…This I Know, For the Bible Tells Me So

If you have spent any time as a child in a Christian Sunday School, no doubt at one point or another, you have heard the song by William B. Bradbury (1816-1885) called, Jesus Loves Me. This tune originally appeared as a poem by Anna B. Warner (1827-1915) in a book called Say and Seal, written by Anna’s sister, Susan Warner (1819-1885).  The poem was published in 1860 and the hymn with music was written 1862 by Mr. Bradbury. So very close together. No doubt since these both take place so close together that the book must have been a popular work to catch the attention of Bradbury.

If you look at these dates in history and the history preceding these dates of when the poem, book, and tune was written, this was a turbulent time in American Church history. Many different religions, sects, and cults rose up at this time, which is commonly called The Second Great Awakening between 1790 and lost steam early 1850’s. But no doubt left a deep imprint of religion in America.

Cults That Rose Up

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church started by Ellen G. White, formerly established in 1863, came out of the Millerite Movement. The Millerite Movement, started by William Miller, who in 1833 publicly shared his belief that the second coming of Christ would happen between 1843 and 1844. This no doubt did not happen and should have been deemed a false prophet.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism, which was started by a young Joseph Smith (1830-1844) in which after received gold plates from the Angel Moroni and decoded them to produce a written copy of the Book of Mormon in 1830. Mormonism continued to flourish after Smith’s death and when Warner’s book was written, the LDS church was moving to the mid-west under the leadership of the second Prophet and President Brigham Young.

Another cult that came about around this time was the Jehovah’s Witnesses,which was started in 1870 by Charles Taze Russell which was a splinter group of the Bible Student Movement. Who have for almost 150 years have denied the biblical trinity, falsely predicting Christ’s coming multiple times, and proclaiming false prophecies about the end of the world.

Through the Second Great Awakening memberships skyrocketed in the Wesleyan, Baptist, Shaker and other Protestant congregations. It was one of, if not the greatest religious revival in American history.

So when this poem, book, and hymn were written, was very interesting especially with the words, “…for the Bible tells me so.”

How Much of The Bible Do We Know?

Which brings me to the point of this article. The cults that came out in the time of this hymn ignored God’s Word, and incorporated or listened to false prophets creating false religions for sordid gain. Each of these cults and false religions had their own bent towards the Bible, or rejected the Bible as flawed or outdated. That there needs to be some sort of extra-biblical revelation attached to it. Even today, those who claim to be Christian, much of the, “this I know” does not come from the Bible, but through their own personal feelings, experience, and logic. Why is that? Because people do not believe that the Bible is authoritative, powerful, or written by the creator of the universe.

“Please excuse my dad. He’s a bigoted, grumpy old man who is outdated, not in touch with today, and doesn’t know what he’s saying.”

It is why in my my opinion is the reason professed Christians are apologizing for something they have no right to apologize for. It is as if they are holding up their Bibles and saying, “Please excuse my dad. He’s a bigoted, grumpy old man who is outdated, not in touch with today, and doesn’t know what he’s saying.” To apologize would be admitting you’re wrong. These same people do not regard the words as supernatural, holy, and powerful. We need to read the Bible for what it is — the words of God. God breathed, perfect, and without error. We need to study the Bible, interpret it according to proper hermeneutics, and then apply it accordingly. It doesn’t matter what you say, or I say about a particular Bible verse, but what it says according to the person from which God commanded to write it down. Our feelings or personal beliefs should not matter when it comes to our interpretation of the Bible.

What Does God’s Word Say About Itself?

Throughout it’s pages, God’s Word describes itself in the most profound ways.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God is living and powerful. The book that you hold in your hands is timeless, active, and contains endless truths that do deteriorate, but are powerful, fresh, and strong even for today. It is not dead or antiquated, but alive and well, able to change lives thousands of years after it was written. It is far more than intellectual knowledge or a book of facts. It speaks powerfully to our very souls.

It is also sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing and dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It acts more like a surgeons knife than a blunt axe: it cuts fine and deep, reaching us with precision and accuracy to the problem and solution within our hearts. It divides so carefully as not to injure, but to get to the root of the problem and the heart of the issues that lay before us.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “

Matthew 4:4

God’s Word is a source of life and nourishment to the soul, for with the soul cannot live without. It guides us, gives us hope and courage in the face of fear, and faith even when things we see go against us.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16, 17

All Scripture is breathed out by God Himself, spoken to the Prophets and Apostles; written by Him, using them as the pen. The Bible is useful and rewarding for:

  • Doctrine – teaches us what is RIGHT.
  • Reproof – teaches us what is WRONG.
  • Correction – teaches us how to GET RIGHT if we are on the wrong path.
  • Instruction in righteousness – teaches us how to STAY RIGHT.

So that the Christian would be complete, whole, and thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Bible changes a person from the inside out.

Psalm 119

Throughout Psalm 119 written by David, it gives us a glimpse as to how amazing God’s Word is and how we should never take it for granted. Here is a short list of the many things it says about itself in Psalm 119:

  • There is no shame in its pages. (6, 31, 46, 80)
  • It cleanses us and helps us to lead a clean life. (9, 80, 104, 112, 140, 158, 163)
  • It’s hidden in our hearts and gives us power to resist sin. (3, 11, 101, 165)
  • It gives us joy. (16, 24, 35, 47, 77, 92, 174)
  • It councils us. (24)
  • It revives our soul on a personal level. (25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, 154, 159)
  • It is a source of strength. (28)
  • It gives us freedom. (45)
  • It gives us comfort in suffering, (50, 52)
  • It gives us a thankful and worshipful heart. (62, 164, 171, 175)
  • Imparts a continual source of life, (93).
  • It is a source of illumination, guidance, and gives understanding. (99, 105, 125, 130, 169)
  • It is a source of hope. (114, 147)
  • It gives us a reverence for God. (120, 161)
  • It gives peace to those who love His Word and keeps them safe. (165)

Love God’s Word and Live It Out

Reading the Bible is a joy, fills the heart, and soothes the soul. But reading it is only half the picture. The Bible says we should not be just hearers of the Word, but doers also so that we are not deceived into thinking we are ok when we are not (James 1:22-25). Jesus said that whoever hears His words and obeys them is is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock, when trouble comes from all directions, it is sturdy and withstands the storms of life; those who only hear — don’t (Matthew 7:24-29).

We as Christians need to remember Jesus has the authority to command us to go into all the world to share and spread the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). We must use that authority to use His Word. Don’t ever let anyone tell you not to read it or use it in sharing the gospel; that the Bible is old, outdated or antiquated. For it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16; 10:14-17).

Hold Fast

What does it mean to hold fast?

According to Strong’s Concordance, it means to hold literally or figuratively; direct or remote; such as a possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition. It comes in a variety of tenses and moods, which depends on the context of the given verse. As I was meditating on God’s Word of the verses that pertain to hold fast, I thought of only two types of objects they talk about. Before I get to that, come with me and think on these passages to see if you can guess.

Job 27:6 - My righteousness I hold fast and will not let go; My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
Proverbs 4:13 - Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go; keep her; for she is thy life.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 - Prove (test) all things; hold fast that which is good.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 - Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
2 Timothy 1:13 - Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 3:6 - But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Heberews 4:14 - Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Revelation 2:25 - But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
Revelation 3:3 - Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Revelation 3:11 - Behold. I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

So, what are the two types of things you hold fast to (or grasp)? Things that are firm or solid, and things that are precious in the eyes of the person holding it. Think about some of the things mentioned.

  • Righteousness.
  • Instruction.
  • That which is good.
  • Sound words.
  • Profession (of faith).
  • Salvation.

Things that are firm

Think about it. When people go mountain climbing, what do they hold onto? The mountain. The mountain doesn’t move. Now what if they grab onto a branch, or weed growing on the side? They may fall because it’s not a firm foundation.

Just as God’s Word, righteousness, and our salvation are firm. We don’t move it…it moves us. We hold onto it tightly, so that we are always strengthened by them. But not only hearing the Word of God is enough…but hearing and doing what God’s Word says is likened to a house build on the firm solid rock (Matthew 7:21-23).

Things that are precious

Before I was a Christian, I wanted to make my engagement to my wife very special. It was so memorable I can still remember it to this day. With the ring in my hand, we went to an Alice Cooper concert at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. We got there early and were 10 rows center from the stage. It was a great position…even though there were no seats. The bad thing is that we were almost on top of the mosh pit. Not good when you are carrying a $2,000 diamond ring. So what did I do? Instead of putting it in my pocket for fear of loosing it, I grasped onto it so tight I had the indentions (and the bloody marks) of the ring cut into my hand. Then, I knelt down during the guitar solo of “Eighteen”, and asked her to marry me and put it on her finger. It was safe at last because she was looking at it throughout the rest of the night, and would not let it go because it was precious to her as well.

God’s Word, righteousness, and salvation are precious to us. A Christian can’t live without them. God’s Word is likened to milk for newborn babes (1 Peter 2:2) and Jesus said that men shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Not only that, but the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, and a pearl of great price, which a man found and hid, and sold everything he had to buy it and claim the treasure (Matthew 13:44-45).

Sin…precious to unbelievers but shifting sand

But there is an inverse of this meaning to the wicked.

Jeremiah 8:5 - Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.

Backsliders love their sin, and their wicked deeds more than God. They too look at their sin as precious to them. Read Jeremiah 8:4-12 and look at the heart of the people who turn from God to serve themselves.

May it not be so for us Christians who love God more than our very lives. May we always look to God and His Word as a firm foundation, precious and worth more than gold.

The Focus of Discipleship

There are many verses in the gospels from Jesus’ own mouth that talk about the cost of discipleship. In this article we will be looking at the focus of discipleship. There were three types of people that want to follow Jesus, or are called by Jesus and the excuses that they make in the wake of the asking.

In Luke 9:57–62, Jesus and His twelve disciples were on the road to Jerusalem where Jesus would ultimately be tortured, crucified and buried. When they went went through Samaria the people did not receive them. This was probably meant to say that they did not give Jesus or His disciples a place to stay or take care of their needs. Instead, they went to another village. It was probably in this village, or just outside this village where this takes place.

Too quick to follow Jesus

Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” (Luke 9:57 NKJV)

This is the person who is too quick to follow Jesus and not counting the cost. As Inigo Montoya said in the movie, The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” The man who asked to follow Jesus had a different definition of “follow” that Jesus had. To this person their definition of follow was one of receiving and getting their needs met. Healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding people out of thin air can be looked at as a glamorous life, and one that comes with many benefits. “Follow” to him could have meant, to come along for the ride.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58 NKJV)

But Jesus had a much different definition of “follow.” To Him it was one of complete surrender and total obedience and service. Not only that, but the act of following carries a great deal of weight in which most would give up and quit. They were constantly on the move in a different place all the time. It was a hard life. Even though you were healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and spreading the gospel, it didn’t mean that they were reciprocated for those gifts. This was Jesus’ meaning of follow. It comes with a price, no rest, and no place of ownership in anything. Foxes have holes, and birds have nests. But Jesus didn’t even have those things.

Imagine if Jesus turned around and said to this person, ‘Wherever? Really? ‘Cause I’m on my way to Jerusalem where I’m going to be tortured and killed. I don’t really know what will happen to my disciples either. You in now?’

Long delay to follow Jesus

This next person is personally called by the Lord to follow Him.

Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” (Luke 9:59 NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60 NKJV)

This man was personally called by Jesus to follow Him, but he was too slow in deciding to do that. It wasn’t that the man’s father was dead and needed to bury him, but that he was taking care of his father until he died. This could have gone on for an infinite amount of time, and no one knows how long it would have taken. When Jesus calls us, He wants us to go NOW, not later.

I can imagine that some of my friends are laughing because I do the same thing, or at least did in the past. There were many times that I was given opportunities to move forward and for whatever reason I “chickened out.” Other opportunities came up, I was distracted by other things, or I was worried about what would happen if I failed. The previous man didn’t think enough about the cost, this man might have thought too much.

Case in point. I felt as if the Lord wanted my wife and I to sell our house and travel the United States by RV preaching the gospel. We prayed about it, sought the Lord, and then it was time to look for a rig. Then we found one. But my wife and I saw the opportunity right before us, and we got scared. Then, her mom was wanting to move and needed all her Hallmark Christmas Ornaments sold. Before you know it, I was opeining an Ebay store to sell these (which I’m still doing) and never got that RV. Sure, I’m serving the Lord in other areas like Got Questions, as an Elder in my church, and sharing the gospel as an evangelist; but I’m not in that RV. Was it a test? Was it the Lord’s will? Don’t know. I know that I never had 100% peace about the RV life, but I read verses like this and wonder if I made the right decesion.

Going back to the verses, it was a noble thing to take care of the father; even one of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother. So when wavering between the Lord and a good and noble thing we should side with the Lord. What we don’t know in this situation is how many siblings the man had. It could have been just him, or part of a family of twenty. We just don’t know the situation. But I believe the reason why we don’t know the situation is that it just doesn’t matter. It is the Lord who should take precedence above all things – even good ones.

Short delay to follow Jesus

The first man was too quick to follow Jesus without counting the cost; the previous man offered to follow Jesus after an infinite delay; this next man offered to follow Jesus after a relatively short delay.

And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” (Luke 9:61 NKJV)

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 NKJV)

Saying goodbye to your loved ones is not a terrible thing. Jesus is not saying that we cannot say goodbye to the ones that we care about; but that our loved ones: friends and family, can have a tendency to talk us out of things, and discourage us to serve the Lord.

When plowing a field there are two things you need to do to be successful: keep your eye forward on what you are plowing, and hold on tight.

Following Jesus takes direction, focus, and a ton of work. When you are plowing, you are always moving forward. There is no “reverse” in a plowing team. It’s all forward motion and the plowman directs the team in the direction he wants to go.

But there are distractions I’m sure in plowing. Looking around and not focusing on an immovable object in the distance ahead of you to aim for, the cuts in the ground will not be straight. For the Christian, our immovable object and goal in the distance is the Lord. The paths we cut in the ground is our walk.

Not only is it important to hold on tight, but also to keep your feet firmly planted. Several years ago I helped a friend rototill a plot of land. It was really hard work. The machine occasionally has a mind of its own, unexpectedly jumping out of the ground like a whale breaching the surface of the ocean. If your feet weren’t planted, it would drag you several feet. We need to be firmly planted in Christ and concentrating on the work He has called us to do.

When all things are said and done, whatever is produced out of the ground is the fruit of our walk. We don’t look at how hard it was, but have joy knowing we served the Lord with focus and intentionality as He is our goal and focus.

What are your thoughts?

So what about you? Are you too quick to serve the Lord without thinking, or do you have things that easily distract you from doing the Lord’s work? Is there anything you feel the Lord is asking you to do and you are just unsure of or having second thoughts? Please share in the comments below.

Significance of the First Miracle: John 2:1–11

Several years ago as I was studying for my Sunday School class on the wedding at Cana: Jesus’ first miracle, I came across this amazing little tid-bit of information in my Evidence Bible from Living Waters. I thought it was pretty fascinating, and something I never thought of before. As I looked through this list it amazes me how Jesus came to give life and life abundantly. (John 10:10). But we must come on His terms…not ours (John 10:1-18). Jesus wants to save the entire world, and through Him we can have forgiveness, and peace with God. Jesus IS the new covenant, God’s plan of redemption, and I thank God for Him.

“The significance of the first miracle.

  1. The turning of water into blood was the first of the public miracles that Moses did in Egypt (Exodus 7:20). Turning water into wine was the first miracle Jesus performed (John 2:11).
  2. The signs that God gave to Egypt in the OT was plagues, destruction, and death. The signs that Jesus did in the world in the NT was healings, blessings, and life.
  3. The turning of water to blood initiated Moses as a type of savior (Deuteronomy 18:15) leading Israel out of bondage from Egypt into earthly liberty. The turning of water to wine initiated Jesus taking His people out of bondage of the world into glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:21).
  4. The turning of water into blood culminated the firstborn in Egypt being delivered to death. The turning of water to wine culminated in the life of the Firstborn being delivered from death (Colossians 1:18).
  5. The law was a ministration of death; the gospel was a ministration of life. One written on cold stone, the other on warm hearts. One a ministration of sin unto condemnation, the other a ministration of righteousness unto life and liberty (2 Corinthians 3:7-9).
  6. When Moses turned water to blood, all the fish died. When Jesus initiated the new covenant, the catch of fish are made alive in the net of the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:19).
  7. The river of blood was symbolic of death for Egypt. The water into wine was symbolic of life for the world. The letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit makes alive (2 Corinthians 3:6).
  8. When Moses turned the waters of Egypt into blood, the river reeked and made the Egyptians search for another water source (Exodus 7:21-24). When the Law of Moses did the work in a sinner it makes life odious for him. The weight of sin on his back is unbearable as he begins to labor and be heavy laden under it’s weight. Like the Egyptians he searches for another water source and begins to search for “righteousness” because he knows without right standing with God, he will perish.
  9. Moses turned water to blood; Jesus blood turned into water (1 John 5:6). They both poured from His side (John 19:34) perhaps signifying that both law and grace found harmony in the Saviors’ death – “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10).
  10. The water of the old covenant ran out, it could do nothing but leave the sinner with a thirst for righteousness. But as with the wine at Cana, God saved the best until last. The new wine given on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:13; Eph 5:18) was the Bridegroom giving us the new and “better” covenant (Hebrews 8:5,6).”

Comfort, Ray. “The Significance of the First Miracle.” Comfort, Ray. The Evidence Bible. Orlando, Florida 32822 USA: Bridge-Logos, 2003. 1342.

After reading this, I just don’t understand how the Jewish people can look at Jesus who turned water to wine, performed countless miracles, fulfilled over 300 prophecies, and not see that He is the Messiah. If you are struggling with who Jesus is, and sincerely wanting to know…please contact me, or seek someone in your life who knows. Read the Bible for yourself and pray that God will reveal Himself to you. You owe it to yourself to at least look, and see what the best-selling book of all time says.

Who Is Jesus To…

In Matthew 16 Jesus was walking into the region of Caesarea Philippi and asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” They said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” It is interesting how differently people viewed Jesus even while He was walking on the Earth in the flesh. What Jesus was doing in this moment was asking looking into their foundation of their faith. Jesus didn’t ask them what the people thought of Him as to see if they like Him or what do you think His spiritual gift was –but who He was.

It is eye-opening when you dive into who the spiritual cults and false teachings out there, and see who they say Jesus Christ is. It speaks volumes as to their spiritual foundation and into the beliefs that they hold. Here are the synopses of some of the major cults beliefs into who Jesus is:

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES – Jesus is a created being, Michael the Archangel, the first and greatest creation of Jehovah and hence the son of God.

MORMONISM (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) – Jesus is a pre-existent spirit, one of many gods. He is the spirit brother of Lucifer. He was not begotten by the Holy Spirit, but through sexual relations between the Father and the Virgin Mary and born in Jerusalem.

ARMSTRONGISM – Jesus is part of the Godhead (or God family) and men may become like Jesus and become part of the God Family Sons of God. There is no Trinity, nor is the Holy Spirit a person.

THE BAHA’I FAITH – Jesus was one of many manifestations (or prophets) of the divine. He was only the way and the truth for His time – not for all time.

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE – Jesus was a mere man who demonstrated the Christ idea (or divine idea). It doesn’t matter whether Christ ever existed and that blood does not cleanse from sin.

THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT – Jesus was an enlightened master who somehow became the Christ. As to how He became the Christ, no one knows.

SCIENTOLOGY – Christ is a man who achieved a state of clear, but not the higher state of “Operating Thetan” Man, by the process of working through levels of self-knowledge, is able to regain total godhood.

THE UNIFICATION CHURCH (Rev. Sun Myung Moon) – Jesus is a perfect man who failed to fully save us. His efforts redeemed us spiritually, not physically. His death upon Calvary’s cross was not part of God’s plan, this he failed in his earthly mission. Rev. Moon (regarded to be the second coming of Christ) has come to complete what Jesus left unfinished.

UNITARIANS – Jesus was a man who believed in one God not the Trinity. Jesus is no more than a great prophet.

UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY – Jesus was a perfect man indwelt by the Christ Consciousness present in every human.

THE WAY INTERNATIONAL – Jesus Christ is not inferior to God and did not exist before his birth in Bethlehem.

WICCANS (witches) – Jesus was part of the male-dominated religious system. He did not have a divine nature, and some wiccans say He was a witch.

How can Jesus be all these things? How can He be any of these things? It may be logical that Jesus can be either one of these things, or none of them all. But it’s not about being logical; it’s about what the truth is. The truth that men seek is found in the Bible: the Word of God.

In Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

How did Peter get this? Did it just pop in his brain? Did he deduct in his reasoning that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God? No. God revealed this to Peter, and it was on the cornerstone of this truth that Jesus built His church (Matthew 16:18).

If you were to go back and find the cornerstone or foundation of the cults listed above, what would you find? If you narrowed each of these religions to their fundamental core belief, who or what would it be? Sometimes it’s a person, place, thing, idea. Other times it is using human intellect to explain a supernatural phenomenon. But none of them are foundational to God and His Word, nor consistant with historical findings in archeology.

What is the foundation of your faith and beliefs? How is that foundation holding up the rest of the organization?

Places to Tract a Hotel Room

Statistics show that 25% of all travelers will read the Gideon Bible in hotel rooms and that each Bible has the potential to reach 2,300 people over it’s six-year lifespan. That means a a hotel with over 200 rooms could reach over 460,000 occupants! That is more than the population of Virginia Beach, VA and almost as large as Long Beach, CA..

With that in mind, as a Gideon, whenever I travel and stay in a hotel room, I go through a ritual of placing tracts in various parts of the room, not only for housekeeping to find, but future guests as well. Though I will probably never affect thousands of people, I at least want to do my part to help others to awaken to the truth of the gospel. Here are various places in a hotel room that I leave tracts for people to find.

In the open

The only tract that I want housekeeping to find is the one that I leave out in the open for them to find. With that tract, I write a simple, “Thank You,” and place it on the desk or dresser. I usually place one Spanish tract and one English tract side by side. This way, I try to cover my basis when it comes to the preferred language of housekeeping staff.

In the bible

The second tract I place is in the Gideon Bible that was placed in the drawer by the Gideon’s International. I usually will look for John 3:16 and place it so that the top of the tract just peeks out the top of the bible. I don’t want it to be so noticeable for housekeeping to remove it, but not hidden so that guests will not see it.

In the phone book

The third set of tracts that I place are in the phone book. I place one in the pizza section, one in the abortion section, and one in restaurants or car rental. These are basically the most used areas of the hotel phone book. I tend to tuck them horizontally in the binding crease so that they are seen as pages are being flipped. I usually use “money” tracts here so that as people are flipping through, they see something that looks like a large amount of money.

Under untouched objects in the room

The other tracts I leave are hidden under the phones and coffee pot. I like to leave the phones right where they are just like they were when I enter the room. If they look as if they were not used, housekeeping will not bother with or clean them. But, because of the long cord, many people like to stretch it out and sit in other more comfortable parts of the room. As soon as they pick it up, it is revealed.

Behind the closet iron

The last place I usually leave one is behind the clothes iron. Most hotels come equipped with an ironing board and iron for business-people to iron their shirts, slacks, or skirts. By placing one behind the iron, the tract falls out and floats to the ground. I usually use money tracts in this spot because business people love money.

Other ideas?

Depending on the room you may want to place some in other places like under the bed, between couch cushions, or behind unused pillows on a couch. Some I’ve even tucked WAY behind a dresser drawer, not to be noticed by housekeeping, but definitely noticed by someone who wants to utilize it for their clothes.

Maybe you have some other ideas as to where to tract a hotel room. Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

Three Types of People on Sunday

Every Sunday Christians from around the world gather together to worship the Lord, be with other believers, pray, and celebrate life together. But there are also other people that show up for other reasons. There are three types of people that show up to church on any given Sunday: sheep, goats, and wolves. It is important to know how to identify each group, analyze their motivations, and how to respond to them.

The Sheep

Sheep are Christians. They follow the Chief Shepherd Jesus Christ. They come to church and want to be there; to worship, fellowship, learn, grow, and disciple others. They are active in ministry all week long, not just on Sundays. They are born again. They are obedient to the Holy Spirit and listen to the advice of the church leadership. You don’t have to force them to read their bible; they do it gladly and don’t have to be pushed and prodded. Sheep can easily stray, and they do stink, but not for long. They feel conviction, and know it’s best to stay in the fold. Read along in 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 regarding what the Apostle Paul says about the model church:

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, [even] Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 
- 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 NKJV

The Goats

The goats are not sheep, therefore they are not Christians; they are not saved. They can cause problems, but that’s not why they are there. They are indifferent to the things of God and church. At best, they are curious as to what the sheep are doing, but for the most part they are there either because someone like their wife or mother made them come. They take no direction, don’t listen to the Spirit – because they don’t have Him; and never or hardly read their bible if they even own one. They think they are a good person, and may even go to church because they think it’s the “right thing to do” or because it makes them feel good.

Read what happens to a goat apart from the sheep:

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides [his] sheep from the goats. "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: ... "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: ... "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." 
- Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46 NKJV

If you read Matthew 25:31–46, what was the difference between the sheep and the goat? The difference was that the goats were indifferent to the needs around them and did not act upon them. They were indifferent towards Christ’s return, towards the Holy Spirit Who makes us ready, indifferent towards the resources that God gives us, indifferent towards the needy people all around us, and indifferent towards the lost. A Christian should witness to the goats, not only sharing the bad news of hell with them, but also the good news of the gospel. Goats are unbelievers, that pose no direct physical threat to the church, unlike wolves.

The Wolves

Wolves are dangerous: they hate God, Christians, the Church, and the gospel. A wolf has only one purpose in mind – to wreak havoc and eat sheep. They are not indifferent like the goats, they are hostile. Though the goats don’t have good fruit either, whatever fruit they do have is poisonous to sheep. They could be as obvious as someone coming into a fellowship with a gun and start shooting. They could be as subtle as wearing sheep’s clothing, looking like an amazing Christian and behind the scenes spreading disunity, gossip, and slandering the Pastor or Elders. There have been many church splits caused by wolves not being dealt with.

There is only one way to deal with a wolf; grab them by the neck and toss them out of the fellowship. The Apostle Paul handed those who were like wolves over to Satan.

It is actually reported [that there is] sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles--that a man has his father's wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 
- 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 NKJV

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. 
- 1 Timothy 1:18-20 NKJV

Handing over wolves to Satan is merciful so that Satan would torment and tempt them so badly that they may turn and be saved. They are a cancer that needs to be removed so as to protect the sheep before it metastasizes. Because if you don’t, they will infect the sheep and other parts of the body and they will need to be removed as well. Removing a wolf needs to be done quickly, thoroughly, and all members need to be told to stay away from them.

God’s mercy and forgiveness even extends to the wolves on this side of eternity, but should not be done inside the church for fear of causing harm to the rest of the fold. Any witnessing, evangelism, or work with wolves should be done outside the church, and then introduced to the fellowship a period of time after salvation. If there is a wolf in your fellowship, remove them immediately.

What Is A Fast Offering?

One of the things that is not widely talked about in Christianity or anywhere else is called fast offerings. I have heard the term several times among Christian churches and with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). I studied Mormonism and the LDS teachings in preparation for several missions trips to Manti, Utah and Salt Lake City to share the true Jesus Christ to the Mormon people during the Manti Mormon Miracle Pageants, as well as witnessing to their young missionaries when they come to my door. As we dig into this deeper, you will find that this is not really mentioned in Scripture, but at the same time, not condemned either. It should be practiced at the discretion of the person fasting, and not held as a standard rule. 

A fast offering is when you fast from food for a period of time (1-3 days) and whatever food you would have bought, you donate that money to your church to cover alms or benevolence to the poor. That’s the basics of it. Sounds good even when you use the verses you shared in Isaiah 58:6-11. The LDS church also uses these verses, among others in the Doctrines & Covenants, Book of Mormon (which are not Scripture) and is thoroughly described in their publication, “True to the Faith.” 

Therefore there are problems when looking at this as a standard rule and can dive headlong into legalism and compulsory giving. As an example: in “True to the Faith”, the LDS church states, “Your fast offering should be at least the value of the two meals you do not eat. When possible, be generous and give more than this amount.” (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 68) Where does it say in the Bible this is the amount to give? It doesn’t. Where does it say that I should give more? It doesn’t. How much more than the amount is considered generous? A penny? A dollar? A hundred dollars? No one knows. 

Christian churches also can get into legalism in dealing with fast offerings or issues that the Bible never says is a standard rule. Scripture does not command Christians to fast. Nowhere in the Bible are Christians told to fast

The verses many churches, including LDS wards, use to justify this are Isaiah 58:6-8. I have purposely added Isaiah 58:5 as well. The title in my Bible for this chapter is called, “Fasting That Pleases God.” First, let’s set the tone and follow with me in your Bible. Isaiah 58:1-4 states that the people were complaining that they were fasting to God and God was not hearing them. But there was sin that needed to be dealt with. God then exposes the shallow worship of His people. They were delighting in learning about God, but not interested in obeying Him. 

'Why have we fasted,' [they say], 'and You have not seen? [Why] have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?' "In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as [you do] this day, To make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the LORD? 
[Isaiah 58:3-5 NKJV] 

They were fasting and afflicting themselves, spreading sackcloth and sitting in ashes, but they were exploiting their workers, in strife with their neighbors, and pursuing pleasure and sin. Their fasting was all for show, and God was calling them out. 

"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 
[Isaiah 58:6–7 NKJV]

God was telling them what a real fast looks like. To loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo heavy burdens, to free the oppressed, and break every yoke. A fast to alleviate another’s misery rather than parade one’s own spirituality. Love your neighbor as yourself. The following is the blessings that would follow if they performed the fast as God intended them to in verses 6–7. 

Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 
[Isaiah 58:8 NKJV] 
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I [am].' "If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,  
[Isaiah 58:9 NKJV]
[If] you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall [be] as the noonday.  
[Isaiah 58:10 NKJV]
The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  
[Isaiah 58:11 NKJV]

First, where does it call for an amount of money in this section? Is there a percentage? Is food even mentioned in these verses? Yes, food is mentioned but only in feeding the hungry, not in the giving up of food. Does God insist on giving up food for a dollar amount to feed the hungry? No. The point of these passages was to expose false worship and direct them to true worship. With that said, a Christian can, if they choose to, fast from meals and give that money they would have spent to feed the poor and needy. That is their choice, but it should not be chosen for them by their church or fellowship as a standard or grounds of membership. If a Christian Church chooses to do a congregational fast offering, the individual Christians can choose to participate or not. It is up to the individual. 

Don Whitney’s, Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life is a fantastic resource and has a very large section about fasting. In it, he says the following. 

“In the most extensive passage of scripture dealing exclusively with fasting [Isaiah 58:6–11], God emphasizes fasting for the purpose of meeting the needs of others… Fasting cannot be compartmentalized from the rest of our lives. The Spiritual Disciplines do not stand alone. God will not bless the practice of any Discipline, including fasting, when we reject His Word regarding relationships with others. …The kind of fasting that pleases God is one that results in concern for others and not just for ourselves. 

‘But,’ Someone objects, ‘I’m so busy meeting my needs and those of my family that I don’t have the time to minister to other people.’ That’s where you can fast for the purpose of ministering to the needs of others. Fast for one mean or one day and use that time for ministry. That way you haven’t lost any of the time you say you must give to your other commitments. 

…There are other ways of fasting to meet the needs of others. Many fast so that they can give to the poor or to some ministry the money they would have spent on food during that period. How could you minister to the needs of others with the extra time or money fasting could provide?” (Whitney 1991, 174–175)

So, as you can see, this is not a hard fast rule, but totally voluntary and optional to the person fasting. You don’t have to give to the poor for a fast to be recognized by God. Don Whitney offers two ways a person could fast for – time to ministry or funds for ministry. 

Don Whitney goes on to say that, without a spiritual purpose for your fast it’s just a weight-loss fast. He mentions that fasts can be used to strengthen prayer, seek God’s guidance, express grief, seek protection, repent, humble oneself before God, express concern for the work of God, minister to the needs of others, overcome temptation, dedicate oneself to God, and express love and worship to God. 

With anything like fasting, giving, prayer, serving, etc…God wants your heart in the matter. We are to be cheerful givers (2 Corinthians 9:7). When we fast we are to clean up our faces and have joy (Matthew 6:16–18). When fast and pray, we are not to be seen by men, but to be humble and have a contrite heart (Matthew 6:16–18; Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15). If you are doing these things under compulsion from your church or minister to fulfill rules and regulations like the LDS…then you are not doing it with joy unto God and He will not bless.  


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 2004. True To The Faith: A Gospel Reference. July 2004 ed. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Whitney, Donald S. 1991. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. first ed. Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress.

What Does The Anointing of Aaron and His Sons Signify: The Blood on the Right Ear, Thumb, and Toe?

And he brought the second ram, the ram of consecration. Then Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram, and Moses killed [it]. Also he took [some] of its blood and put it on the tip of Aaron's right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. Then he brought Aaron's sons. And Moses put [some] of the blood on the tips of their right ears, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. And Moses sprinkled the blood all around on the altar. 
[Leviticus 8:22-24 NKJV]

The significance of Moses anointing Aaron’s and his son’s right earlobe, right thumb, and right big toe is unclear in historical documents; but there are some speculation as to why this was done.

The Nelson Study Bible speculates that it was to represent their extremities top to bottom to represent the total covering of their sins by the sacrificial blood. Blood offering had also been applied to the horns of the altar to signify the close connection between the altar and the priests who ministered before them. Though this may be true, it leaves many unanswered questions.

David Guzik’s Commentary believes that the consecrated priests that were stained by the blood sacrifice should hear differently because the blood was on their ear. They should work differently because the blood was on their thumb, and they should walk differently because the blood was on their big toe. 1

But why these extremities? You cannot hear without ears. You cannot work without thumbs, and you cannot walk without toes. The big toe is the one extremity that is first above all other toes, and that is the one that allows for balance to the rest of the body. It was done to the right side because this side was considered superior with more strength and skill. Probably because most people are right handed.

The Barnes Notes commentary goes a step further than Guzik’s and is probably the most accurate. He states that the consecration of the priests were performed with the blood of the Peace Offering to signify the readiness of the priest who is at peace with Jehovah to hear with the ear and to obey the divine word, to perform with the hand the sacred duties of the office, and to walk with the feet in a way of holiness. 2

How could you apply this principle today for the Gentile Christian? Leave a response in the comments below. I would like to see them.

  1. Guzik, D. “Study Guide for Leviticus 8 by David Guzik.” Blue Letter Bible. Last Modified 21 Feb, 2017. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Lev/Lev-8.cfm
  2. Barnes, Albert. 2005. Leviticus 8:23, 24. Vol. 2, in Barnes Notes: Exodus to Ethster, by F.C. Cook, edited by F.C. Cook, 129. Grand Rapids, Michigan : Baker Books.

The Importance of Biblical Counsel and Using God’s Word.

There is so much in the Bible regarding godly advice and counsel, that entire books like Job and Proverbs were dedicated to it. The Bible alone is a fascinating manual for godly counsel, because it is God’s Words to us for all eternity. Not just to be read, but to be studied and obeyed.

All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 
[2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV]

This means that the foundation of all scripture (God’s Word, the Bible) is spoken from God to the prophets and apostles and written down by them for all time. It is useful and rewarding for:

  • Doctrine – teaches us what is right.
  • Reproof – teaches us what is wrong.
  • Correction – teaches us how to get right if we are on the wrong path.
  • Instruction in righteousness – teaches us how to stay on the right path of holiness and godliness.

So that the man of God will be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. The word for thoroughly was originally throughly, to signify a change on the inside that is exemplified on the outside. The Bible changes people inside out – the entire person.

There are many verses that talk about godly counsel. It is important to get a multitude of counselors, because not one person should be making decisions (Proverbs 11:14, 13:10, 15:21). Companies, governments, and religious institutions that have board members of different opinions is very important. But like you said, it is even more important to have godly counsel.

I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. 
[Psalm 16:7 NKJV]

You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me [to] glory. 
[Psalm 73:24 NKJV]

The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. 
[Isaiah 11:2 NKJV]

This also comes from the LORD of hosts, [Who] is wonderful in counsel [and] excellent in guidance. 
[Isaiah 28:29 NKJV]

You are] great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes [are] open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings. 
[Jeremiah 32:19 NKJV]

But even though you may have a multitude of counselors, it is important where that counsel comes from. The Bible also teaches us about bad counsel. Job’s friends were giving him counsel that was not according to God’s character or nature. That’s why Job called them, “miserable comforters” and focused their counseling on the bad that Job must have done and offered all sorts of possibilities for why he was suffering instead of focusing on who God is.

You also have evil counsel. The most notorious is where Adam’s wife in the Garden of Eden listened to the evil counsel of the serpent instead of God and brought sin and death into the world (Genesis chapter 3). Also the Midianite women who caused the children of Israel to receive evil counsel from Balaam (Numbers 31:12–24). Whole chapters like 2 Peter 2 are dedicated to warning the reader about destructive doctrines and false teachers.

Even the people who are closest to us like our own friends can sway us away from godly counsel and do evil things. King Rehoboam ignored the advice of the elders of his father Solomon and listened rather to his young friends and caused the people to rebel and caused calamity to fall against the house of David (2 Chronicles 10:1–19). Even the family members in our own household can affect us in making bad decisions (2 Chronicles 22:2–9) and was the downfall of King Ahaziah.

That is probably the main reason why getting advice from social media is not good. All too frequently people are telling each other what to do and not to do: which is not according to God’s Word. Most people give advice to get something in return. Others like to offer their free advice and put in their two cents. The Heavyweight Champion, Mike Tyson even quoted,

“Social media made you all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it.”

Mike Tyson

That’s true. People write things online to each other that they would never say to their face. If they did, as Mike Tyson stated – they would get popped in the mouth for it. Probably the reason why God didn’t create us with the ability to read minds or know what other people think.

But honestly, did it start with social media? I think it ended with social media, but certainly didn’t start with it. Communicating with people and sharing opinions not face to face has been around for thousands of years. Starting with letters and the written word, then to telephone hearing the other person, to now the internet. It has increased rapidly behind the computer screen with messaging and email. This trouble multiplied in chat rooms with people who you associated with and had similar interests brought out the worst in people. This brought an audience to what people said to each other and turned friendly chat rooms into a game like Survivor, making friends into enemies and causing chaos. Facebook didn’t start it – they just perfected it.

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