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So far Denny has created 1046 blog entries.

The Purchase of Blood

2020-02-20T23:58:27-05:00 February 22nd, 2020|

One of the cable television networks had a special series of news briefs called “Liberty.” They were reports on people searching for liberty by coming to the United States. They were amazing tales of the grief and hardship involved in leaving the tyranny of iron and bamboo curtain countries. They were also accounts of the success achieved by these men and women who had the dream of liberty and fought for it. These stories were and are a fitting tribute to the Liberty we experience in America.

Unfortunately, little was said about the religious freedom for which men and women were willing to die over two hundred years ago. That freedom is real too. It is a freedom from internal spiritual bondage. It takes us into a new kingdom. Listen to how the Bible puts it, “For He [God] delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:12).

Yes, those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation from the consequences of sin have been taken out of Satan’s kingdom, the kingdom of darkness. They have been given citizenship in a new and glorious kingdom, the kingdom of Christ. The citizens of this kingdom have reason to celebrate. As the Bible says, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free” (Galatians 5:1). Here is a liberty of heart and soul only God can give.

This freedom was purchased at a high price. Christ died on a cross over 2000 years ago to purchase this liberty from the burdens of guilt because of sin. So when you experience freedom and civil liberties here in America, remember the freedom which underlies it all, the freedom which comes through Christ.

Click here and listen to, “The Gospel Gate of Heaven.”

Matters of Conscience

2020-02-20T23:56:50-05:00 February 21st, 2020|

Conscience is important. It’s an internal organ. It’s not physical. It’s spiritual. It passes judgement on everything you do. Your conscience says “yes” at times and it says “no” at other times. When your conscience says “no,” after you have done something wrong, you feel bad.

Should you let your conscience be your guide? Probably not! Your conscience can lead you astray because your conscience is not perfect. It is naturally unclean. Plus, it needs to be trained. A properly trained conscience can be a great asset and tremendous blessing.

Before your conscience can be trained, it must be cleansed. Your conscience can actually get quite filthy. This is where Christianity comes in. The blood of Christ must “cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). Dead works are the things you do that are displeasing to God. You do not feel guilty when you do them because your conscience is not clean. A conscience prepared to serve God, says “yes” when God says “yes” and “no” when God says “no”.

Once you have a clean conscience, you can properly educate it. You instruct your conscience by reading the Bible and learning how God wants you to live. This is discipleship. It is a lifetime task but it is well worth the effort. You can actually begin to please God.

To help you down the road to a clean conscience, click here and listen to, “A Good Conscience or Fear.”

Needed Perspective

2020-02-19T21:58:49-05:00 February 20th, 2020|

Kids cry, “That’s not fair,” if they do not all receive the same tokens of appreciation. Adults also often complain, “Unjust, unjust,” if they do not have the same luxuries others have. Life is full of little injustices and big ones too. More than one innocent person has been sent to prison. Perhaps illness or accident has invaded your life and for no apparent reason. You cannot escape the cloud of unjust suffering, not in this life anyway.

So what you need is some help in coping. The Bible gives the advice you need. “This finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrow when suffering unjustly” (1 Peter 2:19). You see, God knows all about unjust suffering. His Son was unjustly put to death when nailed to a cross. God knows you will experience sorrow because you will be the brunt of inequities. But God says to you, “Bear up under sorrow when suffering unjustly.”

Now in order to really bear up under sorrow, you need the grace of God. That is, you need the power of God in your heart. You need the Holy Spirit of God flooding your emotions. Let me ask you. Do you find it difficult to bear up under sorrow? When you experience inequities, do you get angry and lash out at others? Then it’s time for you to turn to the living God for help and strength. Turn to Him in prayer right now and talk to Him about your particular difficulty.

To help you get some perspective, click here and listen to a sermon based on 1 Peter 3:17-22 called “Perspective on Life.”

Christian Mottos

2020-02-15T17:46:01-05:00 February 19th, 2020|

A motto is a short saying which urges us in the right direction. The Scout motto is one of the most familiar, “Be prepared.” Such mottos set a standard by which to live. Not only so, they exhort us to live by the standard set forth. Scouts should be prepared to help others and to live by the scout law at all times.

The same thing applies to Christians. Christians are people who believe Jesus died on the cross to pay for their sins. And they believe Jesus will one day return. Jesus said, “For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matthew 24:44). So ‘Be Prepared’ is also a good motto for Christians, for those who look to Christ for salvation!

And there are other Christian mottos. For example, “Honor all men” (1 Peter 2:17). In other words, those who are filled with the Spirit of God should always show respect for others. This is especially true within families. Every Husband should show respect for his wife. After all, he has taken a vow to love her “as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). But some husbands refer to their wives as ‘the old lady,’ hardly a term of endearment. And other husbands don’t back up their wives when it comes to disciplining the children. So the children play dad against mom. They learn disrespect for mom too. How can children be expected to honor their teachers or their grandparents if mom and dad don’t respect each other at home?

“Honor all men.” Is this a motto you need to learn? To help you, click here and listen to a message that discusses four “Christian Mottos.”

Twenty-Four Hour Days

2020-02-15T17:43:24-05:00 February 18th, 2020|

A professor of mine put it quite simply, “If you are trying to put more into a 24 hour day than will fit, you are not in God’s will.” He is right. Yet we always attempt the impossible. We get up early, and go to bed late, only to get more into the day. God gave us twenty four hours each day to take care of every necessity. Do we really need more time? Or do we need to reexamine the use of our time?

The Bible says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors” (Psalm 127:3). The word vain means deceitful, false, or worthless. It is the same word used in the commandment, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). In other words, you are not to use God’s name to perpetuate a lie. You are not to swear falsely or to take your vows lightly. If you call yourself a Christian, your life should match your profession. Otherwise your profession is a lie, you are deceitful.

By the same token, it is a deception to drive ourselves relentlessly in order to get our work done. When we do so, we heap no end of stress upon ourselves needlessly. Also, we attempt to build the house of our own lives by our own strength. We attempt to build the house of our careers by our own strength. We attempt to build our families with our own wisdom. Then the pressure mounts and the stress builds. But listen, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1). You see, it is all a deception unless God is in the midst of our labor.

To help you understand this better, please click here and listen to “And God Gave Us a 24 Hour Day.”

The Excuse of Romans Seven

2020-02-15T15:48:28-05:00 February 17th, 2020|

We all make excuses. It started with Adam, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). It has continued ever since. Amazingly enough, the problem of making excuses has captivated the church. People, who above all else, should be ready to “confess their sins” (1 John 1:9), use a pat answer when overtaken by sin. “That which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15).

The usual interpretation is that verses like this one in Romans 7 apply to Christians. When we sin, we fall back on these verses; we gain comfort. “After all,” we say, “The great apostle Paul had the very same problem I have. He wanted to do good. But then he failed. So I guess I shouldn’t expect to do any better.” We settle for a Christian life that is sinful.

Although we are not perfect and will never be without sin in this life, we should never use the Scriptures as an excuse to live in sin. The verses we so often use as an excuse really don’t apply to Christians at all. They apply to unbelieving people who are under deep conviction due to sin. If you are using this excuse, you may be under conviction. You may need the salvation worked out by Jesus Christ.

The true Christian position is not like the excuse. Listen, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Don’t use verses in the Bible as an excuse to live contrary to the Bible.

To help you, please click here and listen to “The Excuse of Romans Seven.”

But Now

2020-02-15T16:02:54-05:00 February 16th, 2020|

When our middle daughter spent her first summer away from home, she missed her family. She was 1500 miles away and couldn’t get home for a weekend. When I was in Vietnam, I felt the same way, separated and isolated even though there were lots of other people around.

Many people sense the same loneliness and isolation. Apartment buildings are filled with lonely people living right next door to each other. Even through they may live within a few feet of each other, there are thick walls and bolted doors which separate them.

The same thing can be said about our relationship with God. Although we were created by Him, we are separated from him. He rarely enters our thinking. We rarely consult Him in prayer or by reading the Bible. We are people “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Being without God is being outside the ultimate family. We are on the outside looking in. The Bible goes on to say, “But now in Christ Jesus you who were formerly far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13, emphasis added). How wonderful.

The reason we are separated from God is something called sin. Sin involves our hearts and the desire to hurt others by cursing them, stealing from them, committing adultery against them, or even killing them. Jesus Christ died to pay for our sins. He bridged the gap between us and God. Because of Jesus Christ we need not be separated from the family of God. Jesus Christ brings us near.

When I came back from war torn Vietnam to my family, it was a wonderful homecoming. When we come back to God through faith in Jesus Christ it is a far greater homecoming. We return to the ultimate family. We are embraced in the ultimate love of God.

To help you understand this better, please click here and listen to “But Now.”

Cremation or Burial

2020-02-13T16:29:57-05:00 February 15th, 2020|

While watching a recent science fiction show, I saw space marauders lose a companion. And the question was asked by the friendly forces, “What shall we do with the body?” The answer was simple, “It’s just an empty container, treat it as such!” This is an interesting line of thought. You’ve seen empty pop cans tossed beside the road, haven’t you? Well once a person dies, the body is no better than that empty container. And because it has fulfilled its purpose, it can be discarded.

This seems to be some of the thinking behind the process of cremation. If death ends it all, then the body is an empty container. And we should treat it as such. Why not burn it and discard the ashes? After all, we do burn other trash! And why should we burden prime real estate with cemeteries? The Land could be better used for the living.

Do you notice the lack of hope in this argument? If death does end it all, then the argument is valid. But as a matter of fact, there is life after death. This is why Christians have always buried their dead. Burial is an act of hope. And that hope is the hope of the resurrection. “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised…” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). You see, burial is a statement of faith in the resurrection of the dead. But cremation is just the opposite! Cremation is for those “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to “Burial or Burning (Cremation).”

The Heart of Love

2020-02-10T10:08:06-05:00 February 14th, 2020|

Valentine’s Day has become a time for engagements and wedding bells. It’s a time of love. And we give a heart shaped valentine to represent the giving of our own heart to that special person in our lives. But we know it is what is in our hearts that really counts.

Amazingly enough, this message permeates the Bible. “Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Here is the heart of the matter. Love comes from a heart transformed by God. And those who are born of God can say, “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).

This supernatural work of God is hard to accept. Why? We set our own standards for love based on feelings. When the flame of love is gone we think the love has also gone. We forget the aspect of commitment. We forget the “until death do us part” commitment. We want the privileges of love without the responsibilities. But God’s love in our hearts does two things. First, it causes us to keep our commitments. Second, it causes us to enjoy the one to whom we are committed.

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to a message called, “Born Again of Love.”

So, You’re Not Perfect

2020-02-10T10:12:10-05:00 February 13th, 2020|

Stress is ever present. Stress in children, teenagers, and college students. The stress of housewives, working mothers, laborers, business men, doctors, lawyers and ministers. And we think the stress is never our fault. It is always that other person or our situation which is causing the stress. But in reality, most stress is self-imposed. For example, we often make mistakes in our work. We realize that we are not perfect and so some mistakes are inevitable. And our reaction is simple, “I’m only human!”

But while we know we are not perfect, we push ourselves to the limit and say, “Well, you know I’m a perfectionist.” We push ourselves to attain the impossible goal. And we pressure ourselves beyond reason to reach the unreachable. Talk about stress and pressure. And the pressure is even worse when we fail. Then we must make excuses for ourselves.

One of the things we desperately need is some Biblical perspective. First, we need to recognize we are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means we really aren’t perfect.

But there is a solution. And it is not pushing ourselves. The solution is Jesus Christ. For those who trust his sacrifice for sin and commit their lives to His service, He has a wonderful gift. They will be made like Him. And this does mean perfection. “We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). And so Jesus Christ solves the dilemma of imperfect people reaching perfection. And He solves the related problem of stress.

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to “So, You’re Not Perfect.”