Tuesday, July 23, 2013


In the gospels when the name 'Jesus' is used it is generally stressing our Lord's humanity. It was a very common name and so much so, that when our Lord was referred to by that name it was often distinguished with the user adding phrases like "from Nazareth" or "the Nazarene." In Matthew 21:11 the crowd answers the question of who He was by saying, "This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee," and that because there were so many others who went by that name in the region.

It is by the name "Jesus" that our Lord identified Himself to Saul of Tarsus in that magnificent encounter on the road to Damascus. Then, when Stephen saw Him at the stoning that ended Stephen's life, it is said that he saw "Jesus" at the right hand of Jehovah. Both the use of that name and the vision of Him standing, gives real power to His empathetic relationship with the pain Stephen was feeling in the moment. It was a very human/divine moment.

Paul would frequently use the simple name "Jesus" because he was so often stressing His humanity. [See 1 Thessalonians 4:14 & 11 Corinthians 4:11-14] But because of His uniqueness, Paul the Apostle would also often add the divine title with that simple name making it, "Jesus Christ" or "Lord Jesus" which testifies to the fact that Jesus is the Christ and is, in fact, God Incarnate. The unique God/man.

To firm up his case for who that "Jesus" is whom he worshipped, Paul told Titus that Jesus is "that great God and our Savior."[Titus 2:13-14] So we see that Paul personally held to, and testified about, how really wonderful a gift was, this one who went by that normal and well known name of "Jesus," to all of us.

Bill and Gloria Gathier were on to something special when they penned the words to this old song.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There's just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away

But there's something about that name.

"Jesus"____There really is something about that name.

Paul B.


It has become necessary for me to take some time off from blog writing. With some travel over the next few weeks and in early September a knee replacement, it could be some time before I resume.

Thanks for being a reader and have a great rest of the summer.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


We associate fireworks with falling in love. Zow, bam, wow, boom, and we're in love. Well, falling in love doesn't work that way generally speaking, but sometimes that kind of fireworks display does come about AFTER the wedding as the couple begins to develop their roles in family life. Let the fireworks begin.

The phrase "Roles In Marriage" refers to what is expected by a society, religion, or even of a couple, in the performance of certain responsibilities assigned to the husband and wife in marriage. Who does what? What is expected of each? Some people believe the bible gives explicit roles for each and those do not vary. Other people believe that culture sets what is expected and those roles sometimes change. What we wind up with is the culture condemning religion for being too rigid and religious people condemning culture for being shamefully flexible. Who's right in all this?

I would suggest two things for us to remember when talking about roles in marriage relationships. 

One is, in scripture there is clear indication that the husband and wife are to be seen as equal with each other. This means that in thinking about a couple biblically, neither is to be seen as inferior to, nor superior to, the other. That boat simply doesn't float scripturally. Add to that the fact that the word "roles" doesn't appear in scripture in connection to marriage either and you have a reason for wondering what's going on with all this. [Don't make too much of this, however. The word Trinity doesn't either.]

The second thing to remember is, simple gender biology shows there are gender differences with differing responsibilities. So obviously, the man does not give birth to children nor does he breast feed the child. That's a woman's role clearly. But the rearing of that child, the changing of diapers, feeding the baby a bottle at 2:00 am, potty training, and a host of ultimate things done for and with that child are up for grabs biblically. 

Apart from the obvious gender differences in child-bearing, there is nothing else said about any lists of "oughts" or "shoulds" about who does what with regards to family life. Both husband and wife provide for, care for, and generally give themselves to being numerous things to the family unit out of necessity and circumstances, but assigned lists are not found. 

With these two things in mind, I want to give my fairly simple personal conclusion about this whole thing of roles which comes from my own, and I trust correctly interpreted, biblically understanding.

Because of Agape love, changing circumstances, and a lack of biblical listing of various responsibilities, I think it would be completely silly, and maybe even injurious spiritually and emotionally, to develop a list of what the man is to do and the woman is to do based on gender, [child-birth excepted] since the scriptures don't, and would rob a couple of being able to use their unique gifts, talents, and even intellect perhaps, were this to be done.

Husbands and wives are to function in what has been called by someone I read, "a parallel mutual relationship" which would be characterized by unity, equality, love, grace and, as equals in surrender to the Lordship of Christ and self-giving service to each other, several things would then develop in the relationship.

Both become leaders. Both become followers. Both are submissive. Both are dominant. [In some fashion.]  They wind up in a respectful, fulfilling, "one-flesh" union that demonstrates what love is all about and they wind up being "subject one to another out of reverence for Christ."

Now that kind of marriage creates it own fireworks,

As I said, let the fireworks begin.

But it's in celebration instead of confrontation.

Paul B.

Monday, July 08, 2013


I just read the new Saturday Evening Post which has an article on how modern day Christian churches are experiencing a bit of a renewal in attendance and how young people are joining the resurgence looking for God's answers to life. 

This renewal is NOT in mainline churches, the article says, which still see low attendance and few young people attending. It's in the modern churches made up of young people who are willing to see the supernatural in life and are looking for God in all the daily, even ordinary things as well.

This, in contrast to several years ago, [60s and 70s] when science leaders and College professors, according to researchers, had a very real and pervasive hold on young people, effectively leading them away from religion and any belief in God.

So one generation responds and another generation does not respond to a belief in God and the supernatural. What's new!

I admit, it's always nice to read that our culture or society is willing to take seriously our message of Christ and new churches are growing. I'm a member of a great one.

But there is a caveat I'd like to offer to ANY resurgence of church attenders and especially the cultural ones of our day and to Christians who preach that message that they are excited about.

The gospel message does not need to have cultural primacy or even social acceptance in order to flourish. It has never and does not now need an atmosphere of acceptance socially for it to do it's redemptive work.

Nor is the gospel at a disadvantage when persecution comes to Christians, even to their death. It may, in fact, be quite the reverse. Persecution may be more akin to pouring gasoline on a fire. If you want to see REAL CHRISTIANITY, let the persecution begin.

We Christians stand as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and members of the body of Christ, [The Church] and we must always remember that the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world. (I John 4:4)

This means in good times, but also in bad times, we can and will live quietly, firmly, and triumphantly, sharing the gospel of the Kingdom confidently, COME WHAT MAY.

So a culture saying a "yes" rather than a "no" to the message of the gospel and to the reality of God is nice and even exciting. But culture and society are known for change and adapting to fads. But that doesn't matter at all to the real gospel of Christ and His Kingdom.

Paul B.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


My worldview, as a Christian who is an American, is one where I see our nation as a blessed nation founded on principles that recognize the existence of God and the sacredness of human life, which is an extraordinary and unique thing in human history. It has made this nation great.

This is seen clearly in the Introduction to a very important document where it states...

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

What follows in that document is a statement of the reasons for severing ties with the British Empire and the birth of the American nation. We call it the Declaration of Independence.

However, I do not believe it possible for any nation on earth to collectively have redemptive faith in Christ and His work on the Cross, which is the basis for God's salvation, and which is the ONLY biblical basis for a personal and an eternal relationship with Him.

So, in simple terms, biblically, I do not believe any earthly nation can be identified as a "Christian nation," including America.

ALL NATIONS, ours included, can only expect to rise and fall as a human empire and ultimately make way for the Kingdom of God.

That Kingdom is presently within all believers out of every nation on earth who know Him personally and all those who will believe on Him in the future, and is a Kingdom which is yet to be established at His return as well. This is the "gospel of the Kingdom" which we preach and it is not an American gospel at all.

That "gospel" of hope for all people has two aspects to it, though it is only one gospel. Christ and His Cross, which deals with our sin and fallen nature, is one aspect of that redemptive gospel message. This is being delivered [saved] "from" something.

The Kingdom mentioned above is the other aspect of the redemptive gospel message. He reigns in our lives presently as King, and will one day, at His return, bring about the full deliverance of this world to be His Kingdom and will reign over it as its King. This is being delivered [saved]  "to" something.

So biblical Christianity isn't just heaven in the bye and bye when we die. And it certainly isn't being an American. It is becoming a part of His Kingdom NOW, and, one day at His return, being in His Coming Kingdom, which is a new heaven AND A NEW  EARTH, where He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords forever.

[The old heaven and earth will have passed away.]

Until that time, I am a citizen of two countries, but my first allegiance is to the present AND coming Kingdom and its King, knowing the nation of my earthly birthplace [America] will one day be finished and superceded.

But in the mean time, as a Christian who is an American, I will work though lawful, Constitutional means to preserve this nation's freedom and justice for ALL Americans, regardless of ethnicity, religion or political affiliation, knowing this perhaps means confronting wrongs as a citizen that need to be righted through new laws and new elections sometimes.

But as already stated, announcing the gospel of the true Kingdom is my first priority, knowing ALL citizens of EVERY nation will not experience salvation apart from faith in the One of Whom the gospel of the Kingdom speaks.

I also know my nation of heritage is to be shaped by principles found in the Constitution based on the reality of God which gave birth to this nation. But it can never be reflective of Kingdom principles that are found in Christ alone.

So, knowing full well that every nation, America included, will one day give way to His Kingdom,  I will not allow the two to be mixed in my thinking either as a Christian or as an American citizen.

This is my worldview. This is why I can and do celebrate with joy July 4th. This is why I don't worship anything American. My worship is reserved for the King of another Kingdom. So I will say with pride and delight tomorrow....


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

THOUGH HE IS DEAD, YET HE SPEAKS____John Newton's message to American Christians

John Newton (1725 – 1807), well-known for penning the hymn “Amazing Grace,” wrote a letter to a friend giving his views on Christian involvement in government affairs. Newton defines his view of true patriotism from a Christian perspective. It may be a needed message for us on this July 4th, 2013 as well.

John Newton wrote...

Dear friend,

Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, than it would be to paint the cabin—while the ship is sinking! Or to decorate the parlor—while the house is on fire!

When our Lord Jesus was upon earth, He refused to get involved in disputes or politics, “Friend, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Luke 12:14. “My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight!” John 18:36. God’s children belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and a part of their Scriptural character is, that they are the “quiet in the land.” Psalm 35:19. Satan has many contrivances to amuse people, and to divert their thoughts from their real danger!

My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is—that He may induce you to employ the talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God’s wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged! This, I think, is true patriotism—the best way in which people in private life may serve their country.

I consider the ungodly as saws and hammers in the hand of the Lord. So far as they are His instruments, they will succeed—but not an inch further! Their wrath shall praise Him, and be subservient to His designs! If our lot is so cast that we can exercise our ministry free from stripes, fines, imprisonments, and death—it is more than the gospel has promised to us! If Christians were quiet when under the cruel governments of Nero and other wicked persecutors, when they were hunted down like wild beasts—then we ought to be not only quiet but very thankful now! It was then accounted an honor to suffer for Christ and the ‘offense of the cross’!

Those are to be greatly pitied, who boast of their ‘liberty’—and yet they do not consider that they are in the most deplorable bondage as the slaves of sin and Satan, under the curse of God’s law and His eternal wrath! Oh! for a voice to reach their hearts, that they may know their true and dreadful state—and seek deliverance from their horrific thralldom!  [A state of servitude]
May you and I labor to direct them to the one thing, which is absolutely needful, and abundantly sufficient.

If I had the wisdom or influence to soothe the angry passions of mankind—I would gladly employ them! But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here in this world. My charter, my rights and my treasures, are all in heaven—and there my heart ought to be. In a very short time, I may be removed (and perhaps suddenly) into the unseen and eternal world—where all that now causes so much bustle upon earth—will be of no more importance to me—than the events which took place among the antediluvians!
In the hour, when death shall open the door into eternity—many things which now assume an ‘air of importance’, will be found as light and unsubstantial as a child’s dream!

How crucial then, is it for me—to be found watching, with my lamp burning, diligently engaged in my proper calling! For the Lord has not called me to set governments right—but to preach the gospel, to proclaim the glory of His name, and to endeavor to win souls! “Let the dead bury their own dead—but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God!” Luke 9:60. Happy is that servant, whom his Master finds so doing, when He returns!

As you have forced me to respond—both duty and love have obliged me to be faithful and free in giving you my thoughts.

I recommend you to the care and blessing of the great Shepherd and Savior; and remain for His sake, your affectionate friend and brother,

John Newton