Sunday, September 29, 2013

Are man's sins forgiven but unforgotten?

Now we're saved! We're a new person in Christ! Now we're ready to serve God. We're enthused about fulfilling the Great Commission, telling the world about Jesus. We're armed with the sword of God and protected by his full armor. We're enthused and joyful. Finally we're free of guilt shame.
Romans 3:25 "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;"
By the shed blood of Jesus our past sins are remitted, "pardoned" by God because Jesus died for you! In fact Jesus died for "all sin":
1 John 1:7 " But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
It's obvious that at the time of salvation all our sins up to that time are pardoned. Jesus died for all sins: past, present and future. As a person sins, each one, as they are convicted by the spirit, continues in communion with God by admitting those sins, feeling contrition for them and asking for forgiveness which is available because the payment has already been made in full. The gift is there for the asking, so to speak.
Romans 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
As forgiven Christians, with all sins covered by the blood of Jesus, peace is made between the sinner and the Lord. Whereas rebellion (war) existed before ,the pardoned sinner now finds peace. No sin can be held against the person!
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Acts 22:16 "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
As can be seen from the previous two verses our confession "cleanses" the sinner and baptism is symbolic in that it physically cleans the body which previously had the spirit cleansed!

Acts 3:19 "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."
After a person is saved and the sins pardoned God chooses to forget those sins. They are "blotted out". Nothing is on the slate to be held against the Christian! Isn't God's grace perfect and good?
In summary, a Christian is a person who sins, is pardoned, with all past sins washed away, is a new person, and with a clean slate starts afresh! What a promise!
Then man enters the picture and contaminates forgiveness with The Law! Yes, after God cleans the slate and peace is obtained, pharisees continually revive the old person for all to see.  As an example let's consider divorce.
First off, all sins are rebellion. Everyone has been disobedient. You and I are not alone in our sins because we're no better or worse than others.  (Thank you Lord!).
1 John 3:4 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
There is much conjecture about whether all sins are equal or not, so I won't go there. However, it is wise to note that regardless of the sin, punishment is equal for all sin. We know that if one commandment is violated it's as if all were. Therefore, I contend that divorce is a pardonable sin and if one has been married and divorced that sin is covered by the blood. No sincere Christian scholar would dispute that. The liar is as guilty as the infidel because divorce may be infidelity.
Paul set the requirements for the government of the church:
Titus 1:5 "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;"
To be an elder a man must BE blameless (sins forgiven as per the argument above), have ONE wife, HAVE faithful children, not (PRESENTLY) accused of riotousness and unruliness. For a bishop a man  MUST BE blameless, not (PRESENTLY) self-willed, not (PRESENTLY) eager to be angry, not (PRESENTLY) a consumer or alcohol, not (PRESENTLY) violent and not (PRESENTLY) a filthy talker.
Note that all qualifications are for the immediate condition. What a person did in the past is not part of the portfolio. However, church leaders, in their mindset of the law, ignores all the past sins in a man as noted above, but holds the sin of divorce over the head of the believer who wishes to minister!  It appears that although God wiped the slate clean, the church officials do not!
Many modern churches refuse to allow a divorced man to be an elder or deacon. That is one particular sin that seems to be above all others although any sin is lawlessness as has been shown. Some contend that all sins are equal, but yet disqualify church officers from serving based on divorce alone!
Paul said what he meant, inspired by God, yet man, as always, reinterpreted what was said to fit the desired doctrine. Scripture does not say that a man cannot be divorced, it says that he is to be " a husband of one wife".  We know from history that polygamy was common in the pagan world of ancient times. God's decree is that if a man now has multiple wives, he is unqualified to be a church officer because by doing so, that man is living with PRESENT sin in rebellion to God.
It would be logical to assume that if a Christian does have multiple wives, that it is expedient that the man be in obedience to correct that situation. Outside of natural death, divorce is the only other option!  A truly repenitent Christian would put away extra wives and be obedient and qualifed for church office. There's a great example in the Old Testament about this subject:
Divorce is recognized by God:
Ezra 10:10 (NIV) " Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. 11 Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.” 12 The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: “You are right! We must do as you say." "
To make themselves more righteous Ezra told the unfaithful to divorce (separate) from their pagan wives. Although divorce isn't desirable, it is recognized. Even Abraham put away his wife Kuturah for the same reason (Genesis 25). Hence, when one divorces they no longer have a wife! Therefore a divorced person who marries another woman has one wife. After Kuturah separated Abraham had ONE wife, Sarah.  The theologian must admit that divorce ends a marriage. The same must admit that ALL past sins are forgiven including divorce. The same must admit that all the sins listed in the qualifications for office are PRESENT sins, not past sins and that if any of those sins are forgiven, they no longer disqualify! The forgiven man who is divorced and forgiven, and is presently living a righteous life is a saint and is not disqualified from the Lord's work whatever it be! If honest, a theologian, must admit that the misinterpretation of a divorced man from serving the Lord is a man-made rule and is Pharisitical in nature!
There are other such man-made laws in the modern church. Unfortunately, even saintly men who love the Lord are forbidden to serve the Lord because the wife divorced the man! The man may be truly sinless, but because he has committed the past sin of marrying again, he is disqualified from serving the Lord he loves!  God erased the slate! He cleansed it by his own blood!  However, man continues to hold those sins already forgotten by God over a man's head who is at peace with God. The divorced Christian man is still at war with man-made rules! Our past shame yet haunts, but that applies for some reason to the divorced man only! God forgive us man-made rules!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Hedge around us: Life can be bright when we live right

Presumptuous. That's what some are!  People expect for things to be hunky dory when little time is spent communing with God. Bad news for those who fail to obey God: The ruler of this world is Satan and his is not a world of "hunky dory"!

John 12:31 "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."

Yes, the earth's royalty is the devil. We know from Revelations who this "prince" is. The devil shall be cast into a lake of fire.  Satan is the same dark angel who makes life go awry. Satan's chosen profession is to create strife. His modus operandi is to trivialize Jesus in the life of mortals.  Living a life for God puts a "hedge" around a Christian (There is no hedge for pagans).

Job 1:9 "Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face."

It would appear that God protects the righteous by putting up a barrier (hedge) between the godly and Satan. God will never let a Chrisitan bear more than can be stood.

1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
First off, the devil is the one who tempts. He does it by deception. He is the author of lies. When a person chooses sin that person is responding positively to the lies of Satan. In a moment the sinner places the pleasure promised by Satan above the joy of righteousness promised by God. From there, until a person repents, Satan makes lives miserable so that God gets the blame!
In an episode of Seinfeld George Constanza's world fell apart. He called on God. Jerry said "I thought you don't believe in God." George said "I do when bad things happen!"  That's a truism if there are any! When things disintegrate in life God gets the blame, When things go well, there are few thoughts of God. It's actually the other way around. When things go badly it's the devil's doing. God allows the devil (just a he did for Job) to tempt and put up barriers to righteousness. Job, in the face of terrible calamities, stayed righteous!  All the terrible things which happened to him was the devil doing his job. God allows his servants to undergo temptation to show that they love him. Job loved God!
In my personal life this happened to me!  I announced one Sunday to my Sunday School Class that I was teaching on Satan the following week. Call me crazy, but I'm sure it was he, for the devil placed a thought in my head "Don't condemn me unless you're without spot or wrinkle." First off, I don't talk to myself in the third person. Secondly, the thought scared me terribly. I knew then as I do now that I do have sin in my life. I went ahead and taught the class against Satan, but for a long period of time, perhaps over a year, my life was full of catastrophes.  God didn't wreak havoc in my life. He allowed he devil a certain amount of leeway. The hedge was removed to test my faithfulness.
Now, what if I'm a Christian and  fail to include God in my daily living? Perhaps God cuts that hedge a little to allow some temptation, some that I can bear. Satan, seeing that gap in God's hedge starts the attack. Everything, it seems, goes wrong!  The Holy Spirit, our comforter, "checks" us. We feel guilt for what we do. We have two choices as free agents when we feel guilty. We can subconsciously admit that the guilt we feel is lost in the pleasure we're having or we can abhor the sinking feeling of guilt so much that we change our behavior. The latter is God working in our lives.
God expects change! The sinner is to quit sinning, but not only that, but the Christian who sins is to live more Christlike!  Not doing Christlike activities are sins of omission. If a Christian fails to worship God, fails to pray, stays out of God's house, and fails to consider God's will, then that person is sinning just as surely as the fornicator.  What's more, sins of omission are coupled with sins of commission! Once God is a vague remnant of the Christian's life it becomes easy to live a sinful life. When not in communion with God the Christian fails to respond to guilt (the work of the Spirit) and sins as a lifestyle. It's not long until a person's heart becomes calloused to the will of God and the Holy Spirit "shakes the dust off His feet" so to speak! That hedge is cut down and you're on your own with the wiles of the devil.
God is certainly more powerful than the devil. Whereas Satan has only some leeway to act, God is omnipotent. What that means is that the devil doesn't stand a chance with God, but if that hedge is removed and you're on your own, "good luck" because that's all you have. Satan doesn't obey "luck" but he is subservient to God!
Oh, when your world is falling apart, what must a person do? CHANGE.  "Change" has two directions! The direction is of your own free will. God doesn't make you live for him. However, God provides hope. The "change" desired by God is that you live a more holy life. It's obvious that the other direction is increased rebellion against God. It's your choice, but "for me and my household, I choose God!"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Christian, but don't believe in Hell? What are you "saved from"?

Several years ago I vacationed with a friend who had a Masters Degree in Theology and was to become a minister. In discussing scripture the friend confided that he believed in heaven, but not hell. He's as most Christians are today!  We're taught of a "loving God" which he is, but he's also a just God. We're rewarded for being obedient and disciplined for rebellion.  Of course the "obedience" is accepting Jesus as a Savior.

"Being saved" implies that if we're not saved we're destined for something that is feared!  What is it that is feared?  Dying? Being embalmed? Eternity in a cold grave? Just what is it?

Here's just a few lines of scripture talking of what we are to fear:

Revelation 21:8 ESV "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Romans 2:6-8 ESV "He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. "
Matthew 25:46 ESV "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Hell is what we fear! Some say that "hell" is here on earth. Do these scripture verses sound as if we're already in hell? Hell is what all mankind fears! Hell is what we're saved from!  We're saved from an eternity of fire and brimstone. We're saved from agony and hatred. We're saved from bedevilments of the most awful kind. Our skin is saved from the punishment we deserve. Our soul is saved from torment from the one who ruled us here on earth.
Yes, hell is real! God inspired his disciples to write of it. It would be bad if our destiny was only to molder in the grave, but it's much worse... unless the person accepts Jesus as Lord of their life.
John 14:6 ESV "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Coming to the Father is going to heaven. Jesus alone, and no one or nothing else, will save your from eternal punishment. If people are depending on "being good" or some type of "moral scale" where good exceeds bad, then those people miss the point. You cannot save yourself!

Ephesians 2:8 ESV "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
"Works" are man's feeble attempt to "do good". Even the most charitable person known to man cannot make it to heaven without Jesus! And you think that you're good enough to do it on your own! How prideful. How pitiful. How foolish.
I well remember when I was young and had yet to be saved. My thoughts were that I must prepare myself for salvation by being good and doing good. We are to come just as we are! No preparation is required. There are no prerequisites for salvation beyond submission to Jesus and the power if his grace! We must believe that Jesus has the power to save and understand why! He's God with us.
Grace requires three things then. We must believe, accept and submit. What if the love of your life brought a package to you. It's a gift because that person loves you so! You can't open it yet. There is one stipulation. You must show confidence in the one you love. You believe that there is something of value in the box, you accept it because you want it badly and you must submit to the rules of the giver... that person you love. You have faith that the person loves you so much that your reward will be great. That's grace! That's the way our relationship to Jesus is to be.
On the other hand if a person gives you a decorated box and there are no conditions; just  alluring pleasures within; and you're free to open that box right now; you're giddy with excitement! You open the box right now and inside is a diamond ring invisibly contaminated with a deadly virus. You felt excitement because you now have a 2 karat ring, but unknown to you, you have a terminal illness from which you will never recover without an antidote. The devil has just played a devious prank. You have fell for his enticements unawares. Your doomed unless you find that antidote! The remedy is God's grace.
God "saves' you from that terrible eternal death although at one time you unwittingly worshiped his antagonist. Now, that's grace! By accepting the antidote and avoiding death, eternal death, you're saved! Saved from what? Hell is the answer being sought! You're saved from Hell. Yes, Hell has to exist because that's what we're saved from!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So you don't go to church, but you're going to heaven?

Just think how uncomfortable you'll be in heaven! Yes. If you're a Christian and you seldomly frequent God's house here on earth, it's unlikely you'll be in your comfort zone in heaven. I know what you're thinking "You don't have to go to church to go to heaven!"  Your thinking is true. However is that what the Lord has planted in your mind or do you suppose that the devil's desire is for you to remain outside the church?

First off, to quote the old saying "Being in church no more makes a Christian than being in a garage makes one a car."  The plan of salvation does not include going to church. Right now you may feel relieved. This is your "out"! 

Let's examine what it does take to be a Christian.

1) Belief in Jesus as the son of God.
2) Knowing you're a sinner and deserve punishment.
3) Accepting that Jesus died in your place although he was innocent.
4) Loving Jesus for dying for you.
5) Feeling sorrow that you have sinned.
6) Repenting of your sins. (Praying. Asking Jesus for forgiveness).
7) Believing Jesus yet lives, you too will someday be resurrected.
8) Living in faith.
9) Loving others enough that you feel pain for their sins too.

All the above is a package deal! You can't skip even one aspect of God's plan.

1-8 are criteria to become a Christian. Nine is evidence that 1-8 are effectual. Loving Jesus is paramount for salvation. Loving others is the work of faith in action. The two together are the Greatest Commandments!  Loving others is the driving emotion behind the Great Commission!

Matthew 22:37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Stop everything!  Ask yourself "Do I love those around me?" We have difficulty loving even those we "love". Many rebel against their parents and while most actively love only those in their immediate circle of friends. Christians lie to themselves about loving others. I don't!  I have difficulty loving those whose ideas conflict with my own faith. I love others who're different, those who don't love God and those of different cultures. However, those who denigrate Jesus, I have trouble loving.

Jesus loved us all. He cried for us and died for us. Yet I still have difficulty with my pride!  Likewise, everyone it seems fail to love others! 

If I can't love others, am I really loving Jesus? He's the one who commanded that I love others and I'm not doing that! Yes, opinions can differ, but love is unconditional. Shall I love only those with whom I'm in agreement? Can I love Jesus to the extent that I obey only what I want to obey? Emphatically no! Love must be genuine! I confess! I need forgiveness for not only NOT loving others, but for actually despising them. I need forgiveness for not loving Jesus enough to obey him in all things! Forgiveness of a Christian's sins is just as it is for the new initiate into Christ's discipleship. To love (criterion 9) a Christian must actively examine and pursue criteria 1-8. It's not being "saved again", but it is practicing what one confesses to believe! Communion with God by prayer is the place to start. Saying where you fail God is a start, but listening to God is the ticket to change!

How well you practice The Great Commission is an indicator of how much you love or whether you love at all!

Matthew 26:16  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Since Jesus was speaking to the eleven disciples you may think that this is for them alone. However, if you are a follower of Jesus, you too are a "disciple of Christ"!  Failure to be a preacher doesn't let you off the hook. As a believer scripture tells us that we're priests.

1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
As a Christian you are one of the "stones" on which the church of Christ is built. Being that, you're a member of the "holy priesthood"!  I know what you're thinking! You just want to be a Christian; you don't want to be a preacher too! The choice is not yours. You are to tell the world about Christ.
The "spiritual house" is the church. The church is not the building, but the whole of those who believe!  Each believer is a stone upon which the church is built. You, Christian, are part of that church. Not only are you a stone, but you are to be "as lively stones".  "Lively" means active!  There are things you are to do. The Greatest Commandments and the Great Commission are two of the activities it takes to be a "lively stone".
The church of brick and mortar is man's feeble attempt at being a church. It's there that we praise God by song and message, minister to people and demonstrate love. There people contemplate their lives, listen to teaching, feel conviction and commit their lives. Yes, it can happen at other places too, but it's more likely to happen where there is corporate love and prayer. Likewise, we can pray anywhere, but church is where we come to focus with others! Group prayer, scripture tells us is more effectual than individual prayer.
Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

From Hebrews we see that it's crystal clear. Christians are to assemble (go to church) to love each other. In church we are to "exhort one another", which mean that we urge others by using stirring argument laden with truth, concern and love. Our desire is to fulfill BY GOING TO CHURCH, the Great Commission! We are to turn others to Christ!

So you don't go to church? Paul, inspired by God, tells us that's where Chrisitans must be. Some forsook the church and Paul rebukes them.  Not only is that where Jesus expects us to be, but we must be there to fulfill the Greatest Commandment! We're there because we love Jesus and we love others!  Not being in church is a show of disrespect of Jesus as well as not having much concern for the eternal destiny of others. You go to church because you love Jesus and you obey his wishes!

Are you uncomfortable in church? If you feel uncomfortable where love is shown for Jesus and others, do you expect to be comfortable in heaven; a place of unbounded love of God and others? You may have just enough "fire insurance" to keep you out of hell, but do you have enough love and faith to have joy in the presence of God and his saints?

If there's no desire in your heart to be in church, is there really a desire to please Jesus in your heart? If you're seldom in church ask yourself "Do I really love Jesus? Am I truly a Christian?" We're not speaking of "loving going to church", but loving "being in church". Satan will put everything he has available to keep you from "going"; and that's why you hate to "go", but once you're there, do you love"being" in church? If not, maybe the uncomfortable or lazy Christian should review criteria 1-9! Are you really a Christian? Have you backslided?

We all know that we come short of pleasing God!  By refraining from worshiping him in a building designed to magnify him, are we truly "living stones" and of the "holy royal priesthood"? It would seem that a priest of God would choose to be in the house of God! Are you a priest without a mission? Are you a priest without a house? Are you a priest without love? Are you a priest without Jesus?


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Revival: A Greater Awakening!

The Great Awakening brought on revival spirit! What do I mean by revival? That's where Christians meet to reawaken religious faith. Preachers use passion and encourage testimony so those who've slipped may be restored to the level of communication which they once enjoyed. It's not to be implied that God abandoned the Christian who let their faith slip, but by letting the faith slide, the Christian ceased to commune as often with the one they claim to worship!

"Revival"  implies that a person has already been "born-again" (saved if you choose) and no longer has the joy in the Lord that existed at the time of salvation. "But", you say "Revival is mostly geared toward conversion... people getting saved!" Just as there is "personal salvation" there is also "corporate salvation".  Recall that in the Old Testament  God made covenants with the Jewish people. That is "corporate salvation". Not only is revival for Christians to recommit their lives, but also for the church, the nation, and even the world to repent and be saved. It's a revival for the community. Each person within that community, as they are born-again, revives the the community! Hence, revival is the time not only for Christians to repent, but for the lost to be born-again!

The following Psalm expresses revival and salvation:

Psalm 85:6 "Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?  7 Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation."

As you can see the psalmist promises both. With that in mind, it's God's mercy that Christians repent of their current sins and make a commitment to God to live Christlike lives. Likewise, those who are living with unforgiven sin are encouraged to repent and be born--again!

"Born-again" was explained to Nicodemus by Jesus himself:

John 3:3" Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

And how can a person be born again? Simple:

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

"Born again" is to be saved! Saved from what? Perish! Any person stands condemned for all have sinned. All will perish for eternity unless they are born again! What does it take to obtain eternal life? "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"! I'm "whosoever"! You're "whosoever"! Belief is more than acknowledging the existence of Jesus, but accepting him as who he says he is...God! Then one must commit their life to the one who saves them! What's revival?  It's making a commitment to Christ. If one has faltered, then it's a recommitment.

Isaiah 57:15 "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Revival can happen! Revival can happen in the hearts of the humble; those who confess their sins and call on Jesus to forgive them. That's humility; recognizing that you can't save yourself; only God can!  Before you confess sins it takes contrition. A sinner must be sorry for sinning and ready to make a change. "Change" is what Christianity is all about! Change is what revival entails.

What was The Great Awakening?  Between 1720 and 1740 preachers such as John Wesley, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards preacher fervently to sinners in North America and England.  Sinners were taught to fear punishment and to be saved by "grace", accepting the free gift of salvation from God!

One of the most potent sermons was read by Jonathan Edwards Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God! The test of the sermon was Deuteronomy 32:35 "They shall slide in due time." Israelites who had slid from the worship of God were not yet fallen to destruction because of the grace of God which gave them opportunity to repent and change their ways before it was too late.

As the sermon was read, the method of preaching at that time, sinners cried with contrition and wailed for forgiveness. They begged God for a chance! They begged God for another opportunity. As each individual responded to their maker, revival was in each heart, and as a result the community, the nation even, was revived!

It's never too late! You're never too bad. Just as I am is more than a song... it's scripture! You don't have to clean up your act before approaching God, but by submission to God, he cleans up your "act"... your heart!  Those to whom God forgives the most, love him the most! This is the day! Tomorrow may be too late. The heart may not respond to God's call. We come when he knocks! What if Jesus fails to knock at your heart's door? You're "without one plea!". Yes, this is the day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Time is taken off the end of life! Or is it?

The sitcom "Third Rock from the Sun" had a funny, but pitiful incident in an episode. Dick, the lead character, started smoking cigarettes. He said something to the effect "They say that for each cigarette you smoke it takes a day off your life. Who cares? It's just off the end of your life!"

Most of us are alive, vibrant and death seems a far off event of little importance in the scheme of things right now.  A normal eighteen year old is invulnerable. The human kryptonite has yet to be reckoned with. It's unknown to the young, but the aged knows quite well what makes us vulnerable to the grim reaper.

As we age a normal person will spend a proportional amount of time considering death and its inevitability. Many sickly disease ridden elderly live depressed lives; waiting for the sure surly fingers of lifelessness to turn warmth to cold. Hence, we have a continuum going from "no thoughts of dying" to "dwelling in thoughts of death".  Cardinal Newman said "Life is short. Death is certain. Eternity is long."

How short is life? A person begins dying at the moment of birth! It culminates at about 80 years of age.

How certain is death? Everyone has died! There have been no exceptions. Yes, Jesus died, but he arose! (Keep that in mind for yourself).

How long is eternity? It's time without end and when when one thinks it's about over, it has just begun.

This triad leads to the question. For whom does the bell toll?  John Donne wrote "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee"?  "Thee" is everyone. It tolls for you. It tolls for me. How often do you listen to the clanging of death's bell? None?  Seldom? Some? Often? Routinely?  How much is healthy?

Never thinking of death is dangerous!  You may live an Epicurean life here, but that's not pragmatic. Apathy doesn't invalidate truth. The truth is that "life is short, but death is certain". How can you have hope without a plan for eternity?  Likewise, constant negative thoughts of death are a measure of unbelief. One who fears death apparently has little faith. I'm not speaking of "dying". It's the actual state of being dead to which I'm referring. Those who have no hope for an afterlife may be the person who has thoughts of death the most as old age conceals what once was youthful. Ironically, the young person who thinks little of death at eighteen may be the one who focuses on death at eighty!  (Surely there needs to be a study done!) I base this hypothesis on the assumption that someone who seldom considers death does nothing to prepare for the inevitable, and at eighty find themselves without an answer!

Oh, what shall we do? Consider God's direction:

Deut 30:19 "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 20  that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days:"

We all shall die a mortal death. Man's hope is that there is something more, eternal life being that hope. God sets before everyone a choice. He offers life and death! Since you're mortal and alive right now the inference is that God is speaking of something more. Since we are mind, body and spirit, he offers spiritual life or spiritual death, and both are offered for eternity! At the General Resurrection our triadic existence will be restored. Mind, body and spirit will again be!

Choose life! We're used to hearing that expression to save babies destined for destruction  ("both thou and thy seed may live") , but it also refers to each one of us. We are to "choose life" for ourselves! How do we choose life?  "He (God) is thy life" Choosing life is a gift for choosing God! Not only will choosing God give us eternal life, but God says that if we do, then he is "the length of thy days". (i.e., God will not only reward us with eternal life, but will extend our life here on earth!

Note that there are only two choices: (eternal) life or death. There are no other choices. Likewise, there exists two actions giving two results: reject Christ (death) or submit to Christ (life). The choice is easy! Why wrestle with the inevitable? Choose now while the choice is still available. The choice isn't open-ended. 

John 12:39 "Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,  40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."
The inability to believe is being reprobate. There is no hope. When God is rejected again and again, the  heart becomes hardened and conversion (to Christ from the world) cannot be. God calls one to salvation through the ministering of the Holy Spirit. After a person acclimates to that rejection, that person cannot have a change of heart at a whim. The mind of an engrained sinner may become irrevocably set . Don't wait too long or salvation may not be available! Choose life. The time is now!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"To Tell the Truth": Sin isn't a game show

Have you ever done anything so wrong that you believed you were too evil to be forgiven? Have you done the incorrigible, thinking you would get by with whatever it was and others knew the real you?  Most of us believe that we're pretty good people. Our sins are small and we're not judged by others to be an awful person. I submit that even if our sins are small, without repentance, we are guilty.

From 1956 to 1968 there was a game show called "To Tell the Truth". The show had stars who guessed whose identity was true among the four panelists and who were the three impostors.  Each of the four had a very real story to tell and as each told their accomplishment, the panel of stars tried to figure out who was lying and who was not. The television audience guessed right along withe the stars. The imposters told their lies so real and most were very convincing!

Some live their lives just like the imposters on "To Tell the Truth". One of those who did just that was King David!

2 Samuel 12:7 "And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 and I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon."

David was the imposter. Although if he had been on "To Tell the Truth"  his identity would be the "real David", but that person is not who everybody thought it was! If the moderator had described David as the "man after God's own heart" and a great leader and true friend to Jonathan, Nathan would have selected another person... if it had not been for one thing.  Nathan was inspired by God! He saw right through David's charade and identified the true David. At the same time David quit rationalizing (we call it justifying) his sin. He actually sentenced himself!

After realizing how sinful he really was David repented. Later the story of David tells of the many consequences of his actions although God did forgive him!

No sin is too bad for God to forgive! God seems to select "real people" to be his emissaries. Similar to Paul of the New Testament who was a killer and persecutor, David in the Old Testament was a killer and an adulter. God seems to use "crooked sticks" to carry the gospel. David and Paul were at one time as crooked as sticks could be!

We all have sins which are need of repentance. There is nothing that God cannot forgive!  All we have to do is repent and the first half of repentance is sorrow! Sorrow that we disappoint God. Here's David's repentance after he felt sorrow for what he did to Uriah and Bathsheba:

Psalm 51;

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions:
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness;
that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins,
and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence;
and take not thy holy spirit from me.12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;
and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation:
and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips;
and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it:
thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion:
build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
with burnt offering and whole burnt offering:
then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
Contriteness is the key to restoration. Without contrition repentance is futile! Contrition is feeling regret and sorrow for whatever it is that you've done wrong.  We often regret doing a sin, especially if we're caught, but regret must be coupled with sorrow! We must be truly sorry for what we did! If some pleasure was the sin, we don't deny that we had pleasure. We submit that what we did was wrong and are sorry that we disobeyed God. We did wrong in God's eyes although we knew it in advance. We chose rebellion!
True sorrow is to the extent that we no longer want to sin that sin again!  If we're sorry for what we've done, we should  not be looking forward to having that same pleasure again. If we think that way we're playing games with God. "To Tell the Truth" on God's stage is a confession with grit. God wants submission and odedience, not rationalization and false confessions! He wants a contrite heart.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lies and other Convenient Necessities

When is it okay to lie? Never, to keep from getting into trouble, sometimes, for the fun of it or as a normal day-to-day routine?  Few people never lie and others lie to some degree. Let's categorize these on a five-point scale from 0 to 4. Where does your lying aptitude lie? (These categories correspond from saint to psychopath).

What is lying? That's an easy one isn't it. Lying is saying something that is not true. However, does it really stop there? Lying is also withholding truth, misleading, and telling partial truths. Lying can also be presenting falsehoods which you believe are truthful, but are really not. An example of this is repeating commonly accepted lies. The biggest lie in this category is "Life came into existence by evolution." That lie is taught in schools as fact, your grades depend on answering that way, others ostracize you if you believe differently and any scientist with an opposing view remains unpublished in scientific journals. You believe the lie because most other credible people believe it. However, like "a rose by any other name is still a rose" it would seem that "a lie by any other name is still a lie".

Lies are meant to deceive. There are motives for lying. Mentioned earlier are avoidance of trouble and for the fun of it. Many embellish their stories in order that they're perceived as more important, richer, more athletic, more successful, more popular and the like than what they truly are. Some people tell lies to see the listener become confused. Others tell lies to get out of working or taking responsibilities. Criminals tell lies to avoid penalties, Sinners tell lies to appear more saintly!

John 8:44 (To those who denied him) "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

Lies oppose truth. God is truth. What God says is 100% in conformance with reality. He has no reason to deceive. Truth is based on love. God tells truth because he loves you. He cries for you when you accept falsehoods. In contrast to the love of God is the envy of Satan. The devil's job description is to do one thing: undermine God. He does it well and gets an "A+" for job performance. However, he gets an "F" in conduct! He's has no truth in him. When his lips are moving he's lying. It's impossible for the devil to reveal truth. He's a liar and is the "father of lies"! What's more, liars are sons of Satan. If you're a liar and oppose Christ you've been adopted into the family of doom and the devil is your father!

Lying is severe!  There aren't degrees of sin, but this one makes the "Divine Leaderman's Top 10 List"!  Commandment No. 9 (of 10) says " "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." False witness is by definition lying! Since part 2 of "The Greatest Commandment" is to love your neighbor, then lying to a person is a failure to love! We're not to lie to anyone, let alone those we love most!

Confession time! I've lied. So have you.  Those who proclaim Christ too can lie too:

1 John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

Are you a Christian? "Yes".
Have you broken one of the Ten Commandments?  "Yes"; "No" works too!
Then you're a liar! Why? Because if you've broken one commandment you're guilty of breaking them all! What's more. If you answer "No" you lie not only by deception, but by falsehood, because "We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God"!

Deception is a method of lying. How do we deceive?  I know one person who smoked. His wife believed that he had quit. He smoked at work and after a day of tar and nicotine, he would stop at a gas station on his way home to brush his teeth, wash, put on aftershave and change shirts. He let his wife assume that he was no longer a smoker. He didn't actually tell her that he wasn't smoking, but he led her to believe he was a non-smoker. That is the method of operation for those who use deception to save their own skins from ridicule or humiliation! Who is the author of deception?

Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:"

Satan tricks you by deception! Just as Eve was deceived in the Garden of Eden by slight of wording, mankind is still deceived by the same devilish method!  What's more the deceived cannot discern the clever tricks of Satan unarmed. It takes the power and word of God to combat evil. Satan relishes in glee when you try it on your own because you're defeated before you start!

"The spin stops here!" That's what Bill O'Reilly says about The Factor as it begins each night. Guess what? Bill cannot stop the spin without God and God isn't a "Fox Commentator"!  We get some truth from Bill and his guests, Bill filters out what he perceives as deception, but we may just be getting partial truths. Where does "spin stop"? It stops when Christians make a firm commitment to live Christlike! Right now, start a new endeavor. Whenever you are about to lie, deceive, mislead, cover-up, fool, or disguise falsehoods for the purpose of misleading others; just stop in mid-sentence, mentally ask for God's forgiveness and then speak only truth!

How about truth which hurts? A man was told by a psychologist that he needed open communication with his wife. The man said "Doctor, here's what I would tell her!" and then proceeded to give examples of hurtful truths. Truth is not meant to destroy, but for obedience. I say this often, but let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no"!  If your child is making poor grades, you don't have to call him stupid. That's may be the truth, but it's hurtful truth!  Don't tell your wife that she's getting old. We all are and that's truth, but it's denigrating! Practice truth which edifies and damaging truths are negated. If you're telling your wife how attractive she is to you, she feels good, and hopefully you're being truthful! If not, then quit comparing her to a 20 year-old model and she will become more attractive!

Some truth does still hurt! If you're fat and the doctor tells you that you're overweight, he's not trying to hurt you. He's making an attempt to save you from severe health problems and even death! There are cases where being outright truthful is beneficial even when it hurts feelings. However, truth should never be used to intentionally hurt others. Remember, God is truth and truth is all about love. Truth must never be used as a weapon of destruction!

How about these lies?

Santa brought those presents.
The Easter Bunny lays the eggs.
The stork delivered you.

Lies which are told to innocent children are still lies!  I was never a proponent of misleading my children about these events and they seem to be well balanced. However, some cases have been reported where children disbelieved God because they fell for the lies of Santa and company. Make-believe isn't bad, but there are ways to allow your children to fantasize without your own  prevarication. You can say "We pretend that Santa brought these gifts because today is special". That's truthful and leaves the door open for fantasy! However, the better way is to tell them about Jesus and the wise men from the East who brought presents at his birth, and that's why we celebrate this special day!  Isn't the latter the truth and an edifying actuality? Why would we even consider fantasy when reality is such great news?

Start today: "My name is ______ and I'm a liar. Today I'm starting afresh. You can depend on what I say and that all I say is honest and truthful. I will not conceal anything to mislead. I'm doing this because I honor God and he demands truth. I want to please him."


Friday, September 13, 2013

Better to marry than to burn

America has a virus. A virus of irresponsible people who pay no heed to morality, let alone righteousness! Men don't want to marry anymore and women let themselves be used.  The numbers back this up.

The Center for Disease Control reports that in 2008 40.6% of births are to women out of wedlock. For blacks that number goes to 72.3%.  The numbers have increased by 28% since 2008 and it is projected that by 2016 more births will be out of wedlock than among married couples.

Michael Foust writes in Fireproof  "Between 50 and 60 percent of all marriages begin with the two partners cohabitating, and many of those couples no doubt believe they are making a wise move up front. But living together before marriage actually increases the chances of divorce in a first marriage -- 67 percent of cohabitating couples who marry eventually divorce, compared to 45 percent of all first marriages."

Focus on the Family reports that 80% of couples have premarital sex! Considering that 85% of people purport to be Christians, that doesn't say much for righteousness!

Do you see the virus? It's not one that can be treated by antibiotics nor by any other medicine. It's a virus that we're born with, cannot be cured, but can be treated. Here's the prognosis for the virus. It can be contained or incubated; your choice:

1 Corinthians 7:8 (KJV) "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:"
It is admirable if we choose NOT to marry. However, along with that choice goes fidelity. The unmarried person is to remain not only pure in action, but pure in spirit! We are told Galatians 5:16 ESV "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." and "it is better to marry than to burn." In this context "burn" has two meanings, one metaphorical.
The English Standard Version actually says "burn with passion". Obviously, when one emotes that feeling that person has "lust".  God says much about lust! Here's just a sampling:
Matthew 5:28 ESV "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 ESV "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; "

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Secret Sins of the inward man

Recently I watched a documentary on the Zumba Prostitute in Maine. It appears that she had a sponsor for whom she kept meticulous records. This man had a family and belonged to a church. After the law arrested the Christian for promoting prostitution, the pastor said something to the effect "We all have our secret sins, so we patted him on the back and welcomed him back into the fold." It appears the pastor knows all about "secret sins". I wonder what his was!

Although this is a sad commentary on Christianity, it is the sad truth. I've told people "If you could read my mind you'd scream!" I'm not proud of that, but we all have a world inside our head that we wish we hadn't. It must be part of the curse of Adam. I do want to note that the pastor in the story took the sin too lightly. We all sin and repentance is the only cure. It must be real, not sorry that he was caught, but sorry that he sinned, hurt his family and darkened his church and besmirched Christianity itself.

Here's the best example from the Bible of a "secret sin":

2 Samuel 12:9 "Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. 12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun."
David didn't limit himself to mental sins (lust, etc.) . He actually committed physical sins: murder and adultery. He had a plan, planned it well, but God still revealed the sin to Nathan the Prophet. Although David was said by Nathan "thou didst it secretly", God still knew of the sin and revealed it to Nathan!
I think back to my teen years when I tried earnestly to be a Christian, but failed miserably. I sinned in secret, but knew that God knew. It seemed that when I sinned each week the sermon would be on my sin. I thought to myself "This preacher has a direct line to God!"  I don't know about my childhood pastor, but Nathan had that direct line!
God knows everything. His power is without bound!
Luke 12:6 " Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
I don't know how or why, but God is omniscient. His knowledge is unlimited. For what reason I don't know, but he knows how many hairs each of us has on our head, and if he knows that, he knows all the thoughts going through our minds!
Psalm 44:21 "Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart."
Yes, God knows the mind. There is a direct line between the heart and mind. The desires of the heart are satisfied by the cognition of the mind. Scripture uses heart and mind interchangeably. God knows your desires. God knows your thoughts. Those thoughts which would make another scream in disbelief; God knows those thoughts! Discounting lust for an instant, which makes us sin without actually participating, God sees our physical sins that we do even when nobody is around!  We're not "good" by being pure with an audience, we must be pure when alone as well!
I've got this problem. You have the problem and Paul had the same problem! Paul speaking of himself:

Romans 7:17 "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.'

These verses are extremely complicated!  Simply put, our desire is not to sin, but we do it anyhow. Paul talks of "the inward man". That, I believe, is the secret sinner! Christians wish to be seen as sinless, especially to God, but inside we know quite well how weak we really are. God understands that! Yes, we're wretched! Our mind wants to serve the Lord, but since we're weak, we sin in the flesh (pleasure).  Do we just know this law and accept it as it is? Emphatically, no! We are to have self-control.

2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV) 5 "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love."
Our inward man isn't an excuse to sin, but a condition which requires submission to God. God understands, but his understanding is not condoning; it's offering forgiveness!
My desire for me is that my inward man quits secret sinning. My desire for you is the same! I just wish that I was above that, but like you, I struggle as well. That's where it's important for Christians to mentor each other. We are to hold each other accountable. If you tell me that you have a problem with a particular sin, I can ask you on occasion "How's it going with your ______?" Likewise, you can do the same for me.
Let us not ponder the sins of the other, but focus on the obliteration of our own. We're to discard the "beam in our own eye" before we behold the mote (speck)" in anothers. We're to uphold and encourage our brother, not condemn and exploit. One might wonder about me. That's okay, I do too! I wish I could say that I am sin free as some day I will be, but that will be when this body has abandoned its temporal abode. What about you?
My prayer is that our Comforter will provide the full-armor and shield to protect us from evil. He will do that, but our responsibility is the desire to wear the protective armor. The weak link in the full armor of God is our willingness to wear it!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Life from Mars: What next?

It was announced this week that life on earth originated on Mars and was carried to earth on a rock!  Wow! I'm astounded. However, reading the last sentence the article stated "It has not been proved!"  First off, a theory regarding a scientific hypothesis is never "proved". It can only be "fail to be disproved?" Rather than scientists doing the impossible, proving that life originated on Mars, they should work on its counterpart!  Likewise that failure to disprove can only be accepted with a certain degree of statistical confidence. I am confident that life did not begin on Mars and I do that with 100% confidence! Why? I believe God!

Genesis 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21  And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

It's clear that all life was created by God. All the sea and air creatures, all the animals which reside on land and man himself! If God created all life and did that on this planet, how, then, did it come from Mars on a rock? Either God is a liar or science is a fraud! I propose that science is "fraud" and that belief and confidence in science requires as much faith as belief in God. The creation story is more plausible, the "Mars Rock Theory" could never be; based on entropy, probability and lack of evidence that there are intermediate life forms; those aberrations not quite one species, but not another either!

Whereas, science requires air, water and carbon to create life. God created air, water and carbon! For those who believe in spontaneous life, where did the building blocks (air, water and carbon) originate? Scientists would have you believe that cosmic gases accumulated to the extent that gravity from one big black hole compacted the gases and made matter. After extreme gravity collected and compacted the universe into one small massive black ball, a discontinuity occurred, and a "Big Bang" expelled all the matter in the universe and created the constellations with their suns as well as millions of unseen black holes. No attempt is made to determine where the gases originated.

What is a discontinuity? That word of camouflage and deceit means that one time and one time only, the laws of physics and quantum mechanics cease to apply and a scientific miracle occurred! Something happened in spite of science telling us it couldn't! What a claim! What "faith" those scientists have!

Yes, scientists do believe in miracles! However, when it comes to real miracles they turn their deaf ears. Few scientists believe that Jesus was born of a virgin (without the intervention of man) and that Jesus raised the dead again and himself defeated death forever, but they believe a scientific miracle occurred with no intervention whatever, not even by God. The true miracle is not that God could create all things, but that he did just that! The creation is a miracle, but a miracle of God. Is it more plausible to say "It all just happened." or "God made it happen."  I submit that the latter offers more credence than the former. Chance is without meaning, God is all meaning!

Some have created a new religion. This false religion believes in a creator God, but one that is limited by scientific thought. Where differences exist, the adherents of this new religion accept the word of science over the word of God. Hence, due to the lies of the scientists, God becomes the liar and those in this new religion have reverence for their idol, the scientist. This is called syncretism and the Jews were punished for thousands of years for accepting two Gods. This belief violates the First Commandment, written in stone by God's own hand.  Israel and Judah were destroyed because they accepted syncretism! What does God say about this new religion?

1 Timothy 6:19-20  "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen."
By the way, this "new religion" is just a repackaging of the religion of old. As the most early idolaters bowed to the sun and stars (astrology) so does the scientist (astronomy). The only difference between the two being that astrologers take it one step further; they believe that astrology influences behavior! Guess what? So does astronomy! Christians behavior indicates that whereas that at one time they had an uncomplicated belief in God, after indoctrination, that belief becomes doubt! Doubt is damning.
Isaiah 47:13  Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. 14  Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.
Isaiah warned those who turned to science, let them save you!  (Yes, astrology was accepted as science and there is no doubt that "stargazers" were astronomers). In effect Isaiah was saying "You have turned from God, now let science save you!" He knew that science had no power to save because he added "the fire shall burn them"!  Science is the enemy of God when faith is stolen from God and given to the God of chance; fate as it's called. My God is real! Fate is undefinable and irrational. In fact wooden idols have more credibility than does mere chance!
What did God do to the early scientists? He confused them and they still are. Archeology has shown that the Tower of Babel was a zigurat. Extant zigurats have 12 levels with colors of the zodiac on each level and all the signs of the zodiac on the top level. Here's God's dealings with those idolater scientists in that day:
Genesis 11:3 "And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city."

The Tower of Babel was primitive version of today's Hubble Telescope. The scientists wanted to get closer to the heavens so they could learn more about the expanse. That's the very things scientists are doing today with their technology. God was right! "Nothing will be restrained from them!"  In effect the scientists at Babel were repeating the sin of Adam. They sought to be as God. They were eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! Scientists are still doing that, but due to the good things coming out of science, naive Christians accept science carte blanche. Confounding evil with good is the devil's way. He can only deceive you into accepting evil by tempering it with good.

God only slowed the scientist by confounding his language and proximity to one another. Over time technology has brought them back to their original state. That of one language on a small planet. Scientists continue their quest to be as God and unfortunately, even Christians have bowed to their God of Fate!

The inquiring mind might say "What about archaealogical evidence that life evolved?" First off, there is no proof that life evolved spontaneously (chance). It's a theory. Theories can never be proved! Secondly, God is omnipotent! He isn't constrained by the scientific laws which he created. If God is God, and he is, then he has the power to set life in any milieu he wants. God didn't create a world with primordial ponds, he created a world already teaming with life! Yes, God set man in a world where dinosaurs roam (and still do) and giants walked the earth!

Genesis 6:4 "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."

Deuteronomy 2:20 "(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;"

Not only did giant people roamed the earth in past days, likewise many giant animals did as well! Just as humans are now smaller than giants, likewise today's dinosaurs are too. I propose that alligators are dinosaurs as are anacondas. Elephants, rhinos, ostriches, turtles, and whales are also smaller versions of dinosaurs. The down-sizing of life is what Darwin proposed: evolution of life, not evolution to life! The latter is misappropriated theory. We know that living organisms adapt, but when they mutate, it's toward a more elemental creature, not toward a more advanced. However, it is obvious that the healthier of the species are the ones who "make it". That's "survival of the fittest' and is God's way of maintaining a world with mutations kept to a minimum. That's God's plan!

My suppositions are also theory. I admit that! However, I use God to guide my conclusions. Fate has no place in my understanding of creation! My theory is based on faith just as science is! My theory places man above the animals. Science doesn't! My theory provides eternal hope! Science offers only determinism and despair. Scientists, deceived in their knowledge, will enjoy this mortal life only. Their rejection of God will let them verify eternity, but from a real place called hell. God help them in their unbelief!