My Friend Just Died, And This Is What His Daughter Wrote

EndOfLesMiserables

My friend David Serry just died. This is what his daughter Amy wrote.

My dad died last night.

*********
This is going to be Continue reading

Charles Manson, Books, and Christ: Genuine Seeker (Part 8)

Why do I doubt God

The Book That Changed The Lives of Charles Manson and Warren Buffett

Before he became a mass murderer, Charles Manson was in prison for grand theft auto. He needed something to do to pass the time so he took courses based on a book. The book showed him how to get people to do what you want (even if it’s a heinous act of bloodshed) by convincing them it was their own idea. Lee Iacocca credits the same book for launching his career. So does Lyndon B. Johnson. So does Warren Buffett. A psychopath, a president, and one of the richest men in the world: they all say their lives were changed dramatically, by the same book. Continue reading

The Cross with Billy Graham, LeCrae, and Lacey Sturm

I’m always on the lookout for great videos and sadly, so many of them are yawners. Which is why I was surprised at the impact and quality of this one. Especially after the 5 minute mark where we hear two great stories about 34 year old LeCrae and 32 year old Lacey Sturm. You’ll want to check it out.

The Cross, with Billy Graham, LeCrae, and Lacey Sturm.

This could be the last significant communication we see from Billy Graham.

So Your Life Is Falling Apart

How do I become a ChristianSo your life is falling apart. I know, you lost something. You lost your job, or you lost your wife in a divorce, or you lost your father, mother, son, or daughter because they died, or you lost your health. So now you’re in pain, and not the kind that an aspirin can help you with. You’re in the kind of pain that makes you realize you need help–from God.

Well I’m here to tell you some things you’ve probably never heard before about becoming a Christian. You want God’s help, so you’re ready to ask Jesus Christ into your life, but you probably don’t realize what you’re in for. It’s not like you’re buying a gold fish for yourself, throwing him into a bowl of water, and feeding him once a day. Yes Jesus can help you, but remember, He’s the One Who created you. He’s the One Who created the whole world, and more than the world He created the sun and the whole solar system. And more than the solar system, He created the whole galaxy. And more than the galaxy, He created the whole universe. He created quarks, and black holes, and oceans, and mountains, and atoms, and electrons, and clouds, and comets. When you invite Him into your life, yes, you get His help, but along with the power to help you, you get the rest of His power too. He will willingly walk with you through your pain, if you’re brave enough to willingly walk with Him. It takes courage to invite that kind of power into your life.

Another thing about Him: His standards are impossibly high, and you’ll never live up to those standards. Like all of us, you realize you’ve failed in your life. At one time or another, maybe very recently, you’ve lied, or you’ve stolen, or you’ve lusted, or you’ve broken a promise. Other religions try to teach you how to live, but with Christ, God provides you with life. God of course knows about your sins. So God provided His Son Jesus, to die for those sins, on your behalf. Jesus is life. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

You have access to that life, to eternal life, to new life. You have access to Jesus Christ. You can not only experience God’s presence while walking in your pain, but you can experience God’s presence forever. You can live, with Him, in heaven. In fact, God says: If you don’t want to live with Me in heaven, it will have to be over My dead body–the dead body of My Son. If you accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for your sins, if you accept Jesus Christ into your life, if you ask Jesus Christ into your heart, to be your savior, and your Lord, and your friend, then you’ll receive God’s presence in this life, and in eternity.

To accept Him now as your personal Lord and savior simply say the prayer,

Jesus, I’m a sinner. I believe you died on the cross to pay for my sins and I thank you for doing that. I believe you rose again and that you are the Son of God. Please come into my life and into my heart. Be my Lord and my Savior.

The words aren’t magical, what’s important is you opened your heart to invite Jesus into your life. And that’s the beginning.

Now find yourself a bible and read it. (I recommend these bible reading plans on the YouVersion App) Don’t worry about how much you read. Just be sure to read a little from the Old and New Testaments each day.

Find yourself a church that teaches through the entire Bible and attend it. Hang out with other Christians–you’ll be blessed.

Pray, every day.

Tell others about Jesus.

If you have questions, send me an email at kurt@kurtbennettbooks.com.

[Image via Tim Li – Creative Commons]

George Wilson Refuses Pardon from Death Penalty

Today, Good Friday, the day we commemorate the death of Christ on the cross, our pastor shared the story of George Wilson. He was charged with “robbing the mail and putting the life of the carrier in jeopardy.” (United States v. Wilson, 7 pet. 150 1833) And was sentenced to hang. But fortunately for George there was a saving grace. The U.S. President pardoned him.

Strangely though, George Wilson refused the pardon. Chief Justice John Marshall had to decide the case and found:

“A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.” (United States v. Wilson, 7 pet. 150 1833)

George Wilson, against the President’s will, was hanged.

You, and I, and every other living person on the planet find ourselves in the same position as George Wilson. God’s standard is perfection. If you have any doubt of that just read Christ’s teaching from the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew Ch 5) With that unattainable standard in place, every one of us falls short, every one of us is found guilty.

But, fortunately, like the case of George Wilson, there’s a saving grace. Yes you and I are guilty, yes you and I are sentenced to hell for it, but, God has pardoned us. He’s provided the sacrifice of His Son in your place, and in my place, and in the place of every person on earth, to provide for us a pardon from our guilt.

You have only to accept it.

You can go to hell, God says. But if you do, you’ll have to do it over My dead body — over the dead body of Jesus Christ.

Rejecting His sacrifice on your behalf is like Wilson’s rejection of the President’s pardon.

Accept His pardon.

There’s just no reason to hang back.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 3:17-18

References:

Bible Gateway

United States v. Wilson, 7 pet. 150 1833

Jon Courson

Genesis 3:20-24 — he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 20-24

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (v. 20) Interestingly in January of 1987, three scientists, Rebecca L. Cann, Mark Stoneking, and Allan C. Wilson published an article in the journal Nature that announced that everyone in the human race descended from one mother. They called her Eve. Now they’ll argue about when she existed, and where she resided, but isn’t it remarkable that even science today recognizes that all of the human race is descended from one mother? I believe that over time, as scientific methods improve, science may ultimately confirm the accuracy of the bible.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (v. 21) God, in His grace and mercy, clothed Adam and Eve, not for His benefit, for Hebrews 4:13 says, Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. But God in His grace clothed Adam and Eve for Adam and Eve’s sake. Close your eyes and envision with me that your going out into the woods, finding fig leaves or leaves of any kind for that matter, and attempting to clothe yourself with them. Obviously it was a pathetic attempt made by Adam and Eve then, and still today, whenever you or I attempt to cover our sin in our own energy, it’s feeble at best.  God had to do it, God had to clothe Adam and Eve after their sin. God offers to clothe us today. He provided His Son and offers Him to us so that we can be clothed with His righteousness if we but ask. (Isaiah 61:10, Revelation 3:20)

Now close your eyes again and imagine with me what Adam and Eve saw when they turned to look back as they left the Garden. There at the East side of the Garden they saw the bloody remains of the animals that were sacrificed so that they could be clothed, and they saw cherubim standing over the sacrifice. It’s interesting that later we see the same picture of cherubim and sacrifice in the tabernacle, and then again in the temple, and then again at the empty tomb where two angels would stand post over the slab stained with the blood of Jesus Christ. Animals were sacrificed to clothe Adam and Eve and Jesus died died for your sin and for my sin because, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22) Sin requires sacrifice.

And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (v. 22-24)

Thank God for driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden and blocking the physical way to the tree of life. Can you imagine what it would be like to live forever in this world polluted by sin? Apparently God could. His grace and mercy continues in that He found a way to limit the pain from all of the sin, guilt, shame, and destruction that all of humanity would endure after the fall of man. Because Adam and Eve no longer had access to the tree of life they would, mercifully, die after a time and enter into their rest.

Since the fall, the way, the physical way, to eternal life with God has been cut off.

But in His grace God provided another way. Only one way, and not a physical way, but a way none the less. Jesus said,

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Jesus is the way. Find Him and you’ll find the way to eternal life with God.

Go to Join Christ’s Family to learn how.


 

References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

In Christ Alone

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Chuck Missler

Nature.com

Jon Courson

Genesis 3:14-19 — Because you have done this…

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 14-19

In the last post we learned about three of the consequences of sin: self centeredness, separation from God, and the blaming of others. Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God after their sin. Of course that didn’t change anything. You can’t hide from God. (Jeremiah 23:24, Psalm 139:7-12, Isaiah 29:15-16, Amos 9:2) Unfortunately, those three consequences were just the beginning of the repercussions that resulted from the sin in the garden. In fact the very next verse after where we left off ends with God saying, “Because you have done this…” (v. 14) Additional consequences include…


Affliction

“Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” (v. 14) In the beginning, the serpent wasn’t limited to slithering. In the beginning, the serpent didn’t have to eat dust every day. In the beginning, the serpent didn’t look like a snake. In Matthew 18:6 Jesus said that, “…if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” The serpent caused God’s original children to sin, and he paid dearly. Even in the millennium described in Isaiah chapter 65, after the world is restored to a Garden of Eden like condition, the serpent will continue to eat dust. (Isaiah 65) Sin is debilitating. Sin changes the way we walk. When we sin, rather than walking uprightly, we crawl around. Afflicted by sin we slither, snake, sneak, and squirm. We worm, wriggle, and writhe our way. Sin changes the way you move through life.


Enmity

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (v. 15) Sin causes enmity. The most common casualty of sin is a relationship, between a husband and wife, between friends, between family. This verse also speaks of the struggle that would ensue from this point forward between good and evil. Most importantly this verse refers to Eve’s seed. This is a rather curious reference because women of course don’t have any seed, women receive seed from men. Normally when God refers to seed in the Bible He’s talking about the seed of a man. Of course every woman needs the seed of a man to conceive a child. Every woman except one, Mary, the one, the only one, who miraculously conceived without the seed of a man. This verse is a prophetic verse that speaks of Jesus’ glory and victory. Mary’s seed would ultimately have victory over that evil one. Mary’s seed did ultimately crush the head of Satan when Jesus defeated Satan on the cross.


Pain

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (v. 16) As a result of Eve’s sin, birth, the very act that brings joy into our lives, and the very act that continues the human family can now only come with pain. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Sin causes pain — the pain of regret, the pain of guilt, the pain of shame. Things God never intended to cause pain, things God intended to be nothing but a blessing are broken by sin.


Toil

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. (v. 17) First of all this is a great reminder that as men, it can be so easy sometimes to listen to our wives, other family, or friends, to go along to get along, even when we should really be listening to God. Before we listen to our wives, before we listen to anyone, we need to listen to God and put His word first. Also notice that Adam’s work changed at this point. In the Garden of Eden he was blessed with the work of tending a garden that responded to his touch in ways that we can only imagine. But as a result of his sin Adam had to, and you and I have to, earn our way through painful toil. Because of the fallen state of the world, everyone now must deal with thorns and thistles in their work life. (v. 18)


Death

“Because you have done this,” (v. 14) “…dust you are and to dust you will return.” (v. 19) And there it is, Satan was wrong after all, Adam and Eve and the rest of the human race would from that point forward return to dust. As God said in Genesis 2:17, “…you will surely die.” (see previous post You will surely die) But even before their physical death, Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death the moment they sinned against God. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, when the son repents and returns to the Father, the Father says in Luke 15:24, For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. When we sin, from God’s perspective, we experience a spiritual death. And no one’s perspective is more important than God’s. Of course sin also causes the death of relationships — the death of a marriage, the death of a family relationship, or the death of a friendship.

For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23)


What a terrible, terrible mess sin makes in the end. Self centeredness, separation form God Himself, blaming behavior, affliction, enmity, pain, toil, and ultimately, death result every time — spiritual death and the death of relationships. Dear reader, please understand what’s happening here in our story. Sin isn’t bad because it’s forbidden. Sin is forbidden because it’s bad. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for me. Because God loves us He has identified for us what sin is and He forbids us to engage in it. God forbids it because sin destroys you.

And He doesn’t stop there. Even beyond His efforts to keep us from sin, God loves you so much that He’s provided a way for you to reconcile yourself to Him in spite of your sin. Did you know that the only place in the entire Bible where God is seen running is in the parable of the Prodigal Son? In Luke 15:20 Jesus said, “…while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Perhaps you’ve recently decided to change your life but you’re still “a long way off.” God earnestly desires reconciliation with you. He’s given His only Son as a sacrifice for every sin you and I have ever committed, are committing, or will ever commit.

Accept Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for your sins. Go to this link: So Your Life Is Falling Apart.

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

Romans 6:23



References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Jon Courson