Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BIB 501-2 wk 10 DQ#3 Regarding the letters to the seven churches, why were these seven chosen?

Seven letters dictated by Jesus to John to seven churches. Some churches received a commendation, heard what His concerns are, how to correct those concerns, a promise to the overcomer and an admonition “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the seven churches.” The seven churches represent the church through the ages and provide examples of good and bad attributes.

Ephesus - The Loveless Church - “my darling”

Smyrna - The Persecuted Church - “myrrh,” death

Pergamus - The Compromising Church – “mixed marriage”

Thyatira - The Corrupt Church - consort of Nimrod, the first world dictator.

Sardis - The Dead Church - “remnant” the denominational church

Philadelphia - The Faithful Church – “brotherly love”

Laodicea - The Lukewarm Church - “the rule of the people.”

The church at Ephesus was so busy bringing people into the Kingdom that they didn’t spend enough time in their devotional life.

The church at Smyrna was pretty much told to hang in there through horrific persecution. Nero even used Christians to light his gardens at night and to entertain the citizens by feeding the Christians to the lions. The Christians at Smyrna had nothing negative said about them. He (Nero and his ilk) that is born once dies twice; he (the people of the Smyrna church) that is born twice dies once.

The church at Pergamus compromised with pagan beliefs such as the doctrine of Balaam. Children were sacrificed to idols; the people ate unfit food and committed acts of sexual immorality. Sounds like today with 50 million aborted babies and same sex marriage gaining public approval.

The church at Thyatira is the church of the Dark Ages, the Roman Catholic Church. The Nicolaitians of the Roman Catholic turned legalism into a money pot. Their doctrine denies that Jesus did it all on the cross so the church members must recite masses and earn/buy indulgences to limit their time spent in purgatory. Then there is the pope…the church at Thyatira will likely go through the Tribulation. Will this be the One World Church of the Tribulation? The Jezebel who rides the beast?

The church at Sardis is told they are dead but to be watchful, hold fast and repent. Jesus had nothing good to say about them.

The church at Philadelphia, like the church at Smyrna has no indictments from Jesus and will be Raptured before the Tribulation.

The church at Laodicea is neither hot nor cold and Jesus says, “I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Wow, not what one would want to hear. This church is typical of many today, whatever brings the “Name it and claim it” members of the me generation. Jesus had nothing good to say about them.

More concerning the church at Pergamus.
I was too hard on the church at Pergamus. Although it was the compromising church in a “mixed marriage” with paganism I didn’t find any mention of children sacrificed to idols. The doctrine of Balaam was “to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel,” to cause them to be unfaithful to God so He would then “turn His hand against them.” Unlike Daniel and his friends those at Pergamus ate “things sacrificed unto idols.”

I’ll admit I’m confused by Revelation 2:17, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” 

Does this mean they will go through the Tribulation and the stone is akin to having their names written in the Book?” By the expression “they are eating the hidden manna” does that imply that they’ll escape the worst of the Tribulation by being in Petra? I’m looking for clarification when I enroll in Revelation this summer.

How do changes in the velocity of light impact our world views? 502-1 - 2 - 3

That the velocity of light is decreasing is rather disturbing to me and my long held beliefs concerning the laws of physics. The question takes me back decades to when I was in high school and reading about the Special Theory of Relativity. I was drawn to people with brains and who could be more interesting than the late Dr. Einstein.

I’ve really had to scratch off the decades of inertia from my gray matter to recall my early readings of Dr. Einstein’s simplified explanation of the Special Theory of Relativity. As an example, the equation M/ (1-v2/c2)-2 limits the velocity (v) of say a space ship should we have the technology to create spaceships that could travel at great speeds. The speed could not be greater than the speed of light (c) since as it approached the velocity of light (1-v2/c2)-2 would approach zero and mass would approach infinity. At greater speeds we would have an imaginary number. The relationship of v2 to c2 held in the other equations dealing with time and gravity. I think my memory is correct and if my computer supported the square root symbol this formula would look more readable.
So now that it seems the speed of light is decreasing, will mass tend to zero? Will time be speeded up? My head is spinning! The impact on the world view could be that if at the time of creation the speed of light were unlimited, the universe would appear much older when calculating the distance of stars, etc. using today’s speed of light.
Back in my days of high school when nothing seems impossible I really thought I would someday solve the Unified Field Theory and tie everything into a neat bundle. After high school came marriage and children and then college. A few college level math and physics courses and I knew I was sadly lacking the IQ to do more than dream.
Now I realize that God is the One who has tied everything into a neat bundle. I can use the fact that the speed of light is decreasing in discussing a young earth. God is so awesome!

Added later:

The above was a difficult question to deal with. I heard so many times in my life that the speed of light is about 186,000 miles per second and that light can travel around the circumference of the earth 7 ½ times in a second. It is amazing to think that after our sun, the next closest star, Alpha Centauri, is more than four light years away by today’s speed of light.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around Psalm 104:2, “Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.” Also Isaiah 42:5, “Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it:"

That the speed of light is decreasing helps to explain the great distances in the universe occurring nearly instantaneously, however, sometimes my biggest problem is the space between my ears

Discuss the possibilities (and problems) with the conjectures of a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. 502-1 - 2 - 1

I wasn’t planning on selecting this Discussion Question, however, one of the soapbox posters I enjoy debating posted the thread, “Is Satan more powerful than God?” Timing is everything so the debate is on.

Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. “1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

What makes this interesting is that the original Hebrew reads “And the earth became without form” implying that when Satan fell and took a third of the angels with him, he messed up God’s creation. So “the earth became without form” so the Spirit of God once more had to move upon the face of the waters. Another use of the word “became” that Dr. Missler pointed out is Genesis 19:26, “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”

BTW, the English translation of Greek Septuagint that I have reads “1:1 in the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. 2 But the earth was unsightly and unfurnished, and darkness was over the deep, and the Spirit of God moved over the water.” God would not create a mess so this also suggests that Satan rendered it “unsightly and unfurnished.”

I’m having a problem getting a grasp on the gap theory, pun intended. However, it seems like a very reasonable theory so I’m raising my hand on both an old and new earth. An older earth that Satan and his minions nearly destroyed and an earth God renewed in six 24 hour days. Now about the behemoth of Job 40:15, “Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.” Sure sounds like a Dinosaur to me so a young earth, yes.

As an aside, Satan and his minions were not satisfied with nearly destroying God’s original handiwork, they sired Nephilim which brought on the flood. Even after the flood the fallen ones were still bringing God’s judgment onto the earth.

Look up the reference to "the sons of Issachar". What relevance does this verse have for us today? 501-2-9-5

Who were the sons of Issachar? Reference of them is made in 1 Chronicles as being men who had an understanding of the times and what Israel ought to do.
Who are the sons (and daughters) of Issachar today? As the Blessed Hope draws near we believers need to be informed and discerning as were the children of Issachar, to have an understanding of the times, to watch and support Israel.

Zechariah seemed to be reading from today’s headlines; Zechariah 12:1-3, “The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

It really doesn’t take a lot of discernment to have an understanding of the times as they relate to Israel. So as the world insists on aligning itself against Israel, a cup of trembling and cut in pieces, absolutely.

So who were the actual people of Issachar? As an aside and with thanks to, “Leah's son, Reuben, picked some mandrakes for her one day. Rachel wanted them and Leah exchanged the Mandrakes in order to have the night with their shared husband, Jacob. She conceived and bore a son. They named him, Issachar, which translates as Reward.”

Issachar was the father of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, later referred to in 1 Chronicles 12:31-33 “And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king. And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.” And then again in The Book of Revelation 7:7, “Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.”
So the descendants of Reuben’s son Issachar helped to make David king and will be sealed during the Tribulation. We, the Church, should be working to bring more into the Kingdom, who unlike the sons of Issachar, are not sealed and will go through hell on earth.

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s family is not of the Tribe of Issachar, it would seem they could be. Chronicles 12:32 “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.”

PM Netanyahu’s father passed recently at the age of 102. Ben-Zion Netanyahu was a professor of history and author who insisted on “the need for eternal vigilance in defense of Jewish rights.” I’m actively looking for his book "The-Origins-Inquisition-Fifteenth-Century-Spain."

One son is the PM of Israel, another, Iddo, is an author and a third, Yonatan, was killed leading the raid on Entebbe. A family who understands the times, I would say so.

BIB 501-2 wk 9 DQ#3 Will the church go through the "Great Tribulation"? Justify your view.

First a few definitions as I understand them. There is the lower case church, a building and the upper case Church, the body of believers. I’ve long understood that the Tribulation was seven years in length and started with a seven year covenant between the anti-Christ and Israel guaranteeing peace. Midway into the Tribulation the abomination of desolation will take place initiating the Great Tribulation, also known as “The time of Jacobs Trouble.”
So it is very possible that people who did attend church will go through the "Great Tribulation," however, the Church will not. By the start of Chapter Five in the Book of Revelation the Church, often called “The Body of Christ,” is gone! Call it the Rapture, the Harpazo or the Blessed Hope, we are out of here!
Paul is very clear in his writing:
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-53, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb gives us the assurance that Jesus has been preparing a place for us for nearly two thousand years. John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Some many promises of Jesus coming for His Church, so little time to carry out the Great Commission and bring more into the kingdom!

Who is the author of the Torah? How can we know for sure? 502-1 - 1 - 6

Who is the author of the Torah? How can we know for sure? We know for sure because Jesus said so! And that's god enough for me!

John 5: 45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

The scarlet thread started in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

After the Resurrection Jesus and two believers had the famous “The Walk to Emmaus.” In Luke 24:25-27, we are told “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Later the two asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32.
What a privilege it would be, to have Jesus actual “open the Scriptures” to us in person. Well someday in the near future perhaps we will.

How does your world view affect your everyday life? Can you infer the real world view from one's behavior? 502-1 - 1 - 1

According to Dr. Missler there are two world views:

1. Everything is a result of a cosmic accident
2. We are the result of a deliberate design by a Designer

First let me state unequivocally that my ancestries did not swing through trees. I am as we all are the result of a deliberate design by a Designer. I believe the universe was created by God as described in the Bible. The Bible is history written in advance and has been proven time and again. My God is an awesome God who stands out side of time and to whom I am accountable! My belief in our Creator God doesn't keep me from sinning daily, hourly. It does keep me mindful and repenting of these sins, usually a lack of patience. So I often pray “God grant me greater patience.” I try to remember “What Would Jesus Do?” as a guide, however, I often fail.

As for those who hold to the, “Everything is a result of a cosmic accident” world view, hard to miss. With all the proof that the Word is God breathed, why the resistance to Creation? If the universe was created then there would be a Creator to whom we would all be accountable. If we are all a cosmic accident, life holds less value. I often visit the eBay soapbox chat room where many think that we are an accident and evolution is scientific fact. Should a thread be started about an occurrence of some cruel treatment of an animal people are outraged. Start a pro-life thread and even more outrage from the same people who value our four legged friends but not unborn babies. I questioned once how many unborn babies had to be sacrificed on the altar of abortion before God would lose His patience. Well, God is still being patient but my question was pulled by the eBay chat room moderators. No one cared for my comment that abortion is a personal sin; however, our nation’s approval of abortion makes it a national sin. The same for homosexuality, private sin until our government approves of it as evidenced by the spreading acceptance of same-sex marriage.

I hold to the Creator God world view and have long dreamt of going to Israel. One day I hope to be able to book a trip and then I can walk where our Master walked.

How does prophecy suffer from its enthusiasts? 501-2 - 8 - 6

Some of the so-called modern day prophets should remember what happen to prophets in the Old Testament if they were wrong. As I understand, you didn’t get a second chance to make an incorrect prediction. 

We are approaching the “end of the world” 12/21/2012, you think? Recently there have been several articles online such as, “One in seven thinks the end of the world is coming soon: poll.” The article goes on to say, “Nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime and 10 percent think the Mayan calendar could signify it will happen in 2012, according to a new poll.”

Take a little of the Mayan calendar and fold in those on the fringe such as date setter Harold Camping and his End Of World Prediction, little wonder that people scoff. And quoting Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” or Mark 13:32, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” falls on deaf ears.

Last year I met a woman who is sure she is a prophet and is a follower of one of the local “name it and claim it” televangelist and even attends her seminars. My concern is that close friends are being pulled into this rather new age trap. In Acts 2:17 we are told, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” So with that scripture to “name it and claim it” lots of false teachings and lots of false prophets.

In my opinion we are nearing the start of the Tribulation and the final time of hell on earth, Jacob's trouble. Although we will be out of here time is growing short to advance the Good News. These false prophets confuse and/or amuse people to the detriment of them accepting the gift of salvation.

I was researching the above televangelist and found an interesting website, Forgotten Word Ministries whose goal is "Exposing Falsehoods in Today's Churches."

How can we hasten His Coming? How are you doing these things? 501-2 - 8 - 7.

Much as I long for the blessed hope, I wake up every morning and find myself still here on planet earth. I say “not my will but Thy will be done” and think but please hurry. So daily I long for His appearing. In 2 Timothy 4 Paul writes: 6 for I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” I long for Jesus to come for us and should I get “A crown of righteousness,” just the icing on the cake. In Revelation 22:20 we read, “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

If praying for His appearing will hasten His coming I can be counted on. The example given in our teaching is from Revelation 22:8, “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me.” The angel added, 9 “But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” So….I do.

I seek to win souls as the saved person will have a far better eternity then the unsaved person. Also just that one more soul may be the one that completes the “full number of the Gentiles,” We are told in Romans 11:25, “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in,” I love Israel and long for them to have the scales removed from their eyes.

I’m back at it on the eBay Soapbox chat room and the discussion thread “So let me get this straight, if Evolution is now considered a scientific...” After much back and forth with one member his latest, “So you prefer to ignore my questions. That's fine. Thought your job was to educate me. Are my questions not valid or you doing have an answer for it?” I took a short cut and referred him to an article in May 2012 Personal Update NewsJournal. Much as I seek to being this individual into the Kingdom, he is wearing me down. The up-side is that I have an opportunity to post information that might reach someone with “ears to hear.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

SD502 Wk 4 DQ#3 What are the dangers of a "divided heart"?

I wasn’t sure what a divided heart would be; possibly serving God or serving manna? Elijah said it well in 1 Kings 18:21 “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”

A search of the Bible resulted in Hosea 10:2, “Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.”

On to the Internet and “A Divided Heart,” sermon by Delivered on Sabbath Morning, September 25th, 1859, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

“Do you know a class of people that pull the most tremendously long faces, that always look so serious, that talk the English language with a kind of unctuous twang, that give a savoury pronunciation to every word they utter? Beware of them. When a man wears all his religion in his face, he has generally but a very small stock in his heart.”
This excerpt from Rev. Spurgeon’s sermon reminds me of Matthew 23: 27-28, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”
Rev. Spurgeon’s sermon was rather long so I searched for an audio reading of it. Not only did I find a reading of his sermon, I was able to download it to my computer and MP3 player. There are a number of sermons on this website:

In all my usual searching for what other people think, I concluded that a divided heart is just that, a divided heart! If we are going to work to bring people into the Kingdom, just do it. If we are going to chase after the things of the world, just do it. One or the other!
In my opinion many of today’s religious leaders are falling into the manna trap. They are diluting the Word of God into more PC terms to gain membership. But then, my preference is for small groups.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Which Pauline epistle is your favorite? Explain why and quote your favorite Pauline verse.BIB501-2-7-1

Who was there like Paul? Before his conversion, Paul, then known as Saul, persecuted the followers of Jesus. He was given the awesome privilege of seeing the risen Christ and went from persecuting those of the Way to being one of the persecuted. Earlier Paul, then Saul, witnessed the stoning of Stephen and held the coats of the men who accused Stephen. As an aside, when Stephen saw heaven opening up he saw Jesus standing at the right side of God. Standing not seated as usually described; a special honor for Stephen.

Paul may have spent several years after his conversion on the road to Damascus being tutored by the Master Himself. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul speaks to the simplicity of the gospel; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Paul also tells of the wonders of “The Blessed Hope.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53,”Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

For those who will pass/ have passed before the Blessed Hope, there is hope through the risen Christ, 42 “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.”

As for my favorite Pauline verse(s): 2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

At the end only Luke and possibly Mark were with Paul. However one quick bite of the axe and Paul was alive in Christ.

In what area(s) of your life would your friends/ others testify that you exhibit integrity? SD502-4-2

1. When working for others:

After college I worked for several different Consumer Products companies. At one company my immediate boss was a Born Again Christian who didn’t always walk the talk. Twice this man tried to force me to write rather negative and undeserved performance reviews for subordinates. I refused to and wrote the good reviews these two men had earned. I stood up to this boss a number of times so I was out in less than three years, however, he (my boss) would sure attest to my integrity.

Later when I was working for an aerospace company I was told everyone was to attend a class on ethics. With my usual candor I said something to the affect that if you had not learned good ethics from your mother at an early age, it was likely too late. Surprise of surprise I found out that there are ethics and there are ethics, personal ethics and ethics at work. My supervisors at that aerospace company and others that I worked at could vouch for my integrity. If I took on a project I would do my best to complete it and if I couldn’t meet a dead-line I took responsibility.

Interestingly enough I was told I was not enough of a team player as I stood my ground even against so-called top management. I was right too often which doesn’t necessarily promote one’s careen. Of course there was the time I was wrong like when I said no one would ever pay for small bottles/ cans of water and/or tea. Decades later and billions of plastic bottles later…

2. When self-employed:

After an early retirement and as a complete departure from being employed by companies I became a self-employed swap-meet vendor. A lot less money and no benefits, however, I was my own boss. I did a lot of buying and must have treated my suppliers with integrity as we did business for years. Later I even moved off the power grid for two years and was pretty much self-sufficient. I’m long back on the power grid and coping with people and stuff.

3. With Christian friends:

Recently I was concerned that friends were getting caught up in some rather new age activities that were recycled Siri Baba manifestations of golden teeth. I had head of Siri Baba’s cult 20 years ago from a boyfriend who was then into Eastern religions. Even though I was concerned about losing my friends, I gave them information about Siri Baba. We are still friends.

In reflecting on the many years of getting caught up in the world and stuff I realize just how difficult it has been for me to remember that I’m only passing through; “to be in the world but not of the world”.    

4. On the Internet

Well, I once again jumped into the fray on the eBay soapbox chat room. One poster commented that Catholics believe in evolution so another said “And that's why most fundamentalists don't consider Catholics to be Christians.” Call it integrity or stupidity; I had to counter this wild statement. So I added:

“The main reason many BAC question the Catholic Faith is because Catholics question Jesus' statement from the cross, "It is finished." Catholics add works to grace to assure and maintain salvation when good works should follow salvation. Most BAC believe that if you are not a believer at the time of your death, no amount of masses or indulgences  paid for will get you to heaven. Also, Catholics believe the wine and bread actually become the body and blood of Christ, again, crucifying Him again and again. Then there's purgatory.”
So next I was accused of being little judgmental.
So back at them with, “I just do my research, something readily available to anyone interested in taking the time. Also, I believe in the Word of God. When I stand before Jesus someday I wouldn't want to have to explain to Him why I doubted His dying words.”

BIB501-2 Wk 7 DQ#7 What is the whole armor of God? Do you have all the gear on? What are the offensive weapons? What is your heavy artillery?

Paul tells us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” and “If God be for us, who can be against us?” In Ephesians 6 we are to “11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Paul includes “the helmet of salvation” and “the shield of faith.” To me, the helmet of salvation helps us to keep our focus by keeping out these negative thoughts that Satan tries to infect our minds with. The “darts and arrows” of Satan bounce off our helmet” which is reinforced by The shield of faith. It seems to me that both “the helmet of salvation” and “the shield of faith” are defensive weapons to help us in keeping our mind stayed on Jesus.

The “sword of the spirit” suggests more of an offensive weapon with which we can be prayer warriors for God.

Paul adds that our feet be “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” And in verse 14 we are told “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” We are to walk in peace and our feet will stay on the path of righteousness.

There doesn’t seem to be any protection for our back so I gather we are to face the enemy.
I try to have all the gear on; however, life gets in the way at times. My helmet slips a little and almost lets those nagging doubts in and then the shield of faith comes to the rescue. My best offensive weapon is prayer and with the whole armor of God someday I’ll really be an effective prayer warrior. It goes without saying that the heavy artillery is being a child of God and resting in the knowledge that I am where I should be

BIB501-2 Wk 3 DQ# 4. What are you are wholehearted and passionate about?

My love, respect and awe of God is central to my life. As Dr. Missler would say, “God says what He means and means what He says.” I am passionate about bringing people into the Kingdom. Time is short and so many are rushing though the wide gate. Death can happen in a second and then there is no changing your mind. When I read some of the comments made by non-believers I cringe and think have they no fear of God, what of their eternal destination? These days good is called bad and bad is called good most notably in the cases of abortion and homosexuality.

That the Bible is the inspired word of God is undeniable based on many fulfilled prophecies. Sadly some people such as the individual who wrote the following spew such hatred for the Word, “Yeah, get ready for Glory...or not. You pray and you obey and you hate gays because you read a passage in a book from over 2,000 years ago that you think means you have to hate gays and God always treats His people well who obey Him and worship Him..right? Hmmm... sure pays to pray and follow words in a book written by humans over 20 centuries ago. See what that got these worshippers...including small and innocent children? I guess these children just didn't pray hard enough, huh. Care to explain that one?”

All this bitterness aimed at those who take the Bible as Truth. I’ve tried to reach out to this individual with no real success. With him the issue is either you accept the gay life-style as normal or you must be a gay hater. The concept of love the sinner and hate the sin is lost on this likely lost soul.

I am passionate in my belief that many are heading to hell due to false teachings. Too many religious leaders are promoting a more universal and less Biblical approach to religion. Well, we were warned of this nearly 2000 years ago.

The above Discussion Question answer was from a discussion on the eBay Soapbox Chat Room. Those who may have read past DQs know I try to being Christian Truth to the soapbox. Another great thread was just started on the eBay soapbox:

Original Post: “So let me get this straight, if Evolution is now considered a scientific...fact. Why are there still people who believe in the bible God? I don't get it. Can you still call yourself a Christian if you agree with Evolution?”

So I posted “Just when the soapbox was getting boring....There is micro evolution within a species. A dog doesn't become a cat, however, within the dog kind there can be wolfs, etc.
Next week I start a new online course: The Book of Genesis Unit 1”
After adding Dr. Missler’s detailed course description and objectives I ended with “As to the OP, I’m a Bible believing Christian. I don’t pick and choose from the Bible and I don’t add or take away from the Bible. To be continued……”

Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting my time in this chat room of mostly Christian’s bashers, however, if only one person has ears….

Still later:
I have a problem with lab work from slide #23 SD502 “Will you pray for the refiner’s fire to cleanse and purity you today?” I realize that it’s coming from Psalm 12:6, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” However, my concern is that Catholics may twist this Psalm to convince their members that they will suffer the torment of purgatory.

I understand 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 is used by the Catholic Church as an argument for purgatory, “ 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

It seems to me that the Catholic Clergy uses the above verses to imply that Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t enough; it becomes a question of additional works. What part of “It is finished” is not clear? I’m nearly obsessive about this as I have many Catholic friends and family. It seems that the mindset is so rigid that all I can do is pray that God will understand, after all, it’s His decision that counts.

Discussion Questions -> 2. He touched me … and O the joy that floods my soul. Share a time that you have no doubts that God has touched you.

As a teen I had a passable voice and sang in the church choir for years. As a very little child I was twice selected to play Mary in the Christmas Pageant and sing to the baby Jesus. Oh how I loved Jesus even then and after years of losing my footing on the path I came full circle to that bottomless love. As a teenager I preferred classical music and opera to rock and roll. I feel the music as well as hearing it. Much as I enjoy the classical music Praise and Worship music plus the old hymns touch something very deep in my soul. I get emotional when singing “It is well with my Soul” partly from the sheer beauty of the hymn and partly from reading the story behind the composition.
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Horatio Spafford had suffered great loss and was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died in a ship wreck.
So strange as it may sound my glasses often hide tears of joy when I sing praises to God in church. The years haven’t been kind to my voice which now has a frog like quality, however, I will someday sing perfectly in God’s praise choir. Oh the joy!
A fellow-up
Today I was driving from the far west side of Arizona to the Palm Springs area on I-10. The desert goes on and on for nearly a hundred miles. I was listening to the song “I AM,” part of a collection called Messianic Praise on the Maranatha Music label. Watching the panorama of the desert one could nearly imagine seeing Jesus and His disciples who walked in “The dust of the Messiah.”
Touched by God, absolutely!

BIB501-2 Wk 6 DQ#6 What are the good things about the Law (read Psalm 19)? What is the dark side?

It seems to me that Psalm 19 concerns three major points, for example:

1. God is all in all, 1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

2. God’s Law is right, 7, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.”

3. The keeping the law is good, 11, “By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

King David ends the Psalm with 14, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

The law provides a standard for life, a goal. The big however is that I certainly could not always adhere to the law and I can be a real back-slider. What a relief to know we are saved by grace through faith. The gospel of Jesus is so simple, He did it all and said, “It is finished.” Good works should follows salvation but good works don’t save.

It wasn’t long after Jesus’ crucifixion and Resurrection before the Judaizers surfaced and promoted that circumcision and the observance of the Mosaic Law were necessary for salvation and insisted that this was necessary for the Gentile converts.
To quote Dr. Missler, “The Church thrived on the great truths of God’s grace until grace began to erode into forms of legalism, plunging the world into the Dark Ages from the sixth to the sixteenth centuries.“ Here the legalism is the Roman Catholic Church. Martin Luther gets much of the credit for The Reformation; however, people such as the Protestant Huguenots deserve much of the credit. Thousands died professing the Truth of Scripture rather than converting to Catholicism.

Even today the Catholic Church is wrapped, in my opinion, in legalism. Non-Catholic Christians celebrate the Lord’s Table as symbolic and done in remembrance….Catholic believe that the wine and bread actually become the very blood and body of Christ. This would imply that Jesus lied when He said “it is finished.” Then there is purgatory, the temporary home of those who have passed on. The loved one residing in purgatory can get an early release if enough masses are said, drawing from accounts of saints and more.

Other religions such as Islam and Mormonism adhere to legalism. Not only are these religions works oriented, they deny the divinity of the Jesus I know and love. There has to be a special level in hell for the religious leaders who promote fault faiths to millions to their eternal condemnation.

BIB501-2 wk 6 DQ#4. What is God's judgment on those who deny His creatorship? What should the believer's response be to the homosexual?

In my feeble attempt to be a Christian apologist, I was playing in the eBay Christian bashing Soapbox chat room this morning. One discussion thread just kept on giving. The thread was about the “Proposed Kansas Law Would Force Churches to Host Gay Weddings.” First was an attack on the Roman Catholic Church about their treatment of Protestant Huguenots so that will apply to DQ#6 and legalism. Next the question whether homosexuality is a sexual preference or as one poster wrote, “It's not about an intellectual or emotional choice or preference!!!! It's BIOLOGY. “Well, the door was wide open so I charged in and posted the following. The Christian apologist I quoted below is Dr. Missler.

According to one Christian apologist you may be able to blame God as “the result of denying their Creator was abandonment to a depraved lifestyle." He quotes Romans 1:26-27, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

As Christians we are to love the sinner but hate the sin. However much we may feel compassion for gays, “The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality; it was the open, public condoning of homosexuality. And God dealt with it.” (Again, thanks to Dr. Missler) I concluded with the statement I want to be in the presence of Jesus someday, compassion yes but no condoning.

This eBay Soapbox thread has now evolved into the question of churches paying property taxes. Like I said, the thread just keeps on giving, that is, giving me a chance to witness a little in a chat room that has a wide readership. I can again compare the simplicity of Jesus’ message of salvation by grace with legalism and that He didn’t need a mega church to spread His message.

Before I jump back into the Soapbox and to digress a bit, how could anyone deny God the Creator? Last year I was returning from church on a particularly beautiful day and was reminded of Psalms 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” In my opinion, the Bible is written in the heavens and is there for all to read and be in awe of God’s creation.

DQ#1. List three things you know Jesus LOVES and three things He HATES

Since this question is so similar to one from SD501 I thought I’d check back to see if I would answer the same and for the most part, yes with a few additions.

1. Jesus hates hypocrites: "“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness." Matthew 23:27 Jesus hated what these hypocrites were doing to the temple: “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” Mark 11:15-17

2. Jesus hates a selfish nature", Matthew 25:45, Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
3. Jesus hates the word “Tomorrow” as Satan hates the word “Today.” Tomorrow means just that, I’ll do it tomorrow. We put things like witnessing off until tomorrow and when tomorrow comes, well, tomorrow……

1. Jesus loves a loving heart both for God and others. Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 12:32”
2. Jesus loves a giving heart. In the story of the widow who donates two mites, Jesus explains to his disciples that the small sacrifices of the poor mean more to God than the extravagant donations of the rich.[2] Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4. And in Matthew 25:40, “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” *

3. Jesus loves for us to be “in Christ” today; to be available to Him, to walk in His way, to love Him, to respect Him and hold Him in awe and to serve Him. Jesus told His disciples in “The Great Commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

* As an aside, the verses in Matthew 25:40 and 45 are usually thought to apply to all people. However, Jesus was born a Jew. He was surrounded by Jews. To me, these verses can be compared to Genesis 12:3, “ And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Who was Barnabas? Search the scriptures and write a paragraph highlighting his strengths. BIB501-2-5

Barnabas’ original name was Joseph, a Jewish name. The Apostles gave him a new name, Barnabas, which means "Son of Encouragement," a fact that speaks to his character.

After Paul’s experience “On the road to Damascus” he became a believer in Jesus and an out-spoken witness peaching the “Good News. He fled Damascus after being lowered in a basket from a window at night. Paul wanted to meet with the disciples in Jerusalem and understandably they didn’t trust one who had so recently persecuted believers. Fortunately Paul had the support of Barnabas, the encourager. Barnabas brought Paul before the Apostles and explains how Paul met Christ on the road to Damascus and preached the name of Jesus. Because of Barnabas, Paul was accepted by the church in Jerusalem. Paul was sent to Tarsus where he spent ten years. Jerusalem may have forgotten Paul for years but Paul proclaimed his witness wherever and whenever possible. Finally Barnabas ever the encourager brought Saul to Antioch where they taught and raised funds for the Jerusalem church.

Then there was the trouble with the Judaizers who while confirming the teachings of Jesus, taught that some Jewish religious practices much be adhered to; most notably circumcision. A faction in the church held that it was necessary to first become Jewish to achieve salvation causing confusion and concern among Paul’s recent converts. When the Judaizers claimed they spoke with James’ approval it was Barnabas who returned with Paul to Jerusalem.

Time and again it was Barnabas who with walked Paul until they went their separate ways over a dispute. John Mark had decided to return to Jerusalem years earlier and then wanted to re-join them in the mission field. Paul was rather rigid while Barnabas (always the encourager) wanted to give John Mark another chance. So Barnabas went his way taking Mark with him, and Silas joined Paul.

From Wikipedia, “Although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are, as yet, historically unverifiable, Christian tradition holds that Barnabas was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus, in 61 AD.”

With thanks to the First Baptist Peddie Memorial Church, “Interestingly, the word "encouragement" is closely linked to the Holy Spirit, who is known as the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, or Advocate in various translations). The words "encouragement" (paraclesis) and "Comforter" (paracletos) are essentially the same in the Greek, the original language of the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is the Encourager. Have you ever thought that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to encourage you? Have you ever prayed for the Holy Spirit to encourage you in times of trials and tribulations?” Good information, excellent suggestion.

Discussion Questions -> 6. Read Act 15. What is the major issue behind this chapter?

The Book of Acts Chapter 2 marks the beginning of the Church Age; Chapter 15 opens the door to the Gentiles and salvation by grace, not works. Jesus assures Israel they are not forgotten and He will return to rebuild Israel after the Rapture of the Church.

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9 These are harsh words however Paul was very justified. In his letter to the Galatians Paul is criticizing them as they were listening to the “Judaizers” who opposed Paul’s teachings of salvation by grace, not through works. Although the Judaizers confirmed the teachings of Jesus, they taught that some Jewish religious practices much be adhered to; most notably circumcision. A faction in the church held that it was necessary to first become Jewish to achieve salvation causing confusion and concern among Paul’s recent converts.

The Judaizers claimed they spoke with James’ approval so Paul and Barnabas returned to Jerusalem. With the backing of Peter, the elders concluded: Acts 15:28-29, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” To quote Dr. Missler “the Gospel was now open to the Gentiles, too. And although God used Peter to open the door to the Gentiles, Paul was to be the missionary to the Gentiles; Peter would continue to be the apostle to the Jews.”

A few side-bars:

Habakkuk 2:4, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” As I understand it, this plus The Book of Galatians had a major impact on Martin Luther and the Reformation; it is by grace that we are saved, not by keeping the law. Thank you Jesus!

Paul stated that “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” Galatians 1:6. If people could wander from Jesus’ teachings so soon after His time on earth, what of today? Although Jesus offered salvation through His completed work on the cross, it seems to be human nature and/or pride to add to it.

Paul further warned: ” Acts 20:27, 29-30. “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God…For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

Shamgar used what he had and delivered Israel. What do you have and how are you using it? 502s - 2 - 6

After I retired I set-up and sold at flea markets/ swap meets. I would have several cases of crosses displayed, a great way to start a discussion about Jesus. These conservations were usually with other Christians; however, people looking at other inventory couldn’t help but hear our passive approach to witnessing. I wear a turquoise and sterling cross pendant plus a Star of David w/Wheat pendant. The Star of David w/Wheat pendant shows my support of the Jewish Voice Ministries and the Jewish people. This combination has given me the opportunity to point out the often ignored fact that Jesus was born and died and was resurrected as a Jew and of course I get the chance to bring up Genesis 12:3.

Now that my “On the road again” market days are on hold, I mostly use the Internet as a means of witnessing and prayer and more prayer. I maintain a Christian blog that gets a few visitors and I post on eBay chat rooms with a potential readership in the thousands. Two of the chat rooms are general topics with Christian threads so we mostly reinforce each other; however, non-Christians hopefully read the conversations. The other chat room is mostly hostile to the Word and has caused more than one Christian poster to quit that chat room. Remember the DQ from SD501, “3. Why is it important to "make deposits”? What biblical passages have served you well over the past few months?” I withdraw Biblical passages and use these in posts to support the Christian point of view. Then when a poster asks how I know the Bible is true I take full advantage to reply with relevant scriptures and links.

All of the above seems rather lame when compared to those who are on the actual battlefield. So I give money to organizations like Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) rather than my time. I called the VOM a few years ago and said much as I’d like to be in the mission field I’m much too old. The reply was that if I came to their headquarters they would put me to work so someday…For now I support them vocally and monetarily, again, very lame!