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An Invitation! JOIN US! Seriously!

A group of my friends recently completed going through my book DocTALK! We had some great discussions on the doctrines of the Christian faith. We spent just one hour going over the chapter and talking about whatever issues the chapter raised. And you missed it! That might not be the worst decision you’ve ever made in 2021, but, hey! 2022’s a whole brand spanking new year!

Well . . .  Want to join us in discussing the next book in that series, DocWALK? [You don’t have to have read DocTALK to go through DocWALK with us]. It is subtitled: Putting into Practice What You Say You Believe. Very easy to read chapters. A touch of humor tossed in. We meet via Zoom and we don’t keep attendance or have any quizzes!

Information - Dee Millen Rabbit AccessoriesIf so, I’ll send you a copy for a mere $10.00! Or you can buy it on Amazon. If you order from me, send me a check for $10 (Dr. Larry Dixon, 117 Norse Way, Columbia, SC 29229) or pay me through PayPal (theoprof@bellsouth.net). But you should order quick like a bunny!

Our 1st discussion will be February 6th and we will meet the first Sunday night at 8 pm of each month. If you choose to join us, please let me know, especially if you need a book (theoprof@bellsouth.net).

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2022 in theology

 

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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 7)

My friend “Mike” (not his real name) is unsaved, but he’s helping me become more aware of what I have as a believer and what he doesn’t yet have. This list is not given in any sense of gloating, for I grieve for what my friend doesn’t have.

In our previous posts, we’ve seen that (according to Scripture) my unsaved friends  — (1) don’t have an authoritative source for what they believe; (2) don’t have the assurance that their sins are forgiven; (3) don’t have a life-long, satisfying mission in life, (4) don’t have somewhere (beyond this world) to go with their guilt, (5) don’t have a community (being built by Jesus) where they can be trained to do God’s work, and (6) don’t have a longing to know God through studying His Word!

Let’s consider a seventh benefit of the believer as we recognize a truth about our unbelieving friends. And it is that —

7. THEY DON’T HAVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND AND APPLY GOD’S WORD!

The Bible is clear about the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Third Member of the Godhead is personal and divine and we can have a relationship with Him. I’m working on a book specifically challenging believers to grow in their connection with the Holy Spirit and to do so by recognizing His ministries in their lives. One primary ministry is that of helping us understand and apply the Word of God to our daily lives (see John 16:13; I Corinthians 2:14-15).

The person who has not yet trusted Christ does not have the Spirit of God. He or she may read the Bible, but they are not yet open to the One whose primary tool in teaching us spiritual truth is the Word of God!

How do I pray for my unsaved friend? I can pray that he would trust Christ and be brought by the Spirit of God into God’s family. Then he can begin to understand — and warmly embrace — the truths of God’s Word. (to be continued)

“If you’re not confident in the authority of the Scriptures, you will be a slave to what sounds right.”
Matt Chandler

 

 
 

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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 6)

My friend “Mike” (not his real name) is unsaved. That’s biblical language for his condition before God. In trying to reach my friend, I’m becoming more aware of what I have as a believer and what my friend Mike doesn’t yet have.

In our previous posts, we’ve seen that (according to Scripture) my unsaved friends  — (1) don’t have an authoritative source for what they believe; (2) don’t have the assurance that their sins are forgiven; (3) don’t have a life-long, satisfying mission in life, (4) don’t have somewhere (beyond this world) to go with their guilt!, and (5) don’t have a community (being built by Jesus) where they can be trained to do God’s work.

Let’s consider a sixth benefit of the believer as we recognize a truth about our unbelieving friends. And it is that —

6. THEY DON’T HAVE A LONGING TO KNOW GOD THROUGH STUDYING HIS WORD!

I heard the story of a professor who was being questioned by the police about a student who was guilty of a serious crime. The professor said, “Oh, yes. He was in my class. But he was never my student.” Some Christians are just “in the class” and haven’t yet realized they are now life-long students of the Word of God!

The believer in Christ has an incredible resource for life in the Word of God, the Bible. He or she can read and study and meditate on the 66 books in the Bible — and be changed in the process!

How do I pray for my unsaved friend? I can pray that he would actually join me in studying the Bible together. Just the other day I invited another friend to do a Bible study with me of John’s gospel. And he’s “checking his schedule”! Please pray for him. (to be continued)

 

 
 

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Thirty-Eight Observations on John 11

1. My sickness can be for God’s glory (v. 4).
2. A delayed or denied healing does not mean God loves us less (v. 6).
3. There is something far more important than preventing one of Jesus’ followers from dying (v. 6).
4. Jesus allows the dying process to reach its conclusion, knowing it was a temporary condition (v. 6).
5. Jesus has the power to wake up the dead! (v. 11).
6. Metaphors can sometimes muddle the message (v. 12).
7. Jesus was glad that He was not there to prevent His friend Lazarus’ death (v. 15). “Boy, I’m glad I wasn’t there to keep my friend from stepping in front of a bus!”
8. Lazarus’ death provides strong evidence that ought to lead to belief in Jesus (v. 15).
9. Going “with” Jesus might entail dying with Him (v. 16).
10. What’s the Jewish significance of being in the grave four days? (v. 17)
11. Jesus’ delay was not due to geography (Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem) (v. 18).
11. The different actions of Martha & Mary here (Martha going out to meet Jesus; Mary staying at home) remind us of Lk. 10:41 (v. 20).
12. Martha’s despairing declaration (v. 21). Great faith in Jesus!
13. Martha’s hopeful expression (v. 22).
14. Jesus’ transition from an event (the resurrection) to a Person (Himself: “I am the resurrection and the life”) (vv. 24-26).
15. There is more than one meaning to the term “die” (v. 25).
Living by believing in Jesus = never dying! (v. 26).
16. Martha’s declaration of faith (v. 27).
17. We should assume that Martha isn’t lying when she says that Jesus is asking for Mary. She is doing what He requested (v. 28).
18. Why has Jesus not yet entered the village? His purpose — or He didn’t have the chance to? (v. 30)
19. Mary’s declaration (“Lord, if you had been here . . .”) is almost identical to Martha’s (v. 32). The only difference is in word order and the tense of the verb ἀποθνῄσκω. Mary uses the 2nd Aorist. Some Greek versions have ἐτεθνήκει; others have απεθανεν for Martha’s statement? This verb ἐτεθνήκει is a pluperfect!!!
20. Jesus sees our tears — and weeps with us! (vv. 33-35).
21. Our weeping shows our love (v. 36).
22. There is always room for the doubters of our love and our actions (v. 37).
23. Real love, they thought, would have keep Lazarus from dying! (v. 37).
24. Jesus is “once more deeply moved” (v. 38). The 1st time was with their weeping. This time by the tragedy of death?
25. The refreshing candor of the Bible: “Lord, by this time he stinketh!” (v. 39).
26. We believe what Jesus says even when life STINKS! (v. 40). 27. And believing Him in those circumstances will allow us to see THE GLORY OF GOD! (v. 40).
28. Jesus had an active prayer life with the Father, showing His genuine humanity (v. 41).
29. The Father had already answered His prayer (v. 41)?
30. All of this — Lazarus dying, Jesus delaying coming, Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead — was for the purpose of people believing that the Father sent the Son (v. 42).
31. Jesus calls Lazarus out by name! Some suggest that if He hadn’t, all the dead would have come forth (v. 43)!
32. Can’t you see Lazarus hopping out of the tomb? (v. 44)
33. Imagine being one of those whose job it was to unwrap Lazarus! (v. 44)
34. This miracle directly led to many of the Jews believing in Jesus (v. 45).
35 But the opposition to Jesus grows among the leaders (vv. 46-48).
36 Caiaphas, the high priest, prophesies that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation and “for the scattered children of God” (vv. 49-52). Here is a use of “children of God” that is not a reference to salvation.
37. Jesus has to take steps to withdraw for His own safety (vv. 53-54).
38. The plot to execute Jesus grows (vv. 55-57).

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2021 in John 11

 

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My Notes on John 11 . . .

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2021 in John 11

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #43 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 15

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 14.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, to share with the Lord’s people who are in need, and to practice hospitality! A lot of work!

The fifteenth critical imperative is —15. Believers are to BLESS THOSE WHO PERSECUTE THEM (v. 14)!

I know very little about persecution. I have never been threatened for my faith, never been assaulted for my beliefs, never been discriminated against for my convictions. My heart goes out to the many believers in the world who do face physical danger in their culture for following Jesus.

It’s quite possible that some Western Christians are passed over for job promotions or ignored or ridiculed for their faith. And with our part of the world becoming more anti-Christian, perhaps persecution is just around the corner for us.

But right now, we are to bless those who persecute us. What does “bless” them mean here? It’s certainly the opposite of “curse” those who persecute us. We are not to pray imprecatory prayers against those who make life difficult for us as individuals. We are not to retaliate in kind toward those who mock our faith. We are to “bless” them. That doesn’t mean we agree with their opposition, but that we don’t respond in an ungodly way to their harsh treatment of us. And that takes God’s power, doesn’t it?

Today’s Challenge: Can you think of anyone in your acquaintance who in some way or another is “persecuting” you? Then pray for them today. And ask God to show you how you can “bless” them.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #42 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 14

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking again at verse 13.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, and to share with the Lord’s people who are in need! Challenging!

The fourteenth critical imperative is —14. Believers are to PRACTICE HOSPITALITY (v. 13)!

I live in the South where people traditionally built houses with large, wraparound front porches so the neighbors could come by and sit for a spell, drinking wonderfully sugared iced tea! Sadly, those porches seem to have fallen into disuse. It seems money is no longer wasted on such luxuries when few are inclined to get to know their neighbors, much less invite them over for a spell.

But what have we lost? Our homes have been transformed into our castles, apparently with a moat around them stocked with alligators and a drawbridge that is only lowered for relatives who visit! The believer can choose to be counter-cultural in becoming more neighbor-friendly, don’t you think?

It is possible that the Apostle Paul here is referring to believers’ showing hospitality to other believers. This is a needed challenge, especially in a Covid or post-Covid world where we choose to become “socially distanced” even when we don’t have to!

But our unsaved friends and neighbors need to see inside our homes! They need to be invited over for a game night, to watch a good movie together, to simply spend time getting to know one another, to be part of an evangelistic Bible study! And those efforts involve . . . HOSPITALITY!

Today’s Challenge: How would you rate yourself and your family on the hospitality scale? What is one practical step you can take to become more hospitable with your home?

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #41 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 13

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 13.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, and to be faithful in prayer! Ouch!

The thirteenth critical imperative is —13. Believers are to SHARE WITH THE LORD’S PEOPLE WHO ARE IN NEED (v. 13)!

The first-century Christians shared their material goods with each other, as we see in Acts 2. They recognized the poor among them — and did something about it. Part of the challenge today is that we are seldom honest about our needs. We want others to think we are self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and self-dependent.

This critical imperative — sharing with those who are needy among the people of God — hits us where we live. It challenges our greed, our possessiveness, our captivity to things.

In our Western culture where most of us are incredibly wealthy compared to the rest of the world, there are means other than financial which we can share with the people of God. What do you have that you could share with another believer if you (1) knew their need and (2) chose to do something to meet that need?

Today’s Challenge: Open your eyes this week and notice a need that another brother or sister has — that you can meet. And meet that need! Feel free to leave a comment below.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #40 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 12

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 12.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, to be joyful in hope, and to be patient in affliction! Wow!

The twelfth critical imperative is —12. Believers are to BE FAITHFUL IN PRAYER (v. 12)!

This imperative is, for me, rather painful. I am not a prayer warrior. I’m not a prayer conscientious objector. I’m what might be called a prayer pacifist. I’m usually at peace that I’m such a pathetic pray-er! And that’s SIN.

There is so much that I need to learn about prayer. I need to learn that having God on speed dial when I’m in trouble is, at the very least, insulting to Him. I need to learn that prayer is often a missing weapon in my spiritual arsenal, and that’s lethal. I need to learn that I rely way too often on my own strength and forget about GOD! And that’s just dumb.

This critical imperative is not worded as “PRAY!” But rather “be faithful in prayer.” Faithful to what? to Whom? It certainly means that I keep my word when I promise others that I will pray for them. It certainly means that I will trust God’s faithfulness to me — and rest on His promises. It certainly entails a discipline of getting on my knees (spiritually, not physically [I’d have trouble getting back up!]) and getting serious about my walk with Him, others’ struggles to do the same, and the raw truth that He knows far better than we do. About everything. So I need to do more faithful praying!

Today’s Challenge: How would you rate your prayer life? Would “faithful” be the adjective that immediately jumps to your mind about this critical discipline? Why or why not? And . . . what are you going to do about it?

 

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #39 “Critical Imperatives for the Christ-Follower” (A Study of Romans 12) Part 11

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 12.

We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ, to hate as God hates, to be devoted to the body in love, to honor one another beyond yourselves, to keep one’s spiritual fervor, and to be joyful in hope! Whew!

The eleventh critical imperative is —11. Believers are to BE PATIENT IN AFFLICTION (v. 12)!

Ok. Truth time. I don’t care for affliction. Whether it is criticism (deserved or undeserved), athlete’s foot, heart surgery, or a devastating loss in tennis — I don’t really like affliction. None of us do. But we are guaranteed suffering in this world. [For a discussion of our poor theology of suffering, take a look at our post found here.]

Here our critical imperative is to be patient in affliction. Why “patient”? Because I (and, I presume, you) want suffering and affliction O-V-E-R! We want to move on to a state of non-affliction! Right now. And it may be that Paul has in mind affliction over which we have no control. We can’t stop it or avoid it or somehow ignore it. So, we have the option of being patient IN it. And that’s a great reason to drop to our knees and . . . pray (which will be our next critical imperative).

Today’s Challenge: How would you fill in the following blank? “Right now, in my life, I am going through the following affliction: _____________________. And I can’t stop it or avoid it or ignore it. BUT, I can, by God’s grace, be PATIENT in it.

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2021 in Romans 12

 

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