Get This Special e-Book FREE!

For the past 13 months, this blog has featured 45 chapters of an e-Book.  It was originally called What’s It All About?  The “It” is the Bible.  It ended up being called Building the Family of God.  The “Family” is you!  That’s what the Bible is all about!  And what this blog is all about.

Building the Family of God adNow you can have your own complete FREE 179-page e-Book.    Perhaps you have already read some or all of the chapters, but they have been improved while putting them into the e-Book (a PDF file).

I want you to know the thrill of being a part of building the Family of God.    There is no greater adventure!

Feel free to share this e-Book with anybody interested.

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Young Adults Tell God Why They’re Dropping out of Church

God:  I read the LifeWay Research Survey published Tuesday about your top reasons for dropping out of church.

Young Adults:  Yeah, the biggest one was moving to college … 34%.  Life changes accounted for 96% of our top reasons.

God:  Yes, life changes happen.  Real big ones are coming and I want you to be ready.   “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25).

Young Adults:  Yeah, but we have so many work responsibilities! … 24%.

God:  “There is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work … these pleasures are from the hand of God” (Eccl. 2:24 New Living Translation).   But never forget my Fourth One to “remember” my Sabbath day, on which you must do no work (Exo. 20:8-10).

Young Adults:  Yeah, but we just don’t feel connected to people in church … 29%.  Issues with pastors and members account for 73% of our top reasons for quitting.

God:  The Church is your Mother (Gal. 4:26).  Did you get to choose which womb you showed up in?  Your chatty sister?  Your ornery brother?  I do not request anybody’s permission when it comes to whom I call into the Body of Christ (John 6:44).  I expect my children to become one body.  One family.  Edifying in love until you become fully like Us (Eph. 4:1-13).

Young Adults:  Yeah, but we want to be spiritual, but church members seem so judgmental … 32%.

God:  I’m the one who exhorts them to “iron sharpen iron” (Prov. 27:17).  That takes both the giver and the receiver to be strong enough to appreciate reproof and humbly act on it, like I advise in My Proverbs.   And I’m the one who instructs the spiritually mature to “admonish” and mentor the younger (Tit. 2:4-6).  It can make them feel guilty of shirking their commanded responsibility to you.

Young Adults:  Yeah, but you saw what they did!

God:  Here’s my solution which hardly anybody ever does:  “go and tell him his fault between you and him alone … if he will not hear, take with you one or two more … And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church” (Matt. Matt. 18:15-17).    This is opposite of telling everybody you know and quitting church!

Young Adults:  Yeah, but so much of the time we disagree with church stances … 25%.  Disagreement over religious, ethical or political beliefs accounts for 70% of our top reasons.

God:  Stay true to my Bible and I’ll guide you.  I challenge everybody to “speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10-12).   There is always somebody new to “be of.”  How about be of Me!

Young Adults:  Yeah, but we find ourselves only going to please others … 22%.

God:   Hey, unselfish outgoing concern is better than only going to please self!  “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).  We’ll be there!

Young Adults:  Thanks for talking!  Somehow all our good reasons are starting to sound like limiting excuses.

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Should We Even Concern Ourselves with the “Appearance of Evil”?

Switching from the old King James Version to the New King James Version … sure, good riddance to the thees and thous!  Woudst thou agree!

But switching can have some unintended consequences.

1 Thes. 5:22 in the KJV says:  “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”   This compares with the Jubilee Bible, Douay-Rheims Bible, Webster’s Bible Translation and Young’s Literal Translation—which you probably don’t read either!

But the New King James Bible—and modern translations becoming very popular such as the New International Version, New Living Translation and English Standard Version—say “Reject, stay away, or abstain from every form [or kind] of evil.”

What’s Vine’s say?

vinesThe Greek word EIDOS means “external appearance, form, or shape”—Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, “Appearance.”

Regarding “We walk by faith, not by sight [eidos]”—2 Cor. 5:7, Vine’s says “eidos can scarcely mean the act of beholding.”  Regarding 1 Thes. 5:22, Vine’s says “not ‘appearance,’ KJV.”

So the relatively short amount of commentary in Vine’s gives the decided impression that eidos means avoid all evil that appears to you but no need to worry about how what you do might appear evil to others.

♦    So maybe we think: “Look, I keep the Sabbath whether others like it or not.  I just have to worry about obeying God and doing right.”
♦    Maybe we think:  Christ ate with publicans and sinners and didn’t worry about finger wagers.   [Did Jesus Eat Regularly with Tax Collectors & Sinners?].
♦    Maybe you think: “It’s not my problem whether somebody lusts over the way I dress—that’s their responsibility!”   And then there’s the rest of us:  “Nobody would lust after me no matter how I dress!”

So what’s the truth? Does 1 Thes. 5:22 mean that we don’t have to be concerned about how we appear to others?

Let’s look at context

Some claim that Paul throughout the entire chapter of 1 Thes. 5 only talks about what you need to be doing and not about how others perceive what you’re doing—so why should verse 22 be any different.

♦    Verse 11 says “edify one another” which requires you to figure out what they appear to need.  Paul eloquently wrote in Php. 2:3-4: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.   Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
♦    Verse 14 says  “Warn those who are unruly”—not worried enough about how they appear to others!
♦    Verse 15 says “always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.”  In that I can hear Paul saying he wouldn’t do something allowable if it would offend a brother.   “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

e-Sword commentaries

♦    Matthew Henry:  “We should therefore abstain from … all appearances of evil, from sin, and that which looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it.”
♦    Clarke’s:  “Do not drive your morality so near the bounds of evil as to lead even weak persons to believe that ye actually touch, taste, or handle it.”

Temptation AdSo, parents still tell their dating teens to study hard—and keep the door open!   Ministers bring a wife—their own, preferably!—or assistants along on a visit with a lone female.  ER actress Vanessa Marquez was shot and killed by South Pasadena police for pointing a BB pistol at them.

The complete meaning of 1 Thes. 5:22 is abstain from every form of evil including how we appear to others and impact them.

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So Great a Salvation We Must Not Neglect!

How thrilling in our Bible study where we suddenly see new light on an old scripture!

In the previous post we discussed Heb. 2:3 and how we must “Not Neglect So Great a Salvation” By Using Our Spiritual Tools.”  I always saw that we must not neglect.  But the emphasis should be on:

So great a salvation!

Building the Family of God adThis insight incubated over the past year as I was writing a condensed version of the Bible.

Genesis to Revelation really impressed on me how awesome is the great salvation God has in store for us! 1) Us becoming part of the Family 2) Us helping others become part of the Family.

When you see what a great salvation is offered you, you don’t have to fight so hard about neglecting it because you want it so much more!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11).

In John 1 we learn about how

God and the Word—lived together in love, joy and harmony for who knows how long.  Their favorite joke might have been:  “We’ve gotta stop doing this!”  And then the other would laugh:  “We never started!”

The givers of abundant living surely were living it (John 10:10).   Those promising  “fullness of joy [and] pleasures forevermore” no doubt live a good, fun life (Psa. 16:11)!   Paul says They promised us eternal life before time began (Tit. 1:2).

God and the Word wanted to share their life with other God Beings including us!  So They came up with their glorious plan of salvation and the Holy Days that picture it!  They would reproduce themselves!   Two God Beings will become billions.

Adam & EveGod created them to live in the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life and told them to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28).   At His return Jesus will begin transforming the earth into a Garden of Eden (Isa. 51:3) with access to the Tree of Life (Rev. 22:2).  The Tree of Life symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and we are the temple of God with the Holy Spirit actually living in us!  (1 Cor. 6:18-19).

Abrahamdesired a “better … heavenly country … a city” (Heb. 11:16).  God will bring the New Jerusalem where the Bride of Christ will live down to the new earth (Rev. 21:2).

Moses & Joshua—led Israel to the promised land.  We can be in the first resurrection with them to assist Jesus in establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth for the meek.

David—His throne and dynasty would continue unconditionally (Psa. 89) until the Messiah of the Davidic branch would come sit on the throne of David!

David said “The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His Temple” (Psa. 27:4, New Living Translation).   But he said he’s be happy to be a doorkeeper (Psa. 84:10).

Jesus will make the resurrected David king over the 12 Tribes of Israel (Ezk. 37:24).  David knew that eventually “all things” [the universe!] would be put under man’s feet (Psa. 8:6).

Such a great salvation includes that we have been given “exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).  We can have the mind of Christ! (Php. 2:5).

We have the blessed hope of being in

The first resurrection

which is the better resurrection (Heb. 11:35)—a double blessing for the firstborn (Deut. 21:17).  Only those in the first resurrection will become unveiled as the Bride of Christ!  It appears as if sons and daughters to come will be considered a product of that marriage.  If we think marrying our spouse changed our life, wait until we’re married to Christ!

A second huge blessing will be to get in on the ground floor of the Millennium and the Kingdom, like if you had started working for Microsoft at its beginning which would have meant great reward and opportunity for growth and promotion.

Speculation abounds about what comes after the end of the Bible.  If God and the Word spent so much detailed thought preparing their plan of salvation for up to Rev. 22, imagine what they have intricately planned for the rest of eternity!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9 NLT).

God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:18-19).

So let’s put nothing above

♦   “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Rom. 2:7).
♦    building our relationship with God and building the Family of God.

Temptation AdYes, we must not neglect using the five spiritual tools in our Christian toolbox:  daily Bible study, fervent prayer, fasting, meditation and Sabbath/Holy Day assembly.

But we won’t have nearly so much trouble fighting against neglecting so great a salvation if we keep ever in mind how great a salvation is offered us!

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