Hi and Welcome to
Walking His Word, my name is Jim Oakley, the owner and operator of this website and except where noted I have written all of the articles on this site and created all but a handful or so of the graphics, such as they are. I in no way pretend to know it all as they say, but I know what I know because I have read, studied and prayed to understand and to have Godly wisdom.
I am a single man who was divorced long before I became a Christian and have never remarried. Other than being born again in Christ Jesus April 20th, 1993 at the age of 41 years I am a man of no worldly distinction or notice and as of January 2018 I am 66 years of age.
For all but a couple of the ensuing years since being saved I have read and studied the Bible every day promising the Lord I would read a minimum of three chapters each day, (increased to four chapters as of 11-12-2015) which really is not much but it is the minimum for my morning read. I keep a journal of what I read along with the date and time which is not only interesting to look at years later, but helps me to stay faithful to my promise.
Through faithful prayer and pressing in closer to the only one I knew would never leave me, hurt me, or disappoint me, I came through. Less trusting in fallible mankind but stronger spiritually and that is what has made me to be a Berean, always looking up verses as I read something and searching for the context.
Regarding the articles on this site, it is my hope you will come to know that I write from a heart of conviction based upon my own study and not one of opinion. I have not been taught the Scriptures by either man or any denomination but I truly believe the Lord has taught me what I know. His Word tells us that if we ask in faith believing He will answer, and from the beginning I have read the Bible doing just that before consulting any other source. Unfortunately for some that will not be enough as they require someone with an array of capital letters from the alphabet surrounding their name, in other words, college degrees. I have none of those and yet I believe my understanding of the Scriptures is approved of God and much better than many seem to have today.
At present I do not have a church home and have not attended church for some time. In the early days of my Christian walk I was very faithful and active in church. I also conducted Bible Studies in the local Fire Station and in private homes in the town where I then lived. My primary ministry was in the nursing home where one hundred and twenty souls resided. I carried my Bible and read to those interested and simply visited with those who were not interested in the Bible and I often took care of some little need they might have. My notebook was always full of prayer requests every night. Not only did I pray the requests but I also prayed for those who threw things at me because they hated God. Amazing how many of those hate filled folks were finally saved and many others were truly and tearfully converted, all of which have now passed on. My visits were emotionally exhausting for me and yet energizing spiritually.
I've never been blessed with a good pastor or even a good brother in the Lord who wore the same face all week that they wore on Sunday. My first pastor broke my heart. He presented himself as fully supporting me in a nursing home abuse allegation I made and when the nursing home issued a restraining order I requested a hearing as was my option to do. My very own pastor whom I thought could have walked on water with a little effort then testified that I was in some way emotional and had overstated the abuse. He never discussed anything with me but I found out later that he had met with the nursing home administrator the day before the hearing and never mentioned it to me that I have ever recalled. At the hearing I was surprised, even shocked, hurt and confused. In short I was devastated and so were the others who supported my position.
Many, who were nearly all strangers to me, came from three states and were there on my behalf packing the courtroom to standing room only for the hearing. Also there were several of the Ombudsman present from at least two states wanting to speak on my behalf. I knew only a few of these people and was totally surprised and had no idea anyone had even taken notice of my efforts but they had. They were there because of the work I was doing with the elderly in that nursing home. Many of them were as dismayed as I was by my pastors behavior and choice of politics over me and the elderly. That pastor was eventually removed for embezzling church funds and moved here and there over the years. Today he holds a prominent position in one of the popular mainstream and worldwide Evangelical denominations.
Another pastor was found to be committing adultery with someone in the congregation and when her husband complained, actually he threatened to shoot them both. The pastor played a part in having that husband committed to a home claiming he was a danger to the public. Even though I went privately to the pastor he blew up, kicked me out, threatening me physically. He then went before the church and presented a false version. I never said another word about the incident and quietly left the church however the woman who was involved with the pastor called me some weeks later and tearfully confessed everything to me asking forgiveness. It was only two or three years later that the pastor dropped dead sitting in his chair at home. To this day I have not discussed the issue with any of those at the church and assume they believe what the pastor told them. I saw some of them at the funeral, including the woman in the affair. Some thanked me for coming and others just avoided me. The entire thing still hurts but God knows everything.
I have seen other preachers and pastors commit all manner of sin, even blasphemy. Some seem proud of disobeying select traffic laws and signs while others tell me they don't care for reading. (How can one be an effective Pastor and not read?). A few years ago a pastor who had a local radio program (I think it has since gone off air) wiped his feet on the grass of my front lawn because I would not accept his teaching that some people are not salvageable and cannot be saved. He was one of a few who have told me that witnessing to the lost is a waste of time because they are predestined to Hell. In other churches, though I never made a ruckus, never talked to others in the church concerning doctrinal issues, was not argumentative or pushy as you might think, yet more than a handful of pastors have, not asked me, but told me, to not return to their church. My crime was not one of those mentioned previously or of being divisive or a blasphemer, but somewhere in the course of private conversation I disagreed with them on some point and had the audacity to quote the Bible to them. I have found that very few pastors or preachers can tolerate this and it speaks of their carnality, their vanity and pride. So folks, if you have a good pastor who is faithful to the Word and to the flock, then support him, help him carry the load, and honor and respect him for such pastors do the Lord's business.
I could go on but perhaps you can see why I learned early on to keep my eyes only on Jesus. After getting my heart broken by that first pastor there was a time I considered walking away from Christianity. However when I was saved I was touched by God and I was changed and I knew the Bible to be true and Christ to be real so walking away was never really an option. Nothing or no one can ever take that away from me. Learning to put my eyes on Christ instead of the pastor or any man was not easy and my faith was dented for sure. Through faithful prayer and pressing in closer to the only one I knew would never leave me, hurt me, or disappoint me, I came through. Less trusting in fallible mankind but stronger spiritually and that is what has made me to be a Berean, always looking up verses as I read something and searching for the context.
My health has come to play a part in my not being in church as well. I seldom go anywhere anymore due to disintegrating bone in my neck and spine which is worsened by travel. There is a church with about six people, three tenths of a mile from my house but I cannot sit under their teaching and a woman teaching Sunday School. Fact is there are very few churches I would want to align myself with because most teach and observe things not in the Bible, even contradictory to the Bible in many cases. For me it is not a matter of being picky as some have suggested, but as I have said, it is one of deep conviction. Whether right or wrong on not being in a church, I have no doubt some will condemn me for it in spite of everything. It sounds self serving but I truly feel God has put me aside and taught me as I have always asked He do.
In the face of doctrinal issues, most pastors and members resort to
headquarters and the safety valve of
...it is what our denomination teaches and believes. Folks, that is not following the Bible, that is following man made doctrines. Your church cannot save you. If it is not following the Bible, why are you there? If you do not know whether or not it is following the Bible then shame on you.
Have you ever noticed in the Old Testament how God always instructed His people to be separate from the heathens living in the land? Even in the New Testament we are given several warnings about keeping company with unbelievers or those with a different doctrine. That is because as we see clearly in the Old Testament Gods' people ALWAYS fell away to the wicked, the evil, and the error. It was NEVER the other way around. Just as light seeks out darkness, darkness never seeks out light. I sometimes think this is why I am without a church home, so that what I am taught would not be influenced by the doctrine or personality of man. Some will think me arrogant and condemning of them or their church or denomination, but that is not the truth. My duty, like that of any Christian is to be open to the Lords guidance and obedient to His direction.
As some will no doubt guess, we have been accused over the years of being all manner of things except for Christian, but most often of being proud. Folks, there is a big difference in being the kind of proud we are accused of being and in being sure, of being certain, and in having a conviction about something.
When one reads and studies the Bible prayerfully as we have done from the beginning, leaning on the Holy Ghost and not man to teach us, the Lord honors that and blesses that trust and faith no matter who. When we begin to read something written by someone else that has an error mixture or is all error, the Holy Spirit pricks our heart that something is not quite right. From the time I was saved I have heeded those pricks when I could have just as easily plowed right on through pushing God aside grabbing a commentary or such. Especially in the early days I would compare every sentence, look up every Bible verse until I found what did not line up. Sometimes it was hard to see anything wrong but that gut prick never lied even once. Then I knew I had to pray more, and I would read the problem passage and the referenced Bible verses and pray every day until an answer came. Until that answer came I proceeded no further on that topic, but waited on the Lord! Sometimes it was weeks and a couple of times it was months and even years (even now I have passages I am looking to the Lord to open my understanding on and know He will in time). During those times I would lay the problem passage aside and pick it up from time to time praying and studying it again. I finally came to know why it took so long sometimes, and that is because God builds our knowledge and wisdom in an orderly fashion. Just as we cannot put the roof on a new house until we have the walls up, neither can we understand some things until we have a firm grasp of certain other principals in God's Word. I think these two verses in Isaiah describe what I am referring to;
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: ~ Isaiah 28:9-10
Please understand I am not against reading commentaries or articles beside the Bible. If I were it would be rather foolish of me to spend all this time on the articles I have written. Reading other material is fine as long as we read it WITH our Bible. If you don't want to look up a Scripture you come across and it is not immediately familiar, then don't read the article but save it for another time. What I am most against is folks not waiting on God. He promised that if we would ask He would send the Holy Spirit to teach us. Too many don't ask but grab a commentary or read some notes in their Bible and go on and then claim they were taught by God. Others might pray for understanding but have no patience. They soon turn to this and that and then they too claim their understanding comes from God. Well even if the writing they read was authored by someone who was taught by God, and chances are great that it was not, they have still shunned the Holy Spirit, and rejected God. How would you feel if you were sent to help someone and you stood patiently waiting for them to call on you and then they call upon you and before you can respond they dismiss you for another? You would no doubt feel slighted, ignored, even hurt. God has feelings too and there is no one more trustworthy that we should be calling on, waiting on, and trusting in, than He.
Finally, I'd like to encourage everyone to read the Bible every day as it will build your faith like nothing else can and many other benefits are given to faithful readers. Make time because there is nothing that is more important. Analyze what you are consuming on line and on the television. Most of the television is not fit for a Christian to watch. What is not sex is suggestive of sex, perverted lifestyles, witchcraft, magic, sorcery, fantasy, none of this should be watched by Christians. If you see nothing wrong with it then you have not been reading your Bible have you? Some of you have never truly been born again and don't know the difference in Spiritual things and carnal things. The problem is that all these things appeal to our carnal nature which is a slippery slope to spiritual death and falling back into old ways, or carnal ways of the world, so nourish the Spiritual nature, the new man and grow in righteousness and wisdom.
One of many good alternatives to television is a most excellent book I believe EVERY Christian should read and that is
Foxe's Book of Martyrs written by John Foxe of England and printed in 1563. It recounts the days of the early Christians, the persecutions and deaths in England up into the fifteen hundreds mostly at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church. There are many God honoring, faith inspiring incidents revealed in the cruel persecutions that have forever imprinted themselves on my mind and my heart. These have served to make me a much stronger Christian knowing that God does not abandon the faithful. We have made Foxe's Book of Martyr's available on our site as a PDF file. (opens in a new window)
My prayer is that the lost might be saved, that the wayward would be pointed back to the true path, and that the true Christian would be edified and encouraged. If God uses me through this site to plant a seed that would be a help in any of these things coming to pass, then I am a blessed man. Thank you for reading and may you dear visitor, allow Jesus to guide you, teach you, and bless you so that you may always Walk In His Word. Amen. ~ JimO