How Can Adversity Be Good?

I know that we all have our own stories of how bad life has treated us, but, for now, we are going to expound on why I am a prime example of adversity.

I’ve lived a normal life up until age 35 and then I was diagnosed with a 7″ spinal cord tumor between C-3 and T-5.  After the tumor was removed, I was left paralyzed from mid-chest down.  Where, since, I have regained some ability to move and even walk, I have little ability to feel in those areas – except for pain.  Severe peripheral neuropathy in my right leg and left arm and both hips.  Minor peripheral neuropathy is in my left leg and right arm.

Also, in the site of the tumor resection, there had developed some bad arthritis (is there a good kind), a bone spur and a pocket of spinal fluid building up that was starting to choke off the nerves as well as one vertebrae that never healed from the original surgery, so the bone never healed back together and was then considered fractured.  That all being said, I ended up having to have the vertebrae in that area fused together 10 years later.  All 5 of them (four joints).

To top it all off, 5 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Carcinoid Cancer.  This is a very slow growing cancer and that is why I haven’t died yet.  It was found only after it had spread to my liver and now my liver is infested with it.  There are a multitude of “primary” tumors in my “gut” and, since it has spread, it is considered to be inoperable unless something life-threatening comes of it.  It is under “treatment”; meaning, there is no cure, there is no treatment to get rid of the tumors or even shrink the tumors, the only thing they can do is give me a drug every 4 weeks that helps control the symptoms.  I would be dead now if it weren’t for that drug.  The symptoms alone were enough to kill me eventually.

Both of these things that I document here, are very rare and almost unheard of finding them.  I mean, the spinal cord tumor was found when I was 35 – it is normally found in 12 year olds, according to my pediatric neuro-surgeon that removed it (I was his oldest patient).  The cancer is so rare that they only find it in maybe 1:300,000 people.  It is one of the most rare types of cancer in the oncology world and one of the most misdiagnosed diseases in the world… in fact, most cases aren’t even found until the patient is already dead.  I am fortunate and divinely cared for in both of these situations.

But, why do you think that these things happen to us?  Is it to punish me/us for some sin that we have committed?  Not likely. Then Why?

Side note: At the time that both of these situations happening to me, I was NOT walking closely to God… I was a Christian, I was just seriously backslidden in my Christian life.

There is a serious chance that God was trying to get my attention and make me realize that He really was in control, so if I continue to walk in the path that I was in, I would only be having more bad things happen to me.

Since we have gotten to this point, I have since given my heart and life back to God and given Him control of my life and now my life has purpose. No, I was NOT miraculously healed and the cancer taken away from me and my nerve problems solved.  God has used my infirmity to put me in the paths of people that I otherwise wouldn’t have ever come across that I might be able to witness to them and encourage them; and in return, He has shown me the plans that He has for me and has placed a wonderful wife and 2 kids in my life to help me along and, hopefully, I can help them along as well.

Ever since I was a kid, I had heard of Joni Eareckson-Tada.  She was in an unfortunate deep-water diving accident in shallow water resulting in a broken neck and becoming a quadriplegic ever since.  Since then, she has become quite an amazing person (I didn’t know her before the accident) having become an artist – yes, artist; she paints with her mouth – and an author and inspirational speaker in the evangelical Christian world.

I came across a video clip that is only a little over 5 minutes long that you might enjoy watching:

I hope you enjoyed hearing what Joni had to say.

Suffering is only one side of the coin in God’s eyes.  He really wants to see how you deal with it and which way you turn.  Because, you have a choice of what you are going to do with it.  You can take the devil’s route and get depressed and think “woe is me” and get down and even contemplate suicide, or you can turn your eyes upon God, get in His word and see what He has to say about it and be encouraged by it and in turn try to encourage others to turn to Christ as well.  It’s your choice.

References for Bible verses on comfort during hardships and to see what God has to say about it are available upon request.   I really want to find out how many of you are out there that are interested in this sort of thing and those of you who actually read this and care.  Comment at the bottom and let me know what you think.

©2013 Mark Davis

If you feel that you have a story that might encourage someone or that just points out the awesomeness of our God, please email it to me at mdnoidlife@gmail.com.  I am compiling some of these stories to be put into a new section of my blog for Testimonies.  I will even give you all the credits and will even link to your web site if you have one.

What Business Are You In?

Soul-winning is the chief business of the Christian; indeed, it should be the main pursuit of every true believer.”
— Charles Spurgeon

Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Lesson

Lesson 12

KJV Bible

KJV Bible (Photo credit: knowhimonline)

KNOWING WHAT WE BELIEVE

It is extremely important that we know what we believe and why.  In this lesson we will consider the vital doctrines of the Word of God.  Doctrine simply means teaching, and we are considering what the Word of God teaches about fundamental and basic truths.  To honor the Lord, we must have convictions about these truths.  Knowing these doctrines will help stabilize your Christian life.  I recommend that you acquaint yourself with these truths.

THE BIBLE

Words

Words (Photo credit: tempestuousseas)

We believe in the Bible as the verbally (every word) and plenary (completely) inspired Word of God.  By its being inspired, we mean that the Bible is literally breathed of God.  It is God’s Word.  All portions of Scripture are equally inspired and contain no contradiction.  They are totally without error as originally given by God.  Therefore, the Scriptures are our only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Psalm 119:89).  The canon of Scripture, comprised of the sixty-six books of the Bible, is complete.  Nothing shall be added to it or taken from it (Revelation 22:18, 19).

GOD

We believe in the one Triune God.  He is personal, spirit, and sovereign. He is perfect, infinite, and eternal in His being, holiness, love, wisdom, and power.  The Godhead eternally exists in three Persons:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  These three are one God, having the same homage, confidence, and obedience.  God is absolutely separate and above the world as its Creator; yet He is everywhere present, upholding all things (Genesis 1:1, 25; John 1:1; 14:16, 17, 26; Matthew 3:16, 17; 1 Timothy 3:16).

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

We believe that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1-4; John 10:30).  He became the God-man by virgin bir

THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe that the Holy Spirit is God, and therefore the third Person in the Trinity.  In Acts 5:3, 4 Peter told Ananias that he had lied to the Holy Ghost; and then he said, “Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto Godth (Isaiah 7:14).  He was begotten of the Holy Spirit, not having a human father, and is true God and true man.  He is man’s only hope of salvation, having shed His precious blood on the cross for our sins (1 Peter 1:18, 19; Hebrews 9:26-28).  He died, and buried and literally rose bodily again from the dead on the third day for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).  He is at the right hand of God today as our Mediator, interceding for us (1 Timothy 2;5, 6).  He will return for us, His church, the body of Christ, and take us unto Himself into Heaven (! Thessalonians 4:13 – 18).  He will set up a millennial reign on earth (Isaiah 9:6, 7; Revelation 20:4-6)..”  In this we see that Peter stated clearly that the Holy Spirit is God.

The Holy Spirit is a Person.  In John 16:13, 14 and in other verses, a personal pronoun is used of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 8:27 states that the Holy Spirit has a mind.  First Corinthians 2:11 reveals that the Holy Spirit has Knowledge.  Romans 15:30 speaks of “the love of the Spirit.” Also, 1 Corinthians 12:11 states that the Holy Spirit gives gifts according to His will.

From these verses we see that the Holy Spirit has these attributes of Personality:

Intellect — mind and knowledge Emotion — love Will

You see, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is not just an influence.  He is a Person at work in the world today.

His ministry is many-fold.  I will mention some of the ministries He has had in the past and does have now.

1.     In the past.  He is the Author of the Word of God.

2 Peter 1:21 — “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2.     In the past.  He took part in creation.

Genesis 1:2 — ” . . . And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

3.     Today the Holy Spirit indwells the body of the believer.

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 — ” What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 — “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

4.     Today the Holy Spirit performs the following ministries:

a.     Conviction in the hearts of the unsaved to bring them to Christ (John 16:8-11 — The word reprove in John 16:8 means convict).

b.     Regeneration of the believer (John 3:5, 6; Titus 3:5).

c.     Baptism of the believer into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).

d.     Sealing of the believer — making each believer eternally secure (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).

e.     Teaching the believer the truths of the Word of God (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1 John 2:27).

f.     Sanctifying by developing holy fruit in the life of the yielded believer (Galatians 5:22, 23).

g.     Empowering the believer for service (Acts 1:8).

h.     Filling the believer to live and serve the Lord with power and blessing (Ephesians 5:18).

To live to the glory of God, every believer should rely on  the power of the Holy Spirit.  We need to know the truth concerning Him and then rely on His power.

MAN

The Bible teaches that all men are sinners, that they are, by nature and by choice, sinful.  Man, who was created by a direct act of God, made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27), fell in sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).  Because Adam — the father of the human race — fell, all humanity has been born with a sinful nature.  The only One ever born of woman who held no sin is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Sin and death passed upon all men.

Romans 5:12 — “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Therefore, mankind is universally sinful.

Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Read also Romans 3:9-12, Isaiah 53:6, and Ecclesiastes 7:20.

Because of his sin, man is alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18) and is outside the family of God (Ephesians 2:12).  Unsaved men abide under the wrath of God (John 3:36) and are unable to save themselves.

SALVATION

The Bible teaches that salvation is by God’s grace through the believer’s faith and is without works.

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.”

Titus 3:5 — “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23) and cannot be merited or secured by man in any way except by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:19-24).  Salvation was purchased by the blood of Christ.

I Peter 1:18, 19 — “For as much 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.”

Hebrews 9:22 — “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

In Christ, believers have eternal life as a present possession and are justified before God.  Believers are sons in the family of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).  The saved are eternally secure in Christ (John 6:37; 10:27-30; 1 Peter 1:5).

When a person is saved, he is a new creation.  His salvation affects his whole life and personality (2 Corinthians 5:17).

SATAN

The Bible reveals Satan to be a person, actively at work in the world today.  He is the great adversary of God and His people.  Satan is the leader of all evil angels and spirits.  He is recognized in the Bible as:

a.     Satan — Revelation 12:9

b.     The Devil — Revelation 12:9

c.     The adversary of believers — 1 Peter 5:8

d.     The god of this world — 2 Corinthians 4:4

e.     The prince of the power of the air — Ephesians 2:2

f.     The prince of this world — John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11

As a believer, you will be wise to recognize the reality and power of Satan. Thank God, though he is powerful, he is not all powerful, Satan was defeated and judged at the cross; therefore, his eternal doom is certain and believers can have victory over him.  Satan can come either as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) or as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).  The saved are able to overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11), and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4).

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

God’s people should live holy lives with good works, not to bring salvation, but because of salvation.  The good works of a Christian should be the normal fruit of a saved life (Ephesians 2:10).

HEAVEN AND HELL

The Bible teaches there is a place called Heaven for the saved and a placed called Hell for the lost.

Matthew 25:46 — “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Luke 16:22, 23 — “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:  the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, . . . “

FUTURE EVENTS

The Bible teaches that at the close of the church age, the Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven to call out the believers.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 — “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

This event is called the Rapture and could take place at any time.  At the rapture, Christ does not set His feet upon the earth, but comes in the clouds to call the Christians home with Him to Heaven.  Following the Rapture there will be the seven-year period of tribulation, the worst conditions ever to exist on earth.  After seven years the Lord Jesus will return with His saints to set up His millennial reign.  These two appearances of the Lord are delineated in Titus 2:13 —

“Looking for that blessed hope [the Rapture], and the glorious appearing [Christ’s coming with His saints] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The Lord Jesus will reign as King for 1000 years.

Revelation 20:6b — ” . . . but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

The Bible teaches there will be a resurrection of the saved and a resurrection of the unsaved.  The saved are raised to life and the unsaved to eternal doom (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2).

It is the responsibility of Christians to be watching for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:13 — Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Mark 13:35 — Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning.”

Hebrews 9:28 — “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

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Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Asssignments

Lesson 12

peanuts - aboutsounddoctrine

ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

2.     Read Romans 1 — 8

For lessons 12 and 13 our assignment will be to read through Romans. Someone has said that Romans is a little Bible presenting a complete message of salvation and the Christian life.     Under section 2 of “NOTES” on a separate sheet, please record truths you find concerning doctrines from your reading of Romans 1 — 8.

3.     Answer the following questions in your own words:

1.     How did God give His Word? (2 Peter 1:20, 21)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.     Note the three persons in the Godhead from Matt. 3:16, 17.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

What do these verses indicate concerning the working together of each member of the Trinity?

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

3.     List at least four truths concerning Jesus Christ, the Word, from John 1:1-14.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

4.     What is the lost man’s condition according to Ephesians 2:1-3?

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

5.     Salvation comes by God’s _______________ and through man’s _______________________ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

6.     What part do works have in our salvation? (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

7.     What two things are mutually exclusive? (Romans 11:6)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

8.     Give the descriptive names of Satan as found in Revelation 12:7-12.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________________________

9.     Give some truths about Hell found in Luke 16:19-31.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________________________

f.  _____________________________________________________________

10.     When does a believer go to Heaven? (2 Corinthians 5:8)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

11.     What will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:10)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

12.     What should the truth of the second coming of Christ do for us as believers? (1 John 3:2, 3)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read in Romans 1 — 8:

Day 1 — Romans 1 __________________________________

Day 2 — Romans 2 __________________________________

Day 3 — Romans 3 __________________________________

Day 4 — Romans 4 __________________________________

Day 5 — Romans 5 — 6 _______________________________

Day 6 — Romans 7 __________________________________

Day 7 — Romans 8 __________________________________

2.     Notes on doctrines which we believe that I found as I read these eight chapters of Romans:

1.     The Bible ______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.     God __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

3.     The Lord Jesus Christ ______________________________

_____________________________________________________________

4.     The Holy Spirit __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

5.     Man __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

6.     Salvation _______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

7.     Satan _________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

8.     The Christian Life _________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

9.     Heaven and Hell __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

10.    Future Events ___________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

©2012 Mark Davis

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I Am Second – Live Second #3 – Faithful

I Am Second – Faithful

Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

—Acts 9:27

“He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”

This article is the third in the 4 part series that I am doing for the debut of the I Am Second’s Doug Bender’s latest devotional book Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First“.  I strongly recommend that if you haven’t read my first entry, that you do it now since it will shed a lot of light on the content of this post.  You can read it here and the second entry here.

To get your own copy of this book and let it show you how you can Live Second too, click on the picture above and it will take you to an online order page for the book.  As a disclaimer – I am NOT a paid contributor.  I am writing all of this of my own free will.

Faithful

page 197

In my first post in this series, I mentioned that I was raised a Christian and was taught the ways of a good Christian.

This post, I’m telling you, of a fact that, I was saved at the age of 6 and shortly after that baptized by immersion and so began my Christian journey.  My father was an, Independent, Fundamental Baptist preacher; and so was until I was 11 years old.  My mother passed away at the early age of 39 of cancer (we believe that it was the same type of Carcinoid Cancer that I have currently). After that point, my father left the pastorate and we moved to another town, another church (same denomination) and another life.

For some time I did as most people might do after a great loss of a family member, and that was mourn.  Although, my mourning included, again as some would, blaming God for my loss and blaming myself for her death.  “I wasn’t worthy to have a mother…”, “I didn’t love her enough…”, and so went my rants.  I spent many a night lying next to my dog (my best friend and only friend) crying until I fell asleep with my head buried in her coat.

I went through quite a period for the next 4 -5 years where my life was just tossed around, it seemed.  I had a new step-mom that hated me and my siblings – I was the stereotypical, proverbial, “Cinderella” , except I was a guy.  I, literally, was made to do everything that she did in the movies (almost); I even had the evil step-sisters  – 5 of them – and one brother.  I knew what responsibility that I had, of course, given by God, to respect her as an elder and that of a step-mother, but that didn’t mean that I had to like her; and I didn’t respect her that much.

My dad saw to it that I continued in Christian education until I was in Jr. High school (I know, what’s that?) and since I was doing so poorly in my classes, I was held back in 5th grade and then finally asked not to come back for my 7th grade year.  That threw me from the pot into the fire!

I was put into the public school system.  I really didn’t do much better there either, considering, I didn’t WANT to do ANYTHING!  For anybody.  And especially do anything that might make my step-mom look good (I keep wanting to type “stop-mom”… I wander if the Lord is trying to tell me something…).

During this period, I was introduced to pot, hash, coke, porn, cigarettes, and quite a bit more.  I was a different kind of guy in that cesspool.  No one wanted to be my friend.  All of the popular groups would kick me out of their circles and pick on me – talk about “bullying”.  The only crowd that “accepted me” were the “freaks”, the “pot heads” and otherwise known as rebels.  Just like me.  Just different.

It wasn’t until the end of my 9th grade year that I witnessed one of my “freak” “friends” being hauled off in the back of a police car and I stepped outside of myself and saw myself in that police car, because I was doing the same things that he got busted for… I was someday, if I continued on the same path that I was on, going to end up there too.  I really didn’t want that…

Up to that point I knew what I had been doing was wrong, but didn’t care at the time.  Now, at that time, I’m starting to care… I didn’t want that to be me, so I decided right there and then that I was going to clean up my act.  I was going to start back down the straight and narrow again.  **Notice I didn’t say that I was turning my life over to Christ again.

One thing led to another and I became the driving force that made my evil step-mother and my dad “separate”.  Notice I didn’t say the “D” word.  My dad was a great man of God (and still is) and tried as best he could to give me the right influences in my life.

After their separation, I finally begged the Christian school, that I went to earlier in the story, to let me come back and that “I was different now”, “I was going to make it work”.  They weren’t too sure about that, so they told me that if I memorize Proverbs 4 – the whole chapter – then they would put it up to a vote to see if I could come back, or not.  I memorized that chapter backwards and forwards, verse by verse.  They finally allowed me to come back.  The problem was that, they found out, I flunked my 9th grade year because I told a teacher off.  **Bad career choice here.

I had been put back in 5th grade again when my mom died, now I have to repeat the 9th grade due to my udder stupidity.  I will do my time.  Now, I’m the oldest kid in the class.  My junior year I became the President of my class.  My senior year I had to work almost full time, because my dad couldn’t afford that school any longer,  then playing sports on top of it, to put myself through this school so I could graduate from a Christian school and not a public school.

It was “tradition” within our church’s youth group that we would all go to summer church camp for a week.  It was notorious that everyone – mostly – would come back as someone “new”, they would get convicted and make life changing decisions to follow the Lord better somehow, than they did before.  Some guys would come out “being called to preach or become a missionary”, the girls might “be called to be Proverbs 31 women (in training) and/or become missionaries or preacher’s wives or a missionary’s wife”.

That year I couldn’t afford to go to camp, I had to work at my new job instead.

When everybody came home from camp, I began watching my “best friend” and wondering if his new choice to follow the Lord was actually going to stick or not.  After the second week, I realized that I was losing my best friend because I was beginning to be de-friended by him since we no longer desired the same things anymore.

After the 3rd week or so, I made my own decision to turn my life fully over to the Lord; for Him to do whatever He wanted to do.  I don’t usually do things half-way.  When I made this choice, it took a lot of soul searching for me, because I had a bunch of stuff that I had to quit doing or things to destroy/throw out, to clean up my life.  All of my choices from there on out were going to be made by putting them through the “What Would Jesus Do?” filter (that was long before the WWJD movement started).

From that point on, I did everything that I could for God.  I started really applying myself to my school work.  I became a “spectacle” at work – the jokes were always on me, at least until I finally became their boss.  I played sports to the best of my ability and gave the glory to God – and it seemed that He got quite a bit.

I became active in my church; I started working in our children’s church department as teacher/preacher/story teller/song leader – I saw quite a few children get saved and their lives changed; I started singing in our church’s choir every Sunday morning; I went out on “visitation” on Thursday nights, calling on people that we had leads on, as well as going out on our teen visitation every Saturday morning, where we went up and down neighborhoods knocking on doors inviting people to our church and witnessing at every opportunity.  I was, personally, privileged to see many souls come to Christ in those capacities – and I was just a teenager.  All of this seemed to make it obvious to me that I was being called by the Lord to become a pastor.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts and have followed parts of my life as I tell them, you already know that I wasn’t able to go to college after I graduated high school like all the rest of the kids.  I had a situation where, my dad and I lived together in an apartment, since he and my step-mom had separated.  He, since, had to take a job assignment in a different state. He offered to take me but I already was putting down roots where I was at.  I had, what looked like, a “promising” future at the job that I was in at the time.  I stayed behind.  Problem: my dad left me with EVERYTHING! If I were to go to college, I had nothing to do with all of “my” stuff, now.  I couldn’t put it into a dorm room, and that was the way I would have had to do it.

That sealed my fate…  I became a salesman.  Then a sales manager.  Then a district sales manager…  Then a salesman again…

…In the story of Paul in the passage above – remember, that is the reason that I’m telling you this epic mini-series – FAITHFULNESS!

As you can see by the turn of events in my life, I had times of fatness (spiritually) and leanness.  I think of an analogy of the images of fitness gurus.  On one side, you have the muscle men, the body builders; and on the other side, the marathon runners, all lean and slim muscled people.

Why do I draw this analogy?  The muscle man is one who has gone to school or church and memorized a bunch of scriptures and even, in some cases, learned theology and doctrines and how to apply it to certain situations, primarily witnessing and daily life applications.  But, these guys just hold it in; they have contests among themselves as to whose muscles are bigger or who can memorize the anatomy of the muscles or something better than the next guy.  They retained all of that information. Wonderful!

On the other hand, we have the runner.  He’s in it for the long haul.  He may never see the inside walls of a gym, but he’s still strong.  He might not be able to bench press 250 pounds like the body builder, but he could run farther and faster than the body builder.  He was well conditioned to get in the race and press on and run miles upon miles.  Body builders aren’t usually into too much of that  cardio stuff.

My application is this; as Paul stated in another passage in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  He was a “runner” for the Lord.  Yes, Paul was very learned and smart.  He knew the Old Testament backwards and forwards and he was even the head guy in the Sanhedrin before his conversion.  After his conversion though, Paul put a pin into his balloon of an ego, being his knowledge of God’s Word, and popped it.  He started letting it out and finally using his knowledge of God’s Word and using it the way God intends every Christian to do.

Drawing my story into all of this:  During my life, I had good, even great things going on and then there were times where I just got fat and learned, and then there were times where it seemed that I was going backwards in my Christian life.

Yes, I admit that I believe I missed my first and highest calling, to be a preacher.  Let me tell you something:  Any man can preach!  God allows us those ups and downs to build character within us.  He would rather that we were straight as a pin, but if that were the case, we would be gods ourselves and we know that that just can’t happen because of our sin.

Sometimes I really hate character.  Because, I know what it takes to build that character.  I would have much rather followed the Lord’s call to become a pastor, but that didn’t happen.  I am who I am right now and I can do NOTHING to change that and neither can anyone else, as much as they might like to.

God can and will still use us if we are or become faithful to Him and His Word.

Now, quite a few years and a whole lot of character later, I’ve finally succumbed to His will.  I finally give up (continually) the reigns to my life and let Him guide it.

No matter how broken we are, God still has a plan for us and wants to use us for some reason.

Take a look at your life – right now – and find the ways that you are and aren’t being faithful to Him.  Where do you need to make the changes? God really would rather not give us character building experiences.  We can keep that from happening by yielding to Him and His will as soon as possible – RIGHT NOW.  Don’t wait!  Please, don’t wait!  Some of those exercises that He lets us go through can be really, really hard to recover from… Someday, you might not recover from one of them…

God Bless You!

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©2012 Mark Davis

Read all of the I Am Second Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First posts:

See Post #1 – lies here

See Post #2 – New here

This is post #3

Follow on to post #4 – Available

I Am Second – Live Second #2 – New

I Am Second – New

Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

—Acts 9:15

“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen
vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and
kings, and the children of Israel:”

This article is the second in the 4 part series that I am doing for the debut of the I Am Second’s Doug Bender’s latest devotional book “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First”.  I strongly recommend that if you haven’t read my first entry, that you do it now since it will shed a lot of light on the content of this post.  You can read it here.

To get your own copy of the book and let it show you how you can Live Second too, click on the picture above and it will take you to an online order page for the book.  As a disclaimer – I am NOT a paid contributor.  I am writing all of this of my own free will.

New

In my previous post, I wrote about how I lied to myself for many years, telling myself that I was in control of my destiny, of my world; that I could use the power of my own mind to make anything happen in my life that I wanted to.

If you are thinking that way now, I strongly suggest that you look again at your own life and see that you are nothing without God. Without Jesus at the helm of your earthly ship, you are bound for rough waters and ultimately for the rocks on the shore that you are about to run into.  You can look at the life of Jonah in the Bible to see how that ends, or you can turn it into the ship ride that Paul took and make it a success.

That was before – this is now!

God allowed me to become partially paralyzed (or parapresic) where I can move but I don’t feel my lower extremities.  I didn’t wake up to God’s calling.

God allowed me to be diagnosed with Stage 4 Carcinoid Cancer. Terminal; inoperable; spread to my liver; very painful; lost lots of weight (you wouldn’t know it by looking at me today).  God got my attention – Finally!!!  PTL

I can’t tell you what a joy it is to actually let God have control on your life. When I think about where I was and where I am now, I can’t help but wonder “Why”?  Why did God want me around still?  After all of the backsliding that I had done and all of the “close calls” that I’ve had, I, by all intents and purposes, should be dead right now or at least a vegetable.

The medical professionals have one word for me – “Anomaly”!  Almost every time I go to the doctor, I can tell you what they are going to tell me; “I can’t find anything wrong with you” or “there should be no reason why you hurt here”.  Sometimes I don’t go to the doctor for that exact reason. One visit turns into 3 with all of the extra tests and follow up visits and so on.

This “Anomaly” has a purpose in God’s eyes!  For many years I have wondered why it is that God keeps me around and I couldn’t answer that question.  Every so often I would ask myself again and come up with the answer of, “God’s got a plan for me; If He was finished with me, I wouldn’t be here still”.

That is something that all of us should ask ourselves, because, our whole existence on this earth is to glorify God and do His bidding.  If we aren’t doing that as Christians, God may not have any further use for you – then you won’t be around any more. Sobering thought!

The “lesson” in the book for this post makes mention of new Christians and how we try to stifle their zeal and energy to spread the Gospel.  I’m not a new convert by any means, but because of all of the backsliding that I’ve done and for so long, I almost feel like one.

Now, instead of a whole person who is capable of “anything”, God has a broken person who is crippled, constantly in pain, stuck in bed for the majority of my life, but, I have a burning in my heart for the lost – I want to be able to help people find the right path to travel in their spiritual lives.  While being “broken”, I always have to keep my eyes on God to supply my needs and therefore He can be seen in and through me.

For a long time I wondered about my purpose.  I have married again (wife #3).  She is a great person with a great heart.  She knew what she was getting into when she married me – no surprises later.  She knew that she probably only had another 2-3 years with me then she would be collecting the insurance money on me.  She is AWESOME!  She takes care of me when I need it but I still attempt to have my own independence and do things on my own.  But her support is priceless!

My purpose?  My wife has 2 children – a boy and a girl.  She is 25 and out of the house and living with the grandparents, and he is 17 and still in high school.  He is a teenager like none other that I have known, besides myself… I see myself in him!  He has a heart for God.  He goes to public school and carries his Bible around with him.  He catches heat for it sometimes but the Lord has blessed it because He and I have had a chance to meet with a classmate that needed Jesus and we were able to show her how to find him.  She became a Christian and now we have somewhat-weekly get together/Bible studies with her.

I have realized that my purpose is to be a Dad to them as much as I can – not to replace anyone else in their lives, but to just be there for them and guide and instruct them in the right ways to go from a Biblical perspective.

My purpose is to be willing to do anything that God puts in my path.

As Christians, we need to not stifle the energy of new believers but rather encourage it.  “Go out and tell the world”, we should tell them and help them as they go.

Moreover than that, we as seasoned Christians need to find that fire within ourselves and stoke it up, make it burn brighter than it ever has!  That is the only way that God is going to use us.  That fire will breed passion and the passion will breed desire to do anything that God wants us to do and that is to be a “Christian”, Christ – follower (like) person that tries to mirror Christ’s actions or at least make the decisions that He would make if He were in your shoes.

Become a “NEW” person; a “NEW” Christian!  Let your light shine!

—Matt 5:16

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your
good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

God Bless You!

–Mark

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Read the other Live Second Entries:

Post #1 – lies

This is post #2

Post #3 – Faithful

Post #4 – Available

©2012 Mark Davis

Lesson 6 – Witnessing – Lesson

Lesson 6

Chick Tracts

    Growing in Grace – Lesson 6 Print out here

WITNESSING

WITNESSING – WHAT IS IT

What is a witness? A witness is one who is called to testify before others about what he has seen, heard, or known.Paul stated that when he accepted the Lord, Ananias said to him, “For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard” (Acts 22:15).

Acts 1:8, the last words which Jesus spoke before He ascended into Heaven, commanded His disciples to be witnesses – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The early church took this commandment literally. As a result thousands were saved, churches were planted, and Christianity grew rapidly.

The Bible teaches that we are saved to tell others. God has given His Son for each of us. Therefore, we should be anxious to tell others of this wonderful love.

TWO WAYS TO WITNESS

1.  Confess Christ to Others – Romans 10:9, 10.

Our salvation requires that we confess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. This confession is given when a believer tells others he has accepted the Lord. It is also given by stepping forward during the invitation in a Bible-preaching church and taking a public stand for Christ.

2.  Witness to others to win them to Christ.

In John 1:41, 42 we find an excellent scriptural example of leading a soul to Christ. Andrew had come to know the Lord.  The Scripture says, “He first findeth his own brother Simon… “ (v. 41).  That is, he went out deliberately to find his brother and witness to him about his coming to know the Lord Jesus. He did this by speaking to Simon, by witnessing to him – “…And saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.”

First – He found his brother.

Second – He spoke a witness to him.

Third“And he brought him to Jesus…” (v. 42).

This should be the result of our witnessing: That we bring others to know the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is what we call “soulwinning.” It means that we give ourselves to be used to witness so that someone else accepts the Lord Jesus Christ.

WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULD WIN SOULS

1.  The Bible commands us to be witnesses.

I Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

2.  The Lord Jesus called His disciples to be  “fishers of men.”

Mark 1:17, 18 – “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straight-way they forsook their nets, and followed him.”

3.  The example of the early church was one that was on fire winning souls to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 5:42 – “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”

4.  The Apostle Paul set us an example.

Acts 20:20, 21 – “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

5. The soulwinner is wise.

Proverbs 11:30 – “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”

a.  Wise because the soulwinner is laboring with the world’s most priceless possession, the soul of a man (Mark 8:36, 37).
b.  Wise because the only real peace in this world comes through Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28).
c.  Wise because the soulwinner gains eternal reward (John 4:36).

6.  The soulwinner glorifies God.

John 15:8 – “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: so shall you be my disciples.”

7.  The soulwinner delivers souls from an eternal Hell.

Ezekiel 3:17, 18 – “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked. Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”

8.  The soulwinner has confidence at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Ezekiel 33:8 – “When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand.”

REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCCESS IN SOULWINNING

1.  Personal knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior (John 1:12)

2.  Assurance of salvation

I 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.”

3.  Purity of life

II Timothy 2:21 – “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

4.  Yieldedness of life

Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren  by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

5.  Burden for lost souls

Matthew 9:36 – “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”

6.  A prayer burden for the unsaved – Paul had such a prayer burden.

Romans 10:1 – “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”

7.  A practical knowledge of the Bible

As a person develops in soulwinning, he needs to learn more and more in the Word of God. But you do not need to have a great knowledge of the Bible to start out in soulwinning work.  In John 9 the blind man had just been healed when he was called upon to give his witness to the unsaved Jewish leaders.  His witness was simple, but it was a wonderful testimony.  He said, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (v. 25).

He told them what he knew; he gave them a witness without knowledge of the Bible.  You can start winning souls if you will just use John 3:16 and tell others what Jesus Christ has done for you. Then to continue winning souls, you need to grow in the Lord and in a knowledge of His Word.

8.  Boldness without being ashamed

This man in John 9 was bold for the Lord and gave forth a clear-cut witness.

Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

HOW TO LEAD A SOUL TO CHRIST

1.  Show him or her the fact of sin.

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The first truth that one must see in order to be saved is that he is a sinner.  If a person does not see that he has sinned against God, he will not realize he needs a Saviour. Joe Henry Hankins said, “You must get a person lost before you can get him saved.”

2.  Show him or her the penalty for sin.

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The second truth the unsaved must see is that there is a penalty for his or her sin.  This penalty is death – not just physical death, but also spiritual death.

3.  Show him or her that Christ paid the penalty for his or her sin.

I Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also hat once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

4.  Show him or her that salvation comes by receiving Christ.

John 1:12 – “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”  The word “power” in John 1:12 means “right” or “authority.”  Those who receive Christ have the right or authority to be called the sons of God. To receive Christ is to believe on Him.

HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS

1. Read good books on soulwinning.
2. Become active in your church visitation program.
3. Go soulwinning with someone who is experienced so that you can get some good training.
4. Watch for opportunities to witness.  You will be amazed at how many there are.
5. Take every opportunity God gives you to present a bold witness for Christ.

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Lesson 6 – Witnessing – Assignments

Lesson 6

    Growing in Grace – Lesson 6 Print out here

ASSIGNMENTS

1. Memorize Acts 1:8.  Also, we suggest you memorize Matthew 9:36.

2. Read John chapters 1 – 2, 12 – 13, and 17 – 19.  Note the truths you find on witnessing.  Note particularly at least four truths about witnessing in John 1:29 – 51.  Note also the instruction given about our work for the Lord in John 2:5.  Record this information under “NOTES” on a separate page.

3. Answer the following questions in your own words:

1. What example did Andrew set that we should follow? (John 1:40 -42)

_________________________________________________________________

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2. What is the command the Lord gives in Acts 1:8?

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3. Who must be central in all of our witnessing? (John 14:6)

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4. Who was central in the witnessing of Philip in Acts 8:35?

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5. The disciples in the Book of Acts had real power in their witnessing.  In Acts 4:29 and 31 we are told how they spoke the Word of God. What was it that characterized their witnessing?

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6. According to Psalm 126:6, three requirements for soulwinners are:

1.________________________________________________________________

2.________________________________________________________________

3.________________________________________________________________

7. If these three requirements are met, what one thing is absolutely sure, according to Psalm 126:6?

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8. What is the condition of those who have not accepted Christ? (John 3:18)

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9. What does Jesus promise that should encourage you in witnessing and soulwinning? (Matthew 28:20)

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10. Why is it important to keep your life clean? (Matthew 5:16)

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11. What are two results of failure to witness? (Ezekiel 3:17, 18)

a.________________________________________________________________

b.________________________________________________________________

NOTES:

1. A blessing I received each day as I read John 1 – 2, 12 – 13, and 17 – 19.

Day 1 – John 1 __________________________________

Day 2 – John 2 __________________________________

Day 3 – John 12 _________________________________

Day 4 – John 13 _________________________________

Day 5 – John 17 _________________________________

Day 6 – John 18 _________________________________

Day 7 – John 19 _________________________________

2. Truths I found about witnessing:

John 1:29 – 51 – Four truths

1. ________________________________________

2. ________________________________________

3. ________________________________________

4. ________________________________________

John 2 ________________________________________

John 12 _______________________________________

John 13 _______________________________________

John 17 _______________________________________

John 18 _______________________________________

John 19 _______________________________________

3. Instruction for our work for the Lord in John 2:5

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4. List names of some friends or relatives who do not know Christ as Saviour so that you could start praying for them.

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5. Assignment: List these names below, be sure to write down the date you see these people saved as an answer to prayer.

Requesting and Rejoicing – A Daily Time of Prayer

Unsaved for Whom I Am Praying:

Name                                                                      Date Saved

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6. Other truths I have learned about witnessing and soulwinning (write these down now and as they come to you during your continued study of Growing in Grace.):

________________________________________________________________

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©2012  Mark Davis
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Our Holy Scriptures

Core Beliefs: 

Our Holy Scriptures – The Bible

Through the sands of time, God has used men/people to chronicle history (mostly of the Children of Israel), from the beginning of time to near the end of the first century A. D.  In this article, I will attempt to show you how we can know that the Holy Bible is our Word from God that we can hold to be true and infallible so that we can use it and ONLY IT as our road map through life.

The Holy Bible is compiled of 66 books, ranging from Genesis to Revelations, including the Old Testament and the New Testament.  We hold that the WHOLE Bible has been compiled by men by the inspiration of God to become the Holy Bible that we hold today.

The Scripture is Verbally Inspired Directly BY God:

Verbally – Verbal means that every word of Scripture is God-given. The idea is that every single word in the Bible is there because God wanted it there.

Plenary – Plenary means that all parts of the Bible are equally authoritative. This includes such things as the genealogies of the Old Testament. All parts of the Bible are of divine origin. Jesus said:

Luke 16:17; “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.”
Paul wrote: “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

After having that said, I want to emphasize that Scripture contains the exact words, forms of words, and wording that God desired. The fact that a certain word in Scripture is found in the singular rather than the plural is all part of the divine work. Everything in Scripture is there because God wanted it to be.

II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

It is important to emphasize that the Bible contains the exact wording that God wanted. When the Holy Spirit worked with the various writers of Scripture He moved them in a mysterious way to bring about exactly what God wanted to say.  We have to remember that the inspired words of God are the words that are found in the original manuscripts.

There are many different translations and interpretations today that do NOT convey the words and thoughts that God had in mind when they were originally given.  When choosing a translation that is more “inspired” than the rest, you need to look at the texts and compare them to the original GREEK (New Testament) and HEBREW (Old Testament).  There were no original texts that were written in Aramaic or Latin except for several chapters in Daniel and a brief passage in Ezra, which were written in Aramaic.  These were later translated and, in a lot of cases, adulterated by “not-so-inspired” men that did not believe that God had a reason for putting certain words in certain places.  They changed words, removed words and added words to be able to meet their agenda.  DO NOT be deceived by these translations.  Other supporting scriptures include; I Corinthians 2:13; II Peter 1:19-21; Titus 1:2, 3; Hebrews 6:18).

God’s Word has been preserved down through the ages.

God’s Word is important enough to Him that He would go to any extreme to preserve His Word so that it will say the same thing now as it did 4000 years ago (the originals – not in some translated manuscripts).  We have available to us now, the same truths that the Hebrew children memorized in Torah school and knew by memory by the time they were adults.  In Matthew 5:18 Jesus says, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled”.  In Matthew 24:35 Jesus also says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”.  And in I Peter 1:25 it says, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you”.

God, Himself, has vowed that absolutely nothing, even the end of the heavens and earth, would change His words and that they would be preserved, or stay the same, from the time they were written down the first time to the end of the heavens and earth.  Other supporting scriptures: Psalm 12:6, 7; Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:140; Matthew 24:35; Luke 16:17; Revelation 22:18, 19; Deuteronomy 12:32.

The Bible is Truth without any error whatsoever (John 10:35; Matthew 5:18, 19).

It is the complete and final revelation of the Will of God to humanity (Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelations 22:18, 19).

The Purpose of the “Testaments”

In the Old Testament, we see allusions to the coming of a new testament or covenant to mankind.  That being the case, we can see that God never intended for the Old Testament (the Law) to be the final testament or covenant.

The Old Testament was incomplete in the fact that it never provided a way to forgive our sins and to provide a way for us to be able to spend eternity with God in Heaven:

Hebrews 10:1 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Hebrews 10:2 “For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

Hebrews 10:3 “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

Hebrews 10:4 “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” 

The Old Testament foretold the coming of a new testament:

Galatians 3:19; “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Galatians 3:20; “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

Galatians 3:21; “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

Galatians 3:22; “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:23; “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Galatians 3:24; “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

The Old Testament foretold of the coming of a Messiah which will provide permanent forgiveness of sins:

Isaiah 53:10; “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:11; “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

Galatians 3:25; “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

A final way for mankind to obtain final absolution from our sins:

God, through His Holy Scriptures, has provided a final way for mankind to obtain final absolution from our sins through the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and His shed blood on the cross:

Acts 5:31 “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins”.

Acts 13:38; “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

Acts 13:39; “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”

Ephesians 1:7; “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

Colossians 1:14; “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

God has provided a final sacrifice from our sins:

The next statement is made referring to Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 10:9; “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Hebrews 10:10; “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Hebrews 10:26; “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins”.

The New Testament became the fulfillment of the Law by the shed blood of Christ Jesus, His death, burial and ultimate resurrection. Other supporting scriptures: Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20;  1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 9:15, 20; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 30:5,6; Isaiah 8:20; II Timothy 3:16; Revelation 22:18, 19.

The Bible is Truth without any error whatsoever.  As we have seen above, if the scriptures were given by God verbal plenarily, and if He has preserved it through the ages, then there is no way the scriptures can change from being the Truth and, as such, would continue to be without errors. (John 10:35; Matthew 5:18-19)

It is the supreme standard by which all human conduct, Christian unity, creeds, philosophies and opinions must be tried:

We have seen that the Word of God (Scripture/Bible) has been inspired by God and that it is perfect in all that it says.  God gave us His Law that gives us a guideline for personal activity – what should be done or not, and if something should not be done what the consequences would be if it is done and sometimes it will tell us that if we actually do something that is good, what the reward will be.

God has given us the ability to choose in all aspects of life.  He has given us these guidelines and tells us the good and the bad of things and lets us make the choice from there.  He then tells us what will happen if we make the wrong choice or what the blessing will be if the correct choice is made.

There are more verses through the Bible giving us these guidelines than I can even begin to list.  Here are just a few for you:

Proverbs 28:26; “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

1 Thessalonians 5:12; “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

1 Thessalonians 5:13; “And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

1 Thessalonians 5:14; Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

1 Thessalonians 5:15; “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

1 Thessalonians 5:16; “Rejoice evermore.

1 Thessalonians 5:17; “Pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:18; “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:19; “Quench not the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:20; “Despise not prophesying (Teachings).

1 Thessalonians 5:21; “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:22; “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

This list covers almost everything regarding human behavior.  If it isn’t written here, it is implied within at least one of them.

It is the only unerring canon that determines truth:

Deuteronomy 4:1; “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.

Deuteronomy 4:2; “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you”.

Deuteronomy 17:19; “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them”:

Psalm 119:11; “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”.

Psalm 119:105; “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”.

Romans 15:4; “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope”.

Hebrews 4:12; “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.

These scriptures, as well as many prior to this, are excellent statements that prove that the canon of the scriptures (66 books) is the truth.  Yes, there are many books, many authors and many different statements within the Book, but these scriptures have been studied by scientists to verify the manuscripts are from the time period that it would have been written in, scholars have studied the words, statements, phraseology, writing styles, etc. to verify that the works were written by ONE true Author – God – at the hands of humans.  The true manuscripts have been vetted and the false (non-Spirit inspired) manuscripts weeded out so that we finally end up with the final 66 books.  All prophesies made that were to have been fulfilled, have been fulfilled when they were supposed to be fulfilled, save the ones that are still yet to be fulfilled regarding the End Times and the Second Coming of Christ.

We also have to remember that if there were any one place in the Book (The Holy Bible – all 66 books) that contradicts another place/statement therein, then we could not trust anything within the Bible to be true.  If there were any inconsistencies within the covers of the Bible, then we would not be able to trust ANY other words in the Bible to be true.

We have to believe all of the Bible or none of it at all.

©2012  Mark Davis

The Printed Page

Since you have been saved, you are most likely wanting others to know the same peace and joy that you have found in the Lord Jesus Christ. As you read God’s Word, you have an increasing desire to spread the Word of God so others can experience the same joy of having the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. You may have a keen sense of urgency as you see the current events and realize that Jesus could come back to catch away his redeemed ones at any time. The time is short and there are so many to reach with the gospel message.

This is written to give helpful techniques and instruction in the ministry of giving out the gospel by way of the printed page. I will unfold this information according to the following outline:

  1. Why?
  2. Exhortation
  3. Testimony
  4. Techniques
  5. Contact information
  6. After the tract is in their hands

I. Why?

The answer is in the Word of God:

Rom 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God”.

They MUST have the Word Of God !!!

Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

II. Exhortation

In II Timothy 4:2 we are told in the Scripture that God, through Paul, urged Timothy to preach the Word. Is it important? YES

The great commission commands us to GO. This is the commission for every Christian. We all have this responsibility. We need to take it seriously.

Mark 16:15 says …”go ye, … preach the gospel”. This is proclaimed even by the printed page.

III. Testimony

I have been personally challenged with the testimony about a man in Australia that committed to giving out the Word of God for many years… his mission field was only a doorway. As he gave out the Word, he planted the Word. He didn’t see much fruit then. But, years later, testimonies from various places in the world began to pop up about how people were saved because of the faithfulness of one man to give out the Word of God.  His name was Mr. Genor.  You can HEAR the account on the internet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CQ9amtIOTY

I have personally given out many thousands of tracts through the years… and yes I have heard testimonies of people getting saved because of the “printed page”. It is thrilling that God can use such a simple method to reach souls for Christ.

IV. Technique

You come in contact with people every day that need the GOSPEL message. It is easy to walk on by and ignore them. Of course, Satan does not want them to hear!!! Pray each day that God would lead you to some souls each day to evangelize. You just might be the last person they will ever come in contact with that can share the gospel message with them.

If we fail, we have their blood on our hands. It is an awesome responsibility that we have. Although I try to reach as many as I can, there are so many that I will have to give account for… because I failed to put the message in their hands. I MUST work “for the night is coming when no man can work…” As long as God gives me strength, I have decided to follow Jesus and do His will in reaching souls for Christ.

Here are some pointers you may want to make note of:

  • Keep the tracts neat and not folded or “dog-eared”. If soiled: do not use.
  • Hand out the tract so they can read it (right-side-up)
  • Be cheerful!
  • Don’t be looking for an argument.
  • Be sincerely interested in them.
  • Speak so they can hear you plainly.
  • Be positive that they will take it.

I will now give you my technique. Your way might work, but this way has been what has been helpful for me and God has used it.

At a restaurant —

Place 1 to 3 tracts at the edge of the table where the waitress will most likely be.

When she has a moment and she is not busy, I simply say: “I have something free for you. You may have your choice. (most likely she will take one, sometimes all 3). I then say – “That is a good choice. It has helped us a lot and you might enjoy it, too”.

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At a restaurant —

Tell the waitress that you have something free for her. She says: “What is it?” I say, “This is a little Bible tract that shows how you can be 100% sure of one day being in God’s heaven. It has helped us a lot and you might enjoy it, too.”

Sometimes there is a response like: “I will be sure to read it when I get a chance.” Or: “Well, thank you very much. I will be sure to read it.”

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A clerk at a store:–

“Let me give you something free. (Hold it out for them) This is a little Bible tract that shows you how you can be 100% sure of one day being in God’s heaven. It has helped (‘me’ or ‘our family’) a lot and you might enjoy it, too.”

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Anyone else —

Use the same technique. Be flexible.

V. Contact Information —

Even though the tract might have your church imprint on the back side, always try to have your name and phone number vertically along the back edge. This might also include your e-mail address.

The reason for this is — if they might come up with questions, encourage them to contact you so you can give them a Bible answer.

If you and your spouse are both believers, you can encourage a lady to contact your wife, while guys should contact the husband. Many times this is more comfortable – and safe.

VI.  After the tract is in their hands —

PRAY that the Holy Spirit will use His Word and the tract to bring them to the place where they will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.  (Rom 10:9-13)

If you can possibly visit with them after the decision, give them verses on assurance of salvation.

Encourage them to get into a good Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church where they can grow in the things of God.

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Note:  Where can you get a supply of tracts? I recommend: CHICK PUBLICATIONS, P.O. Box 3500; Ontario, CA 91761-1019 or contact by the internet: www.chick.com

Submitted by Bob Davis. E-mail at: rld736@yahoo.com

©2012  Mark Davis

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