My Apologies

I have operated this site for a little more than a year now, and like most people opted for the “free” option for hosting through  For those who may not be aware, WordPress posts an advisory note any time an article or audio clip is posted stating that others who view these items may also see ads from third-party sites or companies who pay WordPress for this access.  I have generally ignored these advisories, assuming that the ads would be suitable for my audience.

It turns out that I was naive to believe so.  A good Christian friend contacted me this morning to state that my latest post contained truly offensive ads.  Since I have never seen ads attached to my posts I checked it out on one of my devices that is not logged into my web site as a user.  Sure enough, at the bottom of the post were four ads.  None of them seemed out of line, but I noted that WordPress admits that the ads change depending on one’s location or other factors.

The only way to avoid ads is to purchase a premium plan from WordPress.  I want you to know that I have done so, and hopefully this will end the problem for us.

In the meantime, I sincerely apologize to those readers who have seen inappropriate and offensive ads attached to my posts.  I am very embarrassed about this and ask your forgiveness.  I also want to thank my dear Christian friend who contacted me about these ads.  Her message was to the point, but also kindly worded, and granted me the benefit of the doubt on what appeared on my post.  I am very grateful to her for her kindness.  This is the kind of thing that Christians ought to do for one another.

A Ransacked Bible



Many years ago when I was in preacher-training school one of my instructors would often begin class with the statement that we were going to “ransack our Bibles” as we studied that day.  This was interesting since the word “ransack,” in typical usage, denotes going through something hurriedly and destructively.  The image of burglars literally tearing up a house in search of valuables immediately comes to mind.  This is not a pleasant picture, and we may wonder if such a word is appropriate to describe our approach to the scriptures.

It is certain that there are some whose methods do constitute a ransacking of the scriptures in the typical sense of this word.  They literally tear the scriptures apart, cherry-picking the verses or phrases that best fit their man-made doctrines, while leaving the rest of scripture lying strewn about them like so much excess baggage.  In so doing they turn an orderly and unified book into a disjointed collection of favorite sayings.  This kind of ransacked Bible is the source of the many religious practices, now present in the world, for which there is no “Thus says the Lord.”

On the other hand, is there another way to look at this word that would make it an acceptable description of how to study the scriptures?  The answer to this question is, “Yes, there is!”  As my former instructor used this word, he simply meant that we would leave no stone unturned in our search for the truth from God’s word.  He was profoundly dedicated to proclaiming “the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27), and this was one way in which he impressed this principle on his students.  He taught us that we must search all of the scriptures to know God’s will on any subject.  Only when we had consulted all that the Lord revealed on that subject could we say with certainty that we knew what He intended for us to believe and practice.

Recently I had a conversation with a long-time gospel preacher about one of my favorite verses of scripture.  That verse is Acts 17:11, which says of the people of Berea, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”  This verse speaks of a fundamental principle of Christian life.  We do not take anyone’s word for anything he might proclaim in God’s name.  We listen, and then compare what he says to what God’s word says.  If it agrees, then we can accept it and follow it.  If it does not agree, then we must reject it.  This verse is particularly significant because the Bereans were fact-checking none other than Paul the apostle!

As we talked about this verse, however, my preacher friend pointed out that in the Norwegian translation of the New Testament the word “examined” is translated “ransacked”.  So in the Norwegian, it says the Bereans ransacked the scriptures daily!  The power of that imagery is amazing.  The Bereans literally left no stone unturned as they consulted the scriptures to verify the message that Paul preached to them.  I am certain that my former instructor would have relished knowing that his signature phrase was more than a catchy way of describing dedicated Bible study.

So then, it is appropriate to speak of a ransacked Bible, and this phrase should accurately describe the way in which each of us approaches the scriptures.  To do so, however, we have to pick up our Bibles, open them, and take the time necessary to know the whole purpose of God.  A closed Bible cannot be a ransacked Bible.

In the spirit of the Christians in Berea, we must thoroughly examine the scriptures every day in order to verify that we have been taught the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  How about it?  Do you have a ransacked Bible?




For several generations forces have been at work in our country to minimize the importance of fathers in the home.  Governmental policies that reward women who have children, but no husband, have become an excuse for men to shirk their parental responsibilities.  Feminists have also contributed to this by decrying the need for men in general and fathers in particular.  The consequence is a generation of young men who do not know how to be a man, much less how to be a father.  Society has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind in the form of a lack of respect for authority and an increase in violence and crime among young men.

Some, seeing this catastrophe, have begun to call for a return to the kind of family structure that once was common in our nation.  Those who do so understand the importance of a father in the home as a role model and as a leader for his family.  This call is long overdue and needs to be heeded before all familial order and control is lost.  However, we must seek direction from a credible source in order to accomplish this goal.

The best model for what a father should be, and the only model worth following, is our Father in heaven.  He, alone, is the epitome of what a father should be, and we would do well to seek His example from the scriptures.  There is much in the scriptures to instruct us in this matter, but perhaps a short acrostic can help summarize who God the Father is, and who we, as earthly fathers, should be.

So then, when we spell the word F-A-T-H-E-R, the letter F stands for Faithful.  God our Father is faithful.  In Deut. 7:9-10 Moses told Israel that the Lord their God is the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Him and keep His commandments.  In other words, God is not fickle.  He will never forsake His people.

The A in father stands for Approachable.  In Heb. 4:14-16 the inspired writer said that we may draw near with confidence to the throne of grace.  Our Father in heaven has made Himself approachable by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.  We can always come to Him with our cares, concerns, and petitions.

The T in father stands for Truthful.  In Jn. 17:17 Jesus said that God’s word is truth.  In other words, our Father in heaven never lies to us.  What He tells us is always true and trustworthy.

The H in father stands for Honorable.  In 1 Tim. 1:17 Paul ascribed honor and glory to God the Father.  He is worthy of honor because there is nothing unscrupulous about our Father in heaven.  He is honorable in everything He does.

The E in father stands for Even-handed.  In Acts 10:34-35 Peter told Cornelius that God is not one to show partiality.  He treats all people the same and rewards and punishes each one according to his own deeds (2 Cor. 5:10).  He is just and fair in all His dealings with us.

The R in father stands for Reliable.  When Balaam spoke his oracle to Balak (Nu. 23:19), he said that God does not lie, and would not fail to do what He said He would do.  So then, we can rely on our Father in heaven in every situation of life.  He will never desert us when we need Him the most.

If earthly fathers are ever going to be what they ought to be in their homes, they must follow the example of God the Father in every aspect of their lives.  When they do so, their homes will be better places, and our society will benefit far more than from any human wisdom on this subject.  Therefore, let all of us who are fathers resolve that we will do everything in our power to be more like God the Father each and every day.  May God bless godly fathers!

Here Am I . . . Send Him?



One of the most inspiring passages in the Old Testament is the record of Isaiah’s call to be a prophet of God.  He relates this call in Isa. 6:1-8.  In this compelling account Isaiah described the vision in which he saw the Lord God sitting on His throne in heaven.  God’s majesty in this vision was enhanced by the presence of the Seraphim who flew around the throne room calling out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3).  As Isaiah viewed this scene he was overcome with his own sins, but one of the Seraphim took a burning coal from the altar and touched Isaiah’s lips, cleansing him of his sins.  The climax of this scene is in v. 8.  Here the scripture says, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’  Then I said, ‘Here am I, send me!'”

Even though Isaiah was overwhelmed by the majesty of God, and by his own inadequacies as a man, he immediately volunteered for duty when God called.  He did not ask what God intended for him to do, or how hard it would be, or how long he would have to serve.  He simply said, ‘Here am I, send me!”  From that day forward Isaiah devoted himself to proclaiming God’s word to Judah, and according to Jewish tradition he lost his life at the command of wicked king Manasseh for doing so.

The response of Isaiah to God’s call inspires us and we hold him in high regard for it.  For some of us, however, this is the extent of its effect on us.  We manage somehow to deflect the personal aspect of this call and instead turn it into a recruiting tool to put others to work in the kingdom.  In effect we say, “Here am I . . . send him!”  This, of course, is a distortion of the intent of this account.  The primary lesson of Isaiah’s example is to show that each of us should not fail to respond to the Lord’s call to service.

The New Testament ratifies this principle.  In Eph. 4:11-16 Paul spoke of all the works that God had placed in the church in order to facilitate its growth.  He spoke especially of spiritual leaders whose job was “equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (v. 12).  Then, in v. 16 he stated that the growth of the body is dependent upon “what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part”.  In other words, every member of the body of Christ is expected to contribute to the growth of the body.

The call of God is for His people, individual members of the church, to supply what the body as a whole needs in order to grow.  We do this in many ways, of course, but one of the most important ways is in the teaching of God’s word.  In Heb. 5:12-14 the inspired writer chastised the Hebrew Christians because at a time when they should have been teachers, they were still in need of milk rather than solid food.  The fault, as he described it, was theirs alone because they had not trained their senses to discern good and evil.  They had not answered God’s call, but had instead relied on others to answer it.

The growth and maturity of the church depends on each Christian doing his or her part to insure it.  This means that we should be answering God’s call just as Isaiah did.  Isaiah did not feel himself worthy to stand before God, or to serve Him, but when God cleansed him, he knew that he must serve.  Every Christian has been spiritually cleansed by obedience to the gospel.  Therefore, we have no excuse to refuse God’s call to service.  Like Isaiah, let us be emboldened by this cleansing God has granted us, and say, “Here am I, send me!”




As Luke ended his account of what we call Acts, he made a final statement about the work of Paul, who was then a prisoner of Rome.  In Acts 28:30, 31 Luke wrote, “And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.”  If Luke’s account were turned into a Hollywood movie, this would be the fade-to-black scene that brought the story to a close.  It is the “good guy rides off into the sunset” kind of imagery that suggests victory.

The power of Luke’s statement is found in the way he constructed his final sentence.  In the Greek language in which Luke wrote, word order was often used to emphasize the most important point.  A word placed last in a sentence was therefore the key idea in that sentence.  In this case, the word “unhindered” is the final word.  Luke wanted his readers to understand that the preaching of the kingdom of God and the teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ was unhindered.  This is significant given the fact that Paul was a prisoner who was literally chained to a Roman soldier, even though he lived in his own rented quarters.

This is an amazing reflection of the power of God that was at work in the great apostle.  In a setting that most would agree should have restricted Paul’s ability to preach and teach, the word of God was unfettered and freely went out from that place.  The effect of Paul’s preaching, and the accuracy of Luke’s assessment of it, is demonstrated in the letter to the Philippians, which Paul wrote during his imprisonment in Rome.

In Phil. 1:13 Paul said that the cause of Christ had become known throughout the whole Praetorian Guard.  These men were the personal body guards of the Roman Emperor, Nero, and they had charge over political prisoners such as Paul.  These soldiers heard the gospel as Paul taught visitors to his quarters, and apparently shared the message with their fellow soldiers.  At the end of this letter, Paul sent greetings to the church in Philippi from those who were with him in Rome, including “those of Caesar’s household” (Phil. 4:22).  Apparently, Paul’s teaching had made converts among Nero’s household staff.

Thus we see that the word of God was indeed “unhindered.”  It freely flowed from the apostle’s rented quarters to all those who were willing to hear it.  Paul was chained and restricted, but the gospel of Jesus Christ was not!  When we realize this great truth, we are both astounded and inspired by it.  At the same time, however, we are chastened by it as well.

Paul was in the most difficult of human circumstances, but he did not allow those circumstances to keep him from proclaiming God’s word.  Very few of us will ever be in such restrictive conditions as Paul was, but sometimes we act as though we are.  How often have we remained silent when others challenge or mock faith in Christ?  How often have we quietly gone our way without sharing the saving message of the gospel with a friend or acquaintance?  How often have we allowed ourselves to be muzzled by anti-Christian forces in our society?

If the gospel of Christ was unhindered in the capital of the Roman Empire when the most ruthless of the Caesars ruled, why should it be hindered today?  It is only hindered when Christians fail to speak a good word for Jesus.  Let us take courage from the great apostle and unleash the power of God’s word to save (Rom. 1:16; Jas. 1:21).  Let us, like him, preach “the kingdom of God and . . . . the Lord Jesus Christ, with all openness, unhindered.”