35 Passages You Can Pray Back to God

What follows is a list of 35 passages which you can either pray directly to God (word for word), or you can slightly modify the words to direct them as a prayer to Him:

  1. Psalm 86:11 – Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
  2. Psalm 139:1-4 – O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
  3. Psalm 139:13-16 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
  4. Psalm 139:23-24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
  5. 1 Chronicles 29:17a – I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity
  6. Psalm 43:5 – Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
  7. Psalm 144:3-4 – O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.
  8. Psalm 69:5 – O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You.
  9. Psalm 25:3a – No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame
  10. Psalm 140:6b – You are my God; Give ear, O LORD, to the voice of my supplications.
  11. Psalm 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
  12. Psalm 79:9 – Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.
  13. Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
  14. Psalm 27:4 – One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
  15. Psalm 141:3-4 – Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.
  16. Psalm 119:36-37 – Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
  17. Psalm 119:105 – Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
  18. Psalm 119:61 – Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
  19. Psalm 51:1-17 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.  Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.  Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
  20. Psalm 56:4 – O God, I praise your word. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?
  21. Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
  22. Proverbs 30:7-9 – Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
  23. Habakkuk 3:17-18 – Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
  24. Mark 9:24b – I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!
  25. Luke 22:42 – Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
  26. Luke 23:42b – Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
  27. Luke 18:13b – God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
  28. Luke 23:34 – Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
  29. John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the Truth; Your word is Truth
  30. John 20:28b – (to Jesus) “My Lord and My God”
  31. Romans 7:24-25a – Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
  32. 2 Corinthians 9:15 – Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
  33. Hebrews 13:6b – The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
  34. Jude 24-25 – Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.
  35. Revelation 4:11 – You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

You may be able to think of many more, but this is a good start.  May this enhance and enrich your prayer life!

mid-week apologetics booster (3-26-2020)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1600) from Nuggets:

God is more concerned with our character than our comfort. God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness – Tim Barnett

To view more of these quotes, visit:


Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Quarantine Questionnaire: Reasons Why People Reject the Claims of Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/quarantine-questionnaire-reasons-why-people-reject-the-claims-of-christianity/
  2. God’s absence – revisiting the divine hiddenness argument: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2020/01/gods-absence.html
  3. Is Something Evil Only If It Harms Others? https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/is-something-evil-only-if-it-harms-others
  4. What Would Jesus Say About the Corona Virus? | The Cripplegate: https://thecripplegate.com/what-would-jesus-say-about-the-coronavirus/
  5. How the Resurrection of Jesus Makes a Difference in Dealing with the COVID-19 Virus THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/how-the-resurrection-of-jesus-makes-a-difference-in-dealing-with-the-covid-19-virus/
  6. Amid Plague, their Deeds Were on Everyone’s Lips: How Christianity Conquered Rome BibleMesh: https://biblemesh.com/blog/amid-plague-their-deeds-were-on-everyones-lips-how-christianity-conquered-rome/
  7. Quarantined Together: Can Your Marriage Take It? | Family Life: https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/life-issues/quarantined-from-covid-19-will-it-hurt-your-marriage/
  8. My Disagreements With The Virus Response | Thomistic Bent: https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/my-disagreements-with-the-virus-response/
  9. Pandemics, Plagues, End Times, Disease: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/does-the-bible-talk-about-pandemics/
  10. Living in Plague Times – Philip Yancey: https://philipyancey.com/living-in-plague-times?fbclid=IwAR339ekQ44k4_0vGZ3HtcCo-14aKjUASkTPswQr7slvEgAbRgJt5e7T2Xj4

But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. Isaiah 7:16

Blessings to you all

My Disagreements With The Virus Response

This is a must read! So clear and compelling

Thomistic Bent

What are we to think of the current response to the covid-19 coronavirus?

We are told that the disease is so deadly that it could overwhelm the medical communities’ ability to deal with it. Italy’s medical community seems stretched, and the risk is that doctors will not be able to treat sick patients, causing unnecessary death. So in response, governments have shut businesses, mandated that people stay home, and are preventing people from visiting family members in nursing homes. All public gatherings are to stop, including sports games, restaurants, bars, and any place of business that gathers people.

I am bothered by this response, while many of my friends and family are perfectly willing to accept it. Let me take time to explain why the issues are so vital.

My rejection of the current coronavirus response is not due to being isolated in my home. I am basically an introvert…

View original post 2,484 more words

mid-week apologetics booster (3-19-2020)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1500) from Nuggets:

David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him, that God would be his defender still. But is it not just in the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness?  – Charles Spurgeon

To view more of these quotes, visit:


Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. My thoughts on the coronavirus: https://1peter41216.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/my-thoughts-on-coronavirus/
  2. Is it time to run and hide? Should you cut yourself off from other people because of the coronavirus? https://subsplash.com/crossexamined/lb/mi/+stcbbhc
  3. Why Did God Make Viruses? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/biology/microbiology/why-did-god-make-viruses/
  4. What does the Bible say about pandemic diseases/sicknesses? | GotQuestions.org: https://www.gotquestions.org/pandemic-diseases.html
  5. C. S. Lewis on the Coronavirus: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/cs-lewis-coronavirus/
  6. The way of the master episode with focus on evolution: https://youtu.be/TwaPidXWyAM
  7. God and Math – How God is the Ultimate Foundation for Mathematics | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/creation-science/taking-god-out-of-the-equation/
  8. Presuppositional Procedure (Greg Bahnsen) – Here then is how the presuppositional (transcendental) method of defending the faith would proceed once the preliminary discussions and clarifications have taken place with the unbeliever-and the two outlooks now come head to head | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/apologetics/presuppositional-procedure/
  9. Out of Africa theory problems are growing – The favoured story of evolution is now struggling: https://creation.com/out-of-africa-theory-wrong
  10. The Story of St. Patrick – Learn about Patrick the man. Not the man of legend, who supposedly drove the snakes out of Ireland, but about the man of indomitable faith in Jesus Christ.: https://www.breakpoint.org/the-story-of-st-patrick/
  11. Getting Faith Right. Are faith and reason at odds? Is belief in Christianity a blind leap in the dark? In this weeks podcast, Tim explores the relationship between faith and reason, and shows how biblical faith is the exact opposite of so-called blind faith.: https://www.str.org/podcasts/clear-thinking-christianity/getting-faith-right#.XnAPZ1NlAzR
  12. Faith & Wishing – What makes the Christian’s faith any different from the Mormon’s wishing, or the Hindu’s wishing, or even the wishing of an atheist?: https://www.str.org/articles/faith-wishing#.XnBBoFNlAzR
  13. Apologetics for Children – How can we help our children understand evidence for the Christian faith?: https://crossexamined.org/apologetics-for-children/
  14. Talking with Your Kids about God – Christian parenting is hard work–and it’s getting harder. Parents have a deep desire to pass on their faith but fear that today’s increasingly skeptical and hostile world will eventually lead their kids to reject the truth of Christianity. That leaves many parents feeling overwhelmed–uncertain of what they can do to help their children, given the difficulty and extent of the faith challenges they will face. Frank interviews author Natasha Crain about her new book a practical and timely resource that gives parents the confidence of knowing what to discuss with their children and how to discuss it in order to facilitate impactful conversations that will form the basis of a lifelong faith.: https://subsplash.com/crossexamined/lb/mi/+jh8bkv7
  15. A, B. C’s of the Gospel – Michael Licona: https://youtu.be/7Zc4Ye9GIVY4789307

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. – Psalms 55:22

Blessings to you all

My Thoughts on Coronavirus

Now, as we are fully in the midst of this national panic, I sit here contemplating how our national response to this pandemic will have lasting effects on our country, and even the world.  Here is the current state of the situation for the world as of this morning:

Then for the U.S.:

First off, let me say, that as a born again, Bible believing, committed follower of Jesus Christ, I have no worries for myself should I be infected by the new SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 that it causes.  I, like Paul, am of the conviction that “for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).  So, I am not afraid of the virus and I am not worried about myself.  If you’re interesting in exploring what the Bible says about pandemic diseases, check out this article.

That being said, I certainly do wonder whether the “medicine” our country is taking is worse than the disease.  We are essentially shutting down our economy for the foreseeable future – the most vibrant economy in the world.  We’re doing this in the hopes that we can “flatten the curve”:

We are concerned, understandably, about those among us who are elderly, who have pre-existing medical issues or compromised immune systems.  We are told that those of us who are healthy adults need to do our part to not be carriers and transmitters of the virus.  We are told, it is not about us, this is about putting others first.

Well, I have a few questions:

    1. If we truly are concerned about the elderly or sick – the small percentage of the population for whom this virus is a serious life threat – why are we not focusing on isolating them from coming in contact with the virus? Here are the stats for age ranges:

      So, isolating the disproportionally affected age ranges certainly seems to be a better strategy than trying to isolate over 90% of the population of our country to prevent them from being carriers/transmitters, thus destroying the economy while doing so.
    2. Our country went through the H1N1 pandemic 11 years ago. I don’t remember anywhere near this level of panic – I don’t remember shutting everything down all sporting events, other large events, closing schools or even the stock market tanking. There was none of this general panic we’re seeing now.  Why are we panicking about COVID-19?  Here are the statistics in the U.S. from that crisis:
        1. 60.8 million people infected
        2. 12,469 deaths
        3. Emerged April 2009 – the Obama administration declared a National Emergency 6 months later and after 1,000 people had died from it! (October 2009)
    3. There are many health threats, which, though very serious, we don’t shut down our economy over. So why are we choosing to shut down our economy over this threat?  Here are some stats about some of these health threats:
      1. Influenza (the “flu”). Here are the U.S. stats for the flu from the 2017-2018 flu season from the CDC.  Note – over 61,000 people died that year:
      2. Traffic deaths – there were 38,800 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2019, the National Safety Council estimates. That represents an average of over one hundred traffic deaths every day. We’re nowhere near these kind of numbers with COVID-19…
      3. Deaths by Disease: – notice where COVID-19 sits on this list (data is from March 9th):

All of this to say that our response to other existing health threats pales in comparison to the draconian measures we are taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  I think we will look back on this, after 1 – 2 quarters of recession (and possibly more), and realize that we over-reacted.  These measures will have a negative effect on many in the lower economic strata.  It will also affect those who are in retirement or nearing retirement as they watch their retirement savings from this record breaking, booming economy dwindle away.

The thing is, we’ll never know whether we over-reacted – only God will know what would’ve happened if we’d treated this like other pandemics of the past.  I certainly hope and pray that we are taking the correct actions.  I pray that God would guide our leaders, that the herd mentality and hoarding would stop and that scared people would seek the Lord with their fears.  The LORD’s words to Solomon are instructive for us here and now:

2 Chronicles 7:13-14

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.


Defense of Paul Washer and other preachers from an Apologist point of view

I have a friend with whom I discuss Apologetics as well as many other general Christian topics.  We were talking about Paul Washer during one of our discussions and afterward, he went on YouTube looking for a random Paul Washer video and watched it.  He sent me an email with his critique – here are some excerpts and quotes:

“it seemed like a lot of logical fallacies or preacher tactics.”

accusation:  do you know the attributes of God?    Are you learning the important things?
straw man:  we see the church as Six Flags over Jesus
Bifurcation:  Revival or Judgement
scare tactic:  I have great fear for you.
Generalization:  based not on scripture but on culture
irrelevant thesis: most of what I will say is scandalous
straw man:   God – you will not be able to avoid Him – no matter how hard you try
straw man:  God looks like Santa Claus today
” :  we so little knowledge of Scripture
Bifurcation:   God he is everything or He is nothing

Here was my response:

Regarding Paul Washer – he is definitely not an apologist, he’s a preacher.  Paul Washer’s main goal seems to be to get individuals to consider whether they are really saved, based on the way they’re living.

He uses hyperbole for sure (e.g. the “Six Flags over Jesus” comment), but Jesus did as well – I’m not sure we can label that as a straw man.  In fact Jesus used many of those tactics, for example:

  1. Hyperbole (straw man) – I don’t think Jesus really meant that we were to cut off our hands/feet or gouge out our eyes: Matt. 18:8-9 If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
  2. Scare Tactics – Jesus used scare tactics many times.  Like when talking to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:33 – You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Or Luke 12:5 – But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
  3. Bifurcation – I don’t think we could accuse Jesus of bifurcation in Matt. 12:30 – He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters or His brother – James 4:4 – You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
  4. Accusation – I don’t think we can accuse Jesus of illegitimate accusation during His conversation with Nicodemus: John 3:10-12 – “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?  I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?“.

I could go on…  But I give these responses to show that Paul Washer is using tactics that, on their face, may seem like fallacies or preacher tactics, but we can find many preachers, prophets, apostles and Jesus Himself in the Bible using these same “tactics”.

If we’re honest, I’m sure most preachers commit logical fallacies.  We could probably find logic errors in many of our favorite preachers (unfortunately) – even R.C. Sproul or John MacArthur.  However, I tolerate it because that’s not what I listen to them for.  I listen to them for better understanding/insights about the biblical text and for exhortation and bringing conviction of my heart (which Paul Washer, Steven J. Lawson and others do very well).  But they give good analogies and good stories that get right to the main point and make it clear.  Here is one of my favorite Paul Washer sermons, at the very end (59:26) he gives a pretty good analogy:


mid-week apologetics booster (3-12-2020)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1500) from Nuggets:

If the whole world was against me and God alone was for me, I would have nothing whatsoever to fear. But if the whole world was for me and God Himself was against me, I would be in terror. – Dr. Michael L. Brown

To view more of these quotes, visit:


Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Help! My Teen Is Losing His Faith! | Beyond Teachable Moments: https://beyondtm.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/help-my-teen-is-losing-his-faith/
  2. The Religious ‘Nones’ and the Curious Case of Millennials: https://blog.faithstreet.com/the-religious-nones-and-the-curious-case-of/
  3. Tips for Sharing Your Faith: #3 Give them enough rope | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/11/tips-for-sharing-your-faith-3-give-them.html
  4. Starting God-Conversations: Take the ‘Class-Photo’ Approach: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2016/11/starting-god-conversations-take-class.html
  5. Evidence of Design in the Biological Realm 1 Peter 4:12-16: https://1peter41216.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/evidence-of-design-in-the-biological-realm/
  6. 10 Arguments for the Existence of God: https://plainsimplefaith.com/10-arguments-for-the-existence-of-god/
  7. Renewing Your Mind | Faulty Logic and Sense Perception | Nov 14, 2014: https://renewingyourmind.org/2014/11/14/faulty-logic-and-sense-perception
  8. What Is the Role of Apologetics In Evangelism? – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7umMcyW1R2I
  9. Challenge Response: We Don’t Have Those Originals: https://str.typepad.com/weblog/2015/07/challenge-response-we-dont-have-those-original-inerrant-manuscripts.html
  10. [J Warner Wallace] Getting to the Original Message through Multiple Copies with Errors – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNfp6M8kMDc
  11. A Defense of the Historicity of Jesus’ Divine Self-Understanding – Christian Apologetics Alliance: http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2012/08/23/a-defense-of-the-historicit/
  12. Jumping Over the Evangelism Wall | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/jumping-over-the-evangelism-wall/
  13. The S.L.E.D. Test | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/w/the-s-l-e-d-test?inheritRedirect=true
  14. The Short Road to Irrelevance | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/christianity/church/the-short-road-to-irrelevance/
  15. America: A Christian or a Secularist Nation? – Wall Builders: https://wallbuilders.com/america-christian-secularist-nation/
  16. Contend for the Faith | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/contend-faith/
  17. Why Do So Many Christians Dismiss Apologetics? | Sean McDowell: https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/why-do-so-many-christians-dismiss-apologetics
  18. Should Apologists Quote the Bible When Trying to Prove it? – Josh.org: https://www.josh.org/apologists-quote-bible/
  19. Why Socialism is Not Biblical: A Pastor’s View | The Stream: https://stream.org/why-socialism-is-not-biblical-idleman/
  20. Ben Affleck opens up about becoming a Christian later in life, finds beauty in Jesus’ message – The Christian Post: https://www.christianpost.com/news/ben-affleck-opens-up-about-becoming-a-christian-later-in-life-finds-beauty-in-jesus-message-235551/
  21. How Should I Parent My Non-Christian Teen? | Desiring God: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-should-i-parent-my-non-christian-teen
  22. New Report Examines Scientific Studies on Sexuality and Gender | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/new-report-examines-scientific-studies-on-sexuality-and-gender
  23. Do I need to be an apologist?: https://creation.com/apologist

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30

Blessings to you all

Luke 18:9-14 – The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

The following presentation is a message I plan to deliver to our youth group (middle school and high school) today at 10:30.  I pray that it would go well, and God would use this to impact them for their eternal benefit.


Today we’re going to be looking at one of the most well-known parables of Jesus – the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.  The title of the message is “Are you justified?” Open your Bibles to Luke chapter 18 and let’s read it:

First, I want you to notice who Jesus told the parable to: “some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else”.

What an indictment this description is!  This attitude is not the attitude of a Christian before a Holy God.

Based on what we know about Jesus’s interaction with the Pharisees, this passage may have been directed at them (as well as anyone else who would be confident in their own righteousness).



The Pharisees were the religious leaders in Jesus’ day.  They were trying to adhere to, not only the 613 commandments given to the Israelites in the Mosaic Law, but thousands of additional rules, regulations and traditions in “the Mishna”.

(The Mishna is an ongoing compilation of sermons and sayings by Jewish rabbis meant to interpret the original Mosaic Law. The original intent of these additions was to clarify the law, but it ended up adding many layers of complicated regulations.)


The Apostle Paul himself was trained as a Pharisee (by Gamaliel Acts 22:3; Phil. 3:6).  But, after his conversion to Christ, he viewed his former life as worthless – saying:

So, we as Christians should never be “confident in” our own righteousness…

Because of their zeal for the law, the general population would’ve considered the Pharisees to be about as righteous as one could be.  Jesus even referenced this during the Sermon on the Mount when He told the people:

Even though Jesus knew that the people regarded the Pharisees as righteous and holy, He also knew that they placed a heavy burden on the people because of their legalism.  When he delivered His great rebuke of the Pharisees in Matthew 23, He opens the chapter by describing them:

(phylacteries consisted of a black box, which contained a parchment with four passages from the Old Testament: Exodus 13:1-10, Exodus 13:11-16, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and Deuteronomy 11:13-21.

The Jewish men also wore an outer garment that had tassels on the four corners. This was a command by God through Moses in Numbers 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12. This garment became a prayer shawl and covered the head during prayer.)

Jesus went on in that chapter to call them out on their hypocrisy:

Matthew 23:27-28, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness”.

Let’s watch a little video clip depicting this scene:


Wow!  That was from a movie called “Jesus of Nazareth” from the 1970’s.

Jesus was not “Barney”!

This was only one incident – Jesus had many other challenging and direct interactions with the Pharisees.

So, with this knowledge of the Pharisees, let’s now learn a little about the other character in the parable – the Tax Collectors.

The Tax Collectors were widely regarded as great sinners in Jesus’ day.

Here are 4 reasons why the tax collectors had such a bad reputation.  First, no one likes to pay money to the government, especially when the government is an oppressive regime like the Roman Empire of the 1st century. Those who collected the taxes for such a government bore the brunt of much public displeasure.

Second, the tax collectors in the Bible were Jews who were working for the hated Romans. These individuals were seen as traitors to their own countrymen. Rather than fighting the Roman oppressors, the tax collectors were helping them.

Third, it was common knowledge that the tax collectors cheated the people they collected from. They would collect more than required and keep the extra for themselves. The tax collector Zacchaeus, in his confession to the Lord, mentioned his past dishonesty (Luke 19:8).

Fourth, the tax collectors were often rich. Many resented supporting the tax collectors’ lavish lifestyle. The tax collectors were ostracized from society and formed their own clique, further separating themselves from the rest of society.

So, in the parable, the Pharisee and the Tax Collector go up to the Temple to pray.  The Pharisee starts first.  According to the text he stands up and prays “about himself”.  Well that’s an accurate statement – in 2 short verses, he uses the word “I” 4 times!

His “prayer” hardly deserves to be called a prayer.  He starts off addressing God, but after that, all we hear about is:

  1. His morality
  2. His religiosity
  3. How the Tax Collector was just the opposite.

His Morality

He talks about how he’s morally superior to other men – he’s not

  1. a robber,
  2. an evil doer or
  3. an adulterer

His Religiosity

How he performs “religious acts”:

  1. fasts twice a week
  2. gives a tithe (1/10 of his income)

It’s almost as if the Pharisee is explaining to God how good and worthy he is and how lucky God is to have him on His team!

It reminds me of a quote from a video interview of Michael Bloomberg on April 21st, 2017, where he says this:

This is a stunningly arrogant statement…  Anyone with an attitude like that – thinking that they deserve heaven – is going to be very surprised when they are standing before a Holy God on judgement day (if their attitude doesn’t change).

Contrast the prayer of the Pharisee with the Tax Collector.  Even his posture before God in prayer is different.  The text says “he stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast…”

The Tax Collector’s prayer is very simple and “to the point” – “God have mercy on me, a sinner”.

The prayer contains a straight forward admission of his own guilt and a request to God for mercy.

There’s none of this in the Pharisee’s prayer.  The Pharisee doesn’t:

  1. Acknowledge his sins
  2. Ask for forgiveness
  3. Ask for mercy

It is not even clear that the Pharisee realizes his need for forgiveness and mercy!  Rather, it sounds like he is promoting himself and touting his achievements.  Yes, he does give thanks to God, but it is thanks for his AMAZING self!

The Jews during Jesus’ time, went up to the Temple once or twice a day to worship – 9AM and 3PM (Acts 3:1).  At those times also, there was the offering of the morning sacrifice and the evening sacrifice (Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:1-8) which came to be called the Tamid Sacrifice.

All of those offerings pointed to Christ Jesus – who made a sacrifice once for all (Hebrews 7:27, 9:22-28, 10:5-14; 1 Peter 3:18).  Every sacrifice that died on a Jewish altar pointed to the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

So, these men went up to the Temple at the very time the sacrifice was being offered.  And there’s the Pharisee – he has no regard for the blood sacrifice.  He has no regard for “substitution” – he has no regard for Divine satisfaction of God’s justice.

All he’s interested in is for God to pay attention to who he is and all of his worthiness, greatness and righteousness!  It’s like he’s saying, “On the basis of all that I am – bless me!”

But the Tax Collector sees that same offering being offered to God – he sees the blood and he beats his breast and says “God, have mercy upon me, a sinner”.

I want to explain some detail here so that you know the significance of that word “mercy” in what the Tax Collector said.  It will make you see why sometimes you can get more insight if you look into the original language of the Bible.

Our English word “mercy” is used 54 times in the New Testament.  But it is not always translated from the same word in the original Greek language.  For example, in the 18th chapter of Luke, “mercy” is used 3 times – once in verse 13 in our passage and also in verses 38 and 39 where a blind man calls out “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

But the root word in the Greek in v38 Eleeo (el-eh-eh’-o) means to have pity or compassion on someone – to help “the afflicted”, which the blind man was.

However, in verse 13, when the Tax Collector says “God, have mercy upon me, a sinner”, it’s a different Greek word:  Hilaskomai (hil-as’-kom-ahee) which means to become “propitious”.


This is the verb form of the word “propitiation” (Hilasterion), which some of you may’ve heard of.

It is the word which is used when talking of Jesus’ atoning death for our sins.  I will read one small passage where propitiation is used – you will certainly have heard at least the beginning of this, from Romans 3 (NASB):

Let me read that in another translation (NIV):

And yet another (NLT):

So, in effect the Tax Collector was asking God, “Let your rightful anger with me be satisfied on the basis of the blood shed upon the altar!” – and that’s the Gospel!  It was like he was saying “Jesus died for my sins”.

Even our weeping and our repentance and our faith – that’s not going to satisfy God’s justice.  “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20) – God demands death for sins!  “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23a) – The Savior and His death – that’s what satisfied God’s justice!

The Tax Collector’s prayer reminds me of that old hymn of the faith Rock of Ages:

Now let’s look at Jesus’s assessment of the 2 prayers…

Jesus says “I tell you that this man (the Tax Collector), rather than the other (the Pharisee), went home justified before God.”

It would’ve been stunning to people to hear that this rotten, sinful Tax Collector was justified with God, but the Pharisee, as righteous as he appeared, was not justified before God.

What does it mean to be “justified” before God?  It means that Christ’s righteousness is credited to us and that our guilt is credited to Jesus on the cross.

I’ve heard it said that justified means “Just as if I’d never sinned

The Bible says that God “has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12)

And if you are justified before God, you are “saved” and will go to heaven one day.  So, I ask you – are you justified?

The Bible says that most people will proclaim their own goodness (Proverbs 20:6).

You can go to the person on the street, start a conversation and ask, “Are you going to go to heaven when you die? And if so, why?”  The answer will most likely be, “Yes, because I’m a good person.”   Then if you follow up to ask why they think they’re good enough to go to heaven, the answer will likely be, “I don’t kill, hurt or steal, I’m kind, I help others when I can.”  The average person thinks that “good people” go to heaven and “bad people” go to hell.  The problem is that they don’t understand what God’s standard is.  How good would you have to be to make it?

In Matthew 5:48, Jesus told us what God’s standard is:

That’s the standard – perfection – That is an impossible standard!  But thank God for the Gospel – that we can be “freely justified by grace”, through faith in Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says:

A famous Pastor, Greg Laurie commented that:

So, I hope you can answer the question “are you justified?” in the affirmative and say the words of Romans 5:9



mid-week apologetics booster (3-5-2020)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1500) from Nuggets:

Instead of ‘Walking in the Spirit’, many Christians are sleepwalking. It’s time to wake up! Jesus is coming! – Greg Laurie

To view more of these quotes, visit:


Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Is the Bible True? The Cumulative Case for the Reliability of the Gospels (Free Bible Insert) | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-the-bible-true-the-cumulative-case-for-the-reliability-of-the-gospels-free-bible-insert/
  2. Top three reasons people reject Christianity – The Christian Post: https://www.christianpost.com/voices/top-three-reasons-people-reject-christianity.html
  3. The Problem of the Unevangelized Once More | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-problem-of-the-unevangelized-once-more/
  4. Testing the Gospels From John to Hippolytus – “The Chain of Custody” | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/testing-the-gospels-from-john-to-hippolytus/
  5. 10 FREE Bible Study Tools Bible.org Blogs: https://blogs.bible.org/10-free-bible-study-tools/
  6. Leading Youth to Spiritual Maturity and a Strong Biblical Faith: https://stevenkozak.com/2020/03/02/leading-youth-to-spiritual-maturity-and-a-strong-biblical-faith/
  7. Secular Scientists Admit Dinosaurs Appeared Abruptly | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/dinosaurs-appeared-abruptly
  8. Praying Mantis has 3-D sight (vision) – this confounds evolution | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/10511
  9. Stephen C. Meyer and Marcus Ross lecture on the Cambrian explosion | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2020/03/01/stephen-c-meyer-and-marcus-ross-lecture-on-the-cambrian-explosion-5/
  10. Greg Koukl Stand To Reason podcast – there are a number of topics talked about, but I want to direct your attention to a caller that starts 44 minutes into the podcast and asks a question about the mind/soul vs. the brain. I think Greg gives a good answer to the caller: https://subspla.sh/wpdn8xd
  11. An Acronym for Apologetics The Real Issue Apologetics Ministry: https://roblundbergapologetics.com/2020/03/02/an-acronym-for-apologetics/
  12. A Brief Defense of the Pro-Life Position: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2020/03/a-brief-defense-of-pro-life-position.html?m=1
  13. What Does Christianity Say About the Nature of Humans? Five Honest Realities | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/what-does-christianity-say-about-the-nature-of-humans/
  14. Debating Skeptics (1 of 5): https://pleaseconvinceme.blogspot.com/2016/12/debating-skeptics-1-of-5.html
  15. Pro-Lifers’ Social Media Bans Are Too Numerous To Not Be Censorship: https://thefederalist.com/2020/03/02/pro-lifers-social-media-bans-are-too-numerous-to-not-be-censorship/
  16. Cincinnati church wipes out $46.5 million in medical debt for 45,000 families | Fox News: https://www.foxnews.com/us/cincinnati-church-wipes-out-46-5-million-in-medical-debt-largest-amount-for-nonprofit
  17. Evolutionist Admits Darwin’s Connection to Racism | CEH: https://crev.info/2020/02/evolutionist-admits-darwins-connection-to-racism/
  18. ‘Sometimes I Just Want to Scream So that Other Parents Understand’ – She was 12 when a school counselor told Rob’s daughter she was transgender. They picked out a new name and started treating her like a boy at school — without ever calling home.: https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA20B42&f=WU20B06
  19. New Jersey Public Schools To Teach LGBT Ideology In Every Subject: https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/27/new-jersey-public-schools-to-teach-lgbt-ideology-in-every-subject/
  20. Pence Doesn’t Believe in Science?: https://townhall.com/columnists/jerrynewcombe/2020/03/04/pence-doesnt-believe-in-science-n2563207

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Philippians 1:21-24

Blessings to you all