Saturday, August 22, 2009

Questions about Sin

Yesterday I wrote down 35 different questions or statements that have been given to me over the 61 years I have been a Christian. These short sentences and questions were why the questioner was not a Christian. While I was thinking about these reasons I wrote down a Biblical answer to each of them.

Although the questions were different there were only a few different real reasons.

1. The person loved sin.
2. He did not want to repent to change.
3. He was afraid God would change him.
4. In other words he did not want an answer to his question.

Are there people who ask questions who really want an answer? Yes, but the questions sound different in content and manner. They sound more like this:

• God be merciful to me a sinner!
• What must I do to be saved?
• I am afraid to die.
• I am sick of sin.

The questions that I wrote down do not sound like this!

Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:23-26

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stimulus Bill

For those who may be interested, a few months ago, I related how I had returned the $250 stimulus money from Social Security which was electronically deposited in each of our accounts on May 7, 2009.

I sent the $500 check made out to the Secretary of the Treasury to our state senator with a letter. This was with the advice of his office. I sent it in April upon the receipt of the announcement from Social Security that we were going to receive the $250 deposits.

On 7 May I received the check back from the senator with a letter that it was against Senate rule to handle things associated with the Executive branch of the government. He suggested I get in touch with I.R.S. The I.R.S. said that they could not touch it because it was Social Security money. I got no personal response from Social Security.

On 6 June I sent the check directly to the Secretary of the Treasury with a letter. I sent it certified mail. It was signed for on 24 June, 15 days later. It is now 17 August. The check has not cleared nor have I received an answer from the department.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Casualties

We are greatly concerned about civilian fatalities in Iran and Iraq. We are also very concerned about every American serviceman who is killed in these wars.

In a war area it is more dangerous to be a civilian than a soldier.

In World War II in addition to the 5, 752,400 Jews killed in the Holocaust, 42,168,000 civilians were killed as opposed to 25,282,100 military personnel.

In the Viet Nam war South Viet Nam military fatalities were 220,357. Civilian deaths were 1, 177,446.

Let me throw in a few other facts of sin and death. According to John McCardell in the July 2009 Atlantic Monthly, “each year underage drinking kills some 5000 young people, 600,000 injuries and 100,000 cases of sexual assault among college students.” Another 8000 deaths are from legal age drinking. Center for Disease Control says alcohol related deaths not including accidents and homicides are 22,073 a year. Planned Parenthood says that there are 42 million abortions a year, 1.37 million of which are in the United States. There are approximately 15,000 murders a year in the United States.

Are we as concerned about civilian deaths in this country as we are about Afghanistan?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why keep on sinning?

But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3:5-6

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.1 John 5:18

Do we find it easy to believe that Jesus died so that we might be forgiven and go to heaven yet find it difficult to believe that He died to set us free from the power of sin?

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

God gave us many provisions not to sin, but the basic one is the new birth.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Crowds or Mobs

On Crowds, Mobs, World Cup games, celebrations after the winning of the World Series, NBA finals and the Super Bowl.

The crow at the Vienna symphony is not the same as a crowd at a Rolling Stones concert. There will be applause at one and frenzied raucous noise in the crowds of the other.

There is a great difference between a frenzied man and a frenzied mob. A frenzied man may be crazy and can be subdued but a frenzied mob is considered innocent and cannot be subdued. A few may be arrested in a riot, but not everyone. A frenzied crowd is contagious for more frenzy.

This has been going on for centuries.
But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. Acts 17:5
When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Acts 17:8

The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" Acts 19:32-34

When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. Acts 14:11-13
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. Acts 14:19
The same crowd who wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas a few days later stoned Paul and left him for dead. The same crowd who shouted “Hosanna” to Jesus on Sunday shouted “Crucify” on Friday. This was mob action, not individual action.

Here is a quotation from Charles Mackay’s book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds publication in 1841: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herd, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

When I was a boy, younger than eight, my father told me to not join a crowd even as an observer or with curiosity. My presence gives authority to the mob whether it is a lynch mob or a student riot. An attendee is not innocent of the actions of the crowd.