Gospel

Construction Site Georgia Usa Landscape Dirt

Digging for the Truth

Don’t allow Christianity to hide Jesus. We have nearly an unending list of doctrines, beliefs, proofs, prayers, ideology, philosophy, and all manner of jargon that fills the box of Christianity, but where is Jesus?

The Thief on the Cross

To borrow one point from my pastor’s recent sermon, the thief on the cross, next to Jesus, only knew Jesus. He had no baptism card, no letter of transfer, no catechism, no church affiliation, and no documents or witnesses that attested to his Christianity. The thief knew none of these and confessed that he deserved crucifixion, but right there, while Jesus was in the middle of fulfilling God’s plan, a plan that stretched back before Creation, Jesus took the time to save a person that trusted Him (Luke 23:39–43). That’s who Jesus is, and that’s what salvation is about.

Digging for the Truth

Man’s dogmas or doctrines don’t hamper Jesus. Jesus is looking for people that are looking for Him, even if they don’t know it. Salvation is a very personal event, unique to each person, yet universally the same in its results.

This site’s motto is “Digging for the Truth.” I started this website to dig through the traditions of Christianity, much like the Pharicitical traditions, with the intent of helping us find Jesus. Salvation isn’t complicated (Romans 10:9–10), and neither is living for Jesus (Matthew 11:28–30)). We make the Christian life burdensome; we heap doctrines, decrees, and dogmatic declarations upon individuals, local churches, and denominations.

Just Save My Life

A medical doctor could tell a seriously injured man how each instrument works, how the procedures are performed, and what the protocols are, but the injured man wants the doctor to save his life. How is that different from Christ’s salvation? A person that finds Jesus can be saved without knowing Ephesians 2:8–9. This passage explains how God saves, but a dying man or woman simply needs to ask, as the Philippian jailor asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30)” When you’re dying, the “what must I do” is important; the how can be learned later.

We have the Bible and innumerable commentaries, Bible studies, Christian dictionaries, history books, podcasts, statements of faith, creeds, and videos to help us grow and be transformed. These all have their rightful place. But still, our eternal life depends upon Jesus knowing us and us knowing Him. Jesus said that at the judgment, He will say to people, “Depart from me for I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

Our Life is All About Jesus

Cultivating our relationship with Jesus is what our salvation is for. Daily, take time to talk with Jesus Christ our Lord. If we fail to nurture a living relationship with Jesus, then we are lost, and condemnation remains upon us; no amount of Christian academic education can save us.

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay


You may like: Guessing the Mind of God

Press Camera The Crowd Journalist News Curiosity

It Could Happen Here

1 The same thing happened in Iconium…3 “But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders…5 Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6 When the apostles learned of it, they fled…” Acts 14:1,3,5–6

Today’s News

Let’s take this passage of Scripture and bring it into today’s news.

Radicalized Christian Fundamentalists Escape Capture.
by Im Wright, staff reporter for Today’s Worldly News

As has been reported by responsible journalists, the dangerous team of Paul and Barnabas has been creating unrest in our community for quite some time. Their deceptive actions have been condemned by their own ethnic leaders and by all civic and religious leaders in our community.

This reporter asked respected people in our city their thoughts about the troubling developments from Paul and Barnabas. Here are two of these comments:

I think they must be magicians, the way they ‘heal’ sick people and do things that can’t be explained. But magic has nothing to do with science and reason. I think they are a bad influence on our children.

Thomas Niceman, a Good Intentions high school teacher.

Our mayor, Nikem Ubet, has taken a stronger stand against these terrorists that give a bad name to Christianity. Here is an excerpt from the mayor’s comments.

Their magic means nothing; they are charlatans, pure and simple. They have harmed enough people in our town, so it’s high time for them to be punished for their damning actions. The city council and I have started proceedings against these wick men. Since they have left us no doubt regarding their guilt, we expect to bypass the established judicial process and immediately apply capital punishment, thereby warning anyone else that thinks they can come to our fine city and stir up trouble, setting families against families. I can promise everyone that they won’t be bothering us much longer.”

Nikem Ubet, Mayor

Great News
This news just in, our Chief of Police just finished a press conference. He said that Paul and Barnabas had disappeared. Following a BOLO (be on the look out) that he issued yesterday, our city can rest easy again. These radicalized Christians are gone for good.

Good News

I don’t think my imagined news report is far from what would happen if a Paul and Barnabas came to my town. I am sure that God’s miracles would only harden the hearts of most of my community’s leaders.

Let’s pray for the leaders God has given us. Let’s pray for the people that lead and teach our children. Let’s not be bystanders to Christ’s great commission.


Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay 

You may like: Faith’s Good News

pastor

Holy Spirit Boldness

You remember in the Bible where the Apostles Peter and John were arrested because the Jewish leaders were very disturbed by the Apostles’ teaching that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead.
(Acts 4:2)

The two Apostles were thrown in jail, and the next day, the guards brought them before the “council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest.” (Acts 4:5-6)

In Israel, Peter and John were facing the full force of the law. They were in serious trouble. What we may forget are the ages of these two Apostles. Peter was no more than thirty years old, and John was probably in his late teens or early twenties – some of Jesus’ disciples may have been as young as thirteen. Both had been raised in a small town and were fishermen. But now, these small-town boys faced the force of their society, culture, and law.

When Peter and John were taken from the jail and brought before these “important” men, they did not give in to fear. What appeared to be a nation against two “hicks” was actually the leaders against the Holy Spirit!

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people

Acts 4:8

The leaders were amazed at the boldness of Peter and John. The leaders did all they could to silence these two guys, but the Apostles didn’t accept the message.

But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.

Acts 4:19-20

Notice that the message to the leaders was not one of violence or revolution. Instead, it was a matter of free speech. We find in Romans 1:18 this same theme: “…who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

Once again, we are told in God’s Word that ungodly men use the suppression of free speech in their attempt to silence God’s message; of course, they fail. Suppressing any will of God is a fool’s errand.

Now, in our world, there are powerful forces that once again want to silence the message of Jesus Christ. They want to prevent this truly good news from being heard by ordinary people. They attempt to do the same thing that the Apostles faced. Likewise, we should reply the way Peter and John replied and trust that the Holy Spirit will do for us what He has done continually for two-thousand years.

Image by Tep Ro from Pixabay


You may like: It’s Going To Be Okay

Be Real

To be used by our Lord we must be new, be alive, be real. To have true joy, we must be obedient to Jesus, and we must not be afraid to tell other people about our faith in Jesus. Here is a fascinating Scripture that demonstrates this point:

 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

2 Kings 5:2-3

So Naaman goes to Elisha, the prophet of God in Samaria, to buy a miracle. Elisha would not sell God’s gift to Naaman, yet healing was offered and received for free by God’s grace. Then Naaman says:

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel…” 

2 Kings 5:15

In Mere Moments

God took the words of a young slave girl, spoken in faith, and He carried them to two kings and a general. All this because she hadn’t forgotten her LORD, and she spoke up. Here’s my point: These opportunities in our lives to share our faith occur in mere moments; the blink of an eye. Our faith must naturally and continually flow out of us. If we have to think about it, we will miss the opportunity.

If our faith is a natural component of our conversations, Jesus will take our simple words, spoken in faith, and affect kings, generals, and people in high places. We are simply called to tell the good news. It is God’s job to change people.
You can read the full account of Naaman in 2 Kings, chapter 5

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


You may like: A Godly Life May Require More

high school basketball game

The Whole Commandment

When Moses, through God, had led the Israelites to the edge of the promised land, he spoke these words to them:

The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.

Deuteronomy 8:1

Notice that God’s criterion for living and multiplying and possessing the land was for the Israelites to keep “the whole commandment” that Moses had spoken to them.

Throughout God’s Word, He tells us over and over that we can’t accomplish all of what He wants to do with us and for us unless we give our ALL to Him. It’s like when a small-town high school Hoosier basketball team defeats a top-ranked team. The announcer always says that they won the game with their heart. They were all in, all of the time, and played all of the game until the final buzzer rang.

The Israelites were going into a war zone. Their mission was to take the whole land that God promised them. The Israelites were told to be all in, to obey the whole commandment and they would win. Likewise, as Christians, God’s Word tells us that before we enter the “war zone” He has assigned us to, we must put on the “whole armor of God.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11

God tells us these things because He loves us. He has plans for us. We were born for a purpose, for the purpose Almighty God made uniquely for us before there was even one star in the sky. Anything less than receiving God’s all means receiving less than God intended for us. If I want to make some scones (I love scones!), I need all the ingredients. I can’t have scones without flour.

How easy it is for us to bypass the whole Word of God and feed on the “Cliff Notes®1”; those popular verses that are repetitively quoted, tickling our ears. We need to acquire everything that God makes available to us. If God thinks that we need it, we can be certain that we do!

Image by khuntersr from Pixabay 


  1. Cliff Notes®

You may like: Soul Obligation

people eating in a restaurant

Pray for Their Eternity

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

1 Peter 3:15

Christians confuse the unsaved

I heard a commentary recently that reminded me how confusing Christians are to unsaved people. We may look the same, work at the same places, eat the same food, drive the same cars, and go to the same grocery stores, but inside of us, we have abundant life; we are in Christ Jesus. So, it’s easy to forget that our words and actions often make no sense to the unsaved.

We don’t seek opportunities to get money by suing someone. We don’t revel in drunken wantonness on Friday nights. We don’t participate in family gossip. We practice random actions of kindness. We give our time and money to help people that will never be able to reciprocate our actions or even know us. We forgive; this is perhaps our single most confusing action to the unsaved. And we pray, but not in the way that the unsaved would pray.

We don’t pray like the unsaved

How can any unsaved person believe in prayer? They see Christians around the world suffering from persecution. Christians are murdered, stolen from, and pressed into forced labor. What good did their prayers do, the lost say? But they have unregenerate eyes. They are unable to see God’s hand.

For Christians, prayer isn’t intended to make us bulletproof. Our prayers are for the lost to be reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ and for the Bride of Christ to be obedient to the commands of Jesus. Yes, we pray for favor and protection, but we know that these prayers must always yield to the will of God. We don’t lose our faith when God says, “No.”

Pray for their eternity

Jesus flat out told us that we would be like sheep to the slaughter (Romans 8:36), and we see more of that now than ever in the history of Christianity. Our lives are transient; here today, gone tomorrow. We all have an expiration date. So Almighty God is focused on each person’s eternity. He loves us, so He blesses us, but His agenda is about moving history forward to the Day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:10) and not to lose any that are His (John 6:39).

So, the next time someone asks you to pray for them, let them know that you’ll first pray for their eternity and then pray for their need.


You may like: This was new, but it’s not new now.

danger high voltage sign

Disruptive, Destructive, Dangerous

To be a follower of Jesus Christ requires that we receive the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. If each word of Jesus were a single piece to a puzzle, then it would be impossible to have a complete picture of Jesus if we only chose the puzzle pieces that formed the outer edge of the image. Likewise, for us to recognize our Savior and be equipped to tell His good news to others, we need to know all the pieces; we need a complete picture of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we consider all the words of Jesus, we see Jesus accurately, and perhaps, differently than who we expect. So, let’s looks at three attributes of Jesus that are rarely found in His puzzle picture.

Disruptive

Jesus the Messiah came to the Jews in a way they did not expect. Jesus fulfilled every aspect of the Messianic prophecies. But He came so differently than their traditions taught that the leaders rejected Him.

His ministry disrupted the Jews and set the Jewish leaders against their people.

Then the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders had a meeting at the palace where the high priest lived. The high priest’s name was Caiaphas. In the meeting they tried to find a way to arrest and kill Jesus without anyone knowing what they were doing. They planned to arrest Jesus and kill him. They said, “We cannot arrest Jesus during Passover. We don’t want the people to become angry and cause a riot.”Matthew 26:3-5

And this disruptive attribute of the Gospel is carried on in Christ’s Apostles and on down through us. For example, when Paul was in Ephesus:

About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way [the Gospel of Jesus]. (Acts 19:23)So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. (Acts 19:29)

Destructive

Everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, His Gospel overthrows false religions. Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Venus, Apollo, Diana, Minerva, Ceres, Vulcan, and Vesta were the Roman gods worshipped throughout the Roman empire. But, after three-hundred years of Rome’s torture of Christians, the empire changed to a “Christian” empire.

The gospel of Jesus destroyed Roman gods, making them nothing more than myths and characters in old movies.

However, the destructiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not limited to false deities. His gospel is destructive to families. This aspect of the gospel has always been the case, but only recently have we seen this in America.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…Matthew 10:34-37

Dangerous

Being a follower of Jesus is dangerous. God freely gives salvation, but to receive, we must give Him our all – Jesus must be Lord of our lives. Living in Jesus doesn’t deliver us from problems. He calls us to travel paths that may result in the loss of all our possessions, the loss of our freedom, and even the loss of our lives.

Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22

Disruptive, Destructive, and Dangerous

The message of Jesus is good news. He came from heaven, wrapped Himself in the flesh of man, and proclaimed the Word of God from Isaiah 61:1-2:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

However, these words are just the border of the picture of Jesus which God gave us in the New Testament. We need to know and communicate Jesus accurately and completely, “rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash


You may like: Don’t Waste Your Pain

Contend not Coerce

When one of my sons lived in Dillingham, Alaska, I had several opportunities to visit him, my daughter-in-law, and my grandson.  Persuade Not Coerce

The Yup’ik people

Dillingham is on Nushagak Bay at the mouth of the Nushagak River, an inlet of Bristol Bay, an arm of the Bering Sea in Alaska. Dillingham sits in a staggeringly beautiful setting, though the village itself is a typical, spartan Alaskan community. 

The predominant indigenous people around Dillingham are the Yup’ik people (pronounced “yoop-eek.”) who have lived in Alaska and the Russian Far East for millennia. On one of my trips to Dillingham, I had the privilege to talk at length with a Yup’ik native; I don’t recall her name, so we’ll call her Ahnah (A wise woman). That conversation was eye-opening for me.   

The failure of coercion

The Yup’ik have suffered much, both by intent and by accident, from Americans. More than 70% of their people have died from flu and other “American” diseases during the last thirty years. America struggled with COVID-19 last year, but the Yup’ik have suffered from wave after wave of disastrous epidemics.   

In addition to disease, the Yup’ik lived through a time when our government thought it wise to remove children from their tribes and raise them to be Americans. Our government thought they could persuade indigenous people to cast off thousands of years of culture within one generation. This foolish act of coercion didn’t work, but this leads us to our devotional for today.  

Coercion is not a ministry

As Christians, coercion is not a ministry. We are to contend for the faith but contending is not coercion. Stephen is the first Christian martyr. Here’s Stephen’s approach:  

Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen…rose up and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. – Acts 6:8-10  

The difference between Godly persuasion and bullying is something we quickly lose sight of during our debates with others. However, once the fire dies down, and we have time to reflect upon our demeanor, choice of words, and intentions, we attempted to coerce the non-believer into accepting Jesus. 

Contend for the faith

To be a Biblical apologist, we focus on proof rather than persuasion. To contend for the faith, we use proof and persuasion within the Holy Spirit’s boundaries. We know when we have wandered off into human debate.   

Paul “…reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 18:4) and “And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?'” (Acts 26:28) and “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.” (2 Corinthians 5:11)  

So, you may ask, why is this simple topic worth posting? We live in a fiercely divided nation. As citizens of God’s kingdom, we are emissaries of the Gospel of Jesus. That must always be our focus. We must represent Jesus to our crumbling nation. In our actions, we must leave room for the Holy Spirit to act. We must not behave as our government did and try to coerce a nation to do things “our way.”  

Proofs and persuasive debates

We bring the message of Good News. We contend for the faith by providing proofs and offering persuasive debates, but it is up to the Holy Spirit to convict and lead people to salvation in Jesus Christ. We can’t do that, and we shouldn’t cross that boundary. We should contend not coerce. 

Photo by MissMushroom on Unsplash

You may like: On Whose Shoulders do we Stand?

person holding AC receiver

Methods Change

The Transistor

Here’s a secret. 😉 I’m not young. When I was young, I started working in electronics right when transistors were replacing vacuum tubes. It is staggering to me how much has changed throughout my career. 

11/10/1962 The Detroit tribune. Transistor radio from the Channel Master Corporation
figure 1

I remember being in an electronics class in college and the professor tossing a transistor to me. That means nothing, now, but vacuum tubes imploded when dropped, so throwing a transistor was a shocking way of demonstrating the end of a technology epoch and the start of a new one, the one we live in today.

Here you may righty posit, “Saying that we live in the same technical world as 1971 is absurd.” Well, on this point, I’d have to disagree with you. In 1962 a transistor was about this size of an Apple AirPod. However, it’s not a stretch to say that transistors are in every electronic device you own.

The Core i7 Intel® microprocessor, which isn’t the latest version, contains ~3 billion transistors, and that fits in your laptop. The method for manufacturing transistors has dramatically changed, but the transistor’s purpose hasn’t changed.

Jesus

Infinitely greater is the salvation and life which only comes from Jesus. His Gospel hasn’t changed.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28

Christ’s statement is profoundly disruptive. Jesus said that we find rest is in Him exclusively. It exists nowhere else (John 14:6). It’s not in Buddha or money. It is not in boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, or best friends. It is not in people, places, or things. We can squander our lives trying to find rest for our souls, but we will never find it unless we turn to Jesus. Jesus said:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – (John 10:10)

The truth of Jesus has never changed. It was true when He said it, and it’s still true today. When we look at local churches, we find wildly different approaches. 

Some are “high” churches that emphasize reverence. Some are evangelical and quote Bible verses from the King James Version, some are Anabaptist where the congregation leads much of the service, and the list goes on. Nevertheless, they all are called to the same purpose, to fulfill Christ’s call. 

We are to go and lead the lost to Jesus, to provide a community for the saved, to minister to widows and orphans, and care for others’ needs. Methods have changed, but the Message is the same.

You may like: Our Signature


[1] https://news-navigator.labs.loc.gov/data/mimtptc_bath_ver01/data/sn92063852/00279551345/1962111001/0361/010_0_95.jpg from the Library of Congress, Newspaper Navigator Dataset: Extracted Visual Content from Chronicling America

Citizens of the Household of God

If you have received Jesus as your Savior, “then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).  

As citizens of God’s household, we have the privilege and responsibility to represent Jesus to the world. With our citizenship comes the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. That presence of God within us affects the people around us. To the lost, they feel conviction. We are the smell of death. To the saved, we radiate life and hope. We are the fragrance of Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)  

God’s Presence Goes With Us

Many years ago, a dear missionary couple told me that they became aware of an unusual thing that happened when they entered a store or restaurant. No matter how empty the business was when they entered the establishment when they left, there would be people in the store. God’s blessing upon them went with them and blessed the places they entered. My wife and I have experienced this, too. 

Now you may say, “Whoa, you’re starting to get weird.” That started a long time ago, and it has nothing to do with what I’m saying. 😉 If the Holy Spirit is in you, then you’re not normal. Normal people are under God’s judgment. They are spiritually dead. They cannot understand the things of God. 

As citizens of God’s household, we do affect people, but not always in pleasant ways. We can expect people to become angry at us, to try to humiliate us, and, even, to harm us. As the Apostle Paul wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)  

For Humanity’s Sake, Let Your Light Shine 

We may all be getting tired of hearing, “We are living in unprecedented times.” Whether our unprecedented times are different from the unprecedented times of other generations is not relevant. What is relevant is for us to be aware that God’s presence is within us and, regardless of whether it’s well-received or not, we must let the Light shine from us to those around us. We must not hide it. (Mark 4:21-24)

You may like: Got a light?

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: