What Does the Lord Require?
What Does the Lord Require?

Roger Feenstra • January 20, 2021

Yesterday I read a statement of faith from a church in my area regarding baptism. One sentence got me thinking about how we make up our own theology. It stated, baptism "demonstrates our submission to God." That sounds like something worthy of doing, i.e., submitting to and showing God we are submissive. But is it biblical? Could this and statements like it be man's philosophy? If so, we should beware (Colossians 2:8).


Why do I need to demonstrate anything to God? Am I not saved by grace through faith? Was I not given a gift but now God wants me to confirm my submission to him?  


Should we be baptized to demonstrate our submission to God? If that's what baptism shows, then why not do it every day? What else can we do to demonstrate submission? How about beating ourselves (flagellation) with a stick? Or crawling up the holy stairs in Rome on our knees? Or, maybe a bit less obtrusive, sitting in our quiet place and never missing a day of devotional Bible reading? We could make a never ending list.


The whole idea of having to do something to get closer to God is a holdover from the Catholic Church's false doctrine. Charles Dickens wrote about such things as "dangerous reliance on outward observances."


Attempting to demonstrate submission to God outwardly weighs us down with the baggage of guilt. We can never quite express ourselves enough outwardly. To even try puts us in danger of developing a guilt complex; Woe is me, I didn't do enough, I must do more! 


That's not a good place to be in our life of faith. Guilt paralyzes and discourages us. Guilt will often cause one to give up. And many do quit because they have found it impossible to demonstrate anything to God sufficiently. Some walk away and never look back.


What does the Bible teach?


  • You are complete in Christ. In Christ dwells ALL the fulness of goodness and Godness. Because of that, when you believe "Ye are complete in him" (Colossians 2:10). Complete means--complete. It is a completed action done by God Himself to us. It's a passive word in Greek, which means we don't do it to ourselves; God does it to us. Attempting to demonstrate submission to God is an exercise in futility. God says, "I did it for you."


  • The apostle Paul made it very clear to the Corinthian church, "Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified" (1 Corinthians 6:11). Three extraordinary actions, which, like our completeness, are all done to us the moment we believe. Most agree with the washing part and justification (declared righteous) as being one-time actions (which they are), but many change the Greek tense from passive to active when it comes to sanctification. They say things like, "Sanctification is a process" or, "Sanctification is daily growth in your Christian life so I must do more." But that is not what Paul wrote. Upon belief in Jesus Christ, Paul states that each person is washed once, justified once, AND sanctified once. God sees each believer in that light!


If we are complete in Christ, if we are washed, sanctified, and justified, why do we continue to sin? Could it be because we are not yet glorified?  We are trapped in our old bodies. But God solved the problem for us, and He sent His Son to die for the sins of the world.


Even though we still sin God doesn't hold our sin against us. Yes, everyone sins, and while we still sin, "Since there is no law," our sins are not imputed to us! Meaning, God is not keeping a list of sins. In the dispensation of grace, since He took care of sin, there is no requirement on our part to do anything about them. On the cross, the sins of the entire world were forgiven, Romans 5:13 (more about this incredible truth in another post).


Don't get stuck in the false teaching of the Catholic Church.


Does one need to demonstrate anything to God? No.


God did all the demonstrating (Romans 5:8); His Son did all the submitting on the cross! All one must do is believe and rejoice in His work, not our own. Praise the Lord!

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Remember the First Thanksgiving
Remember the First Thanksgiving

Roger Feenstra • November 25, 2020

Some communities this year will arrest people for having more than six people in their own homes for Thanksgiving. I call everyone to gather with as many family and friends they desire. Pilgrims proved life is a risk, but they endured and paved the way for our celebration this year! Enjoy your freedom.


_____________________________________________________-


After the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Church of England became the official church in England and was headed by the King and Queen of England. All those with religious convictions were under the authority of the bishops of the Church. These bishops began to create power positions and ruled over the congregations—a dogma of the Roman Church.


Several hundred people were having great difficulty in worshiping with freedom, so they began to speak out about their commitment to Jesus and their desire to follow only the writings of the Scriptures. These people became known in England as the “Separatists.”

Since they did not want to obey the rules of the King’s Church, which was the law of the land, they began to have secret meetings. However, the King heard they were holding clandestine gatherings, and he began to put some of the men into prison. He caused many problems and trials in an attempt to get these people to bow to the laws of the Church of England.


The church leaders became harsh and cruel, making it more dangerous for these committed Christians to worship according to Scripture. Consequently, they were afraid to stay in England, so they began to contemplate a move to a place where they could worship as they pleased.


In 1608 the Separatists moved to Holland, seeking Christian freedom. They lived in Holland for 12 years, but life there was very difficult. The men worked extremely hard but received little to show for their hard labor. The parents also became concerned about their children, fearing that they might forget the culture customs of their native England.


Furthermore, they did not want their children to become sailors and soldiers for Holland, which was customary. It seems the Lord used these concerns and their difficult life to cause them to explore the possibilities of going to the new world, to a land called America.


The people began to lay plans for a move to this newly discovered land. Their search for a way to the new world and a means to ship their supplies led these people to some businessman. They were able to make an agreement for 35 of them to go to the new land if others would work for these businessman for seven years.


They thought this agreement unfair, but it was the only way they could find to get to the new world, so an agreement was made. The departing 35 picked up the name of “Pilgrim” since a pilgrim is someone who goes on a long, long journey.

The Pilgrims return to England from Holland determined to set sail for the new world, and boarded a cargo ship acquired by the businessman called the “Mayflower.”


And even though the Mayflower was not designed to carry passengers, the ship did bring 102 people from England to the new world in the year 1620. Out of the 102 passengers, 35 of them were Christians from the Separatist group from Holland.


Sailing conditions were extremely poor, and the sailors on the ship became hostile toward the Pilgrims due to their practice of singing spiritual songs and praying. The Pilgrims, in turn, did not like the sailors using bad language.


There was little each family could take along on the voyage because there wasn’t much room. Each family could bring one box which contained the family Bible. The women brought a few cooking utensils and the men brought a gun or sword and a few tools for building and working in the gardens. A mother with a baby could only take along a cradle for the baby to sleep in.


It was dangerous for a small ship like the Mayflower to make such a long voyage—especially by itself. In those days one ship never sailed alone.


Living conditions on the ship were miserable. The food consisted of salted beef, pork or fish and hard, dry biscuits.


Sleeping quarters were on the floor below the main deck where hardly any light or fresh air existed. If they wanted to bathe they had to wash in salty water. Most of the people had to wear the same clothes day after day for the 66-day voyage. Sanitary facilities were non-existent.


During one dangerous storm the main beam cracked. It splintered the main deck, causing water to pour in on the Pilgrims who were living on the lower deck. Their clothes, bedding and food lay in water, making living conditions intolerable.


Many of the people on board became deathly ill. The sickness was so severe even the sailors began to pray with the Pilgrims for an end to the terrible voyage. The Pilgrims knew it was only by God’s mercy that they could survive the voyage.

It was the morning of November 9, 1620, 66 days later, when they saw the sandy beaches of Cape Cod in what is today the State of Massachusetts. Many of the people on the ship, led by the Pilgrims, fell on their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean.


And now they were here in a strange land where there were no homes, no towns and no friends to greet them. They continued living aboard the Mayflower for another 33 days until a landing site could be found with a place to make their homes.

On December 16, 1620, the Mayflower landed at an area which the Pilgrims called Plymouth because Plymouth, England was their point of departure, and they had received kindness from Christians there. This was the beginning of the first Christian settlement in the new world called America.


In the area surrounding Plymouth where the Pilgrims decided to stay, they found running brooks and fields which had already been cleared for planting. Here they would be able to worship God, pray and sing songs with complete freedom.

Trials in building this Christian settlement were many. The Pilgrims had to contend with the cold and snow, lack of food, sickness, death, loneliness and conflicts with Indians.


During February of that first winter, there were times when only six or seven people were well enough to take care of the ones who were sick. By spring, half of the pilgrims and sailors had died. Three entire families died during the initial days. The rest were alone, except for their God and their commitment.


It was this commitment to Jesus Christ and their faith in Him that gave them the courage and strength to carry on. Their faith had been tested and tried, and built up through the experiences they had endured in England, Holland and aboard the Mayflower.


This gave them the strength to persevere, and establish the first light of Jesus in the new land of America. Through these Pilgrims the spiritual history of American Christianity had its beginning.


On April 5, 1621, four months after arriving in America, the Mayflower headed back to England. But not one Pilgrim returned.


As summer approached, their faithfulness and commitment to Jesus began to reveal the fruits of their commitment. William Bradford, one of the leaders of the Pilgrims, wrote that they had all things in plenty because the corn had grown well.

A friendly Indian named Squanto, who had traveled abroad and knew the English language, taught the Pilgrims how to plant. It appears he was God-sent. The Pilgrims had plenty to eat and were careful to lay up in store for the next winter.


During the summer they were able to build several homes. Most of the dangers of sickness past and their friendship with the Indians allowed them to live in peace.

Through the grace of God, they had been able to do what they set out to do. They found a place where they could live and worship God in their own way with complete freedom.


In October of 1621, nearly a year after that their arrival, the Pilgrims decided to set aside a special time to give thanks to the Lord for his faithfulness, a commemoration we now call Thanksgiving.


(Excerpted from “The Last Days In America,” by Bob Fraley, pages 52 to 56, published by Christian Life Services, copyright 1984.)

© 2018 Compass Int’l, Inc.

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Why Stand Ye Gazing
Why Stand Ye Gazing

Roger Feenstra • November 10, 2020

As Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles just stood there. The Scripture says (Acts 1:11) they were "gazing up into heaven." We can speculate about reasons why they would have done this. First, they had never seen anyone ascend into the clouds so their first response was probably shock and awe. And no doubt that was a reaction we might all expect. But I think there is another reason they just stood there, looking up. Now, what do we do!? 


Jesus had just spent forty days with them after his resurrection. They had found comfort in his presence. And forty days were long enough to take his presence for granted. After all, they asked him (Acts 1:6), "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?" They believed Jesus was there to stay. But he wasn't there to stay. What the apostles didn't fully see was that he must first depart and then return before he would set up His kingdom on earth. So, they stood there gazing, wondering, what now?


The "two men who stood by them in white apparel" (Acts 1:10,11: angelic beings) snapped the apostles back into reality. "Why stand ye gazing into heaven," they asked. "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." The reality check helped. So much so that the apostles "returned unto Jerusalem" (Acts 1:12), just as Jesus had told them to do (Acts 1:4).


If we can gain any practical help from this passage it is that Jesus Christ is coming back--We don't need to stand gazing at our world and the chaos around us and wonder, "Now what do we do?"


Along with the apostle Paul and other believers in the body of Christ, we are "workers together" (2 Corinthians 6:1), as "ambassadors for Christ." Shall we stop gazing and start sharing with the world the "word of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19), letting our friends and neighbors know that Jesus Christ took our sin and offers everlasting life for those who believe in him? Jesus Christ lived and died, was buried, and rose again so that we too might conquer death and live forever.


Jesus's ascension is a reminder that he will return, but in the meantime, we can turn our attention to the work he has placed before us as ministers of God together.

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Fight for Freedom Even in the Seemingly Little Things
Fight for Freedom Even in the Seemingly Little Things

Roger Feenstra • October 15, 2020

Since a week before Labor Day I have traveled without a mask through seven airports, attended two conferences without wearing a mask. I have hugged people, maskless, sat in close contact with friends talking and even singing without a mask. I rode in elevators, with strangers without wearing a mask. I’ve wandered hotel lobbies, maskless...on and on.


Yet I am COVID free. Why? Because I wash my hands and avoid touching my face. I also cover my own cough or sneeze. In other words, I’m cautious and courteous. I practice the same preventative measures (to avoid catching any virus) I learned as a child.


COVID is real, I might get it someday, with a virus you never know. But, I could also get cancer, have a heart attack, experience kidney failure, get in a horrific car wreck, be a victim of a drive by shooting, choke on a piece of chicken...in other words, anything could happen.


I recommend not buying into the fear. Live your life like people have done for 6,000 years. Be responsible. Most importantly don’t let “The Dumbest Generation” of politicians and so-called health experts control your life. Fight for freedom, no matter how small the battle.

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Who Rules the World?
Who Rules the World?

Roger Feenstra • June 30, 2020

We can be sure God owns the world; after all, he created it along with the entire universe. But does he rule the world? Many say Jesus Christ is King. But is he?


God's Creation of the earth is magnificent. In his tremendous power, he created from nothing. Earth was without form and void. Just as space and the depth of the universe go on forever today, so in the beginning, God, like a master artist, created a masterpiece on a blank canvas of watery nothingness--and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. God was in motion.


He took the dark, empty, watery Creation and fashioned the world we know today. He would do it in six literal days.


On the sixth day, God performed the most incredible act of Creation when he uttered, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." His statement indicated the work of the entire trinity; Father, Son, Holy Spirit, all were involved in Creation.


Unlike all the other creatures which God created on that sixth day, Man, created in God's image, was special and unique. It was Man who was to be the ruler of Creation.


This rule would only be possible if the first man, Adam, would obey one law, "Do not eat of the tree in the midst of the garden, the tree of knowledge of good and evil." For on that day, he would surely die.


Yet the tempter came, and Adam fell, causing him to lose the dominion he once enjoyed. That treasured dominion was lost; handed over in an instant to the adversary. Adam and his wife were separated from God.


God, in His mercy and grace, would provide someone to take back dominion that was lost. He would send a rescuer. This rescuer would come from the "seed of the woman." He could crush the head of the adversary.


This is the theme of God's Word. In the fullness of time, One would come to take back dominion.

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Put on the Armor
Put on the Armor

Roger Feenstra • April 25, 2020

Governments do not have a God-given right to decide whether or not a church is essential. All over the world, in oppressive countries, local churches are defying their governments by meeting to worship our Lord and read the Word of God, as the local body of Christ, in secret. Historically, churches in America have praised these bold Christians, even cheering them on, and praying for them. Now, when oppression comes to our own shores, and our government determines churches in America are non-essential, Christians cower in their homes in front of innocuous screens and dutifully bow down to the State, while still hanging out with the masses at Wal-mart, Costco, and Home Depot. Maybe it's time for pastors to take off their skinny jeans and put on the armor?

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We Live In Prophetic Days
We Live In Prophetic Days

Hope Now Bible Church | Fresno, CA • June 04, 2019

The anti-Christian environmental movement, paving the way for the antichrist. Here's what's behind it:


"Convince the people that the entire world is threatened, and you can convince them that no nation can save it. It is then easy to convince them that a world government is the only way to save the planet. The trouble is that none of it is true. The World is in good shape, and people are living longer and healthier lives in every nation."


Read on and teach it to your children.


READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.

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Happy 71st Birthday
Happy 71st Birthday

Roger Feenstra • May 14, 2019

May 14, 1948, the Nation of Israel was born.


"And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest." Ezekiel 37:3



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Getting Close to God?
Getting Close to God?

Hope Now Bible Church | Fresno, CA • May 14, 2019

They became popular about ten years ago, and the fad has worn off, but Prayer Labyrinths still can be found. I stumbled across this one at a Presbyterian church in Taos, New Mexico. It is not surprising to find one here. Taos is void of Christian influence with a rough estimate of only 5% of the population calling themselves Christians. It is a mission field.


The Prayer Labyrinth finds its roots in Greek mythology and paganism. The premise behind a prayer labyrinth is to enter from one point, symbolizing leaving the world, or leaving self, and making your way toward inner peace, or peace with God. Then, slowly make your way back to the point of entry (now the exit) and back into the world.


What's wrong with walking through a prayer labyrinth? In and of itself, nothing. Under grace a Christian can hop on one leg through one if he wants to. Granted, there is not a lot of instruction in Scripture on how to pray, but we are never instructed to empty our minds, leave the world, or get in tune with one's self.


It is not a stretch to say the prayer labyrinth is unbiblical. It smacks of eastern mysticism, transcendental meditation, and even out of body experiences. These are not Christian practices, and never have been. Believers are not to participate in the darkness of the world, but are to "shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).


A prayer labyrinth carries the idea of emptying our minds as we move toward the center, but Christians are never instructed to empty our minds, rather we are to "set our minds on the things above" (Colossians 3:2). We are to "renew" our minds, not empty them (Romans 12:2). And how are we to be renewed? Through "knowledge" (Colossians 3:10). Knowledge comes from the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). It does not come from prayer walking through a labyrinth.


Do you want to get close to God? Read His word. Do you want to hear God speak? Read His word out loud.


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The Gospels Are Reliable
The Gospels Are Reliable

Hope Now Bible Church | Fresno, CA • May 01, 2019

Almost every week I tell our church how privileged we are to be holding the very words of God in our hands. No other religion can make that claim. Yet why do so many Christians not even carry a Bible, let alone know what it says? Is it because we don't fully grasp the reliability of the Bible, in particular the Gospels, therefore we fail to recognize the treasure we have access to?


Dr. F. David Farnell presents a thorough and extremely "reader friendly" article, "Are the Gospels Reliable." It is worth 10 or 15 minutes of your time to read it. You will rejoice in knowing how awesome God's Word truly is!


Read the article here.

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