Category Archives: Thought for today

Discussion of Biblical truths, world events current and past, family etc.

BibleWorks 10 Review, Part Two

In this post, I’ll cover two features that I have come to appreciate and look forward to using more. They are the Search Window Tabs and the Forms Tab as indicated in this picture below. But first, I should mention that since my last post I have moved back to using a Mac, so these examples will be done with BW10 for Mac, essentially the same software and features but ported over and running via Wine for OSx.

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Bible Works 10 Running on my Mac

The Search Window Tabs allow you to switch between them while keeping your content of the search results, Browse Window and Resources opened and available where you have them. In the example above, I had switched from Tab #1 to Tab #2 and created a new search for ζωὴ so that I would not lose my place from the previous search.

The results of the new search are given down the left column as usual, where I can then select the verses I’m interested in investigating further. Each time I click on one of the search result verses, the Browse Window that I have open to the right of it repopulates with that selection in the three Bible versions (or any combination you want) that I have chosen to display. In this case, the ESV (English), BGT (Greek) and WTT (Hebrew) .

If I want to keep the results of my search and research open, I can leave it by simply clicking back to Tab #1 where I was looking at θεοῦ previously and had performed a search from the Forms Tab. See picture below.

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I can also start a new “workspace” at Tab #3 or #4 and so on, while leaving all my previous work open and ready to return. And I can rename the Tabs whatever I like, to be more descriptive or contextually relevant. So the Search Window Tabs are like individual workspaces, all within one BibleWorks session. Of course, you can also create various sessions dedicated to different things, such as a sermon series you are studying for, a certain book of the Bible or a class you are teaching. But you can only open one actual “session” at a time. So this Search Window Tabs feature is an exciting and simple but very practical capability that takes a different approach to Bible Software UIs.

Next let’s look at the Forms Tab, one of my favorites of BW10 and a real treat for those studying the original languages as a student or even as a teacher. I recall while teaching Greek last semester at Bible College, there were times when I simply did not know all the forms a word might have in the Greek New Testament, or those that it didn’t have. The simplest way I have seen to ascertain this information is right here in BW10. Hover over a word while the Forms Tab (the third column to the right as I have it set here) is open, and it will give you every occurrence of that word in all its forms with morphology and number of occurrences. I love this feature!

These examples are all in Greek for convenience, but the same holds true for Hebrew as well. See the picture below where I hover over οἶνος and get all its available forms in both the Old and New Testaments.

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From here, if I decide I want to look at those occurrences of οἶνος in the Genitive form, I simply click on the Genitive form as revealed in the Forms Tab column and BW10 will run a new search to show me every verse where οἶνος is in the Genitive form. That makes it extremely convenient and a very logical layout as far as a UI is concerned.

So that’s it. Those are two of the features I like a lot and hopefully this post gives you an idea of how you can use them. I’ll wrap this up here and keep it short. I’ll do my best to get the next post out a little sooner.


How to Deal with Porn Addiction

Red computer mouse with cable forming

I just left my office after meeting with a 19 year old young man that wants to be done with pornography. He’s just one of a multitude in the last four months who have come to me for help. I know so many brothers going the rounds in this fight that I couldn’t name them all if you paid me. It’s just too easy with the accessibility nowadays to find oneself in this destitute pit of perversion. When I am asked how to deal with porn addiction, there are three basic areas I focus on. There are more, but these are the heavyweights:

First, and most importantly, we need to cultivate a real hatred for what pornography does to the human heart. What it does to the lives of those on screen. The intangible yet very alive souls who have been taken captive in what is probably a career against their own volition. Perhaps kidnapped in sex trafficking, maybe black days of poverty thrust them into a quick dollar. Maybe perversion itself allured them. But ultimately, they are captives. And they have names, with mothers and fathers. They were once someone’s little girl. They have brothers and families and a maker who loves them and gave himself to redeem them. These images are more than mere pleasure agents whose existence was never purposed to satisfy our imagination let alone the meat-grinding industry into which they have been tossed by the enemy of their souls. Without a disgust for all that pornography represents and all the wreckage it leaves in the wake of our lives and the lives of these prisoners of the screen, we will never break the addiction. Such a godly hatred can be nurtured. And it must be cultivated.

Secondly, the barrier of embarrassment has been removed and must be replaced. Years ago, one had to clear the hurtle of being seen entering a smutty video store or purchasing a magazine at a sidewalk kiosk in broad daylight. But now, we just enter the false reality in the secret of our private room with no one but the cyberbots and our defiled consciences taking notice. We willfully shut out thoughts of our Lord whose presence, while unseen, is no less in attendance. Access is a big problem that needs to be cut out of the equation. Good will and self determination are not enough. New barriers need to be put into place, giving the Holy Spirit and our consciences the time needed to interact. The harder it is to reach, the longer it takes and the more time is given for conviction to set in and the soul to respond to God’s grace and prompting. Computers with their browsers and Phones and tablets with their plethora of apps must come under the management of another will, an accountability partner who has your genuine interest at heart. She or he will lock out your access with passwords and filters and if done properly, will follow up with routine checks on your devices.

Thirdly is a living, breathing accountability partner whose purpose is to be more than a name on an ideological list of uninvolved and unhelpful friends. Too often accountability partners are nominated but accountability is nowhere to be found. Addicts of porn need mentors who are difficult to look in the eyes and confess their deficiency to them. And those partners need to be proactive, not just an ear on the other end of the line waiting for confession to come after the wound has been reopened. They must initiate and counsel and exhort and encourage. Intentional meetings need to be put onto the calendar weekly. Yes, it’s a bit of handholding if you want to call it that. But the goal is to get them far enough away from the gravitational pull of this perverted vortex that they are able to walk in freedom and a healthy fear of the Lord who then makes these other steps redundantly unnecessary.

These three steps are my starting point. What are YOURS?

Spring Cyber Sale at CBD

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Cracker Jack Theology With a New Surprise in Every Package!

ImageToday I listened to yet another bible teacher lead countless thousands down a path lined with empty promises of prosperity, which have nothing to do with the biblical gospel, and which sadly continue to appeal to the greedy nature of millions that profess faith in Christ. Although he may have been quite sincere and convinced of the message he preached (The mimshach Anointing), sincerity and shouting are not the barometer for truth. His message was carefully crafted and craftily delivered. Seeing how there was no biblical support for nearly anything he said, he did not cite scripture. Instead, he turned to the aid of theatrics to convince the unsuspecting that the same anointing God had given to Lucifer was on Jesus and, is offered to us in the church today. This mimshach anointing is, according to this pastor in question, “intended to expand whatever we do until our success and prosperity reaches foreign lands and people are talking about us. Once understood and applied, this anointing will guarantee us success and we will become number one. Repeat after me, I will be number one!”

Those were his words, and I emphasize his, for they are so far removed from the biblical landscape that they could not be reached with a lunar probe. Does his sound like the biblical message to you? That we are to be number one? That others should be talking about us? That our kingdom should expand beyond foreign borders? Or how about just the fact that we have the anointing of Lucifer? That alone should be enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck. But instead of being disturbed as the pastor bounced up and down as if he were on an invisible pogo stick shouting, “I will be number one!” the crowd was overcome from head to toe with goose bumps of excitement at the idea of actually becoming a big shot in this world.

Now think hard before answering this question, how awkward would this pastor’s words sound if put into the mouth of Jesus, or the Apostles? Do you have difficulty imagining it? If you do, that’s good. If you don’t, then you need to start reading your bible a little more and listening to these preachers a little less. Wouldn’t a Christian want others to talk about Jesus, rather than herself, and Jesus to be number one rather than herself, and that God’s kingdom expand rather than her pocketbook? Where is Jesus glorified in this and to what faith, exactly, are people being called?

Anointing in Scripture is always connected to the task God has given to His servant in order to carry out His sovereign will in a particular task or role, and never for the servant’s self-gratification. And we had better well understand the limitations of our “anointing,” for when Saul overstepped his it cost him not just his kingdom but eventually his life also (1 Samuel 13:11-14). Even the Holy Spirit never takes the glory or promotes Himself or puts the attention on himself but always and exclusively exalts and promotes the Son of God (Jn 16:14).

Throwing in a Hebrew word like mimshach (meaning to anoint or spread oil on an object) may seem to add some authenticity to his message about expanding our kingdoms, a message swallowed only by those lacking the tools or the intention (or both) necessary to “test all things,” but in the end this careless misuse and abuse of Biblical words only confirmed the error of the preacher’s Cracker Jack theology. Simply reading Scripture in its context (which these fellows seldom seem to do) would remove all doubt as to the fallacy.

It is amazing to me that there should be any believer who, while having the gift of the Holy Spirit, at the same time would lack the accompanying discernment to see the falsity of these men (their sincerity granted) and their tantalizing doctrines within the prosperity movement. On the other hand, I (we) should not be entirely surprised, for the danger of deception and the reality of false teachers leading believers astray is repeatedly announced in the New Testament from Jesus through the apostles (Mt 7:13-20; Mt 24:4-5, 11, 24; Lk 21:8; Rom 16:18, 1 Cor 15:33; 2 Cor 11:3-13; Gal 2-3; Eph 5:6; 2 Thess 2:3-9; 1 Tim 1:3, 3:6-13; Tit 1:10; 2 Pt 2:1-15; 1 Jn 2:26; 4:1; 2 Jn 7). And seeing how man’s nature tends to go beyond mere survival instinct to outright self-centered covetousness, we might expect that the unbiblical message of the prosperity doctrine would appeal to millions. After all, their call to the multitudes is not one of repentance from sin and self-indulgence, but to turn away from failure and poverty so that we can be prosperous and boisterous. They do not preach the narrow road to life that few find and even fewer are willing to follow (Matt 7:13-14), but the ever widening road to riches which only the uninformed Christian could happily stumble upon and blindly follow.

We do not see Jesus or the Apostles in anyway teaching, or giving the example of a life style that believed the church had an anointing for prosperity. And no one in the early church practiced this ideology or even understood prosperity to be promised to those who are in Christ. On the contrary, the Christian hope has always been anchored in eternity and not in the shifting sand of this passing world (1 Jn 2:15-18). The teaching of Jesus and all of the New Testament is clear and replete with exhortation to a life of simplicity, suffering, self-sacrifice and self-denial.  We are told to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and follow Jesus (Matt 16:24), not to promote ourselves in self-proclaimed exaltation like pastor Chris tells us. Consider these words of Paul to Timothy, and examine the message of these prosperity preachers in light of them, in particular v.v.6-10:

1Tim. 6:3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

I could go on and on with Scripture that speaks against both the teachers of such a doctrine and the need for correction to those of an unhealthy attitude towards finances. Please understand that I am not here making an appeal for poverty or stating that material blessing should never happen, or that wealth is inherently evil. But I am saying that God blesses whom he choses with what he chooses, there is no “formula,” and the prosperity doctrine is unbiblical, unsafe and unacceptable. It is abuse of the precious Word of God, and because of this kind of “fleecing of the flock” and shameful disregard for God’s message, the way of truth is maligned exactly as the Apostle Peter said (2 Peter 2). Be sure to read Peter’s words on this, you’ll be shocked at the accuracy of his description to many of today’s tele evangelists. I have much more to say about this subject, but I’ll save it for a future post.  For now, if you are still unconvinced there is anything wrong with the prosperity movement, leave your answers to these following questions in a comment on this blog:

  1. Where in Scripture do we see Jesus either teaching, or living anything remotely close to the prosperity doctrine?
  2. Where in Scripture do we see any prophet or apostle teaching or living anything remotely close to the prosperity doctrine?
  3. Where in Scripture do we see any Christian in the early church teaching, encouraging or living anything remotely close to the prosperity doctrine?

Friends, beware of Cracker Jack theology. Test the spirits to see if they are from God (1 Jn 4:1). Test everything and hold fast what is good (1 Thess 5:21).

Is There a Place for Apologetic Ministry Within and Without the Church?

ImageSeemingly irreconcilable conflicts are inherent to opposing world views, and at the center of them is Christianity. Often assumed is the specious idea that faith and reason are mutually exclusive. And this illusion is not going away in the foreseeable future. From this we learn that our objective as Christians is two-fold. On one hand, we must minimize the currently surmounting confusion in the skeptical mind by offering answers to difficult questions, while at the same time demonstrating to all that faith and reason needn’t be reconciled, for they are friendly neighbors in the biblical system of thought. In this series I will attempt to accomplish both of these objectives by way of a  limited case study I conducted recently. Firstly, I will identify the three most common questions raised by twelve people I interviewed. Secondly, I will interpret the cause of the questions. Thirdly, I will answer them. And finally, I will discuss the solutions that I believe best address the root of these issues.

1.1. What is going on in my church/community?

The questions that have come to me through my interviews in and out of our church community are numerous, but there are common threads that connect them and which allow me to narrow them down to three primary categories. They are 1.) the problem of sin, 2.) the problem of suffering in the world, and 3.) the problem of freewill.

1.1.1. The Problem of Sin

Pertaining to sin, the questions were about what it is and why it exists. Specifically, why did God give man the potential to sin, or at least after sin entered the world, why didn’t God simply eradicate it? Must sin continue as the cause of so much trouble today? One interviewee preceded Adam’s fall (Gen 3:6) with a question about Lucifer’s creation and his eventual banishment from heaven (Isa 14:12). Why did God create Lucifer if He knew that he would fall into sin, lead a celestial rebellion, and consequently become the great tempter and catalyst to man’s sin? Immediately following this came the logical perplexity for why God didn’t destroy Satan immediately. Because these questions all are so closely related to one another in that they deal with sin’s nature and origin, I have put them together under the single heading “The Problem of Sin,” which I will discuss shortly.

1.1.2. The Problem of Suffering

The problem of suffering, and why there is so much of it, must be the single most popular criticism against the existence of an omnipotent and loving God. Permeating this topic were similar questions pointing to specific instances of suffering, such as war, famine and sickness. The troublesome part for most of those interviewed was not so much why suffering exists, per se, but rather if God is all-powerful and good, why don’t we see Him doing anything about it? Once again, given the related nature of these questions, I have chosen to place them together under the single heading “The Problem of Suffering.”

1.1.3. The Problem of Freewill

Interestingly enough, this last question, “Does man have a free will?” is in a sense more of a doctrinal issue than it is apologetic. Doctrinal because it rises from the face of Scripture specifically, but still apologetic because some atheists (i.e. Sam Harris) deny that man has a free will at all. Human beings are nothing more than animalistic machines with refined behavior. Therefore I believe it is fitting to address the problem of free will here, within the context of an apologetics study, for two primary reasons. First, because it was a common enough question asked in the interviews for this case study. Second, and perhaps most importantly, because freewill lies very much at the crux of the other two questions listed, the “Problem of Sin” and the “Problem of Suffering.”

In my next post, part two of this three-part series, I will address the eyeopening socio-cultural influence behind these questions, which inevitably overflows into the context of church life. Stay tuned and let me know what uThink!

Part Two of “Abraham’s Bosom; The ‘Holding Place’ for Old Testament Believers?”

In this second installment I want to address two of three remaining questions. My next post, the third and final, will cover thoroughly the last question which was raised by Dejan in a comment to part one “Abraham’s Bosom; The ‘Holding Place’ for Old Testament Believers?”. Because his question will require some word studies in the Greek and biblical exegesis of the entire passage of Ephesians 4, I felt it was best to isolate it. This post would  become too large otherwise. If you’re curious, Dejan’s question has to do with the typical Scriptural references used to support the teaching of Abraham’s bosom as a place of captivity until Christ’s death and resurrection (Ephesians 4:8-10; Luke 16:22).

The transfiguration of Christ is the next point I want to put on the table in this discussion, for it presents a serious logical and theological problem for the doctrine of Abraham’s bosom. If, as many suggest, all believers were held captive there prior to Christ “setting them free”, then what were Moses and Elijah doing on the mountain, talking with Jesus, Peter, James and John (Matthew 17:3)? Apparently they both were free to appear and not at all in “captivity” waiting for release. And remember, Jesus hadn’t yet died nor resurrected.

What was the physical state of Moses and Elijah as we can tell from Scripture?  Elijah, as mentioned in part one, was taken away alive by a whirlwind into heaven (2 King 2:11). This is very likely an Old Testament type of the rapture to come (1 Thess 4:17). Now the text says he was taken to heaven, and I believe that to mean not the sky itself but the spiritual realm of God’s throne as described in Revelation, and, which is the destiny of every believer (Col 1:5). This is reasonable because Elijah, as Abraham and every other Old Testament saint, was justified by faith in God’s promise, looking forward in belief though the messiah hadn’t yet come (Rom 4:3; Gal 3:6). I explained this point more in “Abraham’s Bosom; The ‘Holding Place’ for Old Testament Believers?”.

Notice that Elijah’s rapture was before the cross of Christ, yet he was taken away into heaven. If Elijah was not taken to heaven, the only other option would be Abraham’s bosom or hell. We can rule out hell pretty easily. Now we’re left with Abraham’s bosom. Why sweep away a prophet to put him in a holding place? The entire picture of his rapture points to a glorious climax, not to a halfway point in the spiritual domain. The whole event becomes senseless if he wasn’t taken to heaven as the text says, and it certainly is not a picture of the rapture at that point. If he was taken to heaven, but other men and women of faith had to wait for Calvary, we have inconsistency with God’s standard, and that is not like his character.

As for Moses, we know he went the way of all men and died a physical death. God buried him but we don’t know where (Deuteronomy 34:5-7). The next we know of Moses he appears on the mount of transfiguration.

Last, but not least, consider the discussion between Jesus and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39–43). Jesus tells him that he will be with him that very day in paradise. This statement alone declares:

1. The thief to be justified at that very moment on the basis of faith in Christ prior to his death.

2. Jesus was about to enter paradise that day, not hell (as some teach without biblical merit) nor Abraham’s bosom (Luke 23:43). Although, we should recall that in part one we noted Abraham’s bosom was simply a synonym for heaven according to the Jews.

In part three, we’ll take a detailed look at the Scripture references often cited to support the doctrine of Abraham’s bosom.

Thanks for keeping up with us on uThinkology. And remember, you are what uThink!

Abraham’s Bosom; The ‘Holding Place’ for Old Testament Believers?

It has been called the waiting chamber for those who believed and looked forward to the Messiah with redeeming faith, but nonetheless died before the messiah came. Therefore, they needed to remain in an in-between state that was neither in heaven nor in hell. That is, until redemption was accomplished by Jesus. After the cross they were freed to pass on to heaven. It’s an interesting hypothesis. But is Abraham’s bosom a holding place for the Old Testament saints (Luke 16:22)? We should consider a few points here before we jump to that conclusion.

Firstly, we have cases like Enoch and Elijah who were taken by the Lord in a sudden nature, Elijah in particular being carried away into heaven in a very spectacular manner (Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11). It would seem rather odd and without basis however, if they were carried away only to be placed into a “holding tank.”

Now someone might speculate that these were exceptions and the Lord chose to bypass the chronological need for the cross to happen. But this presents a serious, twofold problem. For one, this would not be consistent in the very argument made by those who declare that the cross had to be accomplished before the faith of Old Testament saints could be honored. Secondly, and more importantly, it fails to reflect the just nature of the Lord. Why would a few individuals be taken to heaven while others needed to await Calvary? Were these cases just worthier while others were not? Again, not the message we derive from the Bible.

Another point I’d like to make is that if Abraham’s bosom held any theological importance to salvation, or the afterlife, I believe the Bible would discuss it more than just the one isolated reference given in parabolic form (Luke 16:22). Therefore, if we promulgate Abraham’s bosom as a place somewhere between heaven and hell, being neither in actuality, then we are as guilty as those who teach purgatory based on the brief mention of fire (1 Cor 3:15) in the context of a believer’s judgment. Purgatory was not Paul’s point there either, rather the ‘burning up’ was a metaphorical description of the closeness to the total loss one may have in a fire. All possessions could be lost (in this passage the rewards of the believer) but the life of the individual survives (the eternal life of the believer). In the case of Jesus referencing Abraham’s bosom, this is first of all a parable, not intended to be foundational in building the doctrine of atonement before or after the cross.

Generally speaking, Abraham’s side was descriptive among Jews as the place of rest, comfort and joy, i.e. heaven. And Jesus’ discourse in Luke 16 was intended to communicate justice and retribution in the judgment that will be served to all after death, even the rich and powerful will be helpless before the Lord. For more of a Messianic, Jewish perspective on New Testament studies, the Jewish New Testament Commentary: A Companion Volume to the Jewish New Testament is excellent!

Some of you may disagree with me, and I would sincerely like to hear your thoughts on this subject in either case. But my position is that Abraham’s bosom simply refers to paradise. Consider this verse where Jesus says Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in the kingdom of heaven:

“I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11)

I further retain that the Old Testament “believers” were saved in the same manner that we are. By faith. Indeed, Abraham is called the father of all believers, for he believed the promise of ‘his seed’ and it was accounted to him as righteousness (Rom 4:3). This was long before the cross happened in time. And faith in God and His work is the only requirement the Lord ever places on man.

Take it from this perspective. The cross stands at a central point on the time-line of history. All believers since the cross look backwards to that moment. But the men and women of the Old Testament had to look forward into the future. Nevertheless it is the same event for both and the looking is done in faith (chronological direction bears no weight in the consequence). I might even argue that Old Testament faith of this nature was greater, for the event hadn’t even happened yet. We on the other hand, are able to stand on an historical moment in time, looking back in the knowledge that it has already happened. Nonetheless, we all look by faith. Click here for part two.

What do uThink?