Monday, May 23, 2011

Editorial on 'Christianity'

Editorials voice one man's view on a subject, controversial or undisputed. Would we read more carefully if the piece was written by God's Spirit?

The Spirit of God is responsible for ALL the Bible. He used men to write the message (2 Peter 1:20-21).

As the Spirit wrote the editorial on Jewish history (Psalms 106), concurrently He was writing an editorial on people in 'Christian' religious groups today.
An examination of this 'editorial' finds the following relevant to many church-goers.

  • They do not understand God's wonders (v.7). Many go for social reasons and do not know basic Bible stories.
  • "They did not remember... "(v.7). When God's goodness is forgotten, it leads to rebellion.
  • He saved them for His name's sake (v.8).  Salvation is designed to add praise to HIS NAME.
  • "...they believed his word..."(v12). Some genuinely believe God's writtings, but often it is "believed" as a convenience. Watch what they do with belief later.
  • "They quickly forgot his works..."(v.13). It is the "believers" who QUICKLY forgot, not those outside 'Christianity'.
  • "They did not wait for His council..."(v.13). 
    • When people forget, they overlook The One with the best answers. 
    • In typical American haste, we imagine God has forgotten our requests. In fact, He may be waiting for the best time to bless us.
God's Spirit was not finished with His 'editorial'. 
  • "And tested God..."(v.14.). What part  seems wise to you?
  • "...they became envious..."(v.16). See God's works. Remember His kindness. Absorbe His wisdom and council. Who has better that you should "envy" them?
  • "...and worshippes a molten image."(v.19). Were pennies, nickels, dimes, or quarters ever molten? Do the 'saved' woo or worship their jobs (a god?) to gain the 'molten god' of filthy lucre
  • "They forgot God..."(v21). How often do 'the saved' substitute God with the target of our envy or the bling of a shiny molten god.
  • They did not believe His word (v.24). Once God's word is no longer authoritative, then truth is suppressed, fellas become fools, sexual misconduct is supported, minds become depraved, wrong abounds, evil expands, greed grows, envy elevates, slaying is a solution, trickery thrives and malice multiplies, scuttlebutt substitutes and slander supersedes truth, independence is idealized, bragging booms, iniquity is invented, children disobey parents, understanding is undermined, love is lost, and mercy becomes minimal. Read Romans 1:18-32.
Then God's Spirit added these notes.
  • They grumbled (v.25). They were not content with God's blessings. Sound like anyone you know?
  • They did not listen to the voice of the Lord (v.25). At first, they did not BELIEVE His word, and now they will not LISTEN to Him. Does this create sporadic attendance?
  • They joined themselves..." (v28). They JOINED another religion. Sadly, my friends JOIN religious groups. When following God's plan, HE ADDS them to His fellowship (Acts 2:47).
  • They made Him mad (v29). What would, or should, God do to members of His church that make Him mad?
  • They were rebellious against His Spirit (v.33). Why resist any part of God? What good will result?
  • They did not conform to God's orders (v.34). God has always damned disobedience.
  • They mingled with other nations (v.35). They were blending with people God had said to blot out. Do people blend their ideas of growing churches with God's specific commands?
  • They learned other nations practices (v.35). The practices were picked up from should-be-extinct nations. God's church is not to be a mix of picked up 'practices', but pure, as God planned.
  • They served the idols of other nations (v.36). God is Spirit. Worshipping Mary, an image of a relgious diety, or the statue of any man is idolatrous.

Furthermore, how many read these words and think since they have believed, or done a series of actions, they are eternally secure and can not be sent to hell. Hmmm. Let see if they have the same God.
After these digressions GOD THEN:
  • Got angry and ABHORRED HIS PEOPLE (v. 40).
  • GAVE THEM OVER to other nations (v.41).
  • Their ENEMIES OPPRESSED them (v.42).
What an editorial!
So some of you agree while others disagree. Put your ideas up for discussion by adding comments.
Would you share this page with others?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grandma's Ideas

Sam was checking his list for the new job at the mill. He had gloves, lunch bag, hard hat, and heavy-duty clothes.

Grandma wanted to speak to him, but why now? Sam went to her house. Grandma heard the excitement in his voice, but told him to slow down and have a seat. She bowed her head and prayed for Sam. She opened her tattered Bible and read one verse. "Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might."

"Do this, and God will bless," Grandma said, as she kissed his cheek and sent him out the door. He grinned. He knew Grandma was just reminding him to obey God at work too.

Sam thought about the Bible verse on the way to work. He decided it meant he should work hard and always be busy. He also figured it meant he should use his head when he was allowed.

It no time he had been working a year. He remembered working a few 16-hour days when his co-workers failed to show up or were suddenly sick. He thought of the lighthearted jesting he took when he grabbed a broom and worked during the slow time. He kept remembering Grandma's verse.

Once a big piece of equipment jammed. The boss was frantic. Sam suggested an easy fix without calling those high-dollar repairmen. The supervisor tried it. It worked. The men patted him on the back for saving their jobs for two days. Sam felt good.

That first year also had two co-workers getting angry and started a shouting match. He smiled as he thought how proud Grandma would have been as he remember he should be a peacemaker. He had 'stilled the storm', kept the supervisor from firing both men, and suggested a prevention for argument-causing stress.

Today, at work, the big boss called him to the office. He knew had done nothing wrong, but wondered why.

"Your Supervisor, Dale, just left this office. He will be retiring in two weeks. I asked him who he would recommend as a replacement. He did not hesitate to promote you ahead of your co-workers with more seniority. I could not agree more. Would you serve as shift supervisor? The pay is much better, hours about the same, and you get leadership benefits. What do you say?"

He could hear Grandma saying, "It is the fruits' of doing right."

Philippians 1:10-11, " that you may approve the things that are EXCELLENT, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It Could Mean...

When was the last time you watched a news station that only REPORTED news stories? Today, most recite the key facts in the first minute, then babble seven more 'discussing' it.

"It could mean... (expound on one possibility). Or it might mean.... (further expounding on conjecture #1). Still, another choice is... (blah, blah, blah...)."
It is vital to correctly comprehend and appreciate any factual statement or event. But discussing possibilities does not create an authority.

Pete, Jimmy and Johnny have seen Jesus as He was before there was man. Jesus tells Peter James and John to be tight-lipped. There will no sharing their 'mountain-top' experience. At least not until the Son of Man had risen.

They dismissed the fact that Jesus would, by necessity, die.

But they seized the phrase 'rising from the dead'. And, like our news organizations, started hashing the matter.

What did they know about the dead rising? They had seen Jesus raise a couple, but not sufficient to establish a pattern. And they did not quiz Jesus for more information. And, like our news services, offered no definitive conclusion.

So, what does the phrase mean? Can you solve their dilemma without the New Testament, or historical hindsight? As a minimum, it is hard.

But we do have historical hindsight. And our vision can be 20/20.

Jesus is telling them AGAIN, within a week, he would die and be raised. The first time Peter got hung up on Jesus dying. Now he struggles with 'rising from the dead'.

Are we like Peter? Or do we know just enough to bluff our friends into thinking we are an authority. Why not investigate biblical subjects with your friends, and let God be the authority.

Not Be Ashamed

My struggle is to Not be Ashamed.

Shame is defined as
  • A painful sense of having done something wrong, improper, or immodest.
  • Disgrace, dishonor
  • A cause of feeling shame.
  • Something to be regretted.
In each definitions there is an unwritten code that has been crossed. What makes any action "wrong, improper, or immodest"? What standard was violated to make it a "disgrace" or a "dishonor"? What makes any action regretful?

Satan has changed many standards from right to wrong. He causes rulers to "hate good and love evil,". He encourages gays to march or protest for their "rights". He has gossips tint reality. The arrogant are esteemed. He wants kids to spout orders to parents. He persuades Christians to listen to foul, un-bleeped languaged on TV and consider it normal.  Change has occurred.

Jesus did not take opinion polls. He did not ask what their standard was before he healed on Sabbaths or spoke against the indifferent, the emotional, and the world-centered in the parable of the soils. He told people to deny themselves, take on his burden, and follow him.  He accepted religious challenges from religious leaders. He openly told people they were hypocrites, and to watch for greed. He is the best example of not being ashamed. 

And he is the one who said if we are ashamed of him, He will be ashamed of us when he returns.

I must develop enough trust in Jesus so I can challenge Satan, and those who are making right to look like wrong. 

Will you join me in this struggle?

Monday, May 9, 2011

"But My Preacher Said..."

Is faith really necessary? God thinks so. Heb 11:6.

Is believing Jesus is God's Son adequate? Most preachers in America would say yes. Sadly, since the masses will not survive judgement, and only a few will finish the journey, I would not trust their ideas. Odds are they are wrong.

So what does the absolute authority, Jesus, say? He said, "If you intend to follow me you must deny, ... take up, ...follow..." These verbs say more than faith is required.

So, there are a minimum of three requirements, in addition to faith, needed to sustain a close connection with Jesus. Those requirements are:
  1. deny
  2. take up
  3. follow
Deny implies I must disregard my own interests. I will no longer accept my own advice. I reject all I have considered meaningful. I no longer have any acquaintance with who I was or what I did. I disconnect from self. For an example of denial, remember how Peter treated Jesus after the Gethsemane arrest. Peter denied Jesus three times.

To 'take up', implies you will lift and carry what you have avoided. Until you 'take up', you continue your preacher's easy ways instead of connecting with the New Testament yourself. In 'taking up', you refocus on Jesus' directives for doing.

To 'follow' implies becoming an attendant to Jesus' will. You will go with him anywhere, speak what he says, steer others to know Him, hear only Him, wield His gracious words, think as He thinks, stop worrying, pray, tolerate threats, talk about Jesus with every listener, trust Jesus, meet constantly with the followers, dump all sins, ...

Please answer. Does 'faith only' please Jesus?

Will you fully follow Jesus?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Voice

I am lucky to have had an uncle like Pete. Well, actually, he was my great-uncle Pete. He could tell stories better than anyone.

One of my favorites was when he, Jimmy and Johnny went with their friend, Yeasus, up the high mountain. 

Uncle Pete's eyes would get so big when he told of how Yeasus' clothes started glowing white. He said they were as white as the sun, adding, "Professional-grade Clorox could not get them that white!" Once he said they were "nuclear" white.

Then he said the three of them were joined by two other men. Yeasus called one Elij and the other Mo, Uncle Pete said. To help me grasp how important the event was, Uncle Pete said these men had been God's leaders years before.

He said he had not been this scared many times before, especially when he realized who was with Yeasus. He **saw** the men. They **looked** and **sounded** real, but both had been dead more than 1000 years. 

Uncle Pete always started laughing at this point in the story. His face would mildly blush as he told of how he started talking before he started thinking. 

"Teacher," (a title for Yeasus), Uncle Pete would say loudly. "Let's build three sacred tents to commemorate the occasion -- one for each of you!" Then he would lean over to me and whisper, "I was so scared I didn't know what to say," he ended with a little chuckle.

Uncle Pete never knew where the thick, stormy cloud came from, but suddenly it did more than fly over. It settled and surrounded them. 

Uncle Pete's face always changed. There was something in his memory still scaring him. His eyes would glaze over and his voice would tremble. Few stories were as powerful to Uncle Pete as this one. 

I think what he heard was God speaking, but Uncle Pete called it 'The Voice'.
Uncle Pete, helping everyone sense the awesome power of The Voice, would thunder at the top of his lungs,"THIS is MY SON. He is the one I LOVE! LISTEN TO HIM!" 

When Uncle Pete looked around, re-enacting the moment, he would say, "When The Voice stopped, only Yeasus was still there." 

He stopped. He looked me straight in the eyes. "The Voice told me to listen only to Jesus. And I tell you, pay attention to everything Yeasus said and did. I have told you His stories. Yeasus is the son of The Voice."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Debt for Faith??

Measuring faith is difficult. How large is a #7 faith? Is there a five-cubed faith? How big is a size 14 faith?

Occasionally, faith surprised Jesus.
Jesus used situations to evaluate faith.

Christians are urged to "walk by faith, and not by sight." We conduct life based on God-given promises and principles. We do not need to know the future before beginning a walk with God.

So why do church leaders (elders / deacons) want to see the $$$ in the bank before they start, or fund, a good project? Is this walking by sight and not by faith?

I certainly will not imply money can solve church problems, or well-funded programs will succeed. I know Christians having debt is not His desire for His people (Proverbs 6:1-5; Prov. 11:15; Prov. 22:26). Debt reduces giving, and low-level giving is an indicator of a less-than-mature faith. So, low-level-faith limits God's efforts.

Image borrowed from
I look forward to finding men, families, or leaders WILLING to go into debt for God's efforts. WILLINGNESS reveals our desire to step out with faith. Enthusiasm plus trusting God to bring completion is faith.

So, is a commitment to get out of debt an act of faith or a selfish act of greed? Evaluate. Do you believe God will take care of all your needs (Matt 6:33) if you fund His work first? Demonstrate the size of your faith. The next time a missionary visits your congregation will you empty your pockets with purposeful giving? The next time they need volunteers will you put your wallet away and grab your work gloves?
Image borrowed from

So, is a commitment to get out of debt an act of faith, or a selfish act of greed?

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