Monday, March 27, 2006

Ignorance in Abortion

There are several types of spiritual ignorance that keep people in darkness.

1. They are natural men. They do not have the Spirit of God. They are normal.
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

2. The enemy of our souls has blinded them.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

3. He chooses to remain ignorant of the will of God.
“If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” John 7:17

4. They love darkness because they do evil.
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” John 3:19-20

5. If they are ignorant of the law they think that they can claim innocence in the violation. “If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD's commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible.” Leviticus 5:17

“I did not know it was wrong to marry an unbeliever.” At the time of the marriage she did not want to find out. She wanted to stay ignorant.

“I did not know the baby I was carrying was a baby.” At the time of the abortion she did not want to find out that the baby was a baby. She refused an ultrasound. She did not want to find out that the act of abortion was immoral.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thoughts on the Will of God, Salvation

Before this series of expressed thoughts are over we will touch on things like profession, location, whether we should marry, if so to whom, when and where.

Before we get to these, there are more important things. They are more important and they also make the secondary things easier and more likely to happen.

They are:

1)our salvation
2)our holiness

First, our salvation is the will of God.
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:3-6

Do we want the will of God?
“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30, 31

Do we want to repent? Do we want to obey this command?
“But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:18, 19

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:36-38

Do we want our sins wiped out?

Do we want forgiveness of sins?
“He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46, 47

Do we want forgiveness of sins?

There are five truths in these sentences; Jesus, Crucifixion, resurrection, repentance, and forgiveness of sins.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Inappropriate

“Inappropriate” is a word that has been around for about 200 years. It has become a very popular word in the last few years, something like “awesome.” And, like “awesome,” its meaning has become broadened and inflated so much it means less. Its basic meaning is “unsuitable” or “not appropriate.” The correct use would be to describe a situation using a wrong word. If the sky was overclouded with slate gray it would be inappropriate to use the word “fluffy” to describe the clouds.

In modern parlance we use the word to describe behavior. It can be a scathing rebuke. “Your conduct at the party was inappropriate.” The difficulty is that it is a politically correct word to describe everything from children’s table manners to gross sins. It now describes a wide range of cultural sins, many of which are undefined.

Flirting with another man’s wife is inappropriate. Committing adultery is a fact of life and of being in love. The word’s definitions are relative, they float. Inappropriate is based upon what is unacceptable in this generation in this country. It is not based upon the unchangeable, moral law of God. The word is either too strong or too weak and about undefined behavior. Let’s suppose there is an advertisement for a pornographic movie. The normal means of advertisement would be the words “sex, sex, sex.” It would now be advertised, “inappropriate, inappropriate, and inappropriate.”

Monday, March 20, 2006

Fatalities: Abortion, War, and Drunk Driving

East Asian Tsunamis, Pakistan earthquakes, Gulf state hurricanes are noted for the vast destruction and loss of life in the thousands.

In addition to that, we have had in this last century what we call holocaust and genocide. This would include Germany, Ruanda, Russia, China, Iraq, Darfur, Bosnia, and Turkey. A euphemism for this genocide is “ethnic cleansing.” Most of the above nations’ genocides were based on difference in race, tribe or religion. Notice how nice the words “ethnic cleansing” sound. To cleanse is to get rid of the dirty and the bad. We are not concerned about a single person being killed unless the person is related to us or from our home town. Although we would not participate in any one person or mass murder we can hear of 30 million Chinese being killed by Mao and think, “What’s 30 million Chinese?”

We have other types of human slaughter that we pay no attention to because of the use of nice sounding words and the laws of the land. The words are “alcoholic” or “addiction” and “pro-choice.”

Here are a few statistics for the United States:

-Fatalities from drunk driving from 1982-2004 were 461,295 or about 21,000 a year

-Fatalities from abortions in the U.S. from 1973 to 2005 were 47,282,293 or about
1,477,571 a year

-U.S. Fatalities in the War in Iraq from 2003 to 2006 were 2,290 or about 764 a year

These men and women were not drafted. They enlisted, volunteered and were paid with the full knowledge that they would be targets for death in another country.

Here in our own nation we kill 21,000 people a year irresponsibly and a million and a half a year premeditated and deliberate. These people did not volunteer for a dangerous job. They were killed in car wrecks or in the most secure, protective place in the world, their mother’s womb.

How do we get away with it? Innocent sounding words!
Pro (a good word)
Choice (a good word)
Let’s complete the sentence. “A woman’s right to choose to murder her own and the father’s child.” It is not even a choice. It is not called “choice” if the baby is kept alive. The “choice” is always negative or the word would not be used.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Intelligent Design

A few weeks ago I commented that the expression “Intelligent Design” was the understatement of the ages. I realized then, that there are educators, courts, and legislatures in the country that think the expression is an over statement or absolutely false. In any case, the concept is not allowed to be taught.

Further reflection has caused me to think of the alternatives to Intelligent Design.

1. No design at all, Chaos, disorder, cacophony.

2. Design, but obviously not intelligent, sort of like a preschooler’s
scribbling.

3. Apparently intelligent, but no design. Sort of like an astrophysicist
playing with legos that do not fit with each other.

4. Neither intelligent nor designed. Time plus chance plus nothing. Sort of
like 6 billion people (all of us) winning 6 billion different lotteries,
each with a probability of 1 billion to one.

There are probably other alternatives then these mentioned, but being a man of little faith I will stick with the understatement, “Intelligent Design.”

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Reflection of the Heart Reveals Obedience to the Word

Many years ago I went to a house meeting in Annapolis, Maryland. The speaker was a clergyman in the Episcopal Church. However, his present job was as an editor for Playboy magazine. The talk was not edifying. When it came time for questions I asked him how he applied Matthew 5:27-28 to his present position.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28

His reply was clear and simple. He said, “I don’t believe Jesus said that.”

That is the best way to try to get out of obeying God’s commands, say they do not exist. However, saying it, does not make it so.

Many years earlier, when I was eighteen, in the Navy, in a strange city, I was shown some dirty pictures. One of them is still on file in my head. I was guilty then and can be guilty again at any given instant.

“He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.” Mark 7:20-23

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

My desire is to store up in my heart good things.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Strategic Cities

Jerusalem:
Tens of thousands of new Christians were in Jerusalem. They all left except for the apostles. “And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” Acts 8:1 and “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” Acts 8:4

Antioch, in Syria after Rome and Alexandria was the third largest city in the Empire.

“Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Acts 11:19-26

Thessalonica:
“And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,” 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8

Corinth:
“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." So, Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.” Acts 18:9-11

Ephesus:
“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” Acts 19:8-10

Peter’s evangelism in Jerusalem affected all of the surrounding area. All of Paul’s evangelism and Bible teaching ended up reaching the cities and the provinces.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Protecting the City: Physically & Spiritually

Recently, I was looking at Davis Wilson's blog, Effable. He was quoting an article by Michael Uto in the New York Times of Feb. 26.

There were two things that caught my eye in the article. One was simply true and strategical. The other was ironically true and tactical. The article was on the effectiveness of an inner city church.

1. "Dr. Keller has grasped the strategic importance of the city."
The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 2002 proved
the strategic importance of the city. This attack affected the whole nation.
So it is with the gospel. (See tomorrow's blog on strategic cities). This
importance was known by Al Qaeda before the attack. It helps to know the
strategic importance before we act.

2. "Teach pastors to love the city"
This is true, but why do we evangelical pastors need to be taught this basic
Christian truth? We Christian pastors are fearful of the city, whether it is
New York City or Salt Lake City. Even if we are in the city, we are afraid of
the city. We fight a defensive war. We would like to have a perimeter defense,
a walled in church. We want to keep the evil out. Perfect love casts out fears.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Coveting

A few days ago I heard a happy female voice on the radio selling the Washington State lottery. She was saying how happy the two women who won over $600,000 were. It is very simple. A little money means little happiness, more money, more happiness, much money much happiness, most money, most happiness. No, that is close, but not exactly right. This money also has to be free, sudden, and a lot in order to generate this kind of happiness. It is called the lottery. What are the chances? Very slim. The odds are great. Of course, that’s what makes the payoff so big. We want a lot of free return from a very small investment.

If the odds were 2-1 that means you might get $4.00 for your $2.00 bet. On the other hand, you might lose your $2.00.

Do you know what God calls it? Coveting! There are three kinds of coveting in the Bible. The first is found in the Ten Commandments.

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17

That means wanting your neighbor’s stuff. That is sin.

The second is found in several stories in Luke where the coveter is coveting his own stuff. That is sin.

The Rich Ruler- Luke 18:18-29
The Rich Fool- Luke 12:13-21
The Prodigal Son- Luke 15:11-31

The third is described in Colossians 3:5

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

This is idolatry! This is sin!

We find this greed in 1 Timothy 6:10
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Playing the lottery or casinos or poker are expressions of this sin. However, we can have this sin by wishing through catalogs or stores or doting on our own car, house, or bank account.

Let’s call it sin, confess it and forsake it. Coveting does not need physical action in order to exercise it. It is in the heart.

He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean." Mark 7:20-23

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Keeping Confidence

“I can keep a confidence. It’s the people I tell it to who can’t.”—Unknown Origin

In case you do not know I never (hardly ever) promise to keep a confidence before I hear the story. I may promise to keep a confidence after I hear the story. And I do keep confidence. I determine which ones I keep, not the persons who share it with me. This lack of promise on my part is not the same as gossip, although it could be gossip.

We have requirement to tell something to the assembled believers if someone is unrepentant. The assembled believers are then to take action on this unrepentant believer (Matthew 18). If I have promised to keep the information secret I have hobbled myself so that I cannot obey God and tell the church.

Many years ago a professional person came to see me. I did not know him although I knew of him. He wished to tell me something awful about a common friend but first I must promise to keep it confidential. I told him that I did not make those kinds of promises. He was astounded. I was a minister of the gospel. I had to keep confidence. I agreed, but I determined which ones I kept after I heard the story, “Well then I cannot tell you.” “That is all right with me. I do not need to know.”

A repeat of what I just said kept happening. Each time he got angrier. Finally, in hysterical anger he left, slamming the door. In anger he told someone else what an idiot I was. This opened that person’s eyes about the angry man’s character. I never did find out about the evils he wanted to tell me.

That is the best way.

Friday, March 03, 2006

An Atmosphere of Defeat in the Church

There seems to be an atmosphere of defeat in the Christian Church, and an easy acceptance of this atmosphere. There seems to be no awareness that this atmosphere is poisonous. This noxious environment has its own euphemistic vocabulary. The phrascology sounds spiritual unless you are listening, hoping for something biblical.

Here are a few examples:

"I've been struggling lately." It sounds like a warrior in the fight. However it means, "I am putting up a slight effort in a losing battle with my favorite sin."

"It was a learning experience." It's nice to learn something. However it means, "I sinned all last summer" and "I don't know how to keep from repeating it next summer."

"I'm only human" means "I do not want to be godly."

"Everyone makes mistakes" means "We are all incompetant but not immoral."

The Bible speaks of "struggle" but with winning in mind.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." Ephesians 6:10-15

The Bible speaks of "straining" but winning the gold.

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 3:13-14

The Bible speaks of victory and triumph.

"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him." 2 Corinthians 2:14

The Bible speaks of Power.

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength," Ephesians 1:18-19

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

This does not seem the atmosphere of conversation in our churches today.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Recommended Reading

You may or may not know that I have been in a personal/literature ministry full time for the last 49 years. Before that, while on active duty in the U.S. Navy, I was in a literature ministry for 6 years. This was a side line to my Navy duties. This is a preamble to tell you of books which have had a major influence in my life.

When I recommend a book it does not mean I agree with everything the author says or with a biography of everything that the person did. It does mean that what I learned affected my life to be more like the Lord Jesus.

Today's recommendation is, The Calvary Road or The Way of the Cross, by Roy Hession. Roy Hession was an evangelist in England in the 1940's. He had lost the joy of his salvation. He was taught and influenced by men who were products of the Revival in East Africa which had been continuous from about 1935 to 1950. He got back his joy and then wrote the book. I received the book from a missionary in Susiba,Japan in the Winter-Spring of 1951. While at sea in the Sea of Japan I read it and practiced what I learned and also had my joy returned. You should be able to get it at a local Christian bookstore. If not, write to me at ccm@moscow.com.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Knowing Eternal Salvation

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13

This is wonderful! We find out why the apostle John wrote the five chapters of 1 John. It is possible to know, in this present life, that we have eternal life. That is for those of us who believe in the name of the Son of God. As you read these five chapters, look for, and underline every occurrence of the word know. Notice how we can know. Do these sentences describe you? If so, thank God for your eternal salvation.