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Fasting

We found a topic that we have not addressed yet. We will take a few days to try to study the biblical approaches to fasting but for this post, we are going to rely on works from other sites to get the topic rolling. we are not going to quote long passages, just enough to give people the idea. The final quoted work is something we wrote for a secular website

#1. https://www.gotquestions.org/fasting-Christian.html

Christian fasting – what does the Bible say?

Scripture does not command Christians to fast. God does not require or demand it of Christians. At the same time, the Bible presents fasting as something that is good, profitable, and beneficial

#2. http://www.inplainsite.org/html/fasting.html

What Biblical Fasting is Not

(1) A Physical or Psychological Discipline

(2) A Manipulative Tool

(3) A Hypocritical Religious Exercise

#3. The Facts About Fasting

Hearing the word ‘fasting’

Sends many people running screaming in terror. To them fasting means not eating for a long time and they do not like that thought. But fasting is a lot more than just missing but on some food for a few days.

What is fasting

Basically, a fast is where you go without food and sometimes water for an extended period of time. Fasts are done for a variety of reasons and the most common ones are spiritual health, medical benefits, as well as trying to lose a few pounds.

Before you go on a fast, you should talk to your doctor. You may have some hidden medical issues that may interfere with your fasting plans.

Types of fasts

It really doesn’t matter which type of fast you chose to follow. They all give the same health benefits. Plus, you do not need to use a fast that has the word cleanse or detox in them. All fasts cleanse and detox your body.

  • Dry fasts- this is the one most people hate. You avoid both food and liquids during this type of fast
  • Liquid fast- here at east you get to drink some healthy liquids as you cleanse your body. You can go with water only or use juice and have a little nutrition as you fast
  • Partial fast- here you eat a little food, but the key is what foods you do eat and which ones you exclude
  • Intermittent fast- in this fast you alternate between eating and fasting periods. You can design your intermittent schedule.

When you do a fast, make sure you prepare for it first. That will protect you from some negative side effects that can take place when you deprive your body of food and liquids.

The health benefits of fasting

To protect yourself from certain brain diseases a regularly scheduled fast can help protect you from the effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Just 2 days a week can keep your brain healthy and disease protected.

Other health benefits include

  • Keeps blood pressure and other fluids balanced
  • Helps moderate blood sugar levels
  • Strengthen immune system
  • Burns fat
  • Protects brain from stress related damage

This is just food for thought and we will try to get back later in the week with more information

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Stick to the Truth

In Walsh’s video published by The Daily Wire on YouTube last week, he argued that although he doesn’t “question the sincerity or the faithfulness of six-day Creationist folks,” he positioned that when the belief is preached, it can “inadvertently do some harm” and “put obstacles in the way, especially for non-believers.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/ken-ham-hits-back-after-matt-walsh-claims-creationists-make-reaching-others-with-christianity-harder-228119/

When talking about the Bible it is best to stick to the truth. Paul told us that the unbeliever cannot do anything against the truth.  The truth does not do any harm to evangelism. Misrepresenting what the Bible says does the harm. If you tell the truth, the only person putting obstacles in the way of unbelievers converting is evil.

Faith and love means that you believe God. If God said he created in 6 24 hour days then our faith and our love have us siding with God over sinful man and his words.

If you state something about the Bible that the Bible does not say, then you are not stating what God said but what you want to believe. You are not evangelizing someone to God’s faith but your own version of it. You are communicating that God cannot even get his own act of creation correct. Who would want to believe in a God like that and who would want to adopt a faith where the adherents do not even believe their own God?

The truth is, God created in 6 24 hour days just like he said. There was no failure by God to communicate his creative act to his biblical writers and their was no altering the creative act because the biblical writers did not understand any alternatives. They wrote what God told them he did and since God cannot lie, there are no alternatives to the creation accounts found in Genesis.

The people who are doing harm and creating obstacles are those who adopt and promote alternatives to the truth.

 

Our Comments on a Few Topics 10

#1. So much wrong with thishttps://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/biological-male-wins-female-cycling-title-not-fair.html

A biological male who identifies as female won a cycling world championship Sunday, sparking controversy over fairness in athletics.

Rachel McKinnon won the 35-44 female age bracket at the UCI Masters track cycling championships in Los Angeles

“First transgender woman world champion…ever*” McKinnon wrote on Twitter

He may identify as a woman, but he is just a person pretending to be something he is not. Some people may argue the point and say that since the term transgender doesn’t appear in the bible, that God has not addressed this issue. He has. He just doesn’t use the same terms as we do. In the OT he talks about making 2 genders only and those options were perfect. He talks about men and women not dressing in each other’s clothes- he is against it. In the NT he talks about how the body is the temple of God and that it should not be corrupted; he also talks about deception and false teaching.

God says a lot about how wrong transgender is. Is letting that competitor compete with women fair? Of course not. The Bible tells us that the woman is the weaker gender. It is no contest. Men should not compete against women and women should not compete against men, no matter how talented they are. Doing otherwise and bowing to the demands of the LGBTQ community is wrong.

We are getting into an age where the western world will be like the city of Nineveh in Jonah’s day– not knowing their right hand from their left.

#2. We are glad he wonhttps://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/fire-chief-fired-for-christian-beliefs-get-1-2-million.html

The city of Atlanta agreed Monday to pay former fire chief Kelvin Cochran $1.2 million, four years after he was suspended and then fired for publishing a book containing historic Christian beliefs.

Cochran’s self-published 162-page book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?: Overcoming the Stronghold of Condemnation,” included Bible verses addresses sexuality and homosexuality. It was the latter topic that sparked a controversy and an investigation and eventually, his termination. He wrote the book on non-work time.

We also like the ruling as it was sound, logical and rational.

#3. Don’t think this will stop https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/christian-filmmakers-challenge-minnesota-law-for-forcing-them-to-make-same-sex-wedding-films.html

Two Christian filmmakers are going before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday, to challenge the state’s law that is forcing them to create videos that contradict their religious beliefs.

According to CBN, Telescope Media Group owners Carl and Angel Larsen wanted to enter into the wedding industry, but the state’s Human Rights Act prohibits the couple from pursuing this avenue unless they make films promoting same-sex marriage, a union that their Christian beliefs define as between one man and one woman

Governments will continue to find ways to make LGBTQ practicing people seem natural, normal and okay. That is until the support and the fad surrounding these issues go away. They are concerned more about votes than anything else. It isn’t the votes of the LGBTQ members that they are worried about. They are still a very small minority. It is the votes of their straight friends, family and observers that they worry about. That is not a small minority.

God has given governments the right to rule and Jesus never said to go against the government in a sinful way. So when defending yourselves or protesting these regulations make sure you stay within biblical teaching. We cannot win if we sin in our struggle against wrong decisions. The first battle of Ai proved that.

#4. Fear cannot defeat lovehttps://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/fear-grips-churches-northeastern-kenya-muslim-extremists-kill-christian-teachers.html

Fear Grips Churches in Northeastern Kenya as Muslim Extremists Kill Two Christian Teachers

We aren’t condemning or going to condemn anyone here. Overcoming fear is a hard thing to do. But the Bible tells us that love casts out fear. So if we love God then death and what unbelievers do to us should not make us afraid or fear anything. We have a God who has promised us a new home.

#5. It is a wrong lawhttps://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/breakpoint/deadly-canadian-maid-expansion-assisted-suicide-north.html

n 2016, Canada legalized “Medical Assistance in Dying also known as MAID. The terminology is, of course, a euphemism for euthanasia. To be eligible for MAID, persons must be at least 18-years-old and have a “grievous and irremediable” condition.

Like all such death-devoted legislation, terms like “grievous and irremediable” are moving targets. Descriptions used in the law include expressions like “serious and incurable,” “irreversible decline,” and suffering—both “physical and psychological”—that a person finds “intolerable.”

Of course, nearly all of these words are subjective: What’s “intolerable” to one person may not be to another. If Netherlands and Belgium are any indication, we can be sure that eligibility for MAID will, like gas, expand to fill whatever space is available.

The Bible says that if man spills the blood of man then his blood is required (done from memory). We do not see that penalty revoked in that or any other passage of scripture. Nor do we see any clause that exempts assisted suicide.Even though it is difficult to handle, we do not see God changing his views because some people cannot endure their illness.

Governments should not be promoting the ending a life no matter how many of its citizens complain and cry out. Governments leaders need to lead the people to what is right and lead them away from what is wrong. Church leaders cannot let the terms compassion and love distort or influence their biblical views in the wrong way. We love God thus we must present his way in the most compassionate way possible even if it goes against popular sentiments.

 

 

We do not think he blasted anyone

Except those who do false accusations and those who ignore the rules of evidence, along with the statutory limits rules.

Ousted evangelical leader Paige Patterson returned to the pulpit last week, where he blasted women who falsely accuse men in the #MeToo movement.

We are not politically correct and do not intend to be. We find that being politically correct, honesty, truth, reality are lost, replaced by feel good attitudes that hide the facts from people. We also find that being politically correct is not a biblical teaching. While we do not consider ourselves as on the same level as Jesus, who said some pretty nasty things to the Pharisees, we do not believe in sugar-coating certain aspects of life. People can’t learn correctly if they are put in a vacuum and ‘protected’ from certain views and opinions.

We will speak the truth in love as best we can, which we are sure Jesus did when he spoke harshly to the Pharisees. But back to the quote. In today’s journalistic world, it seems that what is accepted as credible is where supposed journalists state their opinions and ignore facts, the correct definition of words and other pieces of the journalistic puzzle, in hopes of getting more clicks. More clicks means more ad revenue.

But that is a problem that can be solved if today’s supposed reporters followed the traditional rules of journalism and wrote compelling, honest, fact-filled and truthful articles. We do not fool ourselves into thinking that what passes for journalism today is the actual story of what is being reported on. The same for that quote.

Last week, he preached on the biblical story of Joseph, who was falsely accused by an Egyptian woman of sexually abusing her.

We missed using that story and wish we had. It provides compelling evidence that the secular world does not follow the rules of justice, just like the modern does not. What is sad is that the same story is like a mirror to many in the Christian world exposing their unjust treatment of pastors, church leaders, and others who have been unfairly accused and attacked.

The woman’s story is believed when the evidence does not support the accusation. We are still waiting for real evidence to be presented in any of the cases that have made the public arena. By failing to be biblical and just, we are setting a very bad example to our children, fellow believers and the secular world. What stumbling blocks that are raised we do not know but fear that many have been because the church fails to follow God yet again.

The 75-year-old preacher then talked about the current movement in society where various male leaders in church, in politics, in Hollywood, and other institutions are being accused of abusing women.

“I’m all in favor of the #MeToo movement when there is a guilty party,” Patterson said, insisting that men who abuse women are cowardly.

We agree. BUT there must actually be a guilty party, verifiable and credible evidence proving a crime took place and that the sentence passed is fair, just and leads the offender to repentance. Also, the pursuit of justice is done not out of revenge or vengeance, God did not teach us to use either when seeking true justice. The accusers must have a pure heart, not hate-filled and need to forgive those they accuse. God has taught us that if we do not forgive then he won’t. Forgiveness helps us to clean our eyes from the beams the offense and the response to the offense have placed there.

By the same token, I have nothing good to say about a woman who falsely accuses a man. She runs the risk of ruining a life. She runs the risk of causing sorrow unknown when the person is, in fact, innocent,” he added, however.

We agree here as well. The Bible teaches us to not bear false witness against others. A false accusation is lying  and a false witness. The NT tells us not to lie one to another. To receive true justice, God did not teach us to present our accusations without evidence. Being a godly man or woman is not criteria for presenting evidence God’s way.

There must be real and credible evidence and since governments are granted the right to rule over their nations, they have the right to impose statutes of limitations Any accusation must adhere to those human rules. It is not justice or fair to the accused to bring up decades-old supposed offenses that have no credible evidence supporting the claim.

Is ruining a life worth revenge? The Chinese have an old saying, when seeking revenge, before you go on your journey first dig two graves. This means that when you get youor revenge, you kill 2 people. The one you are seeking revenge against and yourself. Jesus does not want us to kill ourselves as he told us to return good for evil.

Some people like the OT’s an eye for an eye, but we do not see that teaching continued in the NT.

Merritt, son of former SBC President James Merritt, criticized Patterson for focusing on the latter, noting that studies have shown that false accusations of sexual assault make up only two percent against the 98 percent epidemic of real abuse.

Actually, we disagree. Both figures seem to be off and we know that statistics can be manipulated very easily.  They also leave out the other side of the story and many facts that are involved which lead to abuse or supposed abuse.

Merritt also took aim at what he said was Patterson “body-shaming” a woman in another anecdote, where the former Southern Baptist leader talked about meeting a parishioner’s mother.

We are very tired of hearing the many different terms that use the word ‘shaming’ as the last word in a descriptive pairing. No one is body shaming anyone when they are speaking the truth. A fat person is a fat person not curvy, or whatever they want to use there in place of the word fat. No one is doing a fat person any favors by hiding their unhealthy girth.

The body is the temple of God and unless there is a true medical reason why a person is overweight we may dare to say that letting oneself ‘go’ is not treating the temple of God correctly. Men and women should strive to keep their bodies healthy, in shape and presentable. But lets not stop telling the truth by accusing those who like facts of shaming anyone. Hiding the truth only lets the bad behavior continue.

Some people need to toughen up if they can’t handle being told that they are over-weight and out of shape. The past few decades have seen the raising of very weak-minded and weak people who do not know how to handle life very well. If you look to the biblical example, you do not see any instruction from either God or Jesus to make peope weak and incapable of dealing with what comes in life.

Deut. has many instructions from God on how to teach children and grandchildren and keeping them in a bubble to ‘protect’ them is not one of those instructions.

But it is an especially inappropriate, even befuddling, choice of material for Patterson (who was coincidentally speaking in a state with the nation’s third-highest obesity rate)

Maybe he needed to say it there because they needed to hear the truth about their physiques. Hiding the truth does not accomplish anything. Speaking the truth in love, does. Oh and we do not care what twitters think.  Fat is not beautiful, it is not healthy and it is life shortening as well as leading to or a product of gluttony. Instead of protecting these overweight people from having hurt feelings, those who protect them, by using all those cute words to describe their obesity, should look to see if the sins of gluttony and lust are present.

We should be looking to stop sin, not let it go undiagnosed to the point where it kills someone– literally.

No biblical grounds were given, let alone, seriously considered. There are numerous Christian leaders who have committed sins worthy of discipline. Patterson is not one of them; he hasn’t committed any such sins. On the contrary, he has done many things worthy of exaltation. In fact, he is one of the top conservative Christian leaders of our day,” he wrote at the time.

“Many who opposed Dr. Patterson were apparently caught up in winds of the #MeToo movement of the day. But no doctrinal or moral charges were even offered, let alone proven by two or more credible witnesses against him,” he added.

In closing, we do need to say that if you cannot be truly spirit led and bring the truth to any given situation, nor follow God’s ways, then do not get involved. You sin while trying to right a wrong and that is not of God either.

You can read the whole article at: https://www.christianpost.com/news/paige-patterson-returns-blasts-women-falsely-accuse-men-metoo-body-shaming-227429/

 

 

A Troubling Topic

We can be rough on pastors and church leaders at times, but that does not mean we do not have compassion for them. Even though there are a lot of men who occupy the position when they shouldn’t be there, we are still troubled and sad when we hear of their deaths by suicide. There are two articles in the Christian Post this morning talking about this issue, the first is titled

In Isolated World of Pastors, Churches Mum on Troubling Clergy Suicides

You can read it at the following link

https://www.christianpost.com/news/isolated-world-pastors-churches-mum-clergy-suicides-220763/

It is an isolated world as most pastors carry the burdens and sins of their congregations and struggle to make sense of why their people do not make the right decisions and live their lives according to what God has said in the Bible. They are overwhelmed sometimes by the petty nature of their flock and find that they have no one to turn to to talk with about their situations.

When we were pastors and also part of a church, we got tired of other believers learning of a problem and saying- well just pray about it and then walk away. Not being able to find constructive help is part of the problem that helps isolate pastors and keeps them alone in this world. We feel alone as well when we write this blog as we have no one to talk to either and while we appreciate the likes we get, they only go so far. Just like those comments to pray abut it only go so far.

I’m very surprised because he didn’t preach that. He preached totally against it. It’s something that the congregation don’t really understand,” Russell Rowland, a member of the Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia, where Parker was leader, said at the time.

“Everybody is just kind of stunned right now. I think a lot of people are just trying to understand why that happened. We’re just praying to the Lord for guidance on this,” he said.

Maybe it is the way the congregation views their pastors. They may get the idea that he is super spiritual and in need of no help from those who sit under the pastor’s guidance week after week. Pastors are human, they make mistakes and sometimes falter when the going gets tough. It is not easy being a pastor especially when the slightest mistake can cost them their jobs.

Moses made mistakes, he faltered but God had selected him to be the leader of his people. God did not use a zero tolerance policy on Moses but rebuked him when needed, taught him when it was appropriate and punished him with real justice and fairness.  The church should look to God’s example when handling issues that arise when pastors err. They are after all, God’s anointed and appointed to be the shepherd to look after his sheep.

Yet the shepherd needs care and compassion as well. He cannot be left to his own devices because that makes him an easy target for evil to attack. Even though a pastor is spiritually trained, they can still make spiritual mistakes and need help to overcome their errors and return to healthy spiritual living. The internet is full of websites of former pastors and missionaries who have been successfully defeated by evil. That should not be.

An alarming number of pastors have taken their own lives in the last five years. And despite the increasing prevalence of suicide nationally, and the troubling rates at which the epidemic has been affecting certain groups of clergy, many churches remain silent on the issue.

Neither should this but we are sure there are underlying issues that evil has used to further remove God’s men from their positions. This is why prayer for your pastor and other church leaders is so important. They may be in spiritual positions but they are still human and possess human frailties. The problems pastors face is spiritually based and they need the correct spiritual help to overcome them.

If you need a human example, medical doctors d not give pithy little statements to their unwell patients. They get involved, find the right diagnosis, and then prescribe the right treatment. Sadly, most Christians think that pithy little statements is going to cure a difficult spiritual problem. They do not get involved and pass the buck back to God. This is not biblical teaching. When confronted with problems we need to go to God to know how to handle it properly, but we do not give it back to God and walk away. Unfortunately, that is what the majority of believers do.

The second artilce is titled,

Inland Hills Pastor Andrew Stoecklein Takes Life After Battle With Depression, Anxiety

You can read it at the following link

https://www.christianpost.com/news/inland-hills-pastor-andrew-stoecklein-takes-life-after-battle-with-depression-anxiety-227028/

In his example we can find some reasons why pastors commit suicide.

It is also unclear how long the pastor had been battling depression and anxiety but in a blog post on the first anniversary of his father’s death he revealed that life had suddenly become much harder without the man who was his hero.

Their eyes are not on God. They have decided to look to humans to be their strength and inspiration instead of Christ. If you recall when Jesus walked on water, Peter began to fall when he took his eyes of Christ. Pastors are no different. if their eyes are not on Christ then they become vulnerable to the troubles that surround them.

This does not take away from  the shining example that pastor’s father set or the type of man he was. But Paul warned about placing our eyes on people for it causes division in the church. 1 Cor. 1 & 3 are the references for this point

11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 [a]Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized [b]in the name of Paul? (Ch 1 NASB)

for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking [a]like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.(ch. 3 NASB)

When men and women set great spiritual examples our eyes and minds should be on Christ and thanking God for the type of men and women they were. At no time should our eyes stray from Christ even when loved ones are involved.

By the time the second anniversary of his father’s death came around in October 2017, Stoecklein was in the hospital to undergo two surgeries to remove a mass from his chest, according to a post on Instagram. It is unclear if this mass was due to sudden illness or injury

Pastors are human and will succumb to different ailments. God has not promised anyone a life free from corruption and disease. One of our professors, a very beloved man, took his life many years ago because he could no longer handle the many illnesses that came his way. Pastors can handle only so much before it becomes overwhleming and they need an immediate solution to relieve their suffering.

While God provides the strength to endure, sometimes that is hard to get as the enduring takes so much out of a person and eventually, if it is allowed, helps takes the eyes of the person off Christ. Difficulties are a part of the Christian life. Learn how to handle them correctly and be prepared to teach those strategies to others who need help.

You guys, he loves this place so much. He didn’t want to stop. He would have kept on going, going and going and going. It probably would have cost him his life. That’s how much he loves this place.

Misguided or misplaced love opens up weak spots for evil to exploit. Each pastor should make sure that they are using the love that only Christ can bring so that they are well protected when difficulties in the congregation arise. Human love and its various definitions just won’t cut it and a pastor can burn out very easily. They also need to make sure that their love does not cause them to switch sides and go against God because they love their people too much.

By going against God we do not mean they lose their faith, but take the side of the people and their desires over God and his desires.

During this season of rest, I’ve asked him over and over. Are you sure? You don’t have to be a pastor. You could go be whatever you want to be. You could go live wherever we wanna live, we could go to Texas and buy a big house.

While that wife may not have been tempting her husband, pastors do get tempted to leave the faith, their profession and do something easier. The guilt they feel when they fail to resist helps bring them down into depression and subsequently leads them to depression which then can lead to suicide.

“In this tragedy, we encourage anyone who is hurting emotionally to ask for help. If you or anyone else is struggling, the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255) is a potentially life-saving resource

If you are going to get involved, do not lead your pastor, church leaders and other believers to non-christian organizations or counselors. They do not understand the faith, they do not believe in God and they do not hold the answers for the troubles that plague believers and their leaders. We do not know if that organization is non-christian or not but if not, it better use God’s ways and not follow the secular world in their attempts to help others.

Getting involved properly will help restore pastors to their faith and hopefully save their lives.

One final possible reason why some pastors resort to killing themselves. It is pressure. The pastor already has instructions from God about how their family should behave and be raised. Members of the congregation do not help when they apply more pressure on the pastor and gossip about him, his wife, their kids and how good or bad their parenting skills are.

Also, many members of the congregation have their own ideas on how the church should be run, its direction and what programs need to be implemented. One way to relieve some of the pressure is to keep your ideas to yourself and let the people appointed lead the church correctly. Monitor their doctrine etc., but be nice about it when correction is needed.

Also, it would help if the same members who want different programs available in the church would go out and get the training needed to run those programs.Then come back to the church staff and say, I am available to help. Where do you need me? The pastor and his staff cannot do everything. They need help. That help can only come from the congregation.

It is difficult to assess why pastors commit suicide as their reasons vary. But if the congregations became more spiritual and less secular maybe that number would drop dramatically. Pastors need the right help. One last thing, outsiders should not interfere with the operation of the church. They have no say in who leads it. We disagreed with many outsiders when they sought to remove Mark Driscoll from the head of Mars Hill Church.

It was not that we were his supporters, or that we agreed with him doctrinally- we aren’t and we don’t. But it was Mars Hill’s problem. They get to determine who leads them not the outsiders who disagreed with Mr. Driscoll. It isn’t their call and relieving the pastor of this situation helps them mentally as well as spiritually. The church has to make sure their pastor is correct doctrinally before supporting him,but they do not throw him to those wolves who do not support the church in any fashion.

Pastoral care is a whole church issue and their lives are very important.

 

 

Fire From Heaven

When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; 52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. 54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they went on to another village. (Lk 9 NASB)

Jesus’ disciples were a bit over-anxious, a little zealous and a little too eager to bring punishment to those who would not treat them in the manner that they expected. As you can see they wanted to destroy a whole village just because the Samaritans had a little bias about the disciples’ and Jesus’ destination. James and John were ready to call fire down from heaven to destroy the unsupporting people.

But they did a curious thing– they asked Jesus first before acting. It is a big thing to kill people for such a minor offense and it is wise to get permission first before doing something major, especially when you are not in charge.

Then the did a second curious thing– they listened to the answer they got. It wasn’t the answer they were expecting or wanting to hear but they listened and did not take such extreme action. No one was killed that day because some overzealous believer did not like what was done to them.

Jesus’ answer is very important here and we will look at it in two parts. First

You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;

Knowing whom you belong to and what the spirit is all about is vastly vital to one’s Christian life. If you look at Jesus’ life, there is really only one event where he took to violence. That was when merchants were cheating the people and committing sin in the temple or nearby it. Does this mean that people cannot display their books and tapes in the church foyer for sale? No, of course not. Unless they are sinning, cheating the people and lying to them.

Sometimes church people go a little too far in their enforcement of Jesus’ views. Then, sometimes the church is not the best place to sell items either. The key is, each believer should know whom they belong to and what behavior that spirit condones, uses and so on. The right identification helps believers understand what is expected of them and guides them in how to live their Christian life.

The believer should also correctly know what that spirit teaches so they do not mislead others, become misguided or bring dishonor to the name of Christ, the Church or Christianity. Second,

 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them

Leading holy lives does not mean that we destroy or attack those who do not believe as we do. That is God’s job when the time is right. There is a wide application to these words and they will cover throwing children out of the house for not having the same preference, beliefs and so on as their parents. It will also cover attacking those who live differently in the Housing Association, neighborhood and more.

Believers are not here to destroy other people. Destroying them makes it impossible for God to achieve his desire that all men would be saved. We may not like their words, their actions, their treatment but we are not to bring fire from heaven to destroy them. We are to respond as Christ taught so that seeds will be planted, watered or minds and hearts opened to the gospel.

This is one reason we do not like those evangelistic only agendas many churches have. Their fields are not ready for any harvest because they have not correctly identified the spirit they belong to and they would rather see sinners destroyed than saved. We also do not like those agendas because too many believers stop at the Great Commission and forget the rest of the teachings of the Bible.

You cannot do evangelism correctly if you are operating out of tune with the words of God. Part of doing evangelism correctly is found in Jesus’ answer given above. His answer also helps lead believers to live their lives as he wants them lived. Too many churches and denominations feel that they are pleasing God by focusing on saving souls only. This is far from the reality as you can see, Jesus taught far more than just using evangelistic tools in one’s Christian life.

The Christian life is not meant to be lived with the first words out of a Christian’s mouth to be a gospel message to unbelievers.There are many other things that can be said or done that will eventually lead to the presentation of the gospel. You will notice that when the people brought their sick, etc., to Jesus, he did not make them listen to a gospel message then give them half baked healings etc. he healed them all.  When they were hungry, he stopped preaching and fed them.

Jesus did not bring fire from heaven when Herod beheaded John the Baptist. Christians need to master other elements of the Christian life first before doing evangelism or anything drastic. We need wisdom, understanding, knowledge and discernment. Plus, we need to know what is true justice, honesty, and when to apply mercy. Also, we need to know when to go aganst the crowd and do what is right.

We also need to understand that we serve God and cannot lean unto our own understanding when we live the Christian life. Finally, we need to have the right identification of the spirit we belong. If fire from heaven is called for, God will let us know when the time is right for that event. So far, in 2000 years that right time has not arrived (that we have heard of in all of our studies).

Correctly identify the spirit you belong and live accordingly.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2018 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, faith, family, General Life, illness, Justice, leadership, politics, science, theology

 

The RLC and God’s Control

. The RLC stands for red letter Christians and we have them on our scholar’s list. After this post we will take a couple of days break to rest.

https://www.redletterchristians.org/why-god-is-not-in-control/

The topic of God’s control comes up whenever there is a senseless death or two. We will briefly take a look at this topic because it is not an easy one to address. We are never told if God gives up control. His being the most powerful Being in existence we doubt he gives up any control.  He may allow things to take place because he has granted men the right of free choice and to choose which path they are to follow.

But he does not give up control and can stop certain events from taking place when he choses to do so.

#1. All too often when there is news of a tragedy, such as a mass shooting or a child suffering from bone cancer, there will be someone who will say something like, “God is in control. We must accept that what’s happened is part of God’s plan!”

Sometimes it is hard to see God working or in control and we need patience to learn certain lessons. In our last year of teaching in Korea we had the sinking of the Sewol ferry. Almost 300 students died in that tragedy and it is hard to see God’s hand in it all. But if God micro-managed everything, we would not learn how to follow his will correctly.

By not micro-managing, God is still in control he is just giving his creation leeway to make the right decisions. He has told us to be just, merciful when needed, and more. If God did it all, how could we choose to obey him?  Allowing people to obey him is not giving up control but allowing people to grow, learn from their mistakes and so on.

A business owner giving instructions to his employees then lets his employees go to work does not lose control of his business. The business owner has provided the instructions the employees are to follow. If they do not, then the owner can deal with the disobedient employees. If the business owner gives those instructions yet continues the telling the employees what to do, he has wasted those instructions. He maintains tighter control by micromanaging and in either scenario has not lost control. He just shows his lack of trust in his employees.

God has given us instructions on how to live and behave. He does not sacrifice control when he allows us to choose to obey or not. He gives us trust to make the  right decisions.

#2. At the funeral of a young man who died in a mountain climbing accident, the pastor said in his homily, “We must see what has happened as God’s will!” At that, the father of the young man stood and shouted, “The hell it was God’s will! When my son died, God was the first one who cried.”

We would disagree with that pastor as that is not the right thing to say at a funeral. While the pastor is trying to give comfort, he fails and gives more pain. We also do not agree with the father in that quoted example. What both do not realize is that once Adam sinned, death entered the world. Everyone must die. What both also do not realize is that God did not promise a long life to everyone.

The Bible verse, it is appointed unto man once to die, does not promise longevity to anyone. Death will strike whenever and wherever God allows it to. This is why we are told to make the most out of our lives. We will never know when it is time for us to leave this earth. Young people are not immune to dying. As has been witnessed time and again over the generations.

This is another reason why we are to put our hope in God and not in our children. God won’t die while we may outlive our loved ones.

How we handle these types of death is another matter. We should not sin or get angry with God. He has appointed a time of death for everyone. Do people die prematurely? It is hard to say. God gave certain people the gift of healing, are they using that gift as God would want? It is not God’s fault if certain people do not use their gifts on a wide scale.

It is also not God’s fault if someone dies at a young age.God has given us instructions on how to handle such deaths and his son is ready to comfort us when we need him. In our sorrow we need to let Jesus come to our aid and bring us thorugh tragic deaths.

#3. In a televised discussion between a Christian apologist and an avowed atheist, the Christian was stymied when asked, “If an all-powerful and loving God is in control of what happens in this world, then why is there so much suffering?”

We have dealt with this question before. We like to quote Dr. Craig Blomberg who wrote in his book from Pentecost to Patmos that for God to stop suffering, he must end the world. That is about the best answer we have seen on this issue.  Sin, corruption, death, pain, suffering are all a product of sin. As long as evil and  sin exist in the world there will be suffering.

This does not mean God has given up any control, it means that for God to end suffering he must give up on his desire that all men be saved. Like he did in Noah’s time, he must pass judgment because too many people have chosen evil and darkness over him and his light. Once he does this, he cannot let the world and the universe exist anymore for it all has been tainted and corrupted by evil.

That is why we read in Revelation that God will create a new heaven and a new earth because the old will always have suffering as a part of it. While Christians should be happy about this turn of events, we should also be sad. We will be seeing far too many people sent to hell and there will be no more opportunity to rescue them.

#4. I am not questioning the extent of God’s power. I believe that God has chosen not to be in control of everything going on in this world.

This may be a misguided thought as God allowing something to happen does not mean he has no control. He is letting people exercise the freedoms he has granted them. God still is in control he is just not micromanaging people’s lives. Contrary to the RLC author, God has not given up any power. God’s love still comes with his power. We see Jesus still with his power as he can see and know the hearts of men. He can heal, do miracles and so on.

We cannot deal fully with all of the issues that author included in his article. Suffice it to say, that both God and Jesus never gave up control. They are still in charge of every situation and we must be patient to learn why the results were as they were. But like in the Korean tragedy, we do not get angry but look to obey God’s instructions so that he may be glorified and his will done. Justice has to be served, people comforted, mercy granted and much more.

We do not know whom will be saved through the right response to pre-mature deaths or tragic events. We must trust God and obey his commands and instructions. He is in control and we are his servants. This does not mean that we cannot still pray and ask for certain changes like Hezekiah did when he was sick. Prayer helps many situations but it will not stop that final time when someone is to finally die.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2018 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, controversial issues, education, faith, family, General Life, illness, leadership, theology

 
 
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