Welcome to my blog! I hope to be a resource to help you in your walk with God. Now more than ever we need to get back to the basic fundamentals of moral living and take a stand for what is right and truthful with God as our ultimate authority. His Word is reliable and preserved and can be trusted, so that is the basis for my advice and teaching. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or topics you would like me to cover. I look forward to sharing what God has placed on my heart. See my website at https://www.lovinggodministry.com/ for books and music I have written that will enrich your life!

Ezekiel 22:30: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Let's stand in the gap together!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Check out my new website and logo!

While I have a website through Tate Publishing, which is www.dawnfoss.tateauthor.com, I also wanted to create my own so I could have a little more creativity and be able to offer promos and sell my books and CD's from my own stock.  I hope you will check it out!  In addition to the little shop, I have some of my songs and videos on there, as well as links to some of my other sites.  I have a blog in which I post some of my articles, so feel free to comment!

I also have a new logo:

I'm so happy with this logo, from the colors to the pictures that so well represent Christian books and music.  A friend of mine, Cory Goins, created this for me, and I am so thankful for his excellent work.

The link to my new website is: www.dfgal1109.wixsite.com/dawnfoss

God bless you, and have a wonderful day!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Judging Islam by the Life and Character of Muhammad

I've gotten into some discussions in which people have accused Christians of following a bad religion full of hate, particularly against Islam.  They say there are so many bad Christians, so Christianity must be a joke.  

A friend of mine sent me this video and transcript, and I found it to be a helpful outline.  Judging a religion should come down to the central figure and doctrine of that religion rather than its followers, although the followers should be good representatives or ambassadors for that central figure.  Watch this 5 min. video for a quick summary, comparing Muhammad with Jesus.  Then decide for yourself.  The article is highlighted in blue.  The rest are my comments.  http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2016/09/muhammad-vs-jesus-judging-religions-by.html  

Judging Islam by the
Life and Character of Muhammad

Islam must be judged by its prophet Mohammed. The following 26 points (one for every letter of the alphabet) are made by David Wood on his website: http://www.answeringmuslims.com/

Wood makes this opening statement, “Christianity and Islam are the largest religions in history, and around half the people in the world consider themselves to be either Christians or Muslims. But Christianity and Islam disagree on fundamental doctrines and practices, so they can't both be right.

Is there a way to judge these two religions? Some people judge religions based on the worst adherents of the religions. Others insist that we should judge religions by their best adherents.  However, rather than judging religions by their adherents at all, we should turn to the central figures of the religions.” With this in mind consider the following 26 points:

A) Muhammad was convinced at one point that he was demon possessed.
B) Muhammad tried repeatedly to commit suicide.
C) Muhammad admittedly delivered revelations from the devil.
IBN ISHAQ 165-6; IBN SA’D 1:236-9
D) Muhammad complained that he was a victim of a magic spell.
BUKHARI 3175, 5765
E) Muhammad supported his religion by robbing people.
IBN ISHAQ 281-289
F) Muhammad started a war with Mecca when he had a chance to live in peace in Medina.
IBN ISHAQ 289-321
G) Muhammad had people assassinated for criticizing his religion.
IBN ISHAQ 675-676
H) Muhammad beheaded hundreds of Jews for trying to defend themselves.
IBN ISHAQ 464; TABARI 8:27-41
I) Muhammad ordered his followers to execute anyone who leaves his religion.
-BUKHARI 6878, 6922
J) Muhammad commanded his followers to violently subjugate the entire world.
QUR’AN 9:29; MUSLIM 7258
K) Muhammad tortured people for money.
L) Muhammad bought, sold, owned, and traded black African slaves.
BUKHARI 6161, 7263
M) Muhammad called Ethiopians “Raisin Heads” and claimed that Satan looks like a black man.
N) Muhammad had sex with a nine-year-old girl.
BUKHARI 3895, 5133
O) Muhammad had at least nine wives at one time even though his own revelations only
allowed four.
BUKHARI 268, 5068, 5215
P) Muhammad married the wife of his own adopted son after causing the divorce.
QUR’AN 33:37; TABARI 8:2-3
Q) Muhammad had sex with slaves girls.
QUR’AN 33:50; NASA’I 3411
R) Muhammad broke the promise he made to his wives that he would stop having sex with his slave girls.
QUR’AN 66:1-2; NASA’I 3411
S) Muhammad allowed his followers to rape their female captives.
QUR’AN 4:24; ABU DAWUD 2155
T) Muhammad took the most beautiful captives back to his own tent.
U) Muhammad told his followers they cold beat their wives into submission.
QUR’AN 4:34; IBN MAJAH 1986
V) Muhammad declared that women are stupid and that their testimony is unreliable.
QUR’AN 2:282; BUKHARI 2658
W) Muhammad promoted idolatrous pagan practices like kissing the black stone and bowing to the Kaaba.
BUKHARI 1597; QUR’AN 2:144
X) Muhammad repeated stories based on forgeries and passed them off as revelations.
QUR’AN 6:25; 8:31; 16:103
Y) Muhammad portrayed God as deceptive and Jesus as a complete failure.
QUR’AN 3:54; 4:157; 7:99
Z) Muhammad has kept more people from knowing the true God than any other false
prophet in history.

IBN ISHAQ was an Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer. Ibn Ishaq collected oral traditions that formed the basis of an important biography of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
BUKHARI commonly referred to as Imam al-Bukhari or Imam Bukhari, was a Persian Islamic scholar who was born in Bukhara (the capital of the Bukhara Region of Uzbekistan). He authored the hadith collection known as Sahih al-Bukhari, regarded by Sunni Muslims as one of the most authentic (sahih) hadith collections. Note: A
hadith is one of various reports describing the words, actions, or habits of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
IBN SA’D was a Sunni scholar and Arabian biographer. Ibn Sa'd was born in 784 A.D. (168 AH)[4] and died in 845
CE (230 AH).[4] He received his training from teachers including Al-Waqidi. He had a reputation of being both trustworthy and accurate in his writings, which, in consequence, were much used by later writers. He was from Basra, but lived mostly in Baghdad.
TABARI refers to Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (838-923), a Persian historian and theologian.
NASA’I, born 829 A.D. was a noted collector of hadith (sayings of Muhammad), and wrote one of the six canonical hadith collections recognized by Sunni Muslims
ABU DAWUD was a noted Persian collector of prophetic hadith, and compiled the third of the six "canonical" hadith collections recognized by Sunni Muslims. He was born 889 A.D.
IBN MAJAH was a medieval scholar of hadith. He compiled the last of Sunni Islam's six canonical hadith collections. He was born 824 A.D.
MUSLIM: I don’t know what this source is referring to (see under J above).
QUR'AN, is another spelling for the Koran, Islam’s sacred book.

In contrast, Jesus healed the sick, died for the sinner, rose from the dead, makes intercession for us to God, made the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, walked on water, created the world, teaches us to love, be hospitable and kind, to love truth, to oppose evil, and teaches that we are all equal in Christ.  The list goes on (see the video for a few more examples), and that is who Christianity is built upon.

I know that there are good teachings by Muslims as well, such as to be hospitable to strangers, and there are many peaceful, loving people who are Muslims.  But again, we can't judge a religion based on its followers, but based on the central figure of that religion.  While I mean no disrespect to Muhammad or his followers, I do mean to show these things so people can intelligently think about this.  I mean respect to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, 100% deity and 100% man, the Savior of the world.  I believe that Christianity is the trusted religion for all men, women, boys and girls, and that God loves every single Muslim out there as well.  He died for you, too, and many Muslims do come to trust Jesus Christ, especially when they realize how loving our Heavenly Father is to His children.  Allah is looked upon as a military god, as a strong commander, whereas Jehovah, while strong and powerful, looks upon His children like a loving parent does, and refers to Himself as Abba Father, Papa God.  The invitation is open to all, so if you are  human, regardless of your race, creed, ethnicity, religion, culture, gender, socioeconomic status, beauty, power, occupation, etc. etc., Jesus reaches out His hand to you to offer you forgiveness of your sins.  No one else has the power or authority to do so.  Please come to Him today.

Romans 10:9-13: "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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What Does the Bible Say About Slavery?

The issue of slavery often comes up often when people are trying to defend the Bible.  People who have a problem with the Bible love to try to stump Christians by bringing up the mention of slavery in the Bible.  "How can you believe in a God who is for slavery?  Do you think slavery is good?"  "Well, no..."  "Well, then, how can you believe in a God who promotes slavery?"

My pastor taught us some key points about slavery in the Bible, and I would like to share them with you.  Click on this link for my church's website to hear great sermons by my pastor.  These are from an outline given to me at church, and the notes I took.  My pastor is aware I am sharing this info, and is happy to pass it forward.

First of all, we tend to compare slavery in the Bible to the 1600-1800's of American history.  This is not the slavery of the Civil War era.  This was slavery in ancient times, and there are some differences.  And before I start, freedom should be for all.  I will talk more about that in my conclusion, but first want to define slavery in the Bible.  

I also want to note that slavery still exists today, even in America.  Unfortunately, the sex slave industry is very prominent, esp. in places like Baltimore, MD.  It is wrong, and more needs to be done to stop it.  

Slavery is defined by culture.  What is spoken of about slavery in the Bible has to do with Jewish culture in ancient times, so it's important to understand the cultural context. What is recorded in the Old Testament are the laws surrounding Jewish slavery, and it should not be mistaken as a command to all people for all time.

1.  Kidnapping/enslaving others was punishable by death. Exodus 21:16.  The Jews were not allowed to kidnap people in order to be slaves, such as is done in the U.S. and other countries today with sex slaves.  Also, even during the Civil War era, slaves were kidnapped by their own people in Africa and South America, and brought to the coasts of America and sold.  Under God's law for the Jewish culture, that was an act punishable by death.  You could not buy someone who was kidnapped.

2.  Criminals were sold into slavery as punishment for their crimes and to make restitution to the innocent party.  Exodus 22:2-3.  For instance, if someone robbed another, they had the option to pay it back, and if they couldn't, they could become a slave.  It's much like prison today.  People work in prison, are surrounded by walls, have strict laws, lack of freedom, etc.  They didn't have prisons back then, so slavery was used to pay back their debts.  If they murdered someone, they were killed.  If they were thieves, they became slaves.

3.  Those who dwelt in Israel could also become slaves by selling themselves into temporary service due to debt.  Leviticus 25:39-40.  This was how they paid back their debt; by working off what they owed.

4.  Jews could purchase slaves from other nations.  These may have been captured in battle, enslaved for a crime, or sold themselves due to debt.  Gentile slaves weren't freed after 7 years, but Hebrew slaves were, during the year of Jubilee.  Just as God showed mercy, God commanded His people to show mercy as well.  Leviticus 25:45-46, Deuteronomy 20:14.  The Jewish culture was the only culture that freed their slaves after seven years; no other culture did that.  There were no government programs.  Sometimes people were faced with the choice of starving to death or indebting themselves by becoming a slave.  They had fewer freedoms, but they at least didn't die.  Slaves were either slaves because of 1) crimes they committed; 2) debt; or 3) they were war criminals, or in other words, they lost the war and would either be killed or enslaved.  The Israelites had the choice to kill them or enslave them, knowing that if they just let them go, their mission would be to kill or enslave the Israelites.  It was kill or be killed.  It's hard for us to understand this, but it was a different culture back then. Their options were limited, and their choice could lead to their own demise.

5.  Servants/slaves could be purchased by the servant's/slave's family members.  Leviticus 25:49.  The owner was required to let them go, even with thieves.  As long as someone came and paid their debt, they had to let them go.  This applied to Hebrew slaves only.  Just like citizenship has its rights and benefits, so did the Jewish citizenship.

6.  Servants/slaves could redeem themselves. Leviticus 25:49.  More freedom in Jewish culture than in others.  They could work and earn money (keep some for themselves) so they could eventually buy their own freedom.

7.  Jewish servants/slaves in Israel were to be treated as hired laborers.  Leviticus 25:39-40.  They were to be treated kindly. 

8.  Some slaves were even treated as family members.  Proverbs 17:2, Genesis 15:2-4.  They were given an inheritance.  If they were smarter than their children, they would put them over their children, and get some inheritance along with their children.  Eliezar, Abraham's slave, was an example of that.  He was going to give him his entire inheritance, but God promised Abraham He was going to give him a son.

9.  Every 7th year, all Hebrew servants/slaves must be set free.  Deuteronomy 15:12.  All Hebrew slaves go free the 7th year.

10.  Jews were required to give expensive gifts to freed servants/slaves when freed.  Deut. 15:13-14.  They would set them up with a business and compensate them.  It was their welfare program, so to speak.  You had to work hard for it, and after a few years (7 max) you were given some resources to start your own business.

11. Some servants chose to stay with their masters because they would not find a better life on their own.  Deut. 15:16-17.  This was pretty common.  Eliezer was happy to be bonded to Abraham.  They would be given an earring, which identified them with their master.  This was a decision they made for the rest of their lives.

12.  Slaves were given a day off every Saturday.  Exodus 20:10.  They had the 7th day off every week.  

13.  If a servant/slave was permanently harmed/injured, then they would be set free.  Exodus 21:26-27.  Gentile or Jew slave alike; they were not to be treated as livestock or animals.  If they lost a tooth, finger, eye, toe, got their arm broken, etc., they were automatically set free.   If an animal killed anyone, whether slave or free person, that animal was killed.  The slave was put on the same level as any other human.

14.  If a servant/slave was killed by a Jew, that Jew would face a charge of murder.  Exodus 21:12, 20-21 (use of "rod" also found in Proverbs 23:13-14; was a wooden switch used to discipline a child or a slave, regardless of age. They particularly had to use this on the criminal slaves.  You get what you paid for.  If you had a criminal slave, it is not likely they are going to listen well).  In the Civil War era, slaves were treated like livestock, and they could harm them and kill them all they wanted, and there were no repercussions. Under God's law, you would be punished for doing that.

CONCLUSION: here is the key and most important truth: "One must remember that the Old Testament law was a set of standards given to a hard-hearted people.  It is true that God did not outlaw slavery, but He did set up laws which protected the health and humanity of those who found themselves in servitude to another.  (compare divorce in the Old Testament and Jesus' New Testament teaching - Deut. 24:1 and Mark 10:1-9).  God's heart is that all men are created equal - Galatians 3:28: 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.'  Slavery will not be allowed in heaven under God's eternal, perfect reign."  God allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, but was not the intended purpose in paradise.  So rules were given to protect the woman.  With slavery, God protected their humanity.  It was a rough culture, but not intended for us today.  The New Testament teaching is we are one in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People? Part 2

As promised, I'm writing the second part of the topic, "Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People," from my Pastor's series at church.  If you'd like to hear him teach it, here is a link: Pastor Russ Smith: Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People? Part 2  However, I'm going to type up my notes to summarize this.

Remember from part 1, because we are all sinners and none of us are good (Romans 3:12: "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."), the question is really, "Why does God allow bad things to happen to bad people?"  

1) Because of our Sin.  While a child thinks in his or her mind it is bad to go to bed at 8 pm, or it's bad to be forced to clean his room, or bad to have to eat her veggies, there is a purpose in these things.  It is to REDIRECT US.  We don't want bad things to happen to our children, but because of their sin and the bad choices they will make on their own, we sometimes have to "inflict" bad things on them, which aren't really bad, but in their minds it is terrible!  It's like a punishment sometimes to have to clean their rooms!   Why does God punish?  To redirect us toward Himself, where there is true joy, peace, and happiness.  Eternal blessings in heaven and earthly blessings will result, which makes our discomfort worth it.  It gets our attention so we can focus on God and the things that are really important.

2) To Strengthen Us.  James 1:2-4: Trials in our lives condition or strengthen us, much like a body builder has to go through the pain and suffering of weight lifting to build muscles.  We have to sacrifice some of the things we want for the things we need in order to be healthy.  Weight lifting builds endurance, and God wants to grow us to our fullest extent, to perfection or "maturity."  We won't be sinless, but stronger.  God knows best, even if we don't want to be stronger.  He'll push you harder like a good trainer would do, knowing there is more to attain.  We were created to be close to the Lord, and we can lead others to God as well.  God's plan requires strength, so trials will help accomplish that.

3) God's Will.  2 Peter 3:9, Isaiah 55:7-9, 2 Cor. 1:3-6.  Sometimes bad things happen, and someone else will benefit as a result.  The experience gained will help you to comfort and understand the sufferings of others.  There's nothing in it for you, but for others, and to bring glory to God, although the experience may help you to handle further troubles.  One interesting analogy given by my Pastor was a baseball coach puts the players where he thinks it is best for the team based on their abilities.  A new player may want to play shortstop, but may start out in right field, for example.  Then he may be put on 3rd base.  The coach has the eagle's view, and will do what's best for the whole team, not just your desires.  God sees the whole picture, and the past/present/future.  He may allow a certain job you hate to give you experience so later you can get the job that will be your dream come true.  It wasn't that God was being mean to you, but just the opposite - preparing you for better things to come.

4) Man's Choice.  Rom. 5:15-16, James 1:13-15.  We sometimes just have to own up to the choices we've made.  Don't be mad at God, but rather be mad at Satan for tricking you!  Does God need to tie us to a tree so we won't make bad choices?  No! Then we'd cry for being tied to a tree and not having our free will.  Laws of nature have certain consequences, such as jumping off a cliff, eating fast food, chopping off an arm, abusing relationships - when things go south, we shouldn't be surprised.  

Can good people make bad choices?  No, because no one is good.
Can bad people make bad choices?  Yes.
Do bad people make good choices? With God's help, yes.
God is the standard for right and wrong, and when making choices in faith with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can make good choices.  Our bad choices lead us to hell if we reject Christ; we shouldn't be shocked when our bad choices lead us to destruction.

I hope this gives some helpful perspective on this very practical topic.

Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People? Part 1

My pastor (Pastor Russ Smith - see our church's website for audio of his preaching: http://meridenhillsbaptist.org/) just preached on this tonight, and I wanted to share some thoughts from his lesson, adding in my own thoughts as well.  This is something so many of us struggle with because, simply, we love each other!  We don't want to see anyone suffer, especially those whom we think sacrificed for others, lived a good and decent life, never committed a crime, etc.  Why should they in turn be rewarded with evil, or so it seems?  Why should those we love suffer in pain and agony?

To answer this question we have to break it apart into simpler questions.  First of all, who is good?  1 Peter 1:18-19 says, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."  Jesus, the Lamb of God, is good and perfect.  In contrast, we are all sinners, no matter how good we seem as we compare ourselves among ourselves.  Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  2 Corinthians 10:12 says, "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."  

It's not about what we think is good, but what God thinks that matters because He is the final Judge.  This is His world and we are merely creatures borrowing space.  When we view ourselves through the eyes of God, we will see ourselves as poor wretches, blind, poor, filthy in light of God's holiness and beauty.  

What do you define as good?  Is it someone who has not murdered anyone, or raped anyone, or robbed a bank?  Is someone good who hasn't gone to jail?  Our pastor ministered in a prison ministry, and he said even those in jail think they're good, like they don't deserve to be there, etc.   We might look at our sweet grandmas and think they of all people are good.  But what we have is a subjective morality, using different definitions, and we can never draw a solid conclusion unless we have one source, one moral authority upon which to base everything else on as a point of reference.

So since none of us are good, then it changes the question: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Bad People?"  We talked about who is good, so now let's ask, "Who is Bad?"  Isaiah 64:6: "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."  Isaiah, a great prophet, included himself in this when he wrote, "We."  The Israelites took purity very seriously, and would separate people out who were diseased or bleeding or wounded, etc. until they were clean again.  They were careful about spreading germs to the point of even exile.  He in essence is saying to them, "we should all be exiled; we're all bad."  Even our righteousnesses, and notice he has that in plural form, so not just taking our very best but all of our goodness, are as filthy rags in the sight of God.  Our lives are but a vapor, it says in James.  We all do fade as a leaf.  

So who is good?  No one.  Who is bad?  Everyone.  It's not that good people don't deserve bad things to happen to them, but rather we are bad and the good things that happen are by the grace of God.  I know that's humbling, but until we swallow our pride and see ourselves as we really are, there will be no healing or peace for our souls.  Until we repent, there will never be forgiveness of our sins.

The third question is, "Why is there Pain and Death in the World?"  How could a just, kind, loving God allow this to happen to those He created?  Romans 5:12: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."  Who is that one man?  Adam.  We may complain and say, "Ugh!  If Adam never sinned, we wouldn't be in this mess!  We'd still be living in paradise."  Well, Adam was the very best we had, and even he sinned.  Let's be honest; we wouldn't have lasted as long as he did!  We started out with an environment that a holy, perfect God called "very good" and yet man sinned. Genesis 1:31: "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."  

Here's the curse, guys: Genesis 3:16-19: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

We are in a cursed world.  But the question can be asked, "Would you ever allow pain and suffering for your children?"  The obvious knee jerk reaction is, "of course not!"  But let's think about this more.  When you tell your child to clean his room or eat his vegetables, he may feel like he's emotionally suffering, or even physically suffering.  We not only allow that child to suffer, but we're causing it.  But it is suffering with purpose, and we are inflicting suffering with love.  We want our children to be healthy, and we want them to be responsible and clean.  We don't want them to trip over their toys and get injured.  We can and should allow certain types of suffering to our children with purpose.  We are born bad, and need to be taught to do right, even if it feels uncomfortable.  

The last point for part 1 is this: "God's Punishment."  Sometimes we are not allowing pain and suffering, but rather actually punishing our children for wrong doing.  Why?  Because bad decisions = pain.  If we discipline our children in the small things, then they will avoid greater pain in the future.  For instance, if you punish your child for disobeying you for touching something she should not have touched, then when she is ready to put her finger in the light socket or touch the hot stove, she will obey when you say, "No!"  If she is running after a ball into the road with a car coming, she will stop when you say, "Stop!"  God punishes us for our good, just as we do for our children, so that we learn to obey and inevitably avoid greater pain.  We do it because they are our children that we love, not someone else's children, but our children.  Hebrews 12:6-7: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"  Why do we discipline our children? To make them stronger, build moral character, teach them to be hard workers, practice relationship building (by, for instance, making them share a room), etc.

I hope this gives some perspective from God's point of view as you consider the sufferings in this life.  There is meaning and good that can come from anything we go through, if we love God and seek His will and purpose for our lives.  Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Three Brief Points About Morals, and a Song

I was on a conversation in Writer Beat, and I made this comment to a discussion we were having.  I wanted to post it here, too, because there are some foundational points about morals that I believe are worth meditating on today.

The fact that we have an innate sense of morality is one of the arguments for the existence of God and a holy Creator rather than mere chance for our existence.  People, even when not a Christian, do have a basic moral sense, regardless of where they come from.  Sin of course creeps in and can degrade that sense of morality and sear the conscience, so we have to guard our hearts very carefully, and ultimately need salvation from our sin by trusting in the complete work of Christ as our substitutional sacrifice.  

The second point I wanted to make is that we have to be careful not to take the Giver of moral law away from the moral law given.  In other words, it is a mistake to take away the authority of those morals from the morals themselves.  Yes, the principles from the Bible can be applied to anyone, Christian or non-Christian, but they become relative unless we have an authority behind them.  Don't steal.  Why not?  Says who?  Says Jesus.  It seems like a little thing, but it is foundational.  A fantastic and entertaining movie that brings this point very clearly is Time Changer.  I highly recommend watching this movie.  Here's a link to the trailer: Link to Time Changer trailer

Last point: religion itself is not the answer for mankind; it is Jesus.  Jesus is STILL the answer.  Religion is manmade, but Christianity is God made.  Religion is man centered; theology is God centered.  There are a lot of divisions when it comes to religion, but I would challenge each person to study the Bible carefully and diligently. Find a church in which you are learning the Bible and growing spiritually.  I know there can be various interpretations of passages, so we have to compare Scripture with Scripture in order to get proper context, meaning, and the best interpretation.  Because Jesus is our Creator, and Christianity is the ONLY religion, so to speak, that is not works based, and because Jesus is the ONLY one who died on the cross for OUR sins, I propose He is the best choice.  Of all the religions of the world, why choose Jesus?  Because He is the only one who can provide forgiveness for our sins.  No one else can.  How can we help but adore Him?

Here's a link to a song I wrote that I think will bless your heart today. My Lord and My God

God bless you today as you discover the wonder and love of God.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Great Examples from the Bible

This is something that was emailed to me from my friend George Zeller from the Middletown Bible Church.  I'd like to share this with you, as it shows some great examples from the Bible that we can follow.

May we be...

like Abel, pursuing  righteous works (1 John 3:12);

like Enoch, walking in daily fellowship with the Lord (Heb. 11:5-6); 

like Job, being patient and faithful even in the most difficult situations (James 5:11);  

like Abraham, trusting God even when the promises of God seem impossible (Rom. 4:19-21); 

like Joseph, turning his back on all evil advances (Gen. 39:7-12); 

like Moses, choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb. 11:25); 

like Caleb and Joshua, following the Lord wholly (Num. 32:12); 

like Jonathan, realizing that when the Lord is on your side you are never outnumbered (1 Sam. 14:6); 

like David, encouraging himself and strengthening himself in the Lord his God (1 Sam. 30:6);   

like Nehemiah, praying without ceasing (Neh. 2:4-5); 

like Simeon, eagerly looking for the Lord’s coming (Luke 2:25); 

like Andrew, striving to lead my brother to Christ (John 1:40-42); 

like Peter, reaffirming his love to Christ after serious personal failure (John 21:15-17); 

like Paul, not counting his own life dear (precious) unto himself, so that he might finish his course with joy (Acts 20:24).

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Formal Announcement from Tate Publishing News on my New Release

Click to see the press release for my new book...

This link will take you to Tate Publishing news for a formal announcement of my new release, "The Sonic Adventure Gang." It's the first in a series, and the second book is in layout currently.  I plan to take this group through an entire year, going through all the seasons, and experiencing the fun and warmth of being part of a church community, not just by having a blast in the time machine, but in participating in church activities, going to Sunday School and learning the Bible, experiencing spiritual growth together, and helping one another on their journey of life as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Excellent Resource for Learning about the Psychology of Atheism

For those of you who want to be contenders of the faith, and be able to understand the psychology of atheism and defend your faith in Christianity, this is a GREAT resource. I had referenced, with permission, much of this in my section of my Fully Persuaded book on the existence of God. It's a free seminar online by an excellent teacher. http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/psychology_of_atheism/?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Eight Quick Facts About Truth

Truth is something so critical to know.  Relativism is destroying our nation.  "What's true for you may not be true for me" is a common myth.  Now, if we're merely talking about preferences, that's one thing.  But things such as moral law is entirely a different thing.  Unfortunately our nation resounds with Isaiah 59:14: "And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter."
John 8:31-32: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  There is an "if": if you continue in God's Word, the Bible.  
I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek is an excellent book. They talk a lot about truth.  Here are eight facts about truth: 
1. Truth is not dependent on our feeling or preferences, because truth is truth whether we like it or not.
2. We legislate morality, but who will be the authority of moral law? Every law declares a certain behavior is right and its opposite is wrong.  That is the definition of morality. We should find truth and legislate it, such as legislating that murder is wrong, businesses have to be honest, doctors have to do no harm, etc. How our leaders define truth for public policy dramatically affects these laws.  Our nation used the Bible as our moral authority, and rightfully so since this is His universe and we are His creatures.
3. You demand truth every day from your bankers, doctors, spouses, children, business associates, etc.  True/false tests are a demand for truth placed on the students by their teachers.  So for those who don't think truth is important, I would say they are not being very truthful with themselves.  
4. Truth is discovered, not invented.  Even if no one knows about it, like the law of gravity or that the earth is round, it still exists.  Truth is transcultural, true for all people, in all places, at all times.  Mathematical equations are a common example.
5. Truth is unchanging, even if what you think about it changes. It is true whether or not you believe in it.  It doesn't matter how sincere you are in your disbelief about the law of gravity, for example, it is still what it is and your misinformation or lack of belief does not change what it is.  
6. Your attitude about truth doesn't matter.  A humble person isn't necessarily right and an arrogant person isn't necessarily wrong.  
7. All truths are absolute truths, even if they appear to be relative.  For example, "I feel hungry today" may appear relative, but it is true for everyone everywhere that the person claiming to be hungry has a sensation of hunger today.  In their book on pg. 38 the authors note: "Contrary beliefs are possible, but contrary truths are not possible.  We can believe everything is true, but we cannot make everything true."
8. Truth is absolute, exclusive, and knowable.  To deny absolute truth and its knowability is self-defeating because if you say there is no truth, the question comes up, "Is THAT true?"  If you say all truth is relative, the question comes up, "It THAT a relative truth?"  If you say you can't know truth, then I'd have to ask you, "Then how do you know THAT?"  Because these statements contradict themselves, they are false, and moral relativists are defeated by their own logic (Geisler and Turek, p. 49).

The Sonic Adventure Gang - release date September 6!

Tomorrow my first book in the series, "The Sonic Adventure Gang," releases to distribution.  It's a small book great for elementary to teen readers.  Check it out at amazon.com: Check out The Sonic Adventure Gang on amazon!

Also, here is a wonderful press release that was made for my books and music.  I hope you will check it out, and share if you like what you see.  God bless you!