how this must be done, but rather to share the substance of my comments I shared with this friend of mine. Its content may hold a little food for thought and help us to both realize what we might be doing wrong and provoke a brainstorm in you the reader as to what may need to change in our own approach of these dealings.
My comments (edited):
The problem with those who are either unsaved, or Christians who refuse to allow Yahweh to be ever entwined in their lives and not a savior ONLY, instead of making Him LORD over their ALL and cultivate faith in God, is simple: Often, they simply cannot see how getting close to God and make changes to live in subjection to Him is ever gonna pay the bills, so to speak. Years ago as a young new Christian, I was the same way, believing unto salvation but lacking faith, or at least not putting it to better practice in my life. A personal walk with Christ for me at that time was grossly lacking, and exercising faith or embracing maturity as a Child of God saw very few events. As a Teen and into my early 20's, I just didn't get it, and when other Christians around me "talked and walked" it, I felt irritated by them, and kinda felt like it was a bit fake or phony. Glory be to God though, He convicted my heart of a great many things in my life and brought me to the road that lead to understanding and an intimate relationship with Him.
However, to this day I've met people, (not teens or young in the faith) even currently know of grown men both younger AND older than myself, neglect to understand how things like: reading your Bible, going to church or prayer etc will EVER fix their problems. Its a lack of faith as well as understanding, and I hate to say it, but part of the reason is in part OUR fault. Christians often water down Bible truths and Godly principles, or simply lack to tell "the whole story" in attempt to make various ideas either more palatable, or by our own human logic invoke change in others lives. But by doing so, we do the listener a disservice, and when things don't go the way you told them it would, or they found out the Bible teaches different, they're likely to loose faith in those ideas, or loose faith in YOU, as you had indeed failed them.
Example: ever hear an "evangelist" trying to bait someone to come to Christ with promises of life getting better or easier if they would accept Christ? This of course is borderline heresy, but aren't we all guilty of similar or perhaps these exact crime(s)? The truth is, in some ways being a Christian AND living for God makes life HARDER, not easier. Satan isnt as concerned for those who are either lost, or Christians who live in a worldly way. After all, he has them right where he wants them. But instead the Devil is gonna put forth more effort in causing Christians to stumble, backslide, live their own way, thus chaining them a state of defeet so that they will be of no earthly benefit to God's kingdom. Is there pain just the same in the life of the lost, or a Christian living apart from God and is suffering as a direct result? ... ABSOLUTELY. Can things come together better in the life of a believer who ALSO seeks to live for God and trust in Him? ... ABSOLUTELY. But are we then in a better standing still subject to the arrows of life, or perhaps even worse? ... ABSOLUTELY.
For some, or perhaps even many, this is a difficult concept, and its no easy task to explain to those persons how life in Christ is somehow BOTH better and worse at the same time. . . but that they need to trust in God regardless and explain why it's still better, regardless of the hardships. I wouldn't blame anyone for looking a little confused and skeptical if ya told 'em, "Hey, life is so much better over here and all your problems will be cared for, BUT life is gonna get really hard living for God. Satan will attack you heavely, and you may likely be rejected by your peers and EVEN your own family... but trust me, its better over here". Compounding the natural skepticism of Christianity with that debates over improvement of life via Christ... its no wonder some people think we're all nuts and roll their eyes at our ever mention of God. All they can think in their faithless inward snickers are things like, "...oh yeah, sure. And how exactly is this all supposed to pay my bills?"
Some may even resenting us in the end because their eyes and ears are shut to it all, sometimes its not just simple lack of understanding, but it might be they ignorantly DON'T WANT to believe or trust because unfortunately, they want to be their OWN lord over their lives.
I hope this gives us some things to think about 'n chew on so we may have an honest and upfront approach when counseling or evangelizing to neighbors, strangers and loved ones. I pray this article will be a help to you, God Bless and Go with Christ,
11-09-2010 6:19:04 PM PST
Topics: Living Together Before Marriage
sub-Topic: "The Bible doesn't cover my specific issue" ...How to KNOW what to Do.
Question: As long as we are NOT having sex, is it OK ?
Now, most if not all Christians acknowledge that it's a direct violation of God's standards to commit adultery or fornication (any sexually lewd act partaken between two persons outside of wedlock) and is among what we consider the more major sins, not only against God, but against one's own self. However, even though when we speak of a couple "living together", "shacking up" or "cohabitation", outside of wedlock we assume there're having some form of sexual relations, that won't be the main focus of this article. You see, I was recently asked in so many words, "if we are NOT having any sort of sexual relations and are committed to NOT do so until we marry one another, than it's fine to live together before marriage, isn't it ?"
Some of you may think it's a given that people should NEVER co-reside outside of wedlock, however in this day in age, as de-sensitized as our nation is becoming, I say there is no such thing as a 'dumb question', and as naive as such a stance sounds to some, it deserves an answer. Many who read their Bibles may assume there'd be a verse that plainly says "don't do it", but there isn't. Does this mean if the Bible doesn't tackle your particular issue boldly and plainly, than it's fair game? Of course not, and what I hope to do here is provide a series of Bible verses and info in order to get the wheels turning, 'so to speak', so that you the reader may see and understand why it's been long said by many, especially Bible believing Christians, it's WRONG to live together before marriage.
First, before I get into the scripture portion of this article, I wanted to share a short statistical read I found in another article:
"Most couples who live together never end up getting married, but those who do tie the knot are almost twice as likely to divorce as couples who don't live together before marriage. Overall, the divorce rate of cohabiting couples is about eighty percent, ... Couples who cohabited prior to marriage have greater marital conflict and poorer communication, and they made more frequent visits to marriage counselors. Women who cohabited before marriage are more than three times as likely to cheat on their husbands within marriage. The US Justice Department found that women who cohabit are sixty-two times more likely to be assaulted by a live-in boyfriend than by a husband. They were also more than three times as likely to be depressed as married women, and the couples were less sexually satisfied than those who waited for marriage."
That last bit of info I found to be pretty consistent throughout varied sources I came across, and in itself would be reason enough to choose not to live together before marriage. But let's move on. Let's take a little stroll through God's word and see if by the end of this short study, the Holy Spirit hasn't opened our eyes and hearts to His will. Examine the following, then after putting it all together, with an open heart before God ask yourself, 'in light of God's word, would God want me to share a room with my girlfriend / boyfriend before we're married to one another ?'... then see what you come up with. And feel free, if need be, to go back and re-examine the scriptures and thoughts provided.
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: :6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
I would like for our attention to especially be drawn to the phrase 'inordinate affection'. The King James translates this statement out of the original tongues from the word 'pathos', which basically means 'suffering passion or lust'. So as we read here, its not God's will that we put ourselves in a position where we cause ourselves to carry lustfulness, as well as all the other manners listed in the verse. Otherwise as we see in verse 6, such things bring on God's wrath upon His children.
1Co 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
Rom 14:13 .... but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
Now in these two verses of similar content, we see basically the same principle but from a different angle. Earlier we read about things that we're not to bring upon ourselves, but here we see it's ALSO our responsibility to NOT bring things before our brothers and sisters in Christ that may cause them to sin. So in short you could say, 'it goes both ways'.
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Time and Time again, I'm sure we've all heard someone say something like, "it ain't gonna happen with me", or "I'm stronger than that", or "but I'm different, I can handle it". Why do we think that we are super Christians who can walk directly into a storm and come out the other side unscathed? Granted, we all have our weaknesses, and where I may stumble doesn't necessarily mean that's where you will stumble and vice-versa, but this is an area where most any red blooded human being is likely to trip and fall. Sexual sins are spoken of very often in the Bible, and I think it's because God knows His own creation's tendencies of course, and He continually warns us...ya play with fire, your liable to get burned, as the say'n goes.
You can't EVER say of any particular sin "I will NEVER commit that one". Nor should we swear a promise or oath...
Mat 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: :34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: :35 Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. :36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
God knows us, and He doesn't want us swearing oaths,...WHY? .... You think maybe it's due to the fact we can't hardly ever keep any promise? I believe that to largely be the reason. Think about it.
Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: :28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
With many sins, it doesn't take a physical act in order for us to be found guilty before God. And here is one, to be guilty of adultery doesn't require the physical act, but only the thought in your mind, or the lust in the heart. Why would a person put themselves in a position where they are much more likely to lust after one whom they are not married to, or cause the other to be likely to lust for them? Remember the principles already established earlier? We are NOT to allow certain things in our lives, or anything that may cause us to sin, neither put a stumbling block before another person that could cause them to sin either.
Some may give "reason" as to why they choose to live together outside of wedlock. I know I for one have heard many. Sometimes it just sounds like nothing more than excuses, but I'm sure some may have thought their reasons were substantial, and that their hearts were in the right place. So would they then be innocent before God? Does God overlook sin as long as the 'end justifies the means' ?
Rom 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: :17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
According to this verse we're not to let our good be evil spoken of. So should we put ourselves in a position that may be in our own minds a good thing, but would be, or could be seen as evil by others ?
Eph 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
We're not to let these things be said to have been so among us, so don't give reason for people to 'talk'. Simple enough? And then just a few verses later....
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
...And once again we see these matters being the thing that causes God's wrath to come upon the children of disobedience, so it warns us to NOT let anyone convince you otherwise.
1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Even if we have fully convinced ourselves that we are not in sin, or we won't sin or slip up, it's reason enough NOT to go through with anything that could even remotely be seen as evil. In most any society, "living together before you're married" is looked down upon and is usually seen as evil and immoral. It's vastly assumed that there is sexual activity going on, but regardless if there really is or isn't, verse 22 clearly tells us to abstain not just from evil, but from even the appearance of evil....
2Co 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
Tit 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
It takes an effort to make sure our works are right and in line with God's will. And it's only being a responsible Christian to examine every decision, every act and every step that we may bring glory to God, as well as maintain a good testimony before man.
1Co 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient...
Pro 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
No obstacle that's ever set before us is unescapable or unavoidable. No matter what reason of convenience you have for "shacking up" or for any other sin for that matter, I guarantee is a poor reason. God will never allow us to fall into a position in which we have no other options. He always provides a means of escape....
1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
No one said the life of a Christian is easy, and I'm not sure why these days Christians have such a attitude. I always heard God's way was the 'straight and narrow', and its the broad path that leads to destruction. The world has it's way of dealing with the matters of life, and God offers His, yet I see so many Christians following the patterns of the world. This should not be. Don't you have faith that God's way works? Do you think that man really has a better way than God's? How is it the creation has come to a place where it thinks it can improve on God?....
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
This means, after all Christ did for us, the least we can do is to do our very best, to do our darndest, to diligently seek God's will as we sacrifice our will for His.
1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? :20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
We are NOT our own to simply do as we will, disregarding what God's word has to say about this or that. We belong to God. And as a part of the body of Christ, we should bring glory to the body.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The principles expressed in this article could be used toward many other matters as well, but weather it be "living together outside of marriage" or any other sin... we must above all remember, if we are truly born again, we carry the Holy Spirit in us. Yes, He is in us, and there to stay. So whatever sins we subject ourselves to, we take the Lords dear Holy Spirit with us. The places we go, the things we say and the decisions we make, not only do we subject ourselves to such an environment, but we force the Holy Spirit to be subjected to it also....
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
When Jesus said to take up your cross and follow Him (Mat 16:24-27) he wasn't asking for us to grab a couple pieces of wood to drag along your way; but rather to follow him through good times as well as the bad. It's easy to follow when things are going well, but to be yielded even during your struggles...well, I'd say that's when we're more likely to show both God and man to what level we truly love our Lord. Doing the right thing even in trying times is like a spiritual test of endurance. It'll be either a time of strengthening of faith, or proving how little faith we have in God and that HIS' ways work.
03-30-2010 2:01:28 PM PST
Topic: Voluntary Loss of Salvation
Question: One can't loose salvation through sin; BUT, can a person CHOOSE to walk-away from salvation?
This subject was posed to me during a very meaningful conversation I had with a young guy I know well. And although I want to focus on this portion of the subject, I would like to first briefly touch on the topic of the question's opening remark, just in case there is anyone reading this that would like it clarified first. That is, can a saved born-again Christian commit a sin(s) so bad, or to the point that God rips salvation out from under them?
The answer of course is 'NO', but here is why:
Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
Lets first pay special attention to the latter part of this verse. It says we are SEALED unto the day of redemption. You can make up any number of analogies to demonstrate this point. . .like an envelope sealed by God, a seal uncrossable or impassable, or even the light hearted example "sealed in epoxy-resin". Any way you choose to get the point across, its God"s word "...sealed unto the day of redemption."
Now, looking back at the first portion of this verse, And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, demonstrates that we have the ability to "grieve" the Holy Spirit. Thus, it can be deduced that we still not only have the ability to sin as Christians, but that when we do, its grievous to God's Holy spirit. The Holy Spirit lives inside us and has to put-up with our negative actions. Wherever we go, we take Him with us, and whatever we say or do, think or feel. . . if it be sin, we expose the Holy Spirit to it.
No where have I ever seen in Scripture that God takes back His spirit because of our sin. Furthermore, we see in Romans and Hebrews' indication of how God handles His misbehaved children, who live in sin, by His Holy correction through chastisement. Example: Hebrews 12:6+7 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? "
This scripture clearly shows God does address sin in our lives AS His children. We see no indication of God disowning us due to habitual sin, but BECAUSE we are His children he seeks to correct us.
Ok, so hopefully we have established one cannot sin their way out of Salvation, and it shouldn't be too hard to now address the question, "... can't a person choose to walk away from Salvation?"
I will address this inquiry with basic logic and a couple of Bible verses. Consider John 10:28 "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
You may still ask "...but isn't is possible to leave the hand of God by your own free will?"
First, I would respond with a most logical question of my own; "Why would anyone EVER want to?" I just can't imagine why ANYONE who is a truly saved, born-again Christian, would ever want to walk away from that. Lets look at it from this angle: What if my wife one day asked how my best friend Nate was, and if we intend on spending time together any time soon. In my response, I then insisted I had never met this 'Nate person' you speak of and furthermore, I don't even believe he exists. . .
That wouldn't make much sense, would it? Note: I realize this may not have been the best example because after all, friends do have fall-outs. We can lose friends, but do you know who you will never lose. . .? Your dad.
No matter what, your dad will always be your dad. Even if you choose to live far away from him, or live outside his will for your life, he will always be your daddy. And if and when that day came that you were to come to your senses and draw close to your dad again, admit you had failed him and reconcile your relationship, if he's a good dad, he will always honor you as his own and welcome you back into a place of good report. Does this story sound familiar? It should. It's the story of the prodigal son from the Word of God.
You see, the Bible describes us as God's children, His adopted, bought with a price.
1 John 3:1 "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God... "
Galatians 4:4-6 "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name"
Ephesians 1:5 "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will"
So, if we are His Children and He our Heavenly Father, how then could we ever lose that relationship? The answer of course is, you can't. Some children of God live a life closer to the Father than others perhaps, but those who are distant never cease to be His if they are truly saved. It's the same principle with our Earthly father as it is with our Heavenly Father; its up to us as to the quality of that relationship. After all, in James it does say in 4:8 "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. "
Still yet, you may say, "...but I thought I had heard of some who had once followed, even a pastor or two who no longer claim Christ? So how could this be?"
This answer is the simplest yet. . .they just weren't Christians to begin with, and here's the supporting scripture:
1John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. "
Matthew 7:22+23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. "
Notice it didn't say -I don't know you anymore-. . .no, no, no. It says " I NEVER knew you" just as the flip side of the token. . .
"I give unto them eternal life; and they shall NEVER perish"
Unfortunately, many are simply going through the motions, so to speak. Still many who perhaps even grew up in church fool themselves holding to rituals, acts or works to get them to Heaven (Eph 2:8+9). Also, truth be told, there are many passive and irresponsible teachers and pastors who are afraid to preach the word for what it is out of fear of rejection, persecution and cultural acceptance. Religions pop up everywhere this way, not just by perversion of the Word (Gal 1:6-9+Acts 13:10), but by withholding the truth. Instead the itchy-eared Pastors(2 Timothy 4:3) water down the Word to make it more palatable to a Godless society, turning church into a sorta 'feel good' experience instead. However, ultimately its the individuals responsibility to READ the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15) and allow it to take precedence over the words of men(Ps. 119:105). Godly counsel is good, but only by way of wise men of God who make the un-perverted Word of God as the final authority and governing factor. So test every spirit to see if they are of God.(1 John 4:1)
In conclusion my brothers and sisters, rest assured, Salvation cannot be earned, bought nor taken away.
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise..."
Go with Christ,
-Bro T.B. Moffitt III
10-15-2009 11:47:54 PM PST
Topics: Salvation, acts (rituals)
Question: Is it required that one be baptized in order to become saved (make it to Heaven) ?
I was in a voice chat today when a friend of a friend joined our session. We talked about salvation and then one of them asked me, "is it required that a person be baptized in order to get to Heaven" ?
I know this is a very common question answered many times over by many a men, but never the less, I feel the need to supply the answer much as I did earlier today.
If you have read much of anything else from our ministry here, we have expressed many times that salvation doesn't come from doing works, acts or deeds of any kind, the Bible is clear about this. By realizing that you are a sinner and knowing there is a penalty for sin, then by your belief in Jesus, that He paid the price for your sins on the cross and rose from the grave, and finally by accepting this FREE gift he offers you, is how you can KNOW that when you die you will be with God in paradise, forever.
The ONLY way to escape the flames of Hell is not in ANY outwardly acts, but by simply placing your faith, your full trust in Christ and Him ALONE. But don't take my word for it. Lets look at what scripture says. . .
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
"But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." (Galatians 3:22)
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. " (John 3:16)
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works,
lest any man should boast. " (Ephesians 2:8-9)
That last verse describes salvation as a gift.
An accurate description of a gift would be something that is NOT earned, bought or can be taken away.
As you can see, the word of God is clear. No where do we find that you must jump through any hoops to become saved, but rather by believing and placing your faith in the acts of Jesus to save you from Hell. And as far as baptism goes, we see many examples of people FIRST believing and accepting the truth unto salvation BEFORE getting baptized. One good example is in Acts chapter 8, Philip is sent by God and shares the gospel with an Ethiopian eunuch who then becomes a believer. And the word of God says. . .
"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." (Acts 8:26-38)
As you can see, it wasn't till after the Ethiopian had become a believer that he was baptized, or that Philip would even agree to baptize him for that matter.
But you may ask, so why get baptized at all?
By being baptized, it serves two main purposes. 1) Do it because Jesus asked you to do so, and you as a Christian you should want to be obedient to your Lord. and 2) Because baptism serves as your public profession to other believers that you truly have accepted Christ, that you believe that Jesus died, was buried and rose again to life. And that your'e not ashamed of your savior to show publicly that you believe.
Simply put, its in outward expression of an inward decision.
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33)
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:
for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;.." (Romans 1:16)
Go with Christ
-Bro T.B. Moffitt III
08-17-2009 5:50:27 PM PST
Topics: Salvation, works (good deeds)
Question: Is doing 'Good' good Enough?
I recently made contact with an old friend that I hadn't heard from in over a decade today. We had been corresponding via the Internet and in regards to his spiritual beliefs I felt that he is in a place that MANY others are or have been in the past..
Being that there is so much confusion in the church these days regarding doctrine and especially salvation, my friend like many others had decided that they can't put their trust in church nor put their full faith in the Bible. So, as far as salvation goes in their world, they hope to be able to get to Heaven by way of the 'golden rule' more or less. So I decided to post an edited version of my answer to him here, and pose the question, "Is 'Good' good Enough"
Ya know, I can perfectly understand the frustrations you have faced regarding church and Bible. I believe you when you tell me you have tried, and I don't think its all your fault. These days there are so many people that are confused, and not just the general public but even those who go to church every Sunday.
The reason is churches and pastors try to accommodate the popular social views rather than sticking to God's way. They only say what they think people want to hear rather than what they need to hear. This is why you can't get a straight answer from many and why there seems to be so much contradictions between people, churches and doctrines.
If only God's people would just be bold to preach God's truth rather than sugar coat, and stop worry'n about what others may think of them....I pray for this regularly. Peoples souls are in the balance and Satan is hard at work in these last days. We especially see these things to be so living here in the NorthWest where we have the least amount of churches (especially good Bible believing ones) and the most un-churched people in all of the U.S.
I'm lucky to have found such a good church and I thank God for it. But I have been to soooo many other churches and I have been witness to such tragedies.
I even believe there are people who may end up going to church there whole lives, going through the motions thinking that trying to be good and worshiping on the weekend will be enough, but in the end they just might find themselves in Hell.
The Bible is clear as to how to get to Heaven but so many men have confused it and made it more complected than it really is. Man created religion. What religion is, is a way in which a person adopts a method in which he earns his own way to Heaven by being 'good' or preforming a number of acts or rituals.
As your friend, I hope you know I would never lie to you, I wanna give it to you straight cuz I care enough to. . . no amount of good deeds will ever get you or I to Heaven. Here is why, EXAMPLE:
Lets say you broke the law and find yourself in court before the judge. You are facing a fine thats too high for you to pay. You are about to be put away for a very long time. What could you say for yourself?
Would you say, "sir, I'm not that bad, I do good things too." The judge would remind you, "that has nothing to do with why you are here today". Maybe you'd say, "sir, your an honorable judge and I'm sure your a good guy and do good work here, I'm sorry for what I did, and I'm hoping you could forgive me and let me go".
The judge would see all this as nothing more than bribes. Justice MUST be served, and crimes MUST be paid for. Just then a man whom you don't even know stands up in court and says,"Your honor, I would like to pay this person's fine so that they can go FREE, if he would allow me to".
Jesus paid the price for your sins. he suffered in your place so that all you have to do is say 'yes' and believe on Him and Him alone to get you to Heaven. Its FREE, its the GIFT of God,...but you do have to receive it.
Put the Lord on just as you would a parachute. You wouldn't trust in yourself to flap your arms hard enough to cushion your fall. Instead you would cling tightly to the parachute, knowing that its your only means of rescue from a hard fall.
Understand that Heaven can't be earned, bought or taken away.
You don't wanna hope your going to Heaven. . . Your life depends on knowing. Many think they are going to Heaven or at least hope so. But are they trying to get there by our own means and understanding? Or doing it GOD's way?
Perhaps with this said, now would be a good time to go back and read my first message I sent to you. Its full of scriptures that prove what I'm telling you is true and not my own idea. We as a people must stop adapting the Bible to ourselves, BUT rather apply ourselves to the Bible. To stop confusing what it says, to stop reading it with a pair of scissors in hand.
Again, its not your fault that others have corrupted the gospel. But I hope you would give what I have said a chance. The truth is there and I hope you would open your heart to it.
Email me anytime if you have questions.
Go with Christ,
08-11-2009 1:43:42 PM PST
Question: Do you Twitter
Yeah, I do now! This question wasn't directly asked, but I thought you all may like to know.
So today I decided, I wanna get to the bottom of this whole 'Twitter' craze. I just can't see why it's so popular over other blog/social networks. But I figured I could jump in, open up our own Twitter page and experience it for myself. Besides, since it is so popular, this could turn into another avenue in which to channel people to Emerald Leaf. Please pray that this ministry and all its extensions (including this new Twitter extension) can be a blessing to others and glorify our Lord.
God Bless you my brothers and sisters. To God be the glory, always -Bro Tom
05-17-2009 6:22:15 PM PST
Topic: Modern bible translations
Question: Does the New Living bible have errors, or is it reliable?
I had a friendly conversation with a buddy of mine today discussing the differences between the very reliable King James Bible vs other modern translation. He agreed that the King James is a great Bible and didn't dispute it's accuracy, however he did mention that he preferred the NLT (New Living) for his Bible readings and/or studies. He also asked for me to fill him in on any possible corruptions if they existed in his NLT, for he had not been aware of any but would like to know if there were.
Now, I don't plan on making a practice of translation comparisons here at Emerald Leaf, but when asked I will address such subjects. By the way, I want to encourage ANY questions submitted to our ministry. Thats what our community boards and blog are for. You may also privately submit questions through our email and that way I can answer them publicly but with your anonymity intact. Remember, almost no subject is off limits.
So, as far as the NLT (New Living) is concerned, I submit for you not ALL, but a good couple hand fulls of errors, corruption and faulty translation found in the far inferior NLT(New Living) bible.
- Deuteronomy - "sodomite" changed to "temple prostitute"
- 1 Kings 14:24 - "sodomites" replaced with "shrine prostitutes"
- 1 Kings 15:12 - "sodomites" replaced with "shrine prostitutes"
- 1 Kings 22:46 - "sodomites" replaced with "shrine prostitutes"
- 2 Kings 23:7 - "sodomites" replaced with "shrine prostitutes"
- Matthew 17:21 - entire verse omitted
- Matthew 18:11 - entire verse omitted
- Matthew 19:9 - half of the verse is omitted
- Matthew 23:14 - entire verse omitted
- Mark 6:11 - half of the verse is omitted
- Mark 7:16 - entire verse omitted
- Mark 9:44, 46 - entire verses omitted
- Mark 11:26 - entire verse omitted
- Mark 15:28 - entire verse omitted
- Mark 16:9-20 - entire passage is questioned by a footnote that says, "The most reliable early manuscripts conclude the Gospel of Mark at verse 8"
- Luke 4:8 - "get thee behind me Satan" is omitted
- Luke 17:36 - entire verse omitted
- Luke 23:17 - entire verse omitted
- John 1:10 - says God created everything "through" Jesus instead of "by" Jesus as the KJV teaches
- John 1:41 - The NLT leaves out the phrase, "Which is by interpretation, a stone." Hence, the critical distinction between Peter as "the stone" (Petros), and Jesus as "The Rock" (Petra) is obscured. This was no doubt deliberate to pleases Catholics who falsely teach that Peter is the rock upon which the church is built. The Bible states in no uncertain terms, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1st Corinthians 3:11).
- John 3:16 - the all important word "begotten" is omitted, thus denying the deity of Christ
- John 3:13 - "which is in heaven" is omitted John 5:4 - entire verse omitted
- John 7:53 - 8:11 -- entire passage is questioned in a note which says, "The most ancient Greek manuscripts do not include John 7:53 - 8:11"
- Acts 8:37 - entire verse omitted
- Acts 12:4 - changes "Easter" to the incorrect "Passover" (See Numbers 28:16,17 and Acts 12:2 in the KJV)
- Acts 17:29 - completely removes the "Godhead"
- Acts 28:29 - entire verse omitted
- Romans 1:20 - completely removes the "Godhead"
- Romans 16:24 - entire verse omitted
- Philippians 2:6 -removes the word "equal," thus denying Christ's deity
- Colossians 1:16 - says God created everything "through" Jesus instead of "by" Jesus as the KJV teaches
- Colossians 2:9 - completely removes the "Godhead"
- 1 Timothy 3:16 - "God" is omitted, says "Christ appeared in the flesh, thus denying the deity of Christ
- 1 Timothy 6:5 - "from such withdraw thyself" is omitted
- Hebrews 1:3 - the all-important words "by himself" are omitted
- 1 Peter 4:1 - "for us" is omitted
- 1 Peter 4:14 - half of the verse is omitted
- 1 John 3:16 -completely removes "the love of God"
- 1 John 4:3 - the all-important words "Christ is come in the flesh" are omitted 1 John 5:7-8 -- Trinitarian clause omitted
- 1 John 5:7 - half of the verse is omitted, thus denying the Godhead
- 1 John 5:13 - half of the verse is omitted
- Revelation 1:11 - first half of the verse is omitted
- Revelation 5:14 - "him that liveth forever and ever" is omitted
...And again, I'm sure this isn't all the errors to be found but its enough if you ask me.
This is just one example of a modern translation gone very bad. I wish I could say that its only one of a few. But unfortunately there are far too many modern translations who's long list of errors prove that Satan is at work in these last days. After all, I don't think we have ever seen an age like this where in the last 30-40 years, according to my understanding, has yielded almost 200 new translation of the bible. Yet ALL fall way short of accuracy compared to the original text. The King James is hands down, by far, the closest to the original text that we have in our English language. If there was something better, I would tell you, or even if there was something close, I wouldn't be bias to keep it from you. I would gladly offer my dear brothers and sisters in Christ a couple, two or three options, but i can't, simply because they do not exist.
Now, when I read from the Bible, I want to hear from God. I know that God has preserved His word as scripture has promised and I believe that the Bible is indeed God's inspired inerrant words. I don't want "Joe Shmoe's" bible, I want God's Bible. I hear people complain about the 'thee's and 'thy's of the King James, but so what? You know what those words mean, so why not just get used to it? I realize that there are even some parts where any one of us can stumble once in a while, but its all part of the journey. Ask yourself, "do I want to be spoon fed the rest of my life, or do I want to grow and gain true wisdom?"
Only the correct process can yield the right results when seeking wisdom. The bible tells us to seek after wisdom and understanding, so just be patient and when you are struggling, just remind yourself, ' this is all part of the process'. And above all, PRAY. Wouldn't you rather take a little extra time in order to gain God's truth rather than inherit some others guys imperfections and opinions?
I like the 'thee's and 'thy's...you know why? Because they are like little build-in speed bumps in God's word that helps me to absorb every word that God is speaking to me. Since God doesn't make mistakes, He must have intended EVERY word that He included in His wonderful book, so who are we to try to 'improve' upon it? Besides, in both the old and new testaments of the Bible, God makes it clear that He wants NO person to tamper with His Holy scriptures. I fear for those who have dared to cross such boundaries over the years.
Go with Christ,
-Bro. T.B Moffitt III
01-06-2009 5:45:46 PM PST
Quick update. Our official domain just went up this morning. So, from now on all anyone has to do to access out site in simply type into their address bar www.emeraldleafministries.com
Everything is slowly coming together here. Keep checking back for more content yet to be added as well as news and updates. By the way, all suggestions are welcome, just add to the comments.
Thanks again for all your support.
Bro.T.B. Moffitt III
12-30-2008 12:45:27 AM PST
More to come soon
12-30-2008 12:41:52 AM PST
Under construction. Please check back soon