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Identity and Purpose

In photography, the basic elements in creating an image are subject and exposure. You cannot have only one; both are required. The way to identify a photographic image is to observe subject and exposure combined. See image.

Have you ever struggled with finding your identity and purpose in life? Have these been illusive concepts for you at times? Perhaps the dilemma is not in the questioning but rather in the unbiblical presuppositions that you have as to the nature of the answers to the question. If we, as believers in Christ, view identity and purpose from a secular world view, we will always be left confused and self-focused. If, however, we effectually embrace our calling from what the scripture teaches, we will be God-focused and will leave the entanglement of the foolish pursuit of self actualization behind.

In the book of Hebrews, the writer makes the argument that the two essential characteristics of the Lord, Jesus, are that He is both king and priest. This means that he is the sovereign God as well as the mediator between God and man. Jesus holds a dual office simultaneously. This teaching is critical to understanding the Gospel. If Christ is not both king and priest, we have no hope of salvation. This doctrine is dealt with in other portions of scripture. The Gospel of Matthew focuses on the kingship of Christ. The Gospel of Luke focuses on the priesthood of Christ. In addition, the Old Testament book of Zechariah made prophetic claims that describe this very teaching.

Zechariah 6:13, “Yes, it is He (Jesus) who will build the temple of the Lord, (the church) and He will bear the honor and sit and rule (king) on His throne, and the counsel of peace (priest) will be between the two offices. (king and priest)”

So what is the implication of all of this for the believer? Once we have established this Christology, what is next? What does the Bible then teach regarding our salvation?

Revelation 1:5b-6a, states, “To Him who loved us and released us from our sins by His blood—and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.”

Here, we see the answer. Every believer in Christ is called and placed into His kingdom; the church. This is our identity! And, every believer is made to be a priest to God. This is our purpose!

To be in the kingdom of God, we share in the inheritance and hope of all who are justified by the blood of Christ. To be priests of God, we share in the free access to God and in the call to be servants of Christ. Another way to see this is that we have received grace to be adopted into the kingdom of God and we produce works of faith as result of that truth!

Thus, the way to identify a true Christian is to observe their place in the church and the manifestation of their holiness in the Lord.

The secularist will insist that you must find yourself. “I had to believe in myself,” is the common refrain from those who talk about recent accomplishments. The production of a goal oriented lifestyle that adheres to the definitions of humanistic identity and purpose is the religion of many. Christians are free from these concerns. We no longer have to be bound by worldly ambitions. We no longer have to be held back in the blurry fog of “finding yourself.” Rather, in all you do, do all to the glory of Christ!

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5


The Law of Attraction VS The Law of God

Visual attraction and the laws of photography are symbiotic. Both are necessary to produce images that speak to the soul and artistic affections of the viewer. See image.

One new-age concept is known as the law of attraction. This is a belief that a person can control the outcome of their life through mind-control. This philosophy, however, can never rightfully assimilate into the law of God.

Here is the definition from Wikipedia: “The law of attraction is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. The belief is based on the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and that through the process of “like energy attracting like energy” a person can improve their own health, wealth and personal relationships. Advocates of this mind-power paradigm generally combine cognitive reframing techniques with affirmations and creative visualization to replace limiting or self-destructive (“negative”) thoughts with more empowered, adaptive (“positive”) thoughts. A key component of the philosophy is that in order to effectively change one’s negative thinking patterns, one must also “feel” (through creative visualization) that the desired changes have already occurred. This combination of positive thought and positive emotion is believed to allow one to “attract” positive experiences and opportunities by achieving resonance with the proposed energetic Law.”

Does this sound like biblical teaching? No! But, are you surprised to know that this mirrors the health and wealth “gospel” that is being propagated by such false teachers as Joel Olsteen? This teaching is often gleefully followed and delivered with zeal, but it is not found in God’s Word. Further, it is regrettably treated by secularists as a victory over orthodoxy in support of their claims that all offensive religious fanaticism is to blame for the ills of society. In essence, they find no fault in religious teachings that neither threaten nor convict them. This humanistic philosophy combines the delusion of name-it-and-claim-it, with the power of positive thinking and with the heresy that God wants people to enjoy earthly prosperity in all facets of life. You just need to have “enough faith!” These shameful beliefs are taking over the lives of countless religious people who would say they are Christians, but base their lives on these anti-biblical teachings! In the visible church today, these people have been blinded by church leaders who promote the tolerance of all worldly oppositions to scripture based on their own self-righteous, biblically illiterate and self-absorbed love of this world.

This tragedy is a product of postmodern philosophy which refutes absolutes. Those who proclaim their allegiance to this argue that Biblical truth is not quantifiable. They believe any law, principle or doctrine of scripture which runs against the grain of their “enlightened” sensibilities, must be rejected with extreme prejudice. Of course this is not a new phenomena; rather a repackaging of an ago-old attack against orthodox Christianity. Jonathan Edwards in his book, The Religious Affections said the following during a time of revival in New England during the mid-1700s, “There is indeed something very mysterious in it, that so much good, and so much bad, should be mixed together in the church of God.” He continued saying that the church always contains, “mixtures of corruption, counterfeit religion, false appearances of grace” mixed with “true religion and true holiness.” Edwards then encapsulates the conflict produced by false religion. “He (Satan) in many ways damps and wounds religion in the hearts of the saints, obscures and deforms it by corrupt mixtures, causes their religious affections woefully to degenerate, and sometimes for a considerable time to be like the manna that bred worms and stank; and dreadfully ensnares and confounds the minds of others of the saints, and brings them into great difficulties and temptations, and entangles them in a wilderness out of which they can by no means extricate themselves.”

The Apostle Paul states in Galatians that love is the fulfillment of the law. This has been twisted by liberal “christians” to be interpreted that only love wins! (Rob Bell) While it is true that love is a fruit of the Spirit and necessary for godliness, the law is its tutor. The law brings us to Christ. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law; not to abolish it. (Matthew 5:17) Yes, sinners are saved and justified by grace through faith alone; but the law of God remains. (Romans 3:28, 31) The Spirit of God uses His truths to sanctify His people. (Romans 7:7) To claim Christ and then deny the efficaciousness of His Word is to not have Christ at all. The other extreme is also true. Paul chastised the Galatian churches for adding anything to grace. For instance, the Lutheran church adds baptism and communion to grace. To claim Christ and then add any requirement to the power of grace through faith alone for salvation is to follow another gospel! “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4) This seems like a harsh indictment, but the understanding and implications of true saving grace is critical for the advancement of the gospel in the hearts of saints and new converts alike.

There is much counterfeit Christianity. Don’t be seduced by the temptation to believe in false doctrine. Do not add any work to grace. Be critical of all forms of sensational, religious experiences. Reject the counterfeit religion of Jesus plus the prosperity “gospel.” Search the scriptures. Learn the whole counsel of God. Listen to Godly preachers. Walk in the Spirit. Pray for wisdom. Live in humility. Obey God’s Word. Trust the Lord. Let the love of Christ rule in your hearts.

“Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding wordy and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called knowledge which some have professed and thus gone away from the faith. Grace be with you.” 1 Timothy 6:20-21


Veils of the True Gospel

As an avid creation photographer, I wait all year for the transformation of the forest leaves during Fall. See image. It is obvious that no one would question or refute the fact of the metamorphosis of this time of year. The turning of leaves is a consistent, annual occurrence built into creation by God.

For the true Christian, God’s Word should remain even more consistent; more sure; more reliable as to it’s very nature and truth. Mournfully, for many Christians, the Word of God can be relegated, far from it’s perfect intent, to lowly positions of human assumptions, mis-interpretations, false-teachings and even unapologetic heresy.

The Apostle Paul addressed an assault on the unchanging truths of God in his letter to the Galatian churches. He writes, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel.” (Galatians 1:6) The problem was that these people were falling under the delusion of a heresy that taught that they must perform works to enable their salvation. The very definitions of grace and justification were being maligned by infiltrating, false teachers who exhibited a form of religious godliness but by denying it’s power source, they subsequently denied the truth of God. (2 Corinthians 11:13, 2 Timothy 3:5)

The gospel is clearly portrayed in scripture as being given by God as a free gift of faith. (Ephesians 2:8) Humanistic attacks against God’s truths have plagued the church for centuries. Paul uses the word “bewitched” to describe the grave predicament that the people were under by redefining grace. This proves that a person can be saved and yet, subsequently, live in bondage to a false form of the gospel! (2 Corinthians 1:3) Even churches today, who state that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, teach errors with regard to how people are saved from sin. These false beliefs become a blinding veil over the hearts of many Christians. While the law was meant to lead people to salvation and to the true knowledge of Christ, it is not required to produce saving faith. This doesn’t mean that we do not follow the law! Rather, those who live by faith through grace have, by the Spirit, the law written on their hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3) But, we cannot add either behavioral works: i.e. God’s moral law, or functional actions: i.e. baptism or communion; to merit the grace of God.

Of course, this is not the only veil of doctrinal confusion to infiltrate the church. An astute observation of our culture will reveal the mass production of the cult of moral liberalism which bows at the altar of self-righteousness. This is the secular religion whose main tenet is the denial of the conscience. In essence, this is a war against the law of God. By denying the existence of God, they regard as fools anyone who would claim a biblical standard of morality. Grievously, there are some in the church who subscribe, at least in part, to this philosophy. It is ironic that a ubiquitous bewitchment of many believers would also be the result of misunderstanding the role of God’s law in salvation. In churches who do not follow orthodox Christianity, we observe either a legalistic worldview or a liberally tolerant worldview. The legalists teach law over grace; the liberals teach tolerance over grace and truth. Both world views stand opposed to the Lord, God.

What shall we say then about grace? Does it matter how we define it? Does it matter how accurate our Bible knowledge is? Do our beliefs concerning the singular truths of scripture affect our day-to-day faith in God? For example, you may have heard it said, “Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart. You need to let Him in.” Many well-meaning Christians lead with this approach when sharing their faith. Does this un-biblical statement harm the gospel? Yes! Jesus doesn’t stand at any supposed door to one’s heart. This concept is a religious fabrication with no scriptural support. Jesus is The Door to salvation. God’s people are saved and justified by faith in the blood of Jesus. We have no inherent morality apart from the indwelling of God. We can trust no religious act to contribute to our salvation.

In the five hundredth year since the Reformation, I pray that the drifting church will return to the true Gospel and all of it’s implications found in scripture. The church must teach that the “ministry of reconciliation” is empowered by the “ministry of the Spirit,” to overcome the “ministry of condemnation,” to produce the “ministry of righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 3:8, 9 and 5:18).

Christian, walk in the Spirit; have the mind of Christ; conform every thought to Him; accurately handle the Word of God. (Galatians 5:16-18, 1 Corinthians 2:16, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 2 Timothy 2:15)

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

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Defenders of the Faith – Come Forth!

Christian, have you noticed the crisis in today’s church? Have you thought about the mournful discrepancy between the Bible’s definition of the church and what many have redefined it to be? Have you considered the continual threat that is upon the body of Christ? Are you concerned by the watered-down approach to the gospel? Can you see the results of the lack of Biblical preaching? Are you like many who have trained themselves towards apathy regarding the mysteries of Christ? Are you perhaps a byproduct of the undiscerning church movement which produces humanistic Christianity? Have you lost your zeal for the excellencies of the Lord, Jesus?

My friends, many churches have decided that the gospel is not enough to keep people in church. Many church leaders have tried un-Biblical schemes that have resulted in diluting the gospel into a tepid pool of easy-believism, producing weak convictions, enabling worship of man-centered philosophies, causing blind followers of another gospel, misidentifying the true Jesus, and trampling under foot the magnificent truths contained in the inspired words of Scripture! I ask you, where are the defenders of the Faith?

This is what the compromised church has foolishly accomplished:
they have exchanged theological fidelity for an integration of secular world views
they have exchanged reverent worship for psychological appeasement
they have exchanged the truth of God for lies
they have exchanged the great commission for seeker sensitivity
they have exchanged bible exposition for self-help tips
they have exchanged multi-generational inclusion for millennial obsession
they have exchanged six-day creation for a quasi-evolutionary capitulation
they have exchanged a reverence for God for immature, institutionalized church attenders
they have exchanged Biblical soteriology with work-based religion
they have exchanged moral courage for false humility
they have exchanged God’s plan for the family with the metamorphic, secular definition of love
they have exchanged holiness for a numb conscience
they have exchanged a steadfastness with God’s word for a defense of individual rights
they have exchanged teaching the whole counsel of God for non-offensive Bible snippets
they have exchanged the doctrine of sin for an acquiescence towards worldliness
they have exchanged the doctrine of grace and it’s implications for the hypocrisy of being Christian in name only
they have exchanged religious sobriety for a misplaced fascination of spiritual “signs, wonders and gifts”
they have exchanged an alertness for eschatology for a contentment with worldly appetites
they have exchanged the preeminence of Scriptural study for workaholic, relational “ministries”
they have exchanged a Godly separation from the world’s systems for non-offensive integration
they have exchanged the doctrines of God for the championing of humanistic philosophy
they have exchanged a discernment in identifying and removing the wolves in church leadership for a refusal to enforce the Biblical mandate for pastor/elder qualifications
they have exchanged Bible truths for an affirmation of liberal ideologies
they have exchanged confidence in the Word of God for the support of atheistic science
they have exchanged the defense of the One, True Faith for the defense of ecumenical peace

1 Corinthians 1:22-23 defines the issue clearly, “Jews ask for signs, Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified.” Jesus preached repentance, the gospel and the kingdom of God. (Matthew 4:17, 4:23, Luke 4:43) The apostles preached the gospel, Jesus as Lord and the Word. (Acts 5:42, 14:15, 2 Corinthians 4:5) This is the call of the church. Why then do we see church sponsored road side bill-boards announcing the upcoming topical lectures like “How to have a great marriage”? My friends, this is an affront to the Lord! The Bible is inexhaustible in the revelation of the gospel. Why not stick to this glorious proclamation? Why take the easy road to tickle the ears of those whose only hope is in Christ; not in a myriad of self-help musings?! I say STOP! Return to the full council of the Word of God. Return to the gospel and all of it’s implications. Return to the call of the church as described in the Bible. Teach the Bible through exposition, verse by verse. Rightly divide the Truth. Preach Christ crucified and the hope of salvation. Warn the sinner. Encourage the faint. Correct the wayward. Point to Christ, the author and perfecter of faith. Church, His return is upon us, even if far off. Will you be found faithful to the true gospel, once delivered? This is the power of God unto salvation. Those who desire to know Christ will be found in Him and His Word. Repent of your wanderings. Return to the Scriptures. Stay the course.

Remember, the church is to be the pillar and support of the truth of the gospel. This mission is akin to that of John the Baptist who was prophesied in Isaiah as to be “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord.” So, too, the church is in the wilderness of this sinful world, calling to all who will hear, repent and turn to the Lord. (See image.)

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever.”
Romans 16:25-27

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Moral Relativism and a Religious Facade

All people agree with the moral standard that condemns thievery. Although from an evolutionist world view, this cannot be explained. Creation, see image, proves a Creator. Morality disproves evolution. The definition and source of righteousness is Divinely described in the Bible. Thus far, the moral relativism movement has not changed the definition of theft. Those who steal are universally denounced as morally depraved. Interestingly, in John 10, thieves and robbers are the terms given to false Christians who do not enter the church through Christ. Missing the door to salvation, they have gone headlong over the sheep pen wall thinking their pursuit of social justice and Christian revisionist theories secures their standing before a generic god. They wrongly assume that the effort of the climb has insured a legal entry. In witnessing this breach, the world, who assumes all things supposedly Christian are the same essence of foolishness, are oblivious to the charade. And many already embedded in the church, who have only made an informal inquiry into the majesty of Christ, blindly follow this facade of religiosity. To miss the only access into saving faith, is to miss Christ! Everything else is false religion.

But how does one delineate between the true sheep and the imposters? John 10 has the answer. Those who know the Lord, follow Him. They know His voice and obey. They do not reinvent another gospel and call it the same, but different. They do not rewrite the scriptures to fit the metamorphosis of liberal culture. They do not deny the veracity and truth of the Bible. They do not pick through theology and doctrines and throw out what doesn’t fit their spiritual sensitivities. They do not place the wisdom of man over the wisdom of God. No! The true sheep of Christianity follow the true shepherd. He is life! No one comes to God apart from Him! John 14:6

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” Colossians 2:6-9

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Confessions of a Burdened Man

Confession 1: I am grieved by the moral and doctrinal decline of the universal Christian church.

Confession 2: I am grieved by the self-righteousness of “liberal religiosity.”

Confession 3: I am grieved by the grip that the secular worldview has upon those who call themselves Christian.

Confession 4: I am grieved that many apostate forms of “christianity” are passed off as legitimate.

Confession 5: I am grieved that those in the church who oppose Biblical moral truth subjugate the minds of their people and teach the universal goodness of mankind.

Confession 6: I am grieved that some Christians neglect the implications of the greatest commandment and exchange that priority for their idolatrous quest to support the evolving mandate of social justice.

Confession 7: I am grieved that people who claim to be Christians do not believe the Bible is God’s loving revelation of His truth.

Confession 8: I am grieved that these same people assume that they have the right to reinterpret the Bible’s clear teaching.

Confession 9: I am grieved that many “churches” play the role of acting “missional” rather than promoting their God-given role as the defenders of His truth, doctrine and gospel.

Confession 10: I am grieved that the “mainstream” televangelists are able to sell their deceit to millions of people.

Confession 11: I am grieved that these same charlatans are viewed by those outside the church as examples of what the Christian faith produces.

Confession 12: I am grieved that para-church organizations spend so much time trying to change the culture instead of sharing the pure gospel and praying for the salvation of the lost.

Confession 13: I am grieved for the current state of our Union and that both sides of secular politics are once again being contrasted with supposed Christian principles.

Confession 14: I am grieved that false accusations are constantly being made towards the conservative minded citizenry as if support for the Republican party translates into a full sanctioning of all of the views of the current administration.

Confession 15: I am grieved that “christians” freely align themselves with a political party who support the murder of the un-born.

Confession 16: I am grieved that “christians” confidently support a worldview and legislation that promotes “lifestyles” that the creator God has clearly said are against His law.

Confession 17: I am grieved that theology, as defined by consistent contextual exegesis of the Bible, is losing it’s appeal.

Confession 18: I am grieved that truth, as defined by the Bible, is compromised and under attack by many in the health and wealth, emergent, Pentecostal, missional and mystically styled churches.

Confession 19: I am grieved that many churches waste time on “market research” rather than caring for the poor, the alien and the suffering among us.

Confession 20: I am grieved for the social club churches who teach happy-go-lucky topical musings on fulfillment and acquisition rather than on sin, redemption and God’s glory.

Confession 21: I am grieved for the seeker-sensitive, easy-believism churches who fear offending mortals rather that offending the Holy God.

Confession 22: I am grieved that these same churches employ crafty delivery techniques for their quest to appeal to itchy ears that desire to have their felt needs, psychological sufferings and supernaturally craved desires met.

Confession 23: I am grieved that even churches who pursue inspired doctrine, as is clearly taught by the Triune God, have succumbed to certain unorthodoxy that threatens to degrade the gospel message.

Confession 24: I am grieved that “scientific theory” has replaced and superseded Biblical truth in creation, historical time and social constructs.

Confession 25: I am grieved that the truth of God has been maligned and replaced with all forms of self-centered hedonism.

Confession 26: I am grieved that the true church of God, as described in the Bible, is under assault by the self-righteousness of the liberal worldview.

Confession 27: I am grieved that many who are lost want nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus because their experience with fake “christians” has proved their presupposition that religion is pathetic nonsense.

Confession 28: I am grieved that the certain return of the Lord is not weighing on the hearts of worldly-minded believers so that they would want to be found ready in a state of holy living.

Confession 29: I am grieved that those who march in support of the humanistic definition of “love” attack those who hold to Biblical definitions of sin as if such convictions are results of hatred, bigotry and racism.

Confession 30: I am grieved that the name and reputation of the only true God is being further diminished by the compounding atheistic sins that are now seen as enlightened civil rights.

Confession 31: I am grieved that some who claim Christianity hide behind the protection of social media to blindly accuse total strangers who are lost in their own hypocrisy.

Confession 32: I am grieved that so many so-called churches malign the name of Christ by their fanatically sinful adaptations of church.

Confession 33: I am grieved that because so-called Christians are pleased to promote their worldly exhibitions they are seen by the lost as Christian in name only.

Confession 34: I am grieved that our society has been given over to corrupt minds as defined in Romans 1 because it has collectively exchanged the truth of God for lies.

Confession 35: I am grieved that the Biblical definition for the fear of God is a lost spiritual reality.

Confession 36: I am grieved that it escapes the notice of the liberal elite that their worldview is cult-like in that they are militantly intolerant to opposing views while they worship the god of licentious tolerance.

Confession 37: I am grieved that “ministry success” in apostate churches has been interpreted as a result of increased numbers rather than on the quality of Biblical fruit produced.

Confession 38: I am grieved that certain “churches” foolishly teach a misguided understanding of the character and role of the Holy Spirit and attribute false “signs and wonders” to God.

Confession 39: I am grieved that the power that is in the living and active word of God has been found lacking and in need of various forms of embellishment by those who are desperate to appeal to the world’s system while strategically avoiding the inherent offense and conviction of the true gospel.

Confession: 40: I am grieved that human wisdom in the church has been elevated beyond it’s limits while the sufficiency and fidelity of the Bible is constantly under attack.

Confession 41: I am grieved that there is widespread misconception that because the US Constitution was influenced in part by Judeo-Christian ethics, that America is automatically blessed by God.

Confession 42: I am grieved that those who rightly oppose certain evils perpetrated on various people groups by the US government condemn the entire history of the country and every person that happens to have white skin.

Confession 43: I am grieved that the pride of our society is leading many further away from repentance and faith in the Lord.

Confession 44: I am grieved that many churches appear more concerned about gaining weekend, latte drinking, constantly texting, superficially obsessed attendees rather than encouraging their current members to reach the lost in their midst.

Confession 45: I am grieved by the lack of discernment in the church, especially by gullible men who reinstate disqualified pastors back into leadership.

Confession 46: I am grieved by those churches who add works to grace and blindly disregard the clear teaching in the Bible that such belief is a counterfeit gospel message.

Confession 47: I am grieved by the religious fundamentalists who have perhaps began with right doctrine but have since bowed to the idol of legalism.

Confession 48: I am grieved that religious cults like Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh Day Adventist and the Roman Catholic Church are giving false hope to millions of people world-wide.

Confession 49: I am grieved for those who are trapped in their sin and refuse to acknowledge the One Creator, Savior God.

Response:
“Revive me according to Your word. Revive me according to Your ordinances. Revive me according to Your loving-kindness.” Psalm 119: 154b, 156b, 159b

I use nature photography to showcase the God who created the Universe by the power of His speech. See image. This is the same God who freely gives salvation from sin to all who will come to Him in repentance and faith. Creation proves God. But, beyond that, we have a more powerful proof contained in the Word of God.

“The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Psalm 119:160

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Christ Sat Down

In photography, while looking through the viewfinder, most photographers prefer one eye over the other. This is the result of eye dominance. Depending on the design of the camera, this may affect the ergonomic experience. However, the photographer’s skill in production is not predicated on this aspect.

In Biblical times, the supreme court of Israel, the Sanhedrin, had two scribes sitting on each side of the court. One on the left and one on the right. If the judgment was condemnation, the scribe on the left rendered the verdict. If the judgement was acquittal, the scribe on the right rendered that verdict.

Hebrews 1:3, speaking of the Lord, states, “when He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.” The reference to Jesus sitting on the right has direct correlation to the historical significance given to the judgement of pardon that was reserved for the scribe sitting on the right side of the Sanhedrin court. (See also Mark 16:19, Romans 8:34, Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 8:1, 10:12 12:2 and 1 Peter 3:22) The repetition of this truth speaks of it’s critical implications for every believer. To the early readers of Scripture, this detail was a reinforcement to the truth that what Christ accomplished on the cross possessed the authority that was needed for the propitiation of sins. Not only in the reference to sitting on the right but also in the fact of sitting. This teaches that the work of redemption was complete. This of course supports the doctrine of grace through faith apart from works. (Ephesians 2:8)

Consider the following scene. You are in the courtroom of God. The time is the moment of your regeneration. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father. He has been there, a place of honor, equality and intercession, since His ascension into heaven some two thousand years ago. He declares the verdict of acquittal as His justice of grace against your sin. This is based on His finished work rendered by His death and resurrection. You are declared righteous before God. There is no more payment required for your sin. You are given a new heart. You are given new life. You are given the wisdom of knowledge to know the Lord. You are made to desire the things of God. You are in-dwelt by the Spirit of God. You have entered into an eternal covenant with the Creator God! However, before you had searched the Scriptures to know the meaning of grace, you cried out, “but I can’t forgive myself!” What?! Can you modify the verdict which supersedes God? In your confusion, you may think this statement has merit. You may enter into years of blindness that stifles your understanding and growth in the Lord. You may attend a “church” that preaches a different “gospel” of works salvation. You may even join a “Christian” cult that teaches the false doctrine of self-centered health, wealth and signs religion. Many have lost years of their lives to these empty indoctrinations! But, in this scene, by the mercy and sovereignty of God, the Lord stands up and imparts His Word richly into your soul. As you depart from the courtroom of God you know you are free from the condemnation of your sin. You know you are simply a blessed recipient of the Lord’s mercy. You believe His Word and trust His doctrine on all maters of faith. You are enabled to walk in the Spirit and are released from the conflict in your own mind. You are free!

Christ sat down. Go and live in the light of His grace.


The Names of God

We hear the name ‘God’ referenced often by many differing moral philosophies. Every religion claims a victory of enlightenment. Human history is replete with intellectual factions between those who have preferred to accept the sinful results of their arguments rather than to humbly submit to the One, True Creator. In a world that is increasingly hostile to definitive claims of truth, how can anyone know who the real, living God is? Have you considered that much can be learned about this God simply by paying attention to His many names found and described in the Bible? Put away your presuppositions. Put away your moral assumptions. Put away your religious striving. Put away your unbelief. The Word of God contains the answers. Only a right understanding of the Bible can lead to a mind that is ready to accept the claims of God. Search the scriptures and find out who God is. His many names are critical in this pursuit.

He is called the Ancient of Days, Creator, Yahweh, Elohim, Adonai, Jehovah, the Alpha and Omega, El Shaddai, the God of glory, the Holy One, the Lord, the Great Shepherd, Father, the Most High God, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!

This means that He created. He is sovereign. He executes His will. He defines righteousness. He prepares a way. He unveils truth. He judges. He pardons. He redeems. He saves. He releases the captive. He gives sight to the blind. He gives ears to hear. He awakens the dead. He justifies. He sanctifies. He sustains. He leads. He teaches. He comforts. He loves. He lives. He is ever-present. He will return!

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? He is the Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 40:28


Truth to Live By

Like dying leaves in Fall, see image, so are the secular worldview claims that are being thrust into the minds and hearts of many who are lost in their own pride which masquerades as love. These beliefs may appear beautiful for a time, but in the end they will rot and become eternally condemned.

Contrary to pragmatic social engineering presuppositions, love does not win; God does. Now of course, God is love; 1 John 4:8. He is also Light, 1 John 1:5. And God is holy, Isaiah 6:3. God is the sovereign law giver, the judge, the definer of morality. He is the giver of grace, the Savior and keeper of salvation. He is the Creator and sustainer. He is the truth and the life. If you say you are a Christian, you do not have the right to develop your own version of “faith,” “beliefs,” and “moral judgements” no matter how many supposedly valid “Christian” leaders you can site. The truth about God and His judgements are clearly made known by the teaching in the words of scripture. There is a life and death difference between those who possess true saving faith and those who are religious “Christians.”

Those who are saved by God follow Him. They believe His word. They trust His judgements. They submit to His authority. They search the scriptures to know the precepts of God. They put their confidence in Him. They align their beliefs and actions with biblical teaching. Their confidence grows in Christ likeness. They rightly divide God’s word. They battle to mortify their own flesh. They patiently share the gospel to a dying world and trust the results to the One who saves. They are most concerned with the reputation of God.

Those who are religious follow their own desires. They critique and modify the Bible to fit their beliefs. They trust in their own moral conscience. They listen to the authority that best fits their version of social justice. They align their beliefs and actions on the evolving winds of humanism. Their confidence is based on their embrace of intra-faith ecumenism. They become increasingly dogmatic against any biblical claim of universal truth. They call good, evil and evil, good. They impatiently criticize anyone who disagrees with their liberal agenda. They are most concerned with their own justifications of sin.

In a world that largely denies the one true God, the call of the Spirit and His truth still rings out loudly throughout the whole earth! “Come to Me in repentance and faith, deny yourself and follow Me. For I am the Holy Lord, the sovereign God, the author and perfecter of faith! Come into My light and live!”

“The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgements of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.” Psalm 19:8b-9

“If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” 1 John 1:6

“But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.” 1 John 2:5

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The Soul of the Subject

In portrait photography, there are two key elements expressed in the composition. These are the soul of the subject and their relationship to the context of the image. The expression of the soul is the key aspect in an effectively communicated portrait image. However, you cannot separate the subject from it’s context. Interpretation of a portrait image requires both. Can you imagine a portrait image with an invisible subject? This sounds ridiculous and it would be impossible to convince the viewer that a subject did in fact exist within the frame.

However, this is exactly what I am asking the viewer to do when they consider my images of creation. As I have stated before, the Bible teaches that the created world is not only proof of a Creator, it also speaks of the soul, the character and the power of the God who created it.
I am certainly not saying that God is in His creation or that they are one and the same. God is not the tree, the stream or the sky. That is pantheism. Nor am not saying that divine power inhabits creation, it does not. It is not that when you see creation you see the essence of God. Yes, the universe is His handiwork. Yes, it is God’s power that holds the universe together. Creation, then, is the context for images of nature. But God is the invisible subject in the view of His creation! Not only this, but “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen, being understood through creation.” (Romans 1:20)

If you enjoy a beautiful image of creation, consider that the God who made it by His own words is the One who is worthy of worship, honor and belief in Him. It is this same divine power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead! It was the Lord Himself who took the punishment required for all of the sins of every person who would trust and believe in Him. This is not religion, this is life!

Wake up, sinner, you need a Savior! Put your trust in this powerful and Holy God. (Proverbs 3)

Wake up, Christian, if you have succumbed to an apathetic lifestyle! The Lord lives! (Daniel 6) He will bring you to repentance again! (Isaiah 57) Do not neglect the Living God! His creative power is of the same nature as that which is in the power of His Word. (Hebrews 4) Pay close attention to His precepts and doctrine. (1 Timothy 4) They are life to you and refreshment to your soul! (Psalm 119) Do not take lightly the reading, study and rightly divided preaching of God’s word. (Psalm 19)

Wake up, Church and follow the Lord’s commands. Teach Christ and make disciples. (Colossians 1:28) Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow the author and perfecter of your faith. (Hebrews 12)

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