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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Education / Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20 Welcome Guest
    Eric Rajaniemi's Blog: James 1:22; Romans 1:20
          Have you always had questions about different passages and books of the bible? Me too. Let's explore everything together and find out what God's Word actually says. Are you ready for a life-changing experience? Are you? Then come on!
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    Fri, Feb 25th - 6:01PM

    NLC



    God does not want us to be blindsided due to our ignorance of Biblical truth.  One of the greatest things for believers, and others, to deal with is the existence of suffering in our world.  This difficulty arises when we naively misunderstand the effects of sin on all of mankind and all of the created universe.  We can be taken off guard and gravely injured because of this misunderstanding about suffering.  We must recall that Jesus warned us that we would all have tribulation and persecution once we accepted Him.  "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33)."  "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12)."  Those who determine in their heart to live godly lives in a godly fashion after the teachings of Jesus Christ are to expect persecution and suffering.  Those who do not believe will be unable to understand and tolerate such lifestyle choices for they will bring attention to their own immoral, unethical, and adulterous lifestyle choices.  

    Here is a brief listing of more scriptures which deal with suffering and persecution as part of Christian life:  Romans 8:35, Mark 4:17, Matthew 13:21, II Timothy 1:4, II Timothy 3:11, II Corinthians 12:10, and Philippians 3:10.  

    The immediate reasons for our suffering in this world are that we are sinners in a fallen world (Genesis 3:14-19).  That we are subject to the ills of our weak, dying flesh (Genesis 3).  We are subjects of Satan's wrath (Job 1-2, Ephesians 6:10-12).  We are spiritual pilgrims hated by the world's system (John 17:14, II Timothy 3:12).  And we are sanctified through the Father's chastening (Hebrews 12).  

    All of the above reasons are used by God as part of His plan to conform us in the image of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:18-39).  What we must accept is that His plan is perfect (Psalm 145:17, Isaiah 28:29), it is exhaustive; God has it all covered (Psalm 103:19, Daniel 4:35, Matthew 10:30).  God's plan is also secret; He needs no one's counsel or advice as He allows trials into our lives (Ephesians 1:11).  

    That is all for tonight beloved.  Next time I will write more about how God uses suffering in our lives, why it is not as pointless as it may always appear.  Grace and peace be yours!

    ~Eric


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    Fri, Feb 25th - 12:55PM

    I SAUMUEL STUDY



    "The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions, and the nearer we get to Him the more intensely missionary we must become."

                                 ~Henry Martyn  

     5: And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he likewise fell upon his sword, and died with him.

     6: So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, that same day together.

     7: And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they left the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

     8: And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen in mount Gilboa.

     9: And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armor, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people (31:5-9). 

    The Philistines came and occupied all of the deserted cities of the Israelites.  The Israelites were in dire staits, defenseless against the Philstine army.  Saul's head is sent around to show off their victory over their enemy, get their people all charged up with excitement and pride. 

    10: And they put his armor in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.

    11: And when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;

    12: All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.

    13: And they took their bones, and buried them under atree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days (31:10-13). 

    At this point it should be remembered that way back in time God had commanded Saul to kill all of the Amalekites and Saul had disobeyed.  God wanted obedience, and Saul's heart never bowed completely to the Living God.  Saul spared the Amalekites and seemingly it may have actually been those same people who killed Saul.  "But we have already read the historical account here of how Saul died by the hands of the Philistines.  The Beth-shan police department investigated and closed the case:  death by suicide."  Perhaps we ought to wait to pass final judgment on this particular matter until we have studied II Samuel.  But that is for next time beloved. 

    May you all have a good and godly day!  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric



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    Thu, Feb 24th - 12:24PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "The final chapter of human history is solely God's decision, and even now He is everywhere active in grace or judgment. Never in all history have men spoken so much of end-time, yet been so shrouded in ignorance of God's impending doomsday."

                                      ~Carl F. H. Henry 

     1: Now the Philistines fought against Israel:  and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and felldown slain in mount Gilboa.

     2: And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul's sons.

     3: And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers (31:1-3).  

    Israel is being routed upon the battlefield.  God not only isn't for them, He is against their every action at this point even though they are His Chosen People.  Believers must remember this fact.  If we displease God by sinning, then He will chastise us through various tests, trials, and tribulations.  God wishes us to remain faithful to Him.  Because of Saul's continuing sinful ways, his army is routed upon the battlefield, his sons are all killed, and he has been seriously injured by the opposing archers.  It is the beginning of the end for king Saul.  It is tragic that Jonathan had been killed for at another time he had killed 250 of the Philistines; perhaps this is why they desired to kill him.  Israel was hopelessly outnumbered, and without God on their side.

     4: Then said Saul unto his armor-bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me.  But his armor-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid.  Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it (31:4). 

    Once Saul realized that he was mortally wounded and cut off from any further retreat, he requested that he be put to death honorably before the Philistines could come and abuse his body.  Saul was a proud, egotistical man right to the very end of his life.  Saul committed suicide. 

    This was a dark time for Israel as we shall see tomorrow my friends.  Until then, grace and peace of Christ be with you!

    ~Eric



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    Thu, Feb 24th - 7:02AM

    NLC



    Trials/Suffering Vs. Perseverance

    "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33)."  

    Every Christian has been spiritually bumped and bruised.  If you are hurting, just remember your condition is not unique, it is common to all.  Perhaps it is a sinful habit that has broken something in you, or self-esteem issues due to a painful or even abusive childhood.  Perhaps you have endured a chronic illness, or maybe another Christian has hurt you by thoughtless and/or cruel words.  Quitting is not an option for the believer.  We are to walk in faith.  We are to forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.  "The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)."  And in Matthew 12:20 we are able to find, "A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory.  And in His name the Gentiles will hope."  We all have hurts.  We all suffer through people saying mean, spiteful things to us and about us.  We all endure bullying, manipulating, and physical threats.  Our hearts become broken through love being withheld from us, through those who are supposed to love us doing wicked things to us.  Internally we can become warped, misshaped, and unrecognizable as to who we genuinely are intended to be.  We can then easily lose our way along the path of life and end up living "hijacked" lives.  But we aren't alone, God is near us during these times of suffering, of loss, of separation, of even humiliation.  God saves us when we are utterly crushed in spirit and feel like we have reached the end of our "rope."  

    "And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (II Timothy 3:12)."  There isn't any question involved in this verse.  God promises us that if we desire to live a godly life serving Christ Jesus then we will be persecuted by those who do not believe.  We will be called wack-jobs, wing nuts, unintelligent, weak-minded, bigots, racists, elitists, intolerant, believers of myths, anti-science, un-enlightened, and of course all sorts of profanity laced descriptors.  And too many of us ignore God's warning to us.  We need to come to terms with this reality which faces every believer in Christ.  If there is no persecution at all in your life, then what are you not doing for Christ?  "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you...(I Peter 4:12)"  When, not if, ordeals pop up in our lives we must not be shocked and dismayed at their appearing.  We can't accept the belief that a good Christian will never suffer for God states otherwise.  Suffering tests our faith in Christ, it tests our determination to walk a godly path in life.  Suffering also refines our character.  Does my speech remain civil and profanity-free even during times of high stress and suffering?  Do I remain generous, compassionate, and loving during times of suffering?  Am I simply a "fair weather Christian"?  When the going gets difficult do I dive out of the boat and head for shore, and home?  I pray that none of you make such a choice in your lives.  Stay in the boat, stay the course!  Christ is with us until the end of this age, and beyond!  He prepares a place for us in His heavenly mansion and will come to take us there one day!  We are not the forgotten.  We are not the forsaken.  We are not the unloved.  We are the children of God, members of the family of Christ, priests in the new royal priesthood of Christ Jesus who is the Living God.  

    That is all beloved.  Next time in the new life in Christ study I shall look at the issue of being blindsided due to our ignorance when suffering enters our lives.  May you have grace and peace each day!

    ~Eric


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    Tue, Feb 22nd - 7:42PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    38: Now the just shall live by faith:  but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him (10:38).  

    This verse is a quotation from Habakkuk 2:3-4 and is also quoted in Romans and in Galatians.  Each of these epistles places a different emphasis on it.  In Romans the emphasis is upon "the just shall live by faith"; how God justifies the sinner.  Here in Hebrews the emphasis is upon "the just shall live by faith".  There have been several references to a living God, and this epistle to the Hebrews tells of a living intercessor.  He is the exact same one who died upon the cross for all of us and came back from the dead.  Emphasis is upon His resurrection and His being the living Christ sitting at the right hand of God.  Thus since we who are His own have a living God and a living Savior at God's right hand, we shall live by faith.  Our faith rests upon the Word of God.  In Galatians Paul emphasizes faith; the just shall live by faith.

    "If any man draw back," means to withdraw.  If, once we declare ourselves for Christ, we later on choose to cut down on our commitments to living by faith for Him God shall have no pleasure in us at all.  We will have chosen to slip quietly back into spiritual darkness and lukewarmness and Satan will regain dominion over our actions.

    39: But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul (10:39).  

    The writer here is appealing to them to not become part of that group who step back.  He speaks of the danger of doing so.  "Draw back" means to take in sail and so we have the picture of a sailing vessel moving quickly along and then slowing and stopping because its crew has cut sail.  We are to let out all of the sail and move onward!  There are varied reasons for cutting sail and stopping dead in the water.  It could be because of persecution, discouragement, hardship, or of depression.  But we ought not to give in to these things for we have a living Savior whose Spirit dwells within us each and every day.  We must move on in service of God!  

    Well, that completes chapter ten.  We will next begin chapter 11-13 which constitute the second major division of this epistle to the Hebrews.  We will now come to that which is quite practical.  Chapter 11 is frequently referred to as "the faith chapter."  We do not usually think of faith as being very practical.  This upcoming chapter is also called the "catalog of the heroes of faith."  These people are witnesses who encourage us to live our lives by faith.  

    It is very easy to mold the Christian life into a series of rules and regulations.  We love do's and don'ts.  It seems so exquisitely easy to obey rules.  To many people life is all about following a neat set of rules.  But in this next chapter we are to discover people who went a totally different route in their lives.  They walked by faith, and that is the way God wants us to walk today.

    We shall also discover that the only thing which God has no remedy for is unbelief in Him.  Any sin is pardonable upon repentance but unbelief is a state which God does not dabble in.  That is all for today my friends.  Peace be with you all.

    ~Eric


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    Tue, Feb 22nd - 1:27PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "At the day of Doom men shall be judged according to their fruits.  It will not be said then, Did you believe?  but, Were you doers, or talkers only?"

                                   ~John Bunyan 

    16: And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.

    17: And David struck them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day:  and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled (30:16-17). 

    Four hundred young men of the Amalekites escaped David's wrath that day.  And only because they were able to flee fast enough upon camels.

       18: And David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken; and David rescued his two wives.
       19: And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor anything that they had taken to them: David brought back all.
       20: And David took all the flocks and the herds, [which] they drove before those [other] cattle, and said, This is David's spoil.
       21: And David came to the two hundred men, who were so faint that they could not follow David, whom also they had made to abide at the brook Besor; and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.
       22: Then answered all the wicked men and base fellows, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them aught of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that he may lead them away, and depart.
       23: Then said David, You shall not do so, my brethren, with that which Jehovah has given unto us, who has preserved us, and delivered the troop that came against us into our hand.
       24: And who will hearken unto you in this matter? for as his share is that goes down to the battle, so shall his share be that tarried by the baggage: they shall share alike.
       25: And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.
       26: And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold, a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of Jehovah:
       27: To them that were in Beth-el, and to them that were in Ramoth of the South, and to them that were in Jattir,
       28: and to them that were in Aroer, and to them that were in Siphmoth, and to them that were in Eshtemoa,
       29: and to them that were in Racal, and to them that were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them that were in the cities of the Kenites,
       30: and to them that were in Hormah, and to them that were in Bor-ashan, and to them that were in Athach,
       31: and to them that were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt
    .  

    With the battle over and done with, David and his men recover all of that which they had lost plus all of the spoil that had been taken from the other cities raided.  An argument ensues amongst those of David's men who were not men of honor.  They do not want to share with those two hundred men who were too tired and hungry to continue on with them and had been left by the brook Besor.  All they are willing to give them are their wives and children, and then to ask them all to leave.  David established a principle at this time which remained in effect down through the centuries to Christ's time.  David was a fair man, an honorable man.  Those two hundred men had remained by the brook guarding all of the baggage so that the remaining four hundred men could ride as quickly as possible to catch up with the Amalekites.  They deserved a portion of the rewards as well.  

    Upon returning home to Ziklag David redistributed the spoils back to those whom it had been taken from.  David probably could have kept it all, but he chose to give back what was not his to begin with.  This increased his reputation among all of the people round about the region.  David made it known that he was still fighting the enemies of Israel, that though he may be living outside of the nation he remains staunchly in defense of the nation.

    That completes the 30th chapter of I Samuel and brings us to the final chapter of this book.  We can't forget that when David left the side of Achish, the Philistines were preparing to fight the Israelites.  While David has been liberating his two wives and the wives and children of all of his people from the Amalekites, Israel has been whooped by the Philistines and are in retreat.  God was not with the Israelites because Saul was living in disobedience to God.  Saul continued to do things his way, not waiting upon the Lord.  And now the consequences of Saul's continued actions finally come home to roost upon him.  We will find out what happens to Saul the next time we open up God's Word together.  Grace, peace, and joy be your share this beautiful day which God has given to each of us!  I offer my prayers of comfort and encouragement to all of the people affected by the latest earthquake in New Zealand. 

    ~Eric



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    Tue, Feb 22nd - 6:50AM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    35: Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward.
    36: For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise (10:35-36).  

    We are not to throw away our confession of faith in Christ, which provides us with confidence.  Keeping our confession in Christ allows us access to future great rewards.  We are promised crowns of glory and of life if we remain faithful.  Patience and faith are melded together here in Scripture.  Upon exercising faith in the face of trials and tribulations we are to then remain patient, remaining focused upon the future hope of the fulfillment of our faith in Christ.  When He returns for us He will give us new, glorified bodies just like His and we shall be with Him forever and forever.  There shall not be any separation between us and our God ever again.  

    37: For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry (10:37).  

    We can't say to people that we shall meet again if the Lord tarries.  God does not tarry, and it is simply because He has appointed the proper time for everything.  There is no "being late" when it comes to when God does things or when He appears.  The Hebrews had thought that the Messiah was late in coming, that he was "overdue."  No, He appeared exactly on time, according to God's schedule.  He shall appear a second time right on schedule, not early and not late.  God is not putting off the day of His Second Advent, the appointed day simply has not come as of yet.  Lots of people are busily punching data into their PC's attempting to figure out when God "must" come back to earth.  They conveniently either forget that God said no man knows the day when He shall return, or they think that they can figure out the month and the year of His return.  Why waste the time and energy doing that?  What will it change?  Nothing.  It won't change when God returns and it will not change anyone else's life either.  While I am busily searching out the month and year of my Lord's return I am not spreading God's Word and presenting Jesus Christ to the lost people of this world.  Every person who dies without Christ is going off into an eternity of darkness, torment, and anguish.  All of our efforts must be to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  How sure am I of Christ's return to earth?  As sure as it is that He came the first time; the first time was foretold and so is the second time.

    That is all for this morning, beloved.  I shall continue this study tomorrow.  I hope you come back and continue with me!  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric


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    Mon, Feb 21st - 12:52PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "The strength for our conquering and our victory is drawn continually from Christ.  The Bible does not teach that sin is completely eradicated from the Christian in this life, but it does teach that sin shall no longer reign over you.  The strength and power of sin have been broken.  The Christian now has resources available to live above and beyond this world.  The Bible teaches that whosoever is born of God does not practice sin.  It is like the little girl who said that when the devil came knocking with a temptation, she just sent Jesus to the door."

                            ~Billy Graham 

    Now we pick up the account of David's response to his men's overwhelming grief over the loss of their families.

     7: And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I ask you, bring here to me the ephod.  And Abiathar brought out the ephod to David (30:7). 

    Why bring out the ephod?  Well, this was a part of the high priest's garments which spoke of prayer.  It went over the garment that the regular priests wore.  The ephod set the high priest apart.  He had to be wearing it when he went in to the golden altar of prayer.  It had two stones, one on each shoulder, on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel:  six on each shoulder.  You can see the picture here:  the high priest came before God bearing Israel upon his shoulders.  This is how Christ approaches God the Father on our behalf.  He bears all of the believers upon His shoulders as He advocates on our behalf.  We also must recall the account of how the shepherd reacted to discovering one of his sheep was lost.  The shepherd would go out and search until he found, and recovered, the lost sheep; restoring it to the fold.  I do not know who you are or where you are, but I do know that Christ is prepared to come and get you, put you up on His shoulders, and bring you back to the fold.    "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25)."  As the song lyrics state, "No mountain high enough, no valley too low," to keep God from finding you and returning you to your eternal home in heaven.  No sin is too great to exceed the cleansing power of His shed blood on Calvary.  All that is required is for you to ask, ask and you shall receive newness of life, ask and you shall be born again spiritually.

     8: And David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop?  shall I overtake them?  And He answered him, Pursue; for you shall surely overtake them, and without fail recover all (30:8)." 

    Through prayer David knelt before God and asked the questions burning upon his heart.  He needed some direction from God, he had not been seeking it as much of late and it had gotten him and his people into a bunch of trouble.  David got down on his knees and talked to his High Priest, the One who was his Shepherd.  David asked of God and he received encouragement to go after the enemy. 

     9: So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.

    10: But David pursued, he and four hundred men:  for two hundred abode behind, which wre so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.

    11: And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water (30:9-11). 

    Their enemy had taken all of the women, children, and food.  Some of David's men had become faint with fatigue and hunger and so were left by the brook Besor to rest.  David and his remaining men push onward in pursuit of the Amalekites.  Soon they come across an Egyptian man, left behind by the enemy. 

       12: And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him; for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.
       13: And David said unto him, To whom do you belong? and where are you from? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days ago I fell sick.
       14: We made a raid upon the South of the Cherethites, and upon that which belongs to Judah, and upon the South of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.
       15: And David said to him, Will you bring me down to this troop? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that you will neither kill me, nor deliver me up into the hands of my master, and I will bring you down to this troop (30:12-15).

    Showing mercy and kindness to this man gains David his confidence.  The Egyptian describes where his master had raided and confirmed that he was the one who had burned Ziklag to the ground.  All that he wishes is to not be returned to his master, and for that promise he was willing to lead David right to where the Amalekites were camped.  This poor Egyptian servant had been dropped like a rotten potato by the wayside, just because he had gotten sick.  We as Christians must stop and help people who are in such need of assistance, for in doing so we shall reap abundance in rewards from God.

    That is all for today, next time I shall cover the next passage in which David catches up with the Amalekites.  Hope you return.  May grace and peace flow through your life today!

    ~Eric



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    Sun, Feb 20th - 11:17AM

    NLC



      1: Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 
     2: And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He afterward hungered. 
      3: And the Tempter came and said unto Him, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. 
      4: But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. 
      5: Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 
      6: and said unto Him, If You are the Son of God, cast Yourself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning You: and, On their hands they shall bear You up, Lest haply You dash Your foot against a stone. 
      7: Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, You shall not make trial of the Lord your God. 
      8: Again, the devil took Him unto an exceeding high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 
      9: and he said unto Him, All these things will I give You, if You will fall down and worship me. 
     10: Then said Jesus unto him, Get you away, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. 
     11: Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and ministered unto Him (Matthew 4:1-11).  

    Three temptations were put before Jesus.  First, Satan attacked Jesus through His existing physical hunger.  He tried to get Jesus to transform the stones into bread in order to feed Himself.  Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?  Jesus was fully capable of doing so.  But Jesus said that man is not to live by physical food alone, but also by the Word of God.  Second, Satan took Jesus up to the very pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem and dared Him to fling Himself off of the heights claiming that the angels of God had been charged to protect Him from all harm.  Jesus corrected Satan by pointing out that man is not to tempt God, or put God on trial so as to judge Him.  Thirdly, Satan took Jesus to a high mountain top and offered to give Him all of the kingdoms of mankind, if He would simply worship Satan as His lord.  Jesus told Satan to get away from Him for it is written that man is to only worship and serve God.  What happened?  Satan left Him.  When Satan comes and tempts us we resist him by quoting scripture that refutes the temptation and we turn our backs upon the temptation being presented to us.  Satan will leave.  

     41: Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels:(25:41)  

    For whom was hell and the lake of fire originally prepared for?  It was created for Satan and his fallen angels.  People were not intended to go there to spend eternity.  But because of our freely made choices we can end up with that as our eternal destination.  This verse deals with the time when Christ has returned to earth and everyone is summoned to appear before His throne for final judgment.  People only end up in the lake of fire because they refuse to accept God and Christ as being one and the same, that Christ came and gave His life, out of love, in order to redeem our souls from the power of sin.  

     26: Be not angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 
     27: neither give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27).  

    We have been told by Christ Jesus to not give place to Satan in our lives.  Here is one way in which we do give place to Satan.  Whenever we become angry with someone else and we do not resolve the anger, when we allow it to simmer and boil just below the surface of our emotions, then we have opened up a doorway for Satan to enter into our lives and manipulate us.  It is possible to be angry and to not sin, but far too often people simply lose their tempers and then commit grave sins.  Allowing our tempers to run out of control leads to using the Lord's name in vain, in demeaning others, in ruining relationships, and ruining our witnessing power before the lost.  Lack of temper control leads to loss of control over our tongues, and we all understand what damage our words can create.  

     1: But the Spirit says expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons,(I Timothy 4:1)  

    Is every type of spiritual teaching from God?  Is every observance of "Mary"  or of "Jesus" from God?  Obviously the answer is, no.  The later times spoken of here are the time in which we live and moving on forward into the future.  Many people fall away from faith in Christ and are seduced away by visions of Mary and of Jesus.  They have not remembered that we are not to walk by sight, but by faith in the Word of God.  Satan used to be an angel of light and can still appear that way for short periods of time.  He is able to deceive us if we rely totally upon sensory impressions for making decisions.  Fallen angels (demons) are able to introduce false doctrines into groups of believers if they fail to remain alert and especially if they fail to study God's Word and know the Truth.  Once we begin to compromise God's Word we are left open to continuing attacks from Satan.

     19: You believe that God is one; you do well: the demons also believe, and shudder (James 2:19). 

    Many people feel that believing that God exists is sufficient to make it into heaven.  Is it?  Demons know for a fact that God exists, and that Christ is God, but they are not going to heaven.  There is no salvation in knowing God exists.  Salvation comes from asking Christ to forgive me for my sins, and to accept Him into my heart as I repent of my sinfulness.  To believe that God is a trinity in one is to obviously do well.  But redemption comes from personal acceptance of Christ's sacrifice upon that cross.

     That is all for today, beloved.  Next time this study will examine suffering versus perseverance, what are the reasons for our suffering.  Hope you return to discover more truth from within God's Word!  Seek the grace of God in these turbulent times around our world, ask God for forgiveness in the name of Christ Jesus, and you will find peace of heart that goes beyond our abilities to describe!

    ~Eric


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    Fri, Feb 18th - 12:32PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "A man's virtue is his monument, but forgotten is the man of evil repute."

                          ~Egyptian tombstone inscription(2100 B.C.)

     

        9: And Achish answered and said to David, I know that you are good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle.
       10: Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with the servants of your lord that are come with you; and as soon as you are up early in the morning, and have light, depart.
       11: So David rose up early, he and his men, to depart in the morning, to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel (29:9-11). 

    Achish has no problems having David and his men with him, but in order to maintain harmony among all of the Philistine lords David must be sent home.  So David gets his men up early and at dawn's first light they depart for Ziklag.  The Philistines went up to Jezreel.  Looking at a map of this time period, it can be seen that Jezreel is pretty much a part of the Valley of Esdraelon.  Scripture informs us that the very last great War of Armageddon will be fought here. 

    David and his men are going home, but what will they find upon reaching home?  While the Philistines amassed their army over against Israel another of their ancient enemies, the Amalekites, invaded their homeland.  The Amalekites pillaged and destroyed Ziklag which is south of Beer-sheba.

      1: And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;

      2: And had taken the women captives, that were therein:  they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.

      3: So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives 30:1-3). 

    Imagine the emotions flowing through all of these men as they arrived home.  They had expected to be reunited with their families and loved ones, instead they are faced with a burnt out city and everyone is gone.  It had to be crushing.

      4: Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.

      5: And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of nabal the Carmelite (30:4-5). 

    These men wept openly for their loss until they could weep no more.  They did not repress their grief, they did not internalize it.  They got it out, they voiced their grief. 

      6: And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters:  but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God (30:6). 

    Here is the gem which we are to take from out of this study today, beloved!  At the very bottom of the depths of our sorrow and grief we are to be encouraged in our Lord Jesus Christ!  At the height of the persecution which we have been forced to experience, then we are to be encouraged in God. 

    Because David was the leader, his men blamed him for leaving Ziklag and following Achish to Jezreel.  David had made a very poor decision to go to Jezreel and now he was paying the consequences of that choice.

    People remember all sorts of things about David.  The shepherd boy who slew Goliath, the young man who slew thousands of Philistines, the man who became a King, and the man who stole another man's wife after having him murdered.  But David was very much a regular human being like you and I.  He made good decisions and he made bad decisions.  David's men want to stone him to death for they think that their wives are all dead but that their children have all been made slaves of the Amalekites.  David was proverbially between a rock and a hard place, wasn't he? 

    There are going to be times in our lives when circumstances will not produce any joy or happiness.  We will find ourselves in dark places, scary places.  Looking around the situation will look hopeless.  Are we to give up?  If we are children of Christ, we will encourage ourselves in the Lord.  We will turn to Him and glorify His holy name.  These situations sometimes are allowed to happen so that we will turn to God.  He wants to make Himself real to us.  When the troubles come into our life we ought to go straight to the Psalms and begin reading what David had to say about those exact same moments in his life.  We ought to think, and say, what David did:  "The LORD is good...Let the redeemed of the LORD say so." 

    That is all for today.  Next time I will try to finish this chapter, one in which we discover that David does not continue in his mistakes.  May we learn from the life of David to not continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric



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    Thu, Feb 17th - 1:56PM

    NLC



    "A man who is at war with himself will be at war with others."

                          ~Dag Hammarskjold

    "Not long ago a Norwegian statistician computerized every war that had ever been fought.  His study quckly revealed that during 5,560 years of recorded history there have been 14,531 wars, averaging a little over 2.6 wars per year.  In the history of 185 generations, only 10 of those generations have witnessed unbroken peace."

                          ~George Sweeting

    Putting On The Whole Armor of God

    Looking at the sport of football we can see an illustration of what it means to put on the whole armor of God.  Participants of football must wear all sorts of protective gear, or "armor", to avoid experiencing severe injury.  There is a helmet to protect the head, shoulder/chest pads to prevent injury to those areas, there are hip pads, thigh pads and shin pads.  There is a mask on the front of the helmet to protect the nose and mouth from direct hits.  There is also a mouth piece which is inserted over the teeth to prevent them from becoming broken or chipped when receiving a blow underneath the chin.  All of this is designed to prevent injury to the body when involved in the game of football.  But if a person forgets to put on a part of this protective gear they become vulnerable to severe injury and could be sidelined for the remainder of the current game, the rest of the season, or for the rest of their lives.

    The Word of God says we are to be "strong in the Lord," putting on the whole armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, we will be able to stand our ground (Ephesians 6:10-18).  We need the belt of truth buckled around our waists because this holds everything else together.  Truth is absolutely essential when dealing with Satan and his lies.  The breastplate of righteousness in verse 14 symbolizes our righteous standing in Christ Jesus even when being actively accused by Satan.  Our feet need to be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace---peace with God and peace with one another, when Satan seeks to divide us.  We are to take up the shield of faith, with which we can extinguish all the fiery arrows of doubt that the evil one shoots at us.  We need the helmet of salvation to protect our minds from the confusion and lying philosophies of Satan, and we need the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  We can't put on just one or two pieces of this armor, we must wear all of it.  Just as football players wear a mouth guard, we too need to have a guard set over our mouths (Psalm 141:3).

    In one sense, this armor of God is another picture of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the truth(John 14:6), He is our righteousness(II Corinthians 5:21), He is our peace(Ephesians 2:14), His faithfulness makes possible our faith(Galatians 2:20), He is our salvation(Luke 2:30), and He is the Word of God(John 1:1, 14). 

    So, do not be deceived into believing that all you need is the helmet of salvation and the footwear of peace.  Those are very nice, but they will not prevent you from becoming seriously damaged by Satan, even permanently so.  You must put on all of the armor in order to be protected and then be able to withstand Satan in the day when he comes after you.  And he will come after you once you have decided to actively serve Christ Jesus in your life.  In order to withstand half truths about God's Word you must know God's Word.  Otherwise you will simply show yourself to be ignorant, and will not persuade anyone of the reality of your faith. 

    This all for today, beloved.  Next time I will cover five verses which reveal truth concerning our position relative to Satan, and what step/s we must undertake to shore up weaknesses in our faith and daily lives.  Go out into this world in grace and peace.  Utter no harsh words directed at any person, curse no man, wish harm to no man, and love all men. 

    ~Eric



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    Wed, Feb 16th - 6:22PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    31: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (10:31).  

    Here is a verse which speaks to unbeliever and Christian alike.  To fall into the hands of the living God, and face judgment for our sins, is something we should wish to avoid at all costs.  The unbeliever would rather deny the existence of God and avoid judgment for any sins.  In Ezra 7:9 we can find: "For upon the first day of the first month began he [Ezra] to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him."  For the believer the hand of God is for his/her good.  God wants to put His hand upon us for good, but sometimes He puts a very very heavy hand upon His children.  God will chasten us, He will take us out to the woodshed if need be.  King David made it into God's woodshed.  In Psalm 32:4 we find, "For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me:  my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah."  David had tried to cover up his sin, but he was forced to confess it and deal with it.  The same applies with us today, beloved.  If we try to gloss over some sin in our lives, God will force us to deal with it by applying His hand upon our lives.  Do not let things slide to the point of falling into the hands of the living God.

    But God's hand of chastening is far different from His hand of judgment.  Vengeance belongs solely with God and He shall recompense.  No spite or vindictiveness is involved when God judges people.  He judges sin and that needs to be emphasized in today's culture.  Psalm 75:8 reminds the unbeliever that one day he/she will have to drink of the cup of judgment that resides in God's hand.  God's cup of wrath is steadily filling up today.  There is no hurry, time is not running short for God.  God is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that cup of judgment is filling up and when it becomes full there shall begin the Day of Judgment upon all the earth.  

    Any who have trampled down the Son of God, Jesus Christ, or have considered His shed blood to be of no consequence will have to drink of said cup.  Those who despise Christians, who despise all talk about the Holy Spirit of God, they have reserved for themselves front row seats at the final drinking event of all time.  

    The Hebrew writer is making this same point in verse 31, sacrifices are no longer acceptable for covering sin, one must turn to Christ Jesus and have His blood applied to the heart.  

    32: But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions (10:32).  

    The writer gave his readers a personal word.  These readers were presumably saved, had already endured many tribulations, and he wished them to not forget this point.  

    33: Partly, while you were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, while you became companions of them that were so used.
    34: For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring substance (10:33-34).  

    He reminds them all that they had been made a public spectacle.  Some had been imprisoned, some had had their possessions confiscated.  They were reminded of their patience and faith back then, as they had had compassion upon this writer of Hebrews.  He then points out to them to not forget that they knew then that they possessed much better rewards in heaven than they ever had upon earth.  He wants them to keep their focus accurately upon Christ Jesus and what He has promised to provide each and every faithful believer in Him.  

    That is all for today.  Next time I shall attempt to finish up this chapter of Hebrews  May you have warm sunshine upon your back all the day!  Grace and peace be to you.

    ~Eric


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    Wed, Feb 16th - 2:14PM

    NLC



    "Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind."

                                          ~Albert Einstein 

    Getting back to this study in the new life in Christ, I am struck by the fact that our spiritual opponent has not changed over the millennia but his weapons have become a bit more advanced.  Satan assaults all of us through music, movies, TV, commercials, novels, commentaries, and all sorts of godless philosophies.  But the current generation coming along is the iPod and iPad generation, with PCs and the internet opened up to them on an unprecedented scale.  With it comes the increased exposure to that which can seriously harm them.  We must pray for these next generations to overcome our ancient enemy and his diabolical schemes that are launched with newer and more efficient means of destroying lives.  This is not a game; it is a battlefield, a spiritual battlefield that is increasingly littered with the broken lives of our children and our children's children.

    What is Satan's power against us?  "Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: (Colossians 1:13)"  Satan's power is of the darkness.  He leads people down into the murky depths of sinful living, places where it is extremely difficult to figure out and see right from wrong.  "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same:  that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage(Hebrews 2:14-15)."  How does Satan use this fear against people?  The vast majority of Hollywood actors/actresses are deathly afraid of death.  They spend outrageous sums of money on plastic surgery in order to keep looking young.  They hire personal trainers to keep them physically fit and to feed them the most beneficial foods.  Through their fear of death/aging they become stressed out, turn to self-medication in order to not dwell upon their fear, and end up facing death sooner rather than later.  They are enslaved, in bondage, in chains and they do not even realize it!  And now an ever increasing proportion of everyday people are buying into this hype because they see these beautified actors and actresses up on the big screens at the theaters and think to themselves that they too ought to look that good.  Except that they do not comprehend the price that must be paid to achieve that physical appearnce as you continue to get older.  Fear of aging and of death.  "Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2)."  Satan is the prince of this world, of the power of the air.  Think for a moment of the extent of the atmosphere around our planet, and realize the power that Satan wields over us.  He works in every person who is disobedient, either to their parents, their employers, or to God.  Disobedience leads directly to being thrown under the control of Satan.  Satan works among the governments of this world, misleading them, deceiving them, whispering false promises of grandeur, power, wealth, and eternal fame.  Satan works ceaselessly to increase the tempo of our daily lives, knowing that as we move faster and faster we must spend less and less time considering our options in every choice that we must make.  Speed introduces more and more errors in judgment, more and more faulty choices whose consequences introduce more and more pain and suffering to countless people across the globe.  Speed dictates that solutions be found and implemented quickly, not bothering to waste valuable time upon extended research into all possible longterm outcomes.  Time is being used against us by our ancient enemy. 

    Satan's native language is lying.  He lies to us, about us, and about God.  He is a liar, and the Father of all lies.  He promotes doubt and deception about God's Word and God's motives.  He brings about separation between God and mankind and creates division between believers whenever possible.  Satan's ultimate purpose is defaming and dethroning God in the hearts of people, if not in actuality itself.  Read Genesis chapter three and you can see how he lied about what God said, why God said it, and what would happen if Adam chose not to obey.  Observe how he caused first, division between God and Adam, and then second, Adam and Eve.  He accused God of false motives; then he sought to dethrone God in the hearts of Adam and Eve by getting them to disobey God.

    Turn to poor Job.  Notice the same pattern utilized by Satan.  In the first couple of chapters we find Satan accusing Job of loving God only because God gives Job everything.  This not only criticizes Job but it also defames God's character.  Satan said that God needs to pay people to worship Him, which is an insult to both Job and God.  Satan wanted to take everything away from Job in order to force him to curse God, but it did not work out that way for Satan.  Job showed that God is worthy of praise no matter what our circumstances may be. 

    Ask yourself why you love and worship God.  Are you listening to Satan's lies about disobeying God?  Are you listening to Satan's lies about how you can sin and get away with it, and that your sin/s won't be found out?  God says that what you plant is what you will harvest.  You will experience the consequences of all of your choices, both good and bad (Galatians 6:7-8).

    Here are the basics of Satan's tactics:  First, he amuses us with various temptations.  They look and sound so very good!  They feel so very good!  Second, he confuses us about what God says about the issue.  "Did God really mean what He said here?  Maybe you have misunderstood God's Word."  Third, Satan excuses our sin.  "You can be like God if you eat of the fruit."  Satan can make almost any sin sound reasonable if you listen long enough.  Finally, he is right there to accuse us once we do sin.  Revelation 12:10 calls him the accuser.  He will multiply and heap on the guilt, but does not ever offer the forgiveness found in Christ; instead, he promotes depression and despair, with no hope of restoration.

    How can we overcome Satan?  We can do so by pleading the blood of the Lamb slain from before the foundations of the world began.  The Lamb of God's blood takes away our sin.  Upon accepting Christ Jesus into our hearts our position changes (I John 4:4).  God is for us, and nothing and no one can be against us.  We find in Romans 8:31-39 we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  No created thing can separate us from God's love.  We are sheep, and Christ Jesus is our Great Shepherd, no one snatches God's sheep from out of His hand (John 10:26-30).

    So remember the truth contained in this verse:

    "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44)." 

    I pray that whenever you gaze into this particular "mirror" that you do not find likeness to Satan.  Do not be a disobedient person, do not engage in murder of any form, and do not engage in deception.  Doing any of these things places you into bondage to Satan.  He will then be able to manuveur you into places and situations you would never dream of going.  He will lead around by the ring in your nose, you will not be able to resist him for you will have given him place in your life.  Be not deceived!  You are not stronger or mightier than Satan! 

    That is all for today beloved.  Next time I will write about how to equip yourself to withstand the assaults of Satan.  May you have grace and peace today, and every day!

    ~Eric



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    Tue, Feb 15th - 3:17PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



     "Love does not behave in a discourteous manner.  Greed does; selfishness does; fear does---but not love."

                                           ~George Sweeting 

    Let's find out what happens in this newest battle between Philistine and Israeli, shall we?

     5: Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

     6: Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD lives, you have been upright, and your going out and your coming in with me in the host is good in my sight; for I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming unto me until this day:  nevertheless the lords do not favor you.

     7: Therefore now return, and go in peace, that you do not displease the lords of the Philistines (29:5-7). 

    The Philistine lords knew who David was, and how many of them he had killed in the past.  Achish still believes David is trustworthy in this situation but he is outvoted.  So Achish concedes the point and asks David to leave and go back to his home.  Here is the hand of God intervening in events and keeping David from having to face Saul out on the battlefield AND having to explain to the Israelites why he is out there fighting against them.  Dacid was delivered, given an "out" to avoid the consequences of his prior poor choice to go and live amongst the Philistines.

     8: And David said unto Achish, But what have I done?  and what have you found in your servant so long as I have been with you unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king (29:8)? 

    King Saul was David's enemy, but he couldn't have slain his own countrymen out on that battlefield.  But in his stepping out of the Promised Land meant that he was also stepping out of the expressed will of God.  This also opened the doorway for sin to enter into his life.  Beloved, when a child of God steps out of the will of God, he does not lose his salvation, but he will definitely have trouble in his life.  We will always get into some sort of trouble when we step out of the will of God. 

    That is all for today my friends.  Next we shall find out what some of the consequences of David's choices have become.  Grace and peace be yours today!

    ~Eric



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    Mon, Feb 14th - 2:36PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "...the refusal to choose is a form of choice; disbelief is a form of belief."

                                                                  ~Frank Barron 

      20: Then Saul fell straightway his full length upon the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.
       21: And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, your handmaid has obeyed your voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have listened unto your words which you spoke unto me.
       22: Now therefore, I pray, listen also unto the voice of your handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before you; and eat, that you might have strength, when you go on your way.
       23: But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, constrained him; and he listened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed.
       24: And the woman had a fatted calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it; and she took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:
       25: and she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night (28:20-25). 

    King Saul reacted poorly to the same words which he had heard previously from Samuel when the man had been alive.  Did he think God would change His mind in this particular matter?  Did he not know that God keeps His word?  God had pronounced judgment upon Saul and it was final, how could he think it would not remain in effect?  At any rate, Saul is despondent, he is not eating food and is physically weak from hunger.  So this witch, who suddenly feels that she is the king's handmaiden, persuades Saul to eat some food which she will prepare for him.  The king's servants also join in, wanting to see their lord return to some semblance of normality.  By dawn Saul and his servants have up and returned to the battlefield, where nothing has changed.

    We now move on into chapter 29 where we find how God manages David's previously poor choices.  In chapter 27 David fled from Israel and ended up in the land of the Philistines.  God had not told David to flee there for safety, David figured that was the only safe place to go.  He suffered a lapse in faith in God.  Did David stop to consider what position he would be placed in if Israel and Philistine happened to go to war?  No, he did not.  But here he is, involved in this new conflict. 

    Christian friends, we do not realize how many times God does intervene in our lives.  We overstep the boundaries God has set, and we are not where we ought to be, or we are not doing what we ought to be doing.  When we make errors in judgment, God may graciously step in to intervene and keep us from committing a horrendous sin and having to deal with the consequences of that sin.  Hindsight allows us to look back upon our lives and find those instances where God had to have intervened in our life.  David is about to experience one of those moments.

     1: Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek:  and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel.

     2: And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands:  but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish (29:1-2). 

    David and his men marched to war with Achish and his soldiers.  He had identified himself with Achish and could not avoid being present at this Philistine's side.  David is caught between a rock and a hard place.  There's Saul with his army over by Jezreel, here is David over by Aphek with Israel's hated enemy.  What will Saul think?  Will this cost David the kingship since all of the people will see him fighting on the side of their enemy? 

    But all of the lords of the Philistines knew who David was.  They had not forgotten how many of them he had slain in times past.  They did not want him anywhere near the battlefield, they mistrusted him.  They were plain skeptical of his not desiring the worst for them.  Smart guys.

     3: Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here?  And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which has been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day?

     4: And the princes of the Philstines were angry with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which you have appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us:  for how would he reconcile himself with his master?  should it not be with the heads of these men (29:3-4)? 

    Achish might not be the smartest man but the other princes suspect that David might utilize this opportunity to reconcile himself with Saul.  As far as Achish knew David had been loyal to him, he just was not aware of what David had done when supposedly he had been out building roads.  David had not attempted to undermine Achish. 

    The Philistine lords had a fair amount of logic backing up their decision to send David away from this battle.  Of course, these men did not know David, and did not know the basis for the chasm that existed between Saul and David. 

    Next time I shall continue this passage and find out where David ends up going and what the outcome of this battle with Israel would be.  I pray that the matchless Spirit of truth guide our thoughts in study, illuminate our minds in meditation, and possess our souls for action so completely and exclusively that His work shall be entirely expressed in our lives. 

    ~Eric



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    Sat, Feb 12th - 7:37PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    26: For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins (10:26).  

    We need to remain aware of the fearful thing that it is to fall into the hands of the Living God!  How serious a matter is this?  Consider what Peter wrote in II Peter 2:21.  These Hebrews were being written to for many of them were continuing to go to the Temple and actually offering sacrifices.  They were pretending that they were still under the Mosaic Law.  But they were making it clear that the sacrifice of Christ was meaningless to them, they did not clearly understand its significance.  They did not comprehend that animal sacrifice prefigured Christ's sacrifice and now that Christ had died on the cross, all of that had been fulfilled.  Therefore, what had been done in obedience to God's command, now has become willful sin.  These Hebrews are being told that they can't look to the Temple any longer, they must now look to Christ Jesus.  Reject the truth of Christ's death for sin and there is no other way to come to God, you will be utterly lost.  The Word of God is very clear on this, reject the truth and only judgment remains for you.

    The message for us today is that once we have received the truth we can't continue to willfully rebel against God.  Our attitude toward the Word of God must be one of belief and application to our lives.

    27: But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
    28: He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses (10:27-28).  

    If the death of Christ was not adequate, then nothing is adequate.  God is not going to suddenly do something else to redeem us.  Christ is not coming to die once again for us.  We see here a reminder of how judgment was handed out under the Mosaic Law.  Two or three witnesses to a commandment being broken sealed the deal for a death sentence.  Now we must notice the comparison that is now made:

    29: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace (10:29)?  

    To act as if the death of Christ was inadequate to settle the sin question, to go as if He never died, is to treat the blood of Christ as something despicable.  Knowledge creates responsibility.  If, upon hearing the gospel message, you choose to turn your back on Christ Jesus, then you are going to hell.  I am not saying it, God has said it long before me.  

    30: For we know Him that has said, Vengeance belongs unto Me, I will recompense, says the Lord.  And again, the Lord shall judge His people (10:30).  

    God is going to judge us all.  He is the sovereign ruler of this universe, not man.  God has a sovereign right to judge, which He most certainly has not surrendered (I Peter 4:17-18).  We are not to take revenge into our own hands.  Doing so is stealing something from God.  Plus, when we try to exact vengeance we usually allow our emotions to screw it up

    That is all for now, beloved.  All that I can say to you is this:  please do not turn your back upon God once you have heard, or read, the gospel message.  Doing so allows you only one option: damnation.  That is a scary thought, without a doubt.   Grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric


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    Fri, Feb 11th - 12:45PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "A man who has not learned to say, "No" --- who is not resolved that he will take God's way, in spite of every dog that can bay or bark at him, in spite of every silvery voice that woos him aside --- will be a weak and a wretched man till he dies."

                                             ~Alexander MacLaren 

    16: Then said Samuel, Wherefore then do you ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from you, and is become your enemy?

    17: And the LORD has done to him, as He spoke by me:  for the LORD has rent the kingdom out of your hand, and given it to your neighbor, even to David:

    18: Because you didn't obey the voice of the LORD, nor executed His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore has the LORD done this thing unto you this day.

    19: Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the land of the Philistines:  and tomorrow shall you and your sons be with me:  the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines (28:16-19). 

    So what do you think?  Is this really Samuel's spirit speaking to king Saul?   Is God allowing Samuel to speak one last time to the king of Israel?  This is all information which Samuel, while still alive, had told Saul.  Nothing knew here.  Saul was looking for comfort and received anything but comfort.  His excursion into the spirit world had gained him nothing.  The dead do not have superior knowledge of what is happening in this world, only what they knew when they died. 

    It remains obvious from this account of the witch of En-dor that God was not in it.  God would not call up Samuel for Saul had made it quite clear that God was not speaking to him in any form.  Was Satan able to call up Samuel?  Now that is a good question!

    In Scripture only Christ Jesus ever communicated with the dead.  He alone could speak with the dead.  As far as Saul is concerned, heaven has become silent and he must turn instead to hell.  Was the witch a complete fraud?  Apparantly not, for she appeared to be genuinely frightened.  The supernatural can't be ruled out here. 

    As I have already stated elsewhere, Houdini said he could duplicate 95% of the alleged supernatural things that spiritualism claimed it could and did do.  Even if we grant that 99% of it is fraudulent, what about the remaining 1%?  I am thinking that what happened to Saul and the witch at En-dor was supernatural, but that Satan had his fingers in it.  Of course, it could simply be that Saul was so desperate to speak with Samuel's spirit that he deceived himself into believing that he saw him and spoke with him.  But I think not.  Kipling wrote a poem that sheds a little light upon this:

    The road to En-dor is easy to tread

    For Mother or yearning Wife

    There, it is sure, we shall meet our Dead

    As they were even in life

    Earth has not dreamed of the blessing in store

    For desolate hearts on the road to En-dor.

    Whispers shall comfort us out of the dark---

    Hands---ah, God!---that we knew!

    Visions and voices---look and hark!---

    Shall prove that our tale is true,

    And that those who have passed to the further shore

    May be hailed---at a price---on the road to En-dor...

    Oh, the road to En-dor is the oldest road

    And the craziest road of all!

    Straight it runs to the Witch's abode,

    As it did in the days of Saul,

    And nothing is changed of the sorrow in store

    For such as go down the road to En-dor!          ~Rudyard Kipling

    That is all for today in this study.  Samuel's spirit did not speak to Saul on God's behalf, just read I Chronicles 10:13.  Why would anyone want to fool around with the spirit of a dead person to begin with?  How would one know how to control the situation?  If one were able to touch the spirit world, it would be hell and not heaven that you were in touch with.  Why not listen therefore to the Man who went down through the doorway of death and came back?  Jesus is the only one who made a roundtrip to hell and back.  He now holds the keys of death and the grave, only He can grant anyone newness of life.  You desire information?  Go to Christ and ask Him who went down to the depths of hell in death upon that cross for you and for me, and He rose in mighty power which is made available to us today.

    Go in grace and peace of Christ Jesus, seek and you shall find, ask and it shall be given, knock and it shall be opened up to you.

    ~Eric



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    Fri, Feb 11th - 6:38AM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:  and so much the more, as you see the day approaching (10:25).  

    In exciting one another into doing good works and in loving each other we are not to forget, or stop doing, assembling together to worship God.  During this worship of Christ we are to exhort each other.  For anyone unfamiliar with the term exhort, it means to incite through argument; to urge strongly; to give warning or advice; to make urgent appeals.  Thus we come to understand that when ever we gather in groups to worship or study God's Word we ought to be urging each other strongly to do what God tells us to do.  Should we not be urging each other today to help those who are in need?  To be there for anyone crying out in pain and anguish because their marriage, and family, are being ripped apart?  Ought we to stand passively on the sidelines as our youth cry out for someone to recognize them as individuals of worth?  Instead of cutting each other down, we need to band together in love around Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  

    We need to study the Word of God together because God has some things which He will only give out to a group rather than to just one person.  God will not allow me to grow in the knowledge of His Word unless I am willing to share it with others.  I cannot be a hoarder.  If your congregation has a small prayer group that meets, then attend.  If they have a small bible study group, then attend because there is a blessing waiting for you there that can't be gained anywhere else in this world.  

    This epistle thus far has presented to us the three "let us" verses:

    *  Draw near in faith (toward God)
    *  Draw near in hope (for ourselves)
    *  Draw near in love (for others)

    "As you see the day approaching" initially meant to these Jewish people who were being addressed as the day that their Temple would be utterly destroyed in 70 A.D.  The apostles and the other disciples frequently went to the Temple to exhort people.  The Temple was like the center of the Jewish universe, when it was destroyed it sent shockwaves throughout their entire culture.  But this phrase also points our attention today on the Day of the Lord, that day when Christ returns bodily to earth to begin His reign upon earth as it is in heaven.  And so Christians began meeting in private homes everywhere to exhort one another in Christ, urging each other onward in living clean lives in the service of God.

    That is all for this morning, beloved.  Next time I will begin a section of passages which raise a danger flag for anyone who chooses to despise Christ.  Until then, may you walk today in grace and peace.

    ~Eric


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    Thu, Feb 10th - 12:59PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not;  unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

                                                                      ~Calvin Coolidge 

     8: And Saul disguised himself, and put on other clothing, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night:  and he said, I pray you, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring him up for me, whom I shall give you his name.

     9: And the woman said to him, Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land:  why then lay a snare for my life, you want me to die?

    10: And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD lives, there shall be no punishment happening to you for doing this thing.

    11: Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up for you?  And he said, Bring up Samuel for me.

    12: And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice:  and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, Why have you deceived me?  for you are Saul.

    13: And the king said to her, be not afraid:  for what did you see?  And the woman said to Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth (28:8-13). 

    Those who claim to speak to the dead would point out that this verse affirms their abilities.  Does it though?  It is fairly typical of seances.  The medium calls out to the spirit world for someone specific, there are noises, and then the medium announces that the spirit is now with them.  No one else sees this ghost, only the one who "speaks " to the dead. 

    What does the witch tell Saul she first saw?  She says she saw "gods rising from out of the earth."  That could be almost anything, couldn't it?  It could very well be demons rising from out of the ground for we know that the spirits of people did not do this, and only do this at the commands of God Himself.  We have no command of God spoken in this passage and so we can't jump to any conclusions that this is of God. 

    14: And he said to her, What form is he in?  And she said, An old man comes up; and he is covered with a mantle.  And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he bent down with his face to the ground, and bowed himself (28:14). 

    Saul never saw Samuel in this seance, did he?  The witch gave out a very generalized description of a man, for she new the king sought to speak with Samuel.  Odds are quite good that this witch even knew who Samuel had been, and everything about the situation between Saul, Samuel, and David.  She answers Saul's questions with generalizations, waits for his answer, and is then able to proceed.  Just like today's mindreaders.  Now, watch what happens next.

    15: And SAmuel said to Saul, Why have you disquieted me, to bring me up?  And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets, nor by dreams:  therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I shall do(28:15). 

    Saul openly admits that God has departed from him.  How does he figure that Samuel will divulge what God wants Saul to do?  It is illogical thinking.  Saul has utterly turned his back upon God and has now left himself completely open to Satan, and Satan moves right on in.  Saul can't see anybody, but he can hear a voice that sounds like Samuel.  Saul assumes that it must then be Samuel.  We all know what assuming makes out us, don't we?  Enough said.  Satan has a demon impersonate Samuel and tell Saul everything which Saul already knew.  Extreme fear has driven the king to desperate measures, willing to believe anything, just so long as someone tells him what to do.  Sound familiar? 

    That is all for today, beloved.  Next time I shall cover the next passage of this strange encounter between the king of Israel and the witch of En-dor.  May you experience the grace and peace of Christ Jesus today.  May you determine in your heart to strive for the narrow path in life, the road less traveled.  Do not rest on your physical talents, work at honing them, perfecting them, making them serve you the best that they are able. 

    ~Eric



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    Wed, Feb 9th - 1:02PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "He serves his party best who serves the country best."

                                                       ~Rutherford B. Hayes

     1: And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gatherred their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel.  And Achish said to David, Know assuredly, that you shall go out with me to battle, you and your men.

     2: And David said to Achish, Surely you shall know what your servant can do.  And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make you keeper of my head for ever.

     3: Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city.  And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.

     4: And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem:   and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa (28:1-4). 

    King Achish has foolishly thought that David is his bonafide servant, totally committed to serving only him.  He has remained ignorant of David's actual activities since David eliminated any witnesses from going to the Philistine king and reporting David's activities.  Achish has allowed a snake to remain in his midst, thinking that it was no longer dangerous to him. 

    Saul had been used to turning to Samuel to ask of God what he ought to do in these sorts of situations.  But Samuel had been dead for awhile.  What was Saul to do?  Saul chooses to seek out a witch so that he may hopefully gain an advantage over the Philstine army. 

     5: And when Saul saw the host of the Philstines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled.

     6: And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

     7: Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her.  And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that has a familiar spirit at En-dor (28:5-7). 

    Saul's going to the witch of En-dor sparks questions.  Why wouldn't God answer Saul?  Did the witch bring Samuel back from the grave?  Why was Saul afraid to begin with?  Who/what is the Urim?

    Some scholars say that the witch was a fraud and used ventriloquism.  Some others feel that having an overwhelming desire to communicate with dead loved ones makes the grieving person a victim of deceit.  Another group believe that the witch actually brought Samuel back from the dead, even though the rest of Scripture does not agree with that position.

    At any rate, Saul had turned his back upon God and so God was not speaking to him at all.  So Saul turns to Satan in fear of the amassed Philstines.  The witch may have been given some powers by Satan in order to convince Saul that Samuel was actually speaking, in other words it was a hoax.  She probably was one who dealt in spiritism.  We live today in which people seek out thrills in religion.  Mediums claim to speak with the spirits of the dead.  Nothing new here, it simply ancent necromancy with a nice new modern term applied to it.  Fresh coat of paint and a new sign but it is the same old belief. 

    We must remain cognizant of what the Bible teaches about these sorts of things.  In Deuteronomy 18:9-14 necromancy, talking with the dead, is condemned by God.  Enchanters, witches, diviners, astrologers, or wizards were not to be allowed to live and do business amongst the Israelites.  It is why Saul had kicked them all out of Israel earlier.  In our society today we know that there is great stock given to astrologers and diviners and mediums.  All of these practices are abominations in the eyes of God.  They bring down His wrath.  Yet millions and millions of dollars each year end up in the pockets of those who claim to divine the future, to speak to the dead, to be able to predict future events for individuals. 

    God has judged nations in the past because of this kind of stuff being condoned.  Can we honestly believe that God will not judge any nation today for endorsing this sort of activity today?  The Israelites were turned out of their own land, forced to wander the ends of this earth, simply because they they turned from God and chased after these heathen practices instead.  We have been duly warned.

    Looking at the account of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31) we find that the rich man was forbidden from returning to the world of the living.  He could not go.  The apostle Paul was caught up to heaven and silenced, he could not tell what he had seen (II Corinthians 12:2-4).  Then looking at II Thessalonians 2:9 we notice that Paul says to us that the Holy Spirit says that in the days after the coming of Christ the first time there would be those people who would leave off believing and instead listen to "seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (I Timothy 4:1)."  I believe that if any spirit is speaking during these seances it is a demon whose only intent is to mislead and confuse the human hearer.  Today we see an ever increasing reliance by people upon fortunetellers and astrologists to map out their lives.  Have any of the predictions about what would happen during last year come true?  If they had come true wouldn't they be trumpted all across the media?  These sorts of practices will only become even more prevalent, not less, in the coming years.  Harry Houdini dedicated himself to debunking spiritists, and was very good at it.  He desired to find just one genuine person who could actually speak to those who were dead for he wished to speak to his beloved wife.  He never found such a person. 

    Next time I will cover Saul's encounter with this witch of En-dor.  Did God really work through this witch to speak to Saul?  Does that make sense at all?  Come on back and find out what happened.  Grace and peace be with you today!

    6:45PM

    Here is some research on what the Urim was, found in Smith's Bible Dictionary.

    Urim and Thummim (light and perfection ). "When the Jewish exiles were met on their return from Babylon by a question which they had no data for answering, they agreed to postpone the settlement of the difficulty till there should rise up "a priest with Urim and Thummim." (Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65) The inquiry what those Urim and Thummim themselves were seems likely to wait as long for a final and satisfying answer. On every side we meet with confessions of ignorance. Urim means "light," and Thummim "perfection." Scriptural statements. --The mysterious words meet us for the first time, as if they needed no explanation, in the description of the high Priest’s apparel. Over the ephod there is to be a "breastplate of judgment" of gold, scarlet, purple and fine linen, folded square and doubled, a "span" in length and width. In it are to be set four rows of precious stones, each stone with the name of a tribe of Israel engraved on it, that Aaron "may bear them on his heart." Then comes a further order. In side the breastplate, as the tables of the covenant were placed inside the ark, (Exodus 25:16; 28:30) are to be placed "the Urim and the Thummim," the light and the perfection; and they too are to be on Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the Lord. (Exodus 28:15-30) Not a word describes them. They are mentioned as things-already familiar both to Moses and the people, connected naturally with the functions of the high priest as mediating between Jehovah and his people. The command is fulfilled. (Leviticus 8:8) They pass from Aaron to Eleazar with the sacred ephod and other pontificalia . (Numbers 20:28) When Joshua is solemnly appointed to succeed the great hero-law-giver he is bidden to stand before Eleazar, the priest, "who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim," and this counsel is to determine the movements of the host of Israel. (Numbers 27:21) In the blessings of Moses they appear as the crowning glory of the tribe of Levi: "thy Thummim and thy Urim are with thy Holy One." ( 33:8,9) In what way the Urim and Thummim were consulted is quite uncertain. Josephus and the rabbins supposed that the stones gave out the oracular answer by preternatural illumination; but it seems to be far simpler and more in agreement with the different accounts of inquiries made by Urim and Thummim, (1 Samuel 14:3,18,19; 23:2,4,9,11,12; 28:6; Judges 20:28; 2 Samuel 5:23) etc., to suppose that the answer was given simply by the word of the Lord to the high priest comp. (John 11:51) when, clothed with the ephod and the breastplate, he had inquired of the Lord. Such a view agrees with the true notion of the breastplate."

    It would appear that these two things represent Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Christ is perfection since He is God, and He is the Light of the world.  The urim can also mean "revelation" and that too speaks of Christ for He is the revelation of God to mankind. 

    On another level, I would hazard a guess that during the time of the Levite priesthood only the high priest was able to receive spoken messages from the Holy Spirit through these Urim and Thummim since they were worn inside of the breastplate.  It is something which we will have to wait to get an answer to, wait until we reach heaven.

    ~Eric



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    Tue, Feb 8th - 8:12PM

    NLC



    SATAN/TAKING ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

    Satan is our real enemy. Some people deny his existence or ignore his ability to harm the saints of God, but the Bible clearly warns us not to let Satan outsmart us. We must not be unaware of his schemes or strategies (II Corinthians 2:11).

    "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world (I Peter 5:8-9)."

    Satan, our ancient enemy, always is seeking to damn our souls and destroy our lives. We must remain aware of his objectives and tactics. Study the life of the male lion and you become aware of why Satan is likened to that animal. The male lion maintains his territory against all other male lions who are mature enough to sire cubs. His roar can be heard for miles, its intent to warn away any intruders, sending the message that the master is alive and about.

    In Ezekiel 28:17 we find "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor." Doesn't this warn us not to become all caught up in our physical appearance and/or attributes? Pride in how attractive we are leads to sin and is a serious character flaw. This can also be found over in Isaiah 14:12-15. These verses inform us of Satan's character flaw as well. He was ensnared by vanity and pride in his appearance. It is one means which he utilizes to trap people today: vanity and extreme concern of aging and therefore losing one's physical attractiveness.

    II Corinthians 4:3-4 shows us that "...the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel..."According to this text one of Satan's titles is "god of this world." He has blinded the minds of those who have chosen to not believe in God or Christ. Satan has chosen to blind them so that they might not see the truth of the gospel message. For this reason we ought not to become impatient with them and angry at their reactions.

    No matter how much time may pass, no matter the generation, no matter the race, nationality, or ethnicity of the people involved, the same opponent stands against us year in and year out; Satan, the devil, god of this world. Satan still seeks to destroy each generation (I Peter 2:11; 5:8). My children and my grandchildren all have the exact same adversary as do my wife and myself. As does my brother and my mother.

    The adversary is the same, but his weapons are many and varied. Satan has used the world (the outer enemy) and the flesh (the inner foe) to attack Christians through music, movies, television, books, magazines, and various godless philosophies. But today there is the iPod, iPad, Smartphone, computers, satellite television, and of course, the Internet. All of these have vastly increased access to pornography, temptation, and sin. Satan has ramped up the pace of society in each generation, causing us ever increasing amounts of stress and stealing away our perception of having time. He desires to force us into moving increasingly quicker in order that we will not stop to take time to think about what we are doing and what is going on around us. He simply wants us to react to things as they happen to us and around us. We just can not allow ourselves to be manipulated in such fashion.

    Satan is continually seeking out ever more devastating means to destroy us. This is not a game, it is a battlefield, a spiritual battlefield that is littered with the broken lives of our children. Men, it high time to take up the mantle of prayer and spiritual leadership. We must lead these young people, whom God has given into our care, against our ancient adversary and though the wicked wilderness of this world's philosophical system! Sir, I call to you right here and now. Begin defending your children against the predation of this world, of this society, of this culture. In school they are being systematically trained to not respect the dignity of people. They are trained to devalue life, to not desire to work hard for knowledge sake. They are not taught how to learn how to learn. That's right, this current system is not designed to train children how to learn. You must do that for your kids. They must know how to learn new things once they leave school.

    Next time I will write about what sort of powers Satan has to use against us in this continual warfare. Hope you come back to learn more! Grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric


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    Tue, Feb 8th - 12:55PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



       7: And the time that David dwelled in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.
       8: And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as you went to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt.
       9: And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish.
       10: And Achish said, Where have you made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.
       11: And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwells in the country of the Philistines.
       12: And Achish believed David, saying, He has made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant for ever(27:7-12). 

    David lived among the Philistines almost a year and a half.  David continued to take the land given to the Israelites by God.  All the while he told King Achish that he was building roads.  Quite the subterfuge, for David and his men were accumulating wealth but even more importantly they were taking more of the land promised to Israel by God.  Even while in exhile David continued to obey God and possess the land promised to them.  People will say that he was ruthless and evil in that he murdered so many innocent people.  Were they so innocent?  In the eyes of a holy, pure, God they were idolaters who refused to worship Jehovah, even when they had evidence of God's existence.  Word spread abroad and ahead of the Exodus out of Egypt.  Such a large group of people leaving a powerful nation caught many peoples' attention.  How God was working among the Hebrews became common knowledge and was known before the Hebrews had reached the land of Canaan.  Years later now God had very mercy upon stubborn people who refused to believe.  God thus used David and his men to continue possessing the Promised Land.  Achish was mislead into believing that David was his servant, out building roads to various nations.  David was being industrious while in exhile, he was gaining lands and goods which would come with him upon his ascension to the throne of Israel.

    Am I teaching that we as Christians are to be attacking, murdering, and taking other peoples' possessions?  No.  There is absolutely no need to do such things today for we are living out our lives through Jesus Christ who taught that there was no need to do such things anymore.  God had a specific purpose being met when the Israelites went to war against all of those different tribes and nations in the land of Canaan.  Now God has a much different purpose for those who believe in Christ.  We are to be peacemakers.  We are to be reconcilers.  We are to spread the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ to any and all who are willing to listen.  If they refuse to listen, mock us, spit at us, call us profane things, then we are to shake the dust off of our shoes, turn our backs upon them, and walk on to the next person/s.  We are not expected to remain forever engaged with those people who hate God and hate Christ.  We are expected to clearly and lovingly present Christ to everyone and allow them to freely choose whether to believe or not to believe.  No coercion is required, nor is it to be allowed.  No religious laws are to be enacted in any government which requires mandatory observance of days, rituals, or belief.

    That is all for today, beloved.  Next time I shall begin chapter 28 of I Samuel.  Hope you return to learn more!

    ~Eric




    Comment (0)

    Mon, Feb 7th - 7:48PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    21: And having an high priest over the house of God (10:21).  

    Jesus Christ, the righteous Son of God, is our advocate before the Father in heaven.  Jesus lives to make intercession for each of us.  

    Just to go back one verse temporarily, "through the veil" refers to that time when the Holy Spirit of Christ left His body as He hung upon that wooden cross.  At that moment in time the veil in the Temple was torn in two.  It opened up the way for mankind to approach God directly, without needing a human priest to intercede and offer up a sacrifice.  Now we are invited to come, enter into the Holy of Holies, and gain grace.  Verse 21 tells us again that we have a High Priest that presides over the entire house of God.  No mortal man makes intercession for us, it is God Himself who advocates on our behalf.  

    22: Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (10:22).  

    We find here reference back to the dedication of priests in the old Levite priesthood.  Moses sprinkled them with the water of dedication.  They had to be washed, indicating that they had been set aside for the service of God.  In similar manner, believers in Christ become dedicated to God and are enabled to draw near with a true heart.

    "Full assurance of faith" is speaking about the object of our faith and not the amount of our faith.  The object of our faith ought to be Jesus Christ.  Too many people today put their faith in other people, in science, in logic, in money, possessions, in a denomination, in a building, or in their feelings.  Faith is not simply believing in God, Satan knows God exists and he is not saved.  Believing in God simply means that you are not an atheist.  Real faith means to really have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.  John 1:11-12 tells us that as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, just by believing in His name.  Faith then is action based upon knowledge.  God does not ask us to jump out into the darkness totally uninformed of what is out there.  God has given us knowledge (Romans 10:17).  God has carefully laid down a firm foundation for us (I Corinthians 3:11).  We need to move and stand firmly upon that foundation, we need to trust Christ personally.

    The last part of this verse 22 means that we are members of a new royal priesthood.  Each believer is a priest, and as such, we can come to God's throne with boldness of speech.  It is not mandatory that we ask the preacher to pray for us, or the deacons, or the elders.  They most certainly ought to, but any believer may go before God's throne of grace and request of God what is needed in their lives.  Access to God is open to each and every believer, no separate priest is needed.  You have just as much right in God's presence as I or anyone else.  It is so due to the "new and living way" which Christ created for us and it is only that basis that we may come to God; it is the "narrow way."

    23: Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) (10:23).  

    This verse addresses the question of hope.  We are to draw near unto God and hold fast our confession of faith in Christ.  Why do this"  Because we have a high hope and this hope is for the future.  We shall not lose our confession of faith, God's Holy Spirit seals our salvation and Christ becomes our "earnest" for entering into heaven upon physical death in this life.  

    24: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works (10:24).  

    We are to provoke one another to love and to do good works, not provocation to anger, sadness, regret, and separation.  "Provoke" comes from the Greek word paroxusmos, meaning "with a view to excitement."  We are to excite one another in love and in service to God.  We are not to annoy one another, we may trouble one another in order to obtain loving service to God through good works.  

    That is all for today, beloved.  Grace and peace be with you today.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Fri, Feb 4th - 7:41PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



      18: Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
      19: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. 
      20: By a new and living way, which He has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh (10:18-20).  

    The sacrificial system in essence began with Abel and then ended with the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.  “Boldness” here has nothing to do with arrogance.  It has to do with speech and actions.  Notice how we are able to enter into the holiest?  Through Christ’s blood.  Also, we find here an explanation of the correlation between Jesus and the veil inside of the Temple.  When Christ was torn by bearing the sins of the world the veil within the Temple became torn into two parts.  It signified that the way to God had become opened, it no longer was restricted to a human high priest once per year.  

    “Flesh” here comes from the same word that we find in the beginning of John’s gospel where he said that “the Word became flesh.”  John did not say that it was a new and living way open to God, for the Incarnation, the life of Christ saves no one.  We can only enter into the presence of God through the blood of Christ.  Our right of entrance is not through the life of Christ but through the rending/tearing of the veil; the death and shedding of His blood.  We now have the privilege of worshiping God because of Christ’s death for us upon that wooden cross.

    “By a new and living way” actually refers to a “newly slain” way in the Greek.  It tells us of the fact that Christ has opened up for us a new and living way to God through His crucifixion.  It informs all mankind that the old sacrifices won’t do us any good anymore.  

    That is all for today, beloved.  Next time I shall cover the next four or five verses.  Give all praise, glory, and honor to God!

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Fri, Feb 4th - 7:38PM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



       1: And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul:  there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel:  so I shall escape out of his hand (27:1).  

    Oh my, what a departure from the high plains of faith that characterizes David.  The continual pressure of evading king Saul caused this man of God to become tempted into despair and despondency.  It can happen beloved, especially if we fail to remain alert to its possibility.  We can find that it happened to Abraham, and to Isaac, also to Jacob.  If we do a study of the men of God in the Bible we would find that most of God’s men have had a similar low period in their lives.  Why should we think that we would not have to be aware of similar threats in our own lives today?

    Perhaps right this very moment you are faced with seemingly insurmountable problems.  Maybe you have been walking in a dark valley for a very long time, wondering if you will ever find your way out at the other end of it.  There is seemingly no solution to you problems.  If it is any comfort to you, there have very many others who have been in the same valley and have found their way out to the other side---it is a well worn path.  David walked this path long, long before you or I did.  It looks as though he will spend the rest of his life on the run, separated from his entire family, and only has the specter of being slain by Saul facing him in the future.

     2: And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath.
     3: And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife.
     4: And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath:  and he sought no more again for him.
     5: And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in your eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there:  for why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?
     6: Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day:  wherefore Ziklag pertains unto the kings of Judah unto this day (27:2-6).  

    David has departed from the Promised Land, Israel.  He has gone to live amongst the people who are his mortal enemies, in the land where Goliath’s kin lived.  Either David is cunningly clever, this is the only way to escape Saul’s wrath, or else he has given up hope of ever achieving a permanent peace with Saul.  We shall have to wait to find out next time why David chose to remain amongst the Philistines.

    May you have the peace and love of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior within your heart and life this day!  Pray for peace in Egypt, and in all of the other nations where there is strife and disorder in the streets.  Pray that the leaders of those nations would wisely choose to reform their governments in order to provide their people the necessary safety, employment, and financial recompense in order to raise their families.  

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Thu, Feb 3rd - 8:08PM

    NLC



    Let's look at a couple more verses concerning prayer:

    "After this manner therefore pray. Our Father who are in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 
    Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.  Give us this day our daily bread.   And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:9-13)."  

    What does it mean "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven?"  It means God's mighty will which rules heaven is to rule the earth in same fashion.  In heaven whatever God wills becomes reality, without exception.  We are to pray that His sovereign will would exert such authority here on earth, over everyone and everything.  

    This handful of verses teaches us how to pray and what to pray for.  We are told that as we forgive others so we too shall be forgiven by God.  After this manner therefore we are to pray.  It is not that we are to be restricted to only praying in this fashion, Christ knew the extent to which 
    the Jewish leaders had corrupted the daily prayers and wished to change and purify the practice back 
    to what it had originally been meant to be.  We are therefore not to become locked into a single "form" 
    or ritual.  

    Christ taught here that we are to pray for the kingdom to come, which it did when His Spirit was poured
    out.  This being the "Lord's Prayer" we are to use it as a letter sent directly to God.  It reminds us to 
    whom we are praying, where He resides, what He will do, and that His name is Holy.  It also instructs 
    us as to what time frame we are praying about:  today.  

    Why should we be praying for our daily bread?  Our natural form requires sustenance and we ought to 
    pray for food and water to maintain our bodies.  Our spiritual form requires feeding of God's Word in 
    order to grow and mature, thus we ought to request from God that He feed us through His written Word.
    We ask for our bread, not that of others thereby stealing from them.  We are reminded that we are to 
    eat soberly, chastely.  We must remember that Christ referred to Himself as the "Bread of Life" and that 
    we are to partake of Him and His teachings in order to grow.  Thus we must ask daily for God to feed us 
    Christ's teachings so that we may live in His will, ask in His will, and grow in His will.

    We also must realize that we ask God to give us our daily bread, not to lend it to us nor to sell it to us.
    "Us" implies that we are to ask it for those who are common to us:  our families and loved ones.  We also 
    find request that we be not lead into temptation but delivered from evil.  Each day we ought to ask God to 
    enable us to discern evil when it comes near to us and our families.  We are to daily ask God to keep us from
    temptation, from giving in to it.  

    "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 
     so that you may approve the things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and void of offence unto the 
    day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, 
    unto the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11)."  Here we find some items of which we ought to pray
    for others.  We ought to ask God to help others' love grow in abundance more and more through
    gaining knowledge and discernment.  Why?  So that we may become able to recognize those things
    which are excellent, and that we may be sincere and free of offending others up to the day of Christ's return.
    In our prayers we are to ask others to be filled with the fruits of righteousness:  our works are to be to the 
    glory of God and not to ourselves.  These fruits of righteousness arise from out of the fruits of the Spirit.  
    These are to be found in the following passages:  Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9; James 3:18; Hebrews 12:11; 
    Romans 6:22.  We are to ask that these be given freely to others as well as to ourselves for it is inappropriate
    for us to seek to hoard them for ourselves and our families alone.  These are to be made known to all who wish
    to listen.

    That is all for tonight my friends.  Next I shall write about the necessity of knowing our true opponent in all of 
    these matters.  Hope you return to discover more truth!  Grace and peace be with you all.

    ~Eric


    Comment (0)

    Thu, Feb 3rd - 7:00AM

    I SAMUEL STUDY



    "The most useful virtue is patience."

                                        ~John Dewey

    "Patience overcomes everything. The world is his who has patience."

                                        ~Proverb

      18: And he said, Wherefore does my lord pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in my hand? 
      19: Now therefore, I pray you, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it be Jehovah that has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering: but if it be the children of men, cursed be they before Jehovah: for they have driven me out this day that I should not cleave unto the inheritance of Jehovah, saying, Go, serve other gods. 
      20: Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of Jehovah: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one does hunt a partridge in the mountains. 
      21: Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David; for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. 
      22: And David answered and said, Behold the spear, O king! let then one of the young men come over and fetch it. 
      23: And Jehovah will render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; forasmuch as Jehovah delivered you into my hand to-day, and I would not put forth my hand against Jehovah`s anointed. 
      24: And, behold, as your life was much set by this day in my eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of Jehovah, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation. 
      25: Then Saul said to David, Blessed be you, my son David: you shall both do mightily, and shall surely prevail. So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place 26:18-25).  

    Once more we witness David reminding king Saul of David’s small significance, of his being the least among the nation.  His logic is unassailable, the king once more admits that he is the one who has sinned and not David.  Saul asks David to return to the king’s court.  

    There is the return of the taken spear, and much dialogue goes on.  Apparently the king has finally seen the “light?”  Right?  David has already been here and done this once before.  He realizes that this is at best a temporary truce.  And so we could expect David to begin to become depressed, discouraged, and generally not very upbeat in his outlook for having a good life.  We must see ourselves in the person of David.  We suffer through times in our lives when our enemy seemingly never stops pursuing us.  We grow weary but he never seems to tire at all.  It is at these times in our lives when we must recall David and Saul’s circumstances.  As God’s anointed today, every believer can be assured that they walk in the good graces of Jehovah.  The believer can live in the knowledge that they need not seek revenge against his/her enemy, that God reserves the right to avenge His peoples’ wrongs.  We must remember that we are never left alone by God, Christ is with us.  

    That is all for today my friends.  This finishes up chapter 26 and next time I shall begin chapter 27 which is an account of David’s retreat into the land of the Philistines for safety.  Hope you come back to learn some more about this man of God!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Wed, Feb 2nd - 4:37PM

    STUDY IN HEBREWS



    14: For by one offering He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

    15: Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before,

    16: This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

    17: And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more (10:14-17).

    So one offering did what very many offerings could not do. If Christ can’t save you and keep you, then God has no other way to save and keep you.

    Verse sixteen is the quotation from Jeremiah 31. There, God said that He would make a new covenant with Israel. He came therefore to make that new covenant with them, and with all of the rest of mankind.

    Now we have seen in this Book of Hebrews a huge gulf between the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. It is a great division, and yet God gave both Testaments. Back in verse nine of this very chapter it states that God took away the first covenant in order to give the second covenant. When Christ died upon that wooden cross something extremely important took place. His body was torn/rent and so was the veil within the Temple. No longer are men to come to God through the sacrifice of the blood of bulls and goats; now Jesus Christ has forged a way for us through His own body, through His own blood. In 70 A.D. Jesus took away the remainder of the first covenant’s relics through the actions of Titus the Roman. No animal sacrifices have taken place since that time, and none appear likely any time soon.

    In the first covenant there were many rules and regulations. It was all about the law, a law which had very many details. There was the ceremonial law with many details regarding the sacrifices; there were the Ten Commandments and other commandments or rules. These all appealed to human nature since we feel that it is easy to obey rules. It is also why many point to the Sermon on the Mount and claim that as their religion. They mostly do not understand it, but they like it because it has rules, and people can follow rules. The falseness of this comes in the fact that people love to create rules, but have the most difficult time actually adhering to, and following those same rules.

    However, in the new covenant we are under a completely different system. II Corinthians 3:6 addresses this difference, and still people misunderstand what is meant! It does not mean that we are not to pick up the Bible and read it. It means that we are no longer to live under the letter of the Law, for it is to now be written upon our hearts. The letter kills but the spirit gives life to people, the grace of Christ brings life back into peoples’ lives. Paul made it obvious that he was referring to the Ten Commandments engraved upon the stone tablets, these were the “letter.” Those commandments were the ministration of death: they reveal our sin nature and the extent of our personal sin. They can’t bring any life to us at all. It is not their purpose. The Law reveals to us what we lack, the Spirit of God gives us life eternal upon settling the issue of our sin. And finally, we receive assurance that God will no longer remember those forgiven sins of ours. God shall not keep a growing list of our failures in life once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.

    That is all for this study today, beloved. Next time, God willing, I shall move on to a section in which we shall receive some encouragement. Hope you return to learn more about this great salvation of ours!

    ~Eric



    Comment (0)

    Tue, Feb 1st - 1:50PM

    NLC



    "Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all, pray."

                                                                ~R. A. Torrey

    Develop an effective prayer life!

    "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all of the saints, and also for me,  that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:18-19)."  Isn't it significant that God placed this command about prayer in the context of spiritual warfare?  We cannot accomplish that which Christ desires us to do without first getting down and doing some praying.  And this is not the dinnertable brand of prayer either!  Nothing generic about this.  It must be specific, it must be pointed directly at what is to be accomplished through the power of God.  Christ told us that we have nothing because we ask for, nothing!  Do children enjoy asking for help in the classroom?  No, they do not.  It indicates ignorance, or a failure to know how to properly perform some action.  Few people relish the idea of admitting failure or ignorance in this modern world of ours.  But, Christ demands that we admit our lack of knowledge, our lack of wisdom, and our utter lack of power.  In order to gain that which we require, we must ask Christ to supply it to us. 

    We see in these two verses that we are to pray for every single saint of Christ, no matter where upon this fair planet they may be found.  We are to also pray that those individuals called by God to preach His Word may be given boldness and the words to speak.  In the Old Testament God did not simply tell prophets to go and tell some group of sinners in a city that they must repent.  No, He provided the exact words that were to be spoken, and sometimes even how the speaker was to act among the unbelievers.  Christ has informed us of how we are to act amongst the unbelieving population that lives all around us.  He has given us the words which we are to speak to them, we do not need to come up with new ones. 

    "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.  That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:14-16)."  These three verses begin by telling us that whenever possible we ought to be down on our knees while engaging in prayer.  The physical process of kneeling down will aid us in structuring our thinking into being humble and obeisant before the God of all Creation.  In the next five verses Paul points out the things which ought to be prayed for:  that all saints be rooted and anchored in Christ through faith, also be grounded in the love of Christ, that all saints may comprehend the extent of Christ's love, authority, power, and justice.  Paul desires that all saints may know the love of Christ which exceeds the ability of our imaginations to figure out.  He prays for all to come to be filled with all of the fulness of God, not just filled a wee bit, but completely.  And we are to always acknowledge God's innate ability to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can figure out to ask of Him.  And finally, Paul points out for us how we are to always remember to give Christ Jesus all of the glory, honor, and praise that is generated through any of our efforts to serve Him.

    That is all for now, beloved.  Join me tomorrow as I continue along in this exciting study of the New Life in Christ!  Grace and peace be with you all!

    ~Eric



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    About Me

    Name: Eric Rajaniemi
    ChristiansUnite ID: ejroyal
    Member Since: 2007-09-08
    Location: Bedford, Virginia, United States
    Denomination: Born-again, Church of the Brethren
    About Me: I refrain from any denomination as much as possible since my faith has to do with Jesus Christ and not denominations. My wife and I are charter members of Lake Side Church of the Brethren for they desire to follow the New Testament precepts. We hav... more

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