To Whom are We Thankful?

Article by site founder, Connie Rice

Most people are thankful for numerous things in their lives – maybe for their family, friends, provision, career, etc. It’s appears that the more thankful people are, the less unhappy they tend to be. There are also those who don’t see the blessings in their lives, but only see the struggles or things they don’t like, and thus are not very thankful. In either case, it may be helpful to look to Scripture to see not only what our Creator says about thankfulness, but to whom we should be thankful.

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.
The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.

Today, if only you would hear His voice,
‘Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested Me; they tried Me, though they had seen what I did.


For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known My ways.’ So I declared on oath in My anger,
‘They shall never enter My rest’.”

Psalm 95

When we read the Bible consistently and repeatedly throughout our lives, it becomes quite clear why we should be thankful and to whom. However, that does not mean that it is always easy to act on or remember to be thankful in times of struggle. It requires intentionality and a continual effort to maintain our relationship with our amazing Savior, Jesus Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and transform us through the Bible. We have the promise of heaven for those who have submitted to Christ here, but life here on earth is the domain of the prince of this world (Satan). As a result, we are surrounded by the curse of a broken world – sickness, death, evil, heartbreak, addiction, greed, corruption, confusion, lies, deceit, immorality, arrogance, lack of respect for life, etc. – which can result in people having a lack of hope, which can result in despair. Each of us has our own sinful nature to contend with as well, and can be more of a problem to ourselves and those around us than we would really care to admit. Jesus came to earth and endured pain, mockery, torture, and murder because He knew we were incapable of saving ourselves and that our sin separates us from the very thing that we so desperately need – hope through a relationship with Him and the power to turn from the sin that can so easily control and deceive us.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

We are saved by God’s grace because of His amazing love for us. Our hope is in Him. The more we allow God’s Word to penetrate our minds and hearts, the more clearly we see Him for who He is and how deserving He is of our worship and obedience. This cannot help but increase our awe of the One who loves us and offers us a way of salvation in spite of our flaws and sinful attitudes and behaviors. Jesus’ voluntary sacrifice on our behalf cost Him everything to the point of death on a cross.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:1-17

It is no wonder that the farther our culture moves away from God and His Word, the worse things become. It’s curious that modern American society has more material comforts than in previous times, but despair, depression, addictions, etc. are increasing. Some look to escape from reality and some seek to redefine reality for themselves. The phrase, “looking for love in all the wrong places” seems to fit here. Jesus is the answer – Scripture tells us that through Jesus, we have access to the peace of God and joy that the world cannot offer. Our identity, purpose, and how we should live are found in the Bible.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:4-9

At some point (maybe not that far down the road), the evil will rise to the point that God’s final judgment will be upon our world. Each of us has to get to the end of ourselves and recognize our need to seek God’s wisdom, which He has graciously provided to us in the Bible. It is no wonder that the farther our culture moves away from God and His Word, the worse things become. If people do not expect to stand before Him in judgment, they would tend to rationalize evil against their fellow man – perhaps even convincing themselves that they are doing it for the greater good (past history is a good teacher here). At some point (maybe not that far down the road), the evil will rise to the point that God’s final judgment will be upon our world. Each of us has to get to the end of ourselves in order to recognize our need for God’s wisdom, which He has graciously provided to us in His inspired Word.

You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven?

At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens’. The words once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:25-29

It can be easy for us minimize our sin or even refuse to acknowledge it, but God is merciful and powerful and can help us turn from it. He is holy, so we need to be cleansed of our sin through trusting in Jesus Christ for our salvation and asking for His mercy and forgiveness. Partnering with the Lord and allowing the Holy Spirit to help us grow to be more like Christ and give us the power to say no to sin is a lifelong pursuit and worthy of our efforts. As we place all of our trust in Him, we will begin to experience the extent of God’s faithfulness and understand the psalmist’s words because we will have discovered the same thing for ourselves.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise Hs name.
For the Lord is good and Hs love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100

Having a thankful heart, counting our blessings instead of focusing on what is not to our liking, helps us to be more content – which in turn, gives us a better attitude and perspective. That makes life easier for us and for those around us. We will still fail at times because we can never be perfect this side of heaven, but we can allow the Holy Spirit to help us be the best person, spouse, parent, child, relative, friend, employee, boss, etc. we can be and be quick to ask for forgiveness from God and others when we do fail. A clear conscience is a wonderful thing – it only comes when we are obedient to God’s teachings and do not deceive ourselves into thinking our that sin does not matter to Him (and as the Lord of all, He defines sin, not us). So, to whom should we be thankful?

“For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. Tremble before Him, all the earth!
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’
Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord,
for He comes to judge the earth.”

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Cry out, ‘Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to Your holy name,
and glory in Your praise.’
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.”

1 Chronicles 16:25-36

As our forefathers discovered hundreds of years ago when they first arrived in America, – thanks be to God, who is sovereign over all. Michael Medved explains the history of the first Thanksgiving in one of the “5-Minute Videos” on “Prager U”. The more we know the Lord, the more our hearts will overflow with thankfulness for His love, mercy, and grace and for the supernatural peace, strength, power, and joy that He makes possible for us in this life while awaiting His promise of being with Him and other believers in heaven. – not just once a year as we celebrate Thanksgiving, but every day of every year.

© Constance Rice 2022

Follow the Light

Article by site founder, Connie Rice

“Follow the Light” has become a bit of a cliché, but how do we generally respond when the lights go out when it is dark? Don’t we look for a flashlight, find a candle to light, or follow a light we see farther away so we can see. Blind people generally rely on the eyes of another person or a trained dog to guide them. Interestingly, the Bible uses the concept of light and darkness to contrast good and evil repeatedly. Our world is broken and evil causes much pain and suffering. The prince of this world is Satan, but God is sovereign over everything. We are given the choice to follow the light or to be in darkness.

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16

From the beginning, God had a plan to provide a way of salvation for people because He knew we couldn’t save ourselves and that our sin separated us from Him. Those in the Old Testament were saved by their faith in the promised Messiah. Jesus Christ came into the world as fully human and fully God, living the perfect life that humans are unable to live. He came to sacrifice His life for the sins of all mankind and rose on the third day, victorious over both sin and its penalty of death. Jesus is heaven now and beckons us to His light.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.

1 John 1:3-10

Those who place their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation will not only have eternal life in heaven with Him, but can live in His light here on earth – even in the midst of darkness. Through the Holy Spirit that indwells believers, we have access to the power to say no to sin in our lives and to reject darkness with its many other Ds (see below) and choose God’s way instead. Life on earth is hard for everyone, but we have a Savior who wants to walk with us through challenges, growing us into His likeness along the way. The lists below compare the contrast between living in darkness or following the light:

The World’s Way:

Darkness

Despair

Doubt

Discouragement

Depression

Deception

Discord

Detests

Deprecates

Death

God’s Way:

Light

Hope

Confidence

Courage

Joy

Truth

Peace

Loves

Encourages

Life

Even though we have access to the light as believers, we need to continually choose to follow it. Our sinful nature will still try to take us down paths that are rooted in selfishness, lust, greed, etc. In order to follow the light, we need to be intentional about humbly seeking the Lord with our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. We also need to read His revealed Word (the Bible) every day and reread it repeatedly throughout our lives so that we do not fall prey to Satan’s tricks and lies or to our own sinful tendencies.

Below are names of Satan and a partial list of the names of Jesus (alphabetical listings) given in Scripture. It’s a worthwhile exercise to review them:

Names of Satan:

Accuser

Adversary

Deceiver

Devil

Evil One

Evil spirit

Father of lies

God of this world

Great dragon

Lucifer

Murderer

Prince of this world

Ruler of the darkness of this world

Serpent

Tempter

The Enemy

Wicked One

Names of Jesus:

Advocate

Author and Perfecter of Our Faith

Bread of Life

Chief Cornerstone

Faithful and True

Good Shepherd

Great High Priest

Head of the Church

I Am

Immanuel

Judge

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Lamb of God

Light of the World

Lion of the Tribe of Judah

Mediator

Messiah

Redeemer

Risen Lord

Rock

Savior

Resurrection and the Life

The Door

The Way, the Truth, & the Life

The Word

True Vine

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

After reading through the contrasts between darkness and God’s way and Satan and Christ, perhaps it can help those who do not yet believe understand why believers in Jesus want so desperately for others to find and follow the light themselves. As people understand what is at stake eternally (eternity in heaven with Jesus or eternity in hell without Him), they are more motivated to share the gospel (good news) with those they care about. This is literally the most important decision we can make in our lives. Hopefully, “Follow the Light” won’t be dismissed as a mere cliché. Those who are still unsure are challenged to pray and ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you – with expectation and without doubting. He wants to know each person He has created and to have a personal relationship with them.

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in M will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord’, she replied, ‘“’I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’.”

John 11:25-27

“To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘“’If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32

We don’t have to live in darkness – we can seek the light, Jesus Christ. He can open our eyes to see the truth and bring us into His marvelous light. He will transform and bless us on our journey. It’s not an easy or comfortable path, but we are never alone when we keep our lifeline close to our wonderful Savior. He will help us while we’re here until He comes back or takes us home to heaven.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’.”

John 14:1-6

“Then Jesus told him [Thomas], ‘“’Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’.”

John 20:29

© Constance Rice 2022

Evil Rising

article by site founder, Connie Rice

Is anyone else disturbed by the level of evil being revealed in recent times? There has been a spiritual battle since the beginning, but it seems to have intensified in recent times. Maybe the powers of darkness are just not hiding as much. As individuals and even whole nations reject God and move farther and farther away from His teachings, their rebellion brings about God’s judgment and Satan is able to influence and deceive more and more people – even Christians, due to their ignorance of God’s Word. Many have accepted Darwinian Evolution as true and have turned from God, perhaps without the understanding that we are all condemned before a holy God. It is only through His love, mercy and grace that we are able to stand before Him without fear. When people humbly seek the Lord, repent of their sins, and choose to trust in His Son, Jesus, for salvation, God is faithful to forgive them. For those who think they might be beyond God’s mercy, consider that He forgave David of his adultery and subsequent murder against the woman’s husband because David fully repented of his sin. A more modern example is the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, who committed heinous crimes against boys and later came to understand through Creation science ministry that God was real and then turned to Him in repentance. “Generations” has a half-hour podcast with audio footage from Dahmer in a 1994 NBC interview.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.”

1 John 1:9-10

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.  The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you His Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8

God offers us a new life because as our Creator, He knows what we need more than we do and He knows what lies ahead and how to prepare us. It’s amazing that Jesus gave His life so that we could live in heaven when we die, but even more so that He allows us to enjoy a personal relationship with Him and ensures that we will never be alone while on earth. Jesus didn’t stop there – He sent us the Holy Spirit so that we could have access to supernatural power that enables us to choose not to be controlled by the sins that so easily deceive and entrap us in this world. What kind of love is this?

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!”

Romans 5:6-10

Some of the people who have rejected God have risen to major positions of influence in America and throughout the world, and have been actively working to move nations, government agencies, educational entities, institutions, media, and corporations toward humanistic, materialistic principles that do not consider human life as having intrinsic value. This is not a new concept to students of history, but for decades, students have been subjected to biased revisions resulting in them not having an accurate understanding of those who lived in previous generations or of past events. The 20th Century experienced numerous instances of those with an atheist, evolutionary worldview and a thirst for power who added together, murdered an estimated 100 million people and oppressed their surviving citizens. America was a source of good in the world and so many of our brave men and women sacrificed (some with their very lives) to prevent this from happening in America as well as have come to the defense of people around the world so they could also live free from oppression. When America upheld godly principles and honored God, we experienced His blessings. Increasingly, our nation has thumbed their nose at Him and His teachings, evidently believing the lie that His ways restrict them. Actually, the opposite is true. He offers true freedom.

“”For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; He puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him! For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen a His heritage! The Lord looks down from heaven; He sees all the children of man; from where He sits enthroned He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.”

Psalm 33:4-16

Let’s say someone does not believe in God and as such, rebels against or ignores His commands. This person rejects the moral standard that Scripture clearly teaches and believes that this earthly life is all there is. Loving our fellow man as also made in God’s image is replaced with a mentality of survival of the fittest. Should we be surprised at the level of selfishness, corruption, sexual activity without boundaries, oppression, and policies based on models rather then actual data because that can then be used to manipulate people? Biblical values have provided the foundation for healthy societies, marriage, and children. If human life is not valued, abortion, euthanasia, and even genocide and depopulation begin to be promoted as cultural solutions.

“He went on: ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person’.”

Jesus’ words in Mark 7:20-23

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

John 3:17-21

History is repeating itself with the rise of global elitists who seek to control the world. This time, however, technology has progressed to the point that makes possible what previous power hungry leaders could not have even imagined (outside of science fiction writers). So many have bought the lie that Darwinian evolution is true and that there is no God. As a result, they have rejected the One who created them and denied His power, not realizing that by doing so – they have actually joined forces with Satan against all that is good. There’s a reason why adventure stories about good vs. evil have captivated the hearts and minds of people – life on earth is a huge adventure story and there is an epic spiritual battle going on. We need to make sure we choose the side of good, which comes from God. He has not been silent, but has allowed many things to shake us up to get our attention. Life isn’t easy for anyone and suffering is part of this world – we can suffer on our own or we can suffer with our Savior right beside us and experience His peace and strength as we lean in to Him.

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

Romans 6:8-14

We need to choose wisely whose side we are on. A line in the sand is being drawn. The Lord wants to reveal Himself to people and have a personal relationship with each one. Will we turn to Him and away from our sins, crying out for mercy and forgiveness, or will we continue to reject Him? Angels are ready to rejoice in heaven to celebrate each and every person who chooses to follow Jesus, the only One through whom we can be saved.

 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Jesus’ words in Luke 15:8-10

Things have also been bleak during previous times in history and God has turned things around. If enough people repent and turn to Him, He may do that again. It seems that there are many people of money and influence around the world working together to control the rest of the population according to their visions of utopia. Instead of following God, they try to be God and worship the creation rather than the Creator. Those who know God’s Word understand that there will be a one-world government at some point, so this could very well be the beginning of the end. We don’t need to despair or be anxious but we should be ready for Him, drawing near to the Lord through His revealed Word and prayer and choosing to obey, trust, and serve Him until He takes us home.

“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

© Constance Rice 2022

Rejecting Reality

article by site founder, Connie Rice

Reality, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is “the state of things as they are, rather than as they are imagined to be” and is based on truth. It seems that our culture is rejecting both reality and truth. Life is difficult, so it is understandable that people may want to try to escape reality. That is why movies have been popular – to forget about our problems for a short while. That can be healthy, but not if we attempt to defy reality or use means of escape on a regular basis. If we expect that everything in our lives should be good or that we should have comfort and security, that perspective can create disappointment, discouragement, fear, and/or confusion. Add to that some people’s expectation that everyone is inherently good, and the world just doesn’t make sense. When evil affects us and others, we can become shocked, fearful, disillusioned, withdrawn, easily deceived, and/or cynical and bitter. A biblical worldview helps us know who we are and why we exist. It explains the existence of evil with each person having free will and that we are sinful beings bent toward selfishness. This is evident even in the youngest of humans and part of the role of parents is to help children choose to think of others.

“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Jesus’ words in Mark 7:21-23

We are in a spiritual war, but our battle is not against those who think or act differently – our battle is with Satan (the devil, the adversary, the serpent, the dragon, the evil one, the father of lies, …) and the spiritual forces of darkness that are so prevalent in this world.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Ephesians 6:10-13

Satan knows his time is short and his lies, deceptions and acts of evil are becoming increasingly evident. He tempts people to sin, to doubt God and His Word, and encourages people to throw off the healthy boundaries that God has put in place to help people develop healthy families, cultures, and governments. Ignorance of or rejection of God and His commands results in people’s worldview being influenced by spiritual darkness – dimming of conscience, living out of own wisdom, being prideful, having lack of accountability, etc. The farther away from God and His Word people get, we see:

  • Sexual immorality – rationalizing, justifying, & even celebrating the same sexual sins that brought God’s judgment in past history and have contributed to the downfall of whole civilizations.
  • Children not as protected– removal of innocence (regarding sexual activity & violence), child abuse (physical, emotional, & sexual), destruction of families, fatherless homes, focus on social, science, & historical indoctrination rather than academic instruction (evolutionary teaching – that they are just animals rather than uniquely & lovingly created in the image of God), and recently to instill fear with climate change and disease and to intentionally attempt to confuse them (lifelong consequences).
  • Narratives vs. facts – one-sided narratives are replacing civil discourse and the search for truthful facts; institutions that once celebrated their diversity of thought now actively shut down debate. “Cancel culture” is simply a new term given to previous moves in history to implement tyranny.
  • Human life devalued – abortion at will (now expanding throughout pregnancy & even after birth), euthanasia being expanded & pressured, removal of life-saving care, genocide, depopulation, etc.
  • Lack of civil discourse – more conflict between individuals, people groups, & leaders.
  • Drug abuse & addiction – has increased exponentially and governmental forces are now accommodating and encouraging drug abuse.
  • Pride celebrated – throughout Scripture, God answers and blesses those with humble hearts and rejects those who are prideful.
  • Identity questioned – people have chromosomes in every cell of their body that are either all XY or all XX; this determines whether they are male or female; this cannot be changed.
  • Increased tyranny – rising levels of corruption is resulting in tyrannical behavior in governments of previously free countries.
  • Declining religious freedom – lack of respect against those with religious convictions to the point of legal actions taken; increased religious persecution around the world.
  • Video games – more and more young people spend time outside of reality, which if not moderated, can result in their having more difficulty coping with the inevitable trials of life.
  • Metaverse – the next level of escapism where people create whole alternate realities that have no basis in actual reality; people would live out alternate lives online.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Transhumanism – those who don’t know God look to more and more ways to live longer or strive to find a way through technology to live forever (God placed eternity on our hearts, but it was meant to cause us to seek Him); these people have risen to places of power and influence and do not see humans as inherently valuable because they are made in God’s image, but seek to “improve” humanity as the next step in what they see as evolutionary progress.

“Moreover, I notice that throughout the earth justice is giving way to crime, and even the police courts are corrupt. I said to myself, ‘In due season God will judge everything man does, both good and bad.’ And then I realized that God is letting the world go on its sinful way so that He can test mankind, and so that men themselves will see that they are no better than beasts.”

Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 3:16-18

To keep things in perspective, it’s important to consider that our lives on earth are very short in light of eternity. Francis Chan has a 2-minute great illustration of this on his site, “Crazy Love“. What we believe and do while on earth affects our eternity and should cause us to consider serious possible consequences. God has revealed Himself through Creation, through His Word (the Bible), through Jesus Christ (God incarnate), and through the supernatural transformations He has accomplished in the lives of those who trust in Him for salvation and obey His commands. John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles all made it clear that repentance is necessary for us to be right with God. It might not be the answer we want to hear because we want what we want and can delude ourselves into thinking that we know best. In the Old Testament, we find a phrase repeated each time God’s chosen people faced His judgment – “and the people did what was right in their own eyes”. This perspective describes our present culture, but is not pleasing to God and sets us up for His judgment. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. It’s not like we haven’t been told – here are just a few examples of the need to repent of our sins and seek God’s mercy:

“John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”

John the Baptist’s teachings in Mark 1:4-5

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’.”

Jesus’ teachings in Mark 1:14-15

“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.”

Peter’s teachings in Acts 3:17-21

“Or do you presume on the riches of Hs kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to His works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

Paul’s teachings in Romans 2:4-8

Spiritual darkness can really fool people into thinking that they are following something positive, something compassionate, and/or even something loving. However, Jesus tells us that Satan masquerades as an “angel of light” (explained in an article on Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s website). Believers are repeatedly warned in the New Testament to not be deceived, so we are at risk of following lies that may on the surface sound good, but result in bringing in more problems or evil. Many believers and whole churches have already been deceived – mostly those who have rejected the inerrancy of Scripture. God’s Word provides us with the discernment we need as we seek the Lord.

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Jude 3-4

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

1 Peter 22-25

Jesus is your Creator and knows the future, so He is more capable of directing your life than you could ever be. He has all the answers, and as your Creator, knows what will bring you the most satisfaction and purpose in life. This life is hard and Scripture teaches that this world is not the home of God’s children, so our focus needs to be on Jesus, our living hope.

“Under the system of Jewish laws, the high priest brought the blood of the slain animals into the sanctuary as a sacrifice for sin, and then the bodies of the animals were burned outside the city. That is why Jesus suffered and died outside the city, where His blood washed our sins away. So let us go out to Him beyond the city walls (that is, outside the interests of this world, being willing to be despised) to suffer with Him there, bearing His shame. For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven.”

Hebrews 13:11-14

“And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God’.”

Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23-27

Is it time to seek God with your whole heart, mind, strength, and soul and repent of your sins, humbly asking Him for mercy and forgiveness? Is He waiting for you to figure out that you need Him and the eternal salvation that He freely offers through your believing in Jesus Christ as His only Son and Jesus’ death on the cross and Resurrection. Victory was His in overcoming both sin and death. He invites us to live forever in heaven with Him – a place He is preparing for us where there is no sin, sickness, death, or sadness. The signs of the times are revealing that we could be very close to Jesus’ return. As Billy Graham repeated from 2 Corinthians 6:2b, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation”

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:35-42

Rejecting reality has dangerous consequences. It is only through recognizing that God created a perfect world with amazing plants and animals, and then created the first man and woman in His image. He gave them capabilities that are unique to humans as well as a desire for relationship and to live a life of meaning. God gave the first humans responsibility and freedom to enjoy the garden with only one command – not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve was deceived by the serpent (Satan) and both she and Adam chose to disobey God’s command, bringing sin, death, pain, sadness, and decay into the world. Sometimes we don’t know how good we have it until it’s gone. Our Creator has revealed Himself through His inspired Word, so that we could know Him and choose to follow Him. It is not easy, but having freedom from the power of sin & fellowship with our Creator while on earth with His supernatural peace, joy, and strength is worth our effort while we await our future with Him in heaven.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later. For all creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect his children. For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay—the things that overcame the world against its will at God’s command—will all disappear, and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy. For we know that even the things of nature, like animals and plants, suffer in sickness and death as they await this great event. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as His children, including the new bodies He has promised us—bodies that will never be sick again and will never die.”

Romans 8:18-23

© Constance Rice 2022″

Are Pro-Life Centers Harmful?

article by site founder, Connie Rice

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey, our nation has seen pro-life centers being attacked both verbally and criminally. Influential leaders have accused pro-life pregnancy centers of being deceptive and harmful. As someone who has been personally involved as a volunteer and financial donor for two different pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in two locations over the last 25 years, truth and honesty compel me to speak up. Pro-life crisis pregnancy centers receive no government monies (unlike Planned Parenthood). They are supported by donations from people and organizations that recognize the value of human life as made in God’s image and strive to support women and protect the lives of the most innocent and helpless among us who have no voice of their own – the unborn human. I make that distinction because animal rights proponents recognize that protecting the eggs of endangered birds protects the endangered birds, but have you heard anyone arguing that the egg isn’t worthy of protection because it isn’t yet a bird? Instead, there are laws that protect those eggs from anyone who would intentionally harm them. Aren’t unborn humans worthy of protection against intentional harm? Weren’t we all at one time an unborn human? A short video from “Welcome to Truth” explains the humanity of the unborn: “The Unborn is FULLY Human – PROOF in 6 Minutes”.

Before I explain what motivated me personally to begin volunteering and donating to pro-life centers, let’s look at the facts of what these centers actually do – all at no charge to their clients (due to the generosity of their donors) and almost all through the efforts of trained volunteers who are dedicated to helping moms and their babies:

  • Pregnancy decision coaching by trained advocates
  • Free pregnancy tests
  • Information about pregnancy options
  • Material resources (maternity clothes, diapers, infant clothing & supplies, etc.)
  • Post-decision support (including parenting classes and abortion recovery groups)

In some centers (true of the two I’ve been involved with):

  • Consultation with a licensed medical professional
  • Limited ultrasound for pregnancy confirmation
  • Testing for sexually transmitted infections and diseases
  • A medical doctor is available (some volunteering their time)

The most often heard claim made by proponents of abortion is that women have the right to control their own body – an old argument that denies the biological facts that should end abortion altogether:

  • Life begins at conception at the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg – a unique individual with its own DNA is created; nothing else happens beyond this point except time to develop, nutrition, & shelter – the same as other humans in later development stages also need (ie. a newborn, toddler, preschooler, or the infirm (none of which could survive without care).
  • Recent technology confirms the humanity of the unborn fetus (prenatal surgeries, 4-D ultrasounds, etc.)

Is it ever a person’s right as the stronger and more powerful person to deprive a weaker person of their right to live? Is it ever right for someone to choose to kill a child in a later developmental stage because they are inconvenient or expensive or stand in the way of what might be perceived to be more important? I do not stand in judgment of others here because I myself believed the culture’s lies regarding abortion and took the life of my own child in the first trimester. It remains my biggest regret in life, but it took many years before I understood the extent of the damage it had wrought in my own life. Even though God calls the taking of an innocent life an abomination, He offers mercy, forgiveness, and healing to those who have experienced abortion, but repent and cry out to Him for forgiveness (whether it’s the mom or dad or a grandparent or whoever else might have pressured the mom to have an abortion, or the person who performed it).

In my case, I had been married for 7 years but was given an ultimatum by my then husband to abort our child or he would leave. He had decided that he didn’t want children at all. Thinking marriage was forever, I went through with it – hoping all along that he would change his mind. I even asked the clinic worker if it was a baby because if it was, I didn’t want to abort. She said it wasn’t a baby yet – just blood and a clump of cells. She was just repeating the lies she had been told. I realized years later that the reason the doctor said he had to go back in when I thought the surgical abortion was over was that he hadn’t been able to account for all of my baby’s body parts. I was horrified and wept bitterly while again crying out to God. When I consider that, my heart just breaks for the women and teens who have been sent home with a pill to pass their tiny dead baby on their own. Women deserve better than abortion. My husband at the time left anyway soon after the time our baby would have been born. There were no pregnancy care centers at the time of my abortion to offer encouragement and material support if I had my baby – I support them so other women won’t have to go through what I have. What can we do now?

  • Correct false information about the Supreme Court decision and state laws:
    • Supreme Court decision did not outlaw abortion; it simply sent the decision back to the states and the people.
    • None of the states prevent treatment for ectopic pregnancies (not considered an abortion).
    • None of states prevent treatment if the mom’s life is in danger.
  • In listening to some of the people who are upset with Roe v. Wade being overturned (even though that decision was an act of judicial activism at the time and not supported by the Constitution), you would think that pregnancy just happens to women – like an airborne illness. We all know that sex if required and that people who don’t engage do not become pregnant. Pregnancy is a natural consequence of sex between a man and a woman and all choices have consequences. Our culture seems to try to minimize or eliminate the consequences of “sexual freedom” rather than making different choices which would minimize or eliminate those same consequences.
  • As a culture, we need to stop lying to women that “sexual freedom” is helpful to them. A natural consequence is the creation of a human life, so we should only engage intimately with a person who is committed to us for a lifetime (exhibited through marriage). This would eliminate the vast number of “unplanned pregnancies”.
  • Abortion has actually been a friend to irresponsible men who want to be sexually active, but seek to avoid any responsibility resulting from their pleasure seeking. It also increases the exploitation of women and girls as sex abusers and sex traffickers push them into aborting children that are conceived to keep their dark deeds secret or in the case of traffickers, to keep bringing in money.
  • For those who have serious financial concerns, pro-life centers can provide needed support both before birth and afterward. As Christians, we all need to step up and help here – with our time, our money, and for some, as adoptive parents.
  • Women have been created to nurture and protect their children (you see this clearly even in the animal world); abortion turns this reality upside down to the detriment of women’s emotional health (even when they don’t consciously recognize it). It was years before I was able to see the connections:
    • extensive depression when my next child was born, preventing healthy bonding between us and hindering her ability to learn to communicate her emotions effectively
    • difficulty in marriage and other relationships caused by my insecurities and feelings of unworthiness as a person
    • as a parent, fought feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness to be a mom
    • recognizing that I had prevented my girls from having an older brother (which I had always wanted as a child)
    • before accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior and experiencing His amazing forgiveness, I had a deep, but silent fear of His judgment because of my abortion
    • considering how old my first child would be and wondering who he would have become (during the healing study I took, God revealed to me that my child was a boy)

Once I experienced God’s forgiveness, I rejected going through a post-abortion Bible study because I didn’t think it was needed. However, because I wanted to volunteer to help other women, I took part in one – I never dreamed that God had such a deep level of healing and restoration for me to experience through it. Now I help lead other women through the same kind of healing study that God used to bring me to a place of complete freedom – through a local pro-life crisis pregnancy center. What many may not know is that some of the most dedicated pro-life people are women who have experienced abortion.

There are so many stories of people whose moms chose life and the blessings that come from that decision. Some you may recognize – Tim Tebow, Kanye West, Nick Cannon, Greg Stier (founder of Dare 2 Share) – see a list of 23 celebrities at “Welcome to the Truth”. How many people with various talents and much to offer have been prevented from being born? We will never know what contributions they would have made – whether they would become celebrities or be less well-known, but equally valuable, members of society.

Abortion providers do not offer true choices and they do nothing for free – abortions are a big revenue source for them. States that created laws limiting abortion are revealing this truth. Abortion centers are closing because that’s the only choice they offer. One answer to a situation is not a choice. Crisis pro-life pregnancy centers offer real choices and real support for women who are struggling with life-altering decisions. Every year, I hear testimonies from pro-life center clients who have chosen life for their babies, and they are so glad they did. For more detail of what pro-life centers do, check out the article by “Life News”, “Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers Helped 2 Million People, Provided $266 Million to Help Women. In Just One Year”

So – are pro-life pregnancy centers harmful? Absolutely not! They were started and are maintained by people who truly care about women and their unborn babies. They put their time, money, and efforts where their mouth is. They do not benefit from their involvement – it is truly a labor of love. Those who attack them speak out of ignorance. If you’re still not sure, visit one for yourself.

© Constance Rice 2022

Choose for Yourself – Life or Death

article by site founder, Connie Rice

When I was growing up, it was common to hear the phrase, “safety of the womb” – we don’t hear that today, do we? We know that God knew us before we were born because of what He told Jeremiah:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:4-5

Are we listening to those who deceive, destroy, and promote death instead of to the author of life and source of all that is good? Have we even considered this? It’s clear to those who fully trust in Jesus for salvation and guidance that we are in the midst of an intense spiritual battle. Perhaps we might learn from what God instructed Moses to say to the Israelites as they were about to enter the promised land (see quote below). Of course, we cannot apply this passage to ourselves directly because it was meant for them in the time they were in, but it does show us how important it is for us to know and follow God’s ways. He is immutable (never changes) and even though many don’t want to acknowledge it, He is sovereign over the affairs of men and nations and nothing we do, say, or even think is hidden from Him. It sure seems that we have been witnessing the withdrawal of God’s blessings over America as our culture has increasingly tried to push Him out of the public sphere, rejected His teachings, celebrated what He calls sin, and promoted death through abortion, euthanasia, refusing to punish evil so that innocent people are put in danger, etc.

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.  For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.”

Deuteronomy 30:15-16

That was a different time in history, but we know that God brought judgment down on the nations that practiced child sacrifice. Since the Roe vs. Wade ruling in 1973 that made abortion the law of the land (albeit a result of judicial activism and not according to the Constitution or even a vote of the people), tens of millions of babies have been deprived of their right to life which then deprives them of any of the other rights that are supposed to be guaranteed in America. There is nobody more defenseless than a child in the womb and recent technology has opened the womb for all to see that a fetus is indeed a developing human with its own DNA, distinct from their mother. Is God, by allowing Roe vs. Wade to be overturned, showing us mercy to see if we will turn back to him – our nation, our churches, and as individuals? He seems to have been withdrawing His hand of protection and restraint in recent years, allowing evil forces to increase. He allowed such things in the Old Testament to get the attention of His people, hoping they would repent of their sinful ways so He could bless them again. Isaiah prophesied about the coming Day of the Lord. Pride and arrogance will be crushed:

“For see, the day of the Lord is coming – the terrible day of His fury and fierce anger. The land will be made desolate, and all the sinners destroyed with it. The heavens will be black above them; the stars will give no light. The sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will provide no light. ‘I, the Lord, will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their sin. I will crush the arrogance of the proud and humble the pride of the mighty’.”

Isaiah 13:9-11

Later in the New Testament, we see that children are precious to Jesus and He has strong words for anyone who would harm them or cause them to sin:

“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf is welcoming Me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in Me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of My heavenly Father.”

Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:5-10

We should not be surprised by the expansion of evil and death and the unceasing attacks on family and those who stand for life – it is a natural progression when more and more people do not think they will be accountable for their actions. When the Bible and prayer was removed from schools, students are taught only Darwinian Evolution as their origin. The taking of innocent life is promoted as a right and even as a societal good. Is it any wonder that more of them do not consider human life valuable and struggle with more depression and anxiety than any previous generation? They do not know who they are in the Lord and have not experienced the love, acceptance, identity, peace, value, and sense of purpose that is available to those who choose to fully trust and follow their Savior and Creator, Jesus Christ. This makes them vulnerable to lies and deceptions that sound positive, but actually lead to death.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

John 3:16-21

It’s so easy for us to rationalize our sin and make excuses for ourselves, but true freedom is not found in having no boundaries – it is found in Jesus. Through Him, sin loses its power over us and we can thrive within healthy boundaries. It breaks my heart that Satan has deceived so many (even believers) because biblical illiteracy abounds, but we cannot say that we have been not been warned. The letters of the New Testament focus on the need for us to be discerning and not to be deceived. Satan is referred to as the “prince of this world” and Jesus tells us that Satan is the “father of all lies”. Jesus spoke boldly to the religious leaders when He was on earth and church leaders now should take note:

“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I have come here from God.  I have not come on My own; God sent Me. Why is My language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me! Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe Me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God’.”

John 8:42-47

”The Crosswalk.com article, “Why Are There Different Names for Satan?” by Clarence L. Haynes Jr. says it this way: “The Hebrew word for Satan means to oppose, obstruct, or accuse. In Greek, the word for Satan means adversary. This is a perfect definition of him because this is what he does to believers and to unbelievers. In all honesty, he is not a friend of anyone but an adversary to everyone because his ultimate desire is destruction.”

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

1 Peter 5:8

“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.”

Revelation 20:1-3a

Even when Peter as a faithful follower of Jesus thinks he is defending Jesus against harm, Jesus points out that Peter was actually following Satan in his response:

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to You!’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’ Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done’.”

Matthew 16:21-27

That should give us pause – are we allowing ourselves to be patsies for the enemy? Have we allowed ourselves to be deceived – either by the world or even by our own heart? How can we keep from being deceived or from deceiving ourselves? God gave us His Word, the Bible, so we could determine what is really true. Jesus explains this in His prayer to God the Father in part of what is called “The Lord’s Prayer”:

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As you sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify Myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one – I in them and You in Me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”

Jesus’ prayer for His disciples & future believers in John 15:17-23

God revealed Himself to everyone in His Creation so that people have no excuse for rejecting His existence. So-called experts who have rejected or ignored God may consider themselves to be wise, but in reality are only wise in their own eyes and are considered as foolish by the Judge of all. Unlike some of the lies that are being promoted by our current culture, perception is not the same as reality. We need to be rooted in truth and reality – they are intertwined.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.”

Romans 1:18-22

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.”

Psalm 14:1-2

We don’t have to follow deception, destruction, and death – even when it is masked in terms that sound good. Jesus as our Creator knows us better than we know ourselves and loves us in spite of our faults and failings – to the extent that He came to earth knowing He would be tortured and murdered so that we could have access to His righteousness while here and when we stand before a holy God. This is all found in the Bible. We have been warned, but some are rebellious, some stay willfully ignorant, and some just don’t make it a priority. My prayer is that people would seek after the Lord with their whole heart, mind, strength, and soul so they can develop a relationship with the One who created them and subsequently recognize truth. If you have had an abortion or have pushed someone else into having one, or if you have fallen for any of the other lies put out by Satan through our culture – God is a merciful, forgiving God and wants to restore you. I know this from personal experience – cry out to Him for forgiveness and turn from sin.

“’The time has come,’ He said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’”

Jesus’ words when He began His ministry in Mark 1:15

Do as many other intelligent people have done before you – research for yourselves whether or not Jesus is really God and if the Bible can be trusted as absolute truth. A number of people have done so and came face-to-face with their Savior – C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, Marvin Olasky, Ray Comfort, Bernard Nathanson (leader of modern abortion movement who was transformed by Jesus and became a pro-life advocate), Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade), and many more. Some of them not only became Christians, but also evangelists. Check out the article, “List Of Converts From Atheism To Christianity” by “Believers Portal”.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of this Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

Romans 8:1-13

If you are already a believer, but have not made it a habit to read the Bible all the way through again and again, I will pass on a challenge that was given to me. Pray for God to give you a love and a passion for His Word and to carve out a time for you to seek Him through His word and through prayer. Over time, you will find yourself looking forward to your time with the Lord (He always has time for you). There is no wrong way to read, but this is the order I would personally recommend:

  • John – who Jesus is from closest disciple
  • other gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) – who Jesus is from different perspectives
  • Psalms – reveals the majesty & heart of God
  • Proverbs – wisdom of Solomon
  • Rest of the New Testament (wait on Revelation – really helps to be familiar with the Old Testament)
  • Old Testament (a chronological reading provided the most understanding for me)
  • Reread the entire New Testament (preferably a chronological reading)
  • Revelation

Let’s not tempt God any longer. We can learn from Jeremiah’s words in Lamentations 3:34-45 as the people faced God’s judgment and were taken captive by their enemies after continually turning their backs on Him and ignoring His commands.

Following the author of life and source of all that is good and staying in His Word provides us with the discernment we need to keep from being deceived. Otherwise, we are vulnerable to Satan’s lies and deceptions that lead to destruction and death. Some people will choose to accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation on their deathbed, but will miss out on the relationship, blessings, and purpose He had for them while on earth. Others may not get that opportunity and none of us knows when our time is up.

Please take a moment to ponder this – what more could God have done to reveal Himself to you and to prove His love for you? We don’t know the future, but He does. And as your Creator, He also knows everything about you and as such knows more of what you need than you possibly could. The choice is yours – will you seek the Lord and ask for His mercy and forgiveness or will you live out out of your own wisdom? Will you choose life or death?

© Constance Rice 2022

Worldview Wars

article by site founder, Connie Rice

Why is society deteriorating with incidences of mass murder, drug overdoses, dysfunctional families, sexual exploitation of children, increased crime and mayhem, and millions of tiny, helpless humans being discarded before birth – some fully developed? What is happening? Could there be a common thread that connects all of these things? For those whose worldview says that people are all inherently good and only do bad things because of their experiences in life, this is quite puzzling. However, for those with a biblical worldview, it is both tragic and preventable – but not puzzling. The Bible teaches that we are all sinners and that none of us can stand before a holy God, but that through Jesus we can be righteous before God. We all have a natural sinful nature that causes us to be self-focused. Children need training to help them learn to think of others and learn how to control their attitudes and behaviors. Those who have not been taught well can be hindered from growing into responsible members of society.

“As it is written: No one is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good.”

Romans 3:10-12

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

School shootings have been fairly recent events with the perpetrators being young. In public school (where God, prayer, and the Bible were removed in the 1960s), students have been taught that they are animals, that they evolved from an ape-like common ancestor (rather than created by God in His image with value and purpose). Interestingly, most public schools try to instill good character traits (being kind, honest, hard-working, generous, etc.), but leave out the source of those traits and why we should strive toward them. Schools have removed effective disciplinary actions and have moved away from a focus on academics to social indoctrination. Some students are promoted who have not completed the required work which leaves them behind in understanding and skill level so that they can become discouraged and eventually just give up on learning.

“In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.”

Ephesians 1:5-14

A huge factor in our culture’s decline is the increasingly high divorce rate where fathers are absent or relegated to a minor role in the lives of their children. Kids need dads who can be a godly male role model and are invested in their lives. On the other hand, some parents dote on their children and cater to their every whim, giving children the false idea that if they want something, they should have it. Imagine their shock and possibly anger when they are hit with the reality that others are not impressed with their entitlement attitudes and lack of respect for authority. On top of that – in recent years, children have been targets of marketing manipulation and tragically, also sexual exploitation and confusion. Many kids in recent decades are medicated with brain altering drugs using a methodology of trial and error. Too many seek acceptance by joining a criminal gang, through promiscuity, and/or through social media. Some seek escape through video games and/or drug use. With Chinese Fentanyl being trafficked by drug cartels and labeled as other common drugs coming through the open border, more young people are dying from overdoses. Our youth are crying out in various ways and desperately need to know that God loves them and created them with purpose. Only He can fill the needs of their souls.

“Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. So He subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind.”

Psalm 107:10-15

The prince of this world (Satan) is having more influence on our culture as God and His Word are being rejected. We are watching what happens when the influence of Christianity lessens and when even many Christians are biblically illiterate, leaving them vulnerable to believing lies that are couched in nice-sounding words. Satan looks for ways to deceive, destroy, and discourage and uses those who even unknowingly promote his plans . A 30-minute DVD, “Worldviews Have Consequences” (scroll down page for trailer) from “David Rives Ministries” (DRM) offers an interesting interview with James Gardner of “Canopy Ministries”. A good article from “Got Questions” is “What does it mean that Satan masquerades as an angel of light?”

“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

2 Corinthians 11:12-14

Barna Group recently released a study revealing that “Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians”. Let’s not be a patsy for the enemy – let’s develop the discernment that only comes with a strong knowledge of the Bible, letting God’s Word give us the foundation for what is true so we will not be deceived. The next generation needs us to equip them with the truth and how biblical teaching better explains everything we see around us. God created science, so His Word will not go against the actual scientific evidence. It will, however, go against some of the world’s interpretations of the same evidence.

“While I was with them, I kept them in Your name, which You have given Me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  As you sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

Jesus’ prayer for His disciples and us in John 17:12-19

I was an adult before finally getting to the end of myself and crying out to God. I began reading the Bible right away. Having no previous exposure to Scripture, I actually found it helpful to read my daughter’s “Adventure Bible”. My personal recommendation for getting started is beginning with reading the books of Psalms and Proverbs, then the book of John, then the other gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke). Then read the books of Acts, Romans, and the rest of the New Testament. The book of Revelation will make more sense if you read the Old Testament first since it references Old Testament prophecies. If you have not read the Old Testament before, it may be easier to read it in chronological order. You can find an online plan at “Bible Study Tools”. If you prefer an app, check out “The Bible Project” reading plans or “YouVersion” or look at chronological Bibles at “Christian Book Distributors”. If you’re interested in starting with a book that gives you a general overview of the Bible, you could try a handbook. or a brief online explanation at “Got Questions”. and/or watch free short overview videos of each Bible book from “The Bible Project” (when I discovered these, I binged watched them). Once you finish reading the Old Testament, reread the book of Hebrews in the New Testament and then read the book of Revelation. There’s helpful resources on “Revelation for Kids: Revelation made simple, for kids and grownups too”.

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:12-17

© Constance Rice 2022

Every Knee Will Bow

article by site founder, Connie Rice

The move of our culture in recent years has been to basically shake our fist at God and rebel against Him and His Word. What He has called good is said to be bad and what He has called sin is said to be good. This comes as no shock to those who know God’s Word – it was prophesied in the Bible. However, the speed at which this is taking place is rather shocking. There are many who unfortunately do not have the eyes to see where this will lead – sadly, to their own peril. This story has played out numerous times throughout the history of mankind, but unfortunately recent generations have not had the benefit of being taught a fact-based history. Ignorance of factual history and the lessons that can learned through it combined with not knowing the Bible (unfortunately, biblical illiteracy is rampant even among many church-goers and self-proclaiming Christians) makes people quite vulnerable to deceptions and lies.

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

2 Timothy 4:1-4

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!”

Isaiah 5:20-21

Most people are aware that they can be deceived by others, so many are skeptical to a degree of what others say. Another form of deception may not be as well-recognized. Self-deception is quite common because our sinful and selfish nature can cause us to rationalize or justify ungodly attitudes and/or behavior that separates us from the Lord. This can limit or block God’s blessings in our lives. Perhaps some are focused on seeking ambition, security, fame, or money instead of a close relationship with their Creator. Feelings of discouragement, disappointment, grief, physical or emotional pain, rejection, confusion, betrayal, or misunderstandings can result in our reacting poorly to people and circumstances. Others may struggle with arrogance or pride, or a host of other things that can blind us to the truth and lead us away from Jesus Christ, who is the source of all truth. Even if we are doing all the things a “good” Christian is supposed to do, our hearts may not really be with God. That becomes fertile ground for self-deception. That’s when we begin to do what is “right in our own eyes” instead of seeking the Lord in His Word with our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.”

1 John 1:5-10

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.”

Proverbs 21:30

God is sovereign. He will not be mocked. His plan will succeed – it’s an honor and a privilege to be part of God’s Kingdom work, but He will accomplish His purposes with or without any of us. We know that Jesus will win in the end and that evil will be dealt with once and for all by a just and holy God. He created each person in His image and so values every human life, wanting that none should perish. He has been and continues to be patient so more and more people can be saved from the penalty of their sin. He warns us in His Word what happens when we reject Him and rebel against Him. God does not send anyone to hell, but gives us all the freedom to choose – but like all choices, there are consequences. Where we spend eternity should deserve our utmost attention because. well – eternity is a long time. Our time on earth, even for those with long lives here, is but a drop in the bucket compared to eternity. God wants us to admit that we fall short and for us to seek Him, asking for His help to live the life He has created for each of us. Discover the purpose for which you were made. As you follow Him, depend on Him, serve Him, and share what He has done in your life, God meets your needs and guides you. True soul satisfaction is found through Jesus. He fills our deepest needs.

“You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

James 4:2b-8

2 Pet 3:9:  “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.

This verse tells of God’s great love and mercy. It is God’s desire that all be saved. But again, we know from what He has revealed to us that only those who come to Jesus in faith will be saved:

Rom 10:9-10: “If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

There is a human responsibility in salvation. It is not a work. Rather it is a response to Jesus’ offer to forgive, save, and restore sinners.”

excerpt from article, “Will All People Be Saved?” by Shari Abbott of “Reasons for Hope* Jesus”

The death rate is 100% – it comes to everyone. We will all stand before the Lord and give an account of our lives – to either welcome our long-awaited Savior and receive our promised rewards in heaven or to stand in judgment for our sins. Without the intercession of our Savior, we will be separated from the loving God who created us and from His goodness eternally. Check out the article, “Going to Heaven – How Can I Guarantee My Eternal Destination?” by “Got Questions”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:7

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”

Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:13-16a

The Bible is God’s message to us for who He is, who we are, how things came to be, how He has worked in people’s lives throughout human history, and what to expect in the future – including how Jesus is going to come for those who trust in Him and will destroy evil. Much of what we’ve seen in the form of natural disasters, evil, sickness, conflict, disrespect, cultural immorality, rebellion against God, etc. was prophesied for the end times. Time may be very short – “today is the day of salvation”. The article from “Got Questions” answers, “What Does it Mean That Today is the Day of Salvation?”. Jesus offers the hope of salvation from our sins and even offers each of us a part to play in the perfect tapestry He is weaving. It took me a long time because I was stubborn, but I finally got to end of myself in a time of desperation. I surrendered my life to Him and have experienced true soul satisfaction and meaning in this life. His amazing love, mercy, faithfulness, and patience along with His peace that the world cannot provide, His joy, and His supernatural strength are incredible. If you let Him, He will make all things new.

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:17-24

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” [emphasis by site founder]

Philippians 2:5-11

The choice is yours. I hope you will choose to seek the Lord with your whole heart, mind, strength, and soul and begin (or continue) your relationship with your Creator. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. May He reveal Himself to you as He has to so many before you who surrendered their lives to Him. When you keep Him first in your life and choose to obey Him and trust in the truth of His Word, you will experience His blessings. This life has troubles, but He will never leave you nor forsake you, so you will never be alone. Let the adventure begin!

© Constance Rice 2022

What is God’s Will?

article by site founder, Connie Rice:

It seems to be fairly common for people (mostly believers) to ask, “What is God’s will for my life?” or “How do I know what God’s will is?” Our culture confuses us with this, especially with its constant focus on self so that people develop an expectation that the answer is specific to their particular future. However, the answers to these questions are given in Scripture and they apply to us all. The first step is to accept God’s plan of salvation for our lives by trusting in Jesus Christ alone for our eternal salvation, asking God for forgiveness, and turning from our sin (determined by God in His revealed Word, not by us or the culture).

For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” [bold emphasis by site founder]

John 6:40

Then we need to choose to follow the Lord’s teachings and keep Him in first place in our lives, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us to be more like Christ. The particular path He has planned for each of us is unveiled oftentimes gradually, just one step at a time (similarly to how God chose to reveal Himself gradually throughout history through particular people and events). How do we do this? In Scripture, we are given examples of what it looks like to put God first, but one example of this in the Old Testament is with Daniel. He was a teenager when he and other young Israelites were taken into captivity by the Babylonians and faced pressure to accept the new culture, to put aside the commands of God, and they were even renamed from their original Hebrew names that reflected God to Babylonian names that reflected pagan gods:

“Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility – young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself [emphasis added by site founder] with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” [bold emphasis by site founder]

Daniel 1:3-8

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.  Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” [bold emphasis by site founder]

1 Peter 2:15

In order to live in a way that unveils God’s particular will for us as individuals, we must be resolved to not defile ourselves as well. Our culture (and sadly even some churches and Christian leaders) teach that it is okay to follow the culture in various areas, that things have changed and God’s Word is no longer relevant to our lives. It is common now for young Christians to consider sex outside of marriage and living together outside of marriage as perfectly fine. If sexual immorality is repeatedly taught against throughout the Bible and even by Jesus Himself, how can Christians expect to experience God’s blessings in their earthly relationships?

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;” [bold emphasis by site founder]

1 Thessalonians 4:3

As societies are more and more removed from God and the Bible, society suffers from multiple negative consequences as evidenced in the last 75 years or so in America:

higher incidence of domestic violence,

higher rates of abortion (now even trying to legalize killing full-term infants after birth),

more children growing up in single family homes,

less respect for the value of human life – abortion, euthanasia, more murder cases, etc.

increases in sexually transmitted diseases,

increased levels of anxiety – even in young children,

higher incidence of addiction,

more depression & higher incidence in suicide at younger & younger ages

higher crime levels,

increased intolerance for those who think differently,

confusion about one’s own sexuality and gender,

school shootings,

parents abusing and/or killing of their own children,

children killing their parents,

more corruption,

the war on reality with push for alternate realities,

inability for young people to cope with reality, and the list goes on.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” [bold emphasis by site founder]

Romans 12:2

As much as it might be politically incorrect to say so, numerous studies have shown that God’s design for marriage and family with children being brought up in a home with both biological parents provides a healthier foundation for children which results in stronger communities and benefits society overall. When both parents have a close relationship with and serve the Lord, know Scripture, and practice an authentic faith before their kids, we see a legacy of healthy families being built throughout multiple generations. There are no guarantees, but God promises His Word will not come back void.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus did not negate Old Testament law, but came to fulfill it and live the perfect life that none of us were capable of doing so that His sacrificial death on the cross would pay for the sins of all mankind. It is up to us whether or not we accept the gift of salvation that He freely offers. Along with the gift of eternal life in heaven with Him, Jesus tells us that the truth sets us free and that His Word is truth. He offers freedom from the bondage of sin and the ability to please God.

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”

1 John 5:13-15

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” [bold emphasis by site founder]

1 Thessalonians 5:18

God has done His part – He created a way for us to be redeemed and live a life of victory with purpose even in a fallen world. However, He is Master of all so we need to do it His way. Living with Jesus as part of our lives isn’t what brings victory; we need to seek Him with all of our hearts, minds, strength, and soul. Francis Chan puts it this way, He wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a ‘Christian’ without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd.”

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [bold emphasis by site founder]

Hebrews 13:21

As we watch our culture deteriorate and see the chaos and confusion continue to ramp up, will it be enough for you to get to the end of your own wisdom and humbly seek the One who created you? I pray it is. That will be the beginning of your journey of discovering God’s amazing love for you and His perfect will for your life so you can live a life of purpose and victory, experiencing the the Lord’s supernatural, strength, peace, and joy even in the midst of life’s trials.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon. ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Isaiah 55:6-12

© Constance Rice 2022

Fear of God

article by site founder, Connie Rice

We are living in a time where increasingly, people and whole nations do not seem to have a fear of God. American culture is being driven farther and farther away from God and His Word. Many people are building opinions and making decisions for their lives based on their own wisdom, “doing what is right in their own eyes”. That phrase is in quotes because it is given numerous times in Scripture as a warning, generally followed by God’s judgment.

“You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes”

Moses warning the Israelites just before they entered the promised land – Deuteronomy 12:8

 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Judges 17:6

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Judges 21:25

“Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.”

Jeremiah 11:8

In view of that, how wise is it to continue down the path of doing what is right in our own eyes? If we say we don’t believe in God or what the Bible has to say, then what basis is there for morality at all? If everything was created randomly, there is no rational basis for morality. God has defined right and wrong in His revealed word and as our Creator, has every right to determine the rules of the game. Without an objective standard for everyone everywhere, morality just becomes opinions, which vary from person to person. God didn’t have to reveal Himself to us or give us moral standards or provide sinful people with a way of salvation, but He did – out of His love for us. He knows that sin ultimately harms us and puts us in bondage. However, He also values liberty, so has given us the freedom to choose whether we will accept His gracious gift or reject it. It brings to my mind the scene in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” when the first person attempted to choose the holy grail and disintegrated. The keeper of the grail in the movie, says, “He chose poorly”. The question for each of us is, will we choose wisely or poorly regarding the most important decision we can ever make? Pondering where we will spend eternity deserves our time and thoughtful attention.

Let’s take a brief look at what God’s Word has to say about those who do what is right in their own eyes:

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”

Isaiah 5:21

“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.”

Proverbs 26:12

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”

Romans 8:5-8

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Proverbs 14:12

God doesn’t send people to hell, but unfortunately many will choose it by rejecting Him and by extension, heaven with Him. Our inherent sinful nature causes us to want things our own way and question God’s wisdom. Our stubbornness (referenced in the Old Testament as being a “stiff-necked” people) can result in our demise. It’s so sad for those of us who have personally experienced God’s amazing love, mercy, grace, goodness, kindness, and blessings to see others turn away from all that He freely gives those who choose to trust and follow Him. For those like myself who lived outside of relationship with Him for many years and finally surrendered to Him, we desperately want others to experience the same incredible and close relationship with Jesus that we enjoy. Is life easy as a Christ-follower – no; it’s quite hard and takes intentionality, but the joy of His presence and the help of the Holy Spirit make peace and even joy possible in the midst of life’s many challenges. The world begins to make more sense as we study His Word and we begin to long for the restoration that God will bring in His timing.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Hebrews 4:12-13

 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:8

Now let’s take a brief look at what God’s Word has to say about the fear of God. It is not meant for people to tremble in fear before Him (although that will be a reality for those who reject Him and then stand before Him in judgment). Instead it means to recognize that God is your Creator, loves you, and wants the best for you. He provided a way to be free from the power of sin by trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ, alone. As you confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, and surrender your life to Him, you will have assurance of being with Him in heaven, you will receive a spiritual gift that helps you serve the Lord and others, and you will receive the Holy Spirit who will help you throughout your life.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 1:7

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

Proverbs 14:27

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew 10:26-28

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will He instruct in the way that He should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant.”

Psalm 25:11-14

“Oh, how abundant is Your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear You and worked for those who take refuge in You, in the sight of the children of mankind!”

Psalm 31:19

“My son, if you receive My words and treasure up My commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.”

Proverbs 2:1-7

It’s hard to explain to those who haven’t yet surrendered their life to the Lord, but true freedom results as we partner with Him to help us live a life of purpose and have victory over sin. He even allows us to be part of His Kingdom work while we await the glorious new heaven and new earth that He will create. Life on earth has its challenges for all of us because the world has been broken by sin, but being in the center of God’s will brings soul-satisfying peace that the world cannot offer, supernatural strength to persevere, provision for our needs, and even unexpected joy and blessings.

“Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man! For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.”

Psalm 107:8-9

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:2-6

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

Psalm 19:7-11

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’.” 

John 8:31-32

To learn more, you can check out resources on the “Good News” page. If you have questions about whether or not the Bible is true, there are many other pages (Apologetics, Creation, Outreach, etc.) on this site that may be helpful in directing you to answers.

© Constance Rice 2022

Reasoning Together

article by site founder, Connie Rice

Do you have an innate desire to know what is true? Do you want your life to mean something? Do you value justice and fairness? Do you have the ability to reason using logic? Where do those desires and abilities come from? These are timeless questions that every human being has contemplated at one time or another. Our worldview determines how we answer them (if we make an attempt to answer them rather than pushing them to the back of our minds). Darwinian evolution and random chance cannot even explain where the first living cell comes from, let alone answer how any of the above-mentioned things came to be. Multiple generations now have been taught that they are a high-level animal that has gradually evolved and become more complex over time, as well as that this life is all there is. God is not given credit for the Creation of our world and the amazing design that we see in plants, animals, mathematics, scientific laws, and humans. People who believe God is their Creator with a Master Plan and as one made in His image, are accountable before Him, tend to be mocked and ridiculed. Is it any wonder that hopelessness, depression, suicide, drug abuse, anxiety, crime, fear, corruption, and confusion have increased substantially over the same time period? Others have gone much deeper into answering the big questions of life than is able to be addressed here, but let’s think about some of these questions:

Where did we come from?

Does our life have a purpose?

Do the decisions we make in life matter?

Why do people suffer?

Why is there evil in the world?

Where did our sense of justice and logic come from?

Is physical death really the end or is there a heaven or hell after death?

Let’s see if an evolutionary interpretation or a biblical interpretation can better answer these:

1. Where did we come from?

If Darwinian evolution is true, we evolved from an apelike creature – there was no plan because it would all be random (although for evolution to be true, new and more complex information would be needed along the way). The scientific law of biogenesis rejects the idea that life can come from nonlife (spontaneous generation), so how did the first living cell come about? Evolutionists cannot answer that, so generally just focus on mechanisms for change. The mechanisms given are natural selection and mutations, and of course time. Natural selection needs something to select from and mutations result in a loss of information and are generally harmful rather than beneficial. Therefore, Darwinian evolution cannot answer the question of from where we came.

If the Bible is true, we are made in the image of a loving, merciful, faithful, intelligent, logical, just, good, sovereign, and eternal Creator God. We as humans were created uniquely from all other creatures (made in His image) and possess some level of some of God’s attributes – the capacity to love, to have compassion, to create, to reason using logic, to have desire for meaning and purpose in life, to seek justice, to have a basic sense of right and wrong, etc. Each person also seems to naturally know that there is more to life than just existence, thus creating the motivation to seek answers.

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”

Genesis 1:26-27

2. Does my life have a purpose?

If Darwinian evolution is true, the only purposes are to survive (to search for food and either to flee from predators or to pursue other creatures as predator) and to reproduce. Interestingly, no mechanism has been suggested to explain many things, such as why some creatures migrate and where that tendency comes from, why some live in groups and others don’t, why some creatures exhibit abilities that more complex creatures don’t have, etc. No answer is given for why humans seek purpose in their lives and other creatures do not, why humans place such a high value on beauty, fairness, music, art, etc., or why it seems that only humans contemplate their future and meaning in life.

If the Bible is true, each person is created to know and love their Creator while living a life that gives glory to Him, and to reflect His love to others. God reveals Himself and the way to have a life of purpose through the Bible. Amazingly, God empowers His followers to accomplish this through the His Holy Spirit when we accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior – trusting in Him alone for salvation and following His teachings. A life of love, hope, selflessness, personal & spiritual growth, and purpose is available to all who choose to submit their Savior – we are made a new creation and our past no longer defines us. We are given the power to turn from the sins that so easily control us – this is true freedom.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

3. Do the decisions we make in life matter?

If Darwinian evolution is true, how we live our lives doesn’t really matter – each person is free to survive how he or she sees fit without regard for how their decisions may negatively affect others. Selfishness, arrogance, pride, corruption, and no end of evil are rationalized as a result of this worldview.

If the Bible is true, our lives on earth affect our relationships with both God and others, and we are to seek God with our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul, and love others as ourselves. We are to sacrifice for the benefit of others. The decisions we make in this life affect our eternity (whether we stand in judgment before a holy God or receive rewards from our Savior, Jesus Christ and live in heaven forever).

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’.”

John 8:31-32

4. Why do people suffer?

If Darwinian evolution is true, it’s a “dog-eat-dog world” where each person’s focus is on themselves and their own needs, so suffering and death would be part of it for those who are not at the top of the “food chain”, so-to-speak. The strongest and fittest would still suffer from various things, but their control over those not deemed to be as strong or as fit would cause much greater suffering for them.

If the Bible is true, suffering and pain is never wasted. God allows suffering in our lives to draw us closer to Himself, to teach us, to grow us, to increase our compassion for others, to equip us to come beside someone else going through a similar trial, or to prepare us for something in the future of which we are not yet aware. Since God is omniscient, He knows everything – past, present, and future, so He alone really knows what lies ahead and how we need to be prepared. Some might be uncomfortable with the thought that God knows our hearts and thoughts and that nothing is hidden from Him. However, when we are in the center of His will, this knowledge can be a true comfort to us – He knows everything about us, yet He loves and values us anyway.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”

1 Peter 4:12-13

5. Why is there evil in the world?

If Darwinian evolution is true, there is no foundation for the existence of either evil or good – living things in nature exist only for survival and reproduction. Not only does it not offer an explanation of why good or evil exists, but it also cannot explain why humans are able to recognize good and evil. Although what defines good and evil for different people may depend on their culture and opinions, it seems that all humans acknowledge that some things are good and some things are evil.

If the Bible is true, God created a perfect world and the first two humans (Adam and Eve). In it was a garden that included fully formed fruits and vegetables for food as well as both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God instructed Adam not to eat from the latter tree, but Eve was deceived by the serpent (Satan) and both of them disobeyed. They were expelled from the garden and their disobedience brought sin and death into the world. We live in a broken world with sin, illness, pain, and death which explains the evil in the world, but look forward to when Jesus will fight evil once and for all and be victorious. God promises to create a new heaven and earth where there is no sin, pain, illness, or death for those who accept His free gift of eternal life through believing in Jesus Christ for salvation.

“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death’.”

Revelation 21:1-8

6. Where did our sense of justice and ability to reason with logic come from?

If Darwinian evolution is true, there is no explanation for how our sense of justice and logic came to be. On another note, there is also no way to explain the existence of natural laws, mathematical laws, music, or beauty. How can intelligence arise out of nothing?

If the Bible is true, our Creator God is logical, intelligent, and just. Since we are made in His image, humans are also logical, have intelligence, and seek justice. Who hasn’t said, “That doesn’t make sense.” Even very young children say, “That’s not fair!” Scientists acknowledge that all DNA contains information and information can only come from intelligence.

“Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows Himself holy in righteousness.

Isaiah 5:15-16https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah+5&version=ESV

7. Is physical death really the end or is there a heaven or hell after death?

If Darwinian evolution is true, we die and that’s it. There is no hope for anything else.

If the Bible is true, we exist eternally – either with our loving Savior in heaven or if we choose to deny Him, in a place without His presence. Hell was created for Satan and his demons, but God does not force Himself on anyone. He gave us liberty to choose our own destiny. Rejecting Him naturally results in our being somewhere else. God offers us hope for help in this life as well as the hope of heaven.

“All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as My gospel declares.”

Romans 2:2-16

What do you say? Which belief system best answers the big questions? If you want to know God and yourself better, if you want to experience God’s amazing love, if you want your life to mean something, and if you desire justice, then use your God-given ability to reason logically to seek the Lord. He does not hide from you.

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.”

Lamentations 3:25

Truth matters, but how can we determine what is true when conflicting reports about the same issues are all around us? Let’s reason together using our God-given sense of logic to recognize that God not only created us, but gave us the Bible (His revealed word) to guide us through this life and prepare us for the next. Seeking Him as we read through it is how we know truth as well as what is good and what is evil. Only a biblical worldview can supply us with the answers we each so desperately need. Our culture has individually and corporately turned our backs on God and rejected His teachings to our own peril. Each of us needs to turn from our sin, turn to our Creator, and cry out for His mercy. He is the source of truth, forgiveness, hope, purpose in this life, and is the perfect all-knowing judge. As evangelist, Billy Graham, referenced often in his Crusades from 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Now is the day of salvation”. For those who have already accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, Peter offers further wisdom:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

1 Peter 1:3-11

© Constance Rice 2022

Definitions Matter

article by site founder, Connie Rice

This site is about discovering truth. Unfortunately, discovering truth is made more difficult when terms are redefined. Noah Webster, author of “An American Dictionary of the English Language”, recognized that a unified national language was essential for our new nation. The following quote is from the history given regarding Webster’s work:

“Webster learned to read and understand more than 20 languages and traveled to France and England to research early dictionaries and books on the origins of words and language. Several times Webster ran out of money, but he received financial support from statesman and jurist John Jay and other prominent Americans who wanted to see the book finished. Webster completed the dictionary in 1825, and it was the last time that one person alone developed a major dictionary. It included an impressive 70,000 words, definitions, and explanations of words’ origins. The first edition was printed in 1828 under the title An American Dictionary of the English Language and sold for $20 per set. This colossal work came to symbolize a unified national language, and for Webster, was essential for nation building.”

Webster’s Dictionary 1828

In recent years, influencers in American culture have been redefining words to suit their preferred narrative. The result is more confusion and increased division across the country, just the opposite of what is needed for a nation to be unified. Some of the examples given in this article are phrases and the definitions of words used in this article came from “The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language” (mine was published in 1973):

CULTURAL TERMS:

  • separation of church & state – often communicated as being in the Constitution (it is not); it was taken out of context from a private letter written by Thomas Jefferson in reply to a Baptist minister who was concerned that his minority denomination could be persecuted against. The “separation” referenced was to protect the practice of religion from government intrusion. After their experience in Europe, our founding fathers understandably did not want the government establishing a particular denomination as the official religion of the state.
  • tolerance“capacity to tolerate the beliefs, practices, or traits of others; forbearing”; by definition – a belief or practice different from one’s own, so the term is not the same as agreement or approval of someone else’s belief or practice. In other words, one can only be tolerant in the case of disagreement – showing respect and consideration in spite of it.
  • marriage “the state of being husband and wife; wedlock; the union of a man and woman as husband and wife”; by definition, does not include relationships of same sex; another term should be used rather than redefining the existing one. The institution of marriage was created by God Himself and He uses it as an analogy for the relationship and commitment between Jesus and the church. What God has defined, man does not have the right or the authority to redefine.
  • gender“any set of two or more categories, such as masculine, feminine, and neuter, into which words are divided according to sex, animation, psychological associations, or some other characteristic, and that determine agreement with or the selection of modifiers, referents, or grammatical forms”; human gender as male and female have been known throughout human history and is supported by biology; one’s gender is not just feelings, reproductive party parts, and hormones. It is not possible for a male to become a female or a female to become a male because human chromosomes are either XX (female) or XY (male), excepting chromosomal mutations, ie., Down’s Syndrome (who are still male or female). From a Cleveland Clinic article on fetal development: “At the moment of fertilization, your baby’s genetic make-up is complete, including its sex. The gender of your baby depends on what sperm fertilizes the egg at the moment of conception. Generally, women have a genetic combination of XX and men have XY. Women provide each egg with an X. Each sperm can be either an X or a Y. If the fertilized egg and sperm is a combination of an X and Y, it’s a boy. If there are two Xs, it’s a girl.” In addition, data shows that there are inherent differences in the brain, differences in skeletons, and over 3000 skeletal musculature differences. The redefining of gender as a fluid spectrum goes against science, and much damage is being done to adults and especially children with confusion and even permanent body-alteration. Sadly, the stories of those who have suffered do not get much attention. Jesus even spoke to this in Matthew 19:4-6 when answering a question about divorce: “’Haven’t you read’, He replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female?, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate’.
  • abortion“induced termination of a pregnancy before the fetus is capable of surviving as an individual”; fetus is defined as “the unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate; in humans, the unborn young from the end of the 8th week until the moment of birth as distinguished from the earlier embryo”; it is important to note that nothing happens after fertilization to create a human being – it is already created and only needs nutrition, shelter, and time for further growth & development (the same as any infant, toddler, child, & adolescent). To promote abortion as a “woman’s right to choose” for what happens with her own body uses the incorrect premise that the child is part of her body when that is not the case. Babies in the womb are the most innocent and vulnerable of all humans and their lives should be protected by society, not snuffed out. Laws against abortion in America were brought about when the medical community realized more about human development in the womb. There was a common expression used when referencing the safest place a person could be – “the safety of the womb”, but you don’t hear that today. Our Declaration of Independence stated that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” What other rights can there be if the right to life is not protected? It is interesting that abortion advocates consider choice to be absolutely necessary, but many of the same people do not value choice when advocating for a vaccine mandate of an experimental, never-before-used gene therapy – even though those break both the Nuremburg Code of 1947 and HIPAA. The Bible is clear on this issue that all human life is created in God’s image and that children are precious in His sight. Other nations who had a practice of sacrificing their children have faced His judgment.
  • racism“the notion that one’s own ethnic stock is superior”; our nation has experienced racism, but there has been much progress made over the last 70 or so years and most people were following Martin Luther King: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.“; Influencers in our culture are fanning the flames of racism again, but this time against those with white skin – it is wrong to tell some children that they are and always will be oppressors and it is also wrong to tell other children that they are victims and oppressed, and always will be. Anyone who has been around children knows that they make friends with other children of all colors and ethnicities. The truth is that we are all made in God’s image and every person’s life has value and that we should all treat each other with respect and dignity.
  • equality – our nation was built on the idea that all people were equal in the eyes of their Creator and therefore should be equal under the law and have equal opportunity to pursue liberty and happiness. The Declaration of Independence further states, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Equality (everyone is equal under the law and has equal opportunity) has recently been replaced with the term equity (equal outcome). Equity has its origins in Marxist theory, and wherever policies based on that have been implemented, the result has been equal poverty, equal misery, loss of liberty, and sadly, also the loss of millions of lives. If interested in this topic, you can check out “EPOCH: The Rise and Fall of the West” by Kevin Swanson, “The Enemy Within: How a Totalitarian Movement is Destroying America” by former communist, David Horowitz or “How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World” by news outlet, “The Epoch Times”
  • insurrection – “In insurrection there is an organized and armed uprising [bolded by site founder for emphasis] against authority or operations of government whereas riots and offenses connected with mob violence are simply unlawful acts in disturbance of the peace which do not threaten the stability of the government or the existence of political society.” Some use this term to describe the Jan 6, 2021, but not one person has been charged with that crime – none of the protesters who entered the Capital were armed and there has been no evidence of a planned, organized takeover of the government. It is irresponsible for leaders to intentionally use terms incorrectly (because every politician should know what this term actually means) and may result in citizens being treated unfairly under the law (jailed without charges, no speedy trial, unhealthy conditions, etc.).
  • white supremacy – another term that has recently become the verbal attack “du jour” against people who disagree. Throughout history, there have always been some who considered their own race superior to others. However, I feel blessed to have lived in a time and place where most people moved away from issues of race and valued others for their trustworthiness, honesty, hard work, dependability, and good character. To see this attempt to again divide people by race in American culture is a step backward and is counter to the a biblical worldview that views all people as made in God’s image and therefore, valuable and equal in God’s sight.

MEDICAL TERMS:

  • natural immunity – scientific & medical has always recognized that people who have already had a viral illness and recovered do not need a vaccine; the natural immune system response has already identified the foreign body and fought it off, is generally equipped to fight off any subsequent variant(s), and is no longer contagious. It has also been scientifically known that as a virus mutates, it becomes weaker and less virulent over time. As people’s natural immune systems fight off the virus and the virus mutations make it weaker, eventually, there is herd immunity. There are now many studies around the world that all verify that natural immunity provides better protection than existing vaccines. “Western Journal” has an article on this topic, “Johns Hopkins Doc Says Natural Immunity 27 Times More Effective Than Vaccine”.
  • positive viral infection – diagnosis of a positive infection before this pandemic was by evaluation of symptoms AND a positive test; only with the present situation has it been suggested that a viral infection could be spread by those without symptoms. It is interesting that these suggestions have been dropped from more recent discourse, but not before panicking the populace around the world and causing untold human & economic damage and allowing governments to massively increase their control over people and businesses.
  • unvaccinated – most people understand that this would include those who had not been vaccinated with a particular vaccine and may not be aware that during our current situation, the category of unvaccinated includes those who have not have been “fully-vaccinated“, defined by the CDC as finding an “antigen in a respiratory specimen collected from a person ≥14 days after they have completed all recommended doses [bolded by site founder for emphasis] of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19″. Since many adverse reactions, serious illness, and/or death have occurred shortly after the first shot or within two weeks of the last shot, this drastically underreports the level of adverse reactions from the vaccine itself and mistakenly makes it appear that the truly unvaccinated are the cause of increased illness & death.
  • vaccine “a suspension of attenuated or killed microorganisms, as of viruses or bacteria, incapable [bolded by site founder for emphasis] of inducing severe infection but capable, when inoculated, of counteracting the unmodified species”; in 2021 as more and more “breakthrough cases” with people contracting and even dying from the illness, that the CDC definition of the word was changed to: “A suspension of live (usually attenuated) or inactivated microorganisms (e.g. bacteria or viruses) or fractions thereof administered to induce immunity and prevent infectious diseases and their sequelae. Some vaccines contain highly defined antigens (e.g., the polysaccharide of Haemophilus influenzae type b or the surface antigen of hepatitis B); others have antigens that are complex or incompletely defined (e.g. Bordetella pertussis antigens or live attenuated viruses)”. As Steve Kirsch (tech millionaire who funded covid vaccine trials) explains in his article for Principia Scientific, he “was so shocked at what he saw… that he risks everything to join the growing army of whistleblowers exposing the deadly dangers of these experimental ‘vaccines’.”

We are living in confusing and perilous times. Knowing what is true and having discernment is so critical. God has turned things around during previous times in history when things looked bleak and evil was rampant, so He may very well choose to do so this time. However, we also know that the beginning of the Tribulation may be soon. Some Bible scholars think that the Lord will come for His people after the 7-year Tribulation, some think it will happen in the middle (3.5 years after it begins, before the Great Tribulation as the Antichrist rises to power), and some think it will happen before the Tribulation begins. The event of Jesus coming for His children is referred to as the Rapture. The latter two views have Jesus coming for all of His children and then will come again later as a warrior to fight evil forces. “Got Questions” explains the difference between the Rapture and Jesus’ 2nd Coming. God wants that none should perish, but has given mankind the freedom to choose their own destiny. Many are rebellious and stubborn and will refuse to turn away from their sin and toward Him, rejecting His free gift of eternal salvation that is possible through His Son Jesus Christ’s voluntary, sacrificial death and resurrection. Knowing the Bible provides us with needed discernment and shows us the signs for which we should be aware. My heart breaks for those who won’t choose to accept the free gift that Jesus offers, and I will continue to pray for them. Jesus asked Peter in Luke 9:20, but it applies to each of us: “’But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’”

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

2 Corinthians 7:10

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: ‘Rulers and elders of the people!’ If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone’. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:8-12

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know my Father as well.”

John 14:6-7

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:21-26

There’s a passage in the Bible that caused me to seriously consider what it means to be ready for Jesus’ return:

“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.  People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Jesus’ words in Luke 6:44-49

If you have been holding on to sin of any kind, turn from it and move toward your loving and merciful Creator. Allow Him to cleanse you from all unrighteousness and experience the life you were created to live – with access to His peace, His joy, His strength, His power (all supernatural), and His purpose for you played out. The Lord makes it possible for those who trust and obey Him to experience a taste of heaven here on earth while we await His return.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Psalm 34:8

© Constance Rice 2021

Protect the Children

article by site founder, Connie Rice

A culture that turns on its youth cannot long endure. Those of us who have lived longer can remember when the culture protected children and looked out for their well-being and innocence – not just parents, but also movies, TV programs, news agencies, schools, the government, and society at large. In only about 75 years (one generation), our children have gone from being protected by every aspect of society to being targets for destruction, confusion, taught that they were random products of evolution, and have been victims all too often of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse. Instead of recognizing that children are precious and made in the image of God, our culture is treating children as a market with incentive for profit, as future activists to be indoctrinated, as sexual targets, or as pawns in a political game with increasing levels of fear and confusion. The past year and a half has brought unprecedented lockdowns, masks, social distancing, and removal of everything normal in the daily lives of children with separations from school, family members, sports, teams, & friends. Now they are targeted for vaccine mandates even though the risk from this experimental gene therapy (long-term effects are unknown) could be higher than risks of the illness. As a society, we have gone from protecting children to not protecting them, and have recently moved beyond that to intentionally harming them. God will judge those who are responsible. He loves children and warns those who bring them harm or keep them from Him:

“If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in Me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”

Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:6-7

“People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’.”

Mark 10:13-14

Let’s break down some of the other changes that have shifted our culture’s previous protection of children to its current influences:

Abortion legalized in 1973 – unborn children are the most innocent and vulnerable among us and have no voice of their own – this is the ultimate form of child abuse; how can we as a culture continue to defend this barbaric intrusion into the womb? I remember when people wanted to point out the safest place possible, they would use the phrase, “safety of the womb”. We don’t hear that any more, do we? Without the right to life itself (affirmed by God and guaranteed by our Declaration of Independence), what other rights matter? For those like myself, who at one time believed culture’s lies on this topic and have taken the life of their own child through abortion, our merciful God forgives those who repent and ask for His forgiveness. In fact, He’s even had me step out to be available to lead a small group study to help other women find complete healing as I have. Much discussion is made about rape and incest, but the vast majority of abortions are focused on timing, finances, goals, etc. More babies were killed worldwide via abortion in 2020 than from all of the other leading causes of death combined.

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:13-16

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”

Psalm 127:3

There has been a concerted effort throughout the 20th Century to change education in America. It began with John Dewey (who spent time with communist dictator, Josef Stalin) and Horace Mann. Their progressive philosophy on public education sought to shift it away from a focus on academic knowledge toward education focused on the child within society. The ideas and goals were adopted in America and spread to other countries as well. A couple of quotes from John Dewey reveal how his influence has perpetrated American public education over the years:

“There is no god and there is no soul. Hence, there is no need for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is dead and buried. There is no room for fixed and natural law or permanent moral absolutes.”

John Dewey, philosopher, author, and called the “Father of American Education”

“I believe that the school is primarily a social institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends. I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.”

John Dewey, philosopher, author, and called the “Father of American Education”

Prayer was removed from schools in 1962 (although at the end of 1963, my teacher still gave our class time to pray when the announcement came across our intercom that President Kennedy had been shot); prayer was removed from all schools because of a lawsuit from a single atheist, Madeline Murray O’Hare, who spent 30 years trying to remove God from the public sphere before her disappearance, later determined to be murder. Interestingly, her older son became a strong Christian in spite of his atheist upbringing.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“The Lord is righteous in all Hs ways and faithful in all He does. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise His holy name for ever and ever.”

Psalm 145:17-21

Daily Bible reading was removed from schools in 1963. This is an excerpt from a 2012 article from The Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA):

“Gigi Savant has been teaching since the mid-’80s. She’s been in both public high schools and Christian schools, and she certainly does not like what she’s seeing in the public sector.Our nation was founded on Christian values of what’s right and what’s wrong, founded on the Ten Commandments,’ Savant said. ‘But if you remove the basis of scripture, it’s everything. It’s our world view. And it has cataclysmic results.Savant currently teaches at a Lakeland, Fla., school, where Classical Christian curriculum is being taught. ‘We stress goodness, truth and beauty,’ she said. ‘In public education, there is no standard of truth.’ Well, there is one standard, but it’s nowhere to be found in the public arena. ‘The Bible teaches there is truth. Jesus is the truth, the way and the life,’ Savant said. ‘Truth really is a person, the person of Jesus. When you remove the Bible as your standard, what becomes truth?‘”

Excerpt from article, “Taking God Out of School” by  Trevor Freeze

“Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.”

Jesus’ words in John 17:17

Prior to 1963, Creationism was taught in most every school; now, evolution is taught as fact in all public schools, even though no scientific evidence is possible for any belief of origins – the scientific method requires that ideas be testable and repeatable. Neither belief can be scientifically proven, so neither belief falls under the purview of science. A 1973 article from the “Institute for Creation Research” (ICR) discusses this: “Evolution, Creation, and the Public Schools” by Dr. Henry M. Morris. Children are not descendants of ape-like creatures; they were created by a loving God in His image.

“For this is what the LORD says – He who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited – He says: ‘I am the LORD, and there is no other’.”

Isaiah 45:18

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Romans 1:1820

Sexuality – Beginning with the “sexual revolution” in the 60’s, our culture began to intentionally dismantle cultural norms and reject God’s teaching on sexuality. This has had far-reaching and devastating effects. It began with adults, but eventually worked its way into every aspect of our children’s lives. Prior to this time, the innocence of children was seen as something to value and protect. In one lifetime, sexualization of children became rampant on every front – at school, from movies & TV, and even in so-called “family entertainment”. They are intentionally confused about their sexual identity at a time when they are still developing. Elementary children generally want to play with and choose to spend their time with others of the same sex – it is part of their normal development. Activists have been successful at invading their world and confusing them at this critical time, under the guise of “safety” and to prevent “bullying”. Some children have been greatly harmed by thinking they were homosexual or lesbian and are then encouraged to act on it, leading them into earlier sexual experiences. Somehow, the rights of leaders became more important than the safety of children in organizations like the “Boy Scouts of America” (BSA). The predictable result was that many young boys were preyed upon and sexually abused by leaders who took advantage of this focus on the rights of leaders at the expense of boys – the organization now faces bankruptcy with over 82,000 claims of sexual abuse.

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a person is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.”

Ephesians 5:3-7

“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”

1 Corinthians 6:18-19

Internet & Social Media – Technological advances have brought wonderful things into the world, but with it come inherent dangers and harmful influences. Pornography used to require effort to find, but now it shows up without even looking for it. Social media has provided the blessing for family and friends to stay connected even when far away geographically, but also allows people to say things to others anonymously that cause great emotional and mental harm. The Internet has made it much easier to find information, but much of that information is inappropriate or harmful to children. Sexual predators have found ways to attract unsuspecting children and teens and the result is that sex trafficking has become a very real danger in every community.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8-9

Climate Change – Children have been subjected to continual hysterical doomsday predictions from public school and vocal climate change activists. This places undue stress for students, creating more fear and anxiety. For those of us who are older, we remember when there were doomsday predictions about a coming ice age in the 70s. This did not occur. Then it was global warming and that did not prove to be correct either. Then they changed the term to climate change so that no matter what happened – it could be blamed on climate change. In every case, the predictions are based on models that have been consistently wrong. Changes in climate patterns and natural disasters existed long before cars and the industrialization of nations. The Bible teaches that our seasons will continue; we do not be fearful:

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

Genesis 8:22

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Jesus’ words in John 14:27

Critical Race Theory (CRT) – In my lifetime, great strides have been made regarding racial differences. I and most everyone I know have adopted Dr. Martin Luther King’s idea that all everyone should be judged on is the content of their character and not on the color of their skin. With CRT, white children are being told that they are inherently oppressors and non-white children are being told that they are oppressed and are victims. Some classrooms have even used a color wheel to determine students’ levels of oppressiveness or victimhood based on their skin color. This is extraordinarily harmful to children and only serves to create anxiety, fear, insecurity, and conflict where none previously existed. Anyone who works with children sees that they play with all manner of other kids; skin color does not affect them. Instead of carving out particular groups, we can teach children to treat everyone else with respect and dignity and to be the friend they would like to have. The Bible does not separate people on the color of their skin, but says that ALL people are made in God’s image and therefore have intrinsic value. CRT also corrupts the history of America with untrue accusations and assumptions, seemingly in an attempt to prevent children from having any understanding of how amazing their own country is compared to other civilizations and governments throughout history. It seems that immigrants from other countries may see this more clearly than those who have taken for granted the freedoms that so many have fought for and died to protect. An article, “What’s Great About America?” from “The Heritage Foundation” by immigrant scholar, author, & filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza, explains this further.

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’.”

Genesis 1:27-28a

Gender– Although gender dysphoria does exist and we should have compassion on anyone who suffers from it, the idea that one can choose his or her gender from multiple options conflicts with science, nature, common sense, all of human history, and the Bible. Previous research in this area shows that 80 – 95% of children will outgrow this if those around them help to reinforce reality. Of all the confusion foisted upon children, this one causes them to be confused over their innate identity and if encouraged, can open the door to a lifetime of confusion and even body mutilation. Biology recognizes only male and female with XY and XX chromosomes, respectively. This is what the Bible also teaches and what Jesus Himself affirmed. Activists keep adding more and more “genders” to their list (upwards of 60 now). The aggressiveness and intensity of this movement as well as the growth splurge of those identifying with gender dysphoria at the same time social media, schools, and other influencers push these ideas into the mainstream further reveals where the path leads when people reject their Creator and seek answers with emotional intensity rather than seeking truth from the One who created them. It is so important that children to understand that they are precious in God’s sight and are either a girl or a boy. Jesus referenced passages from Genesis when answering a question:

“’Haven’t you read,’ He replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6 (Jesus includes quotes from Genesis Chapters 1 & 2)

We must protect the children – it is the responsibility and privilege of every adult. The greatest gift we can give children is to teach them that they have a loving and merciful heavenly Father who loves and values them, that they find their identify in Him, and that they were uniquely created with their own fingerprints, DNA, personality, gifts, and abilities. They need to be protected from those who try to sexualize them or bombard them with destructive and harmful messages. Children should be allowed to have a childhood free from the lies, confusion, unnecessary exposure to sexual themes, and the ugliness in the world. Most of us had the benefit of more protection than children today have for them. Those who accept the free gift of salvation through our Savior, Jesus Christ, not only have hope, strength, joy, purpose, and supernatural help to follow Him in this life, but also look forward to when God makes all things right and evil is put away forever.

“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.”

Romans 8:7-11

For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 16-18

© Constance Rice 2021

Do We Need to Repent?

article by site founder, Connie Rice:

We’ve all seen people on street corners holding a hand-made sign that says to repent. There’s a tendency for many to ignore or to think they are a bit weird. Perhaps a few might wave at them or give them a thumb’s up. How many of us would consider making a sign of our own and using our free time to stand somewhere, warning people to repent? Movies and TV shows will sometimes show people doing that and they are generally portrayed as social misfits or someone who is mentally challenged. In reading in the book of Matthew recently, I found myself wondering how people in our culture would respond if John the Baptist had instead arrived in our day and was publicly calling people to repent because the kingdom of God was near. He is described differently from others in Scripture. He didn’t seem to have a regular home and was clothed in camel hair with a leather belt and ate honey and locusts. His appearing followed a 400-year period of God’s silence. That’s a long time that encompassed many generations.

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near’. This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him’.’ John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”

Matthew 3:1-6

Comparing that to present day, I was reminded of how each generation in recent history has moved farther away from God and the truth of His Word in merely 75 years. Being American and having a worldview that was generally biblical went hand in hand. The evils of the 20th Century with the holocaust horrors of World War II as well as the murderous communist takeover in China were plain to see. There were also violent communist takeovers in Cuba, Cambodia, and Viet Nam (the last two influenced by U.S. media reports and communist-funded student anti-war protests). You can learn more from The Epoch Times series, “The Dark Origins of Communism”. The 60’s brought many changes to American culture, but most people still wanted good to prevail and recognized that God was the source of what was good and that He had blessed America and miraculously protected her since inception.

“Historically, the Christian Worldview has been determined by the answers to two questions: What is Truth? Why are we alive? These are the two most basic questions that can be asked about human existence. Of course, for us to even ask these questions flies in the face of the common modern worldviews, which deny the existence of Truth, Purpose, and Direction in the universe. For us to say, ‘these questions make sense’,” presupposes the Christian Worldview.”

quote from article, “The Essential Christian Worldview What is Truth? Why are We Alive? “ by Bible.org

So much has changed in my lifetime. Younger generations have had Bible reading and prayer removed from public schools and have been taught Darwinian evolution as fact (even thought recent discoveries has brought more problems with that premise than when I was taught evolution as a theory). The history of America in textbooks has been altered with leftist ideology. This, along with a cultural acceptance of both immoral behavior (according to God) and the killing of unborn children being sold as freedoms are just some of the influences that have drawn America farther away from God and subsequently farther from His blessings and protection. There are so many amazing quotes from our founding fathers. The familiar quote from Patrick Henry is, “Give me liberty or give me death!”, but he said more than that:

Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

Patrick Henry

The history of our country has been rewritten so that younger generations do not understand the principles on which our nation was founded or how precious our freedoms are (America had been referred to as a beacon of hope around the world, where liberty and self-determination set the stage for people to have the opportunity to succeed no matter who they are or where they come from – to form a classless society unlike previous nations). Ronald Reagan’s quote is proving to be quite prophetic:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Ronald Reagan

Those even somewhat familiar with the Bible know of John the Baptist and his call to repent, but if he were here now – would people receive his message and submit their lives to God, repenting of their sin? Would they instead dismiss him as an odd character? What does it mean to repent? Is the call to repent something we should take seriously or do we consider it to be outdated and extreme? Does anyone else in the Bible call people to repent? If so, who are they and what do they say about it? Just a sample of Scripture examples are included below – from the Old Testament, the New Testament (including Jesus’ words and from the book of Revelation describing the end times):

“To repent and to convert involved obedience to God’s revealed will, placing trust in Him, turning away from all evil and ungodliness. Each person was to ‘turn from his wicked evil way’ ( Jer 26:3 ; 36:3 ). Amos gave God’s lament, that despite all He had done for or to the people, ‘yet you have not returned to me’ (4:4, 8-11). Hosea anticipated the day when Israel ‘will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king’ ( 3:5 ). Thus he pled with them to return to the Lord their God and to say, ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously’ ( 14:2b ).”

quote from Bible study tools definition of “repentance” referencing Old Testament Scripture

“In both Mark ( 1:15 ) and Matthew ( 4:17 ) Jesus began His public proclamation with the call ‘Repent.’ Mark connects it with believing the good news; Matthew, with the nearness of the kingdom of heaven. While Luke does not include this initial call, he notes several strong calls for repentance in Jesus’ teachings (see esp. 10:13 ; 11:32 ; Luke 13:3 Luke 13:5 ; 17:3-4 ). The Book of Acts often connects metanoia [metavnoia] with remission of sins (see 2:38 ; 3:19 ; 5:31 ; 8:22 ; Acts 26:18 Acts 26:20 ). There are strong reminiscences here of John’s proclamations, but one striking difference is in the audiences. While John addressed Jewish hearers only, those in Acts were comprised of Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. The first four incidents feature Peter as speaker; the last text refers to Paul’s statement about his mission. In addition, Paul is said to have preached to both Jews and Gentiles/Greeks to ‘turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus’ ( 20:21 ). These two elements are also found in the Markan account, where Jesus called people to ‘repent and believe [in the good news about himself]’ ( Mark 1:15 ). Further, metanoia [metavnoia] is joined with epistrepho [ejpistrevfw] in Acts 3:19 (Peter) and 26:20 (Paul). Thus, repentance leads to conversion, and ‘deeds consistent with repentance’ are to follow.”

quote from Bible study tools definition of “repentance” referencing some New Testament Scripture & Jesus’s words

These are just some of the references in the Bible about the necessity of turning away from our sin and toward God. In His revealed Word (the Bible), God reveals Himself to us, explains what sin is and what following Him is, and progressively reveals the way of salvation. He didn’t hide from us or leave us ignorant of who we are and how to live. He gave us truth both through His inspired word in print and in the person of Jesus Christ. The importance of repentance is reiterated throughout Scripture and Jesus Himself called on people to repent and believe (in Him for salvation). The role of John the Baptist was to show people their need to repent (turn away) from their sins and be baptized with water in order to prepare them for the arrival of the “lamb of God” (Jesus Christ) from whom they would receive salvation and be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’!”

John 1:29

The book of Revelation references the end times. Believers are called to repent here too, before the second coming of the Lord. Sadly, those outside the church did not those warnings and thus would still be dead in their sins standing alone (without the righteousness of Christ) in judgment before a holy God. The time to make a decision to repent and turn from what God calls sin (not what the world says) is now. He wants that none should perish, but give us the freedom to not choose Him and His ways. The consequences of our choice is eternal and can be grave. We will all die and leave our physical bodies. The question for all of us is, will we repent of our sin (we have all fallen short of God’s perfection) and accept the salvation Jesus freely offers us while we still can or will we delay thinking about it until our time runs out? We may not have John the Baptist in our day calling on us to repent, but God has protected the Bible throughout the ages so we could still clearly hear the message.

“Finally, metanoia [metanoevw] is frequent in Revelation, often as part of formulaic exhortations (Revelation 2:5 Revelation 2:16 Revelation 2:21-22 ; Revelation 3:3 Revelation 3:19 ). Believers are called to repent of various malpractices, and to exercise their former faithfulness. Those outside the church, despite various warnings, did not repent of their deeds ( 9:20-21; Revelation 16:9 Revelation 16:11 ).”

quote from Bible study tools definition of “repentance” referencing New Testament Scripture from book of Revelation

We do not know the date Jesus is coming back, but we know He will come for His children and then He will come to fight evil. Since we’ve read the end of the book, we know He will be victorious. Don’t let the lies, deceptions, and temptations from the prince of this world rob you of eternity in heaven and the peace and soul satisfaction here on earth that only comes from God. We really are in a battle between good and evil (which can be dressed up to appear good – Satan offers only counterfeits of what God offers and leaves people unsatisfied). Accept the gift that Jesus freely offers because of His love for you (although it cost Him everything). You can learn more about this on this site’s “Good News” page. Study the Bible so you can develop discernment and not be a patsy for the Father of Lies (as Jesus calls him) who seeks to destroy. His influence is revealed where conflict, division, greed, arrogance, pride, self-centeredness, or lust for power/money/control exists (our human nature easily goes there).

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

1 Peter 5:8

© Constance Rice 2021

Discerning Truth

article by site founder, Connie Rice

For those of us who have been around a while, it can feel like we’ve been living in an alternate universe recently, or in a “Twilight Zone” episode? What is good is being called evil while what is evil is being called good (see article, “Confusing Evil With Good by Billy Graham). People are divided in their goals and opinions. Civil discourse seems to have disappeared. Tolerance for differing views is becoming rare and even silenced. Corruption is being revealed in previously trusted leaders and institutions. Confusion has been increasing. Freedom of speech is under immense attack, reminiscent of tyrannies throughout history. Some churches are under attack and some seem oblivious. We may wonder if it is even possible to discern truth any more. For several years, I’ve been praying for truth to prevail and that things done in secret and in the dark would be revealed. As time went on, the prevalence of lies that have been foisted upon us became more clear, along with awareness of the damage done to people who believe them, as well as to our culture overall. Sadly, those in younger generations seem to have been targeted the most. People are hungry for meaning in their lives and search out multiple ways to try to find it, but do not realize that soul-satisfying meaning, peace, comfort, and supernatural strength are found only when we seek out the One who created us. As we accept who God says we are – sinful beings who He loved so much that He willingly suffered and died to pay the price for our sins, we realize our value in His eyes. We also learn that the Lord is also holy and that He will judge sin once and for all.

They killed Him by hanging Him on a cross, but God raised Him from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.  He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.  All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”

Acts 10:39b-43

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

Isaiah 5:20-24

The increase in evil around us is no surprise to those familiar with the Bible’s teachings. We recognize that evil increases as people move away from God, and that much of what we are seeing now was prophesied as signs of the End Times (see article from “Got Questions” titles, “Are We Living in the End Times?”). Unfortunately, many have turned from God’s teachings and try to determine good and evil for themselves. This is not new in human history – it began in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted Adam and Eve and has been the case ever since. Before times of God’s judgment on humanity’s evil in the Old Testament during the time of the Judges, Scripture repeatedly says, “the people did what was right in their own eyes”. As Creator of the universe (and us), God is the only one who has the authority to rightly define good and evil. He gave us the gift of free will, but like all choices – our decisions have consequences that affect not only us, but those around us. We ignore God’s Word to our own peril.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

Judges 21:25 

“The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

Proverbs 14:11-12

Jesus loves mankind and chose to die for every person’s sin, but sadly – not every person will repent from the sin in their lives, ask for forgiveness, trust in Him for salvation, and submit to His Lordship in their lives. The consequences of rejecting Him or refusing to obey His commands are heavy, so we should truly give this the consideration it deserves. This life is short – my prayer is that all people will respond to His call on their lives before Jesus comes for His children (the Rapture), which according to Scripture, could be imminent. Once God removes His people from the world, evil will spread exponentially and many will be deceived. We have recently gotten a look at the increase in evil as our country and culture have continually moved farther away from God and His Word. People can still be saved by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior after the Rapture, but it will be a very scary time and their lives will be marked with more intense persecution. Many Christians already suffer intense persecution in the world. According to “Open Doors” ministry to persecuted Christians, it is rising around the world. So why become a Christian? – because it is the only way of salvation. This life is temporary and each day has trouble of its own, but the choices we make here affect not only our lives here and the lives of others, but our eternity.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:6

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.  Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.  For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself.  And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man.”

Jesus’ words in John 5:24-27

We were warned. Jesus told us that Satan is the prince of this world and that He is the father of lies and that he looks for those who he might devour. He tries to keep people from finding their Savior. For those who have found Jesus and have surrendered our lives to Him, Satan seeks to deceive and tempt us away from a close relationship with our Lord by causing us to drift from Him or doubt His goodness or to seek pleasure (makes me think of Pinocchio being pulled in to Pleasure Island). When we finally figure out that God wants the best for us – He allows trials to draw us closer to Himself, to humble us, to make us more like Christ, and He gives us the power through the Holy Spirit to follow His ways. When we live this way, Satan loses his power over us because although we are no match for his wiles, Jesus has already been victorious over his attacks. Some have a false expectation that being a Christian brings ease and a comfortable life, but that is not what was promised. What was promised is that when we follow the Lord and His ways, we can experience the supernatural peace, joy, and strength that the world cannot offer, regardless of our circumstances. We no longer have to be controlled by our sinful nature and we know that we’ll spend eternity in heaven with Jesus where there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more evil, and we won’t have to battle our own sinful nature any more – how glorious that will be!

“Generally speaking, the ungodly are those who do not know God through Jesus Christ. They have rejected God’s Son and remain in their sins. Those who are in Christ have their sins forgiven and are becoming more godly. Believers naturally seek to remove all ungodliness from their lives (1 John 3:9).”

from “Got Questions”‘ article,“What is Ungodliness?”

Those of us who have experienced a close relationship with Jesus know it is worth everything and we want everyone else to know Him the way we do and it is why true Christians value their faith above everything else in life. However, we still must be on guard against being deceived, so knowing God’s Word gives us the discernment we need because His Word is truth.

 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them. I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify Myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

Jesus prays for us in John 17:13-19

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Jesus and His Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl – Matthew 13:44


DISCERNING TRUTH FROM SOME OF THE LIES IN OUR CULTURE:

RACISM – there is only one race according to Scripture – the human race. All people are made in God’s image and are therefore of equal value. The only two categories that God separates people into in Scripture are those who are His and those who are not, the godly and the ungodly. The enemy wants to create conflict between people with division, suspicion, and lack of respect. Most people in my generation had rejected racism and had pretty much arrived at Martin Luther’s dream of everyone being judged by their character and not the color of their skin, so these recent lies are especially troubling.

If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

2 Peter 2:9

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:27-28

ABORTION – Scripture teaches that God knows us before we are born. Biologically, only human babies are born to humans; a distinct human being is created with his or her own DNA at conception when sperm from a male fertilizes an egg from a female; nothing else happens before birth other than development through different stages (zygote, embryo, fetus), just like humans go through other developmental stages after birth (infant, toddler, child, adolescence, adult). Abortion was actually legal and was only outlawed early in the 20th Century when development in the womb became more known. Isn’t it interesting that everyone who defends and promotes abortion was allowed to be born themselves?

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:13-16

EVOLUTION – Scripture assumes the existence of God and teaches plainly that He created the world and everything in it in six days. This is not just in Genesis – it is in other Bible books too. Even Jesus refers to Old Testament teachings as historical. For Christians, evolution would put death before sin – this is not a side issue, but is the foundation for the gospel. Darwinian Evolution has no explanation for how life began, but it has been proven that life cannot come from nonlife. The diversity and complexity we see is explained through natural selection (of course, one can only select from something that already exists) and random mutations (even when most mutations are shown to be harmful and generally result in a loss of information, the opposite of what Darwinian evolution would require). Long ages is the magic where miniscule probabilities somehow become believable. The amazing design of animals, plants, and the human body reflect God’s genius so much so that scientists study their characteristics in order to improve society. Then they take the glory that rightfully belongs to God. On a side note, how can a transitional creature reproduce without all of its needed parts working at the same time?. The first generation would die off. This is one of the biggest lies the enemy has foisted on society – that Creation could be explained without a Creator God.

“For this is what the LORD says – He who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited – He says: ‘I am the LORD, and there is no other’.”

Isaiah 45:18

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky.  Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

Romans 1:20

GENDER – Scripture and biology both teach that there are two genders – male and female. This has been understood for thousands of years by all cultures. Some may struggle with accepting their gender, but a male cannot become a woman and a woman cannot become a male. There are differences in the brain and in the skeletal and muscular systems that are set in place according to birth gender. We should have compassion for all people, but it is not compassionate to withhold truth from them – especially if it prompts them to seek to mutilate their bodies, preventing them from developing naturally. This is cruel, irresponsible, and potentially dangerous – especially when aimed at children, who should be protected by the adults in their lives.

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Jesus’ words in Mark 10:5-9

LIBERTY & FREEDOM – God has given people the freedom to choose whether or not to accept His free gift of salvation and to choose whether or not to obey Him. He is the author of free choice, but choices comes with consequences and with freedom comes responsibility (no, this concept did not begin with Spiderman). Our nation was built on that understanding – that our freedoms come from our Creator rather than from man or government, so that the government’s job is to protect the freedom of its citizens. Citizens were taught to be law-abiding citizens who respect the rights of others. The United States of America was founded as a nation ruled by laws that were based on biblical laws. Our Supreme Court has the 10 Commandments carved into it massive courtroom doors. The law of our land and the document that every government official takes an oath to obey is the Constitution. The Bill of Rights were amendments that were made part of the Constitution. A few of the rights enshrined in our Constitution are freedom of speech, freedom of religion to worship freely, freedom of association, freedom of the press, freedom to own and manage property, freedom to bear arms, equality under the law, etc. Satan tries to get people to believe that their personal rights are more important than those of other people. The more selfish and self-centered people become, the harder it is for freedom to work. Some think America is a democracy, but our founding fathers rejected that idea because strict democracies become the majority oppressing the minority. They formed a republic with leaders chosen by the people to represent them. Government leaders work for the citizens as public servants. The shared Judeo-Christian values are what allowed our free society to work well together with shared goals. The farther we get from those values, the more corruption and lack of unity is seen. We were always a nation with a healthy fear of God and were blessed by Him and miraculously protected as a result. Because of our choices as individuals, as churches, and as a nation, we may now be facing His wrath and judgment instead.

“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”

John Jay, first Supreme Court Chief Justice, President of Congress, New York Governor, diplomat.

“[T]he Christian religion… is the basis, or rather the source, of all genuine freedom in government… I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of Christianity have not a controlling influence.”

Noah Webster – Revolutionary soldier, judge, legislator, educator, & author of “Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary”.

We can discern truth, but only if we allow God’s revealed Word to grant us discernment. His Word is truth. May every person recognize that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and choose to seek Him with their whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. God is waiting – He wants that none should perish. Let us each choose wisely and be ready to meet our Maker when it’s our time. Life on earth is short in light of eternity, so let’s not waste any more time, but instead be about our Father’s business and join His Kingdom work so more people can join us in the Rapture if we are not brought home before then.

“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Romans 1:28-32

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going. Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know My Father as well.  From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him’.”

Jesus’ words in John 14:1-6

“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”

Oswald Chambers, author of highly recommended book, “My Utmost for His Highest”

“… the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in His immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead. It is to that subject that I invite you this morning. We shall present you with one view of it,—that is the immutability of the glorious Jehovah. ‘I am,’ says my text, ‘Jehovah,’ (for so it should be translated) ‘I am Jehovah, I change not: therefore, ye sons of Jacob are not consumed’.”

quote from “The Immutability of God” by Charles Spurgeon

© Constance Rice 2021

Speaking for God?

article by site founder, Connie Rice

In listening to various people who identify as Christians, some recently seem to be speaking for God or have “heard from God” outside of His words in Scripture. From what God Himself says about that, we should really pause before claiming to speak for Him when He may not have spoken. With Bible literacy at its lowest level in recent history, it is becoming more common for people to concentrate on one or a few of God’s attributes and adopt worldly positions or say specific things will happen based on that perception. God is love, so He would not… or God hates evil, so He will… God reveals His attributes in Scripture, but if we concentrate on His love and ignore His holiness and justice – we can open the door to false teaching and acceptance (or even encouragement) of positions that are actually against what God teaches. If we concentrate on just His holiness and justice, we may come across as uncaring or legalistic or claim He will intervene in situations when He may have something else in mind. Studying God’s many attributes is a worthy endeavor. This is what God said (through His faithful prophet Jeremiah) about other prophets who were “speaking for Him” that peace was coming, when in fact Judah was facing judgment because of their sin against God and would instead go into Babylonian captivity for 70 years, after which God would restore them and judge their captors:

“This is what you keep saying to a prophet: ‘What is the Lord’s answer to you?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’  Although you claim, ‘This is a message from the Lord,’ this is what the Lord says: You used the words, ‘This is a message from the Lord,’ even though I told you that you must not claim, ‘This is a message from the Lord’. Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of My presence along with the city I gave to you and your ancestors. I will bring on you everlasting disgrace – everlasting shame that will not be forgotten.”

Jeremiah 23:30-40

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend My people: ‘Because you have scattered My flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done’, declares the Lord. “

Jeremiah 23:1-2

As Creator of our world and everyone in it, God is the sovereign ruler over the affairs of men and nations. He did not have to reveal Himself to us at all. The fact that He chose to reveal Himself to all who would genuinely seek Him reveals His heart for His creation and His desire that everyone would choose to have a relationship Him. He gives us free will – that includes the ability to choose whether to accept Him and/or obey Him. Obeying His commands gives Him glory and helps His children to reflect Him to others – to be set apart from the world with its deceptions and lies, so that others will see God’s love, goodness, and grace in them and seek Him for themselves. Our sinful nature can blind us, so it’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit made available to us through accepting the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that makes it possible for any of us to live a life pleasing to God. Through Scripture, prayer, and the help of the Holy Spirit, God reveals Himself to us and helps us to understand our identity in Christ. Left on our own, we cannot stand before a holy God and expect a positive outcome. When we realize the depth of our own sin, it humbles us and makes us more and more grateful for God’s grace toward us. It’s nothing short of miraculous how God considers us His beloved and how much patience He has with us as we seek to be obedient to His Word and His call on our lives.

“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted.”

Psalm 47:8-9

“He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it’.”

words of Jesus – Luke 11:28

Some say that God is a God of love and so He would be condone sexual and other behaviors that He clearly spoke against many times in Scripture. Some use verses out of context to make a point and influence others or to try and rationalize their own sin. Others say that God hates evil so He will intervene in situations where evil seems to prevail. Revelation tells us how the story of earth and its inhabitants will end, and reminds us that Jesus is not only the Savior of those who place their trust in Him alone for salvation, but that He also has all authority. He came first as a suffering servant to take on the sins of mankind and make a way for those who follow Him to live in heaven forever with Him. He will retrieve His children (this could happen at any time or may not happen for a long time), fight evil, and make all things right in the end. John Piper’s article, “Behold, I Make All Things New”, explains this concept.

“The only trustworthy source of divine truth, guidance for your own spiritual growth, and instruction for the church is the written Word of God.  No emotional urging or mystical experience can trump the concrete, fundamental truth God has given us in Scripture.  Does God still speak?  Yes, but not in an audible voice.  He speaks through the pages of Scripture. The Bible alone has survived the test of time, and countless attacks from doubters, liars, and heretics.  Its objective truth is proved every day in the transforming work the Lord accomplishes through it.  Even the apostle Peter, who witnessed Christ’s transfiguration firsthand, heard the voice of the Lord numerous times, and performed miracles himself, counted Scripture as ‘a more sure word’ – the final word regarding God’s revelation.” (2 Peter 1:19).

John MacArthur quote in article by John Sundberg for “A Light in the Darkness”

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”

Ephesians 1:18-23

So what is the right response to the challenges of our culture? Speaking for God outside of what He has told us in His Word is not advised. Instead, we should read and study His Word, allowing it to speak to us, to better understand the things God has actually said and learn from the many ways He has dealt with situations throughout human history. God uses progressive revelation in Scripture – it may sound like a complicated term, but it just means that God revealed Himself and His plan gradually over time. Perhaps that’s why reading through the Bible chronologically is so helpful to many of us. We are better able to follow the history (like when we read a book with a timeline).

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”

Colossians 1:15-23

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.”

2 Peter 1-2

Understanding the basics of Bible interpretation (Hermeneutics) is also very helpful for those who truly want to know who God is and how He has worked throughout human history. Learn the correct context by asking questions of the passage or book (a study Bible or commentary can be helpful in answering some of the questions, but keep in mind that only Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit; all commentary is man’s interpretation and subject to error):

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”

2 Timothy 2:15-16
  • Before reading Scripture, pray for the Holy Spirit to help you understand. He guides us into all truth.
  • Who is the author?
  • Who is their audience?
  • When did it take place?
  • Where it take place?
  • What were their circumstances?
  • Look for conjunctions that connect thoughts (and, or, but, if, etc.); although this can make your reading time longer than you may have intended (especially with Paul’s writings – it is best to keep going back until the verse where the thought begins and read until there are no more conjunctions).
  • Note any words, phrases, or passages that are repeated and pay close attention to them.
  • Look for commands – sentences or phrases that start with a verb (action word); is this a command for me to follow?
  • Look for conclusion words (therefore, so, so that, in conclusion, etc.); connects to what was written just previously.
  • What was the Lord saying to them?
  • Does it apply only to them in that time or to all people for all time?
  • Is there something I can learn about God in this passage?
  • Is there something I can learn about myself in this passage?
  • Does a promise apply to just the people referenced in the passage? If so, it’s not for us.
  • Does a promise apply to all people? If so, is there a condition to the promise (look for words like if, so, then, therefore, etc.)? If so, we can’t claim that promise unless we meet its condition. It’s sad when people conclude that God is not faithful when in reality, it is they who are not faithful.
  • If a passage is confusing or seems incongruent, search out other Scripture to better understand the passage.

If Scripture does not reveal something, that is by God’s design. Although we may be curious, it is not necessary that we know. He had told us what we need to know. Confusion in and outside of the church at large happens when people draw conclusions and speculate on issues that are not clearly delineated in Scripture. Regarding the end times, Jesus has told churches where their strengths and weaknesses may lie, has given them warnings, and has promised them a reward if they listen and follow Him. God has told us the end of the story – that Jesus will be victorious over evil and that those who put their trust in Him for salvation while on earth will spend eternity in heaven with him and will receive rewards based on how they spent their earthly lives. Those who reject His free gift of eternal life face eternal torment away from God’s presence (their own choice). We are still in the church age that Jesus instituted before returning to heaven, so the role of believers is the same as He gave His disciples – to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The book of Revelation provides encouragement and hope to His children that good triumphs over evil in the end, but also spurs each of us to share His truth to a lost and dying world that desperately needs the hope and salvation that only comes through trusting in Jesus alone for salvation. We don’t want people to have to face judgment for their sins. If we spend time and energy focused on details not clearly explained in the Bible, it may cause confusion and division, as well as take time away from what Jesus actually commands.

“For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again. ‘If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, Look, here is the Messiah! or, There he is! do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time’.”

Jesus’ words to His disciples about the end times Matthew 24:21-25

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’.”

Jesus’ last words before returning to heaven Matthew 28:16-20

When we see things around us that increasingly trouble us, this is hard to do. However, when we seek the Lord with our whole mind, heart, strength, and soul, commit to following Him in every aspect of our lives, and trust in His sovereignty and perfect plan – we can live with supernatural peace, strength, and even joy no matter our circumstances. This take intentional effort, but it is worth the trouble. Anxiety and fear do not come from Him and we should not succumb to these attacks from our spiritual enemy. The truth is, God could take Christ-followers home at any time (referred to as the Rapture) and the time known as the tribulation could be upon us – God’s patience may have run out because of the continual rebellion of mankind and nations. On the other hand, God could turn things around and exhibit yet more patience so more people can be saved – He’s done that before in history when His followers thought the end was imminent (reign of Nero, etc.). None of us know what God will do next and none of us know the timing or the details, so maybe it’s more beneficial for us to be about our Father’s business and be faithful to what our Lord and Savior is asking of us until He makes His next move or until He takes us home. 2 Peter 3:3-18 is a long passage (verses are separated for easier reading), but it instructs us on how we should respond in the last days (we are in the toes of Daniel’s statue). The end could come at any time or it could still be years or generations away (bolded verses below for site founder’s emphasis):

3 “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

4 They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’

5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance [bold emphasis added by site founder].

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives [bold emphasis added by site founder].

12 As you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

13 But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.

15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Let God speak to you through Scripture and allow Him to miraculously transform you. There is such a deep-seated peace when we turn our worries, burdens, and short-comings to the Lord. He has that for every person who trusts in Jesus Christ for salvation and submits completely to His will. We do not have to live with fear or anxiety – He who loves us is faithful and His love casts out fear. After almost 30 years of following the Lord with all my heart, I’m still amazed that He chooses to use broken people in His Kingdom work. Let’s not waste any time, but allow Him to empower us to be vessels of His light in a world that desperately needs the hope that He freely offers. Life is short, but eternity is not.

© Constance Rice 2021

Shallow or Enduring Faith?

by site founder, Connie Rice

Why is it that some people seem to be able to weather every storm that comes their way with their faith intact (or even deepened) and others are challenged in a way that causes them to doubt their faith and in some cases, even walk away from it? After 30 years of ministry, I have seen both ends of the spectrum and everything in between, so I’ve thought about this a lot. Admittedly, I am not a pastor or a theologian – just a continual student of God’s Word who has been seeking after Him with my whole heart, mind, strength, and soul while trusting in His plan for my life. What I have personally experienced of God is that as I give Him first place in my life and choose to keep Him there, the love, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, patience, grace, and power He freely gives continues to amaze me. God tells us in His Word that He wants us to know Him and He reveals Himself in the Bible. If we do not read the Bible, it puts us at a disadvantage for knowing Him. That can cause us to develop a view of who God is that differs from who He says He is. I wonder if that would be considered by God to be idol worship. Bowing down to statues is only one example of idol worship – anything that we hold in first place in our lives can be an idol.

“This is what the Lord says:

‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know Me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”

2 Chronicles 16:9

If we go through life depending on our own wisdom, it can cause us to miss the blessings and sense of purpose that God has for us and we can also miss the miraculous work He does in and through those who choose to trust Him, obey His commands, and submit to His will and Lordship in every area of their lives. Some have misunderstand God’s hatred of sin – He hates it because of the destruction it causes His children and all people. Our human (sinful) nature causes us to have a tendency to justify our own shortcomings and rationalize our attitudes and behaviors instead of agreeing with God, confessing our sins, asking for forgiveness, and asking for His help to better reflect Jesus Christ.

“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever. He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear Him; He remembers His covenant forever. He has shown His people the power of His works, giving them the lands of other nations. The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for His people; He ordained His covenant forever – holy and awesome is His name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding.
To Him belongs eternal praise.”

Psalm 111:2-10

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in You.

Psalm 84:11-12

We can misunderstand God’s incredible patience for His approval of sins that we minimize in our own lives and in the culture of this world. His Word is true and can provide us with discernment so that we will not be deceived. God is holy, set apart from everything and everyone else. It is He who defines what sin is just as the creator of a sport or board game gets to determine the rules of the game.

“Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.’ We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did – and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did – and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

1 Corinthians 10:7-13

Christians are to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ who accurately reflect Him on earth so it will gain the attention of those who don’t yet know Him so they can also find salvation made possible through His voluntary death on the cross. He offers those who believe the free gift of eternal life. It seems that many people hope they will be in heaven when they die, but the Bible wants us to have confidence, knowing that we will be in heaven. Jesus told us how we can be saved.

“There were some present at that very time who told Him [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And He answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish’.”

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

Jesus answering Nicodemus’ question of how can a man be born again of the Spirit: John 3:14-21

With so few Christians reading God’s Word every day and allowing it to miraculously transform them more into Christ’s likeness, we can easily become influenced by the world’s teachings more than we are influenced by God. This is not only sad for individual Christians because it hinders them knowing God and prevents them from developing an enduring faith, but it is tragic for those who do not yet know their Savior. The prince of darkness is very adept at making sin look appealing and even making it sound right and compassionate. He’s had many years of experience studying humans and identifying vulnerabilities of which he can take advantage. We are no match for him, but he is no match for God. Once we accept Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our life, we also receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide us, help us to understand Scripture, empower us to live a life pleasing to God, and we no longer have to be slaves to sin. Our purpose in life is to know and love God and to give Him glory. As we reflect Christ, His light is seen through us. For those truly in darkness, this light affects them the same as a bright light turned on in a dark room – they don’t want to open their eyes, but turn from the light. Those who are truly seeking the Lord will be drawn to the light.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16


The article, “How Can I Be Saved?” from “Got Questions” may prove helpful in understanding all of this. While on their website, check out answers to other questions you may have. None of us know how long we will live and none of us know the timeline of God’s judgment on evil, so I pray that you will desire to know the truth and that the truth will set you free. What the world offers is temporary and counterfeit to what God offers. A close relationship with the One who created us is more valuable than anything else. Unfortunately, many will not accept it because its value is not realized until we actually test it out – by placing our trust for salvation in Jesus Christ and He opens our eyes (having eyes to see). The more we know God through His revealed Word and find Him faithful as we trust in Him, the more in awe of Him we become. We can have an enduring faith because of God’s faithfulness. Even though this life has much trouble, our hope is in our Savior and in knowing that God is sovereign and just. He will conquer evil and make all things new. This concept is explained in another “Got Questions” article, “What is the significance of Jesus saying, ‘Behold I make all things new’.”

“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End’. ‘To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be My children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death’.”

Revelation 21:1-8

In the book of Matthew, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter responded with, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”. Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” That question is one that each of us will need to answer and how we answer it has eternal consequences. We are given free will to choose our own destiny. I pray that you will choose wisely, that you would know for sure that you will live with God in heaven someday, and that you would experience enduring faith in the meantime by seeking God in His Word with your whole heart, mind, strength, and soul and trusting Him with every aspect of your life.

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon. ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways’.”

Isaiah 55:6-9

If you haven’t read through the Bible before, my personal recommendation is to start in the book of Psalms, then the first eleven chapters of Genesis, then the book of John, then the rest of the New Testament, then the rest of the Old Testament. Always pray before reading that the Holy Spirit would help you understand (assuming you have accepted Jesus Christ as you personal Lord and Savior), and allow the passages to speak to you rather than approaching the Bible with preconceived ideas. Set a time and place every day and pray for God to give you a love and passion for His Word. He will honor that heartfelt request. Once you finish the Bible, celebrate your accomplishment and continue to read through the whole Bible again and again until the Lord takes you home. I have found that reading through chronologically at times can help with understanding. A study Bible offers additional context, but remember that notes and commentary are not Scripture and therefore are not the inspired word of God. When reading the Bible, pay attention to who, what, where, when, and how as well as the grammar used. Remember that Scripture should be interpreted with the support of other Scripture and that verses and/or passages should not be taken out of context. Notice things that are repeated and respond to commands. Ask yourself if the passage applies to a particular person or group in a particular time or if it applies to all people all the time, being careful not to claim promises that God made to others and take note of any conditions that apply to any of His promises. May the Lord reveal His awesome power and majesty and His love for you more and more. We love Him because He first loved us – we know this because Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we could enjoy Him in this life and then forever in heaven. 🙂

© Constance Rice 2021

Umbrella of Protection

by site founder, Connie Rice

What is an umbrella of protection and how do we utilize it? Does it protect us from everything? When we submit control of our lives to the Lord, accepting His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and choosing to trust Him and obey His teachings in the Bible, we can abide in Him, which allows His Spirit to empower and guide us. God takes care of those who belong to Him. It’s amazing to me how with every command God gives us, He also gives us the power to obey through the Holy Spirit. We just need to choose His way over our own (not an easy road, but one that leads to truth, peace, joy, correct identity, and sense of purpose). That allows us to live under His umbrella of protection and blessing. That umbrella does not include a promise of physical protection or comfort in this world (although God may still choose to provide them). What God does promise to provide us with through Jesus Christ is that our needs will be met, that we will have access to the peace and joy that every person longs for in this life, and the promise of eternal life with Him in heaven in the next (death is not the end of us). He has been honest with us that we should expect difficulties in this world, but if we follow the path He created for each of us, at least we can minimize the added trouble we can otherwise bring on ourselves. There really is good and evil in this world and God is good. He has placed this knowledge in our hearts.

“They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)  This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as My gospel declares.”

Romans 2:15-16

“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”

Isaiah 5:20-21

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus’ words in John 16:33

My pastor recently used an analogy of the experience of his new puppy being outside and how the puppy could play and frolic safely when he stayed close to his owner, but when the puppy wandered farther away and ignored calls to come back – he ran into danger from a wild animal. Isn’t this exactly what we sometimes do with God? We can drift and sometimes not even realize it’s happening. When life’s struggles overwhelm us, we can begin to doubt God’s goodness or that He’s even there. We are easily distracted from the path He created for each of us to pursue. It reminds me of the dog in the movie, “Up” with his “squirrel?” distractions. Life is so full of things that can distract us or deceive us and draw us away from God’s umbrella of protection. As our nation moves farther away from God and His Word, we are seeing so many lies that are unfortunately deceiving a lot of people, even some in the faith. I don’t think it’s any accident that the New Testament has multiple warnings against being deceived in the end times. God is Creator of heaven and earth and made humans in His image, so He is the only One who can correctly determine what is right and what is wrong. He is unchanging and His Word is truth. To develop discernment and avoid being deceived, we must know Scripture. It is the primary way God reveals Himself to us and He never changes – that is so comforting in a world that is endlessly shifting.

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created.” [bold print added by site author]

James 1:13-18

“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’.” [bold print added by site author]

John 14:23-27

The prince of this world uses whatever he can to draw us away from God and to doubt His Word. He is the father of all lies and is skilled at making wrong things sound preferable and even good, “masquerading as an angel of light” (see verse below). This is further explained in an article from “Got Questions”. God has given us so many promises and is faithful to keep them, but it’s important to note that His promises many times are conditional upon choices that we make. I’m afraid many believers depend on God’s promises and doubt His faithfulness when they do not receive them, but don’t realize that although Jesus’ offer of eternal salvation is a free gift and available to all who will receive it, other blessings are contingent upon our obeying and trusting Him. We first need to understand the context of the promise (was it to a particular person/people in a particular time) and then if the promise isn’t directly to them and does apply to us, to check for a condition related to the promise. Chances are it’s not God who is being unfaithful, but us. The farther away we drift from God, the more danger we can encounter and the fewer blessings we will experience. My experience is that life is hard enough without creating more challenges for ourselves through our disobedience to the Lord’s teaching.

Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on My own; God sent Me. Why is My language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me! Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe Me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” [bold print added by site author]

John 8:42-47

“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” [bold print added by site author]

2 Corinthians 11:14

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” [bold print added by site author]

As time goes on, the confusion in the world is increasing and we are seeing culture intensify their push against God and His teachings. It is clear that the end times are upon us which should break our hearts for those caught in the lies and deceptions that this world is so effective in promoting. We are in a time where we must be diligent and intentional to seek the Lord with all of our heart, mind, strength, and soul and trust in His sovereignty, timing, and perfect plan. May the Holy Spirit empower each of us to lovingly and graciously share the truth of God’s plan of salvation obtained through Jesus’ sacrifice and victory over sin and death so that others may also receive the free gift of eternal life in heaven with their Creator. Although salvation is a free gift, each person must choose to accept it. And let us not be so quick to claim God’s promises without understanding that we may have a part in whether or not we experience God’s blessings. Words in following verses reveal the conditional aspects of each particular promise:

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” [bold print added by site author]

Matthew 6:31-33

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” [bold print added by site author]

Romans 8:28

“Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” [bold print added by site author]

Exodus 19:5-6a

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” [bold print added by site author]

Psalm 103:11-12

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked nor stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night.” [bold print added by site author]

Psalm 1:1-2

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. [bold print added by site author]

Romans 8:14-17

“If you love Me, keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” [bold print added by site author]

John 14:15-17

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” [bold print added by site author]

John 15:5-8

For the first half of my life, I depended on my own wisdom and understanding and was influenced by the world’s teachings. After finally getting to end of myself (God sometimes allows struggles in our lives to bring us to a place where we recognize that what we need is Him), I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior and chose to follow His plan. The second half of my life has included numerous difficult times, but the Lord has been with me and filled me with His peace, joy, strength, & unconditional love, and given me a sense of purpose. I would never go back.

“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ – the things God has prepared for those who love Him – these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” [bold print added by site author]

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” [bold print added by site author]

John 15:7-12

May you also experience God’s goodness and fully realize His love for you through your Savior, Jesus Christ, so you too can live under God’s umbrella of protection and experience the fulfillment of His promises, His love and goodness, and His blessings on your life. May you look forward with anticipation to the next step of His adventure for you here on earth and also to eternity with Him in the new heaven and new earth. God is sovereign over the affairs of men and sovereign over nations and sovereign over the future. The world’s claims of finding freedom through selfish means are lies. True freedom comes through following Jesus. Another article from “Got Questions” further explains this concept.

 “To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [bold print added by site author]

John 8:31-32

© Constance Rice 2021

Trust & Obey

by site founder, Connie Rice

The concept of obedience to God has increasingly developed a reputation in our culture of preventing fun and being the enemy of freedom, and that we’ve moved beyond the ancient and outdated teachings of the Bible. This is so sad because the ability to experience God’s supernatural peace, joy, sense of purpose, and true freedom, as well as the abundant life Jesus tells us is possible while we are here on earth, requires that we put our trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and obedience is the key to unlocking the unique journey that God has created for each of us to have. Before surrendering my life to the Lord, I was completely unaware that He cared about me and loved me – at the time, I was just overwhelmed with my situation and cried out to Him for help. I knew nothing of His plan for my life and when I look back, I am truly amazed at the journey He has had for me. This journey has had hardships, but God has been so faithful through all of them and has taught me so much as the journey continues and will until He takes me home. I never knew before that it was possible to know my eternity in heaven could be secure, that I could enjoy such a close relationship with my Creator, or that I could experience such peace, joy, and sense of purpose in life. My cup truly overflows with thanksgiving to my Savior – He makes this possible for all who choose to trust and obey!

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10b

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

1 John 5:11-13

God reveals Himself in His word and has miraculously preserved it for us throughout history, in spite of numerous attempts over the years to destroy it. However, it is up to each person to seek Him through it. After reading through the Bible every year for a number of years, it’s so amazing how God reveals more to me about Himself and about the various passages I am reading. Bible illiteracy is one of reasons that America is experiencing so many problems. Ever larger numbers of people suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, and confusion – even children now. People look for meaning or to escape in ways that end up being destructive. It’s heartbreaking. God wants more for us and looks for those whose hearts are turned toward Him.

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”

2 Chronicles 16:9

“Then Jesus cried out, ‘Whoever believes in Me does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me.  The one who looks at Me is seeing the One who sent Me.  I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears My words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  There is a judge for the one who rejects Me and does not accept My words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.  For I did not speak on My own, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me to say all that I have spoken.  I know that His command leads to eternal life.  So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say’.”

John 12:44-50

God sees all that is going on. He is not fooled by lies or deceptions or by those who speak seemingly positive things, but have hearts that are darkened. We can fool each other and sometimes even fool ourselves, but nobody is successful at fooling God. He knows our hearts and is completely just. If we’re not trusting in Jesus for our salvation so that His righteousness covers us before a holy God, the thought of standing before a holy God should cause us to shake in our boots – not because He is bad, but because He is so good. I don’t remember where I heard it, but someone likened God to the sun. The sun warms us, causes food and plants to grow, and provides us with necessary nutrients, but if we look directly at it, the intense light harms our eyes. If we get too close to it, we are destroyed. There is an ongoing spiritual battle between good and evil, between God and Satan (the prince of this world until Jesus returns and destroys Him and evil once and for all), and the consequences of who we choose to follow are eternal.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done’.”

Matthew 16:24-27

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well.  This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands.  In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands.  And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

1 John 5:1-5

Recorded in the book of Deuteronomy just before Moses died is a song that God gave him to share with all the people (including children) before they crossed over the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land. It is referred to as the Song of Moses. God instructed the people to teach the song to every generation thereafter so they would remember who God is and all He had done for them. Even though we are no longer under the covenant of the law, the song reveals much about God’s heart for His people and how important obedience is for them to be protected and blessed. Interestingly, even with the covenant of grace, blessings are tied to obedience. Jesus also says that if we love Him, we will obey His commands. A blessed life is a life that is obedient to the Lord and fully trusts in Him. How can we be obedient to Jesus if we are ignorant of His commands? We need to read the Bible.

“If you love Me, keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me.  Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.  The one who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.”

John 14:15-21

I didn’t grow up in the church, so was not familiar with many hymns, but this one written in the 1800s has been both inspiring and comforting to me and it explains this topic very well. It’s appropriately called “Trust and Obey”. The song’s lyrics were by John Henry Sammis and the music was by Daniel Brink Towner. You can listen to it on this link, but can also read the lyrics here:

“When we walk with the Lord In the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, For there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, Not a sigh or a tear, Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, Not a frown or a cross, But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove The delights of His love, Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, And the joy He bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet, Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do; Where He sends, we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey.

Although this is the opposite of what our present culture would have us believe and it may seem counter-intuitive to our finite minds, the way to true freedom is to trust and obey God and His word – there is no other way. Our founding fathers based our government on biblical principles, trusted God for protection and guidance, and set up our legal system to reflect God’s laws. The Declaration of Independence made it clear that our rights come from God, not from man or the government. Our government was designed to protect those freedoms. They were quite concerned about corruption and were brilliant in their decisions. Unfortunately, it looks like their fears were well-founded and even prophetic. The farther away we get as a nation from the truth of God’s word, the more strife, confusion, division, and host of other problems we will see. As noted in an article by “Life News“, Congressman Jerry Nadler, in responding to another congressman’s speech, said, “What any religious tradition describes as God’s will is no concern of this Congress.”. That was the first time in my life I have heard a national leader publicly reject God’s will for our nation. Sadly, this does explain the state of our nation at present as we do seem to be experiencing God’s judgment. How can we expect Him to bless a nation that has leaders who publicly reject His will? The following is an excerpt from an article by “Got Questions?” called, “What are the consequences of nations turning away from God?”:

“…when we honor the Lord and obey His commands, we reap the benefits of living honorably, morally, and honestly. A nation that honors God’s laws reaps that benefit as well. History shows that those that do not are often destroyed from within. God gives us His laws for our own good. He created us to fellowship with Him and walk in righteousness. When we do that, we are living within the healthy boundaries He established and are protected from much of the heartache and catastrophe Satan devises. But, when a nation turns away from the true God and becomes its own god, the Lord removes His protective hand and allows that nation to experience the world it has demanded.  Romans 1:18–32 shows us the progression of people and nations that have defied God and redefined morality. Homosexuality, unbridled lust, and idolatry are all part of God’s judgment on a nation that has turned away from Him. The good news is that God knows those who are His and promises to reward them, even when all others have turned away . Malachi 3:13–18 contains one of the most comforting passages in the Old Testament. It reminds us that God is watching, He knows all, and He will judge righteously. Even when a nation turns away from God, individuals within that nation can still follow Him and know that their names are written in God’s book of remembrance.”

from article, “What are the Consequences of Nations turning from God?” by Got Questions

Oh that everyone would recognize what an amazing God we serve and choose to seek Him with their whole heart, mind, strength, and soul, that they would accept the amazing gift of salvation and eternal life that is freely offered to them because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – who came to earth as fully man and fully God to live the perfect life that nobody else could and paid the penalty for our sins with His voluntary death on the cross because of His love for us so we could have fellowship with our holy Creator on earth and live with Him in heaven forever. This is truly good news – for all people!

© Constance Rice 2021

Is Judgment Coming?

by site founder, Connie Rice

The only way this can be answered is through the lens of God’s revealed Word and His past actions throughout human history. This may be a foreign concept to ponder for some. Most people are more comfortable thinking about the attributes of God that focus on His unconditional love for the crown of His Creation (all people) and His heart of compassion, mercy, graciousness, and patience. Some may not even know that although God promised never to flood the whole world again, there will be a judgment by fire:

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires, they will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

2 Peter 3:3-7

Beginning about 150 years ago, secular scientists rejected the biblical account of Noah’s Flood, proposing that the geological layers were laid down gradually over millions of years (uniformitarianism), and that the fossils found in sedimentary layers all over the planet died millions of years ago. However, new research is offering evidence that is best explained by a catastrophic global flood that separated Pangea into existing continents quickly through massive earth movement and plate subduction, creating the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the “Ring of Fire” volcanos when fountains of the deep opened up. Other evidences that a global flood has indeed happened only a few thousands years ago include:

  • Dinosaur fossils covering huge swaths of North America are buried in ash, sandstone, & water.
  • Lack of transitional fossils.
  • Existence of living fossils (thought to have died millions of years ago, but found alive with no evolutionary change).
  • Marine fossils found on the top of every mountain on earth.
  • 95% of all fossils are marine fossils.
  • Massive dinosaur graveyards in the same sedimentary layers around the world.
  • Fossilized dinosaur tracks.
  • Even though not displayed in museums that way, fossils of mammals, distinct bird species (cormorant, loon, etc.), and marine creatures are found with dinosaur fossils.
  • Multiple geological anomalies (folded rock, no erosion between rock layers, wave rocks, polystrate fossils, petrified wood, no roots in coal beds, etc.).
  • Dating methods offer inconsistent results with rocks of known age.
  • Soft tissue and Carbon 14 found in dinosaur fossils.
  • Carbon 14 found in coal (“fossil fuel“) and diamonds.
  • Historical records of a huge flood with similarities to the biblical account found on every continent.
  • Cambrian Explosion shows that every major animal phyla appeared suddenly, fully formed.

Much of this evidence has been compiled in a new book called“Flooded” by Dr. Jeff Miller of “Apologetics Press”. It is a full-color, high-quality, hardbound book and in my opinion, would be an excellent resource for preteens and older (I just purchased it and plan to add a link to it on this website under Creation books). Other great articles, videos, & resources on global flood evidence can also be found at “Genesis Apologetics”, “Institute for Creation Research” (ICR), “Creation Ministries International” (CMI), “Answers in Genesis”, & more. For the past 30 years, Geo-physicist and Engineer, Dr. John R. Baumgardner, has studied and written papers on his theory of how catastrophic plate tectonics from Noah’s Flood best explains existing geology. However, most importantly – Jesus Himself referred to Noah’s Flood as an historical event and explains how it will be when He returns:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come’.”

Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:35-42

We are not told when that will be, but we are given hints of what the end times will look like. Do you see any similarity to our present times?

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

2 Timothy 3:1-3

God told us in His Word that He judged the world with a Flood because of man’s evil. He promised never to flood the whole earth again. God gave us the rainbow as a symbol of that promise. At times, I have tried to imagine what He must think of the rainbow being used in recent years to celebrate what He has called sin. Those who create a game also create the rules of the game. God created us and has the right to determine what is sin and what is not (right vs. wrong). He has also impressed that on every human heart (we all know some things are wrong – murder of innocents, etc.).

“I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Genesis 9:11

God’s holiness is beyond our comprehension – He is perfect and completely set apart from us and hates sin because He knows the destruction it brings to people. That is why God’s wrath will be poured out on the ungodly. God’s wrath is not like our anger as explained in the article, “Six Things You Need to Know About God’s Wrath” by Pastor Colin Smith for “Unlocking the Bible”. One of the reasons why I love God so much and choose to live for Him with every day He gives me on this earth is because even though I committed a sin that He calls an abomination – when I reached the end of myself and cried out to Him for help, He was right there waiting for me:

“The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.”

Psalm 34:18

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.”

Psalm 145:17-20

Unfortunately, even many Christians do not have an accurate view of God because they do not take the time to read their Bible. God did not have to reveal Himself to us, but He chose to because of His love for mankind. He wanted us to know who He was and told us what was good and what was evil, what pleased Him and brought blessings and what brought negative consequences. John M. Frame for “The Gospel Coalition” explains this in his essay, “Divine Revelation: God Making Himself Known”. In our country, if we break the law, ignorance is no excuse – we are each responsible to be aware of the law and obey it. Likewise, being ignorant of Scripture will not be an excuse when we stand before a holy God who gave us the truth so we could be prepared. God knew we could not save ourselves, so from the beginning, made a way for us to be covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. His sacrificial death on the cross and victory over death and sin provides a way for each of us to stand before a holy God without fear of judgment – this is called the “Good News” because those who trust in Him for salvation are no longer dead in their sins in this life and can look forward to a joyous time with our Savior instead of a dreaded one. Those who submit their lives to Jesus as their Lord and Savior will instead give an account and receive the rewards they’ve earned in this life.

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

2 Timothy 1:9-10

Thankfully for us, God is also omniscient (all-knowing), so only He is able to judge people fairly because only He knows our hearts, thoughts, struggles, feelings, actions, and pain. However, we face a serious problem because none of us is perfect and are therefore guilty of sinning against Him. Will you agree with Him that you are not perfect and pray to receive the free gift of eternal salvation made possible through the love of the Father and the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Will you look forward to His return and to receiving rewards from Him OR will you be standing before Him in judgment for your sin? God doesn’t sent people to hell – He gives each of us a choice, but the time to make it is now. As Billy Graham said from the book of 2 Corinthians (see below) and as “Got Questions” explains, “Now is the day of salvation”. How will you choose? If you have already chosen to trust in Jesus for your salvation, you will be in heaven for eternity, but it is always good for us reflect on whether or not we are really following Him, obeying Him, and accurately reflecting Him to others so they can find salvation too, recognizing that God offers us help and power through the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to Him.

“As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, ‘In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you’. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Yes, judgment of the world is coming – we just don’t know when. So many individuals, our nation, and even churches have pushed God away, ignoring or mocking His Word, and as was repeated in the Old Testament numerous times before judgment in the book of Judges, “The people did what was right in their own eyes.” or “Everyone did as they saw fit (link to article by Daniel Burton of “The Gospel Outpost”). Some of the issues of our time that God’s Word addresses are the definitions of marriage, family, & gender, protecting innocent life (conception to natural death), treating others as we would like to be treated, being honest, being humble, choosing godly leaders, supporting Israel, helping and encouraging others, being respectful of others, hating and turning from evil, and the importance of passing biblical teaching to the next generation. God may continue to show our nation mercy, but the truth is – He has already been incredibly patient with our increasing unfaithfulness and rebellion. Please join me in praying for a great awakening of historic proportion, that the Holy Spirit would soften hearts and minds to the truth for salvation, that our nation and drifting churches would return to the Lord, and that individuals would seek the Lord with all their hearts, minds, soul, and strength while He may be found.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for He will freely pardon.”

Isaiah 55:6-7

© Constance Rice 2021