Happy New Year! Welcome to the January 2015 blog!
For the record
Last year we had a total of 17,000+ visitors to the blog.
On one particular day, we had the most hits of any blog hosted by wordpress.com.
Visitors from 139 countries tapped in last year.
Thanks for taking the time to share a few moments with us each month!
The Word for today
“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: But the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness” (Proverbs 10:32 KJV)
“The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse” (NIV84).
“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse” (ESV).
“The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverted” (NASB).
Words to remember
One of my favorite authors, Elbert Hubbard, once said, “A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.” And writer Robert Hall explained the true meaning of a friend: “A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once for its justness and its sincerity.”
Do you have that kind of friend? Are YOU that kind of friend to someone?
Who inspired David to take a census—God or Satan?
Over the years we have been presented with the question above. II Samuel 24:1 suggests that God made David take the census. I Chronicles 21:1 says that it was Satan. Which one is it? Is this a contradiction in the Bible?
Satan was the immediate source of the temptation—the direct cause. It was Satan’s design to tempt David to sin and bring judgment on the nation. The Chronicler describes the event from this perspective.
On the other hand, since God’s providence rules over all, and Satan can do nothing except what God permits him to do (see Job 1 & 2), God may be viewed as the indirect “cause” of the temptation, since He allowed Satan to do it. David’s undergoing this temptation was within God’s permissive will for him, though of course it was NOT God’s perfect will for David to yield to the temptation and sin. This is the viewpoint from which the author of II Samuel describes the event.
This incident should be compared to Satan’s tempting of Job, with and within God’s permissive will, and also Satan’s temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4; Luke 4). We are told that Jesus was “led up by the Spirit into the desert in order to be tempted by the devil,” (Matthew 4:1). In perfect submission and obedience to the will of God the Father, Jesus was deliberately exposed to the devil’s temptations. From one perspective, God caused the temptation to happen by deliberately leading Jesus into that situation. From another perspective, it was the devil who caused the temptation as he deliberately and directly sought to trip Jesus up and lead Him to sin. No contradiction, just different perspectives.
On the general subject of apparent “Bible contradictions,” let me recommend that you acquire a book by reputable author[s] that addresses many of these questions. They will usually provide very well-reasoned and well-stated explanations. I have four or five of them that I consult when a question arises. “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety…Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established” (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22).
What’s with all these extraterrestrials and their interstellar flying machines?
Evidently a recent TV show, perhaps on the History Channel, featured a couple of weird college professor types hyping the probability that earth and mankind have been visited by aliens from space arriving on interstellar flying machines. We could easily toss it in the garbage if it were not that some strict Evangelicals have begun to parrot their theories.
Do folks not know that sensationalism is conjured up to sell books, and that TV programs are created to fill time slots and sell advertising, not to elicit truth from historical facts? Are people believing everything they see on TV? Yet another reason to leave the TVs at Best Buy and Costco.
These pseudo scientists/historians are trying to connect what is drawn on walls and pillars of the Mayan ruins in Mexico with yet unexplained mysteries found worldwide. These eggheads say that “millions believe” that extraterrestrials wearing astronaut suits visited the earth in times past—as though we should be impressed by the numbers they toss about. These PhDs might believe it, along with some witch doctors in the bush, but I doubt that “millions” of sound-minded others do. Even if millions did wonder about it and speculate that it might have happened, does that make it more likely to be true? Their only hope to keep from being called nutcases is to force opponents to prove that it did not happen. Proving a negative is not always a simple matter.
“Who were they? Why did they come? Where did they go? And will they come back?” These questions posed by the show’s hosts, assume their reality and tend to lead viewers to give the story some credibility. “Have earthlings been contacted by these aliens? According to theorists, the answer is YES!”
They focus on lines scratched on rocks, and sculpture of strange objects. “That means we were visited by ‘them.’…Some of their statues look like people, like us. Perhaps we were even created by them in their image.” Oh, puhhh-leeeeze!
I put the images here for your perusal, in the event you have time to waste looking at them. Pakal, the Mayan astronaut, is the one featured in the center of the Palenque Slab in Mexico (top). Anyone can tell that he is firmly seated in a spacecraft, with his nose connected to an oxygen source. Right? Just think of all the money NASA has wasted over the years on high-tech space suits and airtight crafts with heat shields that allow them to enter earth’s atmosphere without burning up. Bare-legged Mayans wearing linen nightshirts and topped with feathered hats is all we really needed. For shame!
The Mayans just up and left one day, abandoning all their sculptures and temples. I would love to have witnessed the liftoff. (See below)
My 10 New Year’s resolutions
Brag on my mother-in-law more.
Pray for my mother-in-law.
Exercise more; lose weight.
Let Roffie go see her mother more often.
Overcome at least two bad habits.
Attend every family reunion.
Be sweet to my mother-in-law.
Eat more vegetables.
Read the Book of Ezekiel until I totally understand it.
– Compiled by my mother-in-law*
How to stop gender confusion
The farther we get from God’s ideal, the more problems we invite to ourselves.
Dumping the Bible and God from our schools and national consciousness is proving that statement to be true. The farther we remove ourselves from the biblical standards of spiritual wisdom and common sense, they more we are apt to embrace the strange views of the modern culture.
In early December, a fifth-grade boy began using the girls’ restroom at his school. A grandfather of one of schoolgirls objected that it made his granddaughter “uncomfortable.” The sensibilities of ordinary folk are to be ignored in favor of the abnormal. So the boy’s parents sued, and it went to court. (Don’t courts have other matters that need attention?)
According to the court ruling, administrators “can’t refuse to allow access by transgender students to school restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity” and ordered the school to pay the boy’s family $75,000 in damages.
To keep schools from having to pay damages, have the art department provide the principal with pics: “If your genitalia looks like this, you go here. If it looks like that, you go there. Got it?” Nah…that’s too sensible. Not PC.
Silence gives consent. Pastors teach the Word at church; parents teach it at home. Maintain marital relationships so children have a father and a mother for models. If we don’t speak out in our churches on the issues affecting our kids, our schools, our community, we will lose the privilege of speaking out. We can impart biblical principles gently but with a mixture of passion and understanding. We can encourage our families to wholeheartedly embrace the biblical view of human sexuality. If we refuse, the battle is lost.
Worth checking out
I don’t necessarily endorse every line of every one of the following articles, but they have enough good stuff for church leaders to make them worthwhile reading.
The old homeplace?
The foundations of a well-preserved farmhouse dating to the eighth century B.C.E. have been uncovered during archaeological work in Rosh Ha-‘Ayin in Israel, near Aphek (I Samuel 4:1) in central Israel and not far from Tel Aviv. The farmhouse continued to be used during the Persian period (sixth century B.C.E.) as well as the Hellenistic period (beginning around the last quarter of the fourth century B.C.E.), when the Persian empire fell to Alexander the Great. Under one of the floors of the farmhouse, a rare silver coin bearing a depiction of Zeus and inscribed with the legend ALEXANDROU (“[coin] of Alexander”) on one side and the head of Heracles on the other was discovered. This was a strong suggestion of a Greek presence in the region.
Source: Biblical Archaeological Review, Israel Antiquities Authority.
Comments: I love archaeology because it consistently strengthens the foundations of faith in the Word of God. Once you have been involved in it, a whole new appreciation for its current value is developed. Regarding this ol’ house, I suppose the primary advantage to home construction from rocks was the availability of building materials. But hanging pictures on the wall might have been a problem. Bathrooms and closet space were at a premium in those days.
Did someone in the Genesis record know this man?
This skeleton was unearthed in Ur (Abraham’s old ’hood) by archaeologist Leonard Woolley in 1930. Ur was the location of some of the earliest settlements of mankind on the earth. Those who date ancient finds like this have said they guy is 6,500 years old. The skeleton has been stored in the basement of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. For 85 years, the skeleton has been lying in a wooden box in the Penn Museum’s labyrinthine basement; any associated documentation that may have once been attached to the skeleton or storage box has long been missing. Who was he? Who did he know? Where did he work? Was he married? How did he die? Hmmmm…is he missing a rib?
If you are under 50, skip to the next item. If you are not, you can probably relate to the following, which some thoughtful, sensitive elder sent my way.
Thoughts about senior citizens
The book titled The Greatest Generation was written by Tom Brokaw, the son of a WWII veteran. The folks who lived and worked and fought during this period of American life were some of its finest heroes and patriots. Our hat is off to them.
Senior citizens are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary. We will take responsibility for all we have done without blaming others.
HOWEVER, upon reflection, we would like to point out that it was NOT senior citizens who took:
The pride out of appearance,
The courtesy out of driving,
The romance out of love,
The commitment out of marriage,
The responsibility out of parenthood,
The learning out of education
The service out of patriotism,
The nativity scene out of cities,
The civility out of behavior,
The dedication out of employment,
The prudence out of spending,
The ambition out of achievement, or
God out of government and school.
And we certainly are NOT the ones who eliminated patience and tolerance from personal relationships and interactions with others!!
And, we DO understand the meaning of patriotism, and remember those who have fought and died for our country. Just look at the Seniors with tears in their eyes and pride in their hearts, as they stand at attention with their hand over their hearts, as the American Flag passes by in a parade!
I’m very good at opening childproof caps…..With a hammer.
I’m awake many hours before my body allows me to get up.
I’m smiling all the time, because I can’t hear a thing you’re saying.
I’m sure everything I can’t find is in a safe secure place, somewhere.
Bible review: Not suitable for family devotions
By Gary DeMar
The editors of The Queen James Bible [a Bible translation for gays published in 2012 to prevent misinterpretation of Bible passages referring to homosexuality as sin] refer to the Book of Leviticus as being “outdated as a moral code.” Even so, they state that it’s their “most important book to address” their “edits, as most anti-LGBT religious activists cite Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 as proof-positive that homosexuality is a sin, even worse, a sin punishable by death.”
If Leviticus is an “outdated moral code,” then why did Jesus, Paul, and James quote from it (Matt 19:19; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Gal 5:14; James 2:8)?: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” Leviticus passages are quoted from 15 times in the New Testament.
Leviticus 18:22: Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech: it is an abomination. (QJV)
Leviticus 20:13: If a man also lie[s] with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (QJV)
These two passages are the clearest expression that same-sex sex is prohibited in the Bible if the words “in the temple of Moloch” are not added. I can make the Bible say anything if I get to add words.
The rest of their translation work is similarly corrupt. In reality, there is no need for a single verse condemning same-sex sexual relations. The standard was set forth when God created Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:20-25). Jesus repeats what was established at creation (Matthew 19:5,6)—“Haven’t you read that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female. . . . For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”
Then there’s the issue of biology. There is no match of sexual equipment. This is why Paul could describe same-sex sex as “unnatural.”
“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Romans 1:26,27).
A mediocre teacher tells;
A good teacher explains;
A superior teacher demonstrates;
A great teacher inspires.
– William Ward
One of your New Year’s resolutions should be to read a book. How about one of these:
by J. R. Ensey
Solomon and others share their wisdom about nineteen different people in the Book of Proverbs. From the Man of Understanding to the Stupid Man, from the Busy Woman to the Contentious Woman, from the Generous Man to the Offended Man and thirteen others, we deal with their traits, both good and bad. These lessons serve as sermons, Bible lessons or just personal devotional reading.
AM Price $12.95
Life is Too Short to Spend With A Kicking Cow
by J. R. Ensey
Kicking cows deserve to be taken to the slaughterhouse! Life is too short even when we are not being kicked, but when our time here is harassed by anger, drugs, unwarranted guilt, apathy, doubt, and other hangers-on, we need to get rid of them quickly. Our spiritual life suffers when the sins of the spirit are not dealt with properly. Here are a dozen chapters that deal with some of life’s “kicking cows.” Is there one in your life?
AM Price $12.95
by MarthaLee Lyman
Are you desperate to “keep” your home, family and relationships? Are you a woman of God who knows there’s more for you to do in these last days? If so, you’ve picked the book that will forever change you. This tool will equip you with fresh ideas and practical principles to be the “keeper” you’ve been called to be.
“I have personally witnessed the power of this author’s life; a praying mother who was willing to stand on the battlefield and fight to “keep” me. The powerful truths on the pages of this book have been lived before me in everyday life. It’s message has proven effective through life’s fiery trials, and I’m so thankful my Mom answered the call to share it with you.” – Rebecca Ensey
AM Price $13.95
A time to laugh
Photo of recently discovered sculpture of Director of Chiapas Mission Control. Now we understand the story above. He seems to be saying, “3 -2 – 1 – Liftoff; we have liftoff! Uh…hold it. Palenque, we have a problem!”
“How can Obama be so surprised so often? It’s as if he wandered into the white House and discovered he’s president.” – Charles Krauthammer
“If Barack Obama ever gets around to writing his own presidential memoir, I assume it will deal with the 18 toughest rounds of golf he played during his time in office.” – Burt Prelutsky
“The national Aquarium in Washington is going to close. But don’t worry. If you’re in D.C. and you still want to smell something fishy, stop by the White House. They’ve gone from ‘Change you can believe in’ to ‘Changing the story until you believe it.’” – Jay Leno
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain