Did You Know? #4

Religious hypocrisy is outward conformation without inward transformation.

If there is no inward transformation, there is no power to overcome sin and no power to obey God’s Word.

Do You Know Where You Are Going?

  • These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  I John 5:13  
  • Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also.  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:1-6
  • Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  John 10:25-29

The Haven of Rest

Long before I was saved, I was attracted to the hymn entitled The Haven of Rest.  I would often sing it to myself as a kid. I loved the tune as it ebbed and crested like the waves of the sea it talks about.  

Although I did not comprehend the message as a kid, I think the Lord listened to me sing it, and smiled at what He had in store for me.  The words are as follows:

  • My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea, So burdened with sin and distressed, Till I heard a sweet voice saying “Make Me your choice,” And I entered the haven of rest.
  • I yielded myself to His tender embrace, And faith taking hold of the Word, My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul.  The haven of rest is my Lord.
  • The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole, has been the old story so blest, Of Jesus, who’ll save whosoever will have A home in the haven of rest.
  • Oh, come to the Saviour, He patiently waits To save by His power divine.  Come, anchor your soul in the haven of rest, And say, “My Beloved is mine.”
  • Chorus: I’ve anchored my soul in the haven of rest.  I’ll sail the wide seas no more. The tempest may sweep o’er the wild stormy deep; In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

                                                             Written by Henry Gilmore, 1837 – 1920

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Hebrews 4:9&10

My Personal Testimony

My Testimony

I claim to be a Christian.  This is my personal testimony of how I came to the Lord.

Every Christian’s testimony is different, but the plan of salvation always includes the following:  the realization of the need to be reconciled to God; a conviction of sin; repentance (changing the mind); a willingness and desire to accept Jesus Christ as personal Saviour; belief in His death, burial, and resurrection; and faith in His merit alone. 

The following is how God worked in my life to bring me to salvation.

While growing up, I attended church with my family every time the doors were opened.  I was taught Bible stories and knew the plan of salvation from an early age.  I was baptized as a youth.  I served as janitor of the church, cleaning it every week with one of my siblings.  In addition, I mowed the church yard and shoveled the sidewalks.  I was in the youth group and sang in the church choir.  At times I even participated in church services, but through all of these things I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The fact that I did not have a relationship with Christ was manifested by my eagerness to sin as I struggled to get out from under my parent’s authority.  My life became characterized by the things done by those whom the Scriptures describe as being alienated from God, but I was having a great time or so I thought.

The difficulty with the sin (disobeying direct commands of Scripture) and having a great time participating in this lifestyle, was the emptiness left within.  While a student at a small college in the Midwest, I wrote the following: Love is eating away at my soul, and I can do nothing for its control.  I wish someone could help me, but no one can.  I’m destined to die a lonely man.

There were two things wrong with that statement.  First, it wasn’t love eating away at my soul, it was sin. Second, it wasn’t true that no one could help me, the Lord could.  He heard my cry, but He had to put me in a position where I would want His help.

The tragic deaths of four young men got my attention.  They died doing things that I had done under similar circumstances.  Something would happen to me, and then it would happen to one or two of these young men, resulting in death.  The first events were over a year apart, the second set of events were months apart, and the last events were just seven days apart.

When those last two young men died, a fraternity brother said to me: That was you and me last Friday night!  His words became the writing on the wall.  I wasn’t ready to die.

I knew something had to change in my life, but I wasn’t exactly sure what or how.  My sister was home for Christmas, so I asked her if I could go back to Florida with her after the holidays.  She consented after a couple of days of prayer!  I had no job, no money, and no wheels, so I attended church with her where I heard the plan of salvation again.

One night in the spring of 1973 I got on my knees beside my bed and read through the Romans Road in my Bible (see blog article entitled the same).  I admitted to God that although I knew how to be saved, my life gave no evidence that I had a relationship with Him through His Son.  I told God that I wanted to be saved, and it was then that He not only changed my heart, He began a work in me which would change my life. 

That is my testimony of how God brought me to Christ.  What is your testimony?

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.  II Corinthians 5:17


Religion Is Not Enough

This world is full of religion.  Religion is man’s plan for god.  Most of it involves some type of activity to please a god or some type of search to find a god.  Actually the one being pleased is man himself as he creates his own god to worship in his self will.

Every culture has intertwined into its roots, some sort of religious belief and practice meant to soothe and bring relief to man’s troubled conscience.  This religion pleases the people because it allows them to do something to secure their religious obligations and then quite often, to live as if there is no God at all.

This religion is not God centered.  It is man centered and it focuses on what man can do to secure his soul.  It is full of religious tradition and religious activity which is external and powerless.  Religion often parades in the clothing of Christianity.

Man is not seeking or searching for the true God.  Scripture tells us that “all we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned each one to his own way”, “there is none that seeketh after God, no not one.”   Even so, mankind knows there is a God.  The laws of God are written on man’s heart, so that he is without excuse.  Man loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil.

Religion is not a new problem.  It has been around since the beginning.  Cain worshiped God, but he did it his way.  He was rejected by God, because he brought the fruit of his own hands, showing that he did not accept God’s provision for his sin.

The Israelites had God dwelling among them with His presence manifested in the tabernacle and in the temple.  How quickly they turned their worship into a religion.  Their hearts grew cold and their worship external.  Through their self will and disobedience they incurred the judgment of God.

In Jesus’ day, Christ confronted the Jewish religious leaders concerning their outward religion.  They had pedigrees that they could trace back to Abraham.  They followed their religious traditions to the minuscule letter, but the Lord called them whited sepulchers (white washed tombs), full of dead men’s bones.  

These religious leaders knew the Scriptures.  The Pharisees even believed in the resurrection, but they did not have a personal relationship with God’s Messiah.  Instead they hated Jesus Christ, the very one the Old Testament scriptures prophesied would come and deliver them from their sins.  

They were the blind leaders of the blind.  They made every effort to discredit Christ, to frame Him and to kill Him.  

The Lord said to them, “And ye have not his (the Father’s) word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  Search the scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:38–40.

So what about you and I?   Do we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or are we just religious?

Our Church

My wife and I attend Heritage Baptist Church in North Sioux City, SD.  The church website is at heritagebaptistnorthsioux.com.   Messages by Larry Bunton, our teaching elder are available for listening and/or downloading at the website.

Would You Give Anything To Know God?

There is a song that I occasionally hear on the radio that says; Lord I want to know you, in its lyrics.  It is a beautiful song and is very moving.  It expresses a sentiment that I’m sure is shared by many believers, but it doesn’t really address the how to of knowing Him. 

Jesus gave some wonderful teaching and a marvelous promise concerning the “how to” of knowing God in John 14:21-23.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

They that love God live according to His word.  His promises and instruction in Scripture are precious and highly prized by those who love God and seek to obey Him.  

To those who keep His words, Jesus has promised to reveal Himself.  He not only promised to manifest Himself to believers, but He promised that He and God the Father will come to them, and abide with them.  

Would you give anything to know Him?  Do you really, really want to know Him?  You don’t have to climb a mountain.  You don’t have to sit out in the woods.  You don’t even have to find yourself.  All you need is a Bible, a willing heart and some quality time.  

Note: Make sure the Bible is a translation and not a paraphrase.




How Can It Be?

  • “O Saviour, as my eyes behold the wonders of thy might untold,
    The heavens in glorious light arrayed, the vast creation thou hast made,
    And yet to think thou lovest me – my heart cries out, how can it be?”
  • “As at the cross I humbly bow and gaze upon thy thorn crowned brow,
    And view the precious bleeding form by cruel nails so bruised and torn,
    To know thy suffering was for me, in grief I cry, how can it be?”
  • “How can it be?  How can it be?  Was ever grace so full and free!
    From heights of bliss to depths of woe, in loving kindness thou didst go,
    From sin and shame to rescue me, O Love Divine, how can it be?”
  • Chorus: “How can it be?  How can it be?  That God should love a soul like me?  O how can it be?”

                                                                   Avis B. Christiansen 1895 – 1985

What Do You Believe?


It is not hard for me to believe the Bible.   After all it claims to be God’s word.  Either it is or it isn’t.  I believe it is.  If you haven’t investigated for yourself, you’re making a foolish mistake.

By investigating for yourself, I do not mean that you collect other men’s opinions about it or you believe that whatever religious organization you belong to has the right idea about the Bible.

Investigating for yourself means you have personally read the Bible, seeking honest answers, and asking God to show you the truth.  

You owe it to yourself and to your children because, if it is true, your soul and the  souls of your children are at stake.  “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?”

A well known preacher, years ago, put it this way; “If you’re a gambling man, you would figure that there is a fifty per cent chance that I’m wrong about believing the Scripture.  If you choose not to believe and you’re wrong, you lose your soul, for eternity.  If I choose to believe and I’m wrong, I lose nothing.  I’ve lived a good life with few regrets.”  Who do the odds favor in this situation?  Are you willing to gamble with your soul?

The stakes are high; eternal life or eternal death.  The apostle Paul said, “To be absent from the body (for the believer), is to be present with the Lord.”  Eternal life starts when one trusts Jesus Christ and His merit alone as one’s only hope of salvation.  Eternal death is referred to in Scripture as eternal damnation or everlasting punishment.  

Something that is eternal does not start and stop, it never ends.  If one leaves this life without security in Christ alone, there is no hope according to the Scriptures.

Do you really believe this?  Have you warned anyone?  Have you warned your family, your friends, your neighbors, the people you rub shoulders with every day?  Do you live in such a way, that your life gives credibility to the message?  When a person truly believes something, it will show up in his or her life.

In Luke chapter 16 there is an account that Christ gave about the rich man and Lazarus.  Just before He gave this account, Christ addressed the Pharisees as follows: “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”  

In accord with their keeping up of appearances, the Pharisees most likely regarded the rich man as blessed of God.  The plight of Lazarus as the down and out beggar surely disgusted them.  He was a sinner and God was his judge.

The rich man fared well, dressed well and ate well.  Lazarus laid at his gate desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.  Moreover, it says, the dogs came and licked his sores.

 Lazarus died and went to heaven (Abraham’s bosom) while the rich man also died and was buried.  “And being in torments in Hades (hell), he lifted up his eyes……..then he cried and said…..send Lazarus that he may dip his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” 

Abraham replied; “…..between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.”   

The rich man then asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house, because he has five brothers; “…that he, Lazarus, may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.”

Abraham replied; “they have Moses and the prophets (Scripture); let them hear them.” 

The rich man countered; ”…but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” 

To which Abraham gave this final answer; “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets (Scripture), neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

So what are you waiting for; a sign, some miracle, a voice from heaven?………..Why not just read the Bible?

“For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

A Substitute

When it was discovered that our daughter had a mass in her chest that needed to be removed, I wanted to do for her what I think most parents would want to do for their child; I wanted to take her place.  I asked God for this.

Perhaps you may be thinking that this would be impossible.  I guess that would depend on who you worship.  I worship the living God; He who spoke the universe into existence and who holds it together by the word of His power.  

With man, such a request would be impossible but with God nothing is impossible.  All He had to do was to will it so, or to speak the word and it would be so.

I remember the day before our daughter’s surgery, consciously breathing in measured breaths to see if her symptoms were now mine.  On the day of her surgery there came a point where I realized that God was saying “no” to my request.  

This would be our daughter’s burden to bear. This would be her suffering to endure.  This is what God was going to use to continue the work in her life that He had begun when she became a Christian.

There has only been one other time in my life, that I can remember, when I prayed this way for someone.  The other individual, however, was not a believer.  He was terminally ill.  

I was willing to take his place if it would have allowed him more time to make things right with God.  I am saved.  I know that I have eternal life. The only thing better than death for a believer is the Rapture.

The apostle Paul said, For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; Romans 9:3&4.  

While I have a burden for the lost or unbelievers, I have not been able to say, as Paul did, that I could wish myself accursed on their behalf.  I have a long way to go in my spiritual growth.

I do, however, know the One who actually did that for us.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. I Corinthians 5:21.  

Jesus Christ took upon Himself the curse of our sin, paying our sin penalty and redeeming us, who believe, from the curse of the law. He took my place.  Will you accept that He took your place too? Will you accept God’s provision for your sin?

He was buried and rose again from the dead triumphant, offering salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life to all who would believe on Him and His merit alone for salvation.

The Lord’s love for us makes it possible for believers to intercede on the behalf of unbelievers and in so doing, become more like Him.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8.

Do you have questions? Get answers; Read Your Bible!