Daily Archives: July 28, 2016

Online Bible Study Resources

When it comes to Bible software, I use Logos more than anything else (though I know BibleWorks and Accordance are excellent too).

But what about free online resources? Thankfully, the web has made it possible for almost anyone with a computer to access hundreds of valuable study tools. For people who don’t have immediate access to a sizable library, that’s great news.

If you’re an avid online Bible student, you are probably already familiar with the ten resources I’ve listed below. But these are the ones that I find most helpful in my own personal study.

Having said that, I’m always looking for new sites, to add even more richness to my online study time. So, if you think of one I’ve missed, be sure to add a comment and mention it.

My Top-Ten Favorite Online Study Resources

1. The John MacArthur Sermon Archive — When it comes to clearly and accurately explaining the Word of God, there is no pastor I trust more than John MacArthur. The fact that he has preached through every verse of the New Testament, and that all of those sermons are available for free online (both in audio and transcript form), means that this resource is as exhaustive as it is valuable. The topical Q&A section is also an expansive resource, giving practical and biblical instruction on a wide variety of issues.

2. The Theological Resource CenterThe featured resource on the site is a growing library of video lectures taught by the TMS faculty. These lectures can be watched, free-of-charge, by anyone with an internet connection. The site currently contains eleven full courses, consisting of more than 200 individual lectures. Over the next few months, the library will grow to include over 20 courses, offering hundreds of hours of seminary-level lecture content. When complete, this online video library will cover a wide range of topics including Bible Survey, Grammar and Exegesis, Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, and Biblical Counseling. (They can also be watched on YouTube.)

3. BibleStudyTools.com – This website came in handy even when I was a seminary student. I especially appreciated the interlinear Bible which worked great with the corresponding BST Greek and Hebrew fonts. While it is no substitute for Logos, this website provides a number of helpful study tools for free—including commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and lexicons. Similar sites include http://www.studylight.org, http://www.e-sword.net, and http://www.blueletterbible.org.

4. Online Commentaries – There are probably two dozen classic commentary sets available online. One of the most expansive lists of online commentaries (organized by book of the Bible) is found here. Though the majority of these commentaries are older (which is why they are now in the public domain), they still represent a wealth of insightful information about the biblical text.

5. BibleGateway.com – I appreciate two things about Bible Gateway. First, it is one of the easiest-to-use Bible searching websites. Finding passages of Scripture in multiple versions is quick and painless. Second, it is home to the online-edition of the IVP commentaries . This is one of the few modern commentaries available for free on the web. (Another excellent Bible website is the Lumina Bible. It is especially helpful for those wanting to read the Greek and Hebrew. I’ve also found the Academic Bible website to be helpful.)

6. Google Books– Of course, if I want to peruse modern commentaries (or other books) without going to the library, I use Google Books. I am a huge fan of Google Books; and if you’ve never used it before, you really should try it out. It is incredible. Admittedly, most of the modern books are limited to only a “preview.” But, you can still search the entire book; which makes it an extremely useful database. And, sometimes you find a gem, like the full version of John Broadus on Matthew or Martin Luther on The Sermon on the Mount.

Another nice feature (especially for seminary students) is that, if you cite a source from Google Books, you can cite the actual page in your footnotes, and not some long, messy URL.

On a side note, if a page is not viewable in Google books (because of the “preview” limitations), you can often find it at Amazon.com, using the “Look Inside” feature. Partnering the Google Books database with the Amazon.com database results in more information online and fewer trips to the library.

Google Scholar is a related resource from Google. This is not quite as helpful as Google Books, and it’s still in a Beta Version. But in essence, what Google Books is to books, Google Scholar is to journals. So, it can still turn up helpful information, especially if you’re looking for journal articles on a given topic. (Of course, a number of schools make their journals available on their websites. For example, if you’re looking to search TMSJ, you can just click here.)

7. iTunes U – So, technically, this resource utilizes iTunes and not your normal web browser … but it is an incredible resource nonetheless. A significant number of theological institutions (as well as other universities and colleges) have made lectures available for free download through iTunes. Now you can get a free seminary-level education while you commute to work or run on the treadmill.

I’ve personally benefited greatly from some of the Church History lectures that are available from various evangelical seminaries. And it’s fun to know I can “sit in” on a class at MIT or Harvard anytime I want–even if I don’t get official credit for it. (For theological students, another website that is similar to this is, though on a smaller scale, is http://www.biblicaltraining.org.)

8. Christian Classics Ethereal Library – Speaking of Church History, an area near-and-dear to my heart, the Christian Classics Ethereal Library is undoubtedly the largest collection of historic Christian resources on the web. If I’m looking for something from the church fathers, or Augustine, or Aquinas, or Calvin, or the Puritans, CCEL is usually the first place I look.

9. Bible.org – This site houses an expansive array of articles, organized by both topic and by book of the Bible. Contributors include well-known scholars like Daniel Wallace, Kenneth Boa, Darrel Bock, Eugene Merrill, and John Walvoord. (The site’s connection to Dallas Theological Seminary is no secret.) Also, this site is the home of the NET Bible, which is notable because of the translation notes that accompany the text.

10. Monergism.com – This site is somewhat similar to http://www.bible.org, though from a more Reformed perspective. Also, it serves largely as a topic-based portal—directing visitors to helpful articles on a wide array of subjects. The site includes an excellent database of sermon manuscripts, making it especially helpful for Bible study.

Well, there you have my top ten picks.

There are obviously many more websites that I could have mentioned. You’ll notice I kept the “blog” category completely off of this list. (Perhaps that is due to the fact that blogs tend to distract me from studying, rather than help me study.)

Having said that, I’m always looking to expand this list to include other great websites.

If you think I missed something, please share it with us in the comments section below.

The post Online Bible Study Resources appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

Rick Warren: Purpose Driven “Cash-ference” Concludes, But You Can Still “Buy Now”

The unofficial wanna-be Southern Baptist ambassador to the great apostate of the Tiber, Rick Warren, completed another Purpose Driven Church Conference last month.

While the adroit observer of the church, a la the “American” flavor of Christianity, won’t be surprised that the event was attended by participants from all 50 states, it may be saddening that the woefully undiscerning from 33 other countries also seeking knowledge from the chief priest of the idol of church growth bellied up to Saddleback. Was there, one wonders, a currency exchange booth in the Saddleback foyer?

The Christian Post reports that 70 percent of attendees at this latest conference were not in attendance at the original event a decade ago. Maybe those who skipped this latest conference were not, as Peter writes, like the dog who “returns to its own vomit.”  (2 Peter 2:22)  On the one hand, we can hope that means many of the unreturning turned instead to something far more Biblical than “purpose” and intentionally avoided worshipping at the feet of this false teaching mega-priest. Perhaps they discovered Scripture compels us to obedience, not an unbridled, un-discerning, world-enriched passion for purpose.

On the other hand, we can recognize that Christ’s words are being fulfilled before our very eyes.

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. Matthew 24:11

Some of those “many” converged on Saddleback June 28-30 to hear bishop Rick bellow forth the decidedly worldly methodologies that have propelled him to the position of high priest of the temple of the insufficiency of Scripture. But, he’s just trying to help pastors.

“Then, the other day, God said, ‘I don’t want you to just pray for these guys. I want you to share with them all the lessons in ministry that I taught you the hard way. It will save them a lot of time and pain.”  Rick Warren  (Source)

Christ warned us, you know, about the importance of saving time and avoiding pain … right?

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” Matthew 24:9

Oh, wait … wrong verse.   Well, never mind. Rick just wants to help other pastors become mega-pastors, too.   And, according to Rick, Rick is just the guy to do it.

“I will be doing all the teaching – downloading 36 years of learnings from Saddleback. In that time we’ve baptized more new believers (43,108), put more people into small group Bible study (over 38,000 meet weekly in 8,420 small groups), and sent out more members on mission (26,846 members have served in 196 countries) than any American church.”  Rick Warren (Source)

If humility is grounds for tribulation from a persecuting world, this sounds more like the self-indulgent, self-extolling pleasures of a Carnival cruise.

It was, apparently, no small miracle that Warren was able to pull the cash-ference … err, I mean, conference … off in the first place.   According to him, God was not exactly using His attribute of foreknowledge to appropriately provide Rick with ample time to plan.

“I know this invitation doesn’t give you a lot of time, but God didn’t tell me to do it until a few days ago. I’m just being obedient.”  Rick Warren (Source)

Yeah. Rick Warren blamed God for poor planning.

If you happened to have missed the conference – while you should thank God for your obvious use of discernment – Rick still wants to help you.

pdc

For $199, you can purchase the “PDC16 Online Pass” for access “on-demand to all of Pastor Rick Warren’s” teaching.   Rick wants to help, you see.   God told him to help, you see.   That divinely revealed command, though, will cost you 200 bucks. Umm … no.

One thing that isn’t clear is whether the online access includes only priest Rick’s seminar sessions, or if they also include the “worship” portions of the cash-ference

According to the Saddleback Worship blog, the set list of “worship” tunes for the event reflect exactly what one expects from the discernment-free likes of Warren. The play list was replete with Bethel Music, Hillsong United, and Jesus Culture.  (For more on the dangers of such music, see HERE.)

Capture

Rick Warren continues to give discerning believers ample evidence of his pursuit of passions driven by a wide path, worldly approach to church growth rather than one driven by obeidence to Scripture. You can skip that whole “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18) affirmation from Christ; Rick will show you how to do it better, saving time and avoiding pain.

From his anti-biblical claims to extra-biblical revelation, to his unbridled and undiscerning outreach to the known apostasy of Rome, to his teaching of heresies like contemplative prayer, and, now, with embracing the music of known heretical “churches,” Warren has proven he cares nothing for orthodoxy.  (For more on the problems with Warren, see HERE.)

Warren may define his unbridled pursuit of purpose-driven ecumenism and church growth as guided by the revelation of God, but discerning believers will recognize that it isn’t God who prompts people “not to endure sound teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:3) It’s the false teacher who does that.  And we know who’s in charge of them.

.[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]

Source: Rick Warren: Purpose Driven “Cash-ference” Concludes, But You Can Still “Buy Now”

NARAL President Ilyse Hogue Shouts Out Her Abortion To A Cheering Crowd At DNC

President of NARAL Ilyse Hogue sells abortion at the DNC

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: In her speech, Ilyse Hogue talks about her abortion many years ago, and how it was her ‘right’ to do it. Then she ironically mentions that she and her husband ‘became parents to two children’. No, Ilyse, you are actually mother to 3 children. You forgot to include the one you killed. That dead baby is still your child. Jesus Christ forgives all sin, including abortion, at the cross. Go there today and receive pardon and everlasting life.

When talking about abortion, Democratic politicians and activists usually prefer to speak euphemistically: The dismemberment or lethal poisoning of a baby who hasn’t been born yet is almost always referred to as “reproductive health care” or “a woman’s choice.” The group NARAL, once known as the National Abortion Rights Action League, went so far as to change its name to NARAL Pro-Choice America so its supporters and allies could avoid saying the a-word.

But there’s been a growing push on the left to not only defend abortion as a necessary evil that should be “safe, legal, and rare” but to celebrate it as a positive good. (See the #ShoutYourAbortion Twitter campaign of 2015.) And so on Wednesday evening, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, took the stage at the Democratic National Convention and told the story of the time she aborted her first child because it was an inconvenient time to become a parent.

“To succeed in life, all we need are the tools, the trust, and the chance to chart our own path,” Hogue said during her DNC speech. “I was fortunate enough to have these things when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time. I made the decision that was best for me—to have an abortion and get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community.” At this point, applause and cheers could be heard in the crowd. “Now years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children,” Hogue continued.

Prior to Hogue’s speech, the 2016 Democratic convention was already shaping up to be the most pro-abortion political convention ever. The Democratic platform was changed this year to call for the repeal of the Hyde amendment in order to provide unlimited taxpayer-funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients. Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood made the case for that policy in her speech Tuesday night.

Remember when the Democrats booed God at their 2012 Convention?

DNC Vote on Platform Change – At 2012 Democrat National Convention, DNC Chair Antonio Villaraigosa holds three votes on reinserting references to “God” and “Jerusalem” back into the Democratic Party platform. The language had been removed from the 2012 Democrat Party platform, igniting a firestorm of criticism but reflective of the Obama administration’s often lukewarm support for Israel and the President’s omission of references to “God” from his readings of the Declaration of Independence. The DNC Chair tries three times to secure the required two-thirds floor vote to change the DNC platform to reinsert the references to God and Jerusalem, but a majority of the Democrat delegates clearly vote each time against the platform change. Finally, the DNC Chair gives up, cynically declares that 2/3 of the delegates have voted for the platform change, and the motion passes. The delegates boo in disapproval of the reinsertion of God and Jerusalem back into the Democratic platform, and the display of Obama-style Chicago politics at work. Watch the booing and jeering by the DNC delegates.

And Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine flip-flopped on the issue of taxpayer-funded abortion at some point in just the last few weeks as he joined the Democratic ticket. That’s something Joe Biden, a supporter of the Hyde amendment, never had to do to become Obama’s running mate in 2008. source

Source: NARAL President Ilyse Hogue Shouts Out Her Abortion To A Cheering Crowd At DNC

Deutsche Bank Profit Plunges 98 Percent As The Outlook For ‘The World’s Riskiest Bank’ Darkens

Crash Arrow Down - Public DomainThe biggest and most important bank in the biggest and most important country in Europe continues to implode right in front of our eyes.  If you follow my work regularly, you probably already know that I issued a major alarm about Deutsche Bank last September.  Subsequently, Deutsche Bank stock hit an all-time low.  Then I sounded the alarm about Deutsche Bank again back in May, and once again that was followed by another all-time low for Deutsche Bank.  And then I warned about Deutsche Bank again in early June, and you can probably imagine what happened after that.  Over the past year, this German banking giant has literally been coming apart at the seams, and in so many ways it is paralleling exactly what happened to Lehman Brothers back in 2008. (Read More….)

If Everything Is So Great, Then Why Do Two-Thirds Of Americans Say The Country Is On The Wrong Track?

Wrong Way - Public DomainAmericans appear to be increasingly pessimistic about the future of America.  According to a Real Clear Politics average of recent polls, 68.9 percent of Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track, and only 23.1 percent of Americans believe that we are headed in the right direction.  But if you have been listening to the endless parade of political speeches at the Democratic and Republican National conventions, you would be tempted to think that the greatest days for the United States are right around the corner.  The politicians keep promising us that better times are coming if we will just make the “correct” choices on election day, but no matter who we send to Washington D.C. things just seem to keep getting worse and worse.  Let’s take a look at just a few of the signs that indicate that our country is going in the wrong direction… (Read More…)

Can an Unchanging God Be Compassionate?

Psalm 103:13; Psalm 145:8-9; Lamentations 3:22-23

Code: B160727

by John MacArthur

The God of Scripture is the one true constant in all the universe: “I, the Lord, do not change” (Malachi 3:6). His nature and His thoughts are as immutable as His eternal plans. Specifically, He does not alter His Word, revise His will, revoke His promises, or change His mind: “God is not man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).

The necessary implication of God’s immutability is that He is not subject to shifting moods, flashes of temper, fluctuating dispositions, or seasons of despondency. In theological terms, God is impassible. That means He cannot be moved by involuntary emotions, suffering, pain, or injury. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith (2.1), God is “infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions.”

Divine impassibility is not an easy concept to grasp. Robert Ingersoll, the famous nineteenth-century skeptic, wrote, “Think of that!—without body, parts, or passions. I defy any man in the world to write a better description of nothing. You cannot conceive of a finer word-painting of a vacuum than ‘without body, parts, or passions.’” [1] Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, 12 vols. (New York: Dresden, 1900) 2:361-62. Nowadays even some Christian theologians shun the idea of divine impassibility because they think it makes God seem cold and aloof.

But that’s a false notion. To say that God is not vulnerable, that He Himself cannot be hurt, and that He isn’t given to moodiness is not to say He is utterly unfeeling or devoid of affections. On the contrary, Scripture says “God is love” (1 John 4:8). His compassion, His lovingkindness, and His tender mercies endure forever (Psalm 136). His divine affections are more real, more sure, and more trustworthy than any human emotions could ever be. In fact, the constancy and infinity of God’s tender affections epitomize why divine impassibility is such a wonderful truth. “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is [His] faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

The main problem in our thinking about these things is that we tend to reduce God’s attributes to human terms, and we shouldn’t. We’re not to imagine that God is like us (Psalm 50:21). His affections, unlike human emotions, are not involuntary reflexes, spasms of temper, paroxysms of good and bad humor, or conflicted states of mind. He is as deliberate and as faithful in His lovingkindness as He is perfect and incorruptible in His holiness.

The unchangeableness of God’s affections is—or should be—a steady comfort to true believers. His love for us is infinite and unshakable. “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11). And His constant mercy is a secure and dependable anchor—both when we sin and when we suffer unjustly. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). Far from portraying God as unsympathetic and untouched by our suffering, Scripture stresses His deep and devoted compassion virtually every time it mentions the unchangeableness of God.

Notice that I have quoted almost entirely from Old Testament texts to establish the connection between God’s compassion and His immutability. The commonly-held notion that the Hebrew Scriptures portray God as a stern judge whose verdicts are always unrelentingly severe is an unwarranted caricature. The tender mercies of God are a persistent theme throughout the Old Testament. From beginning to end the entire Bible presents God as “gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness . . . good to all, and His mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:8-9).

In fact, God’s lovingkindness is often given particular stress in the very places where His fiery wrath against sin is mentioned. (See, for example, Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 77:7-10; Isaiah 54:8; 60:10; Habakkuk 3:2). Even the prophets’ most severe threats and harshest words of condemnation are tempered with reminders of God’s inexhaustible kindness and sympathetic mercy (Jeremiah 33:5-11; Hosea 14:4-9).

Of course, there’s a careful balance that must be maintained here. It is neither wise nor helpful to pit the divine attributes against one another as if they were contradictory (they are not)—or to act as if God’s merciful attributes automatically overruled the gravity of divine justice (they do not). “Behold then the kindness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22). All God’s attributes are equally—and infinitely—exalted in Scripture.

It is a serious mistake to imagine that God’s wrath conflicts with His mercy. It is a particularly egregious error to pit God’s holiness against His tenderness or to think God’s lovingkindness toward sinners simply cancels out His wrath against sin. Don’t dream for a moment that divine mercy eliminates the threat of God’s judgment. God would be unjust if He did not punish evildoers (Exodus 34:7; Nahum 1:3). On the contrary, God’s wrath magnifies His mercy—revealing the severity of punishment that we have been spared from.

There is no conflict or contradiction among God’s attributes. God’s unchanging nature doesn’t make Him incapable of responding to us with compassion. Rather, His impassibility reassures us that His compassion never changes.

(Some of the above material will be included in a book scheduled to be released by Ligonier Ministries in late 2016.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B160727
COPYRIGHT ©2016 Grace to You

Just How Sick is Hillary Clinton? What the Press is Not Telling You

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

SICK HILLARY

In December of 2012, Hillary Clinton suffered a severe concussion after an accident.     At the Benghazi hearings, we saw Hillary wearing thick glass lenses. Doctors have said that those particular lenses have prisms in them for people who are suffering with double vision.

From the Dailymail.co.uk

Bill Clinton reveals it took Hillary ‘six months of very serious work to get over’ her concussion after accident – so why did State Department claim that she ‘fully recovered’ a month later

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suffered a concussion and blood clot in December 2012, for which she was hospitalized for three days
Karl Rove suggested last week that Hillary Clinton is hiding something about her health

On Tuesday Bill Clinton spoke out about his wife’s health and said ‘there’s nothing to’ the Republican’s claims

Hillary’s concussion ‘required six months of very serious work to get over,’ Bill said…

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CHRISTIANS: ‘Love One Another’ is a Commandment From Jesus- Even During Elections

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Love-One-Another 55

I am writing this article with the heaviest heart I have had since I was born again in 1983.  What I am witnessing in the body of Christ is not only appalling, it is making our enemy, the devil, leap for joy.  Satan is the father of lies and author of confusion.  He accuses the brethren night and day before our God. He is watching as we tear one another apart; sever relationships with one another, and fall out of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ – over this election.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the…

View original post 784 more words

Of Serial Killers, Hidden Sins, and Forgiveness in Christ

“How can you not know your own father was a serial killer?”

That question fueled the lunchtime discussion between my coworkers and me. A coworker’s friend met the daughter of a famous serial killer. The killer’s daughter confessed to having no idea that her father was regularly killing people during the time she was being raised by him.

“How could you not see it?!”

“How does this happen?”

This particular serial killer hid his dark secrets well–and he’s not the only one. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve flipped on the news to see an interview with a friend or neighbor of a terrible criminal. Time after time the interviewees say something like, “He seemed like a nice guy to me–I had no idea he could do something like this.”

Hiding Our Sins

The scary truth is that we all hide sin. We may not be hiding a murderous streak like these examples, but we have other things we work hard to keep a secret.

Some put on the mask of good works, success, religion, or irreligion to cover up their sin. Others mock the need for a mask; like ISIS flaunting their depravity and hatred toward God in front of the watching world. Some claim that the need for a mask to hide our sin is artificial, or psychologize everything by saying that if people only had a better upbringing or economic status, everything would be fine. Others just label the sin something not so harsh, like a “mistake.”


If you are in Christ, you can be sure your sin is paid for.
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Even though sin should be evident to people, many people don’t believe in the sinfulness of humanity precisely because humans are good at covering up their tracks. It’s not natural in our culture to walk into the grocery store and point at the guy stocking shelves and say, “He’s a sinner going to hell!” But if he doesn’t know Christ, that is true.

How can humanity deny the sinfulness of the Holocaust? Of ISIS? Of the mass shootings like Fort Hood or Sandy Hook? We can’t. We can try to explain it away, but no explanation satisfies. I agree with G. K. Chesterton, who wrote that original sin “is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.”

Hiding our sin may work in the public sphere for a time, but there will be a day when all will be laid bare before Almighty God. All of our sins–whether a white lie or a double homicide–will be laid before God and we will be held accountable. The masks will be ripped off and the filthy hearts of humanity will be shown for what they are–no matter how good they look dressed up here on earth.

What could be more terrifying than standing before a holy God on judgment day?

Our Glorious Hope

The good news for Christians is that Christ has freed us from fearing that Day through his death on the cross. We have had masks and sins to pay for, but they have been paid and we can live in freedom and honesty–not having to cover our tracks. Colossians 2:13-15 says,

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

The good news of the gospel is that this offer is available to all who would believe–whether you’re a sinful youth group kid (like I was), a guy stocking shelves at the grocery store, an ISIS member, or serial killer like David Berkowitz.

Glorious Hope for a Serial Killer

David Berkowitz is the famed “Son of Sam” serial killer that plagued New York City in the 1970s, murdering six women. Berkowitz had a hard life growing up: he was plagued with seizures, contemplated suicide while young, and lost his mother at the age of fourteen.

His already dark and lonely life grew darker when he began experimenting with the occult after meeting a couple of cult members at a party. This soon took him into deep darkness where he followed the instructions of demons to viciously kill six people over the span of one year from the summer of 1976 to the summer of 1977.

Berkowitz was able to cover his tracks and escape the law for a while, but his sin eventually caught up with him. He was sentenced to 365 consecutive years in prison (one life sentence for each of the women he killed). He describes this prison sentence as being “virtually buried alive behind prison walls.”

While Berkowitz’s situation seemed hopeless, hope was not out of reach.

Ten years into his prison term, a fellow prisoner reached out to him and shared the gospel. Although Berkowitz tried to avoid him at first, his hopeless situation led him to pursue a friendship, clinging onto any glimpse of hope offered. The new friend gave Berkowitz a Bible from the Gideon’s and told him to start reading the Psalms.

Here is what happened next in Berkowitz’s own words:

One night, I was reading Psalm 34. I came upon the 6th verse, which says, “this poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him from all his troubles.” It was at that moment, in 1987, that I began to pour out my heart to God. Everything seemed to hit me at once. The guilt from what I did…the disgust at what I had become…late that night in my cold cell, I got down on my knees and I began to cry out to Jesus Christ. I told Him that I was sick and tired of doing evil. I asked Jesus to forgive me for all my sins. I spent a good while on my knees praying to Him. When I got up it felt as if a very heavy but invisible chain that had been around me for so many years was broken. A peace flooded over me. I did not understand what was happening. But in my heart I just knew that my life, somehow, was going to be different.

And something was and is very different from that day in his lonely prison cell.

Today Berkowitz ministers to other prisoners; and although he is behind bars, he has a letter writing ministry sharing his story and warning people of the dangers of the occult. God has even opened the door for him to share his story on national television multiple times.

David Berkowitz’s story proves that Jesus gives us freedom. We can be honest with ourselves and God, and receive forgiveness.

Glorious Hope for You and Me

Your sin probably isn’t as bad as David Berkowitz’s. But if you’re a human being, you have enough sin to damn you for all of eternity.

If you are in Christ, you can be sure your sin is paid for. You won’t have to hide your sin in the same way because we are free to expose it as we trust in the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse us from all sin. And although you still battle sin daily, your new heart and new identity in Christ will help you say “no” to ungodliness and do what’s right (Titus 2:11-12). You won’t be so focused on covering your sin because you will be focused on doing good works for the Lord (Titus 2:14). Your eyes will be on Jesus, the One who heard your cry and saved you from all of your troubles.

While some may scoff that serial killers can be forgiven, we should rejoice. It could be us with a harsh prison sentence–not 365 years behind bars, but an eternity of torment and God’s judgment for having rejected the forgiveness that Christ offers. In Christ, we can be forgiven.

I don’t know of any better news than this for a serial killer, a serial killer’s daughter, or anyone else.

You can read more of David Berkowitz’s story here.

[Post Credit: Word + Life]

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The post Of Serial Killers, Hidden Sins, and Forgiveness in Christ appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

Life and death

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

16 οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον (John 3:16 NA28)

16 “Thusly, for God loved the world, so that He gave his only Son, that all those trusting in him might not be destroyed but might have life eternal. (John 3:16 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

26 ὥσπερ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα χωρὶς πνεύματος νεκρόν ἐστιν, οὕτως καὶ ἡ πίστις χωρὶς ἔργων νεκρά ἐστιν (James 2:26 NA28)

26 As indeed for the body without spirit is dead, thusly also the trust without works is dead.  (James 2:26 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

There is no more dramatic contrast between two words than those describing what are alive and those describing what are dead. For instance, in James 2:14-26 James describes the difference between living faith (trust), which is saving…

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