Nov 23

From Giving Thanks to Wisdom

What are you giving thanks for?

Giving Thanks IN Every Circumstance

Many people feel that they are going above and beyond the call of duty when they are thankful “IN” all the trials that they face. They refer to 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances.” It requires a lot of effort for one to be thankful when they are not pleased with your present circumstances. But this is the will of God (as the verse states) and it is appropriate that we search for things to be thankful for even when surrounded by things that are unpleasant. But, is that enough?
Continue reading

Nov 01

Gas Grills and White Washed Tombs

Gas Grills and White Washed Tombs

Back in the spring, my mother suggested that she would like to give me a BBQ grill for my birthday. I mentioned that I would prefer a gas grill and she said to find what I liked.

gas grills and white washed tombsI started shopping, both locally and online. The grill that seemed to have the best ratings was the Broil King. I looked at the different styles and features and finally found one that I liked. The one that I found (at a reasonable price) was their Signet 20 model. My mom agreed to the $359 price, so we went to the local store and bought it. Continue reading

Oct 11

The Heart of God

The Heart of God

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Acts 13:22 NIVHeart of God

This verse is more profound than one might recognize at first reading. It is (in context), only a small part of the connection that the Apostle Paul showed between the prophets of old and the present day of grace. That amazing grace, of course, is the result of Jesus’ death on the cross. Continue reading

Sep 26

What if You Do Not Believe in God

What if You Do Not Believe in God

Don't Do not believe in God

Photo adapted from Marian Beck some rights reserved

Recently, Pope Francis made this statement which suggests that belief in God is optional to get to heaven :

“You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”

I agree with Francis that God’s mercy is far greater than we can imagine (Lamentations 3:22,23). It is also true that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8,9) and we cannot grasp them fully. And, I must say that our God is sovereign and can make decisions without consulting any other. Finally, it is possible that, in the larger context of his words, the Pope’s words may have been taken out of context.

But, taken as read, I have a deep disagreement with Francis about whether a non-believer can go to heaven by simply following his or her conscience.

  1. Our conscience is a result of our value system. Depending upon the society in which we live, one’s conscience may excuse practically everything that is considered sin in the Bible. An example of this is the US World Report of an Islamic Fundamentalist whose Sharia beliefs led him to rape a 13-year-old girl because (in his words), “Women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground.” 
  2. The Bible declares that the heart (Biblical term for conscience) is deceitful & desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and out of the heart “come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). Although some may claim to have a clear conscience, it is no comfort for eternity because their conscience may have been seared (ironed over) (1Timothy 4:2). Unless it has been led by the Spirit of God, one’s conscience is not trustworthy, instead it is deceitful and wicked.
  3. Jesus said that there is just one way to our heavenly Father, and Jesus is the way (John 14:6). Even if one tries to keep up a clear conscience in the present, their past sins must be accounted for. Anyone who claims to be free of sin is a liar (1John 1:8). But when we confess our sin, “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins (1John 1:9).

Although I am saddened to say, it seems to me that the statement by Francis is diabolically opposed to Scripture.

When we offer alternative “gospels” (good news, a means of salvation), we are attempting to make Christ a liar when He said (John 14:6) that He was “THE” (one an only) way to the Father.  Romans 3:3,4 states, “If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” 

According to the Bible (John 3:16-18), unless and until, we believe on Christ, we are condemned:

“16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 1

The reward for the “unbelieving” is determined at the Great White Throne judgment:for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

It may be that sovereign God may make some allowances for those who have not had an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior in their life. Although the Bible is unclear about such, it may fit with God’s sense of justice. However, it *IS* clear in the Bible that those who know of the Gospel and still disbelieve, are guilty before God (John 15:22) and (Hebrews 10:26) plus many others. So, how many of these “unbelievers” have never heard about Jesus Christ?

Sep 12

Why God Judges Us

Why God Judges Us

The cause of Judgment and death

It just seems that life is not fair. Some folks are smart, rich, and beautiful while the rest of us have little or nothing to brag about. Our jobs are dead-end and our lives are a rat race. Our financial problems lead to family problems which end in divorce and pain. All the while, there are people who inherited money, good looks, and ease. Why do I deserve this? Life is not fair! And after all this life’s problems, we die! WHY?

Why God judges us

Why God judges us is a question of Biblical proportions! Continue reading

Sep 09

Faith and Prosperity Teachings with Generational Curses

Faith and Prosperity Teachings 

(With Generational Curses)

Many popular TV evangelists and teachers base their studies on what is commonly known as the “prosperity teaching.” In its simplest form, it says that God wants all of His children to prosper in every way – including in health and finances (3 John 1:2).

One of the first such evangelists was “Rev. Ike.” Since the early 1970’s, he has taught that listeners can “have what you want to have, be what you want to be, and do what you want to do” – just send him money. He also taught “You can’t loose with the stuff I use” and, “You will UNLEARN sickness and know health.But he died in 2009 after failing to recover from a stroke two years previous.

It is blatantly evident that not every Christian is financially prosperous and also that practically all people die of some sickness/disease – even Rev. Ike. So, these prosperity teachers add two other questionable teachings: The “Word of Faith” teaching and “Generational Curses.” (Others, like Joel Osteen, return to the Rev Ike formula and simply say that we should look inside ourselves and our self-image to “Live our Best Life Now.”) Continue reading

Aug 25

Where Do We Go At Death?

Where do we go at death?

Each of us is a triune being, consisting of body, soul & spirit (compare 1Thes 5:23). It may seem strange, but each element of our being is dealt with differently at death and, the destinations are also different (see Note1, “Reunion of Body and Soul”).

Our BODY is buried and eventually returns to dust. This is just a visible reality of life. It is frequently rehearsed by a priest or minister as the undertaker lowers a casket into the ground and they drop soil into the grave, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” (from the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer). Each time we visit a funeral, we are reminded that our existence in this body is limited to a few short years.

The SPIRIT (of life) returns to God who gave it. In the Bible, the words “spirit” and “wind” (or “breath”) are often used interchangeably. (If you read the original languages, you will understand that they generally are just different translations of the same original word.) Jesus used the two words in John 3:8 to describe the event of being born of the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples (in Acts 2), they described the event as including a sound of a “rushing mighty wind.”

In Ezekiel 37:9, it was the spirit/breath/wind that brought the dry bones back to life. At the creation (Gen 2:7), God breathed life into Adam and he became a living soul. See John 5:21 to understand that all life is given from God the Father (or the Son). So, when He chooses, He can withdraw His spirit (breath) and we die (physically).

We have no real control over when or how we die, where our body will be buried, or the return of the Spirit to God. Our family determines where and how our body is “put to rest.” Someone might say that we can control the time and manner of our death – we we can kill ourselves. But I am not so sure that is absolutely true. It appears from Scripture (See Note2, What is the #1 cause of death?) that God can keep people alive even if they try to die.

In the larger scope of things, God chooses when we stop breathing the breath of life. And, since He gave the spirit of life, He can reclaim it at any time. In Ecclesiastes 12:7 (see Note3, How to study the book of Ecclesiastes), Solomon wrote a profound truth, “the dust [body] returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit [of life] returns to God who gave it.”

In summary, the Judgment of Actions states that since all have sinned, then we will all die a physical death. At death, the body is buried and returns to dust. And the spirit of life returns to God the Father who gave it. That just leaves us with the soul’s destination:

Where does the SOUL go at death?

The question of where our soul goes when we die must be answered if we are to have peace in this life. The Judgment of ACTIONS is involved but, I believe that the soul’s eternal destination is determined in a separate judgment the Judgment at Death.


Note1, Reunion of Body and Soul. There are many references in the  Bible to Resurrection. Although some near-death experiences may differ, TRUE resurrection is the point where a person’s soul is reunited with their body. The process varies for different groups, so we will deal with it more completely in a future article.

Note2, What is the #1 cause of death? An interesting thought was revealed to me a few years ago… We do not die of heart attack, stroke, or cancer – we die because God withdraws His spirit, or breath of life (Rev 9:6).

Note3, How to study Ecclesiastes. See our article here about how to study the book and see this article about how to use context to understand the Bible better.

Continue to the next article, “The Judgment at Death.”

Feb 08

Who is my brother?

who is my brother

Larry, Daryl, and Daryl from “Newhart”

Who is my brother?

1 John 1:7-10 NIV But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.   If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Who are our “brothers” and “sisters” in Christ? We have many calls today for an “ecumenical” union of the various religions. Secular (and even religious) leaders rehearse the phrase, “many paths to the same God.” Continue reading

Jan 15

Joy suckers in life

Joy suckers – what they do

Ever had something or someone come around and steal your joy? You know, you are having a pleasant day and then someone rear-ends you at an intersection! Or, your significant other calls and says it is over! It can really throw you into a tailspin. Those people are sometimes called “joy suckers” – they suck the joy from our lives.

We have all faced such situations. How did you respond? Today on Facebook, someone posted what they felt was the proper response: a picture quote that read, “Walk away from anything or anyone who takes away from your joy. Life is too short to put up with fools.”  I don’t know the original source of that quote (Google has over 5 million different links to it.) It is generally used anonymously.

Is that a good plan for dealing with hardships? Inquiring minds want to know.

joy suckersTwo Issues

Continue reading

Dec 23

Love is Where You Leave it

love is where you leave it

My view of the world for 5 days

Love is Where You Leave it – experiences in the hospital over the Christmas holidays.

Over the course of the last 45 days I have undergone two surgeries and spent a total of 8 days in the hospital. I just returned from a five day stay. A month of discomfort from the first surgery and then, due to a lingering infection, a repeat operation that seemed to also be in trouble.

During my time in a hospital bed I had plenty of time. At times I was tempted to complain about my situation. Continue reading

Dec 19

The secret place of God

We as human beings are born with a deep desire to find God. We might define it differently. Human terms are often inadequate to describe this primal urge. Words like wealth, popularity, success are sometimes used to define this urge and upon getting them we still have that empty spot only God can fill. Down through the ages mankind has hungered for this place and yet we often fall short. So….where is this place. I will endeavor over the next 365 days to journey to that place and ask you to join me. Continue reading

Dec 12

Public Passion vs. Private Devotion

As a pastor and leader of a growing congregation in North Central Washington I recognize a leadership tension in my life. It is the tension of public ministry vs. private preparation.

Far too often I can get caught up in the work of the Lord and neglect the Lord of the work. Today I was listening to a speaker who mentioned a few questions that leaders can reflect on daily. Here they are

1.  Did the Bible live through me today?

2. Did I get to bed on time or get up on time?

3. Did I disobey God over anything?

It is not enough for me to be a full time preacher and a part time disciple, I must be a full time disciple and let my time with Jesus impact my calling.

What are your thoughts? Do you have other questions?photo-1 Bible and coffee  12 11 14

Dec 11

I Appreciate Your Patience

For all of those who have accessed our website thank you. I ask for your patience as I have never designed a website. If you see some things that will enhance our website or made make it more user friendly please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be working on this site in a progressive manner.

Sincere thanks to our hosting service and my good friend Ray Waldo at BTLOC.

Please keep checking back. Thanks.


img_5707 People waiting in line  12 11 14

Dec 07

What Do You Have? Widows Oil Story

Widows Oil Story

This is the Widow’s Oil Story from 2Kings 4:1-7. The question that underlies the story is “What do you have?” The following is a manuscript of the message that I shared at the Bedico (LA) Church of God today (12/7/14). I have also included a link to the audio file if you would like to listen.

What do you have? Continue reading

Dec 03

1- Judgment of ACTIONS & Consequences

Judgment of ACTIONS

Why do we have to die?

The first level of judgment is: There are consequences to every action! In everyday life, we have to give account for our actions to our supervisor at work or our teacher at school – or even worse, we must give account to our wife! 😉  When we disobey the speed limit, we must be prepared to pay a fine.

There are also physical (natural) laws that extract consequences to specific actions. If you jump from a 10-story building, there is a consequence. It is a physical reality in life. To quote a law enforcement motto, “If you do the crime, you serve the time.”

Although such laws (of the land, and of nature) were initially set in place by God (Romans 13:1), that is not what the “Judgment of Actions” is really all about. The Judgment of Actions is a judgment by God that is described in the Bible. It refers to the fact that anyone – and everyone – who commits sin will die.

Ezekiel 18:1-4 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: “‘The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.

Read the entire chapter of Ezekiel 18 to get a better understanding of our individual accountability. Some teachers talk of “generational curses” and say that we must be forgiven for the sins of our ancestors. Although there are some personality traits that are handed down from others, this portion of Scripture clearly states that we are NOT responsible for the sins of our fathers (see Note1, Generational curses), or our children, or our national leaders, or anyone else. We must give account to God ONLY for what we have done.

Ezekiel 33:17-20  “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just. 18 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, they will die for it. 19 And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so.20 Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”

Since all have sinned against God, then all must die. The only possible exception to the Judgment of Actions is that some people will be “changed” at the Rapture (see Note2, The rapture). But that is a different judgment so we will just skip over that thought for now and discuss it further in the article on the Judgment at Rapture. In this study, we are looking at how each person is accountable to God for his or her actions and how those actions result in physical death.

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Continue to the next article, Where do we go at death.


Note1, Generational curses. Please read Ezekiel 18 (the complete chapter) to see that, although some physical and emotional qualities are passed from one generation to another, and although some Scripture seems to suggest it, God disallows the idea that we are accountable for the sins of our fathers. For more, see our article on Generational Curses.

Note2, The rapture. The word “rapture” is not found in any of the common translations of the Bible. But, it is a commonly used term to describe the church’s elation at the event described in 1Cor 15:51 – which says that we (the members of God’s true church) will be “changed.”