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So far Denny has created 988 blog entries.

Love Your Neighbor

2019-03-07T07:55:05-04:00 March 12th, 2019|

Imagine kids joining street gangs to find love, acceptance, and companionship! Part of the problem involves the breakdown of families. Many parents lack love for each other and for their children. And so the children have no models to follow. Then when they see a close knit street gang, they want in!

But the Bible provides a model for love. Jesus tells us, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). And Jesus’ words fit right in with the Ten Commandments. John, the apostle of love, points this out. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3).

You see, when we obey our parents, we love them. When we protect the property of others, we are loving them. When we preserve the chastity of our girl friend, we are loving her. When we do all we can to preserve human life, we are acting in love. When we refuse to gossip about others but protect their name, we are loving them. These are the attributes of love. And they remain a real positive standard for love. They may be old fashioned because they reflect God’s Ten Commandments. But contrary to popular opinion, “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 3:5). And kids involved in street gangs are looking for just this kind of love!

To help you understand this better, please click here and watch a short video called “The New Commandment to Love.”

 

Difficult Moral Choices

2019-03-07T07:51:50-04:00 March 11th, 2019|

One of the most emotional issues of our day is abortion. Those in favor of abortion consider the opposition to be against free choice. And how could anyone be against free choice? Those against abortion consider the opposition to be against life. And how could anyone be opposed to life? The result is bitter conflict. But who is right? And where can we find the answers?

We must retreat to higher ground. We must go to our Creator for answers. We must go to the God of the Bible. Listen to what the Bible says about children. “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). In other words, every time we eliminate a child by means of abortion, we spurn a gift given to us by God. And not only so, we spurn God Himself. We reject His wisdom in giving us this gift.

Sure, an unexpected pregnancy is difficult to deal with. No one will deny this. But the child is still a gift from God. And when God’s gifts are rejected, self-destruction results. For example, women want the choice of abortion. And so 1.5 million abortions are performed each year. Of these, we abort about 80,000 more girls each year than boys. The result is self-destruction. Fewer little girls brought into America today means fewer and fewer women in America tomorrow.

Much work has also been done to insure minorities are able to have abortions. And so, on a per capita basis, non-white women have twice as many abortions as white women. The result is self-destruction. There will be fewer and fewer minority children in America. But rejection of the gifts of God always leads to self-destruction. This is the result of poor moral choices. To help you understand this better, click here and listen to “Making Moral Choices.”

Trust the LORD and He will Acquit You

2019-03-08T13:58:05-04:00 March 11th, 2019|

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, said Isaac Newton in his third law of motion. When air is compressed by the fans in a jet engine, mixed with jet fuel, and then ignited, it blasts with explosive thrust out the back of the engine. In reaction, the plane is powerfully thrust forward. Graphically, thrust in the “negative” direction produces “positive” movement. Where there is a negative statement, there are also positive implications. This is true with the Ten Commandments. Let’s take the Third Commandment as an example. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). You can translate it, “The LORD will not acquit him who takes his name in vain.”

On one hand, the commandment is negative. It condemns unclean speech. Profane speech curses or damns creatures bearing God’s image. But this is God’s privilege alone. Vulgarity refers to sex and to bodily functions in normal conversation. God reserves sexual intimacy for marriage and marriage is God’s means to picture His particular love for His church. Blaspheme uses God’s name with cursing and vulgar diatribes. Blaspheme uses God’s name as though it is worthless. This means blasphemers look upon God himself as worthless. God’s Name and God’s person are connected just as your name and your person are inseparable. When your mother or your wife calls your name, she is calling you. The profane and vulgar use of God’s Name is blaspheming God.

Those who practice profanity, vulgarity, and blaspheme show their character. They are God opposers and God haters. And as Paul says, “Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). This is another way of saying, “The LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). Literally, that is, there is no acquittal for those who, as practicing blasphemers, consider God’s Name and God Himself to be worthless.

All of this includes Jesus Christ and the names ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ.’ Paul speaks of “our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13). And speaking of Jesus Christ, Hebrews 1:8 declares, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” There is no acquittal for those blaspheming the Savior with the profane and vulgar use of the names ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ.’

What about the positive side of the Third Commandment? God’s name is not at all worthless; it is of enormous value. Joel 2:32 declares, “It will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered.” Peter applies the words of Joel to Jesus Christ, saying, “And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). Then Peter points to Savior proclaiming, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The psalmist, who hears and loves God’s word, confidently cries to God, “Acquit me of hidden faults” (Psalm 19:12), using the words of the Third Commandment. The ESV says, “Declare me innocent from hidden faults.” This prayer is the language of justification. When you call upon the name of the Lord and trust in Christ as the only adequate sacrifice for your sins, God declares you free from guilt. You shall trust in the name of the Lord your God; He will declare you innocent and acquit you. This is the positive side of the Third Commandment.

Denny Prutow

Reading and Understanding the Bible

2019-03-07T07:50:15-04:00 March 10th, 2019|

I remember my college roommate reading the Bible every night. We were classmates at West Point. But when I tried to read the Bible, it didn’t work. The Bible made no sense.

Is that how it is with you? Sure, you have a Bible, but you never use it. It gathers dust on the shelf. And perhaps it has a flower from the prom pressed between its pages.

Well, things changed for me. Why? I met the author of the Bible. No, I did not meet Moses or Paul. I met Jesus Christ. One day, while still in the army, I visited a chaplain. He asked me point blank, “Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” I hadn’t; so I said “no!” And that chaplain began to introduce me to Christ. The chaplain showed me “that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). He showed me why Christ died on the cross. He died to pay for the sins of people like me. And he showed me that I needed to confess my sins and ask God’s forgiveness. I needed to trust in Christ as the One who paid for my sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). That day I met Jesus Christ. Sure, I already knew some things about Christ, but I had never really met Him before.

And after I trusted Christ for my salvation, I wanted to read the Bible. And the Bible, which is Christ’s Book, took on a whole new meaning. I could not get enough of it. You see, getting to know the author can make all the difference.

To give you some direction in reading the Bible, click here and listen to “Bible Study: Not and End in Itself.”

Teaching Needed

2019-03-07T07:49:08-04:00 March 9th, 2019|

How do you keep informed? Do you depend upon newspapers, magazines and books or do you watch television? Some media experts think too much television is reducing our ability to concentrate, to read well and to think logically.

If this is true, our society could be in deep trouble. Why? Because God, the creator of the universe, has chosen to speak to us by means of a book. That book is the Bible. You see, the Bible is “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). And we have the Bible because “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21). And so to learn about God, you must read and study this book.

To put it another way, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, told His followers to “make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). All that Christ has commanded is recorded in the Bible. So to be a follower of Christ, you must regularly sit under the teachings of the Bible.

The best place to do this is in the fellowship of the church. This is why God established His church. The church is a school. And the primary text book is the Bible. Not only so, the church is the place where you learn to put the teachings of the Bible into practice.

Do you fill your time by watching television? And do you find it difficult to concentrate while reading? The real problem may be that you are being drawn away from God. Don’t let that happen. Get hold of a Bible and practice reading. Practice reading the Bible. And attend a Bible teaching church. After all, you really do need to know God better.

To help you see the importance of teaching in meeting Christ, please click here and listen to a message called “How to Meet Christ in Worship.”

Showing Your Love for God

2019-03-06T21:26:20-04:00 March 8th, 2019|

How do you express your love for your parents? Or how do your children express their love for you? One way children show their love for their parents is to obey them. Yes, when children try to please their parents by obeying them, such obedience is an expression of love.

The same thing is true in your relationship with God and with Jesus Christ. Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). You see, God is just not laying down the Law when He comes to you with the Ten Commandments. Not at all. God is giving you an opportunity to display your love for Him. This is really what the Ten Commandments are all about. Following them is an expression of love.

Let’s face it, you are not showing love for God when you use the name of His Son as a swear word. And you are not showing love for God when you neglect the weekly time of worship each Lord’s Day. And what about your neighbor? God expects you to love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39). But you are hardly showing love for your neighbor when you spread malicious gossip about him or her.

All of these things and much more are wrapped up in the Ten Commandments. So to really show God that you love Him means living your life in obedience to these commandments. God has given them to you. And they provide you a way to express your love for God. “Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).

Where do you stand in all of this? Are you loving God by keeping His commandments? To help you understand the teaching of the Bible along this line, please click here and listen to a message called, “Showing Your love for God.”

Christ, Our King

2019-02-27T10:12:16-04:00 March 7th, 2019|

Ignorance is bliss. That’s one perspective. The other side of the coin is plain. Ignorance is no excuse. Then, there are some folks who say, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” But that’s not entirely true either. This is especially the case when it comes to knowing God. Too many people suffer from an ignorance of God. When they die and come to judgment, they will not be able to plead ignorance. Ignorance will be no excuse.

The Bible says we should recognize God through what has been made. The Bible, therefore, says of all people everywhere, “they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Why is this so important? Well, first of all, your eternal welfare hangs in the balance. That’s right. If you expect to enjoy eternal life after death and find a place in heaven, ignorance of God must go. The Bible teaches, “this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). To have eternal life, you must really know God and Jesus Christ. You must know them as persons you love and trust.

Then, too, if you really know Jesus Christ, you know that he is the Lord of creation. You bow before him and accept him as your Lord. You seek to serve him. There is no other way to heaven and eternal life. The Bible is clear, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9). Do you know God? Do you confess Jesus Christ as the Lord over your life?

To help you know Jesus Christ better, click here and listen to a message called “Christ, Our King.”

Is Christ Your Ransom?

2019-02-27T10:09:45-04:00 March 6th, 2019|

A popular movie about a ghost ends when a banker dies and is shuffled off into a frightening eternity by a host of clambering dark spirits. But the ghost of the story goes off into an eternity of love and happiness.

These two characters represent two kinds of people. And there are actually two kinds of people in the real world.

The Bible tells the story of these two kinds of people. It tells us that, after Adam and Eve fell into sin, God promised to send a Savior into the world. The Bible then goes on to tell the story of how that Savior, Jesus Christ, died on a cross to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). And the Bible also explains how the Holy Spirit of God gives new hearts to people to enable them to love and obey God.

But the Bible also tells us that when history ends, there will still only be two kinds of people. There will be those who have loved and followed the promised Savior. And there will be those who have rejected Him. At the end of the world, Christ will come again. And every human being who ever lived will stand before Him. “He will separate them from one another as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32). And to one group of people, Christ will say, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” But to those who have rejected the death of Christ on the cross as the only payment for sin, Christ will say these awesome words, “Depart from me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:34 & 41).

You see, there are only two kinds of people. And the question is, “what kind of person are you?” To help you answer this question, please click here and listen to a message called “Assured Christ is Your Ransom.”

But I’m Only Human

2019-02-27T10:04:01-04:00 March 5th, 2019|

How many times have you said it? “But I’m only human!” And those words were uttered in response to a mistake you made, weren’t they? The reason we fail, the reason we offend others, the reason we sin against God is that we are human. And if we sin because we are only human, then our sin is not our fault. We are really not responsible for our sin.

Unfortunately, most people think this way! But this line of reasoning is a classic example of blame shifting! It is a way to excuse sin by shifting the blame away from ourselves. Adam and Eve provide a good example. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they made excuses to God. Adam said, “the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.” And Eve said, “the serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12 & 13). In other words, Adam blamed his wife for his sin. And Eve didn’t do any better. She shifted the blame to the serpent. Adam and Eve refused to accept responsibility for their own sin.

We do the same thing today when we use the excuse, “But I’m only human!” And the amazing thing is that we shift the blame for our sin to God. After all, God made us the way we are. We are only human. Then our sin is really God’s fault! This is the ultimate in blame shifting; blaming God for our sins. But do you really think God will accept the blame for your sins? He won’t! Using excuses will only compound your problems. If you sin, the answer is to accept your responsibility to God and confess your sins to Him. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9).

To help you understand all this, click here and listen to a message called “Cursed Like a Viper for You.”

Idolatry, Jealousy, Covenant Solidarity

2019-03-01T11:27:19-04:00 March 4th, 2019|

You are not to make, worship, or serve idols. Why? God gives the answer in Exodus 20:5-6. “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

God is a jealous God. His relationship with His people is likened to marriage. “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5). Straying from the Lord is also characterized as adultery. Jeremiah 3:8 uses strong language. “I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce.” Any spouse violating the marriage covenant provokes jealousy and wrath. “Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, But who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4). We readily connect the human emotion of jealousy with drastic action. The jealousy of a violated spouse provokes sharp and definitive action.

But God is a “pure spirit.” He is “without body, parts, or passions” (WCF 2:1). God does not have human body parts. He does not have human eyes, human hands, human ears, a human face or mouth. To speak of God’s eyes, hands, ears, face, or mouth is to speak metaphorically. Similarly, as pure spirit, God does not have human, I say again, human emotions, such as hatred or jealousy. To use such language is again to speak metaphorically. You see, to experience human sorrow and weep human tears, to feel human pain of body and soul, God must take on human form. For the Second Person of the Trinity to suffer physically and emotionally requires incarnation.

When God says, “I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau” (Malachi 1:2-3), Paul interprets God’s action in rejecting Esau as hatred toward him (Romans 9:10-13). Notice that the Second commandment also interprets your acts of making and worshiping idols as hatred toward God. In the same way, Exodus 20:5 interprets God’s action of “visiting iniquity” as the emotion of jealousy. When God takes action against idolaters we see it as jealousy. When God rejects Esau we see it as hatred.

When Exodus 20:5 speaks of God “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children,” it means that God visits guilt for the iniquity of the fathers on the children. The children suffer because of the iniquity and guilt of the fathers. In other words, the commandment presupposes covenant solidarity within families. As Matthew Henry puts it, “The children shall be cast out of covenant and communion together with the parents, as the children were at first taken in with the parents.”

If parents are excommunicated and separated from the means of grace, the children suffer with them. Covenant violation results in the covenant curse. “I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce” (Jeremiah 3:8). This involves whole families. Failure within families affects children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

For those in covenant relationship with the Lord and displaying their love by keeping His commandments and shunning idolatry, covenant love abounds. The “lovingkindness” of verse 6 is “covenant love.” Verse 6 also shows this is reciprocal love. Obedient love does not earn or merit God’s covenant love. Rather, loving obedience indicates you genuinely are in covenant with God. Faithful obedient love for God within families affects children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond.

Denny Prutow