The faith of Abraham (1)

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS

Number 592 • December 14, 2020

THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM – Part One of Two

QUESTION: Did Abraham believe everything God said to him and do everything God told him to do?

ANSWER: After a conversation with the questioner I understood the reasoning behind the question and I have expanded the question accordingly. If you read Romans 4:3 and 9, Hebrews 11:8,17-19, and James 21-23 you probably get the idea that from beginning to the Abraham understood and believed all that God said, and did without hesitation all that God commanded, so that he received everything God promised and was faithful in everything God asked him to do. But if you read the history of Abraham in Genesis, 11:24 through chapter 25 you will get a narrative that seems contradicting and confusing. Abraham seemed to fail God’s testing on several occasions. Does the scripture contradict itself in the story of Abraham? Continue reading

#faith, #geraldcowan, #obedience

Will God harden your heart?

GERALD COWAN’S PESONAL PERIODICALS
Number 591 • December 8, 2020

WILL GOD HARDEN YOUR HEART?

QUESTION: In Number 589 you said God does not prevent us from knowing or doing His will but the devil does. But the Bible says God hardens people’s hearts, like He did Pharaoh’s. Doesn’t that mean he prevents them from doing what they ought to do and causes them to be lost? Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #hardheart

Jesus is truly ‘the Prince of peace’

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 590 • December 6, 2020

JESUS IS TRULY “THE PRINCE OF PEACE”

QUESTION: Somebody asked if the Nobel Peace Prize could be given to Jesus posthumously. I think it would improper in his case because he has not produced peace in the world, and there is certainly no prospect of world peace. What does it really mean that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)? Can he force us to be at peace with each other? Is peace produced in us by his Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22)? Or do we have to wait for it to happen in the millennium? Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #peace

How can you know if you are one of God’s chosen elect (II)

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 589 • December 2, 2020

HOW CAN YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE ONE OF GOD’S CHOSEN ELECT?
Part Two of Two

Calvinists will insist that the fact of believing is indisputable irrefutable evidence of the sovereign God’s call and assurance of salvation and election. But sovereign will and choice does not require belief, to say nothing of acceptance and obedience, so the fact of one’s belief and conviction really proves nothing. A rebuttal is necessary to prevent the collapse of the Calvinist’s whole doctrinal position. They propose to prove their point by asserting another sovereign act of God which makes His will, His grace, and His gift irresistible – one is forced to believe it and none is able to refuse or reject it. Therefore they continue to insist that the very fact of believing is evidence of God’s call and God’s election. Continue reading

#election, #geraldcowan

How can you know if you are one of God’s elect?

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 588 • December 2, 2020

HOW CAN YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE ONE OF GOD’S CHOSEN ELECT?
Part One of Two

What part, if any, does a person have in his own election and salvation? The religious world struggles to answer the question. Not every religion has a clear doctrine about salvation and what part of the person, if any, is saved and preserved for life and existence after death of the body. We will not concern ourselves in this essay with all religions, even the major ones that can be called “world religions.”

Our focus will be only on biblical doctrine and faith, not what “our church” teaches or even what current “Christianity” teaches, but what the Bible teaches when properly understood. That means we must seek to find our answers only from the Bible, not from past or present theology which has caused fragmentation into a plethora of divisions, denomination, sects, cults, and factions which are often Christian only in claims and concepts not actually supported by the New Testament of the Bible. Many of these nominal Christians also struggle to answer questions about election, salvation, security, and eternal destiny. Continue reading

#election, #geraldcowan

A thanksgiving psalm

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 587 • November 29, 2020

A THANKSGIVING PSALM

The outstanding and most notable characteristic of humanity in the present generation may be ingratitude, the lack of appreciation and thankfulness. The same is true of every generation. We are the “is that all there is” generation. We are the “never satisfied” and “never enough” generation. We are the “you only go around once so grab for everything you can get” generation. The most glaring defect of people is the failure to thank God properly. Other persons may call us out if we fail to express thanksgiving. God does not do so audibly. He does so in His Word in the Bible, but many or most do not read or give heed, and those who preach and teach His word do not emphasize it properly, repeatedly, and emphatically enough. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #psalms, #thanksgiving

Living in the age of antichrist

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS

Number 586 • November 25, 2020

LIVING IN THE AGE OF ANTICHRIST

QUESTION: Do you think the Antichrist has appeared and the great tribulation will begin soon? Do you think the Antichrist could be a woman rather than a man? Could a nation, such as our own, be the Antichrist? Continue reading

#geraldcowan

How to show gratitude to God

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 585• November 22, 2020

HOW TO SHOW GRATITUDE TO GOD

There are four levels of gratitude that one may reach.

  • The level of the lips – saying “thanks,” or some words that convey gratitude. But if the words are insincere they are not valid – they are lies. Lying words may sound good to the one addressed, but they are a discredit to the one who speaks them.
  • The level of the hands – doing something to show gratitude, in response to something done for you or given to you. But if the action is forced or coerced and is not an honest reflection of feelings it too is a lie. The act is good but the motive behind it is not.
  • The level of the heart – actually being grateful. When the gratitude is heartfelt it will show up in the lips and in the hands, sincere and genuine words and acts of appreciation which is …
  • The level of the life – one lives a life of gratitude. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #gratitude, #thanksgiving

Love is a very complicated thing (II)

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 584 • November 18, 2020

LOVE IS A VERY COMPLICATED THING – Part Two
SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF LOVE (AGAPE).

Love EVALUATES the other person. It does not objectify. This is not an attempt to assign a value, but rather the recognition of the inherent worth and value of the person (and all persons). This requires seeing one as a person, not an object or thing. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #love

Love is a very complicated thing (I)

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 583 • November 15, 2020

LOVE IS A VERY COMPLICATED THING – Part One
1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Romans 13:7-10

INTRODUCTION: “Love is the greatest” – sounds so good, sounds so simple, sounds so easy doesn’t it? We should change our statement to read “love is the best.” It certainly is not simple, and you will come to understand that there’s really nothing easy about it. If you were trying to define or explain “love” to someone who did not know our language, how would you go about it? Chances are you would end up trying to define love in terms of what it does, or how it makes you feel. English is sometimes a poor language, in spite of more than 400,000 words in the vocabulary (how many do you know?). That is especially true with the word LOVE, one of our most ambiguous words, one that resists easy or precise definition. One does not love mate, mother, brother, sister, friend, country and apple pie, or a pet in the same way. And how is “Christian love” different from the other kinds of love? Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #love

Proper use of the church’s money and resources

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS

Number 582 • November 10, 2020

PROPER USE OF THE CHURCH’S MONEY AND RESOURCES

A question that has resurfaced frequently in the past several decades – is probably as old as the church itself – concerns what is the church’s money, God’s money, or the “church treasury” – and how it can be used “scripturally.” That last word scripturally is particularly difficult because the scripture says little to nothing about the use of general funds entrusted to the church. The funds collected by Paul and Barnabas for famine-stressed Christians in Judea were sent and delivered to the elders of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30). Continue reading

#finances, #geraldcowan, #money

Last words (for now) about forgiveness

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 580 • November 1, 2020

LAST WORDS (FOR NOW) ABOUT FORGIVENESS

This will conclude a four part essay on forgiveness. Not all your questions – not even all the questions that have been asked of me – are given attention, but I have tried to answer the most frequently asked ones. The most often asked and seldom answered adequately, having to do with “the unpardonable sin,” the last in this segment, is the last we shall attend to in the essay. The answers given are left open to some extent, inviting you to do additional study on your own – or ask more specific questions. Continue reading

#forgiveness, #geraldcowan

The penultimate word about forgiveness

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 579 • October 31, 2020

THE PENULTIMATE WORD ABOUT FORGIVENESS

This will have some disconnected comments on various aspects of the problem of how and when and whom to forgive in order to be forgiven yourself, as discussed in two prior segments of the essay. Some of these are frequently asked questions; some are simply extensions and addenda to prior comments.

HOW EXTENSIVE AND INCLUSIVE IS FORGIVENESS?

Some like to think forgiveness granted when requested for one wrongdoing implies and includes forgiveness for all wrongs and errors even if not mentioned in the request. Maybe so, if one makes a general but non-specific confession with implied general repentance and correction, but if it is an effort to secure a general forgiveness and amnesty without repentance or correction, it will be rejected and denied. Continue reading

#forgiveness, #geraldcowan

More about forgiveness

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS

Number 578 • October 30, 2020

MORE ABOUT FORGIVENESS

Response to Periodical Number 573, was quick and not always positive or polite. Not much was said in the essay about forgiveness to be given to you – that wasn’t the central point. But the suggested “test” regarding forgiveness to be given to others by you and the unlikelihood of being forgiven if you yourself were unforgiving seems to have been disconcerting and upsetting, striking a particularly sensitive and painful nerve.

As a lame and late retrospective apology and defense, I need to add a bit to the narrative for clarity and balance. I have in fact written about forgiveness at other times – some of which I will repeat here shortly – but do not always remember and admit that most writings, not only mine but those of others, are probably taken as stand-alone declarations. People may forget, or may not have received and understood any prior statements one has made. They do not, perhaps cannot, put things together to form a cogent understanding and conclusion. So each argument must be treated fully, if not comprehensively, in each iteration. Continue reading

#forgiveness, #geraldcowan

Should we vote for the lesser of two evils?

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 577 • October 27, 2020

ANOTHER NOTE TO UNDECIDED VOTERS:
SHOULD WE VOTE FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS?

The thought is not original with me and is probably not a new thought for you, but let’s look at it again. Those who consider themselves to be Christians, and even some who consider themselves on safe moral ground, say they cannot vote simply on the basis of which candidate is less evil or immoral than the other. The argument runs something like this: a vote for anyone who is immoral or wicked in any point is the same as voting in favor of the evil itself. You can use any of the current hot-button issues as examples: abortion and other forms of murder, same sex relationships including marriage, decriminalizing drug-related problems, defunding and disbanding police, malfeasance of elected political officials, absolute separation of church state (keeping religion and religious persons put of politics and the courts, etc), socialistic or communistic approach to medicine, education, private ownership of property and money — there are many, many, too many such examples. So, voting for a candidate who is pro-choice as to abortion is supposedly equivalent to voting in favor of abortion, which is equivalent to approving murder of innocent humans. The same for all the other examples? Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #voting