Archive for May, 2022

How to Develop a Strong Faith

John 3:16

Jesus wants to enable you to stretch yourself spiritually and expand the circumference of your faith. 

On His Earth walk He greatly admired faith. After a woman had exercised admirable faith, He said to her “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:50). Peace!

Genuine faith begins when a person finally decides he or she isn’t God and happily acknowledges submission to the living God.

Such faith is assuring, insuring, and enduring.

Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up.

Faith helps us walk fearlessly, run confidently, and live victoriously.

Faith is the basis of life. Some people think it is a sign of weakness. It is rather an indication of strength. Thomas Edison said he never conducted an experiment that did not begin with faith.  

Have you ever gone on a date, taken a mate, driven in the rain, flown on a plane, bought or sold an item on credit? You have faith.

Have you ever eaten in a fast-food outlet where you don’t even know the cook, see its preparation, or know its source? You have faith.

Have you ever gone to a doctor you didn’t know, been given a prescription you couldn’t read, taken it to a pharmacist you couldn’t see, and taken the medicine provided?  You have faith.

Everybody has faith. It is just a matter of who or what you are willing to put your confidence in, and the principles by which you dedicate yourself. 

Faith has many sophisticated definitions. However, in reality faith is merely confidence in God’s character. Write it down, that’s a good one.

If a person responds positively and trusts Jesus for salvation, it is an act of  faith 

If a person responds negatively and rejects Jesus as Savior. It is an act of faith. based on belief in something or someone in whom they trust more than they do Jesus.

Faith gives us the courage to face the present with confidence, and the future with optimism.

Faith leading to salvation and abundant life is in reality saying as did Martin Luther this I believe, here I stand. Read, memorize and study Scripture, thereby feeding your faith. Be like a miner who has just struck a major pay-load of rich ore. By studying Scripture you can get to know the Lord as though He is your neighbor who is your best friend. Familiarity breeds faith. 

There are in reality only two decisions regarding trusting Jesus in faith for salvation: yes or no. Later is a no because of the unknown “X” factor, death. If you were to die right now where would you spend eternity? In faith put your trust in Jesus for salvation. Thereafter in all things put faith in Him to guide you. 

Then what Jesus said to the woman who put her faith in Him will apply to you: “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:50). Peace? Yes, peace.

Core Values That Count 2/8/98

Romans 1:14-17
Page 1645 Come Alive Bible

JESUS CHRIST touches and transforms lives. He did so for the most unlikely candidate. A brilliant though belligerent young attorney who was the apple of the judiciary eye in Jerusalem was assigned the role of special prosecutor to investigate rumors of the resurrection of Christ. His evidence turned on him and convinced him of the reality of the resurrection. He who gathered more facts about the resurrection was a skeptic. His material evidence and the collaborated testimony of eye witnesses changed his life. Thereafter, the life of Paul, filling it with joy so that it overflowed. That elation over salvation thrilled him so that he wanted to happily share it with others. The natural result of the in filling is the outpouring. What happened in the life of Paul was revolutionary. Ambitiously he wanted this spiritual revolution to sweep the known world. He had a sense of obligation to be an agent of achieving this end.

He had – – –

As a result of his redemption, he was completely owned by Christ. This gave him a sense of being completely obligated to Christ. Since Christ died for his sins and rose for his salvation Paul desired to do what Christ wanted and not what he wanted.

We are morally obligated to others as a result of being trustees or stewards of the Gospel.

When we receive something nice from friend, we feel a bit of indebtedness until we can do something nice for them. That wasn’t how Paul felt. He was not indebted to the people because he had not received something from them but something for them.

When Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, he became a debtor to Israel not because he received something from them but for them.

This indebtedness is to all persons. Greek culture permeated the known world. Therefore they were included. The term “barbarians” was a term used by the Greeks for anyone that did not speak their language. Other languages sounded to them like “bar bar” so they combined those words with “os” to make the word “barbaros,” meaning anyone not speaking Greek.

The words, “wise and unwise,” refer to cultured and uncultured. Thus, everyone is included. This is amplified in Colossians 1:28, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

About 500 B.C. “The Greek Miracle” emerged. In the lovely city of Athens the Greek culture was born. Their striking architecture was revolutionary. They raised knowledge of math to a new height. They became the first civilization to write history as such. They developed a new system of thought called logic.

Our American culture is indebted to Greek thought. They impacted the entire world.

The Greeks were the first to make their gods in their own image. God’s devised by other civilizations were ghoulish. Most were hybrids of lions/men or bulls/women, etc. Greek gods were like human beings. They said beauty is truth and truth is beauty. Their gods looked like Olympic champions or perfect females. Romans 1:23 describes this process: “and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”

Man was made the center of the universe. Humanism was given a major boost. Our society is currently following their trend.

Societies that do this should expect the result. Romans 1:24 reveals the result: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves…”

The term “God gave them up” means God took off all restraints. It was a term used for removing the mooring lines from a boat and setting it adrift. God gave them up to depravity. Verse 18 notes the “wrath of God is revealed” against such persons.

An overlooked aspect of the wrath of God is that God often punishes sin “in kind.”

In the Old Testament era the people of God rebelled during the wilderness wanderings when God was feeding them with “manna” a perfect food substance. What they wanted was not the perfect food God wanted them to have. They complained and demanded meat. God gave them what they wanted. Numbers 11:18ff tells of the result. God said “…you shall eat flesh…until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome.”

God often judges us by giving us more and more of what we want until we become sick of it. In the process we often call it progress.

As a child I loved pickles. Note, I said, past tense, “I loved” pickles. One Sunday afternoon while my parents were hosting relatives on the front porch of our house I got my opportunity. Mom had just made a vat of my favorite home made pickles. I had some with lunch and mother said, “Son, don’t eat any more.”

While they were busy on the front porch I seized the moment to enjoy more pickles. I was just wafting down my third one when I felt the hot laser beam of mom’s eyes on my back. Moms, even on the porch, knew what was going on in the kitchen.

“Enjoying the pickles I told you not to eat?” “Yes, mam!” “Well have another.” What has come over mom? She is rewarding me for misbehaving. What a wonderful way to get another pickle. Down went another large one. Yummy!

With a warm smile mom offered another. Well, that was OK but not quite as good. Slowly I finished it only to be offered another. By now pickles were becoming a punishment.

Believe me, pickles taste a lot better going down than they do coming up.

God gave them up. Romans 1: 21-23 chronicles the behavior resulting in being given up.

IMPUDENT – “They did not glorify God…”

INGRATES – “Neither were they thankful…”

IMPOSING – “They become futile in their thoughts…”

IRRATIONAL – “professing themselves to be wise…”

IDOLATERS – “They changed the glory of the incorruptible.”

God gave them up to “vile passions” (Vs. 26). That is, passions of dishonor.

Our president is alleged to have participated in conduct that would come under this classification. I want to repeat “alleged to have.” My point is not to hint that he is or is not guilty. Mark that.

The point is that in public opinion polls 72% of the people say it doesn’t matter if he did it.

Though I am not passing judgement on the president I am critically judging the attitude that says it doesn’t matter. It does matter to God. Other societies that have become hardened in this attitude have experienced the “wrath of God.”

It is said God gave such persons “over to a debased mind.” That means a person is incapable of making a correct moral judgement.

Verse 22 says, “Professing themselves to be wise they become fools.”

We have the most learned society in history. We have more brilliant people today than ever. We are brilliant about many things. Ask about space exploration, lasers, the Internet, modern medicine and we are capable of giving brilliant answers. Ask about a moral issue and we fail the test. Listen to the average TV talk show and you will hear the wisdom of fools.

As verse 18 says we have “suppressed the truth with unrighteousness.” The truth has now become so popular in certain instances that it is thought to be wrong.

A second characteristic emerges in verse 32. It shows people seek agreement on sin. “You approve of my sin and I will applaud yours.” The ploy is not only to cover sin but to get society to applaud it.

We, like Paul, can never repay our Lord for what He has done for us; but we, like him, should be willing to pay a little interest on the debt by faithfulness. The expression “ready” actually means “eager.”

“So” expresses the same intensity as the same word in John 3:16, “For God so loved…”

Paul was fervently eager to preach the Gospel.

He was mocked for preaching the Gospel in Athens.

He was mobbed for preaching it in Jerusalem.

It looks like he would have learned, but now he was ready to be martyred for preaching it in Rome.

Abraham Lincoln said he liked to see a man preach like he was fighting a swarm a bees.

Some preachers preach like they have just swallowed an egg and they are afraid that if they move, it will break; and if they don’t it will hatch.

What Paul was to preach was “the Gospel,” the good news not man’s views.

It takes time to get ready. Paul had to spend time alone in the Arabian desert with the Lord to get “ready.” No Christian should be reluctant to be trained to share the good news.

It took bold faith not to be ashamed of the Gospel in Imperial Rome.

Paul had previously faced the wicked city of Corinth “in fear, and in much trembling” (I Cor. 2:3). There he saw what the power of the Gospel could achieve. Now with eager boldness he was ready to face Rome, a city that worshiped power, with a greater power, the power of the Gospel.

The Greek word translated “power” is DUNAMIS meaning “God’s power.” DUNAMIS gives us our English words dynamo, dynamic, and dynamite.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6: 9 – 11).

The expression “The just shall live by faith” (vs. 17) was the theme that started the Reformation. It was a revolutionary thought in that era. Man through creedal religion was trying to earn, merit, and deserve God’s favor. Despair and futility resulted.

There is all the difference in the world in man’s self-sought righteousness and God’s righteousness.

READ: Titus 3:5; Eph. 2: 8,9; Romans 4:5.

The good news is revealed “from faith to faith,” EK PISTEOS EIS PISTIN, literally, “out of faith and into faith.” In other words, God does not speak to us directly; but faith comes from out of the heart and life of one believer who shares that faith and into the heart of one who by faith receives it.

The word “revealed” means “to take off the veil.” That is what sharing the goods news is. It is an unveiling.

In the Convent Library at Erfurt is a renown painting. It depicts Martin Luther as a young monk of 24 years of age reading a portion of Scripture in the early morning light. On the page he is reading can be seen the words, “The just shall live by faith.” Centuries before the prophet Habakkuk had penned these words and later the Apostle Paul repeated them. This painting depicts the renewal of humanity.

In the Library of Rudolstadt is a handwritten letter penned by Paul Luther the son of Martin. In it he relates a family insight as follows, “In the year 1544, my late dearest father, in the presence of us all, narrated the whole story of his journey to Rome. He acknowledged with great joy that, in that city, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, he had come to the knowledge of the truth of the everlasting Gospel.”

Let me share a summary of that moment of enlightenment in the life of Martin Luther.

Still today in Rome you will find the Cathedral Church of St. John of Lateran. There are three parallel staircases in it. People walk up the stairs on the left and right, but the center one is considered special. On some of the steps of the center case there are coverings of plate glass through which red stains can be seen on the stairs. These steps are still climbed by anguishing would-be worshipers who stoop to kiss the glass covered stains. A late tradition says these were the stairs in Pilate’s Hall in Jerusalem, and these are the blood stains from Christ’s wounds.

As the devout young monk, Luther climbed these steps on his knees seeking thereby to gain the favor of God, the text which he had read in that early morning light came to his mind: “The just shall live by faith.” He jumped to his feet and went on his way rejoicing.

Now back to the Library of Rudolstadt and the handwritten letter by the son of Martin Luther: “Thereupon, he ceased his prayers, returned to Wittenberg, and took this as the chief foundation of his doctrine.”

It is the foundation of Christianity.

A Call to Renewal: Part Three

II Chronicles 7:14

On three occasions before America has been lulled into the sleep of a spiritual slumber.

In the early 1790’s, as this young nation was emerging, a poll was taken at Harvard and could not find a single believer.

At Princeton they found only two. There they found only five who were not members of the “Filthy Speech Movement.” 

The Chaplain of Yale opened his Bible and a deck of cards planted there by students fell out in the chapel.

At Dartmouth, students conducted a mock communion service.

With a national population of only 5,000,000 there were over 300,000 alcoholics. The Whiskey Rebellion was so destructive that President Washington had to call out the national guard.

The churches were so decadent that Chief Justice John Marshall wrote to Bishop Madison of Virginia: “The churches are too far gone to be redeemed.”

In 1797, a godly Baptist named Isaac Baccus called upon America to wake up. God’s people practiced II Chronicles 7:14 and a great spiritual awakening resulted.


A few believers, there need not be many, need to get themselves right with the Lord.

If you are a parent of a young child and are a nominal Christian, only casually active in the practice of your faith, now is the time to reassess your values and commit yourself and your family to the Lord as never before. That includes getting actively involved in the local church.

My dear young friends, if you are fighting against the tenants of loving Christian parents and inclined toward rebellion, now is the time for your own sake to change. Involvement in the rebellious segment of the youthful society has proven over and over to be self-destructive.  That means something beautiful is destroyed. From the vantage point of admirable youth it is impossible to imagine what a beautiful life that destroys. Those of us who have lived it and enjoyed it appeal to you for your own sake “don’t blow it.”

Let them bind themselves together to pray for spiritual awakening. Here is the dangerous step.

Let them put themselves at the disposal of God to be used in turning others to Him.

Part of this involves working to elect responsible people who hold the view of George Washington as expressed in his Farewell Address: “Virtue and morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”

WAKE UP AMERICA. There is a great civil war of values being waged and we dare not sleep through it. If we attempt to, we will die in our sleep.

A Call to Renewal: Part Two

II Chronicles 7:14

We are rapidly letting our religious freedom erode. John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this, that it connected in one indissolvable bond the principles of civil government and Christianity, never to be separated.”

By twisting a statement from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson ten years after the Constitution was written, proponents of separation of church and state demanded a great wall of separation. Jefferson wasn’t even a member of the Constitutional Convention. His letter was written to a group of Baptists who were fearful the government was going to make the Presbyterian church the official national church. He was writing to assure them the government was prohibited from interfering with religion. This statement has now even been stretched to imply separation of Christianity from society.

B.  The minds of our youth are being stolen. The “dumbing down” of American students is now an established fact. There are many conscientious educators who are doing all they can within the system to further academics and truly educate children. There are many outstanding students who are excelling. There is much that is good. However, upper level bureaucrats are moving the educational system toward cognitive education in which students are to become PC. This rootless relativism is producing a generation among which many are morally confused.

Edmund Burke noted: “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites.”  This we are not doing.

A moral catalyst is addressed to a people “called by my name.”

A feature editorial in the “Wall Street Journal” (3\6\96 P. A20) might well serve as our text for what to do. It opens:

“A growing body of social science evidence shows that one of society’s most effective weapons against social ills is an old-fashioned one, namely religion. You don’t need a computer printout to figure out that kids who do God are less likely to do drugs, or turn to crime or get pregnant…churches are often the only institutions that still work.”

Writing about the army of drug-crazed youthful predators now headed for our streets in a few years, Princeton’s Dr. John DiIulio offered a prescription in the “Weekly Standard” saying, “My one big idea is borrowed from … well known child-development experts — Moses and Jesus Christ …”

The Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found in a survey that one of the best predictors of whether a child will stay free of drugs is whether he or she practices a religion.

A moral problem demands a moral solution. Jesus Christ is the embodiment and primary advocate of the standard which it is getting late to apply. It is not too late for people of faith to pray.

A Call to Renewal: Part One

II Chronicles 7:14

Jesus scoped out the scenic city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and wept. It was not the structure he saw but the soul of the city. As a result He lamented:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”  (Matthew 23:37).

Had Jesus such a vantage point of America, He would feel such a separation and be grieved similarly.

There is a strong viable faith community in America, the core of which loves the Lord dearly and seeks with diligence to serve him. The moral and spiritual contaminants that eat at the very soul of our society virtually engulf the faith community.


The spiritual, moral, social, and ethical decay in America indicates we are a nation suffering from internal decay.

The death of virtually every former great society has begun from within before external forces could overcome it.

Long before Alaric’s Goths poured over the walls of ancient Rome, the empire had decayed from within.

WAKE UP AMERICA!   The Goths are at our door.

America, a sick land, needs healing. The land must be healed as a body is healed — one member at a time. Therefore as we talk about our society, apply it to your life personally.

Our carnal condition is called “wicked ways.”

Our “offend nobody,” “tolerate anything,” and “stand for nothing” philosophy has caused us to unbutton our brains and expose them to playwrights or “play wrongs with themes belched from a Hellywood sewer.

Secular songwriters are all flats and no sharps. 

Our musicians have found the lost chord, but lost the message.

Our movies are a witch’s brew of sensuality and brutality.

As a nation we are a living demonstration that self-government without self-discipline won’t work. 

Our nation is in a perilous position like an elephant hanging over a cliff clinging to a twig by its trunk.

Without a spiritual awakening, America has no more chance of continuing to enjoy the blessings of God than a bat has in a radar room.

Wake up America!