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The Future Life

2019-11-11T11:29:02-05:00 November 29th, 2019|

An article in the Washburn University Law Journal has this to say about death, “A fundamental understanding of man’s nature recognizes when brain death occurs, a human being no longer exists.” This understanding of human nature is entirely materialistic. A human being is viewed as a bundle of chemicals and electrochemical activity.

The complex mechanism of our bodies evolved from a single cell over the course of millions of years. When death occurs, we cease to exist. We are the products of chance. We are destined for extinction! We came from cosmic dust and when we die it is to cosmic dust we are destined to return. Our tombstones reflect this belief having only the dates of our birth and our demise. And our world is filled with pessimism.

The historic Christian faith presents a whole different picture. Human beings were created by God. Their mission in life is to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). And this life is but a prelude to the life to come. Death does not end it all. In fact, those who follow God through Jesus Christ have a wonderful future life to which they may look forward. Death is a step out of this world into another world of eternal bliss with God. Yes, Christianity is the real answer to the pessimism of this world.

Now listen to a message about “Christ and the World to Come.”

Praise the Lord all Nations

2019-11-08T09:22:38-05:00 November 28th, 2019|

Patting ourselves on the back is standard procedure. Patting God on the back is not in fashion. But this is what Thanksgiving is all about. Get the connection, Thanksgiving? Perhaps it’s too subtle. The idea is to give thanks to God for all His goodness and grace toward us as individuals, families, communities, and a nation. God “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). This is common love, common grace.

There is also special love and special grace. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). How is this possible? “The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live”(Deuteronomy 30:6, Ezekiel 36:26, John 3:8).

The average American family today has more than kings and prices possessed two hundred years ago. We must give thanks to God for the common everyday benefits that come our way, no matter how meager they may seem. We must also give thanks to God for the special favor of life born of the Spirit. “Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples” (Psalm 117:1).

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2019-11-08T09:22:41-05:00 November 27th, 2019|

Gratitude: the state of being grateful, thankfulness. We owe ultimate gratitude to God. We ought to show Him our thankfulness. Ultimately, our food comes from Him. “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth” (Psalm 104:14). Water is precious. God delivers the snow and rain. “For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong’” (Job 37:6).

God forms nations and gives us the plots of land upon which we live. “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). The God of the universe puts kings on their thrones. He gives wisdom to teachers and professors. “He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding” (Daniel 2:21).

God has a deep care for those in despair. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). He is ever present when we look to Him in times of need. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Thanksgiving directs us to God. “Give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 107:1).

Click here and listen to “Gratitude.”

Thank the Creator

2019-11-08T09:22:45-05:00 November 26th, 2019|

Do you like Thanksgiving? Turkey and dressing at a family gathering is my idea of a good time. When the brothers and sisters get together with their children, there are sometimes thirty people around our table. But the holiday was not designed, to give us a four-day weekend and four days of football. Neither the days off nor the football games are bad.

Thanksgiving is “a day appointed for giving thanks for divine goodness and mercies” (Webster’s New International Dictionary). The Bible is full of applicable statements of thanksgiving. For example, Psalm 105:1 says, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples.”

The object of our thanksgiving ought to be our Creator and Redeemer. All we have comes from Him: the degree of health we have, the ability to work and make a fair wage, our employment, our housing, transportation, food, and clothing . . . When the leaves take on red and gold and brown and adorn the landscape around us, God’s handiwork is evident. If we enjoy sunshine at the beach, it is God’s good gift. If farmers receive rain in due season, this too is God’s care.

Thanksgiving Day in America is a time to turn to God and give Him the praise He is due. Take time to give thanks to God privately and publicly.

Click here and listen to, “Keep Yourselves in the Love of God.”

Enoch’s Prophecy, Jesus’ Judgment (Jude 14-16)

2019-11-21T10:50:26-05:00 November 25th, 2019|

It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

Jude 14 refers back to Jude 4, which says that “certain persons have crept in unnoticed … ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 8 refers to “these people,” as does Jude 10. Verse 11 tells us that “they walked in the way of Cain.” Now, Jude 14 and 17 indicate that “it was about these men that Enoch … prophesied.”

Enoch was a prominent figure. Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:22). He did not taste death but was translated directly to heaven (Genesis 5:24). The genealogy of Genesis 5 validates the claim that he was the seventh generation from Adam. The words attributed to Enoch come from the apocalyptic book of 1 Enoch, perhaps dating back to mid-second century B.C. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Jude takes the quoted words as accurate and prophetic. In doing so, he does not necessarily regard 1 Enoch as canonical Scripture. However, Jude applies the prophecy of Enoch to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to judge the earth. His quotation constitutes a warning to all the ungodly in Jude’s time and in our time.

The prophecy begins with these words, “Behold, the Lord came.” This translation from the New American Standard accurately reflects the past tense. Prophetic words about future events stated in the past tense, as though they have already occurred, indicate the certainty of these future events. In Hebrew, this tense is the prophetic perfect. In 1 Enoch, the subject of the sentence is God. Jude interprets the sentence as referring to Christ, the Lord. Such an interpretive move is not uncommon in the New Testament. For example, take Isaiah 45:22-23, “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” The Apostle Paul applies these words to Christ. At the name of Jesus every knee will bow. And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).

Christ will come again “with many thousands of His holy ones.” Matthew 25:31 describes the scene “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him.” Since holy ones (ἁγίαις) can refer to saints, Calvin indicates that these words include “both men of faith, and the angels” (Commentary on Jude, 332). Christ and his entourage come for judgment. He will “execute judgment upon all,” believers and unbelievers alike. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:32-33). To His sheep, Christ will say, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

But our Lord will convict and sentence “all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 17). The ungodly include all those who died in the wilderness, lacking faith in the promised savior (Jude 5). The ungodly are those who, like Sodom and Gomorrah, engage in gross immorality (Jude 7). The ungodly are people like Cain who are ruled by anger, people like Balaam who appear to speak for God but do so only for financial gain, and rebels like Korah, who impudently challenge the authority of Christ (Jude 4, 11).

Jude 17 describes the ungodly further. They are grumblers; they have nothing good to say about anything; they cast a negative shadow on all of life. The dark side of life consumes them. Think of Israel in the wilderness longing to return to the slave pits of Egypt. They are malcontents and complainers who find fault with their food, clothing, homes, work, and families. At the same time, “they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage” (Jude 16, ESV).

They commit their “ungodly deeds in an ungodly way” (Jude 17). On the one hand, the deeds of the ungodly violate God’s standards in the Ten Commandments. On the other side, their manner stands athwart the fruit of the Spirit and comports more with the deeds of the flesh. They take the Name of Jesus lightly and often use His title, the Christ, as an expletive. But Jesus warns, “I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). And in the end, He will sentence all the ungodly to a terrifying everlasting judgment, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). No wonder Jude 11 exclaims, “Woe to them!”

The prophet Nahum asks, “Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger?” (Nahum 1:6). The prophet Malachi likewise, “Who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap” (Malachi 3:2). Who indeed! We are all helpless sinners.

Yes, who indeed? Romans 5:6 sounds the note of grace and salvation. “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:8 adds, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, “Christ died for the ungodly … Christ died for us.” That is, He took the punishment due to us. He stood in our place. He died in our stead. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Denny Prutow

No Thanks to Me

2019-11-08T09:23:27-05:00 November 25th, 2019|

“You must be very thankful to God for all you have,” I exclaimed. But the retort shocked me, “I’ll have you know I’ve earned all I have.” People today don’t think of God as providing shelter, clothes, transportation, and food. And when Thanksgiving Day comes along, they’re glad for the four day weekend. They head for the golf course.

Nabal, a rich character in the Old Testament of the Bible, was like this. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. But even though there was war in Israel, Nabal’s flocks were protected by a young man named David. David camped in the area and no one dared harm Nabal’s sheep or goats. But when David was in need of food, would Nabal offer help? “Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?” (1 Samuel 25:11). Look at what Nabal said. “It’s my bread, my water, my meat.”

But God causes the grain to grow so bread can be made. God causes the animals to gain weight so we can have hamburgers and steaks. God makes water flow in rivers and streams so we can drink. We should give thanks to God for these things rather than just patting ourselves on the back.

For more on the proper perspective for life, click here and listen to: “Our Gratitude to God.”

No Thanks to Chance

2019-11-08T09:05:40-05:00 November 24th, 2019|

We have two great reasons for special Thanksgiving. Psalm 100:1-3 directs us: “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

We ought to give God praise. He made us. We did not crawl out of some primeval soup. We did not develop under the supervision of chance over millions of years. DNA contains amazing amounts of information. Where did it come from? Chance? Flip a coin. Will it be heads or tails? What is the chance? Does chance guide the coin? Chance has no power. We do not owe chance praise for our existence.

Are we part of the people of God through faith in Jesus Christ? We owe God praise. “He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Plunged into darkness, we could not find our way out of the swamp of sin. God rescued us. He removed us from the domain of darkness where Satan rules. He placed us in the kingdom of Christ. We have a new confession. “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Romans 10:9). This Thanksgiving, give God thanks for both creating and redeeming you.

Click here to listen to, “Shout Joyfully to the Lord.”

Give Thanks to God

2019-11-08T09:04:44-05:00 November 23rd, 2019|

Thanksgiving is here. It’s a time to praise God for all His benefits. We thank God for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, communication, the degree of health we enjoy, the freedom we have to come and go…. The list goes on and on.

Most importantly, we ought to thank God for the Spiritual benefits we enjoy. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary” (Psalm 107:2). The redeemed ought to give thanks to their Savior before a watching world. Redeemed people are purchased and set free. The image is that of slavery. Someone comes along and purchases a slave. Then he gives the slave freedom. That someone is Jesus Christ. We are slaves. We are slaves to sin and evil. We are due the death penalty for our evil deeds. Christ willingly goes to the cross and dies; He pays the death penalty for slaves like us. He sets us free.

The adversary in this picture is the devil (1 Peter 5:8). Slaves of sin are members of the devil’s empire, the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13). Jesus Christ boldly raids and plunders the strong man’s house (Mark 3:27). Christ then leads forth a host of captives (Ephesians 4:8). Ultimately he leads them into the inner precincts of heaven (John 14:2, Hebrews 6:20).

Click here to listen to the audio of “Give Thanks to God.”

True Thanksgiving Food

2019-11-08T09:04:04-05:00 November 22nd, 2019|

When we celebrate Thanksgiving, we indulge ourselves. The food is sumptuous. The desserts are scrumptious. Our sides ache. We loosen our belts and look for a place to rest, from eating. “That’s real food,” we say.

It may be real food, but is it true food? What’s the difference? Look at what Jesus Christ tells us. “My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink” (John 6:55). How can this be? Thanksgiving dinner is real food all right but it can also be false food. That is, if we put all our eggs in the material food basket, we will come up short in the end. What is the true bread? “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:58).

Real food, that turkey dinner for example, points to the true food from heaven, Jesus Christ. We partake of His flesh and blood when we trust in His sacrifice as the only adequate payment for our sins. We then have real life. We may die physically. We will never die eternally. The Pilgrim Fathers and mothers gave thanks to God for the provision of real food in the new world. They also gave thanks to God for Jesus Christ, the true food He gave them.

Click here and listen to, “Jesus, the True Bread.”

Take Time for Thanksgiving

2019-11-08T09:03:07-05:00 November 21st, 2019|

Thanksgiving is next week. For most Americans it’s just another holiday. Kids get off from school. Some businesses give four day weekends. Many high schools still have their big football game on Thanksgiving Day. College football stadiums are packed. This is also the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Children visit their parents. Retired folks visit their grandchildren. Families gather around sumptuous meals of turkey, ham, dressing, gravy, salads and all the trimmings. It’s a fun and festive time.

Thanksgiving Day is also an opportunity for much more. Thanksgiving Day is a time to pause from the hustle and bustle of daily life and thank God for the blessings of life, happiness, family, food, work, and shelter. Thanksgiving Day is a day to recognize God as the great Provider. He is the One who gives life. He is the One who provides food. He is the One who enables us to work. He is the One who gives us homes and families. He is the One placing us in the midst of freedom and opportunity in a wealthy nation. He gave us the ingenuity, strength of mind, courage, and fortitude to carve out a life in a sometimes hostile world. All these things are manifestations of His love. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 136:1).

Click here and listen to, “On Giving Thanks.”