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Showing posts from June, 2006

Are We Seaworthy?

“Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, His wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men. Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people and praise Him in the council of elders.” Psalm 107:23-32 There is nothing more tranquil—nor more violent—than the sea. Both are described in Psalm 107:23-32, Luke 8:22-25, and the violence also described in Acts 27:14-44. These violen

In the Heart, Out the Mouth

In my 78 years of life I have heard many dirty words. There were places where they seemed to be normal like in the Omaha stockyards when I was 16 and 17 and the U.S. Navy as an enlisted man when I was 18. My memory focuses on the unexpected times I heard dirty words. These words came from the mouths of a four-year-old, a woman, boy scouts in the scout clubhouse, midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy and from a cousin of mine when we were pheasant hunting as teenagers. All of these shocks happened when I was still not a Christian. I was idealistic. To me, a woman did not talk that way, a scout was clean, four-year-olds were innocent, a midshipman was the American boy, and a cousin was part of my family where these words were not used. Early in my 47 years as a Christian I came to realize hearts of boy scouts, midshipmen, four-year-olds, cousins, women, and me and my family all started out filled to overflowing with evil. Jesus gave an explanation why people overflow with evil. “Make a

The Black Hole

Black Hole n. (1968): a hypothetical invisible region in space with a small diameter and intense gravitational field that is held to be caused by the collapse of a massive star. I am glad the definition has in it “hypothetical.” I am not sure I believe in something hypothetical and invisible that eats up massive stars. But I like the concept. I have got my own personal black hole. It is black, of small diameter and eats up things. However, it is visible and real. It is my brief case. It has been eating important stuff for years. It is so real I have recently abandoned it. I am slow to learn. I have been putting things into it for years and have rarely taken anything out of it. That is true only if I can find what I want. What was designed to be a useful slave to me became my useless master and I became its useless slave. Now, if I can free myself of my desk and file cabinets and be left with my wife, Bible and toothbrush, I will be really free.

Virtuous Murderer

In some prisons there is a hierarchy of virtues. At the top of the virtue list is “murderer.” At the bottom is “child molester.” The child molester is kept in protective custody to keep him from being murdered by the virtuous murderer.

Authority cont.

Now it is time for taking orders. “Thimbles and thunderstorms!” cried Trumpkin in a rage. “Is that how you speak to the King? Send me, Sire, I’ll go.” “But I thought you didn’t believe in the Horn, Trumpkin,” said Caspian. “No more I do, your Majesty. But what’s that got to do with it? I might as well die on a wild goose chase as die here. You are my King. I know the difference between giving advice and taking orders. You’ve had my advice, and now it’s time for taking orders.” Trumpkin did not believe in the magic horn but he did recognize the King. There were others in the party who believed in the Horn but refused to obey the King. Trumpkin did not like that. All obedience starts with a recognition of a person in authority. The authority and recognition of it can be accomplished in many ways. 1. By election 2. Military takeover 3. Propaganda Jesus had his by inheritance. It is given by an even higher authority. Jesus was not elected. He did not have a police force to gain or

More on Authority

The most relevant event that has ever happened to us was our repentance, which resulted in our forgiveness and entrance into life. This happened under the authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus said “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This was not a suggestion or good advice. This was an imperative as Paul relates it on Mars Hill. “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 “All men everywhere” come under the authority of God and He has commanded them to repent. When I repented and believed I was responding to the authority of Jesus Christ. He is good enough to give a reason for the universal requirement to repent. Because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness. What should we obey? His imperatives are not ideals or goals


The basic principle in military service is authority from which we take orders and obey commands. Much of military training is accomplished by giving orders that are unimportant and sometimes nonsense. These orders and commands are enforced. This is to establish this principle so well that when an issue of major importance occurs and a command is given, there will be no debate nor question nor delay in obeying it. There is a great rebellion against those in authority not because of difference of opinion on what is right, but because of the authority itself. When the ultimate of “no authority” is attained and the result of anarchy everywhere evident, an absolute authority takes over with little or no resistance. Napoleon, Lenin, and Hitler are examples of absolute rulers who took advantage of anarchy. At the same time that people resist authority, they cry out for it and will respond to it, even if it is an evil authority. One of the saddest statements in the Bible is the last senten


When it comes to money, inflation is an increase in the amount of money in relation to the goods to be purchased so that the price of goods rises and the unit of money is worth less. In some nations, today, the inflation rate is so high (100% a year) that in a few years it takes thousands of dollars to buy what one dollar used to buy. I do not wish to talk about money. Inflation occurs in other things. It occurs in the definition of words. A word is used so frequently and so broadly that the word becomes meaningless and worthless. An example is the use of the word “like.” It may occur several times in a short-spoken paragraph. It has no definition whatsoever. It becomes a worthless word. There are words that at one time described things that were old, rare, or beautiful or beyond comparison. An example is the word “classic.” It has become a common word. Today, it can describe a basketball tournament in Alaska, a can of Coca Cola, or a 30 year-old automobile. Another word is “awesom


Recently, I quoted 1 Corinthians 6:15, 16 to a young man. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never ! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh.” 1 Corinthians 6:15, 16 The young man was incensed. “She is not a prostitute” he said. No, she was free. That was not the point. He claims he is a Christian. The woman is not a Christian. If both statements are true he was taking a member of the body of Christ and making it one flesh with someone who is not a member of the body of Christ. This is above and beyond the immorality of fornication. Notice the word Never !

The Narrow Gate and the Narrow Road

Where is this narrow gate? We have written a little about the broad road (more later). The broad road is thousands of miles wide with billions of people and it all going to destruction. Are there any exits from the broad way? Yes, but not like a freeway exit. On a freeway exit you gradually move into the right hand lane, reduce speed and get into a quieter, slower road. The narrow gate is any place on the Broad road. There will be someone on the narrow road in the middle of the Broad road who will tell you of the entrance to the narrow way. This narrow way goes in the opposite direction. Its entrance, way and destination is life. When you enter the narrow gate it is an “about face” a 180 degree turn. You say, “I will be going against all of this one way traffic, I will be killed.” That is a probability but not a certainty. The certainty is life. Yes, you will be going against the traffic. You will not be going with the flow. Neither will you be going alone. There will be many others.


There are two opposites in this creation. They are not equal and opposite; they are just opposite. They are God and Satan. God is the ultimate in truth. Satan is the ultimate liar. Jesus said of Satan, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 There is something wonderful about truth besides its truthfulness. It has a good reputation. Every one wants to be identified with it. How do I know? All liars say “I am telling the truth.” No one wants to be called a liar. We have a difficulty here. Truth tellers say, “I am telling the truth.” Liars say the same thing. The listener has to be able to tell the difference. Most listeners cannot tell the difference. Why? “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the li

Truth Benefits the Hearer

There is some truth that must be preached, not for the benefit of the truth but for the benefit of the hearer. Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” Truth is so, whether or not it is taught and whether or not it is believed. The truth of the acts of God are both self evident and revealed. There are two great acts of God, the creation and redemption. The God of creation is self evident to the created. The redemption is an act in history that must be proclaimed. “For, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17


There are several words that can honestly be next to the word, “truth.” Here are a few: Self-Evident Truth. Discovered Truth Proven Truth Absolute Truth. (Redundancy) Experimental Truth Experiential Truth Declared Truth Preached Truth Established Truth None of these words either cause or invent truth. Truth was always there. People can believe in the truth. But believing in it does not make it true. There is a truth called the law of gravity. It has been in existence long before it was discovered and formulated. It did not have to be preached and believing it did not make it so. It did not seem to care if anyone believed in it. There is a great axiomatic or self-evident truth, which is “God.” Believing in God does not make Him God, but not believing in Him has dire consequences for the non-believer. “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men ar

Of Fundraising

There is a wonderful example of fundraising in the Bible. It is in the book of Romans. Here is the fundraising sentence in chapter fifteen: "But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while." (Romans 15:23-24) This fundraising letter caused the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century and the Wesleyan Revival of the 18th century. The letter does not command fundraising. At the best, it is an example of a good raising support letter. It gives far more than it gets. Paul did not ask for money to go to Jerusalem or to go to Rome. He did ask for assistance on his way to Spain. We do not know that he ever went to Spain, so even that request may not have been met. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to receive a request for money at th

Let There Be Light

No parameters, no speed of light nor time nor space. Nothing to measure in light years or miles and then God created the Heavens and the Earth. In and around and above that wet, dark and formless empty earth The Spirit Hovered. From beyond the night, beyond the heavens and apart from the Earth God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. Six measured days later God created man in His own likeness, but man believed a lie to be more like God and indeed became less like Him. Man’s thinking became futile and his foolish heart was darkened. Now we are measured in time, square miles and by the Bureau or Standards. Into that measured land, in a farmhouse on a quarter section in central Nebraska God created a man, partly in His likeness. Twenty measured years went by, and over and around that man with a dark and formless void, the Spirit hovered. Into that void, formless and dark, pierced and then flooded, a light. For the same God who, in the beginning said, “let there be li

Saved: Jew and Gentile

The common denominators in Christianity are Jesus Christ, the Savior and the church of Jesus Christ, the saved. There is only one Lord Jesus Christ and there is only one body of the Lord Jesus Christ, the church. The church is not the sum total of the local assemblies and national denominations. There may be a relationship but that is about all there is. The early church was made up of saved Jews and saved Gentiles. They were saved the same way. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7, 8 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14 Verses seven a

Abu Graib and Abortion

We seem to have mixed up in our minds the Constitution and the Word of God. Under the law of the land a man is innocent until proven guilty. Since the majority of the population has not been proven guilty of anything we have come to the conclusion they are innocent people. They have not been charged, tried, nor convicted. You cannot get anymore innocent than that! There were two evil people mentioned in Matthew 27. Each of them had a direct hand in the crucifixion of Jesus. They were Judas and Pilate. They each said the word “innocent.” Judas : “I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." Matthew 27:4—That was a true statement. Pilate : “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd.”I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!” Matthew 27:24—That was a false statement. Here is a statement from the Apostle P


They are infants or children not yet born. We are greatly offended when we heard of the Mi Lai massacre or the recent one in Iraq or Abu Graib Prison. These are atrocities which will receive the judgment of man and God. But the victims were not innocent in God’s eyes. But babies and pre-born babies are innocent in God’s eyes. They are being killed by the millions by millions of people. There is no outcry about the innocent victims.

Getting Even

There are two sayings I remember distinctly because of hearing them many times; one from my childhood and the other as an adult. The first was said in anger. “I’ll get even.” The second was said not in anger. “I don’t get mad, I get even.” If there is any relative merit in these two sayings the badge goes to the first. Anger in kids does not last long, so the plan for revenge is short and soon forgotten. With the adult who does not get angry but meditates on revenge that is bad and long lasting. There are two examples of the latter in fiction. In each case, the “hero” seems to have an unlimited amount of time and an unlimited amount of money to exercise his revenge. The books are The Count of Monte Cristo and Ben Hur . There is another book which says something different. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave

Pro Choice and Pro Life

God is pro-life: 1. Physical Life “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:27, 28 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13, 14 2. Everlasting Life “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he