Lions, Twitter and bears… “oh my”

twitterI recently had an interesting Twitter interaction.  When I made a comment on someone’s Twitter feed I knew I was setting myself up for this sort of reply.  I’ve decided that when I interact with someone in a format as this I will speak to them as if they were sitting in front of me.  I’ve not always interacting with people this way, and I say that to my shame.  It seems civil discourse has mostly become uncivil discourse.

The one thing that struck me about the interaction was this man seemed to operate under some sort of rules of engagement.  He didn’t like what I was saying, but he was never nasty about it.  He was critical of my worldview, he blasphemed God, but he wasn’t as ugly as some people I’ve encountered in the social network world.  Now let me first say I’m not pinning a merit badge on this man, because as I just said he’s a blasphemer of God, and will be held accountable for every idle word he speaks, even though he doesn’t believe that (Matthew 12:36).

Let’s start where it all began.

2 Kings 2:23-25 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up from the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead!  Go up, you baldhead!”  So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD, and two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.  Then he went from there to Mount Caramel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

This is an interesting passage, and one that my friend used to show me that God is unrighteous.  It’s a desire that most people have to justify themselves, and say “I won’t worship that God”.  What happens is that mankind sets himself up as his own god so he can make his own rules.  This man has a sense of right and wrong, there’s no doubt about that, but he decides what’s right and what’s wrong.

If we don’t have an ultimate source of truth, we have complete chaos.  Like we see in government, the rules are always changing; the bar is ever shifting to the left or to the right.  We all do this don’t we?  We all have our view of what is right and wrong and when it doesn’t match up with God’s view we will justify our position, adjust it a little bit to suit our own needs.

So what about these bears mauling these “innocent” youths?  What about God destroying all of mankind in a worldwide flood, or God allowing Satan to kill all 10 of Job’s children, what about Ananias and Saphira struck down dead because they lied to God?  Is there unrighteousness with God?  Some certainly believe that is the case.

Humans are so morally corrupt and our thinking is insidious (Jeremiah 17:9) because we have no concept of the righteousness of God.  He is the creator, and He is the maker, and without Him you don’t even have life, but yet in our arrogant pride we shake our fist at Him and curse Him to His name.  I was once told by a man that he would fight with God if he stood before Him in judgment.  How many people think they will fight with God or explain how “good” they’ve been?  I wonder if for a trial run this man would jump into a lion’s cage at the zoo, and fight against the lion first.  That might give him some indication how he will stand against God.

Man suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, (Romans 1:18) and because he does this it opens him up even more to all kinds of justifiable depravity.  He will do anything and everything he can to say why the Bible is flawed and then they want you to chase them down a rat hole trying to explain why it’s not.

They put God on the judgment seat and say “prove to me why I should worship this God!”  God has spoken to Believers through His word, and He sent His Son to live the perfect life we couldn’t live so some would be saved.  He died a brutal death, bore the wrath of God so God’s wrath would be satisfied, this wrath that He is perfectly just in pouring out on anyone at anytime of His choosing.  This is a hard truth to swallow.

Psalm 4:4-6 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You.  The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.  You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

So what do we do with verses like 2 Kings 2:23-25?

We should fall to our faces and fear the One True Living and Holy God.  We should desire to seek out and understand at a much deeper level why God does what He does.  If we don’t understand things do we somehow think that makes God unjust?  Maybe we are the ones to blame, not God?  Maybe it’s our lack of knowledge that causes us to perish (Hosea 4:6).

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

The fool here is not someone that wears a goofy hat and dances around, he’s a fool in his heart because he denies God (Psalm 14:1) and makes himself his own god, and the most loving thing I can tell him is that he needs to repent and turn from his sin and live.

When our fear of a God that can take our life and send our soul to hell (Matthew 10:28) turns to a fear of awe and wonder of who He is, then we can be saved.  If you don’t understand what it means to fear God then I encourage you to examine your life.   See if you are indeed in the faith.

God’s word will slice you open to see the nastiness of yourself before Him.  Like a leper dressed in a beautiful outfit, it doesn’t take long for the puss to ooze through the fine silk, and become stained and vile.  Without Christ this is how you appear to the perfect God who made you.

My friend seems to have some understanding or at least some reading of God’s word, and I hope he’ll begin reading it with a desire to know the truth, not just his truth, but God’s truth.  The gospel is the power to salvation (Romans 1:16) and there is salvation in no other name but Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).  We have an empty tomb and a risen Lord that proves it (1 Corinthians 15:1-19).

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the LORD God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his evil way and live.  Turn, turn from your evil ways!  For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

Trying to defend the bible is as useless as trying to defend a lion – you turn him loose and let him defend himself – Charles Spurgeon


Spread good seed


Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?

Do you ever wonder why so few people respond to the gospel message?  Those of us that take the Great Commission seriously see our efforts go by mostly unheeded.  If we read the Bible we know the answer of course, but yet isn’t it sometimes discouraging?

How many souls have you prayed for?

How many times have you discussed the glories of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ yet they don’t exhibit change?

Some listen politely, others tell you to buzz off and others think they have time to make a decision later (Acts 17:32-34).

If you share the gospel on a consistent basis I want to encourage you today.  The gospel is the power unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and our responsibility is to spread the good seed (Mark 4:26).

Jesus told us few would be saved… (Matthew 22:14)

If the Lord sees fit to bring a soul back from destruction we must rejoice in that and consider it rare, yet let’s not be fooled into thinking it’s an everyday occurrence.

The human heart is wicked and if we embrace this truth we can rely on God’s Word and trust Him for the results of our preaching.  I know this is almost so simple it seems ridiculous, yet how often I’ve prayed for those I love “if only they would hear what I’m saying”.

Can you think back to a day before you believed?

What things occupied your mind?

Can you remember when God opened your eyes to see the beauty of His truth?

A heart that was at enmity with God, which truly hated Him is suddenly melted like a wax figurine thrown into a fire and a new heart emerges.  What a miracle!

Let us continue to spread the good seed and trust God for the results of salvation.


A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 4 – The marks of the unconverted

It is with the greatest humility I write this article today.  I’m overcome by God’s grace as I reflect on the person I was before He did the converting work in my life.  I was a wreck and by all appearances to most seemed to be together.  If you ask anyone that knows me personally I can almost be certain they will say that I’m “nice”.  I know lots of nice people in this world and just like many who are nice, that doesn’t get you to Heaven.  In fact so many are deceived in their “niceness” it’s an opiate that can condemn them to hell.   It matters little what people think of your demeanor, it matters eternally what God’s Word says about your heart.


That is why this chapter is so important.  I was the nicest guy you ever knew that was on a crash course with an eternity of misery, and the church I was attending was holding my hand as they walked me down the wide road that was leading to my destruction.  If you will humbly evaluate your life by the truth of scripture and overlay the words of Joseph Alleine God may show you the “christianity” you think you have may not be the Christianity the Lord Jesus Christ calls us to.

Please join me in this study of “The marks of the unconverted”.  I really appreciate how simply Alleine makes his case.  He is clearly a man that God has blessed to show truth and exposing the hearts of the deceived.

Few will, in words, deny the necessity of the new birth; but they have a self-deluding confidence that the work is not to be done now.  And because they know themselves to be free from that gross hypocrisy which takes up religion merely for a colour to deceive others and for covering wicked designs, they are confident of their sincerity, and do not suspect that more close hypocrisy, in which the greatest danger lies and by which a man deceives his own soul.  But man’s deceitful heart is such a matchless cheat, and self-delusion so reigning and so fatal a disease, that I do not know which is the greater, the difficulty or the necessity of the undeceiving work that I am now upon.  Page 68

This must be premised before we proceed, that it is most certain that men may have a confident persuasion that their hearts and states are good while ye they are unsound.

Who better persuaded of his state than Paul, while he yet remained unconverted? (Rom vii 9).

They that have no better proof than barely a strong persuasion that they are converted, are certainly as yet strangers to conversion.  Page 69

Can you prove your conversion?  Do you know when it happened and your testimony?  Are you certain God did a work in you?  Not your strong persuasions.

Alleine argues there are two types of unconverted, one he says carry the marks on their foreheads and some in their hands, more covertly.  I really like this analogy.  I didn’t have, open in your face, sin leading up to my salvation; I was a sneaky kind of heathen.  I could fool nearly anybody but under that surface of deceit and niceness was anger, bitterness, backbiting and on and on and on…

Those with the marks on their foreheads include what many in the days of this writing were pretty obviously sins.    Alleine is pointing to Ephesians 5:5-6, Revelation 21:8 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Today these aren’t even considered sins that would exclude you from God’s kingdom.

I want to focus my attention on those that sit in churches today and are deceived about their eternal destination.  I think this should be a primary mission field for the 21st Century.  Those, just like me, that are deceived thinking they have it all figured out but lack true conversion.  This chapter is so rich and so heavy with biblical truth I cannot fit it all into this one post, so I will condense them to primarily Alleine’s (12) points and urge you to read this chapter if you read none other in this book.

But I must tell you that there is another sort of unsanctified persons, who carry their mark not in their foreheads but more secretly and covertly.  These frequently deceive themselves and others, and pass for good Christians, when they are all the while unsound at heart.  Many pass undiscovered till death and judgment bring all to light.  These self-deceivers seem to come to heaven’s gate with confidence for their admission, and yet are turned away at last (Mt vii 22).  I beseech you deeply to lay to heart and firmly retain this awakening consideration, that multitudes perish by the hand of some secret sin, that is not only hidden from others, but from want of observing their own hearts, is hidden even from themselves.  A man may be free from open pollutions, and yet die at last by the hand of some unobserved iniquity; and there are these twelve hidden sins, through which should go down by the numbers into the chambers of eternal death.  Page 72

1. Gross willful ignorance (Hos iv 6)

… when they suspect nothing, and do not see the hand that destroys them.  You shall find, whatever excuses you make for ignorance, that it is a soul-ruining evil (Is xxvii 11, 2 Thess I 8; 2 Cor iv 3) Page 73

2. Secret reserves in closing with Christ

They never come to be entirely devoted to Christ, nor to be fully resigned to Him.    Many take Christ thus, and never consider His self-denying terms,nor count the cost; and this error in the foundation mars all, and ruins them forever (Lk xiv 28-33) Page 73

3. Formality in religion

Many rest in the outside of religion and in the external performance of holy duties. Page 73

4. The prevalence of wrong motives in holy duties

Oh how many a poor soul is undone by this, and drops into hell before he discerns his mistake!  He performs his ‘good duties’ and so thinks all is well, but does not perceive that he is actuated by carnal motives all the while. Page 73

5. Trusting in their own righteousness

This is a soul-ruining mischief.  When men trust in their own righteousness they do indeed reject Christ’s

… when a man trusts to these as his righteousness before God, for satisfying His justice, appeasing His wrath, procuring His favour, and obtaining His pardon.  This is to put Christ out of office, and make a Saviour of our own duties and graces.  Page 74 & 75

6. A secret enmity against the strictness of religion

Many moral persons, punctilious in their formal devotions, have yet a bitter enmity against strictness and zeal, and hate the life and power of religion.  They do not like forwardness, nor that men should make such a stir in religion.  They condemn the strictness of religion as singularity, indiscretion, and intemperate zeal, and with them a zealous preacher or fervent Christian is but a wild enthusiast.  These men do not love holiness as holiness (for then they would love the height of holiness), and therefore are undoubtedly rotten at heart, whatever good opinion they have of themselves.  Page 75

7. The resting in a certain degree of religion

When they have so much as will save them, as they suppose, they look no farther, and so show themselves short of true grace, which always sets men aspiring to perfection (Phil iii 13; Prov iv 18).  Page 75

8. The predominant love of the world

Yea, such a power of deceit is there in this sin that many times, when everybody else can see the man’s worldliness and covetousness, he cannot see it himself, but has so many excuses and pretences for his eagerness after the world, that he blinds his own eyes and perishes in self-deceit.   How many professing Christians are there with whom the world has more of their hearts and affections than Christ, ‘who mind earthly thing’, and thereby are evidently after the flesh, and likely to end in destruction (Rom viii 5; Phil iii 19).  Yet ask these men, and they will tell you confidently they prize Christ above all; for they do not see their own earthly-mindedness…  Page 74

… their greatest care and main endeavor are to get and secure the world, which are the certain signs of an unconverted sinner.  Page 74 & 75

9. Reigning malice and envy against those that disrespect them, and are injurious to them

Doubtless, where this evil is kept boiling in the heart, and is not hated, resisted, and mortified, but habitually prevails, that person is in the very gall of bitterness, and in a state of death (Mt xviii 32-35, 1 Jn iii 14-15).  Page 76

10. Unmortified pride

Oh how secretly does this live and reign in many hearts, and they know it not, but are very strangers to themselves (Jn ix 40). Page 76

11. The prevailing love of pleasure

When men give the flesh the liberty that it craves and pamper and please it, and do not deny and restrain it; when their great delight is in gratifying their bellies and pleasing their sense; whatever appearances they may have of religion, all is unsound.  Page 76

12. Carnal security

Or a presumptuous confidence that their condition is already good.  Many cry, ‘Peace and safety’, when sudden destruction is coming upon them. 

Are you at peace?  Show me upon what grounds your peace is maintained.  Is it Scripture peace?  Can you show the distinguishing marks of a sound believer?  Can you evidence that you have something more than any hypocrite in the world ever had?  Page 77


By this time I think I hear my readers crying out, with the disciples, ‘Who then shall be saved?’ 

How few will be the sheep that shall be left, when all these shall be separated and set among the goats

And now, conscience, do your work.  Speak out, and speak home to him that hears or reads these lines.  If you find any of these marks upon him, you must pronounce him utterly unclean.  Do not take a lie into your mouth.  Do not speak peace to him to whom God speaks no peace.  Page 78

Make a mistake here, and you perish.

Go to God to search you and try you, to examine you and prove your reins.  If other helps do not suffice to bring all to an issue, but you are still at a loss, consult some godly and faithful minister or Christian friend.  Do not rest till you have put the business of our eternal welfare out of doubt.  ‘O Searcher of hearts, set this soul searching, and help him in his search.’  Page 79

My dear friends and readers, I couldn’t possibly say this better than Alleine, but I beg you to be honest with yourself.  Repent, fall on the finished work of Christ and be saved if you are under conviction this day.  Do it now while you can.


Heinous Acts

amazing grace

What happens in someone’s mind that causes them to kill?  What happens when someone goes on a rampage that causes them to act out in such an unthinkable way as what we’ve seen in Newtown Connecticut?  Something like this is in-comprehensible to most people.  I write this today, not with any special insights into the mind of a killer.  I write today, simply, as a slave of Jesus Christ.  I’m a man that desires to know Him more and to love me less.  I do not want to join the cacophony of voices commenting on what happened in an attempt to provide any solutions.  Gun control won’t solve the problem.  The government can’t stop it.  That is not the point of this post.

As a Believer I must have compassion, empathy and prayer for those that are suffering.  Today I want to discuss some very simple truths of scripture.  Not all men will act out in the way Adam Lanza did but only by God’s grace is man restrained from being as evil as he could (Romans 13:4).  Do we need more evidence than we already have in front of us?  Do we need to be convinced there is no end in sight?

2 Timothy 3:1-4 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents (does murder qualify as disobedience?), unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

What must we do when these things happen?  What is the Christian response?  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you will undoubtedly have a conversation about this tragedy.  How will you answer the questions?  Where is God?  Why would a “good” God, allow something like this to happen?  How should you respond to the masses that want to blame God?  Are you prepared to answer with mercy and grace but also never compromising the truth?

What is the truth?

Man outside of God’s saving grace is evil

Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

Man does not seek God and therefore seeks himself

Romans 3:10-11 As it is written:  “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.”

By nature man is under God’s wrath

Ephesians 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

God is merciful

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

God requires submission to His will

Isaiah 55:5-6 Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

What do we say in times like this?

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, why not share the news that Christ died to reconcile sinners.  This is the gospel, this is good news, and couldn’t people use some good news today?

If you are not a follower of Christ I hope you will look into your own heart today and seen the wickedness that is there, I plead with you today to do so.  If God has not taken your heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), look to Him today and be saved (Isaiah 45:22).

And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stop, and not madly destroying themselves.  If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let no one go there unwarned and un-prayed for. – Charles Spurgeon