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So far Denny has created 986 blog entries.

Growth Means Life

2018-11-12T10:29:13+00:00 November 12th, 2018|

A little gal we knew was not growing properly. Her legs were too short. A certain doctor took a look at her and immediately knew the problem. It was a heart problem. Adequate blood was not getting to her legs. Improper physical growth was evidence of this physical heart problem.

In the same way, improper spiritual growth is evidence of a spiritual problem. You see, growth is an absolutely necessary part of the Christian life. The Biblical word referring to growth is sanctification. The Bible says, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). People who call themselves Christians and do not grow in a spiritual way are fooling themselves. Without this growth, they will not see the Lord. Why? Spiritual growth is an evidence of spiritual life. It is evidence the Holy Spirit living in you. But if the Holy Spirit does not live in you, you are not a Christian. The Bible is clear. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9).

How does growth come about? Listen to the apostle Paul, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). When Paul speaks about the word of God, he means the Scriptures of the Bible. Other books may claim to be Scripture. Only the Word of God in the Bible is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance of heaven. So if you want to grow, you need to read the Bible. Read five or six pages every day and you can read through the Bible in a year.

For more encouragement, listen to today’s podcast, “Your Growth through the Bible.”

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

2018-11-09T13:59:16+00:00 November 12th, 2018|

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy…” (Galatians 5:22). Love is the first of the fruit, love for God, love for Christ, love for others, love for Scripture, and love for the moral law as a way to demonstrate love. Joy quickly follows. This joy is not effervescent and fading. It is not like the froth on a root-beer float that quickly evaporates. It is an anchor for the soul. It is a buoy keeping us afloat on the sea of life.

Shortly after my conversion, the man who led me to Christ saw me and asked, “What’s the matter? Have you lost your joy?” His questions forced some quick introspection. No, I thought, it has not been a particularly good day; but “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). My joy in Christ was intact. It was a stabilizing influence in the midst of a pressure-packed day.

Nehemiah 8:10 exhorts, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” The people of old experienced grief because of their sins. They heard the reading and preaching of the Word of God (Nehemiah 8:1-8). The result was shock and sorrow. “All the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law” (Nehemiah 8:9).

The Spirit of God applying Scripture to our hearts may cause us to feel guilt. This sudden recognition of guilt may provoke deep sorrow for sin. Such godly sorrow “produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow therefore has a positive side. “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

And so, when the people of old heard the Word of God, it was not just a day for weeping and sadness. It was a holy day, a Sabbath to the Lord (Leviticus 23:24-25). It was a day for remembering. “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15). It was a day to remember the salvation of God and to rejoice in His grace.

You too may grieve your circumstances or have sorrow over your sins. When you hear the Word of God regarding the work of Christ and the grace of Christ, “you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). And when the light of Christ arises in your heart, it is the dawning of a new day.

You experience the joy of the LORD, that is, the joy that comes from the LORD who renews your heart. He takes a spiritual scalpel and removes that old angry heart and disposition. He replaces it with a new heart. You experience the joy of being forgiven, the joy of adoption into God’s family, and the joy of new purpose, God’s purpose, for living. You have a new joy and confidence born of the Spirit.

This joy in God and from God is an inner strength of heart. It is a quiet godly assurance. You gladly pursue God’s purposes in your work and in your family. God becomes the stabilizing influence in your life. You actually experience and exhibit real joy, the fruit of the Spirit.

Denny Prutow

Razor Sharp

2018-11-06T11:18:15+00:00 November 11th, 2018|

Why do people avoid the Bible? For one thing, the Bible cuts. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

We get mighty indignant when someone makes judgments about our actions. But the Bible not only judges how we act, it looks into our hearts. Here is a book that is “able to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts.” Yes, the Bible evaluates our thought life. Not only so, the Bible evaluates our motives and intentions. Looking askance at what we do is one thing. Prying into our hearts is something else! But this is exactly what God does through the Bible.

And there is real purpose in this. The judgments of the Bible are designed to lead us back to God. In the Bible we find out who we really are. We discover our need of Jesus Christ. And we learn that through Christ there is access back to the Father. Sure, the Bible cuts. A surgeon’s knife cuts to bring healing. But we are grateful for its work. The word of God is infinitely superior. Its razor sharpness brings healing to the soul.

Now, listen to today’s podcast about the Bible, “Razor Sharp, Pinpoint Accuracy.”

 

Your Spiritual Disposition

2018-11-06T11:19:16+00:00 November 10th, 2018|

When I get up in the morning, I’d just as soon be left alone. I have my little morning routine and I like it just fine. If you upset that routine, I’m liable to get upset. I guess I just can’t stand too much change. This is true with many of us. Change threatens us. And we react!

The same thing is true when we start talking about God. You see, the God of the Bible demands change! We are told that God loves us just the way we are. But I take exception to that line of thinking. God may love sinners. Christ may have died for sinners. But the Bible tells us that Christ came into the world to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). God calls Christians to leave old sinful lifestyles and form new habits, which are pleasing to God. This kind of change is a real challenge. But it is part of what it means to be a Christian.

“Well,” you say, “if being a Christian means giving up my drinking and the little affair I’ve been having with my neighbor’s wife, I’m not interested.” That’s right, you are not interested. But listen. You cannot continue in your sin and expect to experience the love of God. When I get up in the morning, I sometimes have an ugly disposition. But that is nothing compared to a disposition that is opposed to God, which needs to be changed. Why? “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Let me reword this verse so it makes more sense, “The disposition of the flesh is death, but the disposition of the spirit is life and peace.” The disposition of the flesh is opposed to God. But the disposition of the spirit loves God.

To learn more, listen to today’s podcast, “Our Mindsets and Attitudes.”

The Bible? The Ten Commandments?

2018-11-06T11:11:28+00:00 November 9th, 2018|

In the span of twenty-five years there were two terrible riots in Los Angeles. One talk show host asked the question, “Where did we go wrong?” The answer is simple. We have turned our backs on the Bible. For example, we no longer allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in school rooms. The Supreme Court declared this public display of the Ten Commandments unconstitutional on November 17, 1980. Of course Moses is depicted holding the two tablets of stone, the Ten Commandments, in the Supreme Court itself.

But the court was deeply concerned that if these plainly religious values were posted in school rooms students might be encouraged to follow them. Since then, generations of high school students and generations of college students have graduated. By implication these students were taught that God’s absolute moral standards summarized in the Ten Commandments are taboo. Ted Koppel, a former ABC anchor, actually angered people when he said Moses did not come down from the mountain with the Ten Suggestions. Now these students have entered the mainstream of society. And the more recent Los Angeles riots, although shorter than the previous riots, were the occasion for more looting, violence, and murder.

There is a correlation. When we turn our backs on the Bible and the standards of God in the Bible, we can expect more violence, more murders, more rapes, and more thefts in our society. The problem is that we no longer believe in absolute truth coming to us from God. We no longer believe in God who has spoken to us in a book. And so we are a society which is adrift. We desperately need to get back to the traditional understanding of the Bible as the Word of God.

And so to help you in this, listen to today’s podcast discussing “The Traditional View of the Bible,” which is so much needed today.

The Universe is All that Is or Ever Will Be

2018-11-06T11:05:25+00:00 November 8th, 2018|

The doctrine of evolution has been popularized in book made into a TV series that begins, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be” (Carl Sagan, Cosmos, pg.4). This teaching replaces the God of the Bible with the universe. It is blatant atheism.

And this doctrine of evolution permeates the classroom instruction of our elementary and secondary schools and colleges. God is rejected in the so-called objective studies of science, history, mathematics, sociology, etc.

The alternative to this atheism is theism, Christian theism. And Christian theism teaches that God is the One “who was and who is and who is to come” (Revelation 1:4). The church must lead in the creation of educational institutions based upon Christian theism, schools in which every discipline involves the discovery of God and His plans and purposes. If the world is to be reclaimed for Christ, children and young people cannot continue to drink at the fountain of atheism. Christian schools are a must. And the church must lead in their creation.

Listen to today’s podcast, “Six Day Creation.”

Kicking Bad Habits

2018-11-05T16:44:59+00:00 November 7th, 2018|

You’ve heard the old saying, “practice makes perfect.” It’s true. The more you do something, the better you get. The maxim is true with regard to all of life. Let’s fact it, we have some good habits and some bad habits. The more we practice a good habit, the more proficient we become. The more we practice a bad habit, the more entangled we become. When we try to break the bad habits we find it’s not easy.

People who do not trust Jesus Christ are ruled by something called sin. This principle of evil holds sway. The Bible says we are enslaved to this principle of evil within us. You get the picture when you realize what a hold habits like the regular use of alcohol and drug abuse really have. Some of these habits are so ingrained it seems they will never be broken and replaced.

The good news is that Jesus Christ is the power to both break bad habits and form new habits. Those who turn from their sin and trust in the sacrifice of Christ are delivered from bondage. Christ died and rose again “that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). This means Christians can break old habits and form new ones. The Bible says, “just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification” (Romans 6:19).

In other words, because the evil principle of sin does not dominate you any longer [if you are really a Christian], you can break off that old habit and start doing what you know is right. You can practice it over and over again.

To help understand how the work of Christ allows you to form new habits, listen to today’s podcast, “Freedom to Grow in Christ.

The Image of God

2018-11-05T16:38:23+00:00 November 6th, 2018|

What makes a human being a human being? This is a legitimate question. After all, we are unique beings, are we not? But some would have us believe we are nothing more than an extension of the animal world? In fact, the theory of evolution tells us we are animals. There seems to be scientific evidence to this effect.

But the faith of the Bible teaches us something entirely different. The Bible tells us that God created us in His image. This truth means we not only have bodies but we also have souls. The Bible says God “forms the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1). This soul or spirit is the spiritual element within us. It makes us distinct from the animals.

Angels are spirits but they do not have bodies. The angels are “ministering spirits, sent to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 2:14). On the other hand, animals have bodies but not souls or spirits. Human beings have both bodies and souls. This is true because we are created in God’s image. Because God is a spiritual being, we too are spiritual beings.

What is it about spiritual beings that make them unique? Well, as spiritual beings, we have minds. As a result, we have the ability to communicate with words. Yes, that’s right. We all have minds and the ability to communicate. We can form words and communicate our thoughts. This makes us utterly unique among earthly created beings. In like manner, God communicates His thoughts to us. He does so in the words of the Bible. The result is that when we read the Bible, God is speaking to us. So, because, we are made in God’s image, God can communicate with us.

Today’s podcast is called “How God Created Us.”

What is Biblical Love?

2018-11-03T08:26:47+00:00 November 5th, 2018|

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these (Galatians 5:19-21). God’s moral law summarized in the Ten Commandments stands opposed to such things. On the other hand, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

As we begin to examine this contrast by way of a look at the fruit of the Spirit, we see the priority of love. There is no law against love. God’s law defines love. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). The Ten Commandments give you a way to express love. You express love for God when you put His desires before your own, when you gladly worship Him, when you call upon His Name and pray to Him, and when you honor Him by setting aside one day in seven from regular work for corporate, family, and private worship study and meditation.

You love those around you when you respect age and position, when you preserve life, when you live chastely outwardly and inwardly, when you work to make a fair wage and support yourself and your family, when the truth is important and your word is your bond, and when you live this way in a state of contentedness. This love for God is not a burden to you but a joy.

This love also has certain characteristics. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:5-8). This is a description of love.

Love patiently and kindly tells the truth. Love assumes positions of authority without arrogance. Loving fathers do not demand tasks be done exactly the way they would do them. They do not demand their own way. Loving mothers are not easily provoked by the antics of their children. The love you express in following the Ten Commandments should bear the marks of this description.

Finally, such love springs from the heart. In fact, it is an attitude of heart. Philippians 2:5 exhorts, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” Attitude here refers to inclination of the heart or disposition. You do not want to be known as a person with an ugly disposition. You want to be a person inclined to love. You express this loving inclination, disposition, or attitude through the Ten Commandments as 1 Corinthians 13 describes. This attitude of heart is a fruit of the Spirit. It comes from God. If you lack in love, you should seek God for a new attitude. You should study the Bible to see how Godly love lives and acts.

Such love is also a witness. “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12). Attitudes of love, gladly expressed through the Ten Commandments, as 1 Corinthians 13 describes, testify to God’s presence. Unbelievers entering a congregation where God’s love is being perfected, where Christians express such love, will get a glimpse of the Divine. They will see God.

Denny Prutow

Make Friends Quickly

2018-11-01T10:48:54+00:00 November 5th, 2018|

The headline across the top of the front page quoted the estranged girlfriend. “I knew he would do it.” The offended boyfriend shot another man and then turned the gun on himself. Violence, hatred, animosity; they are with us in abundance. Our own homes are war zones. Whole nations may go to war, but husbands and wives often live in the midst of just as much hostility. There is such a need for personal peace, marital peace, family peace, national peace, and world peace. But where will it be found?

Jesus Christ commands, “Make friends quickly” (Matthew 5:25). But how? Jesus again says, “Be reconciled to your brother” (Matthew 5:24). But how? We must start with ourselves. “First take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:4). We must look at ourselves first. We will never be able to address the other fellow’s problems if we persist in ignoring our own.

Making friends quickly involves going to that other person, perhaps a spouse, and confessing our own sin and begging forgiveness. The same thing is true of God. We must confess our own sins and beg God’s forgiveness. We must trust that Jesus Christ paid the penalty we owe for our sins when he died on the cross. We must be reconciled to our neighbors. But we must also be reconciled to God. Both of these are involved in making friends quickly.

Today’s podcast is also called, “Make Friends Quickly.”