JREnsey blog July 2021

The First Word

Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies” (Jonah 2:8 NLT).

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Historical tidbits II

  • Some were surprised to learn that Protestants also persecuted and even martyred some Christian believers who would not fully accept their doctrines and practices. Catholics preferred burning heretics at the stake, while those in Lutheran or Zwinglian Protestant states usually used beheading or drowning. (Look closely at the woodcut at lower right.) John Calvin did choose to burn Michael Servetus in Geneva, however, because he wrote in opposition to the doctrine of the Trinity.
  • After Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517, he continued writing scandalous tracts against the Catholic Church, and was later declared a heretic. In 1521, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, contacted Luther and promised safe passage to attend the 1521 Diet of Worms—a council of religious and political leaders—and stand on trial. Once there, religious leaders asked if he stood by the opinions he had previously espoused. Luther said that he did, knowing it might mean he would be tortured or burned at the stake. To help Luther escape these fates, Frederick III of Saxony staged Luther’s kidnapping and placed him at Wartburg Castle. Luther disguised himself as a knight, assuming the name Junker Jörg. He spent his time there translating the New Testament from Greek into German so common people could read it.
  • Luther added words in his translation he felt should be in the Scriptures, such as allein (German for alone) at Romans 3:28. Alone is not in the Greek text, but he included it to strengthen and add weight to his theological position.
  • When he came to popularity and power in Germany, Luther opted for a state church model similar to the Roman Catholics. Certain doctrinal violations were considered to flow over into the realm of “the princes” (the state). Luther was not opposed to strong punishment for those who did not line up with his teaching.
  • The Anabaptists were special targets of Luther. Rather than all citizens bowing to religious authorities, their commitment to a believers’ only church allowed them to reshape basic Christian beliefs and practices. Anabaptists emphasized baptism on the basis of adult confessions of faith, instead of infant baptism. Church leaders were chosen from within the community of believers instead of being appointed by church hierarchies, or by state officials. Reforms were based on the church community’s reading of scripture, rather than on the basis of what was politically expedient and approved by princes. Church discipline and social shunning replaced trials and executions of those with whom they disagreed.
  • For worship, Anabaptists gathered in houses, barns and caves to read scripture together. They discussed biblical texts and discerned together, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, how to apply them to daily living. They sang songs composed by their own members based on experiences of persecution and martyrdom. No more majestic cathedrals, chants, organs, monastic choirs, and elaborate liturgies where members were largely spectators. They rejected feudal oaths since their primary loyalty was to God and not to princes and emperors. They advocated a life of peace, rejected violence, refused to carry swords, forgave those who wronged them, and reconciled conflicts between members of the church. Many of them gave their lives for the morsels of truth they grasped from reading Scripture.
  • Luther’s legacy lives on, in the form of another famous leader. When Atlanta pastor Michael King traveled to Germany in 1934, he was so inspired by the story of Luther’s Reformation, he decided to change his name. He also changed the name of his then 5-year-old son, Michael Jr. From that day on, Michael Jr. was known as Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sources: Renaissance & Reformation by William R. Estep; various Internet sources

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Will Evangelical Feminism Dethrone Christ?

Since the Scriptures link the headship of the husband over the wife with Christ’s headship over the church, if we are to accept that man is not truly the head of the woman, but merely the inconclusive “source,” can we now accept that Christ is not really the head of the church?

“For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24 NLT).

During the last six decades, Christian feminists joined cultural liberals in gradually rejecting all distinctions between men and women in creation, in cultural life, and in religious leadership. This trend has guided us toward what we are now seeing manifested in our times—a genderless generation splintered into many factions wallowing in abject confusion. They have attempted to explain away the significance of the creation model as well as the clear pronouncements of the New Testament regarding male headship in the family and church.

When the concept of male headship is eliminated, Paul’s analogy in Ephesians falls apart. There is no headship in full equality. Where is true authority if there is no leader who is ultimately responsible? To “progressives,” biblical commands that make common sense are to be dismissed as patriarchal, obsolete, and irrelevant.

Many Evangelical feminists have embraced the imagination of gender “sameness,” which assaults the most basic of biblical concepts as well as natural biology. Men and women are not the same, merely having different reproductive organs. Jesus said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?” (Matthew 19:4; Genesis 5:2). Feminists tend to deemphasize or ignore the obvious differences in men and women in order to support their demands.

When equality dethroned Christ

The Roman Catholic Church in the Council of Trent (1545-1563) declared that tradition—what the popes and priests had taught and practiced for centuries that was now being challenged in the Reformation—was on a par with Scripture. In one move, they symbolically dethroned Christ and His Word, elevating their self-determined practice to the level of God’s Word. That meant that they would continue to preach and practice what they had been doing even if it did not have the blessing or authority of Scripture. According to Paul’s analogy in Ephesians 5, the church is to subject herself to Christ in everything since He is the head of the body. When Paul wrote the letters from which his teaching is taken, he was writing “command(s) from the Lord Himself” (I Corinthians 14:37 NLT). But the Roman Catholic Church assumed equality with Christ in establishing praxis and dogma—meaning what they say and do may differ from inspired Scripture, but in absolute equality their actions were to be considered to have as much authority as Christ and the Bible.

My question: Could the Apostolic church, the body of believers holding to Acts 2 as its basis for sound salvation doctrine, also be moving toward dismissing all relevant scriptures relating to the headship issue as ancient prejudicial patriarchy and claim full equality for men and women in home and church? If that part of Paul’s Ephesian analogy can be upended, can they also assume equal authority with Christ to rewrite other biblical requirements? Would that not be dethroning Christ and making the church equal in authority to Him? In Ephesians 5, the point is clearly made that the relationship of husband and wife is comparable to that of Christ and the church. If husband and wife are now equal and leaderless, what does that do to Paul’s analogy? How close would that be to the Roman Catholic position of ascribing equal authority to church tradition and culture?

If husband and wife are now fully equal and the wife no longer has to submit to her husband “in everything” as her “head,” is the next step for the church to declare, Catholic-like, equality with Christ in establishing doctrine and/or practice? Are we embracing a so-called “apostolic hermeneutic”—meaning that we will be interpreting Scripture in the light of what we have deemed to be acceptable at some time in the past? Will what is displace what should be according the Scriptures?

Would we be wise to determine what Scripture means by whatever we may be collectively practicing at the time? Is that the new hermeneutic for our times? Now, in the end of this Christian era, are we deciding that the Bible really doesn’t say what we thought it said for 2000 years? Should we assume that from A.D. 60 until 1960 we were parked on ignorant hill and are just now recognizing that the apostles were misogynistic scoundrels whose writings should be dismissed by our more enlightened minds?

True authority remains in the Word of God

Paul used the analogy of Christ and the church by inspiration. The church belongs to Jesus (Matthew 16:18). He started it, and He is still the Head. He has never capitulated. He has never extended equal authority to men. The creation model of the husband as the head of his wife and children is still in force. Absolute equality would render the relationship leaderless. Something with two heads is antithetical to nature. If the church is decapitated, where in the body is the “mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16)?

An interesting sidelight—all Bible translations listed in BibleGateway.com render the Greek kaphale in verse 24 as “head,” with a couple of exceptions that use “leader of…authority over.” The JUB has the Heb. rosh, which also means “head” in the sense of leader. That means that the feminist authors who want to corrupt the meaning of the word to suggest it indicates “source” in this and the I Corinthians 11 context, befitting their narrative, are currently in opposition to more than 50 committees of Greek scholars and linguists, plus their publishers and the vast majority of commentators over the years. They also ignore a basic principle of hermeneutics that when the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, lest it result in nonsense.

After two thousand years of reading and heeding passages such as Ephesians 5:22-24; I Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:34,35; I Timothy 2:8-15, 3:1-12; Titus 2:1-5; et al, that corroborate male headship, will we now arrogantly presume that secular culture and egalitarian writers have finally struck truth—that men and women are absolutely equal in authority within the home and in the church? Instead of challenging our culture to conform to the Word of God, must we now preach to the church to conform to the imaginations of culture? As someone said, theological confusion results when we first look at what we want and then attempt to build a theology that justifies it.

Are Apostolics involved in this interpretation?

If the generally acknowledged feminization of Christianity has not reached us, why do we now feature articles in our official publications which herald the “feminine side of God” and promote “source” for “head”? Are these concepts being introduced in our own educational institutions? The radical egalitarian interpretation fails the common sense exam as well as the Scripture test because Christ and the church can never be equal. How can we do justice to clear biblical principles when man is not considered the head of the woman, as the Scripture plainly says, but is viewed merely as some ethereal source through a clever exercise in sophistry?

The question stands—if we can force the equalization of the male/female, husband/wife relationship, will the church/Christ authoritorial relationship become the next target?

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Which Bible to buy?

“Which translation should I buy?” is a frequently asked question. It depends on several factors. Are you needing a study Bible? One for devotional reading? A Bible for your kids? One that you are familiar with that has English as it was spoken 400 years ago or one with contemporary language? Are modern or medieval idioms preferred? A text that is very accurate as compared to the Greek/Hebrew originals or a paraphrase (I recommend avoiding the latter entirely)?

         Generally speaking, the closer we get to the autographs via the oldest and most reliable manuscripts, the purer the text. This is why the older manuscripts are usually given more weight than those copies that were made hundreds of years later. Bibles that are translated from MSS that include the earliest Hebrew and Greek copies are considered by most scholars as likely being more faithful to the autographs. That is important when choosing a Bible.

In terms of Bible sales, the New International Version and King James Version have held relatively steady over the last 10 years, according to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. The data (below) showed that the NIV and KJV held the first and second spots, respectively, in both 2011 and 2020. Other translations also showed relative stability.

Rankings as of January 2020 (numbers in parentheses represent 2011 rankings; the rankings may or may not have changed a little from a year ago):

  1. New International Version (NIV) (1)
  2. King James Version (KJV) (2)
  3. New Living Translation (NLT) (4)
  4. English Standard Version (ESV) (5)
  5. New King James Version (NKJV) (3)
  6. Christian Standard Bible (CSB) (6)
  7. Reina Valera (RV) (not ranked)
  8. New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) (9)
  9. The Message (Message) (8)
  10. New American Standard Bible (NASB) (7)

Source: https://disrn.com/news/top-ten-bestselling-bible-translations

Why are there slight differences in some Bible verses? You will find the answer to this and hundreds of other questions in my recently updated book Searching the Scriptures: Merging Truth, Texts and Translations. The eBook is available at advanceministries.org/store and the hard copy is available from Amazon.com.

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Words from around the Net

  • The difference between humans and animals: Animals would never allow the dumbest of the herd to lead them.
  • Grandparents: “We used to attend six-week tent revivals seven nights a week.” Parents: “We used to attend Sunday through Wednesday revivals at  our church.” Us: “We used to attend church occasionally on Sunday mornings.” Our children: “We used to attend church on Mother’s Day and Easter.” Our grandchildren: “What’s church?”
  • “I see people my age out there climbing mountains and zip lining, and here I am feeling good about myself because I got my leg through my underwear without losing my balance.” – Anonymous
  • “Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.” – Arthur C. Clarke
  • Theological confusion results when we first look at what we want and then attempt to build a theology that justifies it. – Anonymous (In case you missed it as used above)
  • “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun rises and shines; not because I see it, but because by it I see everythin

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Books

Biblical Christology: Jesus the Christ

by J. R. Ensey
No study is comparable to the inquiry into the nature of the Godhead. One must know His identity to fully know Jesus. Those who have questions about the Person and work of our Lord will find this volume helpful to their study. Christ is presented as the Incarnate God, the indwelling Spirit, and the Coming King. Includes the text of the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.

AM Price  $3.95

 

A Hill To Die On

by J. R. Ensey
Is truth worth dying for? If so, which truth? Which doctrine? This book suggests that there are some things worth risking our reputations, our resources, and perhaps our lives for. Six months ago we would never have thought we would be where we are today as a nation. The Christian faith is rapidly being dismembered and deconstructed to make way for socialism and/or other religions. The rush of endtime prophecy fulfillment should stiffen the backbone of every Christian and make us realize there will be a price to pay for our faith. The nine chapters include:

– A Hill To Die On

– Truth in an Age of Deception

– Unity in an Age of Division

– Righteousness in an Age of Hedonism

– The Church in an Age of Spirituality

– Absolutes in an Age of Relativism

– God and Government

– Is American Christianity Returning to the Social Gospel?

– Our Finest Hour

AM Price  $12.95

Pastoral Epistles

by J. R. Ensey
The apostle Paul wrote three letters to two younger ministers he affectionately called his “sons.” The epistles became part of the canon of Scripture and have served since then as the best instruction available for those in ministry and lay leadership. Doctrine, practical church discipline, lifestyle and much more is all here. The verse-by-verse commentary is accompanied by a complete outline for ease of study and teaching.

AM Price $13.95

To order go to advanceministries.org/store  

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Let a little light in…

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The Last Word:

Remember: When broad minds meet the narrow gate of truth, they will usually say, “Yes, but…,” and promptly turn left. 

 Stay cool, be right, go straight.

JREnsey

 

Published in: on July 1, 2021 at 12:01 AM  Comments (1)  

JREnsey June 2021 blog

Welcome!

The First Word

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NLT).

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We proudly saluted…

…the brave men and women on Memorial Day who paid the supreme sacrifice to gain and maintain the freedom we enjoy in America. We must never allow that price to have been in vain.

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Simplifying the Bible translation issue

Questions are often raised regarding the authenticity of contemporary Bible translations since they don’t read exactly like the King James Version in some places. The fact that there are some words in the KJV that do not appear in the contemporary versions has given rise to the suggestion that they have been “removed” or “omitted from the Bible” in the effort to water down Christian doctrine. That is not the reason that a few readings in the KJV do not appear in the new versions. Let me explain.

The New Testament  (NT) was written in Koine Greek, a common class dialect of the Roman Empire during NT times. Copies of copies of those original manuscripts (MSS) are all that are currently extant. There are almost 6,000 Greek copies of parts of the NT, many in fragment form. Relatively few codices exist that contain all the books of the NT. Most copies were made after the ninth century when minuscule writing became popular.

By A.D. 400 there were a number of MSS in Middle Eastern, European, and N. African languages translated from the Greek. About that time, the Latin copies were gathered by Jerome and merged into a single volume called the Latin Vulgate. Since Latin had become the lingua franca of the West, the Roman Catholic Church established the Latin Vulgate as their official version. Copies in Greek were discontinued in Alexandria and the West. Only the educated could read Latin and the common people had to depend on the Roman Catholic priests to provide meaning through teaching or liturgy. Bibles in the vernacular of the people were forbidden in many nations. When the Reformation era began, Bibles began to show up in languages most readers could understand. Initially, translators and publishers were persecuted by Roman Catholic leaders and some became martyrs.

The first translation of the Bible into the English language was…..[continue reading this brief article by clicking HERE.]

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Historical glimpses

  • During the early days of the Reformation, the matter of baptism surfaced as a sticking point. Was the baptism that the reformers and their disciples received as infants in the state church valid or did one need to be rebaptized (referred to as anabaptism) as a believing adult? The first to receive “believer’s baptism,” according to historian William R. Estep in Renaissance & Reformation, (pp. 183-184) were dissidents from among Ulrich Zwingli’s followers in Zurich, Switzerland. When Zwingli would not affirm the need for rebaptism, Conrad Grebel baptized George Braurock in a home on January 21, 1525. Although the baptism was not by immersion, that practice was bound to follow as step-by-baby step Christianity slowly moved ever closer to the original Apostolic message and practice.
  • According to Estep (pp. 184-185), Martin Luther had originally attempted to reinstate the New Testament form of baptism by immersing his firstborn son, Hans, but he did not continue the practice. As early as 1520 Luther had arrived at the conviction that believers should be baptized by immersion,
    but apparently he refused to take the decisive step of affirming the baptism of adult believers.”
  • Although babies were often immersed when they were baptized in some  groups throughout much of Christian history, full immersion of adults was revived as a common practice in the early 1600s by John Smyth and the Baptists in Northern Europe and England.
  • Felix Manz became the first martyr by Protestants on January 5, 1527. His Anabaptist beliefs condemned him as a seditionist in the eyes of reformer Ulrich Zwingli, who ran Zurich as Calvin ran Geneva. His sentence: “Manz shall be delivered to the executioner, who shall tie his hands, put him into a boat…then strip his bound hands down over his knees, place a stick between his knees and arms, and thus push him into the water [of the River Limmat]; thereby, he shall have atoned to the law and justice…His property shall be confiscated by my lords.” He was the first but not the last to die at the hands of Protestants in this way.
  • John Robinson, a 17th century pastor at Leiden, The Netherlands, inspired the growth of his non-conformist congregation to 300 members. One of them, Willliam Bradford, who later became governor of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, compared Robinson’s congregation to the early Christian churches because of its “true piety, humble zeal and fervent love towards God and His ways.”

Robinson entered Leiden University in 1615 to study theology, but by 1617 he and his followers were seeking a more secure and permanent location. In July 1620, while he remained with the majority who were not yet ready to travel, part of his congregation sailed for England aboard the Speedwell. Before their departure from Leiden, Robinson declared to them in a celebrated sermon, “For I am very confident the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth out of His holy Word.” The following September, 35 of them left Plymouth on the Mayflower for New England, landing at Plymouth, MA (New England). https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Robinson-English-minister

That proved to be an insight that materialized in a greater measure than Robinson could have imagined. Although truth and light regarding salvation had been in the Bible since the the first century, men were becoming anxious to see it more clearly as the Latter Rain renewal and times of refreshing approached at the dawn of the twentieth century.

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Teaching children about baptism

Children should be taught that baptism is not optional but a command (Acts 2:38; 10:48; etc.). It is the “washing away” of our sins. Acts 2:38 combines repentance and baptism as the “package” that deals with our sins.

They should understand that the mode matters. When the word “baptism” appears in the Bible, it means “immersion.” Baptism is linked symbolically with burial in Romans 6:4. One is not truly buried by sprinkling a few grains of dirt over his head. The NT mode was full immersion. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (John 3:23). Philip baptized the Ethiopian when they came upon sufficient water (Acts 8:56).

The name matters. The NT church always used the name of Jesus when baptizing converts (Acts 2:38; Acts 10:48; 19:3). No other name identifies us with the Savior (Acts 4:12). Neither Father, Son, nor Holy Spirit is a name.

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Lines I liked when I heard them

  • There’s no book, or even a postscript, in the Bible called “Loopholes.”
  • Definitions of traditionalist may vary, depending on who is using the term. Someone suggested this definition: “One who insists on believing and living by the Bible.”
  • The Book, the whole Book, and nothing but the Book.
  • In times of refreshing, when the church is lost in deep worship of God, are the moments when the most sincere decisions are made about our lifestyle and personal commitment.

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Are you a transvaxxite?

Vaccine deaths are in the thousands in the U.S. as reported by the CDC/VAERS, and more than twice that many in Europe. But don’t worry about it, we are told. It is perfectly safe. Other factors must have caused the deaths, not the vaccine. (Joseph Goebbels approves this message.)

Some people I personally know, including relatives of mine, who were vaccinated have had severe reactions. If you are interested, please listen to Dr. Peter McCullough, MD, cardiologist and Vice Chief of Medicine at Baylor in Dallas. He is not a quack. He provides a common sense approach to the matter. Here is the link to his message about the vaccine:

https://rumble.com/vhp8e1-massive-world-renowned-doctor-blows-lid-off-of-covid-vaccine.html

My personal doctor has given me a vaccine exemption/variance in writing since I have experienced blood clots in the past. Being vaccinated is a personal decision each individual has to make. This is not a recommendation one way or the other, merely information for you as you contemplate your own health choices.

I recently read the following definition by an unknown individual:

Transvaxxite:

A person who identifies as having been vaccinated even though they haven’t actually been vaccinated. I’ve decided I’m a transvaxxite. Vaccination is a spectrum and you are bigot if you don’t accept me for who I am.

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No differences in gender?

Note to U.S. Congress: Get on board!  France has banned the use of gender-neutral language in schools, bucking the recent woke culture trend spreading throughout academia around the world.  – Blaze

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Voices worth heeding

  • “If the Right gives up the gender fight, then that’s it. It’s over. Once we’ve surrendered reality itself, what else is there to fight for? I will die on this hill. If this hill is lost, there are none worth keeping after it and nobody left to fight for them anyway.” -Matt Walsh
  • “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • “What the left is doing is fighting bigotry with bigotry.” – Senator Tim Scott
  • “If you believe that reality is best constituted as a consequence of truth, then you have a responsibility to speak the truth.” – Jordan Peterson
  • “Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” – Ronald Reagan
  • “It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. In subjecting opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors?” —Thomas Jefferson (1781)
  • “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” – Vladimir Lenin
  • Regarding immigration, “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.” – George Washington [America has traditionally welcomed legal immigrants, but acceptance of a mass influx of just anyone who can struggle across or is pushed over the border was never America’s policy. Why throw your borrowed money at the nations that are sending them as though it will stem the flow. What a joke.]
  • Kimberly Klacik of Baltimore has reminded us that there are armed police officers guarding the @MSNBC and @CNN headquarters/studies at all times. Think about that every time anyone on those networks talk about defunding the police. They want them defunded where you are, not where they are.
  • A wise man learns from the mistakes of others; a fool cannot learn even from his own. -Anonymous

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Ready to eat grass?

https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-04-27-total-war-on-food-targeting-ranchers-to-outlaw-all-forms-of-meat.html

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Valid assumptions

  • If you are wearing a mask while alone in your car, it will be assumed that it is to curb the urge to lick the windows.
  • If you have to hide the curriculum from the parents of your students, you don’t belong in a classroom or anywhere near children.
  • “Remember the panic when you couldn’t find toilet paper? Wait until you can’t find a police officer.”
  • If you are in a Zoom meeting with a mask on, you don’t need to wear your Biden ID sticker.
  • If someone is photographed wearing a mask on a Zoom call but not wearing one when visiting the elderly, he is a virtue signaling hypocrite, or perhaps just a little ditzy. Or both.
  • If big tech can silence a U.S. president, they can silence us all.
  • The greatest casualty of this pandemic will be science. It has become just another political tool.” – Trey Gowdy

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Books

The New Cyclopedic Theological Dictionary (eBook)

by J. R. Ensey
The reference volume based on the biblical, Apostolic viewpoint! Compiled and written by J. R. Ensey.
When you need the definition of a theological term, the description of a religious movement, or the meaning of over a thousand words that are found in reference works and the Bible…turn to The New Cyclopedic Theological Dictionary!

Contains:
– Over 1000 entries
– Definitions and descriptions of many Bible words, theological terms, and religious movements
– 486 pages of easy-to-read, easy-to-use information
– The only reference volume of its kind! Written from a conservative, apostolic viewpoint, this classic work has enhanced the study habits of thousands of ministers and laymen.

“This dictionary is far more than a word study; it is replete with the background and history of many doctrinal positions and teachings. It also serves as a standard for testing the validity of different theories–an invaluable tool!” -Dr. Marvin Treece

AM price $12.95   Order the searchable eBook format from Advance Ministries.

Available from Amazon in printed form.

Why…?

by J. R. Ensey
Some younger men have called for reasons that specific holiness standards appear in the UPCI Manual. They were not around when the issues were debated and passed in conferences. It is easier in today’s cultural climate to give up the fight than to take the time to find out why Apostolics believe what we do. Here are 224 pages of some common sense, Word-based answers for our apostolic positions.
Chapters:

• Why do Apostolics embrace the Bible as the Word of God?
• Why do Apostolics teach monotheism?
• Why do Apostolics receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues?
• Why do Apostolics disengage from a worldly lifestyle?
• Why do Apostolics abandon or avoid harmful personal practices?
• Why do Apostolics choose modest apparel and shun ornamental jewelry?
• Why do Apostolic ladies refrain from cutting their hair and wearing cosmetics?
• Why do Apostolics live with a blessed hope?

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (I Peter 3:15,16).

Available from advanceministries.org   price $12.95

Evidential Tongues

by J. R. Ensey
Here is some vital research on a doctrine and practice we hold as foundational—speaking in tongues when one receives the Holy Spirit.

The fact that many in the classical Pentecostal movement have ceased to stress this aspect of the new birth experience has disturbed us. It behooves us to occasionally take a harder look at our fundamental doctrines—not to try to disprove them but to make sure that the girders of truth are still bearing the load of centuries of attacks. To shore up our principle doctrines for each new generation is imperative.

The book walks through the Acts of the Apostles to verify the consistency of the doctrine in the early church. But what happened to it after the first century? Research was done to highlight glossolalia (speaking in tongues) throughout the Dark Ages, into the Reformation period, during the development of various Protestant denominations, and on to Topeka and Azusa St. How it became a tenet of faith in the burgeoning Pentecostal movement is covered. Current views climax the study.

Here’s a historical odyssey that will strengthen your faith.

Available from advanceministries.org  price $7.95

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If truth offends, get ready…

How makeup beautifies

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The Last Word

“Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.” – Arthur Helps

Amen. Have a great June. May the summer winds always be at your back.

JREnsey

 

Published in: on June 1, 2021 at 12:08 AM  Comments (1)  

JREnsey blog Mid-May 2021

 

Welcome to the May 2021 Mid-Month Blog

The First Word

“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:1-5 KJV).

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others’” (Habakkuk 2:2 NLT).

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NOTICE:

Please take time to read the scriptures above before continuing. Thanks.

This will be a brief edition of the blog since only one item is on the agenda. It is a book review, one that is longer than I could put in my regular blog. I felt it important to be timely with the review. May it be helpful to you in both your studies and your book buying.

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Book review

THE JESUS REMIX

THE MAKING OF BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth

By Beth Allison Barr; Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2021; 19.99

We Americans are becoming accustomed to redos and resets. The U.S. seems to be in a full political reset at the present time. The church appears to be falling in line with the idea. So I am not surprised that we now have a book about a “remix.”

The feminization of our culture has upended a society that boasted of a foundation built on the Bible, a nation that made its motto “In God we trust.” Our founders put biblical scenes in stone on its monumental buildings of government. Those images are now being defaced and those monuments may soon fall if we continue on the present path. Every tradition and belief seem to be under review.51kJBZidb4S._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

This is another in a lengthening line of books by feminist authors spelling out how Christian men have historically been spiritual rascals. Barr’s caustic pen scatters words like “subjugation,” “hierarchy” and “subordination,” all carrying a negative connotation, making the modern Christian woman’s status sound eerily like slavery. If one checks for synonyms of subjugation, words like “oppression…conquest…domination…enslavement” will pop up. In other words, Christian men have been bad and need an old fashioned straightening out.

The author consistently reminds her readers that she is a “historian” of note, with multiple letters behind her name. However, omniscience is an attribute of God alone. She approaches the topic of biblical womanhood more from a historical rather than a theological standpoint.

Her book comes as a result of what she feels are pastors’ and church leaders’ misunderstanding of the biblical passages that she feels prove women should automatically be given access to all levels of spiritual leadership and authority. She and her husband struggled with this issue in their position as youth leaders in a complementarian church. They were finally dismissed because of their views. Hurt and disappointment followed. How other women may have been similarly hurt and sidelined through the centuries became a passionate study, and thus this book. Regardless of our personal experience, however, church leaders are not authorized to undo what God has done. Human decrees do not transcend the plain Word of God. Leaders are to love what God loves, hate what God hates, promote what God promotes, and oppose what God opposes. The author’s circular reasoning to make the Bible say something to fit a personal prejudice is an exercise in eisegesis.

The New Testament is filled with examples of gracious treatment of Christian women. From the Day of Pentecost until now the church has benefited from the sincere commitment of dedicated women. The apostle Paul consistently complimented those who worked with him—both men and women—who supported his evangelistic/missionary ministry. Barr views those commendations as advocating and recognizing a level of leadership ministry equal to his own. Many women, including the author, have assumed more than Paul said by those compliments, and have acted on their own feelings and emotions rather than the clear meaning of his words.

Historical actions or inactions do not establish a biblical/theological position. Theology, hermeneutics, context, and the full body of Scriptures must be considered. The author begins with inner feelings that the pastors and theologians she has known were wrong on the issue of female spiritual leadership of men. She would ultimately admit to feeling the same way about the apostle Paul. She shames churches and pastors for not taking the same position. She comes from a perspective of history rather than biblical theology. She is convinced the Bible writers picked up practices from the Roman world and applied them to spiritual roles in the church. She exhibits a low view of Scripture and inspiration—history first then theology. Barr seems to read the Scriptures through the lens of both history and modern culture, rather than with the conviction that the Scriptures flow from the mind of God (II Timothy 3:16) and not merely from the mind of the apostle. As someone has pointed out: “To start with a false premise helps one to end with a flawed conclusion.”

She discovered the writings of a couple of medieval Roman Catholic monks that were construed as generally agreeing with her premise. She quotes them fervently, but they actually say nothing that supports her extreme positions. She quotes them because they placed very little stress on female submission. They wouldn’t, being in constant adoration of Mary, the mother of Jesus. A fifteenth century Catholic wedding text she quoted simply said, a “wife should not blindly follow her husband because she owes allegiance first to Jesus.” Virtually everyone would agree with her when she concludes that “Jesus as head would trump husbandly authority.” She quotes the twelfth century Peter Abelard who claimed that “woman and not man is linked to Christ’s headship” and “instituted him as Christ” since a woman anointed him (Mark 14:3-9).

Barr appeals to the proposition that evangelicals are reading Paul wrong. Complementarians are simply not understanding what Paul is saying when he outlines his “household codes” as she calls them. In her entire chapter on the Pauline codes, she never once dealt with I Timothy 2. Why? Perhaps it was because she views it as one of Paul’s “texts of terror” (her words) for women. Therefore, she feels they must be negated or explained away.

A key passage is Ephesians 5:22-6:9: “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.” No difficult words there; all easy to understand. Just before this in vs. 17-21, Paul speaks to the general church body, including all men and women, about their interpersonal relationships, ending with the admonition of mutual submission. Then, he gets specific about certain groups in the church—wives, husbands, children, slaves, and masters— in v. 22. Wives, here is your responsibility. The men are not excluded. In verses 25-33, the apostle gives the men of the church a stern lesson about how kindly they must treat their wives. Barr, however, begins with v. 21 as though it is commanding husbands and wives to mutually submit. To read the passage in this way, she asserts, “changes everything.” But any honest Bible student in Hermeneutics 101 knows that the specific husband/wife relationship commands begin in v. 22.

The author’s focus was on Galatians 3:28 (“neither male nor female”) to make Paul say that both church and home leadership is gender free. The apostle makes makes no such assertion. Indeed, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. All—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, men or women—are equal before God in worth and value in the process of redemption. There is no indication here that there would never be another scriptural reference to gender, or freedom, or nationality. Paul did not erase or ignore gender in that verse. If so, did all Jews become Greeks or all Greeks become Jews? Did all slaves become free with that writing?

In the context of dealing with I Corinthians 14:34,35 (womens’ “silence” in church), the author brings Roman events 200 years before Christ into view in order to insinuate that Paul’s words were inspired by Roman consul Cato rather than God. Barr suggests that Paul was quoting the Roman worldview and subtly rebuking the church in Corinth for silencing the women accordingly.

Paul later made a number of specific distinctions and references to men and women and their varying responsibilities. Need we be reminded that things that are different are not the same? God made men and women different in order to do different things. “Oneness” in the faith and in marriage, as in “one flesh,” is achieved even though men and women have varying roles and responsibilities set forth for the home and the kingdom of God.

Barr is a historian, but she needs to brush up on some of her history regarding Roman empire women. I will leave that information for the reader to exhume. Suffice it to say that even Bible women in the Empire, like Lydia and Dorcas, operated thriving businesses and were viewed as upstanding citizens of the community. Barr, however, states that when a Roman wife became a Christian, the household codes of Paul set her free from the “oppressive elements” of Roman world. Again, she posits that Paul was using a “Jesus remix” to tell believers how the gospel set them free. Indeed, they were free from sin in Christ, but not free from the creation order that God established in the beginning. God didn’t change His mind about that between Malachi and Matthew. And no book of the Bible ends with “Hey…just kidding.”

Barr not only twists history but makes a pretzel out of the Scriptures. She acknowledges the household codes in Ephesians 5, Colossians 3:18-19, Ephesians 5: 21-33, I Corinthians 11 and 14, and Titus 2:1-5, but suggests that Paul’s readers knew he meant just the opposite of what he said. The remix meant that Paul was merely using words in a rhetorical fashion that they understood were not what he really meant. What a novel way of reading the Bible she has devised in the 21st century.

The focus of the household codes, Barr says, were not the same as they are interpreted by evangelicals today. The thought came that the author could earn great fame as a magician—“See this coin…this pea…this card? Now you see it, now you don’t! You saw it but it really wasn’t there!” Instead of endowing authority to a man, she insists that “the Christian household codes offer each member of the shared community…the right to hear and act for themselves. Paul’s purpose was not to emphasize male authority.” Evidently, in Barr’s eyes, there is no Christian household leader. It is every person for themselves. In other words, “Don’t believe what you see and read in your Bible. Truth is what I say it is. Trust me. I am a historian.”

Let’s let her speak for herself:

[If Paul was so into male headship], “Why [is] the use of explicit and elaborate maternal imagery to describe God and Christ, who are usually described as male, so popular with twelfth century Cistercian monks?” [What a deep, relevant question!] “Just because modern Evangelicals overlook Paul’s use of maternal imagery, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It just means that, once again, we have gotten Paul wrong.” (p. 53)

“Paul didn’t tell women to be silent.” (p. 55)

“As a historian, I know there is more to Paul’s letters than his words reveal.”

“Among the women Paul commended in Romans 16: ‘Junia, prominent among the apostles…Junia is identified not simply as an apostle but as one who was prominent among the apostles.’” (pp. 64,65)

“More women than men are identified by their ministry in Romans 16.” (p. 65) Meaning…?

“English Bible translations obscure women’s leadership in the early church.” (p. 65)

“Here I was, walking my student through compelling historical evidence that the problem with women in leadership wasn’t Paul; the problem was with how we misunderstood and obscured Paul.” (p. 66)

“Junia, I showed them, was accepted as an apostle until nearly modern times, when her name began to be translated as a man’s name: Junias.” (p. 67)

“Of course, I told my students, not everyone in the early church supported female leadership. The office of presbyter testifies loudly to how patriarchal prejudices of the ancient world had already crept into Christianity.” (p. 68) Shame on you, Paul.

“‘Dr. Barr, why don’t they teach us this in church?’ I looked at the student, my heart twisting. Most people simply don’t know, I said. Seminary textbooks are often written by pastors—not by historians, and especially by women historians.”

“Trinitarian teachings are central to orthodox Christianity, and complementarians—in their blind pursuit to maintain control over women—have exchanged the truth of God for a gender hierarchy of human origin.” (p. 194)

Before she closes the book, Barr slips in a claim of heresy against her Baptist pastor for teaching the Trinity in a way that she feels is wrong. She quotes him as saying that Jesus is eternally subordinate to His Father, which she opposes as heresy. One wants to say, if she would look a little deeper, she would find even greater heresies embedded in that doctrine. The inclusion of this information was for the purpose of inserting the idea that complementarianism is grounded on this understanding of the Trinity. Does she not know that the doctrine of the Trinity came along much later, long after Paul’s death?

Much of the remainder of the book gives honor to women from the Dark Ages and medieval times who left their husbands and abandoned their children to “go do a work for God.” She praises their courage and willingness to do what God told them to do, even if it meant “defying male authority” or battling literal human-eating dragons. (The dragons were confronted and summarily dispatched with the iconic cross and a sprinkling of holy water.) She rails about male authorities who, Aristotle-like, disdain the female body and uphold the inferiority of women. She is wasting ink and book paper—no Christian man worth his salt fits the imagery she draws. A trek through the swampy areas of Reformation ideologies and Bible translations adds yet other odd flavors to the book.

To recommend this book one would have to dispense with hermeneutics, disregard the traditional meaning of common words, and embrace assumptions over clear Bible teaching. How it got promoted by an assumed conservative on the Internet, then finding its way to a ministerial forum, is indeed puzzling.

JRE

Published in: on May 14, 2021 at 11:35 PM  Comments (5)  

April 2021 JREnsey Blog

 

Welcome!

The First Words

“I sank beneath the waves,
    and the waters closed over me.
    Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
    I was imprisoned in the earth,
    whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O Lord my God,
    snatched me from the jaws of death!
As my life was slipping away,
    I remembered the Lord.
And my earnest prayer went out to you
    in your holy Temple.
Those who worship false gods
    turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
    and I will fulfill all my vows.
    For my salvation comes from the Lord alone” (Jonah 2:5-9 NLT)

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Does God smoke?

The Bible is a serious book inspired by a serious God for serious people. But there are some curious lines in it. Some ways it is translated in places gives encouragement to skeptics, especially if nudged out of context.

  • It is interesting that at Psalm 80:4 the 1611 KJV says, “How long wilt thou be angry?” and the margin has “Hebr. “[How long]wilt thou smoke?”
  • Curses can really get serious. “From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them” (II Kings 2:23,24 NIV). A couple of momma bears fulfilled the curse.
  • The apostle Paul appeared upset when writing to the Galatians about the Judaizers in 5:12: “I wish those agitators would go so far as to castrate themselves!!(NET)
  • Love can cause strange things to happen. “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him (Song of Solomon 5:4 KJV).
  • Job felt treated rather unfairly by the Lord: “Hast thou not poured me out like milk and curdled me like cheese? (Job 10:10 KJV).

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The age of the earth

Biblical creationists and evolutionists use very different methods when calculating the age of the earth. Does radiometric dating prove that most of the earth’s rock layers and fossils are much older than what Scripture teaches? Are dates obtained by radiometric dating reliable and are they more trustworthy than God’s Word?

Radiometric dating measures the rate of decay that an isotope undergoes over time. That rate is known as the isotope’s half-life, which is the amount of time required for half of the unstable atoms to become stable atoms.

The problem with radiometric dating is that it can prove unreliable, showing very old ages for rocks of known age. For example, rocks formed as a result of the Mt. St. Helens explosion in 1986 incorrectly date as 300,000-400,000 years old.

This is because radiometric dating relies on three assumptions: 1) the daughter atoms all come from parent atoms that were present when the rock formed, 2) the decay rate has always been the same as today’s rate, and 3) the sample has not been contaminated by parent and daughter atoms being added or removed since the rock formed. If any of those assumptions are wrong, then the resulting date is wrong.

The most reliable dating method is that of an eyewitness. The Bible provides God’s eyewitness testimony of how and when He created the earth. God has always existed, knows all things, and cannot lie. Therefore, His written Word is the infallible source of information regarding the age of the earth. – Answers March 2021

I am rather burned out on the evolutionists’ “fake news“ that the earth is over 4 billion years old. That cannot reasonably or sensibly be calculated, but they have to put forth some figure to disclaim the biblical record.

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Some good news…finally!

The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has decided in favor of a professor at Shawnee State University (Meriwether vs Hartop) who refused to call a student by the student’s preferred pronoun. The student had complained and the university had ruled that the professor must comply with the policy of “non discrimination“ of transgenders or suffer the consequences. The professor was accused of creating “a hostile environment“ for the person in question. However, the court ruled that the professor’s right of free speech had been violated, among other findings, and stated that he is not required to affirm ideas and concepts as true that are not true. (Wow!) In documents referring to the student (Doe), the term used by the university was “them self“ instead of “himself.“ That seems to be a corruption of language, science, history, biology and common sense rolled up into two words.

Such is the cultural climate at most universities today. Can anyone understand why we plead for wisdom in the careful selection of educational choices for our children and grandchildren?

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The Anti-Biblical Archaeology Review

From its inception in 1975, I have been a reader/subscriber to the magazine dubbed the Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR). My fascination with archaeology has led me to personal involvement in the work directly through the University of Haifa in Israel. Dr. Adam Zertal was the director of the archaeology department which sponsored a dig focusing on the altar of Joshua on Mt. Ebal (Joshua 8:30).

The BAR was a magazine I looked forward to each month. The founding Jewish editor was Hershel Shanks. Although his Jewish background did not allow him to be overly excited about New Testament finds that strengthened the Greek text and the Christian perspective, he seemed to give due honor to many of their discoveries. Doubtless he knew many, perhaps most, of his readers were Christians. I have to appreciate what we have all benefitted from archaeological reports that were presented in an unbiased way.

Shanks retired about three years ago and put the magazine into the hands of  a new editor. From that time it has seemed to drift steadily leftward, seemingly oriented toward a skeptical culture and anxious to cast doubt on the biblical record. It is obvious that he has little confidence that the Bible is a true record. That is his right, but his conviction bleeds through in virtually every issue of the magazine with Biblical still in its name.

I recently cancelled my subscription, telling the editor exactly why I was doing it. According to the letters to the editor section, others were doing the same thing. He evidently views himself as an iconoclast with a mission to dash every belief, both Jewish and Christian, on the rocks of skepticism.

I was annoyed when the magazine seemed all too happy to publish an article by a free-thinking archaeologist that the altar of Joshua on Mt. Ebal was probably not an altar at all but merely an outpost of some kind. I don’t believe the author had even visited the site. Having participated in the dig personally, helping to uncover artifacts that corroborated the biblical account, I am fully persuaded that it and its location fit the scriptural record exactly. But skeptics disdain validating scriptural truth.

The latest affront to Jewish history is BAR’s promotion of a book by Jodi Magness titled Masada: From Jewish Revolt To Modern Myth. I have been to Masada three times and have viewed the work of Yigael Yadin, the master archaeologist of the site, with great interest. He confirmed the record of Josephus who left a detailed history of Masada and last stand of the Jewish rebels against Rome’s legions. Ms. Magness, following in the steps of Kathleen Kenyon, who changed the narrative of the fall of Jericho by denying John Garstang’s earlier work that documented the biblical account, now thinks Josephus and the historical record of Masada that stood for nearly twenty centuries was mostly mythical. It is as if the BAR has become the CNN of archaeology, featuring alternative narratives for the sake of unbelievers.

Enough already. My letter to the editor earned no response. Cancelling subscriptions may be the only way one’s voice is heard.

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Multiculturalism’s legacy

What makes the United States exceptional is the concept of “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “out of many, one.” This simply suggests that America was made up of diverse nationalities united behind a common set of values/virtues surrounding self-government.

But now, African-American columnist Star Parker confirms that multiculturalism increasingly tells people they don’t have to share any core American values or assimilate in any way. Multiculturalism, she says, has “morphed now into Marxism where the totalitarian state is replacing religion, our Judeo-Christian heritage where people learn to self-govern.” (Epoch News, 11/27/19)

Multicultural pluralism is not an antidote for either real or perceived racism. It is a prescription for the collapse of the American experiment. The more pluralism is imposed on the culture, the more divided we are, and the closer we are to becoming just another name on a placard at the UN. Although America is not a theocracy, we should never be moved from the certitude that God was somehow involved in the planting of this nation, notwithstanding its shortcomings. It has been the primary benefactor of missionary endeavors around the world fanning the flames of global endtime revival.

Worldwide, it has literally lifted billions of people from the throes of poverty and despair. It has beaten back forces of tyranny from our own shores to those of Tripoli and the beaches of Normandy to the sands of Iraq. And every beaten foe has been given a hand to rebuild and stand proud with new economic life. What other nation does that?

The concept of adding more stand alone cultures rather than assimilating immigrants into the American system may well speed the demise of the nation as we have known it. Diversity in the sense expressed by many college professors and millennials is nothing short of part of the overall plan to collapse the American system. Christian educators make no apology for urging families to think twice before enrolling their students in state-run institutions. Seek out private educational opportunities. And if there are young children in the home, parents are urged to seriously consider homeschooling. Christian-based schools may also be an option. Radicalization of our students in public school, when and if they reopen, is a present reality. Do not be in denial.

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Well said

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain

“If you are waiting for permission from the chief executive to celebrate Independence Day, you clearly don’t grasp the concept of Independence Day.” – Rep. Thomas Massie

“This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.” – Thomas Jefferson (1785)

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas warned some 70 years ago, “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

“The best manner of avenging ourselves is by not resembling him who has injured us.” – Jane Porter (1776-1850)

Treating symptoms of depression with psych drugs is like a person with an itch—he ultimately gets diagnosed with an addiction to scratching and is treated for “scratchitis.” – Anonymous

“The truth is fascism, Nazism, socialism, and communism are all variations on a leftist theme of control and power. Don’t let them tell you that your rejection of that totalitarianism makes you the fascist when reality is quite the opposite.” – Nate Jackson

“There should be no discussion of amnesty while more than 18 million American citizens are jobless.” – Patriot Post

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” – Carl Sandberg

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What would you do if…

…you were in D.C. and a space alien landed by you and said, “Take me to your leader”?

…you loved Tater Tots but Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were no longer male and female?

…you were B. Obama and craved a Coke but had to be less white to buy one?

…the new cultural police visited your church with a warrant claiming that you were disseminating misinformation about the kinds of sinners active in your community?

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Questions about the Bible your friends may have wanted to ask you.

  • What is the difference between Byzantine and Alexandrian text-types?
  • Who were the translators of the KJV?
  • Are modern versions removing words or verses from the Bible?
  • In which Bible version(s) is the deity of Christ clearest?
  • What is the Textus Receptus and how was it compiled?
  • Does I John 5:7b-8a belong in the Bible?
  • How is the Virgin Birth handled in contemporary versions?
  • Were Westcott and Hort spiritual scoundrels who denied the deity of Jesus?
  • Is the celebration of Easter mentioned in the Bible?
  • Is the Bible trustworthy?

These and many more questions are answered in my book Searching the Scriptures: Merging Truth, Texts and Translations. 480 pages with almost 1000 references. Order a printed copy at Amazon.com or get the searchable eBook at advanceministries.org/store  or call 936-537-0250.

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Teaching individual Bible studies may be the single most important thing your congregation can be involved in right now!

Get your IHML Bible Studies from advanceministries.org/store or call 936-537-0250.

Into His Marvelous Light  in English and Spanish is available for:

1-49 $1.75 each

50-99 $1.50 each

100 or more $1.25 each

We also have tracts to advertise the study. 100 for $9.95.

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Artistic truth

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Question:

Can you find some dictum in the Bible opposing scruffy beards, blue jeans with pre-torn holes, and mechanics’ T-shirts adorning pastors in the pulpits of our Apostolic Pentecostal churches?

No, but one might look for it wrapped in common sense, and in the understanding of spiritual leadership operated by sincere humility rather than in accommodation to a fallen culture.

A left turn culturally or doctrinally is usually downhill and easy going. Returning back to the right is uphill and a hard pull. Most don’t have the gut strength to make the climb. So we should all be careful of the direction of our turns.

Thanks for visiting. Have a blessed month!

JREnsey

Published in: on April 1, 2021 at 2:57 AM  Comments (1)  

JREnsey March 2021 blog

Welcome…nice to have you on board!

 

Let’s start with a prayer…

Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

(Hebrews 13:20-21 NLT)

…and this Word

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5 ESV).

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Things we learned in February

  • It is difficult to choose between gas and electricity when it is 9º and snowing. One fusses when the lights go out, the computer shuts down, and the furnace fan quits. But one still has to stay warm (in the kitchen) and be able to fix something to eat. Thanks, fossils, that we still have kitchen stovetop gas. No thanks to AOC’s Green New Deal.
  • By using more fossil fuel than usual this month we have cut into the time civilization has left by several weeks at least. Nine years, two months and counting down. We bought our grave plots this month to be ready, but if we hang in, who will be around to bury us?
  • Speaking of fossil fuel, one saves a little when you can’t get your car out of the driveway.
  • That neighbors will still help one another when there is a real need, like “that week” in Texas. (See more below.)
  • If you can’t get out to go to the store, you don’t have to put on your mask. That’s a nice trade-off.
  • You can get cabin fever even if you don’t live in a “cabin.”
  • According to Dr. Fauci, two or three masks would be better than one for straining out “droplets” of breath or sneezes. Who would’ve ever known?
  • It is evidently a lot easier to open a 400-mile long border wall than a 20×40 school room.
  • We now know that this administration believes that walls do work. They put a strong one with razor wire around our capitol building in D.C.

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Neighbors helping neighbors

A “Texas neighbor,” one among many, wrote the following:

Pretty much a massive disaster hit TX and OK. Not going to lie, it wasn’t easy for a lot of folks. Our infrastructure and government response was not as ready as it should have been. Our power grid had vulnerabilities.

However, while fake news will make people believe that Texans were helpless, this old Texan saw a totally different narrative. I saw people helping one another, I saw generators being worked on or new ones provided, fuel, firewood being deployed by residents—not government. We saw people opening homes and businesses as shelters, pets and all. We saw an army of four wheel drive vehicles pulling folks out of ditches, delivering meals, etc. I could go on.

You know what I didn’t see? Mass looting.

Criticize and laugh all you want, but never doubt the resolve, generosity, and the preparedness of the Texas people.  We overcome.

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Let truth prevail

Gnostic Gospels have recently become popular among those who would like to instill doubt about the authenticity and authority of the Scriptures. For example, some promote the Gospel of Thomas as “a fifth Gospel,” which has Jesus saying. “Where there are three gods, they are divine. Where there are two or one, I am with that one” (logion 30). Who in their right mind could conceive of Jesus, who was God Himself manifested in the flesh, making such a stupid statement? However, it is not atypical for Gnostic writings. Other sayings in Thomas clearly betray themselves as originating in a Gnostic noggin (logion 12), including these words from logion l: “These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote. And He (Jesus) said, ‘Whoever reads the explanation of these words will not taste death.’” (Prologue to Thomas, logion 1).

Gnostic writers seemed to enjoy rewriting history to make heroes out of villains—praising Cain, Esau, Korah, and the men of Sodom, even extolling the traitor Judas as an accomplice of Jesus in the plan of redemption (Gospel of Judas). We should be grateful for the careful steps taken by conservative scholars to determine the distinctions between authoritative writings and those of imaginative scribes.

[Logion: A saying attributed to Jesus Christ, especially one not recorded in the canonical Gospels.]

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Words fitly spoken

“The finest opportunity that was ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom.” – Lord Acton in The History of Freedom in Christianity

“The whole of society will have become a single office and a single factory with equality of work and equality of pay.” – Nikolai Lenin, 1917

“In a country where the sole employer is the state, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one—who does not obey shall not eat.” – Leon Trotsky, 1927

“When authority presents itself in the guise of organization, it develops charms fascinating enough to convert communities of free people into totalitarian states.” – The Times (London)

“We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedoms of the individual must become. – Benito Mussolini, Grand Council Fascist Report, 1929

“What has always made the state a hell on earth is precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.” – Johann Holderlin

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” – Mark Twain

“The propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right that heaven itself has ordained.” – George Washington, 4/30/1789

“If women are in charge, we are in trouble.” – John MacArthur (He is a Bible-geek—a conservative among liberals in many ways. Why do you think he would say such an outlandish thing? (Hint: See the PostScript below.)

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Truth slipping by unnoticed

The media lied about the death of the policeman at the capitol. It was never true that the cop was “bludgeoned” to death with a fire extinguisher by the Capitol demonstrators. But the lie was told long enough to accomplish the purposes of those in power. Someone said, if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes journalism.

The President has signed on for Americans to fund abortions worldwide. President Biden signed an executive order early in February reversing the Mexico City policy, permitting U.S. aid money once again to fund groups that provide or promote abortion around the globe. How long before pregnancies are rationed in every nation, including ours?

The policy was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan in an effort to ensure that taxpayers were not required to indirectly fund abortion procedures performed in other countries. The policy has been undone via executive order by every subsequent Democratic administration and reinstated by each Republican one. Is there no end to presidential decrees so we can return to government of the people, for the people, and by the people? I suppose that is one more reason the woke folk feel the Lincoln Memorial must go.

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The day pigs will fly

The day wind and solar alone will meet the energy needs of a growing America.

The day America is returned to economic vitality, a better educational system, and to First/Second Amendment rights by a leftist female President.

The day religious organizations and TV channels are shifted toward more commonsense, biblical standards by televangelists.

The day the mainstream media faces the music and admits their agenda has been to usher left-leaning politicians into national office.

The day God speaks from Heaven with a word denying the veracity of the Scriptures, saying He was just kidding, that there really is no Hell to worry about.

 

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Vox populi vox Dei

True in some instances, but not always. Will the kings and the kingmakers ever allow us to hear the true voice of the people in the future? It may only be mouthed in moans, as heard in Sudan, N. Korea, Malaysia, China or Iran. But are the servants to be favored above the Master? Jesus willingly wore the thorns. A purple robe covered His riven back. His mother stood beneath the cross with tear-stained cheeks. Others moved to steady her, but it was a burden she alone could bear. Yes, pain and tears all around, and still we are not through with pain and tears. We proud Americans have insisted on the vision of stuffed pockets and full bellies or else we assume God has forsaken us. I wish nothing less for you and me, but perhaps another visit to Calvary might remind us that we, the current sons and daughters of God, may be called on to endure something akin to His destiny.

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?

– Amy Carmichael

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This is one of the most interesting articles I have read this month. Please check it out. Timely.

“When Rebellion Is Godly” by Debi and Michael Pearl

Click here to read

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Is foolishness sin?

In the biblical sense, foolishness involves more than a practical joke, light jesting, or pranking. It assumes the connotation of sinful activities, unwise moral or ethical judg­ments, and a general perverseness: “The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the Lord” (Proverbs 19:3). “The thought of foolishness is sin,” we are told in Proverbs 24:9. Solomon sought to know “the wickedness of fol­ly, even of foolishness and madness” (Ecclesiastes 7:25) and it just about wrecked his life.

Fool­ishness runs with some very bad company. Foolish talking was placed in the context with fornication, uncleanness, covetous­ness, and filthiness in Ephesians 5:3-5. Jesus put it in a category with “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride” (Mark 7:22). Foolishness manifests itself in shallow worship, insincere commitments, hypocritical actions, unrighteous judgment of others, and worldly attitudes. “Fools make a mock of sin” (Proverbs 14:9).

Foolishness can even lead one to blatant atheism: “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalms 14:1). One kind of foolishness leads to another. Paul said that the preaching of the cross of Christ is “foolishness” to unbelievers (I Corinthians 1:18).

Paul noted foolishness among the Galatians: “O foolish Gala­tians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth…Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1,3). Foolishness paves the road to Hell.

Take a fresh look at the foolishness around you. Run from it.

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IHML Bible studies

Win them with this…

Into His Marvelous Light Bible Study

IHMLCoverNo other one-hour Bible study has enjoyed the consistent results of IHML over the years. Often copied but never duplicated. It is attractive, well written, and doctrinally sound. It will convince any open-minded person (and some whose minds are not so open) that the new birth is absolutely essential and that Acts 2:38 constitutes that experience. It’s possible that more souls have been won with this Bible Study than with any other single evangelism tool in the past 28 years. Discover how easy it is to share the plan of salvation with others. Available in both English and Spanish. English is available in both KJV and NIV84.

AM Price 1-49 $1.75 each;  50-99 $1.50 each; 100 or more $1.25 each.

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Guide For LivingIHML_GFL_Revised

A follow-up study for the new convert. This little booklet is given to the new convert to go through alone, filling in the blanks, and then bring back to you with any questions they may have. It covers the new birth—what has happened to them experientially—and goes through what their responsibilities as new believers are now.

AM Price 1-49 $1.75 each;  50-99 $1.50 each; 100 or more $1.25 each.

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Exciting News Blast

IHML has now been translated into the following languages:

Khmer (Cambodian), Russian, Sotho (S Africa, Botswana, Lesotho), Spanish, Swahili (Kenya, Uganda, South Africa), Vietnamese, Karen (Burma and part of Thailand), Gujarati (West India), Greek, German, Farsi, Arabic, French, Chinese, Telugu (E Africa), Maltese, Italian, Danish Latvian (underway), Panjabi (underway), Finnish (underway)

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A better way to say it 

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Jealousy

A pox that is as cruel as the grave (S of S 8:6), jealousy can make life miserable—both for the one who embraces it and the one who is its target. Jealousy has brought down empires, nations, governments, businesses, families, marriages, individuals, and entities beyond the scope of that list. And, yes, even churches. Its pain is unrelenting, its belly never satisfied. Like pride, it is insidious. It hides behind more obvious faults. It disguises itself as self-preservation and a predisposition toward equality. Most people cannot identify it within them, like the cancer that cannot be felt but is revealed in full view of the scanner.

Things I’ve read about jealousy:

  • “Jealousy is a form of hatred built upon insecurity.”
  • “People who are intimidated by you talk bad about you with hopes that others won’t find you so appealing.”
  • “Don’t ruin other people’s happiness just because you can’t find your own.”
  • “Don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.”

Envy is the brother of jealousy, and both are works of the flesh. Never be jealous or envious when others have what you don’t. God might punish you by giving it to you.

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Have the best March ever! Find a little niche of happiness among the miseries of the moment.

JREnsey

PS: “Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing?…My people! Their oppressors treat them violently, And women rule over them. My people! Those who guide you lead you astray and confuse the direction of your paths” (Psalm 2:1; Isaiah 3:12).

Published in: on March 1, 2021 at 1:34 AM  Leave a Comment  

JREnsey Blog January 2021

Thanks for joining us today. If it is cold where you are, grab a cuppa and let’s spend a few minutes together online.

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The First Word

“This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it” (Colossians 1:21-24 NLT).

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Were the readers of Proverbs 30:4 expected to know God’s name and also His Son’s name?

The passage reads in the KJV: “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?”

We have seen this verse quoted in the context of discussions of Oneness or God’s name and His Son’s name. Actually, this scripture is not asking about God or His Son’s name, but it is asking a rhetorical question in making a comparison between God and mere men. Is there a man among mortals who can do these mighty feats or has access to the heavenly realm as does the Creator? The unstated but obvious answer is…of course not. Agur, the writer of the proverb, is simply speaking of how much higher are God’s ways than men’s. The question is not concerning God’s name or His Son’s name, but a man’s name—if there be such a one that can do these things.

Reading from the NLT, or most any modern version, the idea of discerning God’s name or that of His Son disappears: “Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know!”

Anyone know a man who can fill that bill? I trow not.

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Cancel culture in Bible times

The cancel culture is nothing new. King Jeroboam decided that the worship of Yahweh was outdated needed replacing, or at least placed among the other gods to be worshiped. In adding idols set for veneration, he embarked on a culture cancelling effort. In the process, he “made Israel to sin” (I Kings 14:16), an accusation repeated in the Scriptures nine times. “No need to go to Jerusalem to the Temple to worship,” he said. “You can save time and steps by worshiping right here in the north. We have some great images here that you can worship: “He made other gods and molten images” for them. Rehoboam in Judah acted similarly: “They also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations” (I Kings 14:23,24).

We should not forget the possibility that a cancel culture can go the other way too. During the reign of young Josiah, the word of the Lord was recovered and read. As a result, “[H]e put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.  And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.  And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove.  And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man’s left hand at the gate of the city” (II Kings 23:5-8). So those who cancel a culture should remember that theirs can also be cancelled when God’s cup get full.

For every Jeroboam or Rehoboam, there is a Josiah somewhere. May God raise him up.

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Let’s think about other stuff for awhile. How about this stuff:

♦ I read that 653,237 people got married last year. Not to cause any trouble but shouldn’t that be an even number?

♦ America is a country which produces citizens who will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won’t cross the street to vote.

♦ Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

♦ My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.

♦ You’re not fat, you’re just…easier to see.

♦ If you think nobody cares whether you’re alive, try missing a couple of payments.

♦ My therapist said that my narcissism causes me to misread social situations. I’m pretty sure she was hitting on me.

♦ My 60-year kindergarten reunion is coming up soon and I’m worried about the 175 pounds I’ve gained since then.

♦ Denny’s has a slogan, “If it’s your birthday, the meal is on us.” If you’re in Denny’s and it’s your birthday, your life stinks!

♦ The pharmacist asked me my birth date again today. I’m pretty sure she’s going to get me something.

♦ The location of your mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can be in a robe before you start looking like a mental patient.

♦ Money can’t buy happiness, but it keeps the kids in touch!

Now, go have a nice day!

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I’ve learned…

Another anonymous person with a few years on him or her, and who knew how to say a lot in just a few words, wrote the following:

I’ve learned…that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned…that when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned…that just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.

I’ve learned…that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I’ve learned…that being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned…that you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned…that I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned…that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned…that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned…that simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned…that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve learned…that we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

I’ve learned…that money doesn’t buy class.

I’ve learned…that under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I’ve learned…that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I’ve learned…that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned…that love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned…that only smart people learn. 

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The way we were

To all of you who survived the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or 70’s as kids!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and tuna from a can—all while pregnant—and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with brightly colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a  special treat.  Sometimes if Dad was driving slowly on a seldom traveled back road, we’d even sit on the sides of the bed of the truck!

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because, we were always outside playing!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet at all…….

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

Playgrounds were for playing and learning how to get along—not for forming gangs and bullying and pushing kids around.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out any eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent taking up for us if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law and we paid for it with some heinie skin!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS!

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?!

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Book review

Great Lives, Great Deeds

80 brief biographies of outstanding men and women in history. Maybe the best book buy on the Net.

Published by Reader’s Digest Ass’n, 1964; 576 pages

Here’s a book that should be in every home. If I was marooned on an island and could have only five books, this would probably be one of them. I have given them as gifts. Since they are out of print, you can only find them used on the Net, most under $8. They are worth whatever the price. The stories are of the men and women who dared and did, who fought and won, with the kind of grit and grace which impacted the world and made a difference. In these pages is an education—history, geography, philosophy, science, music, language, civics, common sense—all this and more. You may cry a little, laugh a little, and for sure you will be inspired.

It was written before the cancel culture came along to deny our youth the opportunity to know about these great men and women. it’s not a religious tome, but there are a few included who were people of faith. It showcases the indomitable human spirit, desire that cannot be denied, and determination that can overcome any obstacle to achieve that which is worthy. I wish every teen had this book, although if their teacher or dean discovers that they have it, they might confiscate and burn it.

Get it. Read it to your young children. Require your teens to read it. Keep it on your nightstand and read it along with your BIble for motivation and inspiration.  –  JRE

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The most impacting book on my life

Someone asked me once what book, other than the Bible, has had the greatest impact on my life. The decision was difficult to make until I remembered a book that came into my hands in January 1965. Written by Gene Edwards, it was called How to Have A Soul Winning Church. It was timely for me. It had the “how to” for personal evangelism of that period, along with the inspiration to help individuals and churches follow through with effective programs. In other words, its burning pages were afire with both the mechanics and the dynamics of personal evangelism. I read most of it on my knees with tears in my eyes. I knew this was what God wanted from His church right then. I was never the same. Truth had grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. I made it my business to help those who cared to become the soulwinners they wanted to be.

What book stirred your soul to action? What book opened your eyes, shook your spirit, and wouldn’t turn you loose until you had surrendered to its message? Share it with me and I will share it with our readers in a future blog.

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The best soul winning aid produced in the last 25 years.

IHMLCoverInto His Marvelous LightOne hour Bible study

Only $1.75 each up to 49 copies, 1.50 each from 50-99 copies, and only 1.25 for orders IHML_GFL_Revisedof 100 or more. Follow-up study for new converts, Guide For Living, is the same price.

Still the best soulwinning tool you can use!

Order online at www.advanceministries.org/ or phone 936-537-0250.

 

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Words from our babies

“All I got for Christmas….”

 

“Long enough to figure that Covid-19 should be renamed the Common Core Virus because none of the math is adding up.” “Right, and something else…you know those fact-checkers didn’t exist until the truth starting gettin’ out!”

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The Last Word

“Give me a sense of humor, Lord,

Give me grace to see a joke;

To get some happiness from life

And pass it on to other folk.”

          -The Treasure Chest

Be true. Do the right thing. Stay free. Be saved.

Happy New Year!

JREnsey

Published in: on January 1, 2021 at 1:11 AM  Leave a Comment