Forgiven

Yesterday we saw the first of the Seven Precious Blessings for the Believer … you are saved! Today we need to consider why we enjoy “salvation” … (We are “saved”). We enjoy salvation because we are “forgiven”. It is very important to understand that human forgiveness and divine forgiveness are extremely different. When we forgive each other … say as a wife, husband or parent forgiving a husband, wife or child, however sincere and genuine we are, as soon as another crisis occurs, we remember the last time and become even more inflamed with anger than before. Yet, with God it is radically different.

Why is forgiveness so special and why is God’s forgiveness radically different to human forgiveness? Because it is rooted in the precious blood of Jesus.

Mt 26:27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

You will recall how the blood of bulls and goats was shed over many, many years … it was repetitive … yet it could not harvest final and enduring pardon. All it did was make those sacrificing aware of their sinfulness and need of pardon … and each time an animal was sacrificed it pointed to a greater sacrifice that would appear when God’s time was right. This naturally is Messiah! When Jesus said “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”, He was saying the content in the “cup” pointed to His Blood sacrifice that would cover the sin of “many” … not everyone … to deliver from and forgive sin when repentance and faith are exercised.

The reason forgiveness of sin is so precious is because by nature we are at enmity with God. Because of our inherit sinful disposition, we are God’s enemies from birth. From birth, although born with a natural desire and instinct to worship, we rebel against God … we are His enemy … we fight Him even if we are unaware of it. We resist Him … and like it or not … aware of it or not … we are unhappy and dissatisfied with life. We might not articulate it … rather we give the impression all is well … yet deep down in the heart and soul the unhappiness is evident. Yes there is this instinct to worship and because we resist God we find all sorts of ‘replacement gods” … supposedly to appease our guilty conscience and unhappy heart. These could be many … such as materialism, secularism, sexual immorality, mind altering substances such as drugs or alcohol, education, work, money, possessions, image … and the list is endless. Yet these things, be it one of them or all of them will not and cannot take away the ache in the heart that cries out for something unreachable … because the true God is rejected or ignored.

Into this environment, as the Gospel is heard and the Holy Spirit comes with life transforming power in genuine salvation, the first experience is “forgiveness”. Some people, because of their “checkered past” might take longer to experience this pardon but whether they “feel” it or not … the truth is they are forgiven. The enemy of the soul can play tricks with a new believer, causing them to “feel” as though they are not saved and not forgiven. We call this “the lack of assurance of salvation”. However, once the saved soul understands through proper explanation and teaching that as one who has surrendered the heart to Jesus through confessing sin, repentance and faith, they are fully and totally forgiven of all sin and guilt, past, present and future. This bring such comfort that it results in joy, praise and happiness from a truly grateful heart.

Just think of it: There is being made right with God. God is no longer the enemy and you are no longer God’s enemy. Reconciliation has taken place. You are now at peace with God and He is at peace with you.

Ro 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Having had your sin forgiven and your guilt removed, you are incorporated into God’s eternal family. You have been adopted into a permanent, forever family. You are God’s child.

1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Through the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus at Calvary, the Father sees you as He sees His Son … holy and blameless.

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Because of this new union, God will never condemn you because your sinful past is Blood covered.

Ro 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Thank You, Loving Heavenly Father, that You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son You love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. We are so blessed to know experimentally that our sins are dealt with and we can know personally the glorious assurance of salvation through the Blood Sacrifice of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to live life proving forgiveness. Amen.

A Year of Work

It is almost hard to believe that today we “celebrate” exactly one year of COVID-19 lock down in its various stages, from hard lock down level 5 to level 1, then level 3 again … and now back to level 1. Who knows what the president and his command council will resort to for the Easter Weekend?

All the emotions, all the anger, all the fear … many have lost their businesses, many lost their employment … many lost their vehicles and accommodation. Maybe the most tragic of all has been those who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19. Jenny lost a cousin … so did I. A very close friend lost his wife … and I am certain that there are those who read the Daily Note who too have lost loved ones or friends due to this “killer virus” that knows no boundaries and seems to re-raise its head every now and then.

North America, the United Kingdom, Italy and other first world countries have been hit the hardest. Each time a country feels it is making headway, the virus strikes again relentlessly. Maybe the vaccine for those who choose to take it might stem the tide … but who knows? In our continent, and specifically in our country, progress is slow because of the demand across the planet for the vaccine.

Then there are those super spreader events where people travel from town to town and province to province, carrying the virus with them. I asked a caregiver recently at a retirement facility whether they had had any Covid cases. She said “no” … but said a lady living there needed to go to hospital for a procedure. She returned to her room and needed go back to hospital a few days later. There she contracted COVID-19 and died in hospital. One can never be too cautious, but at times, exposure is totally out of one’s control. One can never be too cautious … because this virus is a killer. As my friend who lost his wife to Covid said: “I hate Covid, it took my wife.”

So, today is 365 days of Lock Down. To me this year has sped past … was it like this for you too? What did you do when you were at home? Were you busy or were you just wishing the days to pass? In our case, God has been good to us. Our health has been quite good. We have worked rather hard throughout the year. In my case it has been gardening, maintenance, housework, cooking and most importantly, writing the Daily Notes, preparing messages and Bible Studies, making online sermons, preaching … and over the last few weeks I have been visiting a few people each week. I cannot say my year has been dull … on the contrary, I have been very busy … even taking a few funerals and two weddings … so I have to say, March 27, 2020 to March 26, 2021 has flown. God created us with the ability to work.

Ge 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Part of the creation ordinance was that man work … that he be productive, not just to care for his surroundings and produce food, but to bring glory to God through the world of work. Often, Christians can be caught up in the world’s philosophy of work. It’s climb the corporate ladder, make money, be secure financially. Often this demands cutting family time, church time, ministry time and relaxation time. In the process one tends to become less friendly, less loving and less available to those areas of life that need to you the most.

Where are the days when we lived a modest lifestyle that enabled us to spend good chunks of time with the family and where are the days when we could attend church twice on the Lord’s Day, Bible Study every week and participate in a prayer meeting? Where are the days when we have time to do a mid-week ministry of some sort … be it knocking on doors, visiting the sick, running a one on one study, taking a youth group, doing church property maintenance, etc.?

And here is the strange thing in all this … working longer hours and earning more money has not resulted in better tithing. Not only does the church lose your physical presence and your gifts and abilities as you work harder and longer … it does not benefit because of your extra income. What has happened?

As the world has progressed in technology, Christians have fallen into the “secular” trap. We want the latest “smart TV’s”, laptops, cellphones, furniture, vehicles, houses, clothing … and yes … we need these things, but not the latest and best! Too often, we sell our souls for the world and secularism becomes our new god.

Right here, we rationalize our need for the latest and best. This soothes our conscience and removes guilty feelings because we need to pay the bond, the car, the clothing account … not forgetting those five different credit cards that need to be paid. We get to the point where we reason … “I have to work like this to pay all these bills” … but we never admit that all those bills were personal choices. No one forced us into debt! And the things that ought to matter most such as the spouse, family, church (presence, time and money) and ministry suffer.

Is this condition because we have ordered our priorities incorrectly? Have we forced God off the top spot … and removed the spouse from second place and our family from third place … only to install work in the prime spot … and that prime spot tends to dictate every other position on the priority list! Because we are Christian and have Gospel morals does not mean we have the right to change the value of each position on the priority list.

Maybe it is time for us as God’s people to revisit that list and reorganize it God’s way, even if it means changing our lifestyle! Let’s put God first and keep Him there. Then let’s have our husband or wife in second place and meaningfully keep them there, followed by the children, church and ministry and then work. This might change the level you live at but it will give you joy and happiness in all of life because God will direct all your activities correctly.

Dear God, please forgive me for ordering my life according to my selfish and worldly desires. Deliver me from the “god of secularism” and mercifully help me to prioritize You first followed by my family, for Jesus sake. Amen.

Bodies

We live at a time where rapists and murderers get rid of their victim’s bodies by placing the corpse in a shallow grave or dumping the body in a bush. Look at this taken from an online newspaper:

A tin opener was found next to the shallow grave that was pointed out to Wentworth police by a nineteen year old who claimed he had killed and buried a woman. (25 March 2021)

The son of a dentist who admitted he buried his father’s body in his garden in Houghton a few months ago sat in a camping chair drinking Coke as he watched his father’s body being exhumed on Saturday. (16 August 2010)

It’s shocking. It’s disgusting. It’s brutal … but it’s real! Both murderers buried their victims in the most undignified ways. The Jews considered that to be deprived of a burial was one of the greatest disgraces to be inflicted on a human being. Just picture the family of the dead experiencing the trauma of not been able to dispose of their loved one’s body reverently! The Bible speaks about this matter … for example, we read in the Psalms:

Ps 79:2 They have given the dead bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth.

Ps 141:7 They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.”

Or in Ecclesiates:

Ecc 6:3 “A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.”

Or in Jeremiah:

Jer 36:30 “Therefore, this is what the LORD says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David; his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night.”

There are many more instances in the Bible speaking of the dishonorable treatment of the body of a dead person.

Ps 79:2 They have given the dead bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth

It is said of the ancient Magi that they exposed the bodies of their dead to birds of prey to be eaten. This to them was a religious principle … because, they believed, if a body was buried or disposed of in any other manner it would pollute one of the following … the earth, the water or the atmosphere (air–oxygen). To them, birds of prey eating the dead would prevent such pollution.

It is further told that another people group followed a similar pattern according to specifications, building a tower without doors and windows. At the top they would erect a steel grid that sloped inwards. By use of ladders, they would carry the deceased to the top of the tower and place it on the steel grid for vultures and crows to strip the body of all flesh.

Let’s revisit the disposal of the body of a Christian … not as to the type of burial or cremation or which is right or wrong … but what it means and what happens in the afterlife.

Firstly, for the Christian, the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. God created the human being, and after creating everything that exists we read:

Ge 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

This includes the human being … the body. The Psalmist explains his being (and ours too):

Ps 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

We ought never to forget that the pinnacle of creation is man … so much so that God breathed spiritual life into the human making him different to all the other animals.

Gen 2:7 The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Further, we are told to:

Mar 12:30 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Because God has such a high view of the human being He created and made this being into a living being (that is, with a spiritual dimension), He requires that the shape of our love for Him must be with all of the body … heart (emotions), soul (spiritual), mind (academic) and strength (body). This shows that God views the whole body as very important. Through the fall of Adam as our representative head, our bodies are also fallen … meaning that we are depraved from birth … not as wicked as we could be but every aspect of our being is affected by sin. The spiritual dimension is dead at birth … but for all who are made alive in Christ, this spiritual dimension is revived and made alive.

Eph 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

This being made alive in Christ is another way of saying “born again” or “the new birth”. Once this happens … look what God does because we live in this corrupt world in our human body:

2 Cor 5:4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

God not only dwells with us (our human body):

1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

So surely, apart from murder damaging the image of God in man, it destroys human life and the human body that God so carefully designed and created to be what it is … and created for fellowship with Him. Even though the earthly body will be destroyed through burial and raised a spiritual body:

1 Cor 15:44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

The body that God created so perfectly and recreated in Christ so wonderfully needs to be treated with respect and reverence when it dies. Murder and a shallow grave or the dumping of a body or feeding the body to birds of prey to be eaten up are not compatible with God’s high view of the human body!

Dear Glorious, Creative Lord, Your design for the human body is beyond our human understanding in all its intricacies and wonder. Thank You that we are so special to You as we are in body, mind, heart and soul. Help us to dispose of our deceased reverently in honour of the value You place on the human body. How we long for Heaven and the spiritual bodies You have prepared for us. Help us to prepare properly for when we are with You in glory. For Jesus’ sake, amen.

GPS

Once before, after our Wednesday Morning Bible Study, we went to the Bible Society in Kempton Park and from there, using the iPhone’s GPS, to Rennie Street, Benoni, Agricultural Holdings. The iPhone relies on an internal Assisted GPS (AGPS) chip to determine one’s location. This feature comes built into the iPhone so one does not need to install it. This system is faster than a traditional GPS, since it creates an approximation of your location based on satellite information. It worked wonderfully and got us from the Bible Society to the intended venue without any directional problems. The roads in the Agricultural Holdings area were filled with potholes, but we arrived their safely. Today we made the same trip. From the Bible Society in Kempton Park, using the iPhone’s GPS we were on our way to Rennie Street. The same address as last time. It’s the address in the iPhone’s contact list … and we landed up at Rennie Street, Rynfield. What happened is beyond my comprehension. Lost … indeed! I called the caregiver of the lady we were to see saying we were lost and would be late. She tried to help unsuccessfully. I turned from Rennie Street into Goodman Street and saw a gentleman walking from a house … in the rain. I stopped him, apologizing and asking for directions. He said there is another Rennie Street and I should come to his house and he would check his map book. He quickly found the right Rennie Street, took a page from an examination pad and drew directions for me to follow … and 14 minutes later we were at our venue. What I struggled with getting lost trying to find Rennie Street was the fact that there were no potholes in the roads. Then, on the way to the correct Rennie Street we found all the potholes covered up. It seems as though the municipality dumped loads of grey gravel on the roads and graded it. It was quite a relief arriving at the correct venue as Jenny and I were to have the Lord’s Supper with the lady we were visiting and her caregiver.

GPS Directions. I cannot tell what happened as the postal code for the Agricultural Holdings that I used is different to that of Rynfield. I have never had this happen before … being taken to the incorrect venue. Is it possible that it read my location data incorrectly or was there some fault on my side that I was not aware of? There is one GPS direction that can never give the wrong information and that is the gospel. The Gospel’s Precise Solution (GPS) is never wrong. You see, it gives us accurate directions to heaven and to avoid the disaster of hell. The first stage is to understand

Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

In your heart you need to establish this. Without Jesus there is no heaven! The next stage on the journey is to acknowledge

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

and this includes you and me! I am a sinner. I have offended God. I can never make right with God without Jesus Christ! You see, Jesus is God’s one and only Rescue Plan for man. This is why Jesus said … “No one comes to the Father except through me.” So I get it that I am a sinner and in a hopeless situation … and my only possible help is Jesus. The next three stages on the GPS’s travels is that I

Ac 26:20 “repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”

Repent means to turn away from the world, the flesh and the devil … that is, the way of sin. Turn from the old way of living … the rebellious and sinful lifestyle … the values of this world. Then follows turning to God! Turning away from the sinful life (idolatry) and turning to God. This would include believing God is everything the Bible says He is, loving Him, Obeying Him, Serving Him, Trusting Him, Worshipping Him … and living under His Reign and Lordship. Then look what follows … “prove their repentance by their deeds”. You don’t do good deeds to get into heaven … you do good deeds to prove your salvation! This GPS is never wrong!

Help from a total stranger. What happens when the Gospel’s Precise Solution (GPS) does not work for you? There is nothing wrong with it … you just can’t get it to do what you expect it to do. What then? You ask for help. The man who helped me was a total stranger yet he hauled out his map book and soon set me on the right path. But … he would not have helped me without me asking. When you don’t seem to be able to navigate the spiritual pathway to glory you need to ask for help. No one will be little you or ignore you. Once you ask a Christian for spiritual help, they will eagerly and willingly come to your assistance.

Closed up Potholes. There are times when you start out on the Christian journey, you find all types of obstacles (potholes) in the way. The potholes in Rennie Street were huge, were many and were deep. One needed to shift onto the pavement at times, then onto the wrong side of the road, then almost travel across the road, zigzagging … it was difficult. You needed to stay glued to the road to prevent damaging your tyres and car. Spiritually, when you follow the Gospel’s Precise Solution (GPS) correctly you will find the potholes disappear more and more … and even should a few remain, you will negotiate them far easier.

Delightful visit. Our visit was a delightful one. We enjoyed the Lord’s Supper after meditating upon the Word of God and prayer. We had a delightful and refreshing time of fellowship. Because all four of us, the lady we visited, her care giver, Jenny and I have all followed God’s GPS (God’s Gospel’s Precise Solution). You see, we all love Jesus as Lord and King and are able to enjoy communion and community around the Word with God being present. It’s wonderful when people can enjoy each other because we are well and truly on the journey to glory.

Dear God, for laying before us the way of salvation and bringing people across our pathway to steer us, we are ever grateful. Father help us to be a help and delight to those who falter due to hitting spiritual potholes along life’s travels. Lord help us who are mature in the faith to stand by and assist those who are still lambs so that together we will all be ready to step off this planet and arrive in glory to the praise of Your blessed and holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Spiritual Weeds

Although it rained and hailed late yesterday afternoon, I took a little time out this afternoon to water the garden. I run two hoses as we have a borehole. Whilst the one hose runs a sprayer for the lawns, I hold the other to water the pots and garden. You might recall me saying I did some weeding yesterday. Well, whilst watering today, I weeded a little more. Some weeds are so difficult to pull out. You need a tool or as I did … lots of water. Within a short space of time I filled a refuge bag with weeds. Lots of weeds, some came out easy and others needed persuasion in the form of lots of water. Some weeds grow in the open and are easily visible. Others grow in between or under plants and are more difficult to identify. Every time a Christian works in the garden and comes across weeds, he or she needs to recall God’s words to Adam after he sinned.

Ge 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

My motivation tonight is not to get into the mechanics of Adam’s listening to Eve and how he fell into sin after he was warned by God not to do so. You’ll recall

Ge 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

In between this and God’s curse upon man in chapter 3, we have

Ge 3:1 ‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.’

Where one could argue that Eve was tricked … Adam ran into the “fall” wide eyed. He knew what the probationary commandment said in chapter 2 and willing and easily fell into rebellion. It was by choice. This is why God’s punishment upon Adam is severe. With Eve, her punishment is pain in child birth and submission to her husband because of her sin … and it affects all women because she was the representative wife / mother to be … but Adam as the representative head of the race received a far harsher punishment that not only affects all men, it affects all people … wives, mothers and children plus all of nature. The entire earth is affected … and the proof is:

Ro 8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

So every time you see weeds, remember the fall, remember our first parents and remember they were our representatives in the Garden, especially Adam. And when you remember this, remember that if it were you or me in that Garden, we would have done the same. We too would have been hoodwinked and fallen into sin. Now think of weeding. Sometimes it is easy, yet other times it is difficult.
This is true with sin as well … or should I say “spiritual weeds”. Spiritually speaking this is what the Proverbs says

Pr 24:30 “I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; 31 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.”

This is the impact of sin upon our lives, especially when we lack spiritual judgment … “thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds” … or … “our souls are covered with spiritual weeds”. We must not confuse the Parable of the Weeds with our situation as Christians. That parable deals primarily with believers and non-believers. (Parable: Matthew 13:24-30 and the explanation: 13v36-43). Rather as believers we face a daily struggle with sin. Those Christians who don’t struggle with sin are those who lake judgment (Prov 24:31) … but those with discernment are people who understand the magnitude and effects of Adam’s sin upon their lives and daily find the needs to fight because the soul’s enemy entices and lures in the attempt to captivate us. This is the reason that we need to spend serious time searching our hearts … and asking God to do the same!

Ps 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Unless intentional prayer petition is made to our Father, we might never know the vastness of spiritual weeds in our souls that influences the heart, will and actions. The tragedy then is that we live with them without realizing their influence upon us. We are then like a four cylinder motorcar operating on only two or three cylinders. Our spiritual power is reduced and we cannot function as God wants us to. Spiritual weeding will include what Paul says to the Church at Rome:

Ro 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Dear Lord, thank You that Your Word exposes all our intentions to live in sin or dip into sin. Grant us the will, by Your Spirit to put off the sin that so easily entangles, keeping our eyes fix upon Jesus so that our walk might be Gospel. Lord we so want to live holy lives … please come to our assistance, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Immune

Fridays are normally garden days, but due to other things I decided to leave the garden for Saturday, yet the way Saturday panned out it never happened. So … because yesterday was Human Rights Day in remembrance of the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960 … and because today (Monday) is a Public Holiday … it was my Human Right to do the garden today. In our area we have lots of ants … small ones and big ones. I make certain the house is ants free my spraying regularly … but the outside ones are difficult to control. From their nests, the bigger ants tend to move huge amounts of sand, creating a hole to the nest for easy access. I have tried many different things around the hole with the hope these ants will take the poison into the next … and they don’t. My opposite neighbour told me he mixed a strong mixture of Sipermetrien and water and poured it down the ant hole. I decided to make an extra strong dosage of this mixture in a watering can and poured it down the ant hole. It seemed to work well and almost immediately. A few days later at church, a young man who works for a pest control company and I were chatting. He said that when mixing the Sipermetrien and water it is important to get the mixture correct. I was making it far too strong. Then he said something that amazed me … he said that if you make the poison mix too strong the ants will become immune to the poison. In time it will not have any effect on the ants. As a lay person I thought the stronger the mix, the more effective … yet the professional says to stick to the prescribed mix per 5 liters. Today as I was cutting the lawns and later removing the weeds (that I have neglected for some time), I saw an ant hole behind the log rock garden. Immediately I mixed Sipermetrien and water according to the instruction, poured it down and around the hole, and trust it will work better. Just think of that, ants immune to ant poison if it is mixed too strong!

This got me thinking about people coming to Jesus for salvation and being pushed into all sorts of discipleship and growth groups before they are ready for deeper teaching. They could easily become like ants … immune to a heavy dose of poison … new Christians could become immune to the deeper teachings they are not yet ready for. The concept of crawl before you walk is important. Consider:

Heb 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

So often I have found “hard to explain because you are slow to learn” true with people in the church … and this might not be their fault! Too often church leaders can be over zealous and hurry people into courses and teachings they are not yet ready for … and the tragic result is that they become “immune” to the heavy doctrines because they were forced into them too soon. It is true that we need to disciple new converts … Jesus said:

Mt 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The key teaching that controls this passage is “make disciples”. How do we make disciples? We … “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. “Everything” will include all the Scriptures … from creation through to sin, guilt, conviction, redemption, justification, sanctification, election, predestination, judgment, heaven, hell, God as in three persons, satan, the second coming, etc. To me it would be cruel to attempt teaching a new convert the deep doctrines such as election and predestination before they grasp sin, guilt, conviction, repentance, faith, forgiveness and justification. Perhaps where we fail the most is in our approach to discipling a new convert. Remember “crawl before you walk”? We need to teach the real basics … the milk of the faith before we progress to deeper things. I would suggest our greatest failure is when we do not teach new converts how to pray and how to read the Bible. So often Christians have not been taught how to pray and pray with all the wrong motives.

Jas 4:2 “You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Some demand things from God or asked for the wrong things or ask for things that would be harmful for a Christian. Spending time praying with a new convert is vital to prevent using prayer incorrectly. Many new converts are not taught how to read the Bible and because of this they read into Scripture or make Scripture say what they want it to say and not what it actually says. It’s easy to claim:

Jn 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth”

Meaning that the Holy Spirit will make all Scripture clear to you … He will … but you first need to be taught how to use the Bible because far too many use it incorrectly. This is the reason we have so many shipwrecked Christians. It is in this sense that I speak against feeding disciples solids before they can consume milk. You see, the young man was right when saying we can cause ants to become immune to the best poison on the market if we over dose them. This principle is so true with new converts. Don’t over dose them. Once you lay a solid foundation of correct praying and use of the Bible they will understand faith and dependence, sin and holiness, repentance and fruits, forgiveness and perseverance, justification and redemption. Then the turf will be ready to move onto deeper doctrines … and you will have a solid, contributing member of God’s Kingdom forever!

Dear Glorious Lord, help me to get the basics before I try to bite, trying digest the solids of the faith. Amen.

False Prophets

We live in a world and age where most evangelical Christians are aware that there are some serious false prophets and teachers out there. However, this is not a new or Twenty-First Century phenomenon. As you read our Father’s Holy Word, He tells us of fake spiritual leaders and teachers that abounded in the days of Israel as a united nation and then as two states as in Israel (the Northern Province) and Judah [the Southern Province). We have seen from the First Century onwards how counterfeit teachers and leaders wooed people … especially Christian people resulting in many sects of Christianity appearing to be the real deal but once you have access to their doctrine and theology you quickly become aware they are counterfeit. If you are able please read Jeremiah 23. Remember God is speaking through His prophet … which includes the prophet using his own emotions and feelings to be exposed … and this is with God’s permission and is part of the Divine Word to us, His people.

Prophets Dream. The basic method of God communicating to His spokesmen (prophets) was through dreams. False prophets came with messages that were not God inspired. Jeremiah was God’s man. He knew God spoke to him and through him … yet as he delivered his message the people rejected him and his message, yet they listened to and followed the fake prophets and their teaching. He is so staggered and emotionally distort that his heart is broken!

Jer 23:9 “Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and his holy words.”

Jeremiah had a high view of God and His Word. God and His Word are rejected and ignored and this pains the prophet so much so that he is bewildered … like someone so drunk that he is overcome to the point of physical shaking and a broken heart. The prophetic landscape had deteriorated to the point where the prophets and priest are both godless and evil (v11) that they use their power (authority) for evil purposes as they themselves live in spiritual adultery and have led the people into the same abomination. But this will not last forever because the Lord will bring disaster their way, punishing them to the point where they fall from their high positions and are banished to darkness. (v12) In verses 12-15 we see the lie of their spiritual adultery, exchanging God for “idol gods” coupled to sexual immorality … and their end is near (v15).

Prophets have visions. As an example, the basis to the New Testament Book, Revelation, is John the Apostle having visions. God enabled His prophets to see visions … dramatic pictures of what God intended to do … things that would come to pass. Yet the false prophets made up their own visions!

Jer 23:16 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.”

Why does God speak through Jeremiah saying the people must not listen to the prophets? Because their visions are concocted in their minds … their visions are not from God … so their visions give people false hope! Like today, the fake prophets then gave people messages they wanted to hear. People who are unhappy with God’s True Word resort to

2Ti 4:3 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Even though Paul spoke to Timothy (and us) many, many years later … the point is the same … people don’t want the wisdom of God, they want to hear lies. God through Jeremiah promised an exile punishment … the fake prophets said … ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ … and … ‘No harm will come to you.’ (v17). Is that not the message so many flock to hear today?

Because God did not appoint these fakes to be His spokesmen (v21), God’s wrath will be poured out with passion. (v18-20)

True prophets have Truth. Look at verse 18 and see two profound, searching questions

Jer 23:18 “But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?”

The answer is … none of the false prophets and priests … because it they did

Jer 23:22 “But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.”

When the preacher and teacher … the proclaimer who says … “Listen to the Word of God” … is fed by the Spirit through being in God’s holy presence, around God’s holy Word, he will speak the holy Words of God. But when he is not called and appointed He cannot stand in God’s holy presence and he therefore cannot hear God’s holy instructions and he then cannot speak for God to the people. It is then that they are delusional and speak lies

Jer 23:25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?”

Right there we have the key to this passage. “For what has straw to do with grain?” These fakes give straw to eat in place of grain. The false prophets speak their “dreams” but those who have God’s Word need to speak it faithfully. God’s Word is a fire that burns … it is a hammer that breaks (v29). Wow to them who speak lies … for God is against them. (v30-32) The way we test truth from error today is by judging what is said through the pulpit by comparing it with the Word of God. You need to have an open Bible as you listen to a sermon or a Bible Study. If there is a contradiction, challenge the preacher! If you don’t and you are led astray spiritually … it will be your own fault!

Dear Lord, please grant us wisdom to discern Truth from error. Give us the ability to sift through all the spiritual messages we receive so that the evil one does not trick us with false teaching. For Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.

Titles

Titles and positions have their place, as do superiority and subordination. I was busy in the kitchen yesterday with the radio on. I’m not sure what the discussion topic was, but someone called in saying that they detest the craving for power by some in positions of authority. The example he used was working for government, some who are directors general are not satisfied with the title Mister “X” or Miss “X” or Misses “X”, they want to be known as and called Director “X”. At times in a church it can be almost unbearable when people insist on using a title for a clergyman. Having the title is different from insisting that it be used. Like I have said before, we are all equal in Christ … the musician, the usher, the singer, the pastor, etc. Although Jesus’ preferred name for Himself was “Son of Man”, most likely taken from the Old Testament Book, Daniel, the New Testament writers refer to Him as Jesus … because that is most likely how He was known before His Resurrection and Ascension. All the leaders in both Testaments are referred to by their own names … no titles used. Having said that … we read in Matthew:

Mat 27:37 “Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

It was customary in the Roman Empire to draw up tablet when people were executed. In the Roman official language it was called “Titulus”. It was a metal plate coloured white with letters written in black. The person’s name and their crime was written on the tablet … that is, the reason for their execution (crucifixion or death in the lions’ den) was announced for all to see. Sometimes the condemned person would carry the tablet, holding it up or having it hanging around his neck for all to see as he walked towards where he would be executed. At other times it was carried by another person who would hold it high and visible. Once the person was … say crucified, this tablet would be secured above the head of the person. We don’t know whether Jesus carried His or whether another carried it … but we do known what it said and where it was secured after Jesus was raised on the Cross. The accuracy of the tablet cannot be better … for that is what Jesus was and that was His name, God given through the angel in chapter 1 of Matthew.

The reason I introduced my topic the way I did is because those fixated on titles are also fixated on their image and what they project into the community or society they move in. Even my title, though it defines me, could easily be a stumbling block to someone as often titles divide. They separate people into camps … and nowhere in all the Scriptures do I see this required. In God’s sight we are all equal. In a zoom call today with family the USA and friends in the UK, we chatted about the “royal family” and I mentioned that in our country a certain nation’s king died this past week. If a man or a woman are royalty by earthly designation and rules with authority and power over a people on earth … they die and their standing after death is the same as all who die! If they were Christian … they are equal to all other Christians. They will not have special rewards, titles and positions. This is true if they were non-Christians. They will die and be caste into the Fires that never die and suffer for all eternity … and there in hell they will be equal to all the damned.

Do you know the difference between a biography and an autobiography? A biography is the life history of an individual, written by someone else. An autobiography is the story of a person’s life, written by that person. Whether a person writes a book about their life or another does it, it draws attention to the person. Some love this. As you know I have a webpage in my name. I did not chose it, my family did. I hope no one looks at the page name … rather I trust they will look at the material hosted there. My point is and hopefully will always be that all focus and all attention MUST be upon Jesus. That is why I’m so happy with the tablet’s declaration about our Lord. What was not known is that it clearly pointed to who was being executed for all to see. They might not have grasped at the time what was happening … but this One being executed so gruesomely was slaughtered to bring reconciliation with God. He was held high as the only substitutional, penal, sacrifice for man’s sin. Only through Him would reconciliation with God be possible.

I love how the Spirit of God moved Paul to write:

2Co 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Who we are and what we have done for Jesus (though even our employment and other associations we belong to must be a testimony for Jesus) is what it’s really all about. We don’t need to promote our titles, degrees, certificates drawing attention to ourselves. What is written on our hearts must burst out daily in our engagements, in our marriage, family and home, school room, work place, neighbourhood, shopping mall, gym and sports club and whatever membership we are part off. A realization of what has just been written will help us to live at all levels of life for the glory of God out of a thankful heart for Jesus. He must get the attention!

Precious Lord, help me to seek daily to conduct myself in such a manner that I draw attention to You. Help me day by day to fill my heart with the Scriptures … soaked in prayer … so that my life might point to Jesus wherever I am. Help me Lord never to be a stumbling block causing others to be distracted from Jesus and the Gospel. Lord, let Your light shine through me. Thank You loving Saviour for being able to prayer like this in Jesus name. Amen.

Packing

Our opposite neighbour told me early in the week that he and his wife were going away for the long weekend (this one). Last night when I arrived home his caravan was outside the garage and he was sorting and packing to make certain he had all the right things they would need for the weekend. If you have done caravanning or camping you would know that once at your destination, normally far from shops, you better have what you’ll need or you go without. Naturally it’s food, clothing, bedding, toiletries, table, chairs, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery, not forgetting the sharp knife, potato peeler, cheese slicer, gas, wood, braai grid, tongs, candles, matches, electrical fitting for power, etc. Is the license current; is the van insured; are the tyres pumped up … and a host of other check list items. Once there, you do without what you forgot. This afternoon they left for their long weekend get-a-way. Have you ever thought about what to pack for your journey to heaven?

Your Bible is vital and key because it is the road map for the journey so that you don’t get lost.

Salvation. Although listed after the Bible is paramount because without it you won’t understand the Bible and lose your moral compass.

Prayer shows that you just can’t make it alone. You need help from the Lord Jesus.

A healthy, Bible based Church Fellowship is necessary for teaching, being discipled, serving and fellowshipping with the beloved in Christ.

A spontaneous use of your spiritual gift mix for the benefit of the Body of Christ.

Perseverance in holiness. I am certain you can add to this list. When packing a caravan for vanning or a trailer for camping. It’s easy to pack the wrong things. For argument sake, you will take a garden spade and even a fork … possibly you’ll take the tree cutter to remove branches or the chopper … but you won’t take the lawnmower or weed eater with you. That would be taking wrong things with you. Some, packing for heaven’s journey might include the wrong things. Read through the story of the Ten Virgins

Mt 25:1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

What did five of them not pack? Yes, they forgot to pack oil and we not only stranded … they were left out … and by implication they were left out of heaven! What do you think they packed though? Was it possibly the fact that they were Jews … and whatever happened the Bridegroom would not forget them. Was it perhaps that because Jews were to share (Ubuntu) as part of the people of God that even if they were negligent spiritually others would drag them into the Wedding Supper? Many today pack the wrong things for their journey to heaven too … thinking they have covered their basis and will never be left out or discarded! Some of the wrong things people pack include:

Keeping the Ten Commandments. It’s good to know and understand the Ten Commandments, especially as Jesus expounds them in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, 6 & 7. These Commands are a school master showing us what sin is … but they do not save.

Doing Good Works. Good Works are great and important … they prove salvation but they cannot save. (See Ephesians 2v10). You cannot work your way into heaven through doing good deeds to your neighbours, friends or the poor. It’s good to do this but they cannot save your soul.

Keeping the Golden Rule. People say most religions follow the Golden Rule. Some say Jesus was quoting from

Lev 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

When He taught

Mat 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

This is noble and required but it cannot save you.

Bringing your Tithes. Giving financially through tithing is Biblical. It’s like Good Works proving where you heart is and assisting the Church to keep its doors open and continue with gospel work. But it cannot save you. You cannot buy heaven irrespective how much you bring in tithes and offerings.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These sacraments are greatly misunderstood. Many think that their baptism, be it as an infant or as an adult, saves them from their sin. In a similar way many think that coming to the Lord’s Table cleanses them from their sin. Baptism is an identification with Jesus as Lord and the Lord’s Table is coming together in remembrance of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. They don’t save.

Church Membership. Where it is good to be a signed, active member of the church, membership does not and cannot save. Packing the wrong things for vanning or camping could result is a disappointing holiday. Packing the wrong things for your journey towards heaven could be so disappointing because you never reach heaven due to you trusting the wrong things to get you there! Paul and Silas said to the Philippian jailer’s crying question

Ac 16:30 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

was

Ac 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Packing the wrong things for the journey to heaven will result in you not getting there. You will be like those five silly virgins! Dear God, thank You for showing us the way of salvation. Thank You that You accomplished such an awesome salvation that is secured through faith in what the Lord Jesus did on the Cross in our place. Help us never to trust anyone or anything else for our salvation. Help us to cherish the Old Rugged Cross to get us to heaven. Amen.

The Advocate

Please read John 14:15-31. Here Jesus teaches so much about the Father, Himself and the Holy Spirit. Although He speaks of Him leaving … referring to His return to Glory (Ascension) after his Death and Resurrection, He assures His disciples He will not leave them as orphans.

Joh 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

How will this be possible if Jesus returns to Heaven? The passage is filled with God as Triune. God is one … and when Jesus says “I will come to you”, He is not referring to Himself as the Son but as God the Holy Spirit. What Jesus refers to in verse 16 to 17a, He repeats in verse 26a … and this advocate, who is the Spirit of Truth or the Holy Spirit is given by the Father. Often the interpretation we have for certain words today in the 21st Century might not mean what was intended in the 1st Century. This could also be because of interpretation from one language to another … especially as Hellenistic Greek is no longer used today. An example would be the word “advocate” used in verses 16 and 26. This word is also translated as “Counselor” or “Comforter” in some Bibles.

What is an Advocate and what does this person do? There are a variety of roles, including to speak for you and represent your views when you feel unable to do this yourself; to provide information and guidance; to prepare written communication or legal submissions; to attend meetings, hearings or appointments; to clarify processes and procedures; to negotiate, mediate or otherwise assist in alternative dispute resolution and to gather and organize information and documentation. (Taken from Google).

From this one can easily see the concept of counseling and comforting coming through in the John 14 passage. Thinking of it like this, Jesus is referred to as “Counselor” in Isaiah’s prophecy about Messiah:

Isa 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

One of the glorious roles and functions of God towards His people is counseling us … and He does this primarily through His Word … by His Holy Spirit. Then there is the term “Comforter” … used of God in Jeremiah as he pleads with God:

Jer 8:18 “O my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.”

Jeremiah knew that the only one able to comfort his soul because of the Divine Dilemma coming upon his people was God. I already pointed out that all three terms, “Advocate, Counselor and Comforter”, clearly exposes the role of the Holy Spirit to the people of God. Picture the shock, fear and dismay the disciples experienced when Jesus said He would be leaving them … but He followed up on that by saying they would not be orphaned … spiritually, they would still have their “Divine Parent” in the shape and name of the Holy Spirit. It is true He is resident within the hearts of His people. He comforts the soul of the weary believer. He counsels us through the inspired Word. Through His Word He defends us as our legal representative before the Father as He applies the merits of the Lord Jesus to our account. His ministry is Word based … and Jesus said it would be like this:

Joh 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

This is a very interesting verse. I want to provide you with a contemporary belief in the work of the Holy Spirit and then a Biblical explanation of the same.

A contemporary belief about the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Many do not read the postscript in the margin of Mark 16. The actual Biblical text ends at verse 8 meaning that verses 9 to 20 are not part of Mark’s Gospel. Producers of the Bible might include it but it is not Scripture. Take as an example:

Mk 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

This was added much later, is not Scripture although some of the content has Biblical warrant but verse 17-18 do not. The point is that many today claim supernatural abilities because they say the Holy Spirit gives these. I want to argue that the Bible is always consistent and the Holy Spirit who gave the Bible functions in strict accordance with the Bible He has given. He does not deviate!

A Biblical explanation of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Look again at … Joh 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The teaching the Holy Spirit provides is regulated by “everything I have said” … in other words, everything Jesus taught as God from Genesis chapter 1:1 through to Revelation 22:21 … with special reference to His Redemptive Ministry as God Incarnate. Naturally, the entire ministry of the Lord Jesus is what the Bible is all about. So, when the Holy Spirit “teaches you all things”, He is teaching what Jesus taught already and what He will remind the disciples of is what Jesus had taught. In other words, there is no new teaching! Nothing is added to what Jesus had already taught or what is to be found throughout the Bible. That is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. When you read through the First Section of the Bible (Genesis to Malachi – 2 Peter 1:19-21), you will find the teaching consistent to the Second Section of the Bible (Matthew – Revelation – 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:15-16) … and this Second Section is consistent with the First Section.

Dear God, our loving and caring Father, You have given us Your Word as it is found in the Scriptures. Help us to love, use and apply Your Word, not seeking to spice up Scripture by adding man’s thoughts and ideas to it claiming them to be Your Word. Thank You that Your Truth to be trusted is found in the Bible alone. Amen.