Religious or Christian?

I’ll be honest. I have not looked up the definitions to these terms. These are my opinions. I hope they will bring clarification to those who think everyone who goes to church is religious.

Religious: Someone who has a belief in God, may or may not go to church, and who claims affiliation with one denomination/belief system, or another. This group would include those who asked Jesus to save them, read their Bible sometimes (or not), and ignore God most of the time. They have their “fire insurance” giving them a free ticket out of hell, but they don’t take God very seriously. These are people who would rather go to a football game, stay home and watch their favorite TV show, go fishing, etc., than go to church and worship the God who saved them. Some religious people go to church on Sunday morning (only), put on their spiritual faces and lift their hands in praise. then they go home and cuss out their kids or neighbors, watch the garbage our society calls enterntainment on TV, and live the same as always. Sorry if I sound critical. I’m not trying to be. I’m just clarifying the differences here.

Christian: someone who tries to follow Christ. Christ is the first part of the world. The word Christian was first used in Antioch after Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, and was used to describe the twelve apostles. If you read the scriptures and study the life of the apostles, you will find that they were dedicated to the purpose of evangelization, the spreading of the gospel. But they didn’t just talk about Jesus and the price He paid to deliver us from hell; they helped and encouraged others; they reached out to the poor and needy. They lived what they believed. A Christian is someone who gives God/Jesus first place in his/her life. We still make mistakes and mess up, but we try to live what we believe.

I once heard a preacher ask this question: “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

No one is perfect. We will never be perfect in this life. But just as we should do our best on the job, at home with our families, as parents, we should also give our best to Jesus. He deserves it more than anyone.

So if you are a religious person, I would encourage you, if you haven’t already, to ask Jesus to save you from your sin (nature) and then get an Authorized (AV) King James Bible, get involved with a church who uses and believes that Bible, (they are getting hard to find, but ask God and He will direct your path), and study that Bible. There are many good study Bibles out there. I like the Open Bible, but Dakes, Henry Morris, Schofield, are a few of the good study Bibles. Another is Thompson Chain Reference. Take your time to look at each one, see what features might best help you and appeal to you. Read it every day, looking up the cross references and reading the commentary notes. As you grow in the knowledge of the Lord you will be able to discern opinion in the commentary from truth.

Don’t expect to agree with everything a pastor/preacher says. They are human too and can be just as wrong as we are, but they have studied more than we, are (hopefully) called of God to the pulpit (which eliminates female pastors: see I Tim. 2:11-14). Just be willing to listen, take notes, and ponder what he says when you get home. If you have questions, ask the pastor or Sunday School teacher. (Yes, adults needs Sunday School too.) Many churches have a new converts class. If the church you choose does, that would be a good place to start.

Some words in the Bible are words we don’t use today: throughly (not the same as thoroughly), ensample (not the same as example), and a few others. As you become familiar with your Bible you will soon be able to understand the thees, thous, thine, and so forth.

I recommend starting your study with the gospel of John, then go back to Matthew and read the rest of the gospels. Many people believe that there are mistakes in the Bible because some of the accounts of events in the gospels differ from one another. Each gospel writer is showing us a different aspect of Jesus and His ministry and so focus on different details. It’s like what details you include when viewing an accident. You may only cite those details that you think matter. In the case of the Bible, God inspired every word, based on what He wanted told by that writer.

Proverbs is the book of wisdom in the Bible.

The Consequences of Sin

2 Samuel 11:26-12:19. This passage is too lengthy to copy here so I’ll highlight the events.

First, God sent Nathan the prophet to speak to David. At God’s direction he told David a story about a rich man who had large herds of sheep and cattle, yet stole the only sheep his poor neighbor had, a ewe lamb he had nurtured and raised from birth, and cared for as a daughter. The reason the rich man stole the lamb was because a traveler had arrived and was hungry. Rather than take one of his own sheep to kill and dress, to cook for the stranger, he chose to take the only lamb the poor man had. When the story was finished, David was very angry and demanded that the rich man be put to death after giving the poor man four times what he had stolen.

Nathan’s response, as directed by God, to put his finger in David’s face and declare, “You are the man.” 2 Sam. 12: 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;

2Sa 12:8  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.

2Sa 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.

2Sa 12:10  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

2Sa 12:11  Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

2Sa 12:12  For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

2Sa 12:13  And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

2Sa 12:14  Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

2Sa 12:15  And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

2Sa 12:16  David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

2Sa 12:17  And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.

2Sa 12:18  And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?

2Sa 12:19  But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.

So the first child of the union of David and Bathsheba died as a chastisement for his sin. Bathsheba also had to suffer the loss of her child. David also saw all his wives take from him. He learned of his son’s raping his half-sister Tamar, then discarding her like yesterday’s dishwater.

Second, as if these things weren’t enough, his son Absalom gathered an army to fight against his own father, trying to wrest the kingdom from him. David was a man of war all of his days, sometimes fighting his own family.

Thirdly, with all of his heart, David wanted to build a temple for the Lord God. Because he was a man of war (as a consequence of not being on the battlefield where he belonged), he was denied that privilege. God would allow his next son with Bathsheba to have that honor. (Solomon)

God forgave David and welcomed him back into His fellowship, but the consequences were set. David paid a high price for what most of us would consider a small indiscretion. We take our relationship with God far too lightly. If God would so chasten a man after His own heart, how much more those of us who are muddling through our relationship with God?

We need to see sin from God’s perspective because He isn’t going to change His mind about it.

Hebrews 12:5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

 Hebrews 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

 Hebrews 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

 Numbers 32:23  But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

 Galatians 6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

 God will not be manipulated. He knows everything, right down to the thoughts and intents of the heart, so you can’t lie to Him. He will not be bribed or placated. The only way to deal with sin is to confess it, cast yourself on His mercy, and ask for forgiveness. True repentance means turning away from the sin, and turning back to God. If you’ve never been in fellowship with God, this would be the perfect time to rectify that situation.

Salvation is very simple. God made it that way on purpose. You can’t earn it. You can never be good enough. The ONLY way to have fellowship with God, and spend eternity in His presence is: 1) Admit you are a sinner.

Romans 3:23—For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:10, 12b—As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: . . .there is none that doeth good, no not one.

2) You owe a penalty.

Romans 6:23—For the wages of sin is death; Rev. 20:15—And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (This is a place created for Satan and his

angels, not for people, but God will not allow sin into His perfect kingdom. Rejection of the gift of salvation offered up through the shed blood of Christ on the cross of Calvary is the ultimate sin, the one unforgivable, unpardonable sin.)

3) You must believe that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sins through His shed blood and death on the cross.

Romans 5:8—But god commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  2 Corinthians 5:21–For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who know no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

4) You must receive by faith God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Salvation cannot be earned by good works, but it is a free gift from God.

Romans 6:23b—The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Ephesians 2:8, 9—For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

5) Jesus is the only way to Heaven. How do you receive Jesus as your Saviour?

Romans 10:9—That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  Romans 10:13—For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

If you will trust Jesus Christ alone as your Saviour, say a prayer similar to this:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that He arose again from the dead. I am willing to place my complete trust in Jesus to save me. I ask you to forgive my sins, and I now trust Jesus as my Saviour. From this moment on I will completely depend on Jesus and Jesus alone for my salvation. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 The Bible teaches that you can know for sure you are saved. If you receive the gift of eternal life, you can never lose that gift.

1 John 5:13—These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

            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.

Once you are saved,, you should grow spiritually. Here are some ways to help you grow:

*Join a Bible-believing church (King James Version—the rest will lead you into false doctrine)

*Be baptized as a public testimony of what God has done for you

*Pray and study your Bible

*Tell others what Jesus did for you

Big Sin or Little Sin?

The church we attend when we’re in Jackson, TN is having revival services this week. This post is part of the message we heard tonight. I heard things that have never been brought out to me before. I share them now in the hopes that Christians will begin to take sin (even the “little” ones) more seriously. It is not my intent to condemn or criticize, but rather to encourage us, including myself, to seek a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father, that we may truly experience the joy and happiness that He so desperately wants to give us. To receive that joy we must remove the barriers that prevent that relationship.

2 Sam. 11:1-5 “And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.

            v2 “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

            v3 “And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

            v4 “And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

            v5 “And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.”


Most of us are probably familiar with this event in David’s life. God had chosen him to be king and had blessed him mightily. He was called a man after God’s own heart. But he wasn’t perfect.  This was a time during the year when kings took their armies into battle. David chose to sit this one out. He stayed home. He wasn’t where he was supposed to be. If only. . .How many of us have lives that are filled with the lament of “if only”?

If David had been on the battlefield where he belonged he would not have been in a position to be tempted. Bathsheba was innocent. She lived in a time when indoor plumbing was almost non-existent; only the wealthiest people had indoor baths. She waited until evening to do her bathing where she would be less likely to be noticed.

David was on the rooftop of the castle/palace, on the top of the hill, looking down over the city. He had the vantage point of being able to see over the wall that would have hidden Bathsheba from common view. And he looked. His second sin: he didn’t look away; he lingered, and lusted. He already had at least two wives, and they suddenly were not enough. What did he do? He sent a messenger to have her brought to him. He was the king. She dared not refuse. The result? She found herself  pregnant. Her husband was on the battlefield. There could be no question who the father was.

As Christians, do we minimize sin? Do we look at ourselves and say, “Well, we aren’t as bad as so-and-so”? Most of the Christians I know, including myself, are prone to justify themselves. Well, it was just a little lie. I’m not hurting anyone. No one will know. I can’t help it. God understands. When we justify ourselves this way we are not giving God His due. We are making a mockery of the faith we claim to have. Be sure, the unsaved world around us knows when we’re just making excuses for ourselves, and it makes them think Christianity is a joke. It hurts the cause of Christ. Scripture tells us in Num. 32:23  “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”

When Paul was in Athens (Acts 17:23-30) he saw a city filled with statues and temples built to various gods and one dedicated to “the unknown god.” After he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people he explained that when they worshiped false gods out of ignorance, God “winked at” their sin because they had been ignorant. But once they knew the truth, they were responsible to obey God and turn from their sin. The call was to repentance. Jas. 4:17 ” Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

The next blog will deal with the far-reaching consequences of David’s sin.

No Mirrors, No Problem

I was looking at another blog yesterday and it asked the question: what if there were no mirrors anywhere? Here are my thoughts on that theme.

If there were no mirrors anywhere there would be far less vanity and conceit.

We would be dependent on others to tell us if our hair was unkempt. We would, perhaps be more focused on others and less on ourselves.

Perhaps we would be more genuine in our dealings with others since vanity would be out of the way.

Perhaps we would be more tolerant of those who are different from ourselves.

Perhaps there would be less bullying in schools (maybe not).

Maybe, just maybe, we use God’s Word as our mirror to see ourselves from His perspective. If we did that, it wouldn’t matter what’s on the outside. We would be more concerned with what’s in our hearts, and what flows out from there.

I am a KJV only believer, but I also believe that if God could use a donkey (as in Numbers 22:21-34), He can use anything. It is not my place to judge anyone. I try to encourage; sometimes it comes out wrong. If you don’t like the KJV and are using another source, please remember to ask the Holy Spirit to give you His wisdom, knowledge and discernment as you study. When I first asked the Lord to forgive me and save me from my sins I had been given a Good News for Modern Man.  It helped me understand a little. Then I was given a KJV, which somehow got lost or left behind when the army sent us to Germany. A chaplain gave me a Revised Standard Version (which I no longer see on bookstore shelves). When we returned stateside I again got a KJV.  As I compared the RSV with the KJV I discovered whole chapters missing and verses completely twisted (in the RSV).

If I was to use any other version alongside the KJV it would be the American Standard Version, although it has changed many times since I first used it.

Tomorrow I will post my objections to the newer versions (translations). I’m not asking anyone to agree with me, just offering food for thought. I would encourage believers to use these thoughts as a guide to do their own research and come to their own conclusions as they pray and ask God for wisdom. My goal is not to criticize or in any way dissuade anyone from reading the Bible. My goal is to help us see the wiles of our enemy, Satan, and not fall into his deceptions.

More on this tomorrow. God bless.