Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Is Deathbed Repentance Good Enough? Update.


For Scripture Sunday:_

Is Deathbed Repentance Good Enough?

“Can a person put off repentance until the final hours of life and still receive salvation? What does the Bible teach about deathbed repentance?

Deathbed Repentance

God is the author of salvation. His utmost desire is for every human being to receive this gift from Him. The Scriptures leave no doubt that God will save all who are willing to follow His instructions.

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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

God is “not willing [or wishing—Revised Standard Version] that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Since God is the One offering salvation and the One who desires that all receive it, it is only logical that He would make clear what He requires of anyone seeking salvation. The Scriptures clearly define what is required for someone to be saved.

Thief on the cross

Those who believe in deathbed repentance point to the thief on the cross to demonstrate that someone only needs to acknowledge his sins at the end of his life. They look at the thief’s request to Jesus: “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Is that sufficient to be saved? (For more on this, see our article “Thief on the Cross: What Happened to Him?  “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” Christ gave the thief the absolute promise on the day they were dying that he would (eventually, but not that same day) be with Christ in His Father’s Kingdom.)

Does God require more of us? Are there examples in the New Testament that will help us understand whether deathbed repentance is all that is needed?

Acts 2:38 provides us with the basic formula that must be followed by everyone seeking the gift of salvation. “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

Repentance: the starting point

John the Baptist set the stage for Jesus’ ministry. The focus of John’s short ministry was repentance. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2).

After John was imprisoned, Jesus Christ began His ministry by preaching the importance of repentance in order to be saved. “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15).

Repentance means to turn around and change your life—to stop practicing sin. A person must come to see that his or her way of living is unacceptable to God and that God requires the person to change. The Bible explains that we must change initially by repenting of a past sinful way of living and thinking. However, repentance does not stop there; it must continue on for the remainder of our life.

On the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31, the apostle Peter preached a stirring sermon that deeply affected many in the Jewish audience. “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37). They wanted to know what God required of them in order to be saved.

Peter’s response in verse 38, which we read earlier, reveals that these devout Jews (verse 5) had to do something. Even though they had been devout and sincere throughout their lives, they needed to recognize they had sins that needed to be forgiven. Therefore, they needed to repent of their sins (see our articles “What Is Repentance?” and “How to Repent”).

Repentance of personal sins involves turning from sin and turning to obedience to God’s laws. Unless a person is willing to submit his will to God by walking according to His instructions and laws, that individual has not repented. A repentant person must begin to produce positive actions and thoughts.

Baptism follows repentance

During John the Baptist’s ministry, a number of Jews flocked to the Jordan River to be baptized by him. John was concerned because many were not living as they should have been (Luke 3:7-8, 10-14). Before John would baptize them, he required that they produce fruit in their lives as evidence of their repentance. He required that they put into practice what the Scriptures taught.

Unless a person is willing to submit his will to God by walking according to His instructions and laws, that individual has not repented.Then, and only then, would he baptize them. He understood that baptism was symbolic of the burial of the old self and the forgiveness of sins (see Romans 6:3-4, 10). Therefore, baptism would be meaningless unless there was repentance and an inner change. Our sins can be forgiven only by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior. God applies the sacrifice of Christ only if we have faith that His blood will, in fact, remove our sins.

Paul stated in Acts 20:21 that we must repent “toward God” and exercise “faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” We must go to God and ask Him for forgiveness and believe that the blood shed by Jesus Christ will remove our guilt of personal sins.

Baptism—immersion in water—is an outward symbol of a person’s repentance of sin. Peter makes it clear that this ceremony is necessary for “the remission of sins” of the past. (See our articles “What Is Baptism?” and “Do You Have to Be Baptized to Be Saved?”)

Peter also stated that baptism must be performed by the ministry “in the name of Jesus Christ.” This important statement means “by the authority of Jesus Christ.” The ceremony of baptism should be done correctly—the person is to be fully submerged in water—as a symbol of the death of the old man, which is our old, sinful way of thinking and living.

Receiving the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:38 also records that a person must “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is necessary for all, as we read in Romans 8: “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. … But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit. … For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (verses 9, 11, 14).

What does a person have to do to receive this gift of the Holy Spirit? Let’s look at some biblical examples.

The apostles Peter and John traveled north from Jerusalem to Samaria after they heard that people in “Samaria had received the word of God” (Acts 8:14). A group of Samaritans had responded positively to the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom of God, had repented of their sins and had been baptized by Philip. Peter and John laid hands on those who were baptized and prayed, and the Holy Spirit was given as a gift to those who had repented and been baptized (verses 12, 14-17).

Later in the book of Acts an unusual situation arose. Some disciples who had been baptized by either John the Baptist or his disciples were not aware of the Holy Spirit. They understood the need to have their sins forgiven, but did not understand the need for the Holy Spirit. Their understanding about salvation was limited. Without having the Holy Spirit, we cannot be saved.

In Acts 19:1-6 we read that they were baptized again, but this time “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (verse 5). Following their baptism, Paul laid his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit was given to them.

What else are we to do?


The Christian life is a life of overcoming. Overcoming involves spiritual growth “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We must study the Bible and allow it to instruct us in the way of righteousness. We must be taught what is right and what is wrong so that our lives undergo transformation. We must repent as we see shortcomings and sins in our lives. We must pray regularly for God’s spiritual strength to overcome.

Equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit, correct understanding and contact with God, we begin a life of overcoming sin in our lives.

Jesus’ messages to the churches focus on the importance of overcoming sins in our lives (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). It is only as we overcome sin that we grow in godly character—the mind of God and Christ. This is an arduous process—a process that takes diligent effort for the rest of our lives. As Jesus stated in Matthew 24:13, “He who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Repentance, water baptism and the laying on of hands for receiving the Holy Spirit are the first steps toward salvation. From that point forward, every person must live a life of resisting against and overcoming sin.

So, is deathbed repentance all that is required for someone to be saved? There are no examples in the Bible that support this erroneous concept. Salvation is an awesome gift of God. It is a free gift, but it is not cheap. Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty for our sins. Our response must be surrendering our lives so that God can transform us into people of godly character, prepared for the glorious Kingdom of God (Romans 6:12-13; 12:1-2; James 4:7).

The thief on the cross has not entered the Kingdom of God. He will still have his opportunity to follow through on his repentance and belief.

The Bible reveals that there is coming a time when he and millions of others will be resurrected and be given an opportunity to live forever. “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12).

For further information about the thief’s future and God’s plan for what happens after death, see the article “Do We Go to Heaven When We Die?” and the free booklet The Last Enemy: What ReallyHappens After Death?



Jay and I have been making a wooden walkway between the front door and the garage which is under the overhang of the screen porch.  There used to be bushes with blue flowers there, but the digging up to find the drains and the frosts have killed them all but one.  We moved that one to the guest house over Princess’ grave.  It was always a dripping wet journey to the garage on the sidewalk, so now there is this new wooden walkway, so that we won’t get rain dripping down our necks.  That metal and poly porch roof cannot have a gutter, or we would have put one on it.

Nala and Midi, my two foster cats went to Adoption Day (just the afternoon) at Petco.  Nala hates to go, but they said she seemed more at ease because Midi was in the big display cage with her.  Midi’s former foster mom tried to get him out of the cage, but he wouldn’t go with her.  As soon as my carrier was put up to the display cage, he walked right in it.  He likes the gets special attention here.  Nala and Midi still have little tiffs over nothing.

Jay actually went to church with me this time, and everyone was so glad to see him.  The pastor’s wife was back from her surgery and took care of the potluck.  Nothing much, just putting the dishes that are brought in the oven and plugging in the crock pots. My tri-color quinoa and beef tips cut up small morsels in a onion and tomato sauce was deemed tasty and I also took some roasted yellow squash and zucchini.

The Bible readings were Exo.27:20-30:10, Eze. 43:10-27 and Phill.4.  The Teaching was about Divine Knowledge.

Jay and I have also screwed down some more of the new floor in the guest house, but a torrential rain showed where water is still getting under the house.  Until we can see no more water under there, some of the floor will remain loose.  So more bags of cement mix will have to be bought on shopping day.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Life's Ultimate Do-Over. 10 Commandments in the Old and New Testaments. Military K-9s. Update.

Life's Ultimate Do-Over 

“Where am I? Who am I? This isn’t the life I pictured for myself. I’m also pretty sure this isn’t the life that God wanted for me either.” Rehearsing every choice that has led you to this moment.
I’ve been there. I’ve looked around at my life and thought those thoughts. Those are not fun times, when I realized that I had let myself down, and I’d let God down.

Each day is a new opportunity to pray to God to help you make the right choices and to ask forgiveness for the wrong ones you’ve made.
The really good news is that you don’t have to stay there. You don’t have to stay in those moments where your life is in shambles and you feel alone. As Christians we have access to the ultimate do-over: repentance.
Getting real
Let’s get real about our lives and ourselves. How do we end up in those moments where we’ve taken a wrong turn in life and we’ve wandered further than we could have imagined? We get there because we’re human. Proverbs 14:12tells us that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Without God we get hopelessly lost because we can’t see which way to go. We are told to follow our hearts, but problem with that is that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). We cannot do things just because they feel good, unless we are prepared to reap the consequences.

Just as God gave Adam and Eve a choice (a choice to obey Him or disobey Him), He has given us a choice:
God wants you to choose life—to choose Him—because He’s already chosen us, and He’s not letting us go. “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God” (Psalms 14:2). And Jesus said, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23).
We’ve wandered away from God, and He’s there, waiting for us to return to Him, or maybe find Him for the first time. What does it mean to choose God? How do we do that?

The very first step is sometimes the hardest: Pray to God for forgiveness. Jesus spoke of this in a parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, drunkards, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14). This is the beginning of changing your life.

Turning to God is a process, but it always takes that first step. And every single day is a new opportunity to once again choose God and start anew. Each day is a new opportunity to pray to God to help you make the right choices and to ask forgiveness for the wrong ones you’ve made. It is never too late to start over.  It does mean that we can move forward. We can create a life that is beautiful to ourselves and pleasing to God.”

More Canine soldiers:

He/she deserved it! Thank you for your service, sweet little doggie.

Let's go for a walk they said.   It'll be fun they said.

The sharp dried weeds/grass was probably hurting the dog's feet. He ain't heavy he's my brother!

Saw another picture where the human soldier was carrying his dog over burning hot sand.
If it's too hot or cold on the ground for you to go barefooted, it's too hot or cold for animals too.
The 10 Commandments in the Old and New Testaments
“Jesus identifies faithful members of His Church as those “who keep the commandments of God” (Revelation 12:17). Some of the final words of the Bible and this revelation of Jesus Christ likewise state: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
The 10 Commandments given by God in the Old Testament continue to be God’s expectations of Christians today. 
The following chart identifies references to the 10 Commandments in both the Old and New Testaments.
Old Testament
New Testament

Exodus 20:3Deuteronomy 5:7
Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8; Revelation 14:7
Exodus 20:4-6Deuteronomy 5:8-10
Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-20; Ephesians 5:5
Exodus 20:7Deuteronomy 5:11
Matthew 5:33-37; 1 Timothy 6:1; James 2:7
Exodus 20:8-11Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Luke 4:16; 23:55-56; Acts 17:1-2; 18:4; Hebrews 4:9; 1 John 2:6
Exodus 20:12Deuteronomy 5:16
Matthew 15:4-9; 19:19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:29-30; Ephesians 6:1-3
Exodus 20:13Deuteronomy 5:17
Matthew 5:21-22; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:29-30; 13:9
Exodus 20:14Deuteronomy 5:18
Matthew 5:27-28; 19:18; Mark 10:11-12, 19; Luke 16:18; 18:20; Romans 7:2-3;13:9
Exodus 20:15Deuteronomy 5:19
Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Peter 4:15; Revelation 9:21
Exodus 20:16Deuteronomy 5:20
Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:25
Exodus 20:17Deuteronomy 5:21
Luke 12:15; Romans 1:29; 7:7; 13:9; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3, 5



Mostly my problem is getting decent help for the repairs and remodeling of the guest house. In what will be the new kitchen, the floor was floated and sanded, and the lino (sheet vinyl) is down, but it isn't cut to fit exactly yet. It is a white with pale gray marble pattern like 12 x 12" squares.   The windows that are coming out have had the outside vinyl siding and inside trim removed, and I just need the time and some competent help to get them out.  Then we can plywood that wall and replace the vinyl siding.  This wasn't done when that part of the building was moved from it's other location on the other side of town where it was in a really bad flood. It used to be a sun/plant room addition when it was there, and was mostly windows and skylights. Now those great big 5' x 5' single pane windows are coming out and just two double-paned windows are going in, so that wall will have to have plywood outside and insulation inside, where those windows were.

Computer, internet and phone problems plagued everyone here last week.  I had trouble using an old computer that kept on seizing up and wouldn't do right.  Then the computer guy at our church surprised me with my old computer rebuilt with solid state stuff inside it, and a genuine Windows 7. In my back-up computer and the one that he had loaned me it was just a revamped XP. This is my first day using it, and it is great. I can see pictures instead of empty squares and even look at the videos that I have to see for some of my work.  But I can't get OpenLiveWriter to work on it yet.

My new cat, Midnight Lace, Midi for short, who I now foster to keep Nala company is a very sweet old man.  He is playful, loving, and gentle so I think that they are going to be good friends.  At least she isn't pestering me to play with her all the time, though she still wants her 15 minutes of laser light play time last thing at night. That's fine with me, she is fun to watch.  Midi just looks at her like she's crazy, trying to catch that light that can never be caught!

The pastor's wife hasn't been to the church for the last three weeks,   She still had a drain and infection from her lymph node surgery.  So I was asked to ramrod the potluck each Sabbath, thankfully one of the elders, Gary, helped me each time.  We just have to get the crock pots a-warming, wash and get the salad set up.  The we make sure there is enough butter and seasoning on the garlic bread before it's put in the oven to warm. Then warm up anything else that needs to be warmed.  There isn't supposed to be any cooking on the Sabbath, so most items have been fixed or cooked the day before on Preparation Day.  It is always interesting to see what each person brings.  I took a beef stew and a fried cabbage/onion dish made with avocado oil, and Gary had brought a delicious salmon casserole. There was also lasagna, potato salad, a meat and rice dish, salsa, chips, cake, pie, brownies, and cookies.  There is always lots of food left over and it is taken by those who want it for themselves, or to donate.

We are still reading in Exodus, and it was 21:1-24:18 one week and this week it was 25:1-27:19.  As I was in the kitchen/dining hall for the Teachings, I couldn't look up the Bible verses, but it was uplifting to hear them.  One was about Troublesome Times, and this week it was about Prophesies.

For the last week the weather has ranged from below freezing to t-shirt weather, like today.