Saturday Song: Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”

Isn’t it interesting how news reports can impact some folks but not others? I was in Toronto, Ontario in November of 1975 when I heard the news one morning. Though I felt a twinge of sadness for those twenty-nine sailors, it was just one of many tragic news stories that day.

But Gordon Lightfoot was deeply moved by the news, so much so that he wrote a song about it. Almost a year later, that song was in rotation on radio stations across Canada.

Hear the song here.

The fact nobody is willing to face is that we all die. As the scripture says in Isaiah 64:6 (KJV), “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

And as it says in James 4:14 (KJV), “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

nov09, shipBut death isn’t the end, as many people believe. Each one of us will stand trial for what we did in this life and for accepting or rejecting Christ’s magnanimous gift of eternal salvation. As the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 (KJV), “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

This is good news if you’ve placed your life in Christ’s hands but bad news if you haven’t. Message me if you’d like to learn more about eternal life.

Well, what did you think of this song and what I wrote? Please leave me a comment below. Also, have a great weekend.

Monday’s post will be about the danger of being a Bible teacher. Those who teach error will be harshly punished by God.

Rahab’s Faith

nov07, Jesus and the woman caught in adultryHow could God save such an immoral woman as Rahab and even have her included in Christ’s lineage? We tend to think that only the most saintly people get saved. But studying the Bible shows me that the Lord chose some disreputable folks to serve him.

The Bible tells us how Abraham told a half-truth about his half wife. Genesis 20:1 and 2 (BBE) informs us, “And Abraham went on his way from there to the land of the South, and was living between Kadesh and Shur, in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah, his wife, ‘She is my sister:’ and Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent and took Sarah.”

Additionally, look at the catastrophe God averted in order to save that cowardly liar. God spoke to Abimelech, warning him of Sarah’s real relationship and that he withheld her from him. Genesis 20:9 and 10 (BBE) relates, “Then Abimelech sent for Abraham, and said, ‘What have you done to us? what wrong have I done you that you have put on me and on my kingdom so great a sin? You have done to me things which are not to be done.’ And Abimelech said to Abraham, ‘Why did you do this thing?'”

nov07a, David and GoliathAnd in a case of “like father, like son,” Isaac pulled the same stunt on Abimelech. Genesis 26:7 (BBE) tells us, “And when he was questioned by the men of the place about his wife, he said, ‘She is my sister;’ fearing to say, ‘She is my wife;’ for, he said, ‘the men of the place may put me to death on account of Rebecca; because she is very beautiful.'”

The Bible is filled with flawed individuals who God deployed to do his will. Jacob swindled Esaw out of his birthright. Samson hired prostitutes and married pagan wives. Moses murdered an Egyptian. David had sex with a man’s wife and arranged to have him killed in battle. Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him but they sold him into slavery. And if I had the space and inclination, I could list many more flawed individuals whom the Lord saved.

God chose who would be saved before the universe was created. As Paul obliquely mentioned in Ephesians 1:4 (BBE), “Even as he made selection of us in him from the first, so that we might be holy and free from all evil before him in love:”

nov07b, crowd in Liverpool, UKWhen Christ returns, all those who his father gave him will be gathered to him. As 1 Corinthians 15:24 (BBE) explains in part, “Then comes the end, when he will give up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have put an end to all rule and to all authority and power.”

God left nothing to chance. I’ll explain that and many other things in my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? Predestination is a hard doctrine for us to accept but it’s scriptural. Therefore, we must believe it.

Saturday’s post will be about a Great Lakes shipping disaster that touched Gordon Lightfoot.

Does Faith Need Works?

nov04, WORKAHOLThis is one of those thorny questions for Christians. The Catholic church teaches that good works are required along with faith in Christ for salvation from hell. Some Protestant sects teach this doctrine too. Are they right?

The confusion comes because people misread James 2:14 (BBE and think “faith” refers to salvation. “What use is it, my brothers, for a man to say that he has faith, if he does nothing? will such a faith give him salvation?”

The evidence of salvation is proven by a person’s works. After we read in this chapter about the uselessness of just saying encouraging words, we read in James 2:18 (BBE), “But a man may say, ‘You have faith and I have works;’ let me see your faith without your works, and I will make my faith clear to you by my works.

Many people know about God and Christ but that doesn’t save them. Check out what James 2:19 (BBE) says about Satan’s demons. “You have the belief that God is one, and you do well: the evil spirits have the same belief, shaking with fear.”

The fallen angels know God is real and that he has power to cast them and human sinners into hell. But we descendents of Adam lack the sense to fear the Lord.

nov04a, WorkAtParkHuman wickedness blinds folks from realizing that genuine faith is proven by our spontaneous acts of kindness and obedience to God. James 2:21-23 (BBE) says, “Was not the righteousness of Abraham our father judged by his works, when he made an offering of Isaac his son on the altar? You see that his faith was helping his works and was made complete by them;” And the holy Writings were put into effect which said, ‘And Abraham had faith in God and it was put to his account as righteousness;’ and he was named the friend of God.”

And lest we think that people like Abraham are good enough to be righteous, check out what James 2:25 (BBE) declares. “And in the same way, was not the righteousness of Rahab, the loose woman, judged by her works, when she took into her house those who were sent and let them go out by another way?”

nov04b, WorkMeditateJust as a magnet passing through a coil of wire generates electricity, so saving faith generates obedient works. This is one analogy I’ll use in my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? Far too many people think that just knowing the facts about God will get them through the pearly gates but it won’t. It really is who you know that counts.

On Thursday, I’ll explain why such a sinful woman like Rahab was saved.

Saturday Song: Iron Butterfly, “Filled With Fear”

This song points out the danger of messing around with occultic invocations. The person in the song called up a power too big for him to handle. That’s why he asked in the song why did he invite it here.

Listen to this psychedelic rock band’s song here:

One trick Satan uses to enslave people is to make the occult seem harmless. My sister’s friend had a game called Kabala which let children communicate with the dead. When one of us asked a poorly-phrased question, the spirit using the board asked, “Who?” That convinced all of us that this was no mere game but something potentially dangerous.

We didn’t know then but it’s a sin to use occult arts. In Deuteronomy 19:31 (BBE), God warned the descendents of Israel, “Do not go after those who make use of spirits, or wonder-workers; do not go in their ways or become unclean through them: I am the Lord your God.”

nov02, shockedNeither should we, who trust in Christ, attempt to communicate with the dead. Isaiah 8:19 (BBE) warns, “And when they say to you, Make request for us to those who have control of spirits, and to those wise in secret arts, who make hollow bird-like sounds; is it not right for a people to make request to their gods, to make request for the living to the dead?”

Like the person in the song, people who play with demons are in for a rude shock. Acts 19:14-16 (BBE) tells the consequence of not being protected by Christ. “And there were seven sons of a man named Sceva, a Jew and a chief priest, who did this. And the evil spirit, answering, said to them, ‘I have knowledge of Jesus, and of Paul, but who are you?’ And the man in whom the evil spirit was, jumping on them, was stronger than the two of them, and overcame them, so that they went running from that house, wounded and without their clothing.”

Jesus and his disciples were able to cast out demons from people because of God’s power. As Matthew 12:27 (BBE) shows, “And if I by Beelzebub send evil spirits out of men, by whom do your sons send them out? So let them be your judges.”

On Monday, I’ll post about faith and if it can exist apart from works.

The Most Frightening Day in History

oct31, SHOCKED red-haired boyWhat would you say was the most frightening day in human history? I’m sure we all would have a list of those disastrous events. But a day is coming where billions of people will be panicking but it’ll be too late for them.

Jesus said he’d come back in judgement of all people who ever lived. Matthew 13:47-50 BBE) reads, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net, which was put into the sea and took in every sort of fish: When it was full, they took it up on the sands; and seated there they put the good into vessels, but the bad they put away. So will it be in the end of the world: the angels will come and take out the bad from the good, And will put them into the fire: there will be weeping and cries of sorrow.”

Notice that it’s the Kingdom of Heaven which Christ was describing. The church has both saved and unsaved individuals in it. Jesus told a parable about a farmer sewing good seed and an enemy spreading weed seeds on the land during the night. But the weeds weren’t pulled up lest they also root up the good wheat. At harvest time, meaning the end of this wicked age, the wheat was gathered up but the look-alike tares were burned. Matthew 13:40 (BBE) warns, “As then the evil plants are got together and burned with fire, so will it be in the end of the world.”

Jesus likewise described the fate of the phoney Christians in Matthew 7:22 and 23 (BBE). “A great number will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, were we not prophets in your name, and did we not by your name send out evil spirits, and by your name do works of power?’ And then will I say to them, ‘I never had knowledge of you: go from me, you workers of evil.'”

oct31a, shockedBut this most-frightening day also includes every sinner who ever lived on this planet. Revelation 6:15 and 16(BBE) declares, “And the kings of the earth, and the rulers, and the chief captains, and the men of wealth, and the strong, and every servant and free man, took cover in the holes and the rocks of the mountains; And they say to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Come down on us, covering us from the face of him who is seated on the high seat, and from the wrath of the Lamb:'”

When Christ comes again, every person will be separated according to their nature. The righteous will be on his right and the wicked on his left. As Matthew 25:31 and 32 (BBE), using a livestock metaphor, explains, “But when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then will he be seated in his glory: And before him all the nations will come together; and they will be parted one from another, as the sheep are parted from the goats by the keeper.”

Furthermore, hell is so horrific that the Bible uses metaphors such as fire, darkness, and worms to describe it’s torments. Mark 9:48 and 49 (BBE) ends Christ’s description of that place of eternal punishment. “Where their worm is ever living and the fire is not put out. Everyone will be salted with fire.”

Even angels aren’t immune to being exiled to hell. Jude 1:6 tells us, “And the angels who did not keep to their kingdom but went out from the place which was theirs, he has put in eternal chains and in dark night till the great day of the judging.”

Ioct31b, SHOCKEDM hope you’re a child of the Lord and not of your father, the Devil. So many folks assume they’ll be paradise bound when they die but they’ll end up incarcerated with demons eternally. That’s why I’m writing my book, You Think You’re Going to Heaven? I want none of my readers to end up in such a horrifying place.

On Saturday, I’ll post about a sunken ship and that was immortalized in a song by Gordon Lightfoot.

Christ Knows Our Pain

oct28, red crossOne of many benefits of being born again and being adopted into the family of Christ is that he knows what we’re going through. In man-made religions, the gods barely tolerate their worshippers. And philosophies such as Buddhism have no real answers to our human condition.

Unlike-manufactured deities, Christ has made us his children and sacrificed himself to pay for our sins. Hebrews 2:14 (BBE) explains, “And because the children are flesh and blood, he took a body himself and became like them; so that by his death he might put an end to him who had the power of death, that is to say, the Evil One;”

Jesus, our high priest, understands our infirmities. Hebrews 4:15 (BBE) explains, “For we have not a high priest who is not able to be touched by the feelings of our feeble flesh; but we have one who has been tested in all points as we ourselves are tested, but without sin.”

Christ knows what it’s like to be human, as Matthew 8:24 (BBE) shows. “And there came up a great storm in the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves: but he was sleeping.” Our Lord was so tired from ministering and teaching that even the storm didn’t wake him.

oct28a, Judas betrays ChristOur Master became thirsty, as John 4:5 and 6 (BBE) demonstrates. “So he came to a town of Samaria which was named Sychar, near to the bit of land which Jacob gave to his son Joseph: Now Jacob’s fountain was there. Jesus, being tired after his journey, was resting by the fountain. It was about the sixth hour.” That’s when he met a sinful woman who came to get water but who also received living water.

Our Saviour also knew how deeply it hurts to be betrayed by a friend. We read in Luke 22:47 and 48 BBE) how he was turned in by one of his own disciples to the authorities. “And while he was saying these words, there came a band of people, and Judas, one of the twelve, was in front of them, and he came near to Jesus to give him a kiss. But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, will you be false to the Son of man with a kiss?'”

oct28b, judge's wig on hard cover booksI could write so much more about the humanity of Christ but I’ll save it for my book, You Think You’re Going to Heaven? To many unsaved folks, Jesus was just a kind man who got killed for saying how nice it would be if people were nice to one another. I hope I may show the dynamic person Christ was in my writing.

On Thursday, I’ll post about the most terrifying day in history. It’s yet to come.

Saturday Song: Inner Circle, “Bad Boys”

This is one of my favourite reggae songs. The American TV show, “Cops” used it as their theme song, an apt choice as far as I’m concerned.

I found the full length version of the tune. Take a listen to it.

I’m glad that God is the ultimate police officer and judge combined. This saves us the trouble of seeking revenge on those who wronged us. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19 (KJV), “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

We couldn’t have perfect revenge even if we could take it. We only see a person’s exterior so we don’t understand why they did what they did. But Jeremiah 17:10 (KJV) quotes God as saying, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

oct26, police cap 1Furthermore, God knows what people are up to. Revelation 20:12 (KJV) says, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

People figure God can’t see them if they do their sins in secret. But Jesus tells us in Luke 8:17 (KJV), “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.”

And as God spoke through his prophet in Jeremiah 23:24 (KJV), “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.”

What a relief it is that God will repay the crimes against us by the wicked. Does this song and what I wrote make you glad? Please let me know in the space below.

Monday’s post will be about how our Lord went through all the trials of life which we experience.