Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Half-truths Full Priced

I keep putting off to yesterday the building of my Time Machine. But if I had one gassed up and ready, I would happily steer it to November 8, 2006. For someone such as myself who enjoys political back and forthing, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t really care for election time politics. It’s too nasty, and I don’t like liars of any stripe. Compound lies justified because the other side is lying too are not right. I try to be honest every day of my life, and I’d appreciate the same from our political leaders. Instead politics has become synonymous with lying, and I hate that. We will all stand before God, having to answer for every stray word. Some will have a longer time of it than others.
With that said, I am honestly partisan. I am Republican only because their platform is closely in line with my beliefs. I have more in common with Republicans than Democrats, but I would support Libertarian candidates if they were also in agreement with what I believe. I think Libertarians may be more fiscally responsible than the Repubs have been lately. No political party is perfect, but some are more imperfect than others. Look at the picture. And then think about this:
It is Godly to be kind, merciful, forbearing, to forgive and be forgiven. To thank God for every day of our lives, no matter what each day may bring. Even if you are not a Christian, you recognize that those attributes are commendable. I do not see mercy, forgiveness, and kindness being displayed by any in the Democratic Party over the last 6 years. The seeds of discontent planted in the 2000 election are still bringing up bumper crops of lies and unrest. I am sick of hearing from the Democrats how terrible it is to live in America under the administration of George Bush. Life is good; I am Blessed no matter where I live, because I belong to God. America is doing just great, and would be much farther ahead without all of the carping and sniping from the Democrats.
Remember the old saying, “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”? Where are the Democrats candles?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

How many Gods can you fit in your pocket?

Just one? Sort of a pocket protector God whom you can call on during calamities, but can ignore all the rest of your life? One just barely big enough to take the blame when things go wrong, but still tiny enough not to encumber you with any guilt or shame about sin? Or receive any credit for your many fine triumphs?

“Jesus On a Greyhound” by Shelby Lynne:
“I told Him I was a sinner, and He said that’s okay,
I didn’t come to change you anyway.”

That’s the Jesus Shelby Lynne was comfortable with.

Since I’m quoting songs, here’s part of one from Zion Mountain Folk:
“You got to get yourself a bigger picture of Jesus. You can’t put Him in a frame and set Him up on your shelf.
You’ve got to understand-He’s a lot more than a famous man, and a whole lot bigger than the picture that you’ve got of yourself.
You‘ve got to understand about the Father,
Before anyone can explain to you His Son.
You‘ve got to really believe
Walk in His ways to really receive
So pick up a bible and turn to the Gospel of John.”
chorus and then:
“You say you’ve heard this story about a million times,
And for each time you’ve heard it if you could just have a dime-
Well, you’d be wealthy, and could retire
See to live for yourself is your only desire.
I don’t have a dime, but you’re going to hear it one more time.”

And you will hear it many more times in your life-that God Loves you, and has made it possible for you to be restored to a right relationship with Him through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, bearing the punishment for your sins so you don’t have to. That’s love. How many times will you tell God, “No!”
before you say “Yes”? I said it dozens of times, and I was a liar all the way through, because deep inside I really did want to say “Yes”, but I wanted it to be “Yes” on my terms; I wanted that God who fits in my pocket. so I wouldn’t have to give up my life, shabby and dirty as it was. You know those stuffed toy “prizes” you see given out at carnivals for winning a game? My life was shabbier and dirtier than those.
The Jesus I met and finally said “Yes” to, on His terms, didn’t promise to leave me in my sins, in my shabby despair of a life. Instead He gave...Gave me a new Life. And in the nearly 30 years since that day on board ship when I asked for forgiveness, I still haven’t thanked Him enough.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Vincent Van Gogh Sitting In A Club, Half-listening To the Music

If you think about it, the caption for the photo should come to you.

Okay, for those of you not intuitively inclined, think of it as
“Dog Days Of Summer”.
This has been a Summer like no other. I know that they all get hot, but this one has had some unexpected heat, like Chinese 5 Star seasoning. Temperature-wise, yeah, it’s been a little warmer.
Socially/politically/world-wise, it’s been a dozen forest fires a day, burning apparently out of control.
Remember that apparently for later.
On the way home from work tonight I listened to ‘Coast To Coast AM with George Noory’. A woman called in, absolutely convinced that George Bush and the mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg conspired to spend 20 million dollars on lawyers to rip off benefits from the First Responders who were at the Twin Towers on 9-11. Both George and his guest declared that she was too far out even for them. Which is the first time I’ve ever heard that from Noory.
I commented recently that reality is not affected by theory. Meaning that actual facts, Truth is rock solid. It’s important to always be honest with ourselves and each other. That allows no room in our lives for seeds of conspiracy, delusions to germinate and grow. We can all think of examples-people whose emotions are all twisted up, who spew anger and hate over what are actually false ideals. This post isn’t about the War going on, but those Muslims with a inordinate level of hatred fixated on their brothers, Jews, is an example of what I’m talking about. The hatred is inbred pretty deeply; the rationalizations for that hatred are pure delusion.
Another example of twisted up people are racists who will believe every lie, hold as gospel every demeaning smear about someone who is different from himself or herself.
We can add religious bigots to this list with a proviso-I, as a Christian, reject all other religions as being false. That doesn’t make me a bigot, or a hypocritter.
I hate that other religions trap people in false beliefs and send them to Hell. But I don’t hate anyone. I love my fellow man enough to want to see as many as possible make it into Heaven. That’s the love that Jesus wants us to share. But that means I also love everyone enough to warn them away from false paths. To some, that makes me a religious bigot. To me, it means that I endure being misunderstood by friends.
Think about this ideal: in a world where everyone is honest with himself and with each other, there would be no war. There would be no murder of innocents. There would be no racial unrest, as everyone would understand that we are all human and equal. Lawyers and Policemen would have little to do, as there would be no crime.
Remember that apparently we held onto?
There is no forest fire apparently out of control. No war or action that is haphazard. No government making war or rattling sabers without God having a purpose for it’s happening. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground but God knows it and has caused it to happen. All is under the control of God; before you curse Him for the state of the world, Bless Him for making you in the first place, and then thank Him for sending Jesus to die in your place, so that you could have the opportunity to be restored to a right relationship with Him.
And that ideal world where there is no war, where everyone is honest with himself and each other? Coming soon, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, who loves us so much that He wants the very best for us. And that’s Him, and His Kingdom. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

God’s Sarcastic Servant

Once upon a time, the people of Israel were led into idolatry by one of their worst kings, “Ahab”. Ahab introduced Baal worship, importing the false religion from the Babylonians-(modern day Iraq/Iran).
As Israel knew that God had said, “You shall have no other gods” these were serious times-the prophet Elijah prayed that there would be no rain, and for three years it did not rain, but still Ahab and the people of Israel did not repent and return to the Lord.
Finally, God had had enough of this Baal worship, and he sent Elijah to take care of business.
Enough preamble, now comes the Scripture:

1Kings 18:17-40
“17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is this you, you troubler of Israel?” 18He said, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and you have followed the Baals. 19“Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23“Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it. 24“Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good idea.”
25So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” 26Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, “O Baal, answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made. 27It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.” 28So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood
gushed out on them. 29When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.
30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD which had been torn down. 31Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed. 33Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34And he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water.
36At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. 37“Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” 38Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God.” 40Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

If that seems harsh, remember that being a false prophet was a capital offense-this was not a time when God’s mercy could overshadow His judgment.

There it is: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

Conversation in God’s Office

Knock knock.
“Come in, Doug.”
“Thank you, Father. I’m having a bit of a problem. An image problem.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Well, it’s the old ‘if you want your religion to be respected, you must respect all other religions.’, or else you’re considered an evil religious bigot.”
“We’ve gone through this before, haven’t we?”
“Often. I can’t pretend and pay lip service to other religions, as that would be false, and You tell me to always speak the truth. So I can’t pretend that other religions are anything but paths to Hell.”
“Which makes some of your friends uncomfortable, and they judge you.”
“Exactly. I don’t want to offend them, but...”
“Doug, it’s simple. If you started going along with the crowd, accepted their religious nonsense as being valid...I’d be offended.”

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wisdom from Above

James 3:13-18
13Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Isaiah 2:12-22
12 For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased.
13 And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up,
Against all the oaks of Bashan,
14 Against all the lofty mountains,
Against all the hills that are lifted up,
15 Against every high tower,
Against every fortified wall,
16 Against all the ships of Tarshish
And against all the beautiful craft.
17 The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
18 But the idols will completely vanish.
19 Men will go into caves of the rocks
And into holes of the ground
Before the terror of the LORD
And the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
20 In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats
Their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
Which they made for themselves to worship,
21 In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs
Before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?

Let me state that last line again, and please think about it:
"Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hey Nimrod! Cush Cush Cush

8Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. 9He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” 10The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. 11From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, 12and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
Genesis 10:8-13

The Akkadian homeland was the area where the Euphrates and Tigris were at their closest, a position corresponding approximately to today's Baghdad.
Akkad had its name from the city Agade, founded by Sargon around 2330 BCE. For about a century, Agade was the richest and most important city in the world. (From the Encyclopaedia of the Orient

My study bible states that Nimrod may be the Hebrew equivalent of Sargon. I don’t know if they were the same person, but they certainly were operating in the same area at the same time. And Nimrod’s kingdom began small and grew larger, which to me suggests a warrior defeating city-states and adding them to his collection, such as Saddam Hussein attempted with Kuwait. And Hitler the Sudetenland. We all know how that turned out.

After the flood, Nimrod is the first one mentioned as a ruler of a kingdom. The tower of Babel civic works project may have been an early observatory used to implement another mess-o-ptomainia: astrology.

“4They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Even in that day man was looking to leave his mark, his legacy, create something that would keep his name in the papers long after he was gone. He might even put a childhood picture of himself up on the Internet for posterity.
I remember Nimrod. His regime held power for a short while, and then he was gone. Look at Castro’s little Cuban kingdom. He’s had his day, which will soon be over, and it too will die with him. Even if he passes the kingdom on to a blood relative, such as Assad did in Syria or Jong Il in North Korea, those little teapot kingdoms don’t last. A hundred years from now Basher Assad the 9th won’t still be ruling Syria.

“35 I have seen a wicked, violent man
Spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.
36 Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more;
I sought for him, but he could not be found.”
Psalm 37:35,36.

That is the way of man. If a crown endures, a regime remains for a few hundred years, it is noteworthy to us, but not to God.
God established covenants with Abram approximately -2091. Add approximately 2006 more years, and we have 4097 years that God has set apart the Jews for His purposes.
From Abram to the time of Christ the Jews had an established country/split apart but distinctly Jewish countries. Their kingdom endured for over 2000 years before Christ. America is a little over 230 years old. Nay Sayers and atheists declare that there is no God. The little dears. There’s no evidence besides their sinful hearts to back up their claim, while the entire Universe is evidence of His existence. As is the continued existence of the Jews.
May God continue to Bless Israel, and Curse her enemies.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Letting James Off The Hook

James wrote on an earlier post: “Scripture doesn't really have much to say about a preferred mode of governing, does it, other than to say that we are to obey our governing authorities who are put there by God (does this include Kim Jong?).”
I told him to keep digging in Scripture for the many examples where God does talk about governing. Dig dig dig.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness”

First and always foremost, seek His Kingdom. Our governance as Christians comes from God, who is above every government/kingdom on Earth. Seeking His Kingdom, His righteousness first reminds us of where our loyalty lies.
And this is one of the beauties of the Gospel. A slave is as free as his master, if they are both Christians. A Chinese Christian who is being beaten and tortured for his or her faith can appeal to God, Whose higher authority will ultimately recompense the ones doing the torturing. But that Chinese Christian will be a model citizen in all ways-he will work, pay taxes, respect the rule of the government, except where the Government comes up against what a Christian is called to do, such as spreading the Gospel and living for God

Once upon a time the Jews were chafing under the rule of God. They were not pleased with the governance God provided through the Judges, and were demanding a human King to lead them. I’ve written about it here before, but basically, through Samuel, God told the Israelites ahead of time what would happen if they chose a human king: “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12“He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13“He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14“He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15“He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16“He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17“He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18“Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

They were no longer “Seeking first the Kingdom of God”. And Saul and some of the other kings to follow him fully embodied that prophecy of what a human king would do.

So what do we do if we live under a Saul or a Kim Jong Il? What does a Chinese Christian do who is living under a Communist government which enslaves it’s own people?

Obey God. Seek His Kingdom first. If your human government is involved in a war, and you are sent to soldier, fight. You may be killing another Christian on the other side who is also fighting, but each must obey the government they live under. Change and improve it through the political process if you can, but that is secondary. Our first allegiance is to the Kingdom of God.

The war on Terror which we are involved in is a great example of what I’m talking about. Iraq was held by a dictator. A Christian living under Hussein’s rule would seek first the Kingdom of God, and follow His rule. But in all matters which did not conflict with God’s Rule, he would be expected to remain a loyal subject of Hussein. He would also be overjoyed to see that dictator removed from power by God, working through the ‘Coalition of the Willing’. Every good gift comes from above. Every government existing today has some form of that human king God spoke about through Samuel. Thrones established in sin are simply man seeking to govern himself rather than seeking the governance of God. But even in that truth, God is Glorified, as the most restrictive inhumane regimes are witness to great revival, to the spreading of the Gospel. They create the turmoil which turns peoples hearts towards God. Where sin did abound, Grace did all the more abound.
Think about your life-if you faced no problems, if everything were fine and happy, what need would you have for God? God uses the circumstance of our daily troubles to prepare hearts for the planting of the Gospel. And once that Gospel is received, and a person accepts the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ, they can now endure all things, including repressive human governments who reject God.
James, even this post barely scratches the surface of what God has to say about governance. Keep digging.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Are you getting it yet...?

For decades immigrants legally lined up here...

Now they're illegally lining up here...

Get it?

Nuda Veritas

More for those who still don't get it...

Animal Rights - PETA doesn't support this Canadian sign. Rational people do.

Get it?

Nuda Veritas

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

For those who STILL don't get it...

CLICK the picture and learn

North Korea, dictatorship, dark...South Korea, democracy, light.

Get it now?

Nuda Veritas