Thursday, January 17, 2013

Whose Side Are You On?

The website, King James Bible Online, reported that the most popular Bible passage of 2012 was Psalm 23:4—“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Two other popular online Bible sites, Bible Gateway and YouVersion, haven’t yet reported on 2012 that I could find; but, reports say that the top verses are often the same even if not in the same order.

I hope this still holds true since in 2011 Bible Gateway reported Jeremiah 29:11,“For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV). YouVersion reported Philippians 4:6,"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God “(NIV).

Why do I say I hope the change is true? Because it’s about time people started to realize we are under the new covenant and not the old. Our rewards are not come in this life but the next. We are to suffer in this life. Christ is not our banker or a rich uncle to beg favors from. He is our Lord - a Lord that was, and is, despised by those of this world – as we are to be. His kingdom is not of this world – and neither should ours be.

I pity those who buy into the “Pray to Jesus and He’ll make you rich” schemes. The pathetic mega groups that convince people that if they just give more money to the group that all will be well and wealthy. Regretfully, Satan has more helpers amongst man that our Creator has.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Signs of the Time

Jesus Himself warns us, in the Gospel of Luke, that there will be signs in the last days. He also warns us, in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, that there will be a lot of false signs and wonders done by our adversaries. He also warns us to watch and be prepared for these events. He is very explicit though, in both Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32, that no one but God knows when the “end” is to be.

Being prepared means several things. First, and the most important, is to be ready spiritually – get “right with God” ASAP and stay that way. Second, since wars, strife, and natural disasters are part of the signs, it behooves us to be “preppers” - not just for ourselves but so that we can help others too. Third, as Jesus commanded us more than half a dozen times, we need to stay in the know with the latest events in the world – to watch. To watch and pray.

Mark 13:37 - And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Modern Day Caesars

In 1966 a French-born American trappist monk named Thomas Merton wrote, 'The best way to solve the problem of rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's is to have nothing that is Caesar's.' This sounds pretty good at first.
 I can’t speak for areas outside of the USA, but, here in the USA this is a major problem. Our Caesar is claiming our children belong to him. Our Caesar is using things like Cscope to brain damage our children. Our Caesar is claiming he owns our ability to express our faith in Christ; but, it’s ok to express it in Mohammed or Buddha, etc. Our Caesar is working for Satan.

As the Bible says - come quickly Lord, come quick!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Are You Buffering?

To paraphrase - the spirit is willing; but, the flesh is weak: Depending on the Bible you use, ready or willing as the case may be, for Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38. Most folks take this to apply to their own ability to abstain from the things they like to do, but they know are wrong. There’s no doubt that is a viable application of the saying, what I call it's First Principle; but, there is another application too - one vital for all Christians.

Too many Christians act as if they are a slow internet connection - they spend more time buffering than being productive. I myself was guilty of this for far too long. For myself, I think the problem was fourfold. First, I didn’t think I was “good enough”. Second, I didn’t have enough self-confidence in my ability as a witness. Third, I didn’t think I had enough knowledge or wisdom. Finally, fourth, I didn’t realize how important it was – not just for others, but for me, too.

The first issue: I finally realized two things. One was that I would never be “good enough”; I also finally understood that Christ is good enough to use even a poor sinner like me.

The second issue: I didn’t need confidence in myself – only confidence in His spirit within me.

The third issue: if you want to get more knowledge you have to do more than just read – you have to study. To gain wisdom you have to apply and test what you think you have learned. This is just a matter of time and effort – and prayer.

The fourth issue: as to others - modern Christian persecution is not just real, and it’s not just on the rise, it’s becoming a worldwide conflagration. We all need to stay abreast of what is going on. As for me, the more I do for God, the better I become able to defeat the urges of the flesh. I grow stronger and more determined every day. My walk in life has more purpose than ever before.

If you are still buffering it’s time to upgrade!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What’s Your Exit Strategy?

The War on Terror has been going on for a while now; and, as a former military vet that dealt with such things, I can tell you that we entered that endeavor without an exit strategy. Much as when the USA elected Obama, he was re-elected because there was no good exit strategy for that travesty either. Though these dilemmas aren’t good, they will, with time, pass. We hope without too much more damage than has already been done. You see one of the problems of developing a good exit strategy is it needs to be based upon a good entrance or “origin” strategy.

People throughout history have pondered the questions about life’s exit strategy. Some have decided upon an exit strategy so bizarre that it really blows evolution away. You’re probably thinking I mean Christians – not so. Think Re-incarnation - Darwin coming back as a monkey. Re-incarnation makes hash out of an “origin” strategy too.

Then there’s the atheistic view. Exit strategy? Who needs one? I am just an evolved ape that became the Earth’s keystone predator, and my life has no meaning. Who needs strategies? I just eat, sleep, and procreate by instinct.

Then there’s the agnostic view. Maybe I was created, maybe not. Who cares? I’ll find out after this life if over - maybe. Strategies – there might be one.

Then there’s the more Zen view. What origin? What exit? I am one with the universe. I always have been and always will be.

There are really too many views to express them all here. But before signing off I’ll address one more. That’s the Christian view. Origin strategy – I was created by God. Exit strategy – I will return to my Creator.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Occam’s razor, Biblical Creation, and Macroevolution

What has become known as Occam’s razor, “the simplest answer is usually correct”, stems from the fact that when given competing explanations for an event, the one that makes the least number of assumptions is usually correct. It is both a philosophical approach as well as scientific. The number of preeminent scientists that have held to this sort of view are too numerous to list here.

What happens when we apply Occam’s Razor to Biblical Creation and Macroevolution?

Let’s take on Biblical Creation first. How many assumptions are made? One – in the beginning God created  . . . everything.

Now let’s look at Macroevolution. How many assumptions are made? That’s a hard one to add up. Why? Because macroevolution says that in the beginning . . . well actually it doesn’t say. It assumes other theories are correct – like the Big Bang Theory. The problem with that is that even the Big Bang Theory is based on assumptions. It says that in the beginning . . . well actually it doesn’t say. It assumes matter already existed and it says that it came from . . . well it actually it doesn’t say. You can see we are already drifting far afield just to give macroevolution a plausible base. We haven’t even reached the assumptions needed for the concept that life formed from the non-living elements of the periodic table. We haven’t addressed the assumptions made concerning how old the Earth is. We haven’t addressed the assumptions made in the face of the lack of credible fossil evidence for a transitory fossil. We haven’t addressed the assumptions made in the presence of currently living animals that defy macroevolution. We haven’t addressed the assumptions made to account for the problems of irreducible complexity. The list could continue ad nauseam.

So we are left with two competing concepts. One considered “unscientific” that makes only one assumption – Biblical Creation; and, one “theory” that has too many assumptions to address outside a paper for academia – which itself makes the assumption the theory is correct and protects it at all costs.

Of course, I am making the assumption that this will be read with an open mind . . . . . .

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christian Athletes or Athletic Christians? Part II

As athletic injuries in football players go they weren’t common, neither were they unknown. The A team player had suffered a concussion and a fractured vertebra. The C team player had had a heart attack. For the A team player it was a matter of an “unlucky” hit. For the C team player it was a matter of the “unlucky” combination of steroids and genetics. Neither injury was fatal – yet.

Over the course of time, both players moved from the ER to ICU and finally into the same regular hospital room. It wasn’t a large facility; and, the thought was that the two young competitors might spur each other on into recovering quicker. Again, over the course of time, the two players exchanged many thoughts. Among those thoughts were God and prayer. The A team player was a Christian and related his testimony to the other. The B team player was not a Christian – yet. The A team player took advantage of having a captive audience and was a good witness for Christ. The C team player came to see that there might be something to this “Jesus stuff”; but, he had a problem.

The C team player related how he had never seen a prayer answered and related the last prayer he had heard – his coach’s prayer the night he got hurt – as proof that God, if He existed, only half listened at best. The C’s had won but hadn’t both of them had been badly hurt. The A team player responded with a query as to who should win if both teams prayed for victory. Should it be the team that played the best or the team closest to God?

As the question hung in the air, the A team player continued and he too cited the last prayer he had heard someone else pray – his coach’s prayer the night he got hurt. The C team had played the best and they had won; and, though they were both hurt it was serving God’s purpose. Weren’t they both drawing closer to God?

Two weeks later the A team player died unexpectedly from an undetected brain aneurism caused by his injury. At his funeral service people complained saying God didn’t listen to prayers - the kid got hurt playing football and died too young. It caused quite a stir when I disagreed and said the kid had lived just long enough for God to answer a prayer - because the kid had lived long enough to lead me to Jesus.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christian Athletes or Athletic Christians? Part I

It might surprise you to know that on a typical Fall Friday night in the USA there are young men praying all across the nation. Why you may ask - football. Baseball may be the national pastime for some, but down South football’s almost a denomination. Even though many, like the ACLU (Anti-Christian Liberty Union), have done all they can to ban prayer it’s still a common practice for most teams before a game. This practice works well to illustrate a salient point concerning prayer.

Some folks say they have lost faith because God doesn’t answer their prayers. Let’s look at two opposing championship playoff teams to find what may be the cause. Playing that fateful day were the A’s and C’s. Both teams consisted of kids that were good kids for the most part. Both teams had coaching staffs that had the normal drive for victory as well as a concern for the youth they led. Both Coaches were Christian.

The coach for the A’s called the team together and said he’d like a moment for a prayer. He said it was okay if anybody didn’t want to pray: they could just observe a moment of silence to the think their own thoughts. The coach’s prayer basically went like this, “Almighty God, we come before you tonight in praise and supplication. We thank You for our health and for the freedoms we enjoy. For all that allows us to be here tonight. We thank you for the talents and skills you have given us. In the strength and glory of our youth let us always remember You. Grant us tonight that we play fair and with honor. We ask that You protect us tonight and that none be hurt; and, that if one is to be hurt, we ask that You use the hurt in way that serves You. For Your Glory Father, let the best team win. Amen”.

The coach for the C’s called the team together for a moment of silence. He said he was going to say a personal prayer, and that any that cared to could join him. His prayer basically went like this, “Heavenly Father, these young men have worked long and hard to be here tonight. They are a good bunch and they listen well. They know what’s expected of them tonight. We know with Your help all things are possible. We ask that You keep us safe tonight and lead us to victory. Amen”.

As you can see there was quite a difference in the way the Coaches approached prayer, as well as how and what they prayed for. The A’s Coach called for a moment of prayer. He placed God before being politically correct. His prayer focused on thanking God for what He had done to bring the team to where they were. He asked that no matter who got hurt or who won that it served God’s purpose. The B’s Coach started out by playing it semi-safe and being politically correct to a point, by calling for a moment of silence. His prayer focused on what the team had done to get where they were. He, perhaps unintentionally, implied that they deserved God’s help to get what they asked for - safety and victory for the team.

Which one sounds more likely to go unanswered? Now here’s the twist. Both teams had a star player critically hurt; but, that story will have to wait for Part II.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Time to Build and a Time to Tear Down?

All over the world there are children being taught to believe a particular world view. Some of these views teach that to hate and kill is honorable – i.e. many Islamic Madrasahs. These children never really get much of a chance to learn anything different. Their fathers, grandfathers, etc., have tried very earnestly to indelibly imprint this view on each successive generation. This is not just in the Middle East. It’s increasingly taking place in the USA, in the UK, in Canada, and etc.

            People today may wonder when they hear one of the things God said in the Ten Commandments, in Exodus 20:5, He says, “. . . for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”. Well, as the preceding paragraph shows, humans have a tendency to entwine their offspring in a cycle that is hard to break. God knew that. That’s why He was warning us. What we do has an impact far beyond ourselves.

            This goes far beyond just belief systems, too. Most sociologists and psychologists would readily point to the behavioral patterns of alcohol abuse, child abuse, and etc. as proof that these patterns can be instilled in our offspring and that the cycle can be a difficult one to break. But, because a belief or behavior is ingrained doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. Unlike the Ten Commandments people aren’t carved in stone.

So what exactly did God mean and what does this mean for us? Well, consider what God said following the preceding quote. In Exodus 20:6, He said, “And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments”. Simply put, it means that if we have no others before Him – like Mohammed or Buddha; and, we have no idols before Him – like booze, power, fame, violence, sex or anything that you desire more than God; and, we love Him and keep His commandments; he will have mercy on us.

If you are someone caught in one of these cycles give God a chance. Turn to Him and the Grace He offers through Jesus Christ. Your road won’t be an easy one; but, breaking that cycle can literally help change the world. If you know someone else caught in these cycles, pray for them, love them, and help them.

Sometimes as Christians we must do more than help build. We must also help destroy. In this case we must help destroy the cycles that hold so many in worldly chains - chains that restrain them from seeing and seeking God’s love. Like the old saying goes, “to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs”. Just remember you are breaking eggs to create something you want – not because you don’t like eggshells.

Satan's out to stop us

Life can get hectic at times. I’ve been busy updating my site instead of blogging this past week. I am sure, like me, many of you may wonder what difference you can really make in these hectic times. There is actually quite a bit we all can do for our Lord. Consider our brethren who don’t have time to be busy.

One of the most requested things by those being oppressed for their Christian faith is to be remembered in our prayers. Many folks don’t realize just how many are being severely oppressed and punished for Christ in these modern times. We, as believers, are called to be as in bounds with them (Hebrews 13:3). Prayer for them is the least we can do. There is much more that can be done as well. You could write a letter. Simply buying a T-shirt can help pay to smuggle a Bible. You can even send a Blanket and a Bible. You can send care packages you know will get there called action packs. Want to do something really different – make a parachute to spread the Gospel.

As you can see the list of ways to help is limited only by your own efforts and resources. Persecution is growing. Even Der Spiegel did an article on it a while back. For more info on how you can help just click on one or two of the links in this article.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's a New Year - time to . . .

A lot of folks that make New Year’s resolutions focus on themselves – i.e. to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, & etc. This year, I urge you one and all to make a more important resolution. If you are not a Christian, please, focus on yourself by considering talking to someone who is – we would all be glad to help. 
If you are a Christian, I urge you to focus on stepping up your Service to Christ.