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So far Denny has created 981 blog entries.

The Problem of Guilt

2019-01-01T07:35:50+00:00 January 11th, 2019|

I recall having a debate with the manager of a radio station. He took a common position. “You cannot legislate morality,” he said. Although this man was a professing Christian, he thought it was improper for one segment of society to impose its moral standards on the other parts of society. The position is quite popular, but it does not make a whole lot of sense. After all, there are laws against murder, rape, and robbery.

This position is based on the thought there is no absolute standard of morality. Everything is relative. Whatever you believe is right is right. Because everything is relative, there is no sin! There are no sinners.

However, there is one problem with this theory, the problem of guilt. The Bible speaks of people who “show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Romans 2:14). You know what the Bible is talking about. You’ve had the experience! You do something and suddenly you feel guilty. Your conscience bothers you. Then you start arguing with yourself. At first, you agree with your bothered conscience. Then you defend your actions. So the argument goes.

The Bible says all of this internal arguing proves God’s Law exists. It proves sin is real. It proves guilt comes as a result of sin. “And sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

To help you understand this better and perhaps help you find relief from your guilt, click here to listen to s sermon called “Defining Sin and Guilt.”

The Possibility of Real Change

2018-12-31T18:51:28+00:00 January 10th, 2019|

With the new year started and New Year’s resolutions hanging in the balance, we wonder about real conviction to make changes. Is it possible for me to get unhooked from a drug habit or an adulterous lifestyle? With AIDS on the rise, either of these habits could kill me!

The reason most folks get hooked stems from a rejection of God. That’s right, a rejection of God. And when we turn our backs on God, we rebuff His warning systems. We override our consciences. And we engage in self-justification. We convince ourselves that evil is good and good is evil. ‘Safe sex’ is a good example. We want the activity without the consequences. God says, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 2:14). But abstinence is called evil. And condom distribution is called good. We hope we can avoid unwanted pregnancies and AIDS. But it’s not happening.

The answer is a return to God. This means forgiveness through Jesus Christ and a new life which follows. And this new life is empowered by God. The person who has returned to God can say, “God is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Here is the possibility for change. It is the power of God to follow God’s commandments.

Click here to listen to a message based on Philippians 2:13 called, “Work Out Your Salvation.”

Your Need for Good News

2018-12-31T18:50:10+00:00 January 9th, 2019|

We are concerned for your spiritual welfare, your relationship to God through Jesus Christ. Allow me to take just a couple minutes of your time to encourage you with some Good News about Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, in Matthew 20:28, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” A ransom is a payment made to deliver a person from slavery. And to understand this properly, you must see yourself as a slave, a slave to sin. You are a slave you know. Just as the Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And again, “Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34). To be sure, this is not very good news. But it is the truth.

The Good News is that Jesus Christ came into the world to deliver sinful human beings like you and me from bondage to sin. He paid the ransom price to set men and women and children free. That price was death. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Christ paid the price, He died on the cross. He gave His life a ransom for many. This is the Good News. And you need to accept this Good News. You need to trust in Christ as the One who saves you from slavery to sin.

To help you understand your need for this Good News, click here and listen to today’s podcast, “God’s Love.”

Coercion or Grace

2018-12-31T14:32:37+00:00 January 8th, 2019|

It’s an old picture and a familiar one – the police haul in a suspect, they put him under a bright light, they stand in the darkness. The interrogation begins: “And where were you the evening of … ?” Slowly but surely, the questions wear down the suspect. After several hours of very intense interrogation, under the bright light, the police coerce a confession out of the suspect.

Some evangelists approach the gospel in almost the same way – they twist arms and manipulate emotions. They treat the gospel like a used car or a vacuum cleaner. The objective is to get people to make a decision and close the deal.

But suppose faith is a gift from God. Suppose hostile dispositions need to be changed by God. Suppose wills inclined against Christ need to be renewed by the Holy Spirit. If you treat the gospel like a refrigerator and force a confession of Christ out of someone, it’s bound to be superficial. People who are unwilling to serve Christ need the grace of God. The only answer is the mercy of God.

If there is an unwillingness within your heart to confess Christ as Lord over your life, you need to cast yourself on the mercy of God. “God be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13).

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to “And You Were Unwilling.”

Goodness

2019-01-04T10:19:26+00:00 January 7th, 2019|

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness. . . .” (Galatians 5:22). The fruit of the Spirit is the character of God renewed in you and working in you by the Spirit. The rich young ruler asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus first responded, “Why do you call Me good?” The young man did not recognize Jesus as God incarnate. He had no ground to call Jesus good. Ultimately, to be good is to be godlike. When Paul tells us “the Law is good” (Romans 7:16, 1 Timothy 1:8), he means the Law reflects God’s character.

On a personal level, when God gives you a new heart, He cleanses your “conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). He gives you a “good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:5). He gives you a conscience saying, “Yes,” when God says, “Yes,” and saying, “No,” when God says, “No.” You respond positively to God’s good pleasure, that is, God’s good Law. You “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

Paul also puts this in terms of light. “God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). What is the fruit of this light shining in your heart? Since “you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10). With light from God, you walk in God’s goodness seeking God’s good pleasure.

John puts the same idea a little differently. “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11). The one who truly does good is born of God. Therefore, when you do good, you express God’s goodness in the fruit of the Spirit. This goodness comes to visible expression when you actually reject evil and embrace good. You actually “Depart from evil and do good” (Psalm 37:27). You do so by walking in God’s good pleasure in God’s good Law.

Because you belong to Christ and He is your Lord, you are “freed from sin and enslaved to God” (Romans 6:22). Lust no longer rules your life and heart. You follow the Tenth Commandment. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17).

Violations of the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15), are not an option. You do not covet, or lust after, your neighbor’s property. Violations of the Seventh Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), are not an option. You do not covet, or lust for, your neighbor’s wife. Violations of the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), are not an option. There is no hatred in your heart for your neighbor because of his good estate and his servants. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). You know and follow God’s good law. The goodness of God fills your heart. You manifest the fruit of the Spirit, goodness.

Denny Prutow

No More Atheism

2018-12-31T14:29:31+00:00 January 7th, 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 and listen to “Contending for God’s Existence in a Broken World.”

Read the Bible

2018-12-31T08:41:49+00:00 January 6th, 2019|

The Bible regularly tops the best-seller list. More Bibles are sold each year than any other book. But the Bible remains one of the least read of all books. Why? Perhaps the Bible itself gives us the answer when it speaks of people who are holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power (2 Timothy 3:5).

You see, many people these days are very religious. They may even go to church on special holidays. And they no doubt own a copy of the great symbol of religion – the Bible. But these same people seldom read their Bibles. And the reason is that they don’t appreciate the Bible. For them, the Bible seems foolish and irrelevant.

Perhaps this is the case with you. When you read the Bible there is no real joy or excitement. You probably have a form of religion, but you have denied its power. The power of true religion is the power to change the human heart. And it’s only when your heart and mind have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit that you are really able to see the beauty of the Bible.

And so, if you own a Bible and do not read it and appreciate it as you should, you need to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. You need to turn to God and ask him to forgive you of your sins on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And you need to ask God to give you the gift of his Holy Spirit. Jesus asks, “How much more shall your heavenly father give the holy spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13). Then, when you read the Bible you will see that it is literally God’s word to you.

Click here and listen to today’s podcast, “Bible Study: Not an End In Itself.”

Evolution or Creation?

2018-12-31T08:36:51+00:00 January 5th, 2019|

The late astronomer, Carl Sagan, popularized the theory of evolution through his book and television series COSMOS. And Dr. Sagan made this grand and sweeping statement in the introduction to his book: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be” (page 4). Now when you are awed by the immensity and the beauty of the universe, you tend to agree with this statement. And space missions taking pictures of Saturn and Neptune cause us to ask “Could there be anything quite so grand as our cosmos?”

Well, listen to what the Bible says, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘Who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty'” (Revelation 1:8). Here too is a grand declaration. The God of the Bible claims to have created the universe and everything in it.

So who is right? Was astronomer Carl Sagan correct when he said the universe was never created and has always existed? Or is the God of the Bible right when He says He has always existed and He created the universe?

Unfortunately, many people side exclusively with the theory of evolution. Why? It is not because the theory of evolution has been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. In fact, the theory is now raising more questions than it answers. But these same people want to duck all responsibility to God. This is the real issue: an effort to escape from God, an effort to escape God’s definition of sin, an effort to escape the need of salvation through Jesus Christ.

To help you understand the importance of the Bible’s teaching, take a look at my video, Six Days of Creation.”

 

Good Feelings Follow

2018-12-29T20:02:34+00:00 January 4th, 2019|

Do you remember the last time you attended a wedding? A handsome couple exchanged vows in a beautifully decorated church building. Under God they were joined together. They promised to love and serve each other until death, and only death would part them. What happened after the honeymoon?

For many young couples, the vows mean too little and they are too quickly broken. The young lady resents her promise to love, cherish and obey her husband. She seeks what she calls ‘self fulfillment.’ The young man’s promise to love, honor and cherish his wife are left unfulfilled. His energies are devoted to a new business career. These broken vows lead to broken homes and divorce court.

The Bible says, “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:5). Breaking marriage vows is sin. It is sin against God before whom the vows were made. It is also sin against your husband or your wife. You wake up one morning and say, “I don’t feel like sticking it out any longer. I’m splitting.” Feelings get in the way of doing what is right. This too is sin.

There is a remedy for sin, your sin and mine. First of all, you must admit your sin and turn away from it. Then second, you must turn to Jesus Christ. You must ask forgiveness. You must trust in Christ as the only one who has paid the penalty for your sins. Once you turn to Christ you will find that He will heal your marriage and give you strength to keep your vows. Good feelings follow.

To help you understand this better, click here to listen to a sermon based on Philippians 4:4-9 called, “But I Don’t Feel Like It.”

Bread from Bethlehem

2018-12-29T19:46:11+00:00 January 3rd, 2019|

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2).

Bethlehem was a little berg. The old name for the village was Ephrathah. Ruth followed her mother-in-law back to Bethlehem. She met Boaz and gave birth to David’s grandfather (Ruth 4:17). Long before he was king, David’s job was “to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem” (1 Samuel 17:15).

Bethlehem means ‘house of bread.’ It was surrounded by wheat and barley fields. When queried by king Herod about the birth of Christ, the priests referred to Micah 5:2. “They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet” (Matthew 2:5). Following Herod’s directions, the wise men went to Bethlehem. “Coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him” (Matthew 2:11).

These three kings worshipped Jesus Christ as the promised King, whose “goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2). Jesus, born in Bethlehem, later declared, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:51).

Listen to today’s podcast, Worship Bethlehem’s King. Click here.