Wednesday, July 5, 2017

HOW TO OBTAIN SALVATION

We have already explained that salvation means deliverance from sin and a useless life. One question remains. How can I obtain this eternal salvation? Below are listed the necessary steps to receive salvation. We trust that they are clear. Read them carefully, dear reader. Then receive God’s Word into your heart.

You need to be saved. You need to be saved because you are a sinner. It is essential that you realize this, because before you realize that you are a sinner, you won’t desire salvation. If a person is sick and goes to a doctor, the first thing the doctor does after examining him, is to point out the trouble. The sick person then realizes his need. Then the doctor prescribes the medicine. This is the way God works too. Before He can give His salvation to you, God must convince you of your sin, that sickness of soul which is your real trouble. It is sin which threatens you with eternal death. Read carefully God’s declaration below. In the word “all”, you too are included.

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

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6.

“There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10.

You cannot save yourself. This is the hardest thing for us to receive. Adam and Eve made loin cloths from fig leaves to cover the results of their sin. It has always been man’s way to try to save himself. But you must realize that there is nothing you can do. You cannot save yourself. God’s Word says:

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us.” Titus 3:5.

Jesus has already prepared salvation for you. This is the good news of the gospel. The Bible says:

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

“Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.

The way to receive salvation is by faith.

“But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12.

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.’” Acts 16:30 & 31.

Dear reader, will you not just now receive Him?

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Friday, June 30, 2017

SALVATION

As the Bible clearly reveals the Savior, so it clearly reveals what salvation is, and how we can receive it. The Bible says, “Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. Pay careful attention, therefore, to the following five points:

Salvation is an experience. This experience, called the new birth in God’s Word, takes place the moment any person receives Jesus Christ as his Savior. The Bible says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6. Our need is two-fold. Like sheep we have gone astray, led by a sinful nature. We need healing from this sickness of the soul. Also we have deliberately chosen our own way, turning our backs on God’s way. We have rebelled against God, and we need forgiveness for our sin and rebellion. In the experience of salvation, God gives us a new nature through a new birth, thus healing the sickness of the soul. At the same time he also forgives all our sins and trespasses.

Salvation means deliverance from sin. There are many people who desire to be saved in their sins. They are willing to “believe” on the Lord, if they can continue on in their sins. But, salvation means deliverance from sin, from its penalty of eternal death, from its power daily, and, when Jesus returns, from its presence forever.

Salvation means deliverance from a useless life. “You must know that you were redeemed from your useless way of living . . .” 1 Peter 1:18 – literal translation. The purpose of life is to glorify God, but we cannot glorify Him before we believe. Therefore, our lives are useless. When we are saved, we are called to a useful life, useful to God and to our fellowman. As such it will glorify God.

God wants all men to be saved. We read, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3 & 4. God wants you, dear reader, to be saved too. And remember, that the two things mentioned in the verse above cannot be separated. To be saved is only possible if we come to a knowledge of the truth. We must seek salvation on the basis of the Word of God.

Now is the best time to be saved. The Bible says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2. You, dear reader, do not have to reject salvation outright to be lost. If you simply neglect to receive salvation, the result is the same. There are many people in hell today who, while they were alive, understood how to be saved. They simply neglected their salvation. Listen to the advice of the Bible, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” Hebrews 2:3. “Boast not yourself of tomorrow; for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1.

Since these five things are true, won’t you accept Jesus as your Savior NOW?

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE SAVIOR'S SECOND COMING

No story about Jesus would be complete without mentioning His return to this world. We have already mentioned that at the time His birth was announced to Mary, the angel said, “And the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32 & 33. The fulfillment of this promise has not yet taken place, but it certainly will take place. The Savior will return to earth as King of kings to reign forever.

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples for forty days. During this time He taught them and prepared them for the work they would do after He went back to heaven. That work was to preach the gospel to the entire world.

At the end of the forty days, Jesus took His disciples to the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem. From there He was taken up into heaven. We read, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said: ‘you men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:9-11.

When is He going to return? We do not know. We do know that His coming will end this Age of Grace, when everyone who wants to can turn to Jesus and believe on Him. When He returns, God’s gracious invitation to all men to be saved will be withdrawn. Listen to God’s Word, “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.

If, on the other hand, we receive Jesus as our Savior, we can look forward to His coming with joy. His coming will be our “glorious hope.” Titus 2:13. The Bible says, “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.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 & 17.

You, my dear reader, must choose. When He comes, will you meet Him as your judge or your Savior? Will His coming mean “eternal destruction” or “forever with the Lord” to you? The choice is yours!

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Thursday, June 29, 2017

THE MEANING OF JESUS' RESURRECTION

What does Jesus’ resurrection mean to us today? Before we answer, it is well to remember that the heart of the gospel is Jesus Christ. The gospel does not consist of various religious commands and prohibitions, but rather is taken up with a Person – Jesus Himself. To really understand the gospel we must know Him.

After Jesus was born, He was carried by His parents to the temple in Jerusalem to be offered to God. There was an old man named Simeon in the temple. God had told him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ, the promised Savior. When Jesus was brought in, Simon took the Child into his arms and said, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for mine eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all people.” Luke 2:29-31. What he had seen was Jesus. He is God’s salvation.

Salvation then, is simply knowing Jesus. If we know Him we are saved. So then it should be clear that the gospel depends completely on Jesus. If Jesus is not risen, there is no gospel or good news. If He is still dead, the gospel is dead too. But if Jesus is alive, then Christianity is not just one of the world’s many religions, but God’s only way of salvation. The Bible declares this wonderful fact in this way, “But now is Christ risen from the dead.” 1 Corinthians 15:20. Therefore, “if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Romans 10:9.

The resurrection of Jesus proves the follow things:

Every word He spoke is true. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by Me.” John 14:6. He arose to prove that this is eternally true. When Jesus was being tried by the Jewish leaders, He was asked by the high priest, “I adjure thee by the living God that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” His answer was, “Thou sayest!” Matthew 26:63 & 64. He claimed to be the Son of God, the promised Savior Who should come into the world. He arose to prove to all men everywhere that He is just that.

He can completely save all from sin. The Bible says, “Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25.

Our resurrection is assured if we believe on Jesus. If you, dear reader, receive Him as your Savior, you too, will be raised by His mighty power that has defeated death.

There is judgment for all who refuse to trust Him as their Savior. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. Because He has appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30 & 31.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

THE SAVIOR'S RESURRECTION

The Savior died with these words, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit.” Luke 23:46. Thus He made eternal redemption for us, and fully paid the penalty of our sins, even death. Darkness covered the earth as the sun hid its face from that awful scene. A centurion cried out, “Certainly this was a righteous man.” Luke 23:47.

The Bible says that at the very moment of His death, “The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” Mark 15:38. God often uses pictures to show His truth to man. During the time of Moses, He told the Israelites to build the tabernacle, which had three parts. Later this tabernacle was replaced by the more permanent temple, which had the same construction. The first of the three parts of these buildings was the outer court, which all Israelites could enter. The second part was for the priests alone. The third part stood for the very presence of God Himself. It was separated from the rest of the tabernacle or temple by a thick curtain or veil. With this veil God showed man that sinners could not enter into His holy presence. The way into His presence was closed because of sin. Then, when Jesus died, God Himself ripped the curtain in two. The meaning is clear. The way for sinners to approach God was opened by the death of Jesus.

After His death, Jesus’ body was carried away by two of His disciples, Nicodemus and Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea. They laid the body in Joseph’s tomb, a cave that had been cut out of a rock. It was almost dark, and the setting sun marked the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath of rest. His body could not be finally prepared for burial, as the time was too short. He was wrapped in a clean sheet and placed in the cave. Then a large stone was rolled in front of the opening, thus closing the tomb.

Had death really won? Could death conquer Him who said, “I am the resurrection and the life”? IMPOSSIBLE!

Very early on the first day of the week, when the Sabbath had passed, several women came to the cave to complete the preparation for His final burial. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, and an angel descended from Heaven. He rolled the stone away from the door of the tomb, and then sat on it. In this way he showed to the women, and to all mankind in every age, that the tomb was empty. The Lord Jesus was not there! The angel said, “Why seek you the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” Luke 24:5 & 6. This is the glorious message of Easter.

After He was raised, Jesus appeared to His disciples on many occasions. He appeared to the women who came to anoint His body, and to Mary Magdalene. Later He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and the same night to His disciples in an upper room. Later He appeared to more than five hundred people at one time to assure all men everywhere that he is ALIVE.

Today Jesus is alive for evermore. He has defeated death for Himself, and for everyone who believes on Him. Because of His resurrection, everyone who believes can joyfully sing, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE SAVIOR'S DEATH

Man is born to live, but Jesus came to die. He was the Lamb of God, who was born to be sacrificed. He was the Seed of woman who was born that His heel might be bruised. By that suffering, He would crush the serpent’s head, even Satan’s.

It was the Jewish leaders who put Jesus to death. Because of envy they had decided to kill Him. Judas, one of His disciples, had agreed to deliver Him to them for thirty pieces of silver. After this He was taken prisoner and tried. It is clear from John 18:1-12 that in reality He surrendered Himself to be taken. His sentence was crucifixion. He was taken to a hill outside the city of Jerusalem and there crucified with two thieves, one of whom later repented and believed on Him. Luke 23:39-43.

Was it a tragedy? Was His a wasted life? Was it all a mistake? A thousand times NO! He came to die. He said, “Therefore doth the Father love me because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself.” John 10:17 & 18. He was the Lamb of God who willingly offered Himself to redeem us from sin.

The Bible says:

“Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

“For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

While Jesus was hanging on the cross He spoke seven times. Two of these sayings, both of which were with a loud voice, are written below.

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli lama sabachthani’, that is to say, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” Matthew 27:46. Why did God forsake Him? It was because at that time He was bearing our sin. He was separated from God, His Father, in order that we might live together with Him forever. Our sins have separated us from God in this world, and will eternally separate us from Him in Hell forever. But Jesus paid our penalty, which is death or separation from God. By His sacrifice we can receive the gift of eternal life.

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished!’” John 19:30. These words were spoken just before He died. Their meaning is simple. Your penalty, dear reader, has been paid. Your salvation has been purchased, the devil’s work destroyed, and the door to God’s presence fully opened. Praise His Name.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

THE SAVIOR'S WORDS

No one ever taught as Jesus did. The Bible says, “All bare Him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” Luke 4:22. One of His disciples said to another, “Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32. We cannot go into all of Jesus’ teachings in a short writing like this, but we can quote some of His sayings. Here are seven which are concerning Himself, all of which begin with the words “I am.”

“I am the bread of life; he that comes to Me shall never hunger and he that believes on me shall never thirst.” John 6:33. Bread was the basic food in Palestine in Jesus’ day. The meaning of His saying is that, as man must have food to live, so he must have Jesus for salvation and eternal life. He alone can satisfy the hunger and thirst in man’s soul.

“I am the light of the world; he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. If we wish to walk in God’s light, we must follow Jesus.

“I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9. Jesus isn’t just one of many doors. He is the only door leading to eternal life. If we truly believe on Him, His promise to us is sure. We “shall be saved.”

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11. Here Jesus was telling us what He was going to do for us. He would die that we might be saved. The penalty for our sins is death and he paid that penalty that we might live forever. With the word “shepherd”, Jesus shows how tenderly He wants to take care of us.

“I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” John 11:25 & 26. It is certain that we must all die. But if we believe on Jesus, that dying will have no sting. He will also raise us up again to live forever.

“I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6. There is no other way to heaven. Jesus alone can save you. Apart from Him, there is no truth and no eternal life.

“I am the vine; you are the branches . . . He that abides in me and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit. Herein is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit.” John 15:5 & 8. As the branches receive daily life from the vine, so we need Jesus as our life. Abiding in Him, we can truly glorify God by bringing forth much fruit.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Monday, June 26, 2017

THE SAVIOR'S LIFE

It is not our purpose in this writing to go into great detail concerning the life of Jesus. The story of His life can be read in the New Testament of the Bible. In the Bible the life story of Jesus is contained in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and john, which taken together, tell the story of His life.

Nevertheless, there are several important points which must be understood. These we would like to emphasize now. It is important that they be studied carefully.

Nearly all the information given to us concerning the life of Jesus, happened during the last three years of His life. Nearly one-fifth of these happenings occurred during the last week before His death. This shows that it is the end of His life that is most important. We can say, therefore, that it is not His life, but His death and the things connected with it that are vital. It is true that all of His life is important, but it was by His death that He redeemed us from sin. The story of His life is told to show that He lived a perfect life, free from fault and sin. The sacrifice which would be acceptable to God to cover our sin must be perfect, and Jesus’ life shows how blameless and perfect His life was.

His life was different from all other men in that He was without sin. He asked, “Which of you convicts me of sin?” No man could answer Him. The crowd said, “He hath done all things well.” Mark 7:37. Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor said, “I find no fault in the man.” Luke 23:4. The dying thief, who was crucified at the same time Jesus was, said, “This man hath done nothing amiss.” Luke 23:41. God Himself testified concerning Him, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17. Before God and man, He was perfect and without sin. Therefore, He was able to offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice to redeem us from sin.

His ministry in this world began with His baptism by John and ended three years later when He was crucified. It was a ministry filled with:

Wonderful works. He opened eyes of the blind, and healed the deaf and dumb. Those who were lame and sick were healed, and lepers cleansed by His wonderful power. Even the dead He raised on three occasions. And, best of all, those long bound by chains of sin found forgiveness and release at His feet.

Wonderful words. “No man ever spoke like this,” was the testimony given concerning Him by those that heard Him.

The stories of Jesus’ life recorded in the Bible, were carefully chosen by God for a purpose. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name.” John 20:31 & 31.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

JESUS - EMMANUEL

We can understand the importance of the birth of Jesus, the promised Savior, by examining the two names given to Him. They are Jesus, and Emmanuel. The first, Jesus, explains why He came into the world. The second, Emmanuel, shows Who it was that came.

JESUS. In the Bible we read, “And thou shalt call His name JESUS; for He shall save His people from their sin.” Matthew 1:21. The word Jesus means Savior, and from it we learn why He came into the world. He came to save us from sin. He didn’t come merely as a great teacher or as the founder of a new religion. He came as Savior, and the main purpose of His coming was to save us from sin. Oh, that we might so emphasize this truth, that all who read these lines might allow Him to accomplish this work of salvation in their lives. How He provided salvation for us, we will speak of shortly. It is enough now to understand that everything else was secondary to Him. To die on the cross as the Lamb of God was always the main purpose of His life. His death was the perfect sacrifice for sin. Therefore, when his suffering was over, while He yet hung on the cross. He was able to cry, “It is finished!” John 19:30. His sacrifice for our sins had been offered and accepted by God.

Notice too, that God wants to save us from sin, and not just in it. “Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13 & 14.

This is the reason He came!

EMMANUEL. The Bible says, “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us.” Matthew 1:23. This shows us who it was that came. He was not just a prophet, not just a great teacher, but GOD HIMSELF who became man. Emmanuel means just that, God with us. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30. We also read, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” John 5:18.

It would be impossible for any man to procure salvation for other men. No angel could redeem us from our sin. Even a million angels could not do that. And so, God Himself became man to suffer, and die, that we poor sinners might have eternal life.

In fact, “great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16.

My dear reader, will you not open your heart to receive the salvation which has been prepared for you by Him whose name is Emmanuel, God with us? Remember, Jesus came into the world for the express purpose of saving you!

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE SAVIOR'S BIRTH

When the fullness of time came, the promised Savior appeared. The King of heaven came to earth. God became man. “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. He came to become the Light of the world.

His birth took place in this way. First of all, an angel of God was sent to announce His coming birth to a virgin named Mary who lived in Nazareth, a town in north Palestine. She was told that by the power of the Holy Spirit she would bear a Son. The angel said, “And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31-33.

At that time Mary was engaged to a man named Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth. Being a just man, he decided to break off the engagement, but while he was still trying to think of the best way to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee, Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:20.

Afterwards, when Mary’s time to bear this Son had almost arrived, she and Joseph left Nazareth and went to Bethlehem. This journey was necessary because the Roman emperor commanded all to return each to his own home town to be registered for tax purposes. Joseph’s family was from Bethlehem. When they arrived they found the inn full and so had to spend the night in the stable.

There the King of kings was born, even He who was the promised Savior, Jesus Christ. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.

That night there were shepherds watching their flocks in a field near Bethlehem. Suddenly an angel appeared to them saying, “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11. After the angel had gone back to heaven, the shepherds went to Bethlehem, found the babe and worshiped Him.

Some weeks later the newborn Savior was visited by several wisemen from the east. After they had worshipped Him, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11.

This is the most important moment of all history. It is so important that all time is dated either before or after Christ.

The most important moment in your life, dear reader, is that moment when this King and Savior is born in your heart. And that will take place the moment you open your heart and receive Him. This birth, which is the experience we call salvation, can be yours today. Won’t you invite Him in right now?

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Saturday, June 24, 2017

THE YEARS BETWEEN THE PROMISE OF GOD AND THE COMING OF THE PROMISED SAVIOR

Between the time when God made His promise and the coming of the promised Savior, there was a period of about 4000 years. Why God was so long in fulfilling His promise we do not know. We are only told that everything was in accordance with His perfect plan.

The Bible tells us a bit about the history of man during this 4000 year period. The purpose of God in placing this history in His Word is threefold:

1. To show that man is moving farther and farther away from God. The sinfulness of man reached a peak during the time of Noah. When it could no longer be turned aside, judgment came upon mankind because of this mounting sin. We read, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. Then God destroyed the ancient world by a great flood. The Bible shows that now man’s sin is again mounting up higher and higher and finally another judgment day must come.

2. To show the change which has taken place in the lives of those who believe in every age. There have always been those who believe in the promise and truth of God, although their number has never been large. Still their lives have been as gleams of light in an ever darkening world. Because they believed in God and His way of salvation, their names are still honored. Among this number are found such names as Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David and Daniel.

3. To include in that history the prophecies concerning the coming Savior so that no one might be unsure about Who He is. These prophecies were given hundreds of years before Jesus was born, and yet they all clearly point to Him. Some of the most important of these prophecies are:

To Abraham it was promised that in his Seed (the promised Savior) all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Genesis 12:3.

About 1500 years before Jesus was born, Moses said, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.” Deuteronomy 18:15. And concerning this coming One, God Himself said, “And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.” Deuteronomy 18:19.

David the King also prophesied concerning the coming Savior, and testified that He would suffer (Psalm 22), die, and be raised again (Psalm 16) and afterwards reign forever. (Psalm 89).

The later prophets, Isaiah and Micah, prophesied that the coming Savior would be God Himself (Isaiah 9:5), Who would become man. His birth was to be by a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and would take place at Bethlehem in Judea. (Micah 5:2).

From all these prophecies, you dear reader, can be sure that it was Jesus who was prophesied about, for only He fulfilled them all.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Friday, June 23, 2017

Finding A Healing Connection

Many of you are at the point in this blog where you are wondering about your own need for therapy. Perhaps reading of my experiences has opened up some areas in your own life where you know you still need to heal. I know some of you may be fearful about the process of finding a therapist. I can understand your concerns. I have pondered my own healing journey and have sought out the help of a seasoned therapist who has worked with clients who have suffered abuse. It is my hope these suggestions will be helpful in your own journey seeking a good therapist.

Advice for Finding a Therapist

1) A relationship with a therapist is a special and very personal relationship and needs to be a good “fit” for you. It is absolutely fine to search for someone you feel valued by, listened to, supported and with whom you have a positive connection. This process can take time. But it is well worth your efforts so take the time you need. You may need to interview several people.

2) Once you start into the process of looking for a therapist, there are a number of ways you can do this. Some people start by looking in the phone book or on the Internet for local mental health facilities, private practitioners or therapists who advertise a specialty in victims of abuse. You can also seek out a recommendation by word of mouth. This is probably the best way to get the names of good therapists. Get a name from a friend or a pastor who has a good relationship with a therapist and start there. If the therapist does not treat trauma, they may be able to find someone who does.

3) Once you get a name, be sure to interview that person on the phone and find out if that person meets your criterion for what you need. Feel free to ask questions about trauma experience and faith if you want to, and then feel free to go elsewhere if that person does not meet your expectations. Therapists and their office staff understand the fears and concerns you have in looking for a therapist and are used to answering those questions and directing you to other agencies if they are not going to be able to assist you.

You can ask questions such as: How long have you been practicing? How many trauma cases have you treated? What training do you have? What is your approach to trauma? Do you use EMDR or TIR or any other modalities? (These stand for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy” and “trauma incidence reduction.”)

You go to therapy for yourself, not to please the therapist. Don't worry about hurting their feelings. Worry about yourself!! Any question you want to know should be asked. A therapist who gets offended or defensive with any question isn't the right therapist.

4) Many people are concerned that their therapy will be a lengthy process because of the duration of their abuse. It is not a bad thing to go to more than one therapist. Although it is important to only work with one person at a time, when you feel the process is no longer meeting your needs, feel free to seek out someone new. Some therapists believe that it takes at least three different therapy experiences to heal from extreme cases of abuse. Of course, there are exceptions to this. The therapist is not nearly as important as your own process. The therapist is a facilitator and should be working to help you toward managing your life on your own. Everyone is different and some people take months and years to get to a peaceful place. I worked hard for approximately five years and averaged three hours of work on my own for every hour I spent working directly with my therapist or in group therapy.

5) Pray for God’s guidance for your healing process. It may also help to have friends, as long as they are supportive and know how to do active listening, to hear about your therapy progress and help you decide whether your process is heading in the right direction. If you begin to have problems with your therapist, or if your therapist says something you experience as unsupportive, the first thing to do if you feel you are able is to talk the problems over with the therapist. If the therapist is defensive or insulted, it is best to find another therapist. It is the job of the therapist to put the needs of the client first, and to be able to clarify issues as opposed to taking on issues as a personal criticism. Therapists also need to apologize at times, if they say the wrong thing. They are only human beings and they are fallible. Give the therapeutic relationship a chance, but if it feels too “messy” then find a new therapist.

I was one of those clients who needed more than one therapist. My first therapist was a cognitive therapist who did a wonderful job of getting me started, but like is true for a lot of us, once the pain that we have been stuffing resurfaced I needed a different kind of help. I was burning with pain in the middle of my stomach as the emotion began to erupt, from my work with my cognitive therapist. I realized before too long that I was looking to him for something he could not provide. My original therapist was really excellent for me for a significant period of necessary time and work as he was helping me reconnect with my emotions, so long suppressed. But I felt like I was waking up in the middle of surgery because the anesthesia had worn off and there was no help for the pain. I was overwhelmed and struggling just to function in my normal responsibility at that time. I knew I needed to transition to find another therapist.

I had to hold on tight until I could find a safe place where there was professional ability AND compassionate ability. I was able to find a husband/wife couple who aided me in making more progress. The husband was more introverted and robotic in his style but his wife was so gentle and warm and kind. I did the hard, uncovering work safely with the husband while the wife helped me to feel loved and cared for. The transition between the cognitive therapist and the couple I worked with was very difficult for me. It was the Lord guiding me to this couple because it could have taken me a long time to find them. I did NOT have the skills to determine or assess their ability - God's leading brought me to them. And while I feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to transition to this couple who could support me in my journey, I have wanted to have the advice of a seasoned therapist to give you some guidelines I did not have myself when I made my transition! One important thing I learned in my transition is that it is very difficult to be simultaneously connecting with the pain while not having any person to turn to in the pain. But it could very well happen to anybody at any time. Most therapists who work with trauma victims have tremendous compassion and are able to fulfill the tasks of helping the person to reconnect with what happened to them and experience the pain again and to have the compassion to help the person get through it.

I remember the time and the exact freeway I was on in Southern California when the worst of the initial pain began to hit me. I wanted to go away somehow. It was necessary for me to pull my car off the freeway and park safely for a little while. I felt like a little small boy waking up in the reality of the intense adult world, without a mother or a father and nowhere to go with the pain. It was frightening and profoundly painful. This was obviously pain I had stuffed early in my life - it just started rushing out and for a period of time and I had nowhere to go with it and no one to process it with.

Since the goal of therapy of trauma victims is for them to deal with the pain that resurfaces after years of “stuffing” it makes sense that finding a therapist with both the cognitive and compassion skills needed to do both parts of the healing work would be ideal. In this difficult time I was desperate and disoriented. God brought me through that time in His great mercy and love. But I am offering this blog to give you ideas for finding the most experienced trauma therapists so perhaps you will not have to change therapists in mid-stream like I did.

I want to thank Charlotte Rosenak, Ph.D for the list of ideas for finding a therapist. Dr. Rosenak has worked with trauma victims for the last 35 years in Kansas City. She and many other wonderful, compassionate therapists have helped bring healing and life back to those of us who have lost our way due to the abuse of others. I owe my own therapists and people like Dr. Rosenak a deep debt of gratitude for their loving efforts to help other victims of trauma. Thanks to you all.

Mark Phelps

GOD'S REMEDY AND PROMISE

The fall of man into sin did not take God by surprise. In fact, He knew before He created him that man would sin, for He knows all things. We read in the Bible that God’s remedy for man’s sin was prepared “from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8.

After man sinned, it was God who sought the sinners. He called to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” Ever since that time it has been God who seeks sinners. God is seeking you too, dear reader. He has always taken the first step in salvation. Man on the other hand, did not seek God, but hid from Him. He also tried to hide his sin. This characterizes man’s actions from that day to this.

When God judged Satan, He gave a promise to Adam and Eve, and to all mankind in every age. It was a promise of deliverance. Man did not ask for it; it was pure grace. He said, “And I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise they head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This is God’s remedy. He Himself would provide a Savior from among the descendants of Eve. He would bruise the devil’s head, thus destroying him and his works. The Savior would save man from the results of his sin. But He would only be able to provide this salvation through suffering. His heel would be bruised. He would suffer in man’s place. Because of that suffering, Adam and Eve, and all mankind, could be saved from sin forever.

After giving this promise, God emphasized this truth by what He did. He refused man’s efforts to hide the results of their own sin. He took goats and slew them. From their hides, He made coats to cover man’s nakedness. In this way God showed them, and us, that nothing man does can truly cover his sin. However, God Himself was willing to make a way for them to be saved. God’s way of salvation required blood to be shed, the blood of the innocent. The coming Savior was going to die in order to save all those who believe on Him.

Four thousand years later when Jesus was beginning His ministry, He received this testimony from John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. Three years later He suffered on the cross and was slain that God might forgive and cover our sins. His death provides an eternal covering of righteousness for all who believe.

The Bible says, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8.

Dear reader, you can be sure that Jesus “is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” John 4:42.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE RESULTS OF SIN IN MAN'S RELATION TO HIMSELF

The change which took place in the heart of man when he chose to sin was very great, indeed. Since that choice man has gone farther and farther away from God, and so his heart has become darker and darker. That darkness, however, is often hidden behind a mask of religion or of respectability. Man has many high ideals, but it is impossible for him to reach them, for he is bound by sin and darkness. Below are some of the changes that took place when man sinned:

He became the slave of sin. The Bible says, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34. Man wanted to be free from God, but he became the servant or slave of sin.

He becamse separated from God. “For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. And, as we have already explained, death means separation. Since man became the slave of sin, he must receive sin’s wages, death. Separated from God now, and separated from Him in Hell forever.

He became vain in his imaginations or thoughts and his foolish heart became darkened. Romans 1:21. Separated from Him who is all wise, man became foolish. Romans 1:22.

Guided by a darkened heart, man’s mind became completely reprobate. Romans 1:28.

His life thereby became filled with all manner of evil. Romans 1:29-31.

This included wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, deceit and disobedience to parents.

Finally, although he knew the judgment of God that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only does the same, but has pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:32.

It is not difficult to follow this change in man which took place when he sinned. Separated from God, his thoughts became darkened. Then his heart which receives his thoughts as light became darkened too. Influenced by that darkened heart, his thoughts then became completely reprobate or base. Finally, his deeds became very vile until he could sin without being ashamed. Today, man is proud of his sin. Stealing is no longer wrong in itself, but rather he feels pleased at how cleverly he steals. Happily he deceives his fellow man and engages in corruption. And in all these deeds he does not realize that “the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36. He does not realize his danger. He laughs and jokes, unaware that daily he is moving nearer and nearer to eternal destruction in hell.

My dear reader, remember that what is written above is not only a picture of the life of Adam and Eve. It is not only a picture of mankind in general. It is a picture of your life too. Do you realize your danger? If so, consider carefully God’s way of salvation as explained in the following blog writing, entitled: “Gods Remedy and Promise”.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Thursday, June 22, 2017

THE RESULTS OF SIN IN MAN’S RELATION TO HIS FELLOW MAN

The darkness and death which filled man’s heart as a result of his sin, quickly showed itself in his relation to his fellow man.

After Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden by God, Eve gave birth to children. Two sons are especially pointed out to us. The older was Cain, the younger was Abel. Cain was a farmer, while Abel was a keeper of sheep. We are told that one day they both brought an offering to God.

Cain’s offering of the fruit of the ground was rejected by God. Abel’s offering of the firstlings of his flock was received. Basically, Cain’s offering was rejected because it was one he thought up himself. It, like the fig leaves used by Adam and Eve, was an effort to cover his own sin. Therefore, it was refused. Every effort on man’s part to save himself from sin is sure to be rejected by a holy God.

On the other hand, Abel’s offering shows his faith in God’s way of salvation which He showed to man in the Garden of Eden. By slaying goats and making coats of skins for them, God pointed out that One must later suffer and die to cover man’s sin. Every offering based on the work and promise of God to provide salvation is sure to be received by Him. This was true then. It is true now.

Afterwards, Cain and Abel were talking in the field. Suddenly Cain rose up and killed his brother. Now it is vital for us to realize why he killed him. IT WAS BECAUSE HIS OWN RELATION TO GOD WAS BROKEN. He was angry with God because his offering had been refused; so he killed his brother. Normally we don’t want to connect these two incidents. But in His Word, God does connect them, to show that our relation to our fellow man can only be right AFTER our relation to God has been made right first.

We steal from our fellowman, because we are not right with God! We deceive, oppress, and hate our fellowman, because we are not right with God. When a person repents of his sin and comes back to God, he becomes rightly related to Him. And he experiences a real change toward his fellow man too. He no longer wants to steal from him or deceive him in any way. Instead, he wants to help him, and, above all, to bring him to God so that he might be saved too. So in reality our relation to our fellow man shows clearly whether our relation to God is right or not.

As long as we are separated from God, we are separated from LIFE, LIGHT, and LOVE, for He is the Source of all these. Our hearts, therefore, become filled with death, darkness and hate. And these things are clearly seen in our relation to our fellow man. Dear reader, before you can really treat your fellow man right, you must be rightly related to God. You must be saved. In receiving salvation, you receive Him who is Life, Light and Love into your heart, and these things will then be clearly seen in your relation to others.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

THE RESULTS OF SIN IN MAN'S RELATION TO GOD

It is very necessary for us to understand the results of Adam and Eve’s sin, because the results of our sin are the same as theirs. Those results can be classed under three relationships: man’s relation to God, his relation to his fellowman, and his relation to himself.

The results of sin which are connected with man’s relation to God are:

He became afraid to meet God. After God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we read that it was His habit to walk in the garden in the cool of the evening. He came to talk and fellowship with them. How happy they must have been! It is easy to imagine how they must have waited for His coming. How happy they must have been when they heard Him approaching! But after they had sinned, what a difference! When they heard His voice in the garden, they began to tremble with fear. They ran and hid.

Dear reader, sin always makes us afraid to meet God. This is the reason why death causes so much fear to man. Death takes man into the presence of God who is both just and holy. And in every man’s heart there is deeply planted a belief that God, Who is holy, cannot overlook sin, but rather must punish it.

The fear of meeting God caused Adam and Eve to try to cover the results of their own sin. They made loin cloths from fig leaves for this purpose. Ever since that day, man has continually tried to cover his sin by making himself more acceptable to God. For example, he may cover himself with religion to accomplish this, for in his heart he feels that in this way his sin will not be known. His one desire is that other people, and more especially God Himself, should not know the sin that is in his heart.

He became separated from God. Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden where they had experienced daily fellowship with God. This being driven out was the fulfillment of God’s promise that in the day they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would “surely die.” Genesis 2:17. This is the most important result of their sin and their heaviest punishment. Death never means an end. It means separation. When a person dies, what happens is that his spirit is separated from his body. Spiritual death occurs when a person is separated from God. In the Bible hell is spoken of as the second death, because those who enter that terrible place will be separated from God forever. And so, when man was driven out of the Garden of Eden, away from the presence of God, he died spiritually, for his sin separated him from God. Separated from God who is the Source of all light, man’s life became filled with darkness. Separated from God, the Source of all good, man’s life became filled with evil. Separated from God, the Source of all blessing, man could only bring a curse on those around him.

These are the results of Adam and Eve’s sin. These, dear reader, are the results of your sin too.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DEAD TO THE LAW

"Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God."(Romans 7:4)

Why would Paul make such an outlandish statement right in the middle of dealing with us living the Christian life? We have already found out that the law (the 10 commandments mainly) could not provide us our salvation, our deliverance from the penalty of sin, our justification before God. And now right in the middle of explaining our sanctification (our Christian walk of being set apart to God in this life now and the resurrected life of Christ living in us and out through us now in these mortal bodies) He brings up the Law again.

He even uses a law that has to do with the marriage between a man and a woman to explain what he means by being dead or delivered from the Law. That the death of the husband freed the woman to be married to another and likewise the death we experienced by dying with Christ when His body died on the cross freed us from the Law so that we might be married to the resurrected Christ so that we might bring forth fruit unto God.

"For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God." (Romans 7:2-4)

We don't have a problem believing we need deliverance from our sins, or deliverance from the world, or deliverance from self, but deliverance from the Law? Sins and the world system and self are bad but Paul states that the Law is not sin (Romans 7:7) and is holy and just and good (Romans 7:12).

"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7). "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." (Romans 7:12).

So why would he state that we are dead to something that is holy, just and good? Well let's see if we can find out. Do you ever get irritated with someone who is always negative? It doesn't matter what the subject is they always look at the negative. Telling you where you are wrong. It seems that their whole purpose in life is to tell you where you are wrong. It seems that they delight for an opportunity to tell you that you are wrong. Always pointing out the things that are wrong, only condemning. Not only that when they keep telling you where you are wrong, it tends to make you want to do what is wrong more than ever. How do we get deliverance from a person like this? Well I guess we just have to reckon ourselves dead unto them.

Well that is what the Law does, it tells, it reveals but shows no way of deliverance. The Law could not deliver us from the bondage of sin and could only reveal, and sin used the Law to arouse passions in us that ended up producing just fruit of death, thus our master was sin. As far as deliverance by the Law was concerned we were dead. We needed deliverance from the Law that, in itself could not deliver us.

"But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead." (Romans 7:8)

"BUT NOW" (Romans 7:6) through the death and resurrection of Christ we are delivered from the Law that couldn't deliver us from our state of death. So we need no longer try to serve the Law with the expectancy of deliverance. So now we are free from any expectancy of deliverance from the Law because we have been delivered from the penalty of sin and now have this power within us to deliver us from the power of sin as we allow Him to, because He will eventually deliver us from the presence of sin.

"But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:6)

The Law could not deliver us from the penalty of sin (our justification) and neither can it deliver us from the power of sin in this life (our sanctification). And I might add that it will not be the Law that eventually delivers us from the presence of sin.

We have been saved from the penalty of sin and have a new nature within us, a new creation, the new man that desires to do the will of God and be delivered from this power of sin but just doesn't seem to have the power to accomplish it.

The new nature tries but just seems powerless to this power of sin within us that is not dead unto us. We just cannot command and control this old nature by presenting the Law to it and trying to make it straighten up and even making more rules for it to abide by (and some of our rules can be just as strict as God's). This tells us that we still have confidence in this flesh and God has no confidence in it, and all He could do with it is crucify it.

Making more rules and regulations is the way we are convinced we can make this flesh do right, even though it has been proved to us by God's Word that we can't even keep the rules and regulations God has set up, let alone more that we set up. This would be turning the Christian life into a religion of works. This would all be our pride; that we could dress up something that God saw no use for and crucified it. It is easier for us to make rules and regulations than to look to God by faith to live this Christian life His way.

Neither can we present the Law to the new nature and tell it to keep it. The new nature delights in the Law of God and wants to keep it, but just seems powerless to accomplish it.

I believe that Paul's experience in Romans 7 answers the vital question. Can the regenerate (saved, born again) person, apart from the dependence of the Spirit do the will of God, even though he delights in that will?

I believe we all have to experience what Paul experienced in Romans 7 before we will turn this Christian life over to the power of the Spirit to be lived out.

The victory of Romans 7 is for those who have experienced the defeats of Romans 7. Each time there is progress in our Christian life it is preceded by dissatisfaction with our current condition. All progress starts with dissatisfaction.

"For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. Romans 7:15-20

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:21-25)

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:2-4)

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."(Galatians 2:20)

Mark Chandler

MAN'S FALL INTO SIN

In the Garden of Eden there were many fruit trees, which were planted by God to provide food for Adam and Eve. They could eat the fruit from these trees as they wished. However, in the middle of the garden was one tree whose fruit God told them not to eat. This tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now, it came to pass that Satan, the deceiver, came into Eden to begin his wicked work of separating man from God. He began this work by placing doubts in man’s mind and heart concerning the goodness and love of God. He said, “Yea, hath God said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” By this question he sowed the thought in Eve’s heart that God was withholding something good from them. Now in fact, they could already enjoy every good and pleasant thing according to their heart’s desire. By forbidding them to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God was only protecting them from evil, and the misery and death that follow it.

After Eve explained God’s command to Satan, he answered, “If you eat of the tree, you shall not surely die.” That was the word of the father of lies. Then he showed Eve that the fruit of that tree was “good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise.” Eve was deceived, and she took of the fruit and ate it. When she carried some to Adam, her husband, he ate of it.

And so they made their choice. They chose to believe the devil rather than God. They chose to do what they themselves desired rather than what God desired. They rebelled against God, and sin entered into the world. The Bible says, “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.” Romans 5:12.

Their eyes were immediately opened and they knew they were naked, and they were ashamed. To cover their nakedness they made loin cloths from fig leaves.

In the cool of the evening they heard God walking in the garden. Because they were afraid, they hid from His presence. But God sought them, calling out, “Where art thou?” What a beautiful picture! God, who already knew that man had sinned, did not turn His back on them. Instead He sought them, to save them from their sin.

After He found them, God faced them with their sin. Then He punished each according to his part in that sin. The earth was cursed for man’s sake, and Adam was forced to work hard for his food. Eve’s sin was punished with added trouble and pain in bearing children. The serpent, who surrendered himself to Satan’s use, had to crawl on his belly all his life. God told Satan that he would be destroyed by the Seed of Eve, who was deceived by him. God Himself would raise up a Savior who would destroy the devil through His suffering.

After this God made coats of skins for Adam and eve. They were then driven out of the Garden of Eden, away from the presence of God, the Source of all light and good.

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SATAN

Into this happy place, where man had fellowship with God, came the tempter, Satan. He is also called the devil. In the form of a serpent, or snake, he came to Eve. His purpose was to tempt her and thus destroy man’s fellowship with God. To do this, he put the suggestion in her hart to rebel against God.

We do not know much about Satan. We are told by the Bible, our Guide, that he was created by God as an angel of the highest order. He was perfect and good, until he desired to become greater than God Himself. At that time he fell and carried many other angels with him in his rebellion. He became the prince of these angels, and now they all obey his will and wishes.

It would seem that Satan was the most glorious creature that God ever made, who was to stand in His presence. Even now his power is great, but the Bible says that his punishment is both sure and eternal. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone . . . and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:10.

His work now is to deceive anyone who will listen to him. He also tries to steal the Word of God from the hearts of those who hear it before they can understand and receive it into their hearts. His purpose is to take man to an eternal hell.

The Bible, our Guide, says:

He is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44.

He blinds the minds of them which believe not lest they should be enlightened by the Gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:4.

He often fashions himself into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14.

He is the prince of this world. John 16:11.

So it is clear that this evil creature is now set in opposition to God. He desires to deceive and destroy man. With great power and clever cunning he carries on this work, with the help of many other wicked angels. To do this he lies and tempts man with promises of the pleasure and sweetness of sin. To deceive, he often comes to us as an angel of light. His efforts have succeeded so well that he is now called the “prince of this world.” The whole world has been deceived by him. The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. You too, dear reader, have been deceived by him. By sinning, you too, have fallen under his sway and power.

There is only one way in which we can be free from his power. We must receive Him as our Savior who came to “destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8. Jesus can destroy all of Satan’s works in your life. Jesus can eternally break all the devil’s chains that so long have bound you.

John E. Capron

CREATION

In the Bible we are not told what God did before the creation of this world. We are only told that, according to His own will, He did create the world and everything in it. Our Guide, the Bible, reveals this fact in this way, “The worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3. In speaking of creation the Bible says, “And God said . . . and it was so.” Thus he created the world and revealed His mighty power.

The Bible also says that it was God the Son who created all things. “All things were made by Him (Jesus) and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3.

The creation of the world took six days:

On the first day God created light.

On the second day he created the firmament to separate the waters beneath the firmament from the waters above it. He called this firmament heaven.

On the third day God made the dry land. The waters were gathered together into seas. He caused grass to grow on the dry land, as well as herb yielding seed and fruit trees.

On the fourth day He made the sun and the moon. He placed them in the heavens for signs and to determine seasons, days and years. He also made the stars.

On the fifth day God created all kinds of fish and other animals that live in water. The birds were also created on this day.

On the sixth day He created all kinds of animals that live on dry ground. Finally when everything else had been prepared for him, God created man.

On the seventh day God rested from all His works of creation. He blessed and set apart the seventh day for man’s physical rest and spiritual refreshing.

It is clear that after He had created everything else, God created man in His own image and likeness, that He might know God and share His glory and love. Man is different from all other creatures in that he has a spirit that can know God. He alone of all God’s creatures, can know the difference between good and evil, and therefore is responsible for what he does. He was given the power to speak. In his free will was the power to choose sin.

In the beginning God created two people, Adam and Eve, his wife. God made a beautiful garden for them in Eden, where He placed them. They were to tend this garden. Even though they were naked, they were not ashamed. Because they had never sinned, they had no evil thoughts. They had daily fellowship with God and their happiness was complete.

John E. Capron

Monday, June 19, 2017

GOD

What is God like? How can He be described? The Bible, our reliable Guide, answers these questions in two ways. First, the Bible clearly teaches about the nature of God, describing His being and character. Second, it shows us what God is like in His relationships with man. By this we mean that the stories of the Bible have been carefully chosen by God Himself, because they show what He is like. Therefore, in order to know about God, it is necessary to examine His Word from beginning to end, from Genesis to Revelation.

It is well to remember too, that it was God who created man. Man (or to speak more clearly, you, dear reader) cannot create God. By this we mean that you cannot say that God must be like this or like that, according to your ideas of Him. God, who created us, has also revealed Himself to us in His Word. We must receive His testimony, although it might not agree with our own ideas. Remember, too, that His testimony concerning Himself is only contained in the Guide which He has given us, the Bible.

From the Bible we know that God is a spirit. (John 4:24). This means that He has no body. He did not have a beginning and He will have no end. (Psalm 90:2). He is eternal and unchangeable. (Malachi 3:6). He is all powerful. (Psalm 107:25-27). He knows everything (Isaiah 40:28), and is present everywhere. (Jeremiah 23:23 &24). He is complete in Himself, and does not need anything or anyone to serve or love Him. He is holy (Isaiah 57:15), which means that He hates sin. He is love (I John 4:8), and will forgive everyone who truly repents of his sins, and comes to Him for forgiveness.

God also is a trinity. (Matthew 28:19). There is only One God, but there are three Persons in the Godhead, these three Persons are God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each has His own personality, but there is only one God. God reveals in His Word that man has been made in the image of God. We have three separate parts: a body, a soul and a spirit. In this way, man is an example of what God is like. Man, though having three parts, is only one person.

God’s Word clearly states that “no man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” (John 1:18). This means that God has now revealed Himself as clearly as possible in a way we can understand. He became man to reveal Himself to man. In everything He is like Jesus. If we wish to know what God is like, we can find out by studying the life of Jesus.

Finally, the revelation of God to man concerning Himself is now complete. It will never be added to, this side of eternity. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1).

John E. Capron

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Reliable Guide

To understand life, with its purpose and its goal, it is necessary to have a reliable guide. We cannot rely on our own thoughts or conscience as a guide to life, for these often change. Man’s opinions, at best, are never very dependable. And so a reliable guide cannot come from man, but rather must come from God Himself, the One who never changes.

Now, in fact, God has already given a reliable guide to us. It is the Bible. The Bible does not contain the opinions of man. It is the Word of God. Therefore, the Bible alone is a complete and perfect guide to life. It can always be depended on.

The Bible alone tells us about God, the Creator, and His purpose in the creation of man. It alone tells us about sin which separates us from Him, and thus frustrates His design. The Bible alone tells about God’s great love which He showed by sending His Son into the world to save us from sin, thus enabling us again to fulfill life’s purpose. The story of the Savior’s birth, His life, His death and resurrection are all beautifully told in its pages. The Bible firmly states too that He will soon return to earth again as King of kings and Lord of lords. In fact much, much more of God’s truth – past, present and future – can be found in this, HIS RELIABLE GUIDE.

We can assure ourselves that this guide is His Word by examining two things: the way in which God has given the Bible to us; and the way in which He has protected it in all ages, to the present, that it might continue to reveal Him and His way of salvation to mankind.

The Bible was written, from a human standpoint, by around 40 different authors, over a period of some 1600 years. These authors came from every level of society. One was a farmer, others fishermen, kings and prophets. Some were rich, others poor. Most of the time these men did not know one another. But when their writings were gathered together, there was no contradiction in them. All told one story and had one grand theme – the salvation of man by God Himself. This fact alone shows clearly that behind all these human authors there was One Who planned and wrote as He willed.

Even though the Bible has been hated in every century, because it tells of sin, its enemies have never been able to destroy it. Today the Bible stands as a strong proof that God Himself has continually preserved it as His witness to mankind concerning truth.

Whenever the Bible is proclaimed, there darkness disappears. And those who receive its teachings are of all men the happiest, having a deep assurance of salvation.

You too, dear reader, can receive it as your guide. You too can rely on it. “The entrance of thy Word gives light. It gives understanding to the simple.” Psalms 119:130

John E. Capron

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Understanding Life

If we are to understand life, including its purpose and its goal, and how we can get the most happiness and enjoyment from it, then we must start at the beginning. “In the beginning God . . . “ is the way the Bible begins. This also is where we must begin, if we are to understand and enjoy life. That is, we must begin with God. He alone created life, and He alone can explain it, its purpose and its goal.

Apart from God you cannot understand life. God is light. He also is the Creator and Giver of life. Apart from Him life is dark and has no meaning. The person who denies the existence of God, or who refuses to follow His direction for this life, loses countless blessings, and walks in continual darkness. Such a person lives, but does not know what life means. His whole life, dark and unstable like a rudderless ship, is an easy prey for the storms of life.

Separated from God you cannot be truly happy. There are those who think that happiness comes from owning many things, from having a good job or from receiving praise from other people. But this is not true. The Bible teaches that a person can only experience true happiness when his or her relationship to God, which has been broken by sin, is made right again. In other words, the sin question must be settled first. We must come back to God before we can experience true happiness and peace.

Everything created by God has been made for a certain environment. Each creature can only be truly happy or content, if he is in that environment. Outside of it, he cannot be content. For example, fish have been created by God to live in water. That is their natural environment, and in water they are content. But if taken out of water, they can only flounder and die. The same principle is true of large birds like eagles. They were created to fly unhindered in the air. If caught by man and placed in cages, they walk to and fro, ever looking outward and upward. They are no longer content.

Man too has been created for a certain environment. He has been created to live in close relationship to God, to walk and talk with Him, to know and love Him. But sin has separated us from God. Sin has taken us out of our natural environment. And so we flounder like fish out of water. We pace to and fro like birds in a cage. We seek and seek after happiness and peace, but all our efforts are in vain. We live in uncertainty. Life has no meaning and no goal. We live only to eat, drink and be merry.

From the beginning it is well for you, dear reader, to understand one thing. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do His commandments.” Psalms 111:10

“And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’” Job 28:28

John E. Capron – Guest Blogger