Sunday, September 29, 2013

Who Will Save Us from Dangerous Times?

English: Resurrection of Christ
English: Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

Psalm 91:14

New International Version (NIV)

         There are going to be some tough times ahead for Christians.   Already Christians in some parts of the world are being tortured and killed for their beliefs.  In the so-called "free world" there have been ongoing efforts to silence Christians from speaking out what they believe or letting their voices be heard in the political arena.  Governments are heading toward de-Christianization.  

           The Bible tells us that there will be Christians who will have to suffer in the Great Tribulation.  Revelations speaks of some who are beheaded.    I'm not totally sure about when a rapture of the faithful will occur or who exactly will be taken up to be with Jesus Christ.  There are varying views on this and many good arguments to support each of the sides. 

            The real point is not to argue the Rapture or any other escape mechanism that will help us avoid the dangerous times that lie ahead, but to be ready for whatever comes.  Jesus is coming back for the faithful true believers.  However it happens and whatever the outcome is, we need to be ready.  

            The pain and horror that Christians may suffer is a small price to pay for an eternity in Paradise.  Let's hope there is a pre-Tribulation Rapture and we are part of it, but also be ready to endure patiently if dangerous times come our way.   God has a plan.  He knows exactly what He is doing.  He will not forget the faithful.

 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

Revelation 3:10

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

When You Have Sinned

Close up of an 17th-century depiction of the 2...
Close up of an 17th-century depiction of the 28 articles of the Augsburg Confession by Wenceslas Hollar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

      What do you do when you have sinned? Approach the Lord with contrition? Pray? Ask forgiveness? If you answered "all of the above" then you are doing the right thing.

      Ideally we would never sin, but since none of us are perfect this is a tall order for anyone. We sometimes become weak. We may fall out of sync with the heart of God. We become haughty and think we can do everything on our own. We set ourselves up for a fall.

      Keep God close by your side. If sin causes you to stumble, God will prevent your fall.

     You are one of God's finest works, but you are still a work in progress. Let God do His work within you.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why Do You Hate Me?

Hatred (Photo credit: dton23)

...the wicked slander me
    and tell lies about me.
They surround me with hateful words
    and fight against me for no reason.
I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations even as I am praying for them!
They repay evil for good,
    and hatred for my love.

Psalm 109:2-5

New Living Translation (NLT)

       No one purposely sets out in life to be hated.  The act of hating can take a tremendous physical and mental toll on those who are engaged in the action.  Likewise for the one who is hated.   A goal that I strive for is to neither hate nor be hated, but I'm certain that there are those out there who hate the things that I cherish and believe in.  If those haters could directly connect me to my loves and beliefs then they would probably hate me specifically.

       Many who call themselves Christians try to make an effort to be loved by all.  They try to adapt their Christian beliefs to be a big house where everyone is welcome to live no matter what beliefs they may have.  Much modern Christianity adopts a doctrine of acceptance of all things--an open door for all believers no matter what it is they believe.

        The Church should not be trying to conform itself to meet the world's approval.  Christians should accept that there are times when they will be hated for the things they believe.  To be hated does not feel good.  Just remember when it does happen--Jesus suffered through the ultimate hatred so that we can have eternal life with Him in paradise.

         Better to suffer for a while in this life than to suffer for eternity.

Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

Luke 6:22

New International Version (NIV)

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Progress Does Not Entail Destroying the Earth

English: Numerous dead fish floating in water.
English: Numerous dead fish floating in water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.

Psalm 24:1-2

New International Version (NIV)

        More often we have been hearing reports of massive fish kills and ocean life that is being threatened.  Some of this may be occurring naturally, but there are many indications that most of this disruption of the sea is due to the carelessness of humans.  

        Pollution, contamination, overfishing, and other intrusions due to human activity are causing great damage to the world's water environments.  We need to be mindful that mankind has been given stewardship of this Earth which ultimately belongs to our God who created it.   

         I'm no tree hugger or radical environmentalist.  Nor am I a luddite who resists change and moving forward into the modern world.  Sometimes though it's a good idea to be aware of what happening to the world.  Those who can make a big impact are to be encouraged and given our prayer support.  If we can contribute something to tending to the world God gave us to manage, then we should do it.

         Personally I'm glad to see more communities participating in recycling efforts and taking the environment into greater consideration.  It's up to us to take care of our home the Earth.  Even the little things we do can add up to making a big difference.

For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.

1 Peter 3:17

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Should We Believe Everything in the Bible?

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...
The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.

Psalm 19:7-8

New International Version (NIV)

         If we accept the premise that God is perfect then it would therefore follow that his law is perfect.  Why do so many people want to find imperfection in the law?  As humans believe they are becoming more enlightened in their own knowledge and reasoning, they find it easier to refute God's laws and reject them.  Psychologists and sociologists rely on the research gathered in scholastic settings and trust their own judgement and that of their peers.

         The Holy Scripture was never intended to be relegated to a mere historical footnote in our lives.  The Bible holds the rules by which we should live with affirming examples why those rules are correct.   Instead of understanding this, many people in our age would rather dismiss the Bible as no longer relevant, outdated, or even nonsense.  In believing such, the supposedly wise are proven to be simplistic fools who dwell in their own minds or blindly follow what another fool is telling them.

         My pleas would probably fall on stony paths of resistance if I were to ask these lofty thinkers to think a bit more deeply about what the Bible says versus what they think they know.  They know nothing when they spout out their drivel and try to dispute God's Word.  They might call the believers of the Bible naive or unsophisticated.  Have they resorted to any logical thinking when they resist God's Law?         

       The interpolations of man are folly when God is not factored into the equation.   God should never be excluded from the affairs of man if we want to come nearer to perfection.

First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

2 Peter 1:20-21

Revised Standard Version (RSV)

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