The Fig Tree

One sign often cited by Bible prophecy teachers that we are living in the last days is Israel becoming a nation again. This is interpreted through Jesus’ Parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24 (also mentioned in the gospels of Mark and Luke)…
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.  33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!  34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.  35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away
People have differences regarding how long a generation is in Scripture. Some have defined that as 40 years, 70 years, or 100 years. One fellow prophecy buff suggested it could last as long as the man’s lifespan during a particular time period.
Other Old Testament passages associated God’s people to fig trees…
“And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man …

Pay Your Taxes

Every year by April 15th (unless that day lands on a weekend like this year), Americans are required by law to have tax returns filed for their previous year’s income. Occasionally I have met Christians who question the validity of paying taxes. One of them even promoted a website claiming that paying income taxes is unconstitutional.
Taxation has existed since Old Testament days. In Genesis 41:34, Joseph advised Pharaoh to impose a 20% tax on all food in preparation for a coming famine. God used the Egyptian government to save the lives of many people.
In Luke 3:13 when tax collectors came to John the Baptist to be baptized they were told, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Notice John didn’t tell people not to pay taxes.
In Matthew 22 the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus replied in verse 21, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject to th…

Teacher of the Ear

There’s a popular bumper sticker that says, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” Most of us can recall having a favorite instructor while growing up. Mine was one I had as a high school sophomore in Moorhead, Minnesota.
Despite enjoying math during elementary school and junior high, I was never fond of geometry. Just before starting tenth grade, my parents and I met with a guidance counselor to discuss my schedule. Mom and Dad sided with my resistance to geometry but the counselor insisted I should take that subject.
During the first day of the 1979-1980 school year, I entered a second-floor classroom for my third period geometry class. After the bell rang, in walked 35-year-old Jace Lahlum. To my surprise, this teacher had an energetic personality unlike any I’d seen before. Halfway through that first class, I realized Mr. Lahlum looked and sounded like comedian Steve Martin. If he put on a white suit, dyed his hair and stuck an arrow through his head, Mr, Lahlum would closely rese…

It Can Wait

Although God desires everyone to have a long life (Psalm 91:16), we still reside in a fallen world where some people die because of another individual’s negligence. This past Wednesday, a tragedy occurred in Texas that should remind us all of the dangers of distracted driving. The 20-year-old driver of a pickup truck crashed into a church minibus near the town of Concan. 13 of the 14 passengers on the bus died from the accident. The pickup driver survived but is hospitalized.
A witness told the Associated Press he had followed the pickup driver for several miles as it moved erratically and repeatedly crossed the center line of a two-lane highway. Jody Kuchler made calls to the sheriffs of two counties urging them “to get him off the road before he hit somebody.” Kuchler ended up witnessing the collision. After checking on the bus occupants, he spoke with the pickup driver who told him, “I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I was texting.”
Many of us have gotten in the habit of immediately chec…

The Sinner’s Prayer

I’ve been faithfully doing evangelism now for twenty-three years. During that time I’ve used a variety of gospel tracts but prefer ones that include a salvation prayer at the end. Sometimes the Lord will lead you to approach people who don’t have time to talk but are willing to read something later. One day I stopped at a convenience store in Virginia and gave a tract to a young Russian woman working behind the counter. When I happened to stop by there again the next day, this woman thanked me for the tract. I found out she prayed a prayer like the one pictured here and gotten saved!
Nevertheless, there are Christians opposed to leading people in a “sinner’s prayer.” One reason often cited is “it’s not in the Bible.” Yet we have other generally accepted traditions not specifically mentioned in Scripture. Sunday schools cannot be found in the Bible yet many churches have them. The same thing could be said about altar calls for salvation. 
“Sinner’s prayer” critics seem to think when some…

An Open Letter to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

Dear Mr. Jeffries,
I was going to email this directly to you but your website allows that only from citizens within your district (I’m registered to vote in Virginia). That’s why this is an open letter.
I’m a traveling missionary who previously pursued a music career and still keeps an eye on what’s going on with the recording industry. Nowadays, I follow politics more closely. I believe it’s important for Americans to know what their leaders in Washington are doing. Every day I pray for politicians like yourself to make wise decisions that will benefit our nation.
Last week you commemorated the 20th anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G.’s death by displaying a picture of him on the House floor and claimed his life was “the classic embodiment of the American dream.” I can relate to you being a fan of the slain rapper since he came from your hometown of Brooklyn. For most of my life, I lived in Minnesota and grew to admire the success of Prince. Still I never cared for the explicit lyrics i…

Hating Sin, Loving Sinners

Some Christians detest the phrase “hate the sin but love the sinner” (or variations of it) claiming it’s unscriptural. While it may not appear verbatim in the Bible, many verses support that idea. One of the most obvious is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Another one is Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
There are a few Scriptures about God hating certain individuals. Psalm 5:5 says, “You hate all workers of iniquity.” Proverbs 6:19 mentions the Lord hating “a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” I believe it’s more accurate to say God hates the actions of unbelievers. 
Jesus said in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” Doe…