Who Can You Trust?

When I was a senior in high school, my teacher prepared us to participate in a debate. In his collegiate days, he was on a debate team from the University of Redlands that won a competition against the USAF Academy on the topic, “How to lie with statistics.” In the face of facts and figures, we all face the difficulty of determining what we can believe, and ultimately, who can you trust? Who can we trust, if everyone has their own agenda? For your consideration, I would propose, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8 KJV).

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The End of All Things

Brief Comments on Isaiah 54:1-17

Especially Addressing “Why Are We Still Here?”

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray” (1Peter 4:7 NIV).

1- Why are we still here?

The world is still here ONLY because God still continues to hold all things together.

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17 NIV).

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Exquisite Uniqueness of God

“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun [a poetic name for the people of Israel, meaning ‘upright people’], who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in His majesty” (Deuteronomy 33:26 NIV).

Only God’s wisdom and knowledge are unlimited (Romans 11:33-36).

Only God’s words are unstoppable (Isaiah 55:6-11).

Only God’s Word will be accomplished to the smallest jot and tittle (Matthew 5:16-18).

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Help My Unbelief

A Brief Commentary on Mark 9:1-29

Especially Addressing the Plea, “Help Me Overcome My Unbelief,” or Overcoming Our Jadedness

Verse 1

“And He said to them, Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power” (9:1 NIV).

The “Some Who Are Standing Here Will Not Taste Death Before They See That the Kingdom of God Has Come With Power” Conundrum
:
 To whom did Jesus address this statement? The answer is found in the previous chapter. “Then He called the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34 NIV). So, He addressed “the crowd” and “His disciples.” If He only addressed His disciples, then the complication would arise, which disciples? What event would some disciples see that the other disciples would not? But, this is not the case, since evidently “the crowd” (9:1 NIV) was being informed of a future event to be viewed by these “disciples,” as well.

If physical death (“not taste death”) was implied in Christ’s statement, then when would His disciples “see that the kingdom of God has come with power” (9:1 NIV)? Evidently, Christ was referring to the disciples’ witnessing His Resurrection, to which He referred only earlier in the same discourse (Mark 8:31). Both His Death and certainly His Resurrection were unexpected by His disciples at that time. And, Christ’s defeat of death through the “power of His Resurrection” (Philippians 3:10 NIV) transcends any expectation of a mortal mind. “And who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4 NIV).

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God’s Plan

What Is God Trying to Accomplish?

First, God must seek His highest good above all.

PLEASURE: God’s pleasure was His purpose for creating everything.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11 KJV).

Only a Perfect God’s pleasure can be safely trusted.

However, humanity’s sin necessitated our redemption.

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Like Jesus

Growing up as a teenaged, American youth in the late 1960s to early 1970s, I witnessed from a Middle America, Southern California perspective, the counterculture’s effect upon mainline, evangelical Christianity. Pianos and organs of traditional Christian music were introduced to guitars and drums of popular music. White shirts and ties gave way to leisure suits. Hal Lindsey’s “Late, Great Planet Earth” (1970) was preparing for the Rapture. The Charismatic Movement was promoting the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in both Protestant and Roman Catholic circles. Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel movement was making headway in emphasizing personal evangelism, planting local churches, and promoting Bible study. Fundamentalists were resisting the tides of change. The Crossroads Church of Christ (FL) — later the ICOC — was emphasizing the necessity of baptism to be saved, partly responding to an emphasis on Easy Believism Salvation. Anti-war (Vietnam), drugs, sex, and rebellion were responses not only  to society’s morality, but the Professed Church’s failure. Not all change was bad; and, upon reflection, the Jesus People (sometimes called Jesus Freaks) seemed to best epitomize that period’s struggle to return to a more primitive Christianity. “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6 KJV).

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Gospel Vignettes

One Way.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NIV). Jesus is the only way to God, not because He has obstructed others from free competition to be alternative ways to God, but because no other way can be legitimately proven to exist. The God concept emphasizes not just strength or authority, but the idea of exclusivity — one-of-a-kind uniqueness. The very idea behind the preposition “omni” is an unrivaled singularity. If “omnipotent” is all powerful, how can another exist? With an all powerful God, no one can possibly rival or eclipse Him. If “omniscient” is all knowing, then God does not begin to understand something, but always knows everything. He cannot begin to understand something or else He never was God. If “omnipresent” is present everywhere, then God must be universal. And, simply suggesting the possibility of a multiverse or infinite multiverses does nothing to take away from the concept that the same God must be everywhere to be God. Ancient mythologies depict gods with humanlike limitations and weaknesses, but that underscores the necessity that the True God is not only unlimited, but does all things well. Myth and superstition only present a god made in the image of man, while God made man “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27 NIV).

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Disciple’s Guide to Building the Kingdom of God

Introduction.

Kingdom Come State Park is 1,283 acres of wilderness in Harlan County of eastern Kentucky. Overlooking stunning vistas of Black Mountain and the Cumberland Plateau at 2,700 feet, it offers visitors the opportunity of experiencing vast panoramas of forested, mountain beauty from its four mountain top overlooks. Named from a famous Civil War novel, “The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come,” by John Fox, Jr. about the area’s divided loyalties during America’s fratricide, it speaks of a past familiarity with the biblical expression, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 KJV). This Kingdom Come is owned by the Kentucky Department of Parks; however, the Kingdom of God belongs to God.

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Conscience: Miracle of the Moral Law

A crowning achievement of modern man’s cooperation was Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon on July 21, 1969. Months later, my high school literature class was assigned to read William Goulding’s fiction novel, “Lord of the Flies” (1954), a dismal tale of the failure of civilization over savagery. A group of preadolescent, British schoolboys were stranded on an island in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. Surviving a crash of their evacuation plane, against the backdrop of a world war, they agreed to have fun, survive, and constantly maintain a signal fire for their future rescue. Things fell apart shortly thereafter. End fighting resulted in the killing of three of their own before being rescued. Goulding’s depiction of the “darkness of the human heart” contrasts with a more recent (2020) article by Rutger Bregman appearing in theguardian.com — The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months. Like their movie counterparts, these six boys had left school (1965) and had become stranded on a remote Pacific island (‘Ata), but these were merely bored and plain misfortunate. Unlike the movie, these boys cooperated and physically thrived until their signal fire brought about their rescue. Two different scenarios depicted human conscience and moral law with different outcomes. But, “what does Scripture say” (Romans 4:3 NIV) about moral law and conscience?

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