Saturday, October 03, 2015

We Need Our Savior

Mary's Lamb Mary had a little Lamb; His fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, The Lamb was sure to go. He followed her to school each day, T'wasn't even in the rule. It made the children laugh and play, To have a Lamb at school. And then the rules all changed one day, Illegal it became; To bring the Lamb of God to school, Or even speak His Name! Every day got worse and worse, And days turned into years. Instead of hearing children laugh, We heard gun shots and tears. What must we do to stop the crime, That's in our schools today? Let's let the Lamb come back to school, And teach our kids to pray!

National Pride Have you ever wondered why strong nations fall? Think about it: strong nations always have the best armies, most up-to-date weapons, strongest economies, and the best citizens. So why do they fall? And we must admit that they do fall! The British Empire fell. Rome fell. Alexander’s Greek kingdom fell. Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, and countless other strong nations have fallen and lie in the dust. Why? The Bible suggests two reasons. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). We usually think of the individual when reading this verse, but it seems to me that it also applies to national pride as well. It was said, “The sun never sets on the British empire,” but now it is in the dark! Isaiah 14 records a proverb against the king of Babylon who was so full of pride that he thought he was “the Most High.” But Jehovah of hosts “cut off from Babylon both name and remnant” (22). Take warning, brethren, for it has been recently said by those in high places that “America is the only nation on earth that the world cannot do without.” Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). Now you know the second reason strong nations fall. Need I say more? When politicians and judges make laws that sanction sin, they are acting as if they were God Himself. That pride and the sins which follow it will lead to the destruction and fall of any people. Alton Norman Owingsville church of Christ Owingsville, KY (Bulletin Digest September 2015)
[Luke 15:11-32] In a short story “Capital of the World”, Ernest Hemingway tells about a Spanish father who wanted to be reconciled with his run-away son. The despairing father missed his son so much that he placed an advertisement in the local newspaper. It simply read: “Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa.” But Paco is a very common name in Spain and when the father went to the hotel, there waiting were eight hundred young men named Paco expecting to see their forgiving father. I think of this advertisement being similar to what we read, in so many words, in the Bible. God, our heavenly Father says, “My child, meet me at the cross as soon as possible. All is forgiven! Love, Father.” We too often forget that God has reconciled the world to himself through the sacrifice of his own son, the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. No one goes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). Jesus never said ‘salvation is over there, go and get it’. He said ‘follow me and I will take you there’. Into Jesus’ death and resurrection we are baptized, to be raised in his likeness, a new spiritual creation, “…When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3: 1-4). This country is doomed without our Savior.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Never Too Old To Listen

Since we had a laptop stolen from the church annex building right out from under our nose one day, I’ve become more vigilant to the traffic around our buildings during the day-time hours. At night everything is secure and locked down with an alarm back-up keeping watch when no one is around, but during the day things have had to change over the past year. Traffic alarms have been installed on exit/entrance doors that are normally unlocked during business hours just to monitor movement in and out of those doors. I have also gotten in the habit of locking doors behind me even if I’m only going to be out of the area for a few minutes. Failure to do this resulted in the theft I related to earlier. Fool me once; shame on you. I really don’t want to get fooled again. So, have you ever done something knowing it was going to result in your getting hurt or having to fix what just got broken because of your actions? I know you have because we’ve all done it. I took my keys out of my pocket, unlocked a storage door, leaving the ring of keys hanging in the lock and commenced to moving an eight foot ladder through the doorway into the room. While pushing on the door, armed with an air return closer, with the ladder, my brain pictured and warned me the ladder was going to snag on the ring of keys and break off the key in the lock. I hushed my brain, ignored the warning of experience and guess what happened? You got it! The ladder snagged the ring of keys and broke off the key in the lock! Doh! Now I can use my door lock changing experience to fix my mess up. Disassembling the lock gained access to retrieving the broken key and sending me to WalMart for a replacement.

[Ecclesiastes 4:13-16] The words of the teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem writes: “Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning. The youth may have come from prison to take the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom. I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor. There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Youthful successors to any leadership are generally welcomed because the followers are of like mind and willing to listen. The problem is, leaders get older and fail to maintain their leadership role because they think they already know it all. Experience is a trait that is very valuable for any organization. A person with experience in an area can usually do a job faster, easier and better than those without. But, there is a time when experience is wasted. Experience and position are not assets to those that think they no longer need to listen to anyone else. No matter how long you have been doing something and how good you may be at it, there is always something else you can learn. Those who “check out” and feel they “know it all” are no longer an asset to any organization or to themselves. I thought I had discovered a new thing in “ductless air conditioning” early this summer when we installed a unit in an office replacing a large non-repairable A/C unit. During our trip to Mexico I discovered ductless air conditioning everywhere in every building! I mentioned I thought I had discovered something new and unique but had no idea most of the rest of the world already knows about it. A younger, wiser brother-in-Christ reminded me, discovering Jesus as Savior is of like manner to the lost.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Watered Down Duck Soup

Okay, so here’s the worst joke in the world, until the next worst joke comes along. Most people know who Ludwig Van Beethoven is. When he passed away he was buried in a churchyard, and a couple of days later the town drunk was walking through the cemetery and heard a strange noise coming from the area where Beethoven was buried. Terrified, the drunk ran and got the preacher to come and listen to it. The preacher bent close to the grave and heard some faint, unrecognizable music coming up from the ground. Frightened, the preacher ran and got the town magistrate. When the magistrate arrived he bent his ear to the grave, listened for a moment and said, “Ah, yes. That’s Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, being played backwards.” He listened for a while longer, then said, “There’s the Eighth Symphony, and it’s backwards also! Most puzzling.” So the magistrate kept listening; “There’s the Seventh; the Sixth; the Fifth” Suddenly the realization of what was happening dawned on the magistrate. He stood up and announced to the crowd that had assembled at the cemetery, “My fellow citizens, there’s nothing to worry about here. It’s just Beethoven, decomposing.

The story is told of a young man who came to the door of a monastery with a large duck in his arms. His uncle, who happened to be one of the monks, answered the knock. “Here, uncle, this is a gift for you and the others. Eat it in good health.” The uncle was very grateful, and that night, with the duck dressed and stuffed, he and the others enjoyed a generous meal. A few days later another knock came on the door. “I am a friend of the nephew who brought you the duck. I’ve been down on my luck lately and I wondered if I could impose on you for a bite to eat and a place to sleep for the night?” “Of course, my son, you are most welcome.” That night he joined the monks for some warm duck soup. A few days later another knock on the door. “Hi, I am a friend of the friend of the nephew who brought the duck. Could I impose on you for a bit of hospitality?” He too was welcomed… more duck soup. A few more days went by, then came another knock. “Hello, I am a friend of the friend of the friend of the boy who brought the duck.” That night at dinner he was presented with a steaming bowl of hot water. He tasted it, looked up and asked, “What is this?” The uncle monk replied, “This is the soup of the soup of the soup of the duck my nephew brought.”

[1 Timothy 4: 1-8] Charles H. Spurgeon has been described by one historian as one who stood firm against what he called “the ‘down grade’ in religion.” “Were Spurgeon on the scene today, he no doubt would be appalled at the superficiality of much that is professed to be Christianity.” As a little side note, I would inject that the founding fathers of this once God-fearing nation would also be appalled at the down grading of the Constitution of these United States of America and the superficiality of much that is professed as rights under said constitution. We Christians and faithful citizens have allowed ourselves to be gradually desensitized by religious and secular pluralism, postmodernism, and political correctness of our day, to the point that both our religion and government are nothing but a “watered-down” version of the potent Christianity described in the New Testament which made us a God-fearing people grateful to God for our religious and personal freedoms in a land He so graciously gave us. If you’re tired of “watered-down” duck soup, get back to the Bible and the voting booth; today!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

God Wants To Help

“How to Install a Southern Home Security System”: 1. Go to Goodwill and buy a size 14-16 pair of men’s work boots. 2. Place them on your front porch along with a current issue of “Gus and Ammo” magazine. 3. Put four giant dog food bowls next to the boots and magazine. 4. Leave a note on the door that reads: “Bubba, Me and Marcel, Donny Ray and Jimmy Earl went for more ammo and beer. Be back in an hour. Don’t mess with the Pit Bulls. They got the mailman this morning and messed him up bad. I don’t think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. I locked all four of them in the house. Better wait outside. Be right back.” Cooter

Paranoia is one of those funny elements of the psyche that sneaks up on one’s self without warning. It’s not worry that triggers my off-balance, wake up in the middle of the night, near panic attack. No, for me it generally hits when my brain reaches overload with all the crazy things going on in the world and somewhere down deep the old man of the past tries to surface and control my thoughts with fears of the world coming to take everything away, leaving me high and dry. Now that you’re sure I’m a little out-of-whack let me assure you I still recognize the situation and realize I have to do something about it, rendering me as sane as one can be living in this old world. Throughout my life I guess I’ve tried just about everything to bury the weird me and keep from falling off the edge, but all I ever managed to do was keep my balance. As the TV commercial says, all I was doing was managing the symptoms, I wasn’t treating the problem. Nowadays, and for many years now, I know what to do, because I know this old world is not my home and the only way to overcome feelings of impending doom is to crawl up into my Heavenly Father’s lap in prayer, tell Him all my fears and give Him all my troubles. My spirit takes control and the worldly man has to yield to the fact that God is still in control. God is my manager, Jesus my coach and the Holy Spirit my Comforter in every day living and especially when the world is beating me up. Our finite thinking is no match for the infinite love and knowledge of God and His Word. Even though the world can be overwhelming at times, I no longer walk on the edge trying to balance my life all by myself. I walk on solid ground knowing that some day this old body will return to the earth but my restless spirit will get to go home.

[Exodus 16: 2-15; John 11: 17-42] Based on an old tale of a piano concert given by the composer Paderewski in an elegant concert hall, a TV commercial depicts a couple discovering the absence of their young son. From behind a closed stage curtain a tune came to their ears that can only be described as their worst nightmare: the notes of “Chopsticks”, as played by their own aspiring pianist on the Steinway grand onstage. The curtain opens revealing their son and before either of them could run up and stop him the great musician himself appears on stage. The master that he is, leans over the top of the boy, whispers, “Keep playing,” and begins playing a lovely and intricate improvisation on the theme of “Chopsticks”. The message is “Encouragement; Pass It On”. There are days when I feel the best I can do is bang out “Chopsticks” and wonder if I’m really making a difference. I suspect you do too. Remember, there is Someone who is carrying the melody as we bang away at the keyboard; Someone else who is developing the theme and bringing it all together. God loves you and wants to help you

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Bible-less Christians

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I beg you to get on your knees and cry out to God to save this nation from impending ruin! The wrath of God is building. 9/5/2015 GRAYSON, Ky. (AP) - Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will spend Labor Day weekend in isolation at the Carter County Detention Center with her Bible and her clear conscience. At least three same-sex couples will spend the weekend planning weddings after finally receiving the marriage licenses they asked for months ago but were denied because Davis believes gay marriage is a sin. The Rowan County Clerk's office issued the licenses to same-sex couples on Friday under threat of jail time or fines if they didn't comply with a federal judge's order. While the licenses were freely given, the drama surrounding the clerk does not appear to be ending anytime soon. Davis met with her attorneys in jail Friday and told them she would "never violate her conscience or betray her God." U.S. District Judge David Bunning has said he will not release Davis unless she agrees to obey his order. Davis' attorneys said the only way she would relent would be to change Kentucky's state law so that marriage licenses are not issued under the authority of the county clerk. They claim the licenses that were issued were not valid. Kim Davis' husband, Joe, said his wife will stay in jail "ever how long it takes," noting that she has held a Bible study at the Rowan County Detention Center every Monday night for the past few years. "She's not going to resign, she's not going to sacrifice her conscience, so she's doing what Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, which is to pay the consequences for her decision," said Mat Staver, one of Davis' attorneys and founder of the Florida-based legal group Liberty Counsel. Davis' attorneys said the licenses issued Friday are not "worth the paper they are written on" because Davis did not authorize them.

Hey, America! Do you remember when our elected legislative officials told you that the gay rights movement would never interfere with your Christian beliefs? Nor would there ever be any laws passed that could/would force Bible believing Christians into a position of compromising their beliefs to maintain their present lifestyle? Now that you know that was a lie, my next question is, are you willing to go to jail for what you believe? Are you willing to never violate your conscience or betray your God?

[Hebrews 13:1-8; 15-16] A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog’s duties. “They use him to keep crowds back,” said one child. “No,” said another. “He’s just for good luck.” A third child brought the argument to a close. “They use the dogs,” she said firmly, “to find the fire hydrants.” I was reading a few comments on Facebook about Kim Davis and one of then struck me hard as to the thinking of “Christians” in America today. It started: “I am a lesbian and a Christian…” and immediately I thought to myself, “You can’t be; it doesn’t work that way!” In essence this woman, like so many others demanding their right to live alternative lifestyles and still claim to be following God, is saying, “I am a Bible-less Christian.” You are a god unto yourself, sitting in the front seat of my God’s universe looking for any honest God-fearing Christian to dump on. God told me there would be days like this, but to hang in there, He is always with me.