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So far Denny has created 1017 blog entries.

That Inner Struggle

2019-11-11T11:21:08-05:00 November 17th, 2019|

We all have inner struggles. The problem is that those inner struggles often break out into violence. Oh, we don’t mean it to be that way. But we are out of control. The Bible explains it this way. “What is the source of the quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel” (James 4:1-2).

You see, struggles with others stem from inner conflict. That should not be too hard for us to grasp. But we rarely make the association. We would rather lay the blame elsewhere. It all boils down to a lack of education or my upbringing or poor living condition. Sure, all these factors may contribute to our problems. But the root and core of our difficulties lies within. We are envious and cannot obtain, so we fight and quarrel.

Now if there is a cure for envy, can’t we expect that cure to curtail our quarreling and fighting? Well, there is a cure. His name is Jesus Christ. And His cure involves a total change of heart. He says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:27). Wow, that’s a cure worth pursuing.

For further help in growth in Christ, listen to “Inner Warfare and Sanctification.”

 

Jesus Christ, Attorney at Law

2019-11-11T11:20:15-05:00 November 16th, 2019|

You probably never thought of Jesus Christ as a lawyer. And if you have, you probably dismissed Him. After all lawyers are just out after your money and so are preachers. Right? But the Bible makes an entirely different connection, “If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Those who get themselves into trouble with the law need a good lawyer. In like manner, those who get themselves into trouble with the Law of God need an advocate. That’s the parallel to be drawn.

And where do we stand? “All have sinned,” (Romans 3:23). We have all broken God’s law summarized in the Ten Commandments. But “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). And God says, “You shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them” (Leviticus 18:5). As a result, we are barred from heaven.

But Christ came into the world to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty due to people like us for their sins. Now, when those who trust in the sacrifice of Christ stand before God, Jesus Christ is their ultimate lawyer. He pays the penalty due to His clients. Then He defends them by name.

To learn more, click on “We Have an Advocate.”

Self-Love?

2019-11-11T11:18:47-05:00 November 15th, 2019|

Self-love is a popular teaching within the church. It is said we need to learn to love ourselves before we can love God. Self esteem taught in our schools bolsters this notion.

But look at what the Bible says, “Let each esteem others better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). That’s just the opposite. The Bible continually warns against thinking too highly of ourselves. Rather, we are to esteem others more highly than ourselves. This does not mean we are to be doormats under the feet of others. Far from it! Instead, we are to put others first. We are to allow others the better place at the table and the better seats at the ball game. We are not to have a `Me First’ attitude.

If you think too highly of yourself, if you are selfish, you may neglect your responsibilities. You may think the work you have been assigned is beneath your dignity. And so the assigned tasks go undone. What’s the result? You get bad grades. Your parents reprimand you. You don’t get the raise you were wanting. You feel bad.

But if you see the needs of others as more important than your own, you are more likely to work hard to accomplish assigned tasks. Then, when you complete your work, you feel good. Try it; you’ll like it.

Click here and listen to: “Love Yourself – Not”

Seek the Lord Seeking You

2019-11-11T11:17:16-05:00 November 14th, 2019|

When we call time out from the grind of making a living, when we hop off our entertainment carousels, we take time to really think. And we inevitably start asking basic questions. Why am I here? What is my purpose for existence? What is the meaning of life? These are nagging persistent questions? They can drive us to despair. Or the answers can give us unbounded hope.

Unfortunately, despair is more prevalent. We see it on the faces of kids in the street, mothers in the grocery store, and dad’s at the office. And no wonder, if the human race crawled out of the primeval slime and is destined to find its end six feet under, what is the use? Tombstones, which celebrate life with two dates: birth and death, tell the tale. We live. We die. That’s it.

The Bible sheds more positive light on our lives. It tells us why we were put on this earth. Men and women were placed on this lush outpost in a magnificent universe “that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). Our mission is to seek out the Author of life. Who can better inform our greatest longings? Our search for meaning and purpose ends in Him.

“Seek the Lord Seeking You,” click here.

No More Atheists

2019-11-11T11:16:23-05:00 November 13th, 2019|

Atheists confuse me. They talk about God. They cannot avoid it. And there is a reason. When the Bible tells us how God created human beings it says, “He has also put eternity in their heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In other words, every human being is born with a God consciousness. It is part of the warp and woof of their nature. Because they cannot escape this God consciousness, they suppress it and reject it.

As a result, atheists insist God does not exist. To be sure, the God they are talking about is the all-powerful Creator of the universe. They reject Him. But the atheist must then contend with the existence of the universe. He cannot deny the panoply of stars, planets, plants, and people that do exist. But how did all this come into being?

Most atheists lean on popular answers that have something to do with self-creation and the ‘big bang’ theory. What is the ‘big bang’? That’s when the universe exploded into being. But strictly speaking, this cannot be. Why? The universe could not exist before it existed in order to explode into existence. Any junior high student with a test tube full of sense can figure that out. For something to create itself, it must exist before it has been created. That cannot be. Self-creation is nonsense. If atheism reduces us to such nonsense, it is untenable.

Click here to listen to the alternative: “From Faith to Faith.”

Two People, Two Paths

2019-11-11T11:15:07-05:00 November 12th, 2019|

Imagine being a lawyer in the White House. That place must be the mother of all pressure cookers. Perhaps this is why White House attorneys fall by the wayside. Vincent Foster was one. His suicide note is revealing. “I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here, ruining people is considered sport.” Foster no doubt felt terrible guilt. He knew of no other way to alleviate the pain than ending his life.

Another White House counsel went to jail for crimes committed in the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon. He too can no longer practice law. His name is Charles Colson. When he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion he said, “I speak as one transformed by Jesus Christ, the living God. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He has lived in me for 20 years. His presence is the sole explanation for whatever is praiseworthy in my work, the only reason for this award.”

Two lawyers caught in the web of intrigue, violence, and guilt. Two ways to approach the agonizing results of violence. The followers of Jesus Christ exclaim, “Not one of us lives for himself, and not one of us dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord” (Romans 14:7-8).

Click here and listen to “Two Families, Two Fathers, Two Faiths.”

Cain, Balaam, Korah, You, and Me (Jude 11)

2019-11-11T11:35:15-05:00 November 11th, 2019|

If you profess faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, live by this profession of faith. This exhortation is always appropriate for members of the church to whom Jude is speaking (Jude 3). How so? On two counts. First, none of us have reached perfection. We sin daily in thought, word, and deed. This truth from Scripture and the Catechism is not theoretical. It is actual. Second, the visible church is always a mixed multitude.

Some children in the church have not yet made a profession of faith. Some make a profession of faith but do so only on an outward and intellectual basis. And some are temporary. They receive the word with joy, and when difficulties arise, they fall away (Mark 4:16-17).

How can this situation come to pass? The elders and leaders of the church do not have spiritual x-ray vision. They cannot look into hearts to see if expressed faith springs from the new birth. As a result, we come to the truth of Jude 4, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Verses 9-10 give three examples of the people Jude describes in verse 4. Jude 11 continues with three more Old Testament examples. First, “they have gone the way of Cain.” This example goes back to Genesis 4:3-8.

It came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell . . . And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

In verse 4, Jude speaks of people who were long marked out for condemnation. Cain was certainly a marked man. God gave him a sign or distinguishing mark (Genesis 4:15). Cain was also full of anger leading to murder (Genesis 4:5). Jesus indicates that standing alone, such anger incurs the same guilt as murder (Matthew 5:21-22). Such anger is a deed of the flesh (Galatians 5:20). It is a mark of the unholy spirit (Ephesians 2:1-3) rather than the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30).

A fellow in the church once told me that his primary motivation in life was anger. I responded that such a motivation disqualified him from the eldership. I reminded him that “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

The people Jude describes in verse 4 are also like Balaam; “they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam” (Jude 11). The story of Balaam is quite remarkable. He was paid to curse Israel (Numbers 22:7). He advised Midian to lure Israel into whoredom in the cult of Baal (Numbers 31:16). Peter describes such people, “Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15).

Balaam represents unbelievers “who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary” (Mark 4:16-17). The Spirit grants them illumination but not new birth (WCF 10:4 with proof texts). With light from God, Balaam blesses Israel. “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, And the oracle of the man whose eye is opened; The oracle of him who hears the words of God, Who sees the vision of the Almighty, Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered, How fair are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel!” (Numbers 24:3-5). Although having great gifts, these people, like Balaam, turn out to be “ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness” (Jude 4). You and I must remember the words of Jesus, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). It is not spectacular gifts but abundant fruit, which is the most important Christian characteristic.

Finally, the people Jude describes in verse 4 are like Korah and his followers. “They have gone the way [of those who] perished in the rebellion of Korah” (Jude 11). Korah and his followers rebelled against the duly constituted authority in Israel. In doing so, they rebelled against God. “They assembled together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?’” (Numbers 16:3).

Why? God organizes the congregation. God appoints elders and leaders. Furthermore, the Word of God exhorts, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him” (1 Peter 2:13-14). By “human institutions,” Peter indicates institutions established for human welfare such as the church and family and government. Any opposition here is to “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

Finally, Jude issues this indictment. “Woe to them!” (Jude 11). People within the visible church can be like Cain, or Balaam, or Korah. You and I must examine our hearts. Paul urges the Corinthians, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). The KJV translates this text, “Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.” In terms of Jude 4, Jesus Christ is in you, except you be marked out for condemnation. If you are born again and profess faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, live by this profession of faith. Remember, “we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone” (James 2:24 NLT).

Denny Prutow

Seeking for God?

2019-11-08T09:17:30-05:00 November 11th, 2019|

There are tens of thousands of people in the world seeking after God. They are not seeking God in the way they should. Nor are the seeking God out of pure love for Him. For these particular reasons the Bible makes this general statement, “There is none who seeks for God” (Romans 3:11). Nevertheless, people do make feeble attempts to seek and find the Creator. And there are two reasons you may feel impelled to seek for Him.

First, the Holy Spirit of God is active in the world stirring men and women to think about Him. He is making overtures through the witness of His creation which can be clearly seen and understood (Romans 1:20). And He is making Himself known through the testimony of His law at work in every human conscience (Romans 2:14). God gives confirmation in Genesis 6:3, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever.”

Second, you were placed on this earth for the purpose of seeking God. The Bible says, “He made from one every nation of mankind…that they should seek God” (Acts 17:26-27). A sense of creatureliness is a part of the fabric of your being. And so you have to force yourself not to think about God. Likewise, because of a sense of need for the Creator, you have to suppress the instinct to seek for God.

Click here to listen to: “Set Your Heart to Seek the Lord.”

The Money God

2019-11-08T09:15:39-05:00 November 10th, 2019|

Most people think the church and religion have nothing to do with business. After all, the church is engaged in spiritual work. And so the church should keep its nose out of the business world.

But the church is vitally interested in how people in business live, both at home and in the office. For example, the Bible clearly says, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang” (1 Timothy 6:10). The person who longs for money is greedy. Such a person will go to great lengths to line his or her pockets. Cheating on an expense account is considered petty. Adultery is not too high a price to pay. Fraud is risky. But if the payoff is big enough, the ends justify the means. If the lives of others are torn apart, so be it. Greed can justify all sorts of corruption.

The problem is that we have a difficult time separating money as a tool from money as a god. Money as a tool is brought into the service of our family, church, and community. Money as a god demands our servitude. We are manipulated by it. This is why Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

Click here to listen to “The Mark of a Christian.”

Christ’s Sacrifice For You

2019-11-08T09:13:37-05:00 November 9th, 2019|

We are discussing biblical Christianity. Because of the teaching of the Bible about Christ’s death, we have a critical question. Did Christ die for you? The Bible teaches Christ died specifically to pay the penalty for the sins of “His people” (Matthew 1:21). These are people who had their names “written in the book of life before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 17:8).

The Bible also teaches there are those who must pay the penalty for their own sins (Revelation 20:15). These people are known by the fact they reject the salvation purchased by Christ for His people. Furthermore, the Bible says, speaking of people who go to the grave rejecting Christ, “To this doom they were also appointed” (1 Peter 2:9). The question therefore remains, Did Christ die for you?

There is only one way to answer this question. You must go to Christ. He says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The only way to know for sure that Christ did die to pay the penalty for your sins specifically is to repent of your sins and to trust in the death of Christ as the only adequate payment for your sins. May God give to you the gift of the Holy Spirit and enable you to so trust in Christ.

Click here God’s promise: “My Servant Will Justify Many.”