Christian Bible Study


Being a long-time student of the Bible I have to be vigilant still since I question all things. The KJV is foundational to me only because the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is keyed to it. I use it as a base to go back and study the original Hebrew and Greek words. I do use several versions of interpretations of scripture to get a fuller understanding at times so don’t think of me as narrow-minded.

I know of many texts that were written that were excluded from the Bible because it was not considered to be of the highest spiritual value, but still they are valuable in a well-rounded view of the eras in which scriptures were written about God. Some are of important value for their historical approach if nothing else.

I’m always intrigued by anything that purports to be of significant value, even if it is negative towards true spiritual values. The true history of an article is bound to be researched when it falls under my

scrutiny.

An article popped up on my news feed that a very old Bible text had been found purported to have “facts” that Jesus was not the Son of God and was not crucified (says Judas was). It also labels Jesus as a prophet much the same as Mohammed. It’s called the Gospel of Barnabas and is labeled apocryphal.

I skimmed the article so I did not catch any mention, which may have been, of it being in the Book of Islam, which it is. So of course, it’s unbelievable and it is being thrown out there to disprove the foundation of the New Testament. People who are unaware of the foundation of the New Testament will be totally taken in. Don’t be uninformed. Bible study is important. 

For your own spiritual growth it is your responsibility to dig for the gems that are hidden in the works that are presented to us. Just as diamonds, rubies and other gem stones have to be dug out of the earth so are we to dig out of the fleshly presentations of men to find the truth (or lies) and benefit or discard such that we find.

There is gold and then there’s fool’s gold. Be sure you know how to discern the difference.

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What Qualifies a Ministry


This may be a short post. But we shall see.

My wife asked me a question this afternoon as to what qualifies someone to be called by a ministerial name. First I have to refer to Eph 4:11-12

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

These aforementioned ministries are the only ministry gifts that I know of. Oh, there may be some others to mention in another form, but they are likely speaking to the hierarchy of ministry.

I did go to school for ministry back during my early years from around 1978-1982 and then served under a ministry for thirty years. I took a difficult sabatical because of issues that required my act to be cleaned up and refined. Since this reentry into my walk around 2014 that refinement has taught me much about being over doing. I must first “be” before I “do”. Doing is a direct result of being and if I’m not being first the doing is not worth the effort.

So, to answer the question my wife posed I had to say that schooling does not qualify a ministry. It may equip to some degree, but it isn’t the answer to the end of questions. First and foremost one must equip themselves for ministry, but the real end to it all is your calling.

God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called. Schooling is a skeleton. The real equipping comes from God’s testings of one’s character. With someone that realizes their calling they will pursue that calling to that end, such as one of the mentioned ministries in Ephesians.

I was once told if one wants to be a deacon he must first deek, so to speak. Serve people in that capacity and at some point someone in leadership will recognize that person’s action as a deacon and will place them into that position by recognizing them before the congregation and “ordaining” them into the ministry where they offically become called Deacons.

Same with any ministry. My earliest recollection of God’s calling on my life was that of an Evangelist. Oh, believe me I spent years mulling that over. I had no idea how to do this. You see, I started my schooling under a ministry that turned my paradygm of what an evangelist was upside-down. So, in the years that followed I performed tasks as they came up and became involved in doing. . .and doing. . .and doing till I was sitting in the sound booth at church one evening and God placed a thought in my head of why was I in this church I was in. I had no answer. By this time I had become a deacon, care pastor, printshop manger, IT manager, musician and sound tech. I fell off my pedestal

Once 2014 arrived I came to realize what an evangelist is. Without fanfare or being asked I started visiting the sick in the hospital in my former church. When I came to my present church I started visiting the sick and talking with people about their issues. It was during that time that the ministry of the church saw what I was doing and asked if I wanted to offically be ordained as a licensed minister.

After thought, I said yes and was ordained. Then a couple of years later God spoke to me about a school for certification as a chaplain. It was during my time in school that God started speaking to me that a chaplain was in fact an evangelist. He is one that touches people’s lives that may have never cast a shadow upon the doors of a church.

After schooling twice and thirty-plus years of ministry, I finally realized you can’t claim your calling just from a certificate or diploma. It comes from performing that ministry and qualifying to the point that you are recognized by the higher ministry for that and then they announce you to the congregation as such to your calling through ordination.

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The Thread of Relationship


These last few weeks I’ve discovered something new. Don’t ever say you have arrived with the end of knowledge. That’s like saying you’ve finally seen everything to the end of the internet. I’ve been constantly evolving in knowledge of what life is all about.

During a lifetime of gathering, I’ve come to realize that I had a fear of dying when I was young. But

getting older changes that form of thought. I’ve lived seventy-two years. Much longer than any of my family. Only one is still with me and he’s just entering the “zone” where almost all my family passed away. So what am I saying?

I’m saying that I’ve seen a lot of what I started out in life to do I’ve done. Except for a few things I’ve talked with God about. He’s told me I’m still here to do His work for another while. I’m here to continue till He says it’s time to come home. The fear of death no longer prevades my thought in a negative way. I feel now as an old man that when the time comes I will be ready and I will welcome that step through the veil into that other realm. Yes, it is unknown, but what’s without adventure? I’ve lived a much as I know is best and I’ve come to the conclusion that God loves me and has accepted me into His own.

I was once told if you fail in one thing you will be lost from that covenant that God made with His people, but God has shown me that he is my Father. Now, He said, how does a father look at his children?

Being a father myself I look at my two sons and meditate. I love them right or wrong. They are still my blood. Jesus’ blood made provision for me to become a son of God. Not “the” Son, but a son. We all talk it up that we are children of God, but somehow it seems a bit more personal when I realize I am one of His sons. I love my sons unconditionally. He loves me in like manner. I don’t care if my sons do something wrong. They are still mine. I care for them. I love them and even if they shun me I still love them. My side of the coin called love is always with them.

What they do in return is what they will be judged on. If they revere me, they receive their reward. If they don’t they receive their judgment based on their reception of me. I will rejoice or mourn according to their decisions. Under the blood of Jesus, we are forever forgiven, but our judgment comes from the children’s decisions. I will forever love my sons no matter what they decide.

You, my friend, have a decision to make. Loving God and not forsaking his provision for you will reward you with life eternal. Not doing so will cause you to reap your own whirlwind. Choose wisely what you will do. Examine your heart closely.

Sin is a deterent to growth, because it simply means you missed the mark by not observing the principle God laid down for you to grow and mature in Him. It’s not that you will be lost forever. Accept your ownership of missing the mark and asking forgiveness and walk on. I’ve been told that it isn’t how many times you fall down. It’s how many times you get up. One or the other determines failure or success.

I’m determined through my own trials and errors that getting up and asking for forgiveness is the crux of the matter in maturing in God. And once again I stress that being perfect is not the stringent end of it all. Perfection implies maturity. We are not matured, but we are maturing. Don’t give up on yourself.

The basis of my relationship is that I love God. He loves me unconditionally. That thread of love runs deeply through our relationship and no matter how difficult it gets that thread will remain strong. He knows it. I know it. You can know it too.

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I Feel. . .


I feel. . .well, how do I feel? I had a friend said once “with my fingas”. Okay, that was an attempt at humor. However, just how do I feel?

Lot’s of people in this world are suffering. Shamefully I feel it is from their own devices, yet just why are they in those circumstances?

I saw some conversation on social media about knowledge and wisdom. This thought came to me immediately. Knowledge is a tool. Wisdom is how to use that tool.

Oh, I’m quite aware there are times when my knowledge went through my thinking processes directly to action without consulting wisdom. The results were not favorable. I’ve said or done things in my early years that I still regret. This regret tells me I have matured enough to own those ill-made decisions and to weigh what I learn with the scales of wisdom before I execute action now or in the future.

There are a myraid of Biblical principles I’ve learned in my seventy-two years on this earth. I do believe the application of these principles have directly aided in the ability to apply wisdom as I’ve grown older. It was brought up at our church’s Seasoned Adults Living Triumphtly (SALT) meeting this past Tuesday.

The conversation led to the fact that several cultures revere their elderly members, yet in America, a good many young people will put their parents in rehab or rest home facilities because they feel it’s best for them. Maybe so, but how many just want them out of sight and mind?

Here comes the crux of the matter. These elderly, myself included, have acquired a lot of solid foundational knowledge over a lifetime. Most of us have learned from our mistakes. I also think if we were asked how to approach a circumstance in our younger generation we could help them bypass many issues that will cause them to stumble. Our collective thought in SALT is should we let them learn the hard lesson of experience or to we interject our wisdom in the matter.

I feel the answer to that is the sincerity of a young person that might ask. Those that don’t ask can’t be helped because, to me, this means they are not going to be open to suggestion.

So, how do I feel? I feel helpless as much as God feels helpless when his children do not ask Him for wisdom, although they may know Biblical principles. I want to help, but until asked. . .well we can pray that God opens their eyes to the value of life experiences of their elderly generation. After all, we do have a trove of information-laden wisdom to share.

God help me to be not only knowledgeable, but wise to share the wisdom gained from it a lifetime of experience.

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Grow Up


A comparison I read this morning of how the world and Christians approach people is correct to a good degree. The world can be more forgiving than a lot of Christians. I commented that maturity is the key to turning Christians around into more compassionate people. In ignorance (not stupidity), Christians tend to be harsh with people of their own kind in need. I’ve commented several times over my lifetime walk as people that eat their own.

The problem lies in the fact that many never grow beyond a certain point and never consider that God is always testing us to be open to His ways so that we may mature in Him.

I Thess 5:11 – The word “edify” implicates “to promotion & growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness.

Maturity is the end product of practicing this. Our minds should be ever-renewing in His strength. In other words, we need to be flexible or pliable in his hands as clay on the potter’s wheel. We need to realize that there are two hands in the formation of the pot. One on the inside is in type the Holy Spirit and the other on the outside is the 5-fold ministry. All Christians need to be aware of this and act according to those “hands” that shape us.

In the end, we will be a pot to pour what is contained within us which is the water of life. And it won’t be anything but what God wants for our fellow Christians as I Thess 5:11 states.

How do we do this? Hebrew 10:25 says we should assemble ourselves together. We all attribute that to going to church in a congregation.

I see it from the standpoint of a yard of building material with “workers” assembling people into their calling as a part of the “assembly” or building. Do you want to see the New Jerusalem? Start the assembly process by practicing I Thess 5:11. Grow up (mature) in Him and you will see just that coming down out of Heaven.

We need to stop playing church and be the church.

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Connected vs Union


I have found someone to converse with that presents some pretty interesting questions. Today the question was posed on the likeness or difference of connection vs union. The following was my response.

I can be connected to someone, but not know them. It can be through work, or where we attend church. There is any number of ways we can say we know someone. Working relationships and such doesn’t give you insight into the person’s innermost thoughts.

The only way to really know someone comes when two people let down their guard and expose their feeling, beliefs, and foils that prevents them from moving forward as well as their strengths that moves them forward. My wife and I share EVERYTHING. She knows my deepest regrets as well as my triumphs. She knows what is and was under every stone in my life. I can likewise be connected to God, although He knows everything about me. I or you can choose to not open ourselves up to Him. He respects us in doing so, yet will test us to bring us to maturity where we become more open to Him. Then in our maturity, we will be union with Him from that openness.

The distance between connected and union is maturity. It’s a season of growth. At the beginning of our walk with God, we become connected through salvation, but the union comes from a constant daily awareness, communication, and walk, if you will, with Him.

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What Aging Does


As a young man I was always looking at the years I had to produce things that would make my mark on this earth and in this realm. I think all of us during our lives think this way when younger. I knew I’d write a book. I would also become an ordained minister and Chaplain. Well, the Chaplain part I knew by the alternative Biblical term of Evangelist.

We all tend to live in the moment of different phases of life. It seemed to be the younger years was watching my friends and family getting married and having children. It was always exciting to see a young married couple having children. That was the big event of a relationship. We also were building our careers and for a good many exploring our spiritual walk. I certainly was more into my spiritual walk. Jobs were for making a living and nothing more. I wasn’t the dedicated company man.

In all the years that have transported me to this day I have had spiritual testings that built a positive character into my life. Things that I encounter now would have destroyed me ten to fifteen years ago not to mention longer than that. God has tested me in finance, health and relationships. I’ve come close to bankruptcy twice, spiritual desolation (so it appeared to me), and lost my first marriage. I’m still estranged from my sons pretty much. When we do talk it is guarded. I utterly failed as a human at one point, but it was where God wanted me. I had to see I wasn’t capable of being the “self-made man” I used to refer to myself as being. I could no longer do for myself. Once I hit that rock bottom I was done.

That rock bottom is where the solid foundation is. Rock bottom is solid. That Rock is Jesus. Once all the rubble of my life had been removed and I was laying upon Jesus alone I came to realize He actually is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Then He could construct me. So now after almost thirteen years of building I’ve come to a place where I have realized what I do absolutely depends on His direction. I have peace with that.

My wife and I had decided this summer when she started drawing her Social Security she would work another year and then retire. But God had other plans. Two months after she started drawing her SS payments her contract where she worked was terminated along with her job. This is one of those things that would have set me into a tail spin ten or twenty years ago. But what did I do? I asked God what was the meaning in this. He told me immediately that it was time for her to go. That’s all I needed to know. It was settled and done. Of course we will not be paying of bills from the extra income she would have been getting. We are also in a deficit situation in the terms of someone not living in God’s realm of sufficiency, but that is not the way I look at it any longer. If anything I’ve learned the “take a circumstance and turn it into a challenge” time. I will let God work and I will move as He directs and we will continue to thrive in our latter years.

Having come to this end of life I have a new view of things. As mentioned when we were young we had a future to build. Now at this time all of my friends, my family, my wife and I are looking back to see if we accomplished what we set out to do. I have to say in all that has transpired I have done just that. My book is in the market place. I’m ordained. And most of all when my dad said I’d be dead by sixty, I broke the family curse. I’ll be seventy-two this coming week. I’m still healthy enough to pass a DoT physical and I’m driving a school bus of middle school and elementary students to and from school everyday of the week.

My wife is blessed as well. She became an ordained minister this past February and is active in ministry in our church. She seeks God fervently daily. Also, we love each other with an undying love that has joined us together from the day we set eyes on each other. Neither of us wanted to go home after our first meeting almost thirteen years ago. God gave me this woman. He sure knows how to put two people together that complement each other and we do.

Now to close this post I sadly have one last thing to say. In all my years of encounters with people I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of the good ones helped me when I was down. I remember when my business was flooded from the rain, a friend of mine from church came to help me clear my floor of water and hummed the theme music from Jaws as he did so. He tended to lighten the mood that day. He almost lost his wife from a very serious TBI when a piece of pipe flew through the windshield of their car and hit her in the face. She survived, but was many months recovering.

Now at this point in life I can still watch as young people make happy over newborns, but I’ve watched many of my friends pass on into the veil of this life to the other. This man I just mentioned died earlier this week. He was seventy-five. He had a very sordid past it turned out and I don’t know his status in life at the end. He and his wife had moved away so I hadn’t seen them in five or six years. He was a good man I believe. No different than me. Don’t expect me to cast the first stone. His passing affected me.

My advice to anyone is this. Don’t take life for granted. It can be gone in an instant. I thank God every day for the blessing of living in this life for now, but I know I will go through the veil myself at some point. I will then finally get to meet my savior face to face.

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Ebb and Flow


I’m not a prolific writer. I have to have unction. Either God gives me something to write or I have something in my spirit that is edging me to the keys on my laptop.

Feeling the need to write is of importance to me. I don’t like to write just to be writing. There has to be a reason.

My reason for this post is simple. Don’t get caught up in “doing”. “Be” first. Don’t do things our of your own strength. Seek God first and He will direct your path and your strength will be His strength.

Matthew 11:30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Perhaps I need to reconnect by “being” who I have been created to be. Shouldn’t we all?

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Santa Claus?


1 Corinthians 13:11
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

This creature of one night a year after appearing in malls for a month has a long history dating back to somewhere around 280 AD in the embodiment of a monk named St Nicholas. There have been many iterations of this character over the following centuries. So who is he really?

I was born in 1950, so I’m an old man. I grew up steeped in Christmas traditions. That means I grew up believing in this old man called Santa Claus. As a Christian, I refer back to the verse above. We all grow up.

I remember I had a friend in school that had older brothers. I was the oldest of my brothers. That means older brothers told their younger brother the truth about Santa Claus. I came home feeling betrayed and lied to. As we all sat at the dinner table that evening with my younger brothers around the table I came out with my findings. There was an extreme hush around the table in everyone. My dad and I sat at opposite ends of the table and I could feel his eyes bearing down on me so I looked straight at him. The first word after a moment of silence was a question me. “Son, what do you believe?” My reply was a resounding yes. I do believe.

A few days later when my dad and I were alone he sat me down and began to explain that I was growing up and that certain things we grew up with would be found out and the imaginary things would be put away. Then he told me that he and mom were “Santa Claus”. My heart felt broken. I was lied to. I’d always been told to be honest in all things. My innocence had been shattered.

Armed with this knowledge I committed to not telling my younger brothers despite how I felt. It was years later when I was in my later twenties and I had two sons of my own and I came to God with an honest commitment and with a study of the Bible and history I concluded my sons would not be told a lie. My wife at the time and I decided to tell my sons there was no Santa Claus and they did not mind. They knew we gave them gifts and they appreciated it without a lie about the propagation of an imaginary figure based on a historical monk from centuries before.

I would ask if you don’t agree with me to search out the principle of what should we really be doing to bring our children up. Do we want to continue with such a thing as lying to them about someone that does not exist?

I don’t have an axe to grind over it. I’m just saying we are taught to not lie and this is a subtle lie that destroys confidence. Study the issue for yourself. Come away with your conclusions from Biblical principles. He’s no more real than the tooth fairy.

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Today


Why that title? I don’t know. Let’s explore for a bit. I have nothing in particular to say, but I want to sit a moment and type whatever comes to mind.

What I posted last has continued and I feel the most mentally sound I have ever been. In the past year, I found myself involved in probably more than I should have. I was the Director of a Chaplain’s organization. I was working too many hours delivering auto parts. I’ve gotten my book into the market and done book signings. Getting the book published was probably the most time-consuming. I’ve gotten older too and that is an issue I’m not liking too well either. I have resigned from the director’s position and the book is finished.

Then week before last Libby had her contract terminated after eleven years in her job with the Naval Hospital. It was a totally trumped up reason for “firing” her. Either way as she was on her way home after they released her I was asking God what was with this. It was a simple reply. “It’s time for her to go.” It resounded in my spirit all the rest of that day. I’m good with that.

Now that she’s no longer working it’s becoming something I am happy with and she is getting used to it. Anyway, she’s been drawing her SSI since August and she has her Medicare. Now we are looking at Part A and B and some sort of supplemental, although we both have part A and BCBS FEP. It’s just rather expensive and I think we need to do a cost comparison vs coverage and see if we need to make some changes.

All these things we conclude is from God’s timing for us and we both feel comfortable even though the changes are not what we considered our timing. We had wanted Libby to work till next summer and then retire. Well, she’s now retired, albeit a bit earlier than we had anticipated.

On another note I did something yesterday I had been entirely against doing. I got my BLS certification so now I have been trained to do CPR and basic life-saving procedures. I never ever wanted to be certified. It’s not mandatory with the school system, but they “encouraged” us to do so. They paid for it and paid me for my time in class, too. I have no idea why God changed my thinking about doing this. I’ve always felt if I was involved with CPR it would be being the recipient of such a procedure. After all, I’ll be seventy-two the end of this month.

On yet another note, I started another book, but have no real desire to get back to it at this moment. The title will be “Let Me Introduce You”. I’m using the 23rd Psalm as my base text. It’s an introduction to Jesus and who He is. Hopefully God will kick in with me and give me the unction. It will certainly be in His timing.

On a final note, right after I made the decision to leave the director’s position I was approached about a less mental and physically challenging position. There is an organization coming together for veterans in need in our local area. It’s in the formative stages and I’m told we will be meeting soon to have a sit-down to discuss direction. They have already purchased thirteen acres of land and are clearing it to build on. They want chaplains and of course, I’m a chaplain. I’m looking to see how this comes together and how I fit in.

So there. God is in control I simply follow. Life with Him is simple. Just keep in communication and listen when I am to move.

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