Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Know Thy Enemy

A beautiful and wise high ranking angelic being was once given a position of power and influence, but due to his pride he wanted to take over the position of God. For his rebellion he was cast down out of heaven along with a third of all the angels in heaven. Since then the enemy has been in a state of perpetual warfare against God. Through the old testament times his plan was to destroy the messianic line, and once the Messiah (Jesus) came the enemy's plan was to divert Him from fulfilling His mission: dying on the cross. Having failed that the enemy has fixed his focus firmly on us who were created in God's image to steal (our joy in God), destroy (our relationship and trust in God), and kill every single Christian on earth if possible.

This being of course is Satan and the fallen angels are his minions, the demons. One of the greatest things ever written about the enemy was written by CS Lewis in the Screwtape Letters;
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's War!

It's been said by some Christians that if we participate in Spiritual Warfare we don't trust Jesus, that we are trying to usurp Him and to do His job. However I counter that argument by saying that by not engaging the enemy we are not doing our job. We enlisted in this fight the moment we placed our undying faith in Jesus and accepted him as our savior. We train for battle every time we read our bible, attend worship service and fellowship with our Christian brethren. We enter into combat every moment we can draw breath on this planet whether we want to or not, because we are under attack beloved. 

What is Spiritual Warfare? Spiritual Warfare is the constant battle between good versus evil; the battle between God and Satan, between the Christian Church and the secular world that would tear us down, and lastly the war within ourselves between the Holy Spirit and the lusts of the carnal flesh. Spiritual Warfare is not simply demonic possession or demonic oppression, it's so much more. In his book Angels Billy Graham said:
We live in a perpetual battlefield …The wars among the nations on earth are mere popgun affairs compared to the fierceness of battle in the spiritual unseen world. This invisible spiritual conflict is waged around us incessantly and unremittingly. Where the Lord works, Satan’s forces hinder; where angel beings carry out divine directives, the devils rage. All this comes about because the powers of darkness press their counterattack to recapture the ground held for the glory of God…

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

OT Tuesday: Tamar, Woman of Action

You're reading along in Genesis, and starting to delve into the story of Joseph in Chapter 37. You read of his brother's jealousy and how they leave Joseph in the pit to die, when Joseph's older brother Judah says "Hey - let's not kill him, let's just sell him into slavery where he'll have a miserable life and die in bondage." to which his brothers say "Cool!" and return to the pit only to find Joseph gone. Then suddenly the narrative in the bible veers so sharply to the side that you can hear the tires squealing.

In Chapter 38 the focus now shifts to highlight Judah, and Joseph is forgotten for a time. (Don't worry, Joseph is doing fine and living in Chapter 39) Judah starts chapter 38 by departing from his brothers having dispatched Joseph, and he settles down for a bit of family life. He married a Canaanite woman named Shua and with her he had three sons; Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah found a wife for his oldest son Er who's name spelled backwards in Hebrew means "Evil". And evil he was, for is verse 7 the Lord gets rid of him:
 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord took his life.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Emergent Monday: Dumbing Down God

Open Theism is a new term (invented in 1980) for an old heresy  Open theists do not believe that God does not know the future; rather, that the future does not exist to be known by anyone. For the open theist, the future simply has not happened yet, not for anyone, and thus, is unknowable in the common sense.

In essence the Open Theist is saying that "If I can't see the future, how can someone as insignificant as God see the future?" That is kind of roughly put, but actually very accurate. These theological magicians are telling us that God is not omnipotent because he gave us free will so how could he possibly predict what we're going to do? They base their beliefs on Scriptures which describe God "changing his mind" One of the verses they use to back up their claims is Genesis 22:12
He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Friday, January 25, 2013

Are You Wheat or Are You Weed?

But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. (Matthew 13:25)
 So what's a tare? Since I first heard that verse I wondered what a tare was. I knew it was a weed because some bible versions come out and say weed, but a tare is a specific weed, we know it as darnel which is a weed that looks a lot like wheat. When I found that out I now see Matthew 13:25-30 in a whole new light.

But are you wheat or are you weeds? Are you a sheep or a goat? Are you saved??? The Apostle John can help, in fact he wrote a whole book on how to figure that out. 1 John 5:13 says  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. So are we saved? John, Jesus' most beloved disciple, wrote for us a 10 point plan to see if we can actually have eternal life:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yes, God Has A Sense Of Humor

If you're going to be a false prophet just keep in mind that God invented the term "Smackdown"

I truly love Todd Freil and the gang over at WretchedRadio

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paul: You Can't Keep A Good Apostle Down

Saul of Tarsus was a Roman citizen by birth (his father was a roman citizen) which had its advantages, for one you could own property, have a legal trial, enter into legal contracts, marry another Roman, run for office, and was immune from many taxes. Best of all you didn't get whipped or tortured, and you could only be executed for treason and if you were executed they couldn't crucify you. 

For all their cruelty the Romans were fairly tolerant, you could do pretty much anything you want, worship who or whatever you want, buy, sell, or steal what ever you need, and just carry on as ungodly as you want, just as long as you didn't commit treason or cause a riot. The Jews of the first century didn't get that whole "not rioting" part quite right and paid for it dearly in 70 AD. Up until that time the Jewish people were nothing but trouble for Rome with their Pharisees and their Sadducees and their Zelots, always bickering and arguing one point of law after another. It is said that if you put two Jews in a room they'd end up with three different opinions of the room. Then one day along came a young Rabbi named Jesus who really stirred up the crowds, Jerusalem was constantly on the verge of revolt and the only thing that kept the city from exploding into riots was some quick maneuvering by the Sanhedrin which eliminated the young rabbi and things seemed to quiet down a bit. Then came Saul.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

OT Tuesday: Here Be Unicorns

Ah unicorns! The mystic horned My Little Pony variant who rides rainbows, purrs under the touch of a virgin princess, twinkles like a Twilight vampire, and whose flatus is the worlds hope for clean renewable energy. A poultice made from the horn of the unicorn was said to cure stomach trouble and epilepsy, as well as neutralize poison. It is said poisonous plants burst when near a unicorn's horn and that if you draw a circle around a spider with a true horn when the spider leaves that circle it will starve to death. 

Of course everybody knows that unicorns are mythological, they never existed, they're the things of fevered dreams and old wives tales. Right? And since they never existed any document that refers to a unicorn is merely a fable, a little bit of nonsense not to be taken seriously. 

So what do we do with Bible passages like
Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? 10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? 11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him? 12 Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn? (Job 39:9-12 KJV)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Great Falling Away - Every Church a Hard Hat Zone?

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,(2 Thessalonians 2:3)
Sometimes I read the prophesys and wonder "Why do you have to be so accurate?" Maybe the better question is "Why should I be here now?" I don't like Ugly, and it's getting really Ugly out there; false gospels preached in order for the minister to become more popular, sins are being accepted as "life choices" in order for that particular church to appear "inclusive",  perversions of the bible are being produced to make sin appear to be a virtue. Maybe I would have been happier in the late 18th to early 19th century when  men were men, Christianity was Christianity, and locomotives burned coal and boiled water.

Two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul prophesied that there would be "the apostasy" or a great falling away from the word of God before the appearance of the beast as prophesied in the book of Revelation. If you look with discernment fortified with knowledge of scripture you'll see the falling away as it happens. We're not just talking about daughters of satan dancing naked in the moonlight swearing allegiance to "the old religion" (that goes all the way back to the 1950's), nor are we simply talking about evangelical atheists whose highest form of worship is treating themselves to Starbucks as a reward for swearing at a Christian school child. Our biggest problem is within the church itself. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

THE Angel of the Lord = Who?

Twenty centuries ago God walked the land in the divine person of Jesus Christ teaching, preaching and healing. As he walked through the holy land the blind saw, the lame leaped, the deaf heard, the dead rose, the lepers were cleansed and the good news was preached to the poor (Matt 11:5). Yet this wasn't Jesus' first visit to Judea. As I mentioned yesterday, He created everything, He was there at the beginning. He did not come into existence in that manger in Bethlehem, that was His incarnation (coming in flesh), He was around for a loooooong time before that. And it's not like after He was done creating everything He turned to the Father and said "I'm a bit tired from all this creating, wake me when it's time to be born." then took a nap. He had things to do.

Remember: we cannot see God's face and tell people about it, there's this whole dying thing involved. In Exodus 33:20 God the Father plainly told Moses  "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!" That's where Jesus comes in. One of Jesus' duties is to be God's physical presence here on earth enabling Him to speak to us face to face without a prophet or angel as an intermediary. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

OT Tuesday: In the Beginning... Jesus Was There!

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. (Gen 1:1-3)
The Bible is a divinely inspired work of literature, it's Jesus' autobiography as told to our ancestors who wrote it down for us. It starts at the very beginning and ends at the very end, and no other book written covers everything like the bible. But then, God hasn't written any other books for us. So there you have it, right there in first three verses in the bible, all three divine persons of the Holy Trinity are introduced and the grand adventure of God's creation of all begins. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Emergent Monday: The Mess of the Message 2

When Eugene Peterson sat down to write his version of the bible titled "The Message" he claims that his purpose was to reach out to the parishioner through modern use of language. Unfortunately what we have been given is not a translation of the bible, but a satire. 

The first time I read the bible verse by verse, cover to cover I read using the NIV but would refer to The Message when dealing with a difficult passage, especially in the old testament. But as time went on I began to feel bad about what I was reading in The Message to the point where I began to avoid using it completely. I now know it was the Holy Spirit pushing me away from The Message and as I research The Message I praise the Lord for leading me away from the word of Peterson and back to the word of God. Let's compare a few passages to illustrate what Peterson did: 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fact Filled Friday

As a trivia nut I love interesting facts and great juxtaposition like; the bible starts at the beginning of the world and ends at the end of this world. How cool is that! Name another book with such sweeping scope.

Our relationship with God can bring us Joy as we glorify Him, and some of that joy (for me at least, but then, this is my blog) is found in interesting facts and factoids that bring the Bible to life. Life is full of little connections and tidbits on information that you can gloss over until someone points them out and a little bell goes off and you think "Cool!" and if you look the Bible is full of Cool.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

God Is Jesus!

I'm so tired of that sorry old question "Is Jesus God?" There's even a meme that predates the internet that states that Jesus never really came out and said that He is God. I actually heard that tired old thing 'way back in the 60's when I was in Catholic school. There are actually people that claim the bible itself does not say that Jesus is God.

When I introduce myself I generally say "Hi, I'm Doug, and this is my wife..." From that can you infer that I'm single? Of course not, you would think that I'm married even though I never came out and said "I'm married" So how could someone ignore the divinity of Christ when he said 
Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. (John 14:11)
Here he says it - plain as day. He is in God, God is in him - what more proof does someone need? Maybe a quote from a close personal friend of Jesus Himself:
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1)
Peter and John were the men closest Jesus while he walked with us on earth, and here Peter himself proudly declares Jesus to be God. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When Tragedy Strikes a Congregation

A tragedy has struck a family in my beloved "First Congregational Church of the Bereans". My wife and I are new to the church and the family that tragedy has struck isn't highly active in the church   so we didn't get to know them well, still it hurts to see them in such pain and in such a state of helplessness. 

The "First Congregational Church of the Bereans" is a small congregation, just a handful over one hundred souls, just the way I like it - a family where you know everyone and the pastor can give every member the individual attention they want (and in worst case - the attention they need)

The tragedy, which I will not describe for the privacy of those affected, just happened recently and the First Congregational Church of the Bereans is still mobilizing. I'm sure that the women of the church are already doing everything they can for the family, when I get home from work later this afternoon I'm sure my dear wife will have more information on the church's response and I'll gladly pitch in where ever I can. Unfortunately before my darling left for women's bible study last night one of the last details that she left me was that Mrs. Pastor was in tears the entire day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

OT Tuesday: Calming The Waters

How many times as children have we heard the story of Noah and the Ark? I even remember the Fischer Price Noah and the Ark toy with all the animals you could march into the ark two by two and the giraffes never actually fit right. Did you ever notice how almost every painting or drawing of Noah and the Ark includes Giraffes? It's so cute.

But like many other bible stories we miss so many details. First of all, the word "ark" doesn't mean "boat", it means "box". "Boat" implies a means of control or steering and a design for an aquatic environment, like in this picture I used here with the itty bitty giraffes peeking over the well constructed gunnels. A box does not imply anything like a boat. No control, no stately prow, no porthole for giraffes to peer through. In fact a box brings other thoughts to mind - like a coffin.Maybe it's best to keep that in mind because the Ark was an emergency survival tactic and not a yachting expedition for the Antediluvian Zoo.

We overlook that the animals weren't loaded two by two, just the unclean animals were. Genesis 7:2 says that the clean animals were loaded seven by seven. We also forget that it wasn't just the rain that flooded the earth but the floodgates of the great deep burst open as stated in Genesis 7:11 But one thing we really really need to remember is WHY this all happened 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Emergent Monday: Is My Church Submerging?

Pastor Joe Schimmel, senior pastor at the Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley CA has been a leader in exposing the emerging church for what it really is: a Submerging Church; submerging into the depths of humanism, heresy, and apostasy. Emergent pastors are now preaching the joys of polluting the purity of the Gospel with Hinduism and Islam, they're ignoring the fact that God made man in His image and are busy remaking God in man's image. Pastor Joe's websites, GoodFight.org and Submerging Church.com are both a real eye openers to what is happening in the formerly God centric world of the evangelical church. At one time it was thought that the emerging church was a passing fad, but Pastor Joe plainly shows that the emerging church is here, it's real, and that the Bible is right when it says that the emergent church is not going away until Jesus comes back to fix things. 
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

...my true love gave to me

Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed

1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 
2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 
3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 
4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 
5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 
7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 
8) the holy catholic Church, 
9) the communion of saints, 
10) the forgiveness of sins, 
11) the resurrection of the body, 
12) and life everlasting.

Friday, January 4, 2013

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...

...my true love gave to me

Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 

1) Simon Peter
2) Andrew
3) James
4) John
5) Philip
6) Bartholomew
7) Matthew
8) Thomas
9) James bar Alphaeus
10) Simon the Zealot
11) Judas bar James.  
(Luke 6:14-16).  The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Introducing The Holy Spirit - One of the Good Guys

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17
With this statement Jesus began his priestly and intercessory (mediation or request in favor of another, especially a prayer or petition to God in behalf of another) work by requesting that God send his Holy Spirit to live inside of us, his people of faith. The Greek word used here is paraclete which means advocate or helper. The original Koine Greek word is παράκλητος and it's pronounced just as it's spelled. (just kidding: it's pronounced paracletos) It not only means a  helper or advocate (like a representative in court) but it also means one who consoles or comforts, one who encourages or uplifts. (I really like the word paraclete)

How awesome is that! Not only did Jesus come to die in agony for our sins, to take our place in punishment for our sins and stupidity and evil thoughts and actions, to save us from eternal damnation, but he's also sending a helper to guide and comfort us. But wait! There's more!

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

...my true love gave to me

Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 

1) You shall have no other gods before me
2) Do not make an idol 
3) Do not take God's name in vain 
4) Remember the Sabbath Day 
5) Honor your father and mother
6) Do not murder 
7) Do not commit adultery 
8) Do not steal 
9) Do not bear false witness 
10) Do not covet
(Exodus 20:1-17)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Introducing Satan - He's Not Nice

Satan, in case you have divorced yourself from popular culture and rarely come in contact with his work, or are an American Christian, is an angel who rebelled against God, was cast down from heaven with a third of all the angels and now roams the earth looking for prey.

According to Rick Warren in a recent tweet, the biblical word for Satan is Diablos. Unfortunately Rick Warren he is again wrong, Diablos is a Spanish word that means devil, and often used to mean "spicy" as in Pollo Diablos (yummy!), the word he's looking for is the Greek Diabolos which means Slanderer, or literally "one who throws (something) across" the path of another. I'm not sure how in Greek an obstructionist becomes a slanderer but then all Hellenistic languages are Greek to me. So what does this teach us? Primarily that we should read our bible rather than twitter. 

There is one letter difference between Diablos and Diabolos - is that nit-picking? There's also one letter difference between Laughter and Slaughter, you tell me if it's nit-picking, especially for a minister who's primary job is Words; the Word of God, words that will protect his flock from Satan. In this case Rick was using those words to accuse those who do not agree with him of being spicy being Satan.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas...

...my true love gave to me

Nine Ladies Dancing

The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit:
1) love,
2) joy,
3) peace,
4) patience,
5) kindness,
6) generosity,
7) faithfulness,
8) gentleness, and
9) self-control.  

(Galatians 5:22-23)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On the Eighth Day of Christmas...

... my true love gave to me

Eight Maids A-milking

The eight Beatitudes:
1) Blessed are the poor in spirit,
2) Blessed are those who mourn,
Blessed are the meek,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
Blessed are the merciful,
Blessed are the pure in heart,
Blessed are the peacemakers,
8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)