Why the Phil Robertson controversy is Important

Recently, I read a blog titled, Hey Church, can we just calm the Duck down, by Matthew Paul Turner. The writer of the blog could not understand why Christians were getting so upset about Phil being suspended from A&E’s Duck Dynasty and turn a blind eye to the serious issues of poverty in the world. Turner writes,“No, they’re not angry about the number of homeless people roaming our city streets. And no, they’re not angry about the number of children dying everyday from malnutrition.”[1] Turner then proceeds to give his opinion on why the church shouldn’t get so upset about what happened to Phil Robertson.

I am the first to say, “Amen” to the church needing to be more involved with the poor, homeless, and orphaned. Indeed, I have spent most of my Christian life working with the least of these. But as I read the article, my stomach churned more and more with each additional word. 

I would hope when handling the topic of sin we would use not only God’s truth, but also God’s grace.  I am not fond of the frankness with which Phil spoke. With that said, Phil Robertson did address biblical truth. Therefore, just as Turner spent the remainder of his blog stating why he believes the church SHOULDN’T get upset about the Phil Robertson issue, I will spend the remainder of my blog writing about why the church SHOULD get upset about the Phil Robertson issue. To do so, I would like to take a quick journey back in time.

In October 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association wrote Thomas Jefferson a letter just after he became third President. Their concern was for religious liberty. They stated, “Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions…” [emphasis mine].[2]

What was President Jefferson’s response to these men? And why is it important?  In Jefferson’s reply he stated, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature would “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.[3] [emphasis mine] Yes, the famous quote of separation between Church and State was meant to protect religion not squelch religion.

The issue of freedom of religion was so important to our founding fathers that in September 1789 congress passed America’s first ten Amendments. The First Amendment dealt with freedom of religion. Our First Amendment states:

Amendment I

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”[4] [emphasis mine]

When Phil Robertson paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6, he was exercising his freedom of speech and his personal religious beliefs. He believes the Bible is God’s Word and the Bible is truth. This is a fundamental right given to all Americans in the First Amendment. He did not single out a person by name or defame a person’s character. He simply stated what the Bible said. In fact, in the Bible verses of which Phil spoke, there are listed many other types of sinners. These include:

  • Fornicators – having sex outside of marriage.
  • Idolaters – someone who loves someone/something more than God.
  • Adulterers – having sex with someone other than your spouse.
  • Effeminate – transsexual.
  • Homosexuals –same sex attraction.
  • Thieves – someone who steals someone else’s property.
  • Covetous – desiring someone else’s possession (if you have ever looked at someone’s car/coat/clothing etc and thought I wish I had that … then you have coveted – I dare to say this is every person in America).
  • Drunkards – someone who drinks too much alcohol.
  • Revilers – insulting or abusive language toward someone.
  • Swindlers – someone obtaining something by deceit.

The truth is, when we look at the list in 1 Corinthians 6 every adult in America would fall into one of these categories which the Bible calls sin. So why didn’t all the revilers get upset at Phil, or all the covetous people? The issue was not that Phil Robertson himself spoke out against homosexuality—the issue was that Phil said God’s stance is against homosexuality. The real issue is that Phil dared to call homosexuality a sin. Thus, the LGBT supporters say that Phil has judged them.

Roberson’s stance is the same stance God takes in Genesis 19. Most are familiar with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God sent two angles to Sodom for the purpose of warning a righteous man named Lot of God’s impending judgment on the city because the sin of the city was exceedingly grave (Genesis 18:20). Men surrounded Lot’s house and called for the angels to come out and have  relations with them. After a short conversation in which Lot refused the men’s request, the men who had surrounded Lot’s house said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them” (Genesis 19:9). Phil being condemned by homosexuals is the same as what happened in the first recorded account of homosexuals intimidating the righteous. Phil has been called judgmental and has been treated harshly simply because he spoke God’s truth.

In his blog, Turner wrote, “Phil will survive”.[5] I do agree with this. Phil is probably less concerned about all the hoopla than the many people who are talking and blogging about the controversy. I have heard that when the controversy broke Phil was leading a prayer meeting for a young woman who has cancer.[6] In my opinion, Phil is a man who has his priorities in order. He spoke truth and then went about living out his Christian life.  

We can learn a lot from Phil Roberson. We need to become men and women who boldly speak God’s Word regardless of popular opinion, and we need to continue to do what God has called us to do.

If Phil is going to be fine, why should we care? We live in a country that believes in freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Why did our Founding Fathers make this Amendment their first priority? Read the opening statement of the preamble to the Bill of Rights.

 “THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”[7]

You might be thinking Phil’s suspension has nothing to do with government. A&E didn’t like what Phil said so they suspended him. As I wrote before, Phil is going to be fine. He didn’t need the Duke Dynasty gig to put food on his table, quite the contrary. He will go on being Phil Robertson, in or out of the spotlight. But our country has taken a turn in recent years when it comes to religious freedom.

Recently two cases of religious freedom were in the news and the results did not fare well for the Christian believers. One was about a photography company and other about a bakery. Both business owners refused to do business with couples who wanted their services for gay weddings. Both the photographer and baker declined these potential customers because of their Christian beliefs. And both gay couples sued on grounds of discrimination. The bakery closed, and huge fines were imposed upon the photographer’s business. They didn’t refuse to sell cupcakes, birthday cakes, or portraits to a gay person. Their choice to turn down the business came when they stood on God’s side. The photographer’s counsel “argued on the photographer’s behalf that, because photography is an art and inherently expressive, forcing her to cover an event to which she’s morally opposed necessarily violates her right of free expression”[8]

These people were not the Robertsons. They needed the money from their businesses to pay mortgages, buy groceries, and pay taxes. This type of thing is exactly what our Founding Fathers wanted to prevent. The Bill of Rights which you just read stated to “prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers.” This is what happened to the baker and the photographer. They lost their freedom of religion to believe what God’s Word said and to live by God’s Word and His precepts. Today standing up for Jesus and the Bible could cost you monetarily, but this is just the first step. Today is the cost is money, tomorrow …???

 

Why should we care about what happened to Phil Robertson? Because if it can happen to Phil … it can happen to you.

 

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come … so these men also oppose the truth … but you follow my teaching … and indeed all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

2 Timothy 3:1,8,10,12

 


[1]  Matthew Paul Turner. Hey church can we all just calm the duck down. December 19, 2013. matthewpaulturner.com.  http://matthewpaulturner.com/2013/12/19/hey-church-can-we-all-just-calm-the-duck-down/ December 21, 2013.

 [2] “Letter of Oct. 7, 1801 from Danbury (CT) Baptist Assoc. to Thomas Jefferson,” Thomas Jefferson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC.

 [3] Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert E. Bergh, ed. (Washington DC: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association of the United States, 1904), vol. XVI, 281–282.

 [4] “Bill of Rights Transcript Text.” Bill of Rights Transcript Text. Accessed  December 21. 2013 <www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html>.

 [5]Matthew Paul Turner. Hey church can we all just calm the duck down. December 19, 2013. matthewpaulturner.com.  http://matthewpaulturner.com/2013/12/19/hey-church-can-we-all-just-calm-the-duck-down/ December 21, 2013.

 [7]United States, National Archives and Records Administration. The Bill of Rights.  January 29, 1998. accessed December 21, 2013, www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html

[8] Allahpundit. Hotair.com. posted at 7:21 pm on September 3, 2013.  accessed on December 21, 2013. http://hotair.com/archives/2013/09/03/oregon-bakery-closes-doors-after-state-investigates-over-refusal-to-cater-same-sex-wedding/

 

 

 

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Albanian Report – Introduction

“For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished
through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

Romans 15:18-19

Albania 2013! – Highlights of the trip:

Cities in which Words of Grace and Truth ministered – 4                       Discipleship/Leadership meetings – 10                                                                       People touched – Almost 800                                                                                        And 18 Salvations!

As you can see, there was a lot of ministry taking place during our time in Albania. Therefore we will be sending out more than one ministry report. The
introductory report is below. Enjoy!

Introduction:

Although Words of Grace & Truth’s has ministered in Albania before, we had not fully realized the vastness of the country of Illyricum until this trip. Modern day Illyricum encompasses Albania, along with parts of Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. This June, in Shkoder, Albania, Words of Grace & Truth held its second teacher-training conference. In biblical times, Shkoder was the capital city of Illyricum. To sit and ponder the thought that the Apostle Paul fully preached the gospel in this area is exciting…the privilege of teaching where Paul taught is more than I could have ever imaged!

The territory of Illyricum

Shkoder is beautiful. It was amazing to see the mixture of centuries-old architecture
with modern buildings. Although our purpose was far from sightseeing, one couldn’t help getting caught up in what the town had to offer. Over five hundred years ago, the Turks invaded the country and demanded that the citizens convert to Islam. Those who chose not to convert would die. Today the area is about 80% Muslim with a mixture of Orthodox and Catholic claiming most of the remainder of the area citizens. However, following fifty years of Communism, most people practice their religion in name only regardless of the religion claimed by their families. Few people have a true knowledge of what it means to be a devout follower of their professed religion.

Beautiful Shkoder, Albania

Shkoder and the surrounding area have a population of about 300,000 people and only six Evangelical churches. In our short time in Shkoder, I had the privilege of meeting four of the six pastors of these churches. What a testimony of God’s passion for this city. A resounding theme during our time in Albania was that God wants His people back. This theme was echoed by the voice of each of the pastors with whom we spoke.

Mary Ann, a pastor’s wife from Pequin, Albania, spoke of a prayer she and her church
had prayed for years. A depiction of the prayer was found on a painting she gave to Marta. The message of the painting was simple. For over 500 years people have been trying to suppress Christ to the people of Illyricum. But God had heard their cries and brought forth His people to bring the message of HIS kingdom to Illyricum. Mary Ann
believed Marta’s first Bible study, Bound To Be Free, was a direct answer to this prayer. Yes, God does want His people back. He sent a simple servant from 6,000 miles away to teach the people of Illyricum how to take back their cities for Jesus Christ. What a privilege to be put into service for Him.

Picture given to Marta from Mary Ann

Over the next few weeks you will hear more about the meetings which were held and what God did during our time with the people of Albania.

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Standing in the Gap

“And I searched for a man among them who should
build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should
not destroy it; but I found no one.”

Ezekiel 22:30

 

With the resent elections in America, there is one reality which is evident…we live in a divided country. With only a 1½% voting difference between the two parties, the division in America seems to be escalating instead of diminishing.

The Christians who were for Romney say that when someone depends on the government for their healthcare and security, they turn the government into a god, an idol to be worshiped. Christian Republicans believe voting for a man who supports the killing of unborn children and gay marriage is reprehensible. While Christian Democrats believe they are voting for programs to help the poor and serve the least of these.

Although I fell in the camp of those hoping for some change in 2012, the closer it came to the election the more I noticed that conservative believers were looking to Romney to save America. With this observation, I bowed my head to the true Savior, Jesus Christ, and with fear and trembling asked Him to give us a leader that would draw Christians closer to Himself. As I was reflecting Wednesday after the election, I saw how God’s wisdom is far from the wisdom of man. One of the responses to the election on my Social Network page voiced, “There is nothing left for us to do but pray”. While I understood the response my heart’s cry was, “Why was prayer not our first response instead of our final desperate plea?”

The next obvious question came to mind, “What now? How are we as believers to respond?” In my quest for answers to these questions, I began my prayers with “Lord show me.” Over the last several months I have been studying Ezekiel. As with most of the Major Prophets, Ezekiel continues to remind me of America’s relationship with the
Lord. In Ezekiel 22:23-31, the Lord describes the people of Judah in four distinct groups: prophets, priests, princes, and people of the land. All four groups are guilty of forsaking the Lord. Then Scripture tells us, “I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I have found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30).

What does a man or woman who will stand in the gap for The Lord look like?
Leaders, Nations, and God, my second Bible study which is in the process of being published and should be available by the end of 2012, uses Moses as an example of a man who stood in the gap for the Lord’s people. Numbers 14 talks about a time in Israel’s history when God was so angry with Israel He wanted to start over with Moses and make the descendants of Moses into a nation greater and mightier than the descendants of Jacob (Israel).  Moses stood in the gap for God’s people even though they didn’t deserve it. Moses reminded the Lord of who He is, His character, and what the nations would say if the Lord destroyed Israel. Let’s take a closer look into Number 14:13-20.

What Moses said the nations would say:

The Lord could not bring this people into the land which He promised them by oath, therefore He slaughtered them in the wilderness” (Numbers 14:16).

Moses reminded the Lord: (Numbers 14:17-18)

  •  He is slow to anger
  • He is abundant in lovingkindness
  • He forgives iniquities and transgressions
  • He will not clear the guilty

Moses prayer: (Numbers 14:19)

Cry? Pardon the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of the Lord’s lovingkindness

Why? Just as the Lord has forgiven this people from Egypt even until now

What was the result of Moses prayer?

“I [Lord] have pardoned them according to your [Moses] word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Numbers 14:20-21)

Israel didn’t deserve for Moses to stand in the gap for them. Just moments before Israel wanted to stone Moses! (Numbers 14:10) Yet Moses pleaded on behalf of the people.

“They [Israel] forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt, Wonders in the land of Ham and awesome things by the Red Sea. Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, To turn away His wrath from destroying them (Psalm 106:21-23).

Regardless of which side of the red or blue fence you stand, it is clear that America has forgotten who is their Savior. His name is Jesus. Just as He did wonders for the sons of Israel, He wants to do wonders for the sons of the United States of America.

The Lord is calling men and women to stand in the gap for America. We need to humble ourselves and pray that the Lord will not destroy this great land He built, not for our sake but for HIS name.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12).

 Yes, like my Social Media friend said, “There is nothing left to do but pray.” We need to understand prayer was and always will be the answer.

What do we need to pray? And what do we need to do?

“My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

 What might the Lord do?

Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I [Lord] may repent of the calamity which I [Lord] am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds” (Jeremiah 26:3).

Will you build up the wall and stand in the gap before the Lord for America?

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Albania Trip

“Now
to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us”

Ephesians 3:20
(KJV)

 

When God does something extraordinary, how will words ever describe the event? This is how I feel about our recent trip to Albanian. The Lord truly did exceedingly abundant more than I could have imagined.

Joy, who traveled to Albania with me, worked one-to-one counseling these precious women. She said, I saw God’s amazing power at work in my life and in the lives of those we met while in Albania. During the Bound to Be Free conference, held in Duress, Albania, church leaders and teachers came from all over the country, along with leaders from Kosovo, to learn how to teach Bound to Be Free to the women they lead in their churches. The believers in Albania and Kosovo face great persecution from their Muslim family members, and many Christians are beaten and killed because of  the “shame” they bring upon the family. Standing for Christ in this culture often means risking your personal safety and possibly losing your life. I was honored to have the opportunity to meet and talk with these people who fight for our Savior. I am deeply humbled to know that one glorious day, I will see Jesus Christ rewarding these great  champions of our faith, and I am forever changed by the time I spent with them.  The Lord has shown me that I am ready to do the work He has called me to do  because He will do the work through me, and He has placed an even greater love and  passion in my heart for reaching the nations for Him.”

During our time in Albania, Joy and I were never in any danger. The persecution is directed at their own family members when they accept Christ. Seventy percent of Albanians consider themselves Muslims. While under Communism, Enver Hoxha, the Albanian dictator declared the country an atheist country. He removed all references to God out of the dictionary as well as spiritual words. People who had biblical names had to acquire new names. Once Communism fell in 1992, people began to claim the former religion, yet most had no understanding of what it means to be a Muslim, or a Christian.

During my time in global mission work, I have had the great privilege of traveling to many countries around the world to share the gospel. I see in the Albanian people, more than other countries, a true hunger to understand truth. The window of opportunity is open; we need to seize it while people are famished for Him and have their ears open to the gospel — our Lord’s message of love. What did the Lord
accomplish in less than two weeks?

  • 16 Thirty-minute radio programs taped for Radio 7- These will be broadcast over
    the coming months to teach students who are going through the Bible study and
    those who cannot read.
  •  3-Day Teacher training program – 60 women’s ministry leaders from 60 different
    churches in Albania and Kosovo were trained in how to teach Bible Study. These
    women will take the study home to their churches and begin teaching the study.
    By year end, there should be 600-700 women in Albania and Kosovo who have gone through the study.

Aleksandra, a women’s ministry leader from Kavaja said about the conference, “Thank you for opening our eyes and helping us learn how to study the Word of God. I have never been in a training seminar like this before. God has touched me these days and has changed me.

Agi from Tirana said, “I was amazed by the Bible study. It was an answer to my many prayers to the Lord for help. I work with a lot of women who suffer harsh abuse. In our neighborhood this is a great problem. I’m excited to share this study with them and together go to the Word of God to find healing.”

Women from the Conference

  •  1-Day conference in Southern Albania – a time to encourage the persecuted women of the church.
  • Widow’s meeting – a gospel presentation was given to 28 Muslim women and ALL accepted Jesus as their savior. A widow woman who attended the teacher training will begin teaching these women the Bible study.

Widow Woman after they received Jesus

  • Home visits – were made to a few of the widow women to encourage and show the love of Jesus Christ
  • One-on-one biblical counseling – was provided for anyone who was in need … there were always people waiting to talk. This was a special time for both the women in need and those (Joy and myself) counseling them.

Our prayer was for God to be glorified in all that was done. Of course all of this could not have happened if it weren’t for the wonderful people of Radio 7, under the direction of Enkelejda Kumaraku. I was so impressed with the dedication of all who work at the station. Their obvious love for the Lord and willingness to do whatever it takes to bring Jesus to Albania and Kosovo shows in everything they do. Their work, in preparation for
us to come, was immeasurable.

Enkelejda

Enkelejda has asked that I return in May to teach the same conference in Kosovo. This will give the women leaders in Kosovo and northern Albanian a better opportunity to attend.

I praise the Lord for counting me worthy to serve Him. He is truly a God worthy of all praise and honor. How could we not serve Him?

Consumed by His Call,

Marta

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A Divided Heart?

     “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had  been.” 1 Kings 11:4

Solomon is a biblical Leader who has confused me for many years. Most people in the Bible are described as people who follow the Lord OR people who are in the world. Solomon built a temple for the Lord, and prayed for wisdom instead of riches. Scripture tells us, “Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statues of his father David” (1 Kings 3:3a). Then the dreaded word ‘except’ is used. This passage is describing the beginning of Solomon’s reign; therefore, he began his kingdom with compromise.

By the end of Solomon’s reign, his love for the Lord had dwindled and the ‘except’ in Solomon’s life had turned his heart away from the Lord to idols. Most people know the ‘except’ which led Solomon astray was his attraction to foreign women. The women in his life turned his heart away from the true Living God. Instead of pleasing God,
Solomon decided to please his wives, all 700 of them! These women worshiped the
gods of the Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh and Molech.  In order to please his wives, Solomon built temples to these gods for his wives, after he had already built a temple to the Living God!

Who were these gods? The Ashtoreth was considered the goddess of Baal and people believed she had control over fertility, love, and war. 1 Kings 11:5 tells us Solomon went after this god. Instead of placing his trust in the Author of Creation to handle the affairs of love and war, he handed these important issues of life over to a handmade substitution.

Solomon’s ‘exception’ had led him down a road he never intended to travel. Solomon didn’t devise a plan for his heart to stray far from the Lord. He even knew the consequences of his actions. When Solomon finished the temple early in his kingship, he prayed to the Lord to consecrate the temple. The Lord’s reply to Solomon was a conditional blessing. The Lord reminded Solomon of His promise to establish his father’s throne saying, if Solomon would walk in the Lord’s commandments and statues then the descendants of David would be rulers of Israel. But, if Solomon were to turn away and forsake the Lord’s commandants, then the Lord would uproot Solomon’s descendants from the land, tear down the temple and Solomon’s throne would go to another (2 Chronicles 7:17-22).

Yet, knowing all this, Solomon’s divided heart became a divided kingdom. The result was disastrous. Upon Solomon’s death, his servant Jeroboam became king of Northern Israel and Solomon’s son Rehoboam was left with only the tribe of Judah for the Southern Kingdom of Israel.

Think about your own heart…is there an ‘except’ in your life? You love the Lord and want to serve Him…‘except’. Our ‘exceptions’ can lead us down a road we never intended to travel.

Decide today, as so many of the biblical heroes determined to do, “as for me and my house we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15b). If there is an ‘exception’, you need to take to the Lord, know He is a compassionate God who “longs to be gracious to you and He waits on high to have compassion on you.” (Isaiah 30:18a)

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Biblical Inerrancy

Just a few days ago I received a review about my first published work; a Bible study entitled Bound To Be Free. You often hear people talking about ‘bad reviews’ and because ForeWord Clarion is not a Christian company, I didn’t know what to expect.  As I read the words on the page I came to the statement, “Greenman is an unabashed  proponent of biblical inerrancy,” my first thought was, “Yes I am!” and my second thought was, “Is the person reviewing my Bible study saying this with a positive or negative meaning?”  Either way, I whole-heartedly agree with the statement.

On March 6, 2009 Barna Group stated that only 9% of Americans had a Biblical World View. 1 For the remainder of my blog, I would like to address why I believe that believing
the Bible is God’s Word and is without error is one of the most important factors facing not only the church, but America today.

Real people have real problems that need real answers.  People have grown weary of buying their way to happiness, controlling their way to contentment, and attention-seeking behaviors in an attempt at fulfilling the desires in their heart. These endeavors may provide a temporary fix to humanity’s emptiness, but the end result is futile. If these pursuits really brought happiness, then why would we see such startling statistics below?

  • Almost 49 percent of marriages end in divorce.2
  • In the United States, 17.6 million people – - about 1 in every 12 adults – abuse
    alcohol or are alcohol dependent .3
  • Drugs are involved in a wide range of crimes – Violent: 78%,  Property:  83%,
    Weapons:  7%, and Parole Violations: 77%.4
  • Depression affects 121 million people worldwide. It can affect a person’s ability to work, form relationships, and destroy their quality of life.  At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide and is responsible for 850,000 deaths every year.4

You may be asking, “What do these statistics have to do with believing God’s Word is without error?”  My response would be, “Everything.”  Humanity is created with a place inside them which will remain unfulfilled until their Creator takes up residence; then and only then, can the unfulfilled become truly satisfied.  When one denies the existence of a Creator, or even creates a creator in the image of their choosing, one places themselves above the Creator.  Believing the Bible is partly true is choosing a creator in your own image. This person is telling God, “You are wrong in this portion of my life.”  This places oneself in authority over God, and re-creating themselves as a god. Most
are familiar with the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Even still – you may think, “So what?  What does all this have to do with me?”.  With statistics like those above we need real solutions to the devastating problems that are
plaguing America.  When someone is brokenhearted, or crushed in spirit they need answers.  People need healing from depression and addictions.  Marriages need to be restored.  What does the Bible say about answering these real problems?

By His [Jesus Christ] stripes we are healed
Isaiah 53:5b

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and
saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18

O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. Ps. 30:2

If therefore the Son [Jesus Christ] shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
John 8:36

If the Bible promises healing, then why wouldn’t we want to believe it entirely? What if you choose to believe 90% and the 10% you didn’t believe was what was missing to heal your wounded soul. If Jesus Christ is the source of freedom then why would you run away from Him instead of to Him?

Lastly, I will speak from personal experience.  I bought the world’s solutions to fix what
was missing in my life. I tried everything from money, men, control, acquiring stuff, prestige, and many more unhealthy habits which led to misery. I always needed more than I had. My life was never content, until Jesus revealed Himself to me and I began to be healed by His Word. Only from spending time with Him and the precious message of redemption did I find what was needed for my soul. There is a Scripture that says, “…the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and stars for light by night.”  When I read those words my mind swirled with hope.  I thought, “If this is a God who makes the sun and fixes the moon and stars by night in the sky…if this God is that powerful, then this is the God who can fix me!”

Why do I believe the Bible is from God, without error? Why do I believe every word of the Bible is true?. . .because it’s fixing me.  And if God can fix me, He can fix you too. So I ask you, “Why not believe?”  Seek truth through Jesus and His Word.  Believe and
be healed.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Consumed by His Call,

Marta E. Greenman                                                                                            Bible Study Teacher/Author/Speaker Founder                                                          Words of Grace & Truth                                                                                 www.wogt.org

 

  1. Barna Group. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/21-transformation/252-barna-survey-examines-changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years. March 29, 2012.
  2. Divorce Rate 2011 an Ambrosetti LLC Company. http://divorcerate2011.com/divorce-statistics. March 30, 2012.
  3. Compass Interventions.http://www.compassinterventions.com/alcohol-drug-statistics.html.  March 30, 2012
  4. Ibid
  5. Science Daily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110725202240.htm. March 29, 2012.
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Lesson learned

‘After these thing I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, [Why?] In order that the rest of Mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My Name,’ Acts 15:16-17

As a Bible Teacher, I always try to make every lesson relevant to everyday life. This semester I have two different audiences. The first audience is somewhat traditional; a classroom you might expect of women from the church who come together wanting to know more about our Lord Jesus, and how He can transform our lives. The second audience, I have the privilege of teaching, is a group of women at a State Jail. As vastly different as these women are, they are uniquely the same.

In a recent lesson at the church, I was discussing with the ladies a message James was addressing to the Jewish believers. The Pharisees, who had believed in Jesus, insisted on circumcision for the Gentiles believers. This was such an issue in the church Paul had traveled all the way to Jerusalem to discuss the problem with James and Peter.

Peter gave a passionate exhortation to the Pharisees, reminding them that Jews are saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus, and Gentiles are saved in the same manner. Then James stepped up and commanded their attention. Immediately James begins to quote the prophet Amos. James reminded the Pharisees of God’s plan was not the same as their plans. God’s plan was salvation for all humankind, Jew and Gentile alike. Why did the Pharisees listen? James spoke to the Pharisees in a language they could understand. The Pharisees lived and breathed the words of the book we know today as the Old Testament. The prophets and the word of the Law were ingrained in the crevices of their being.

Just as James spoke to the Pharisees in a language they could understand, we also need to follow James example. This lesson was clearly shown to me this week as I was supposed to be teaching the ladies at the state jail. Instead, I found them teaching me! We too, were discussing the life of James. But in this setting, we were looking at James as an unbeliever, and James life as an early Christian. The question was posed, “What do you think James said when he realized Jesus was the Messiah and had risen from the dead?” One of the precious ladies, Rebecca, yelled out, “Holy Cow, Batman!”

Everyone smiled and laughed and knew the message she visualized in those few words. She had indeed communicated in a language everyone could understand and the message had impacted the lives of the people who heard. I knew intellectually the message of communicating in a language people understood, but Rebecca showed me how to communicate to those who needed to understand.

How about you, do you have an intellectual understanding of communicating the gospel? Or does the gospel spill out of the recesses of your soul, clearly and concisely striking the souls who need to hear it most?

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Believe there is salvation is in none other than Jesus Christ

“And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” Hebrews 5:9

This was an important proclamation to the Jewish audience who were reading/hearing this ancient text. The Jews were steeped in tradition like a good tea steeping into hot water. After the water in consumed by the tea you can’t distinguish between the two. The Jews were so identified with tradition itself, if you removed their customs it was like removing Jewishness itself. In the Old Testament, God chose to visit many of the patriarchs through angles; therefore, their reverence and awe of angles were boarding on worship. Because Moses was their deliver from physical bondage, they revered him much as they revered angels. The reverence of the law itself which Moses had brought down from the mountain handwritten by the finger of God was their source of salvation instead of One who gave the law, our Lord Himself. The Jews who were receiving the letter, we know today as the book of Hebrews, did believe in Jesus, yet they continued to try to “add” to the salvation message; they continued to place other traditions equal with Jesus. The writer of Hebrews, like a good lawyer, takes each Jewish ordinance and compares them with Jesus. The writer’s conclusion, there is nothing under the earth, on the earth, or above the earth, is greater than Jesus. Salvation is through Christ alone. The writer was taking everything they held so dear and casting a shadow upon the traditions of old and pointing them to Jesus. Jesus, the one who deserved to be worshiped, is the source of eternal salvation.

What do we hold on to, my friend? Are there traditions, people, or things, which keep us from devoting your worship to the only one who is worthy? The only One who is better than anything. Anything which has steeped into your identity like a good English Breakfast tea, just like the Jews. Are these traditions, which in and of themselves could be healthy, but when you hold them greater than Jesus, they turn from good to destructive. If the tradition is being held with equal or higher regard than our relationship with Christ, the tradition needs to be “put in it’s place” so to speak. What might you need to “put in it’s place” my friend?

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Bound To Be Free

“Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and

I will be saved, for You are my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).


As a young Christian, I had perfected the life of a pretender. On the outside, everything looked perfect. I had perfect hair, perfect nails, and we were even buying the perfect house. Life seemed so perfect. Nevertheless, my life was a facade. I was pretending, trying to will myself a wonderful life.

One day I began praying Jeremiah 17:14 as a prayer for my life. Although many changes were occurring in my life, I didn’t realize the impact this simple prayer would have in the years to come.

During this time, my husband and I were in counseling, working on my pain from past abuses deeply hidden from my family and the world. Having been a Christian for less than two years, I was now dealing with the stuff I had spent so many years trying to push down and forget. After praying Jeremiah 17:14 nearly every day for two years, I began to see my deep need for emotional healing from this pain. Ultimately, the source of my pain didn’t matter, whether it was pain caused by others or brought on by myself. I needed and wanted Jesus Christ to heal me. This realization was my first step to freedom.

Personally, I believe true healing can only come from Christ. People can learn to cope, but true freedom only comes from Jesus. The changes brought by the healing balm of Jesus on my life were obvious. I began to experience true freedom. God is so good. He knows what we need even when we don’t have the wisdom to ask for it.

It has been almost twenty years since I prayed that simple prayer. Today, as I look back at the transformation process the Lord has, and is still, leading me through I stand in wonder at God’s grace and mercy.

I would love to hear your story too! You a leave me a message here or e-mail the ministry at info@wogt.org.

 

Consumed by His Call,

Marta

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