Monday, December 23, 2019

Hindsight for 2020

  There is an old Russian proverb, “Dwell on the past and you'll lose an eye, forget the past and you'll lose both eyes”.

  This time of year is one where we do a lot of looking back as we also look forward. Where we have been, where we want to go and why we are where we are. The past is an excellent teacher but can be a burdensome travel companion. We need to learn from it but we can’t stay in it.

  Sometimes however, we try. ‘Back in the day’ or ‘we used to’ are only good thoughts if they are trying to help us learn what to do now. Getting stuck in the past doesn’t work. That was then not now.

 Yet in our desire for progress, we would be fools if we don’t consider the failures and successes of what came before.  I don’t want to walk backwards but doesn’t mean I’m not shaped as I go forwards by the road that I once trod. The past isn’t a map but more of a compass. It doesn’t show you where to go but more of the directions you need to head.

 In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul writes “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. He knows that we can’t be what we were if are moving forward.

  Yet in the next few verses, he exclaims, “however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.   Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. Don’t dwell in the past followed by the idea of holding to a previous pattern and example.

 Paul understood this strange paradoxical situation as well. We can live in the past but we can’t ignore it lesson either.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

  People love the holidays. Some people a little too much. I mean really do we need to put our trees up before Thanksgiving? This year I heard Christmas music before Halloween! Yet those early birds don’t seem to put much of a damper on things. Why do people love this time of year?

  Well, some of it is obvious. Family, faith, and fun. People seem more joyous. Even in the coldest dreariest weather, there is something special in the air.  There are parties. Kids are excited about Santa. People singing. Things are decorated. Yet maybe there is another reason. We give gifts.
 Wait, that the worse part right? The chaotic shopping, the commercialization, the cost. However, let’s consider a statement Paul quotes from Jesus in Acts 20:35 'It is more blessed to give than to receive”. We might get caught up on how many presents we have under the tree but true joy, real happiness is found in what we give. For some, this is the only time of year they show charity. The only time they consider the less fortunate. The only time they use what they have for someone other than themselves. Is it any wonder that it seems to make our world a little brighter and more hopeful?

  A true spirit of giving shouldn’t be something we just reserve for a few weeks in December. Giving is a form of worship (Hebrews13:6). Our hearts are blessed when we look to find ways to help others. When we look for ways to be generous and give to others, we make every day better

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.   So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Galatians 6:9-10

Monday, December 9, 2019

When Less Isn’t Even Enough

  When Abraham hears about God’s plans for the destruction of Sodom, he is rightly concerned. His favorite nephew, one he practical raised, is among those that are to be swept away. Not only that, Abraham worries about the other righteous men there. Surely God won’t destroy them too?

Abraham came near and said, "Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
Genesis 18:23 

  So he haggles with God. How many does it take before you call it off? 50? 45? 40? 30? 10? God, who owes nothing to Abraham, seemly patiently waits for him to come down to his final number the minimum righteous men you would need to save a city.

  It’s not enough.

  Not that God wouldn’t do it, there were not enough people to be found even among Lot’s own family to save wicked Sodom. Even after Abraham tries to make it is as few as he thought possible, It wasn’t enough

  I notice a similar trend in church work. Gospel meeting, VBS’s, other events once lasted a week maybe two. Yet it was too much for some. So let’s cut it back.  Could we just go for six days, maybe five? Let make it four, Sunday morning and night Monday through Wednesday. I mean aren’t you going to go to both services Sunday and Wednesday already, it is only two more days!

  Yet what happens. It’s too much. We can’t sacrifice that kind of time. Think about it another way. The early Church met together each day (Acts 2:46), yet we can’t do it three times a week. Come an extra hour for Bible class? Come back in the evening?  An hour on Wednesday? No, one hour once a week is enough.

 But it is not.

 Simply because the more we come down on our efforts the more it emphasizes our lack thereof.  Our absence is more about our ‘want’ than our ‘can’ do. You're never going to become more doing less. The Bereans were nobler not just because they checked the work but they did so daily (Acts 17:11)!

Instead of aiming for the least we should do, let’s aspire to see the most we can do.

Monday, December 2, 2019

A Name Misused

  Wars often lead to lawlessness and the American Revolution was no different.  So as the conflict spread south in Virginia, Charles was dismayed at the effect it had on his home in Bedford County. The courts had ceased to function. Guerrilla bands and militias on both sides roamed the countryside, and hooligans often ruled the streets. So Charles decided to take matters into his own hands.

   So he set up his own unofficial court. He appointed officers and issued arrests of lawbreakers. Since they had no money to jail prisoners, he doled out punishments in fines or whippings.  Charles tried to judge with compassion and reason, but still, his actions created a great deal of animosity towards him.

  Charles only had to enlist the death penalty once in his court. A plot by some Tories to destroy a lead mine vital to the war effort was discovered. The conspirators were found guilty and hanged. The friends and family of the men were upset claiming that Charles was unfair in his judgment since he owned a stake in the mines. After the war, they began to besmirch his name. They associated it not with the justice Charles was trying to uphold but an act of vengeance done without justice.

 We still do today. Charles's last name was Lynch.

but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
1st Peter 4:16

 The name Christian today has come to be used in various and in sometimes unbecoming ways. Christians, for some, mean judgmental, narrow-minded, hateful, stupid, or backward. Christians are mocked and ridiculed. Yet that shouldn’t surprise us. It has been happening from the start.

 However just because someone thinks that is the definition doesn’t mean it is. We must bear up not to what they call us but whom we were called to follow.  Jesus himself was reviled and suffered yet did not return volley, nor should we.  How we take the abuse says more about our true character than they ever will be able to.

 Christian may be a named misused, but it should never be done by one.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Thankful For What We Don’t Have

  This time of year we think about ‘counting our many blessings’. It's easy to look at all of our stuff all our friends and family, our homes, our jobs and understand the need to be grateful.

  Yet do we realize that our greatest blessing might just be what we don’t have?

If we are free from disease. If we are not at war. When we don’t suffer physical persecution for our faith. When we don’t have fear of our government. When we don’t have toxins in our water or poisons in our food.  When we don’t have crimes overrunning our streets. When we don’t have want for food or supplies.

  We have it so good because we don’t have so much that others do. And for that we should be thankful.

  Thankful and generous. One can’t truly be grateful for what he has if he is not willing to share that with those that do not.

  If we count what we have and all the things we are not burdened with, it would be asinine not to realize that we are a blessed people. These blessings have come from our God on High. In Him, we should give thanks!

Psalms 103:2
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;

The Gifts That Keep On Killing

   Thomas Midgely was a mechanical and chemical engineer that had over 100 patents in his career. He has won the Priestly Medal the highest award of the American Chemical Society, was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences and hold two honoree degrees because of his work. He also might have done more damage to the atmosphere than any person that ever lived.

  You see, Midgely is the man responsible for both leaded gasoline and Freon. 

While both products had wonderful uses, they both had deadly consequences. Leaded gasoline is linked to all kinds of long term health problems. Freon was found to destroy the ozone layer. By 2018, both products made the Time’s list off worst inventions of all time.

  At least with lead gasoline, he should have known better. The plants that manufacture the stuff had serval deaths attributed to lead poisoning, workers had bouts of insanity and hallucinations because of exposure to it. Midgely even had to take time off to cure treat his own case of lead poisoning. Yet he still felt it was safe to use.  He would demonstrate as such by pouring it over his hands and publicly sniffing the stuff.

 Why couldn’t he see the dangers?

  Well like many, the short term gains were too profitable for him and others to pay much attention to the long term effects.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Hebrews 11:24-25

  Sin does the same thing. In the moment, it seems wonderful, but the longer-term effects are catastrophic. While it may be easy to enjoy the “passing pleasure of sin” without thinking much of what will happen it doesn’t make it safe. Ignoring the damage doesn’t change the results.  Our sinful actions are killing us. You might be lauded in the day but you will be condemned for eternity. 

  You can either be like Moses or be like Midgely. One compromised his future for the glory of the day, the other refused the easy path for the one that was right?

  Which road do we take?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Do You Want To Hang A Snowman?

  Before we all had phones to distract us, if you were bored had something to write on and a friend you might have played a game of Hangman. It was a word game where you had to guess a word or phrase letter by letter. Each time you picked the wrong one, a little stickman had a body part added to the gallows. If you didn’t figure out the answer before the man was assembled, he’d swing from the rope.

  Recently I read a post that suggests building a snowman instead. You see the act of hanging a man was deemed too violent with too many racial undertones. So instead you assembly a snowman piece by piece. Not only was it less gruesome, it also had the benefit of having more steps and made the game less trying for children. If you lost it was not a tragedy, you made a nice little friend.

  I guess we have all the other problems in the world solved so we had to get onto fixing Hangman.

  Isn’t it funny how much we want everything in the world to be perfect? Even if it means making anything, even things that are steamily not that big of a deal, offensive.  It as if we know we can’t make reality what we want so we will just pretend like it doesn’t exist. We create problems so we don’t have to deal with real ones.

  It doesn’t just happen today. The prophet Micah saw it in his time. In Micah 3:5-7 tells about the false prophets looking for an issue to sink their teeth into. They claim to want peace but attack everything. The problem, as the prophet explains, is that it doesn’t lead them to anywhere because they are ignoring what God has said. Their message is empty. They want to feel good but not be good.

  We might be tempted to act the same way. We love lessons that tell others what they need to be doing, but not so much one that tells us what we need to be doing. Our desire to not offend mean we never tell truths that are hard but necessary. We ignore rather than change. We say things are ‘no big deal’ when they are ruining lives and removing us from God’s presence.  We create issues of no importance to cover up our unwillingness to deal with ones that do.

  The people told Michah not to speak out (Michah2:6-7) but he told them simply “Do not my words do good to him who walks uprightly”.  We should be less concerned with getting offended and more concerned making sure we are on the right path.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


  I was recently watching a show that gave the chilling scene. It was dashcam footage of a police officer making a seemingly routine traffic stop.  The officer, after asking to man to step outside the vehicle and go to the safer side of the highway, begins to ask some routine questions. The man’s response is odd given the situation so the officer asks if he can search him. He agrees but right as the officer looks down, the man draws a firearm and unload several rounds point-blank in the officer chest.   Because of the position of the camera, you gracefully don’t see the aftermath, yet you hear the cries of the officer for help. It was an unnerving series of events.

 However, the officer did have a great advantage. He had backup. As soon as he goes down other a dispatcher on his radio hears his cry. Other officers in the area are alerted. Quickly one arrives and starts immediate aid. More arrive and secure the area. Others search for the suspect. The police on the scene realize time is of the essence so they load the wounded man in their care and rush him to hospital.  He not only survives but the man that did this heinous act is caught.

An outcome they could only have happened because there was someone watching out for him.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Hebrews 13:17 

 The church functions in the same manner. Routine life can turn spiritual shootout in a heartbeat. Without some watching over us, it can be easy to get caught in temptation and spiritual danger without anyone to help us.

 That why we should be so thankful for our leaders. It might seem at times to be easier to go it alone. Less hassle, fewer rules, less compromise. However, do we really want to be alone when evil strikes with someone we trust to watch our back?  
 There are evil men, dangerous diversion and snares of every sort out there. Don’t try to go it alone.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

What Did You Learn Today?

  If you think learning is weighted to the side of the instructor you probably are not going to learn much no matter how good the instruction is.

  We say it like this, ‘I didn’t get anything out of that sermons’ or ‘the teacher is too boring to keep my attention’, or ‘that person just can’t relate to the audience’. They are all are ways of saying the same thing. The failure to learn is not the fault of the learner

  However, let’s consider this scripture:

A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.
Proverbs 14:6

  Notice the difference?  Those that are quick to judge the process never seem to find anything at all. But for those wanting to learn, there is plenty to find. If we are too busy judging the lesson, it removes the possibility of getting the lesson (James 4:11).

  Don’t think I’m saying there are not needed improvement in our teaching, there absolutely are! What I’m trying to get at is that if we really want to learn, we can get something out of about any lesson. There is still nutrition in untasty meals.

  Instead of wasting everything let’s try to get out what we can. It may be a lot more than we think!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Filling Their Shoes

 You probably heard the adage ‘Don’t judge someone till you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’. The idea is that when we place ourselves in someone else situation it might change our perceptive on how we think about them. The Bible encourages this for us but it goes even farther; it asks us too put ourselves in their stocks.

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
Hebrews 13:3

  The text of Hebrews here says for us to put ourselves in the state of prisoners. That might be hard to do. It is easier for us to think of a prisoner as someone who is getting the fate they deserve. That might be the case. Of course in this time frame, the folks in prison could have done nothing more wrong than being a Christian. Still the temptation is to shy away from in that state rather than put yourself in their place.

  It doesn’t just happen to people in literal prisons it happens to those in metaphorical ones as well. People that are homebound because of ill health. Folks trapped in bad relationship and situations. People treated with suspicion because of their race or background. Those locked into a cycle of poverty. Before we forget, relegate or dismiss them, maybe we should ask ourselves what we would do if we were in the same boat as them?

 Judgment is easy. Fair judgment is more difficult.  Let try to remember those that might in tough situations with some proper discernment.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

No One Expected The Spanish Influenza

  From 1918 till 1920, about 75 million people died on the flu. The epidemic was a global one but the disease was known by a regional moniker, the Spanish flu. It didn’t start there nor was Spain hit particularly harder than any other nation, so why did it get the name?

  The reason was World War 1. The combatants in WWI didn't report on how badly the flu had hit their nations. Not wanting their enemies to know how sick they were nor did they want their own people, they instead censored the reports. Spain neutral in the conflict had no reason to hide the truth, so it looked as if it was being hit harder than the rest. So it became known as “Spanish Flu”.
  Often times those that are authentic in their behavior are relegated as oddballs. For example, those that confess their sin are looked down on when in truth there are many of those setting in silent judgment there that have the same if not worse sins. People that admit to faults are seen as weak when in truth that openness to one's errors make them stronger as they to fix their problems rather than just ignore them. People that act as if they have it all together are often just good at hiding all the holes in their lives.

  Christians are called to live open lives (James 5:16, I John 1:9, Matthew 5:16). This might open the door for some to criticize us. However, that should not make us think the problem is us. Remember most of the time people are accusing you of something or besmirching your actions, it usually more a reflection of them than you.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Dirty Laundry

  There is an old saying about not hanging your dirty laundry in public. What it means it’s unwise to take your grievances to a public forum. It’s a habit however, that with the rise of social media has become all too common. This phrase doesn’t have a biblical basis but the meaning sure does.

  In 1st Corinthians 6, Paul is outraged that the church has allowed it personal disputes among its members to spill into pagan courts. Paul’s flabbergasted that they don’t find a brother arbitrate the matter rather than go to unbelievers. He says it better to be wronged than bring reproach to the church.

Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?
1st Corinthians 6:7 

  It might not be in a court of law but the court of public opinion we take our grievances. Still, the same principles apply. People will have differences and disagreement over things. It is tempting to want to garner support for our side by telling others. But that does more than just ‘win’ our case. It can ruin our reputation, damage the church and dishonor the name of the God we serve.

  It would be a shame to be ‘right’ about something but wrong the Lord in the process.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

What Does The Kid Know?

  You’ve seen it of the buttons of an ATM, or an elevator panel. Those raised dots in different patterns that can be read by visually impaired people. What is it called?


  What? That’s not it. But it’s probably should have been.

  You see the inventor of this method was a man named Captain Charles Barbier. It was an ingenious military invention he called Night Writing used so soldiers could read orders in the dark without having to light a lamp and give away their position. 

  Eventually, Barbier introduced his concept to the blind. A thirteen-year-old boy at the Royal Institute for the Blind was one of the first to learn the new system. He was excited by the opportunities it offered but thought it might be too complex. So he offered Barbier some ideas on how to simplify and improve it. Barbier did not welcome his suggestions.  He was incensed that a mere boy could imagine he had something to offer and stalked out of the room, He angrily refused to even consider making changes.  

  So the boy began to work on his own to make improvements His system proved simpler and superior thought he was always as always quick to credit Barbier for his role in development.
  That’s why the system isn’t named after it’s creator but it’s perfecter Louis Braille.

A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.

Ecclesiastes 4:13 

  Age has its advantages but one should never assume the younger don’t have anything to offer. Wisdom can from many sources. No matter how old or sure of ourselves we are it never hurts to listen to others in how we can improve.

  Those that think they know everything there is to know have a lot to learn.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Is There A Problem Officer?

  All men should be treated fairly under the law. Or is there room for leeway for the right person under certain circumstances?
  Consider the following:

  It’s a summer evening.  A police officer patrolling at the corner of a busy street in a major metropolitan area. Then a vehicle goes zooming by way to fast to be safe. The officer pulls him over. The case is easy, right? Speeding while endangering others. Definitely a ticket, and good stern warning from the officer.
  But what if I told you the driver was a military veteran? But so was the policeman? What if the diver was a high ranking military officer and the officer was just a rookie?  What if the cop was a black man and the driver white? What if I told you it was the early 70’s?  The early 1870’s? What if the policeman didn’t at first recognize the driver but a soon as he came face to face he sees he was a man of great importance? Like the president of the United States?
  What should he do?

  This isn’t a hypothetical case, it was a very true story

  It all happened in Washington DC in 1872. William West a former slave that had fought for the Union had recently been added as one of the capital’s new black police officers.  When he saw a horse and carriage speed by him he ordered him to stop. I wasn’t till he had already started writing the ticket did he see the man face driving, former general and current President Ulysses S. Grant.

  West thought about backing off but told him, “I am very sorry. Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the chief of the nation and I am nothing but a policeman, but duty is duty, sir”, And Grant agreed saying it was the right thing to do.  Grant went immediately to the station and paid the $20 fine but nevertheless earning the caveat of being the only sitting president in history to be arrested a speeding ticket.

  Romans 3:23 tells us that, ”all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. That means we all stand guilty of a crime against God. Should we expect God to “let us off” because of we of our service or our status? Should we be able to do something that we would think others should be punished for?

  Make no mistake, God doesn’t let the guilty escape judgment. But he does provide forgiveness. It is Christ that pays our fine!
being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;  for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:24-26 
Faith in Christ Jesus isn’t a get out of jail free card. It is, however, the only way we can be freed from sin. God justice and his mercy are both exemplified in Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Seeing Leads to Believing

  Elisha Otis built a better elevator, but no one was knocking at his door.

  Up until his invention, there were elevators but they weren’t all that safe. Otis changed that with his elevator break. Now if something malfunction, an elevator could be stopped before the riders fell to their deaths. Still, sales were not that great, he only sold three in the previous year.

 So Elisha did something crazy. At the Crystal Palace Exposition in New York, he raised an elevator up on a high suspended platform with him inside, held only by a rope. Then he ordered the rope to be cut. The crowd gasped and the elevator fell…..a few inches.

 The elevator didn’t go down but sales went thru the roof. His invention help to make the modern-day skyscraper a feasible reality.

  All it took was a demonstration.

  People often have to be shown something is true in order to believe it. That is why it is so vitally important for a Christian’s life to match his faith. Folks hear what we say about the gospel but they will believe the gospel we live.

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him,…
Titus 1:16 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Just Have Someone Else Do It

  Being critiqued isn’t very fun. Even when it is true on what you need to do better, it still feels like being hit with a sledgehammer. But imagine if it was Jesus swinging that hammer.

  In Matthew 23 Jesus calls out the scribes and Pharisees for their behavior. He works them over pretty good. At the heart of his message is their hypocrisy. They lack consistency. They make rules to break them. They try to look good rather than being good. But notice where Jesus starts in his condemnation.

Therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”
Matthew 23:3-4

  Jesus sees their error in telling others to do when they won’t. They have high expectations but low work ethics. They know what to do but expect others to do it

  Now let’s apply this ourselves. What was the last thing we complained about in the church? What fault did we find? What thing that needed to be done?

  Now let’s ask ourselves; What did I do about it? How did I act to improve or correct the thing? Was my expectation for me or someone else to do the work?

  Jesus was very critical of those that tell others what they should be doing without doing much of the work themselves.  We might want to make sure that is not our habit as well (1 Corinthians 11:31).

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Forgotten To History

 The period of Judges lasts for close to 350 years. During this time men (and a woman) were raised up by God to free his people and bring them back to him (Judges 2:16-20). It never seemed to work.

  The people wanted the freedom but not the faith required to sustain it.

 We know a good deal about a few of the Judges (the majority of the book of Judges deals with Barak/Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson). But mostly we have a record of major events, a bit about their families, the battles they fought, the length of their reign. Their names are a little more than a footnote in history.

  That seems rather odd. These were people of significate in their time and a major factor in the history of Israel. Why don’t we have more?

  It’s because the story isn’t the history of Israel thought that is what is taking place. It is the story of God’s plan for mankind. It tells that tell us not only what he is doing but the why of it.

  The period of the Judges shows us that mankind needs God but doesn’t want to accept that fact. They over and over again make the same mistake, rejecting what God is giving for their betterment. We want the freedom. We want to be saved from the consequences of our misdeed. We want the enemy kept at bay. Yet we aren’t willing to stay committed to the way that will keep us there.

  The judges were not perfect. Some were good, some were ok some were downright menaces. Yet they could at least help for a time. But over and over again the lesson they brought were forgotten. Man keeps thinking he could just do what he thought was right and it never worked (Judges 17-21).

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 21:25 

  The old saying is ‘those that forget history are doomed to repeat it’. It true for us. The Bible gives us example after example of those that gave up the faith that could save and the destruction it brought. God sent a perfect savior and judge to set us free.

  Are we listening to him? Or are we making the same old mistakes?

Thursday, September 5, 2019


  I guess everyone else has it all figured out.

  It seems whenever we have some tragedy, some problem some crisis happens, folks come out of the woodwork absolutely convinced that know what will fix it. Pass this law, revoke this act, get rid of this guy, buy this product, start doing this, stop doing that.

  Whatever the solution is, people seem to be really sure that it is the way even if another fellow thinks the exact opposite is just as true.

  I just don’t know.

  I’d like to think it is humility on my part but that is probably not. Thinking you are humble usually means you are not.  I do however know that the older I get the more I realize I have no clue how lots of things are and even less about how they should be.

  Yet it seems our world today is so sure of itself. We have an opinion on everything and feel that our solutions are the solutions, even if we have no more to go on that a flimsy news report and second-hand knowledge. I think that mindset is dangerous for our country.

  But it might be even more dangerous for our souls.

  A humble attitude is constantly praised in the Scriptures. Those that are proud and sure usually find themselves in ruin.  Those that ‘have it all figured out’ usually don’t. Personal egotism doesn’t lead us to right paths. Humble hearts, open minds and submission to God do.

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS"; and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS."  So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you,
1 Corinthians 3:18-21 

  If you have all the problems solved, that doesn't leave God much room to work in your life. If we are sure in ourselves, it doesn’t open us up to put trust in the Lord.

  The world is a complex difficult place full of things that are beyond us. Instead of trying to run it, let’s look to the one that created it all.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Be Careful What You Sing

How can we sing…..

That we are “Standing on the Promise” when we are rarely even sitting on the premises (Hebrew 10:23-25)
That we have “Victory in Jesus” when we are AWOL from his army (2nd Timothy 2:4)
“When We All Get To Heaven” when we can’t even get to church (Hebrew 10:38-39)
“I Want To Be a Worker” when we refuse to volunteer for anything (Titus 3:14)
“I Love You Lord” when we don’t obey his commands (John 14:15)
that there is “Sweet Sweet Spirit in this Place” when it’s full of gossip and bickering (Galatians 5:15)
That “I’m Not ashamed to Own my Lord” when we never talk to others about him (2nd Timothy 1:8)
That “I’ll Be a Friend to Jesus” when spend more time with the world (James 4:4)
“There is a God” if we deny him with our actions (Titus 1:16)

You can sing a lie just like you can tell a lie. Make sure what you are singing in really what you are doing.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:16-17

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Demotic Gospel

   I recently learned a new word -“demotic”.  It means “denoting or relating to the kind of language used by ordinary people; popular or colloquial”. I heard it use in reference to an idea about language and grammar. Specifically how some believe that a native speaker of a language can never use a word wrongly if that usage is accepted. In other words that as long a word is demotic, that is popularly accepted, then it is right.

  As a person that can butcher the English language, I think that ain’t a bad idea. I literally put me on cloud nine and I could care less if you don’t like it

  It seems some think the same principle applies to the scripture. A demotic Gospel. One where doctrine is determined by the masses, not God. If everyone says the way to heaven is by the sinner’s prayer, even if that prayer is not found in the New Testament, its fine. If society changes its mind and says divorce for any reason, sexual relations outside of marriage or homosexuality is acceptable, that it is. The only standard is if people accept it or do it.

 However, that is a different gospel than the one that Jesus brought. If we change the Gospel it then we l don’t have it (Galatian 1:7-8). The world may think it works, but God doesn’t.
 In reality, the demotic Gospel is really a demonic one.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
1st Timothy 4:1 

   The doctrine from the masses is a tool Satan uses to convince people they are really are not in need of God’ good news of salvation. If one can change vice into virtue, who needs a savior? If I can shape righteousness from what is right to what I believe is right, then why do I need a standard? If popularity is paramount, then faithful few are fools.

  Don’t fall for this false doctrine. Jesus warned that the road to hell is wide and popular. Just because everyone doesn’t it doesn’t make it right.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

What Are We Know For

Can people tell that you are a disciple of Jesus? If someone did a background check on you, went thru your social media, and interviewed your neighbors talked to your coworkers, what would they say? What are you know for?

What did Jesus say would make people realize that you were a disciple of Jesus?

Before we answer that let look at something he didn’t say:
 They will know you are my disciple by how…
You always vote for the right candidate, love your country and support the schools.
You have a fish sticker on your car and Bible verse plaque on your desk and wear your church T-shirt every casual Friday
You make your opposition to moral political issue well known to all.
You can quote scripture with the best of them.
You share all the religious memes, like all the faith-based pictures and forward the prayer chain to 10 friends every time
Your name is in the directory, your face is on the picture board and address is on the contact list
You keep your nose clean, your lawn mowed and your and ducks in a row.
You don’t drink, smoke, or chew or go with girls that do

 Now these are not bad things, but if we look at what Jesus did say it might change your focus.
John 13:34-35
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Catch that? Jesus said that by love people will see that we follow him. You can say all the right things, have the right gifts, know all there is to know, be a stalwart of faith give it your all and it can mean nothing (1st Corinthians 13:1-3).  Love is the trait we must-have for all the other to have meaning.