Monthly Archives: June 2010
People just amaze me sometimes, and that is not always a good thing. In a recent article I read, people gathered around the Grand Hyatt at Washington D.C to protest, get this, the spelling bee! Now, people will gather and protest many controversial topics, but the spelling bee? The people who were there represented the American Literacy Council and the London-based Spelling Society. Their agenda? To simplify the way we spell words. The protestors had signs that read messages like this, “Enuf is enuf; enough is too much.”
Ok, now I know the English language is not the simplest language. It has strange spelling and breaks nearly every rule it has, but is this really something worth protesting? We have terrible actions such as homosexuality and abortion, we are living in a culture that elevates impurity and sinful living, and yet they are protesting about the spelling of words? What a terrible waste of time and energy.
As I read this article, I was reminded of people who are contentious and argumentative about pointless things. Titus 3:9 says, “But avoid foolish controversies…for they are unprofitable and worthless.” Now, I am not talking about things where the Lord has specified and given commands about. Any command we see in the Bible is something we should stand firm and be unmovable with.
However, let’s be careful about the things we are arguing and protesting about that are not biblical commands. Are they really worth our time or would our time be better spent elsewhere? Too many times we get caught up with the pet peeves and minor details and we forget the main focus of this life and in the church (Matthew 6:33). Is our opinion really important enough to cause disunity in the church and possibly turn someone away from the Lord? Too many churches have been split and people have been driven away from the Lord due to foolish controversies. While we all have our own opinions and ways we like to do things, is it really so bad if someone does it a bit differently? Let’s strive to be people who always encourage peace when it is about insignificant things (Romans 12:18) but firm on the commands from the Bible.
The Hawaii homeless are not a “one size fits all” community. A good number of these folks were sold on the imagery of Hawaii as a place to sit and sip drinks on the beach. Reality has been harsh for these folks. Some had no idea it would be so expensive and could not afford to elevated prices of the island state. Some are content to visit the soup kitchens and live in a tent. Some mention various hardships that have left them with no choice but to remain. But, Cabanilla and others would love for all of them to go back home.
A couple of things stand out to me. First, how many people have pursued “paradise” only to find out that reality was much different from what they dreamed it would be? Others are content to live in squalor and cling to “paradise” because they think it does not get any better. People are deceived by sin, even calling good “evil” and evil “good” (cf. Isa. 5:20). Second, there are a good many people out there who it seems nobody wants. Nobody wants to pay them attention or wants to have to deal with them. Yet, God loves them and paid the highest price to redeem them, too. What should our attitude as Christians be toward them? Finally, there is a sense in which Christians are not at home in this world. On occasion, we may feel as though we are undesirable to the worldly mind and the present culture. It is good for us to remember that we are pilgrims and strangers on this earth (cf. 1 Pet. 2:11). We will not be at home until we reach that “long home,” that “home of the soul.” One thing is for sure. Nobody should feel “homeless” in God’s family. Paul calls the church “the household of God” (1 Tim. 3:15). There is a place for everybody in this spiritual home on earth. May we each take our place there.
If you listen enough to radio, and especially talk radio, one of the most frequently advertized services is from a company called “Life Lock.” Not only do they “guarantee” to protect your identity, they back that guarantee with more than $1 million in promised financial aid should your identity be stolen. In 1997 consumers and institutions lost an estimated $745 million to identity theft. It is estimated that loss now to be more than $1.5 billion annually and growing. Identity theft occurs when a person’s social security number, credit card number, phone number, etc., is discovered by a thief who then uses that information for personal gain. Since the late 1970’s paper shredders have become increasingly popular, and no doubt our technological age will continue to provide such services as that offered by Life Lock.
While identity theft is no small inconvenience, it pales in comparison to the wide spread theft that Satan inflicts upon the masses every single day. He has been busy for well nigh unto six millennium drawing men away from their Creator and inflicting immeasurable harm on men and women both here, and eventually in eternity. He robs men of happiness and peace, hope and contentment. Worst, he has robbed every single soul of his spiritual identity, separating the innocent and unsuspecting from their walk with God (Isa. 59:1-2).
There is a safe guard against the effects of Satan’s thievery. No, we cannot prevent his entering into our life, but we can recover our losses and restore what we once enjoyed. The restoration process is so perfect, so complete, and so very simple that it astounds us that more men and women do not take advantage of it. When one hears the gospel (Rom. 10:17), believes in his heart that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24), and is willing to confess that fact as did Peter (Matt. 16:16-18), he but needs only to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). He is then born of water and the Spirit (John 3:3-5) and thereby becomes a part of the family of God. His “identity” is restored, and he enjoys the fellowship with the Father and Son that the devil stole by deceit and subtlety. A faithful walk in the light will eventually see him to the eternal home promised for all the redeemed (Rev. 2:10; 1 John 1:6-8). That, my dear friends, is the ultimate “Life Lock.”
–by Tom Wacaster
Life poll: a poll on the lifelock service:
IT’S IMPORTANT TO be careful where you place your trust…
Some barbers say “trust me” as half of your eyebrow falls into your lap.
Some dentists say “trust me” as they drill down deeper than Exxon.
Some postal workers say “trust me,” stamp your package “Fragile,” and then drop-kick it into the parcel bin.
Some manicurists say “trust me,” as they push your cuticles back to your elbow.
Some mechanics say “trust me,” then make your engine purr like a kitten…with strep throat.
Some friends say “trust me” as they borrow your favorite shirt, accidentally wash it in hot water, then hand you back a swatch.
A lot of people say “trust me,” but don’t quite earn your trust. They fall short of their promises, and leave you wishing you hadn’t placed your faith in them in the first place.
THOUGHT: Aren’t you glad, though, that when God says “trust Me,” you can? (Martha Bolton)
“He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him” ( Prov. 30:5b KJV).
Have you ever eaten expensive ice cream? If so, it probably was not nearly as good as the “golden opulence sundae.”
The golden opulence sundae is a desert from a New York eatery—a dessert covered in 23-carat edible gold leaf. Tahitian vanilla ice cream is mixed with Madagascar vanilla beans and chunks of rare Chuao chocolate from Venezuela. The cost for this average sized treat is one thousand dollars.
The next time you enjoy a sundae with Hershey’s chocolate syrup and a maraschino cherry, someone else may be enjoying a “golden opulence sundae” with the world’s most expensive chocolates, gold-covered almonds, and Grande Passion caviar. Of course, the 18-carat gold spoon used to eat this treat is not a keepsake, but the Baccarat crystal goblet that holds it is.
Some people enjoy the very best of life. They have the best food, the most luxurious clothing, and mansions for houses. Jesus once spoke of a “certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, faring sumptuously every day” (Lk. 16:19). Although this man seemed to “have it all,” Jesus said his great banquets and fine clothing were only temporary and ultimately offered no comfort to him. Notice these additional points from Lk. 16:22-25:
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: and the rich man also died, and was buried. 23 And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things: but now here he is comforted, and thou art in anguish.”
Most will never taste or see a golden opulence sundae, but all can be “content with what they have” (Heb. 13:5). Accountable people can also live in such a way where they will receive an eternal inheritance that surpasses the most luxurious life on earth (1 Pet. 1:4).
Are you a faithful child of God who will receive the eternal inheritance for the saved?
In a frontier settlement out west, the people were engaged in the lumbering business. The town wanted a church so they built a building and called in a minister. The preacher was well received, and everybody “liked” him. Then one day he visited the lumbering operation down at the river. He noticed some of the members pulling logs out of the river that had been floating down from another company upstream. Each log was marked with the owner’s mark. The members would saw the end off the log and put their own mark on it, and push it back into the river to float down to the mill. This greatly disturbed the preacher.
The next Sunday he prepared a forceful sermon on the “Golden Rule.” At the close of the services, his people lined up and congratulated him: “Wonderful message! Mighty fine preaching! I really enjoyed your sermon!”
However, as the preacher watched the river that week, he saw the members continuing to steal logs. This bothered him even more. The following Sunday, he preached another forceful sermon on the subject: “Thou Shalt Not Steal!” Again, as the members filed out of the church building, they shook his hand and congratulated him on the wonderful, powerful message.
Thinking he finally got his message across, the preacher again went to the river, but to his dismay, the members were still pulling logs out of the river, cutting the ends off of them, and replacing the other company’s mark with their mark.
The following Sunday, he got into the pulpit and preached: “Thou Shalt Not Cut the Ends Off Thy Neighbor’s Logs!” Immediately after the sermon, the church ran him out of town.
The apostle Paul said the time would come when people would not endure sound doctrine, but would heap to themselves teachers who would preach only what they wanted to hear (2Timothy 4:2-4). People would continue to be religious and go to church, but they would not endure the Truth. That’s sad, because only the truth can set us free (John 8:32).
Paul said the time would come, and that time is here. How many sermons have you heard lately on Sin, Repentance, and Hell? It seems most sermons today embrace the “Easy Believism,” “Feel Good,” religion of “Prosperity.” Pulpits have conditioned their audiences that God’s main goal for their life is to make them “happy.” Therefore, whatever makes them happy, or feel good, must be a Godsend, even if it involves drugs, alcohol, or adultery. One lady said, “This man makes me happy, and since God wants me to be happy, I believe He wants me to divorce my husband and marry him!” Worship is being arranged around whatever entertains the audience and makes them feel good with little, if any, emphasis on the Way that even Jesus called “straight and narrow” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Many have ears to hear, but cannot hear (Mark 8:18). They sit in a church building year after year judging the preacher’s performance. They will tolerate all kinds of sins being condemned except their own. Many preachers are bowing to the pressure to “tickle the ears of their hearers” and are therefore preaching a powerless gospel.
The main work of Satan is to deceive (Rev. 12:9; 2Corinthians 11:13-15). Have you ever wondered how he is doing that? It is by taking our emphasis off the only thing that can set us free, i.e. the Truth, which is the Word of God (John 17:17).
— Toby Miller
It is perhaps the most dangerous thought we can entertain. It SEEMS right. It MUST be right. In fact, it HAS to be right.
Webster calls it an “assumption.” “A fact or statement taken for granted.” Note the key phrase in that definition, “taken for granted.”
An assumption is neither truth nor reality; is not fact. An assumption is merely personal conjecture. It is an unsubstantiated belief or idea based often times upon the circumstances in my own life.
• David assumed a soldier who had been away from his wife would immediately return to her tender affections. The king couldn’t control his sexual appetite (2 Samuel 11:2-4), and so he figured Uriah couldn’t either (vv. 6-9).
• Sarah assumed couples well in to their retirement years couldn’t have children (Genesis 18:10-15). She figured that because she had lived past the years of childbearing, any idea about a future “seed” (Genesis 22:17-18), simply wasn’t possible.
• Isaac assumed his wife and younger son would be honest and forthright (Genesis 27). The Patriarch had previously engaged in deception himself (ch. 26), but he didn’t think that other members of his family would follow his example.
• Herod assumed an infant referred to as “King of the Jews” might attempt to usurp his power (Matthew 2:1-8). His insecurity led to the murder of many innocent children (v. 16).
• The Jews assumed the Messiah would overthrow Roman tyranny and oppression. Their prejudices and false interpretations (Acts 1:6) blinded them to the possibility of a spiritual Deliverer.
A lot of folks experience conflict because they often entertain false assumptions. They fuss, disagree and divide because they’ve made certain unconfirmed “mental jumps” about people, ideas, or actions.
When someone walks by us without saying hello, we assume that they must be upset or angry at us. “What have I done wrong?” “It must be something I said…” Could it be, in reality, that our friend has something heavy on his or her heart, and is so engrossed in thought that they simply don’t see us? Are there other possibilities?
When someone starts yawning during a sermon or lesson, we assume that it must be because we’re doing a poor job in terms of delivery and that our message is boring. Could it be, in reality, that a student didn’t sleep well the previous night and is simply tired? Maybe they had a sick child to take care of during the time most folks sleep.
When a spouse doesn’t exhibit typical affection (1 Corinthians 7:2-5) towards his or her mate, we assume it must be because the love and desire is absent from the marriage. Could there be other reasons as to why physical intimacy is not being initiated? What about fatigue? What about stress at work? What about sickness? What about financial burdens that are affecting the family? Could there be other mitigating factors?
When an elder of the congregation doesn’t call us when we’re sick at home, we assume it must be because he doesn’t care about us. It is possible that they haven’t called us because they simply don’t know we are ill (James 5:14)?
Many times we not only assume, but we assume the worst, about a person or situation. The consequences of that kind of thinking can be harmful and costly.
Jesus was the only man who could read minds (John 2:24- 25; cf. Matthew 9:4; 12:25; Lk. 5:22; 6:8; 11:17). He knew exactly what others were thinking. You and I don’t have that luxury; we’re not God (1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 139:23). Deity can see through our façade and ascertain our true motives.
The only way we can know what other people are thinking is if they tell us. “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him…?” (1 Corinthians 2:11a).
Are you disappointed by somebody’s action or inaction? Have you assumed the worst? Wouldn’t it be better to find out for sure? Go. Ask (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Communicate. The truth will make you free.