Saturday, 17 August 2019

Saturday Song: Lighthouse, "Little Kind Words"

This song was a huge hit in Canada during the summer of 1971. Part of its success was the recently-enacted Canadian content regulation where radio stations had to play thirty percent of their music recorded by Canadian artists.

But this song and this band were good enough without help from the government. The lyrics and harmony make this classic a joy to hear.

Listen to "Little Kind Words:

We Christians must say these "little kind words" to each other often. As it says in 1 Peter 1:22 (BBE), "And as you have made your souls clean, being ruled by what is true, and loving one another without deceit, see that your love is warm and from the heart:"

Likewise, Hebrews 10:24(BBE) reads, "And let us be moving one another at all times to love and good works;"

Also, we read in Hebrews 3:13 (BBE) the reason why we need to strengthen one another. "But give comfort to one another every day as long as it is still Today; so that no one among you may be made hard by the deceit of sin:"

This seems to be obvious but we do sometimes forget to give encouragement to each other. As 1 Thessalonians 4:9 (BBE) exhorts, "But about loving the brothers, there is no need for me to say anything to you in this letter: for you have the teaching of God that love for one another is right and necessary;"

Additionally, we must be humble and consider others. As Paul wrote in Romans 12:10 (BBE), we must, "Be kind to one another with a brother's love, putting others before yourselves in honour;"

By doing this, we give each other encouragement and we keep each other's faith strong. Even a quick e-mail or text of comfort can make a big difference.

On Monday, I'll post about what writing and the gospel have in common.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

The Western Jesus Error

One mistake we western Christians make is assuming that Jesus had western values. By that, I mean that we see him through the lense of our North American norms. What many believers fail to recognize is that Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew living two-thousand years ago.

For one thing, Christ was circumcised. As Luke 2:22 and 23 (BBE) explains, "And when the necessary days for making them clean by the law of Moses had come to an end, they took him to Jerusalem to give him to the Lord (As it says in the law of the Lord, 'Every mother's first male child is to be holy to the Lord'),"

Jesus also celebrated the Jewish festivals. As we read in Luke 2:42 (BBE), he went with his parents to celebrate Passover. "And when he was twelve years old, they went up, as their way was, to the feast;"

Furthermore, Jesus attended his local synagogue. We read in Luke 4:16 (BBE) about when he read from Isaiah chapter sixty-two in his home town of Nazareth. "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been as a child, and he went, as his way was, into the Synagogue on the Sabbath, and got up to give a reading."

Even during his three-and-a-half-year ministry, he often taught in synagogues. As we can read in John 6:59 (BBE) where, "Jesus said these things in the Synagogue while he was teaching at Capernaum."

Christ also healed people in the synagogues, much to the displeasure of the Pharisees. As Luke 6:6 (BBE) relates, "And it came about, on another Sabbath, that he went into the Synagogue and was teaching there. And a man was there whose right hand was dead."

Jesus knew his Old Testament scriptures well. As he said to the pharisees in John 5:39 (BBE) about his authority from the Father, "You make search in the holy Writings, in the belief that through them you get eternal life; and it is those Writings which give witness about me."

Jesus also outsmarted the Sadducees, who say there's no resurrection, regarding marriage and heaven. Mark 12:26 and 27 (BBE) says, "But as to the dead coming back to life; have you not seen in the book of Moses, about the burning thorn-tree, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living: you are greatly in error."

Even the way Christ prayed and broke bread was unmistakeable to his Jewish disciples. In Luke 24:30 and 31 (BBE), two of Christ's disciples recognized him from how he blessed the bread on the evening of his resurrection. "And when he was seated with them at table, he took the bread, and said words of blessing and, making division of it, he gave it to them. And then their eyes were open, and they had knowledge of him, but he went from their view."

So we can tell from just these verses that Jesus wasn't Anglo-Saxon but a real descendent of Abraham. I'll point this out, providing I remember, in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? People have a flannel board idea of Jesus when they ought to understand the culture and time he walked in Israel.

On Saturday, I'll post about how little kind words can make a huge difference in people's lives.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Why Some Christians Doubt Miracles

Most denominations believe what the Bible says regarding the miraculous events recorded in it. But there are some which doubt that actual miracles happened, saying they're mere allegory.

This doubting of God's power comes from a materialist point of view. Proponents of denying biblical miracles follow the evolutionary idea that only matter and energy exist. Anything which can't be examined and measured doesn't exist, according to them.

If those miracles didn't happen, the people at the various times in which they occurred could easily have debunked them. For example, Christ's resurrection could have been disproved or discredited. But the Apostle Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15:5 and 6 (BBE), "And he was seen by Cephas; then by the twelve; Then by more than five hundred brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, but some are sleeping;"

The Gospels and The Acts of the Apostles are filled with wonders. Neither were they done in secret but were seen by the public. As John 7:31 (BBE) reports about the opinion of the crowds, "And numbers of the people had belief in him, and they said, 'When the Christ comes will he do more signs than this man has done?'"

But some folks might argue that Jesus was a magician who tricked people into seeing things. Christ healed people with serious deformities, including paralysis. In one case, a man was paralyzed and lay by the pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight years. That's a long time to feign lameness. Then John 5:9 (BBE) reports, "And the man became well straight away, and took up his bed and went. Now that day was the Sabbath."

And unlike today's fake healers on Christian television, Christ actually restored withered limbs. As it says in Mark 3:5 (BBE) tells us, the miracle was seen by all in the synagogue. "And looking round on them he was angry, being sad because of their hard hearts; and he said to the man, 'Put out your hand.' And he put it out, and his hand was made well."

The miracles of the apostles were also undeniable. Peter and John healed a lame man by the temple who begged there for years. Anybody might have seen him walking if he had been faking it.  But Acts 4:15 and 16 (BBE) shows how troubled the Pharisees were about this obvious miracle. "But when they had given them orders to go out of the Sanhedrin, they had a discussion among themselves, Saying, 'What are we to do with these men? for certainly it is clear to all who are living in Jerusalem that a most important sign has been done by them, and it is not possible to say that it is not so'."

Look at how much I've written and I haven't even mentioned the Old Testament miracles. I'll have to do that another time. Even so, I'll mention those doubters of divine miracles in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven?On Thursday, I'll post about how people view Jesus in the western world.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Saturday Song: Gino Vanelli, "Powerful People"

What folly it is that leaders and famous people think they're invincible. These powerful people have landmarks, schools, public buildings, and other monuments named after them to keep their memory alive in the public consciousness even after they die.

Canadian musician Gino Vanelli wrote and sang this song about powerful people in 1974. In it, he laments about these mighty leaders who won't let goodness be. He also expresses a feeling of helplessness at the prospect of actually changing things.

Listen to Gino's song here:

As we see in Holy Scripture, these high and mighty individuals all die in the end. Look at God's mockery of them in Psalm 82:6 and 7 (BBE). "I said, 'You are gods; all of you are the sons of the Most High:' But you will come to death like men, falling like one of the rulers of the earth."

Israel's greatest king was Solomon. We read much about his God-given wisdom in the Bible. Second Chronicles 9:22   and 23 (BBE)tells of his great fame. "And King Solomon was greater than all the kings of the earth in wealth and in wisdom. And all the kings of the earth came to see Solomon and to give ear to his wisdom, which God had put into his heart."

But Solomon ended up a polygamist and an apostate, just like many other kings of Israel. If only he had the council of Jesus. Matthew 23:12 (BBE) warns, "And whoever makes himself high will be made low, and whoever makes himself low will be made high."

Here also is how God will treat all of us who don't boast and claim to be somebody. Check out 1 Peter 5:6 (BBE) which says, "For this cause make yourselves low under the strong hand of God, so that when the time comes you may be lifted up;"

On Monday, I'll post on the subject of so-called believers doubting miracles.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

The Lack of Devotion Error

Whenever I have attended Sunday services, I rarely heard anybody comment on the sermon. Most people used the occasion to catch up with the mundane events of their friends' lives. Whenever I did try to get a theological discussion going, almost every one felt awkward. Usually the person would hem and haw before giving a lame answer.

The Bible is a book to be studied, not merely left on the coffee table. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15 (BBE), "we all must, "Let it be your care to get the approval of God, as a workman who has no cause for shame, giving the true word in the right way."

God's Word is our guide to life. Why not dive deeply into it? As Psalms 119:9 (BBE) advises, " How may a young man make his way clean? by guiding it after your word." By the way, that applies to women too.

And as Psalms 119:16 (BBE) exhorts, "I will have delight in your rules; I will not let your word go out of my mind."

Studying the scriptures should be enjoyable for Christians. Look at what Jeremiah 15:16 (BBE) declares. "But to me your word is a joy, making my heart glad; for I am named by your name, O Lord God of armies."

And best of all, the Bible is true because God authored it. John 17:17 (BBE) says, "Make them holy by the true word: your word is the true word."

We ought to be passionate about Holy Scripture like the first century believers were. Even when they were persecuted, they didn't quit but asked God for boldness. As Acts 4:29 and 30 (BBE) relates, "And now, Lord, take note of their cruel words, and give your servants power to be preachers of your word without fear, While your hand is stretched out to do works of mercy; so that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

Most of all, we must know the Father intimately. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:22 and 23 (BBE), "A great number will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, were we not prophets in your name, and did we not by your name send out evil spirits, and by your name do works of power?' And then will I say to them, 'I never had knowledge of you: go from me, you workers of evil.'"

Just from these few verses, we can tell that the genuine believers are those who cherish God's Word and study it passionately. Shallow churchgoers, like shallow brooks, just make a lot of noise which signifies nothing. We need to know the Lord rather than just having a nodding acquaintance with him.

I'll add this to my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Like the gate crasher in Christ's parable about the wedding feast, those who don't know God won't be admitted but will be booted out.

On Saturday, I'll feature a song by one of Canada's finest songwriters and his lament about people in power.

Monday, 5 August 2019

The Hubris of defining God

Can you think of anything more foolish than trying to define the nature of God? I can't because there's nothing more idiotic than that. Yet Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and other pseudo-Christian denominations have the audacity to claim that they can.

The Trinity has no direct analogue in our world. Any attempt to describe it falls apart under close examination. We can liken it to the three parts of an egg or water in its three states but they all collapse when pressed to there logical limits.

I liken the Trinity to the red, green, and blue phosphor dots in a colour television picture tube or the liquid crystals in a flat screen monitor. But close scrutiny causes all of any description to disintegrate.

God has a thing or three to say about the folly of trying to understand his nature. He said in Isaiah 55:8 and 9 (BBE), "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, or your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As for proof that the doctrine of the Trinity is true, we need look no further than Christ's baptism. Luke 3:21 and 22 (BBE) says, "Now it came about that when all the people had been given baptism, Jesus, having had baptism with them, was in prayer, when, the heaven being open, The Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove, and a voice came from heaven, saying, 'You are my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'"

If there was no Trinity and God was a single being, how could his son and the Holy Spirit be present at once?

The Witnesses claim that Christ was a created being, akin to angels. But I've written before that their translators added words to the scriptures so it sounded like Christ was created. I also pointed out how the Holy Spirit was one with God in previous posts.

We also read in Hebrews 9:14 (KJV) that God is eternal. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

I could explain further about how the Godhead is inscrutable but I'll save that for my book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Doubters of God's Word claim that the Trinity doesn't make sense. They insult the Lord by not believing his God-breathed revelation.

On Thursday, I'll post about how some Christians lack the devotion they owe to God.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Saturday Song: Brian Adams, "Summer of 69"

I'm sure we've all have had memorable summers. That's why this song resonates well with so many listeners. And though we wish the good times and activities would last forever, things change without our permission.

Brian Adams sang about one memorable summer in his life. The joy of buying his first real guitar kept him playing until his fingers bled.

Listen to this classic 80s song here

My "summer of 69" was memorable for several reasons. The Apolo astronauts landed on the moon. The Irish "troubles" heated up and were featured on the nightly news. I thrilled to see U.S. TV stations come in each evening. And Mom dated a man named Ralph.

As I wrote in my previous post, the greatest event of that summer happened when I surrendered my life to Christ. I didn't realize it then but I had joined his family through adoption.

Paul described how Christ adopted us born-again believers in Romans 8:15 (BBE) which says, "For you did not get the spirit of servants again to put you in fear, but the spirit of sons was given to you, by which we say, Abba, Father."

I also didn't realize the privilege I was granted. As 1 John 3:1 (BBE) states, "See what great love the Father has given us in naming us the children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not see who we are, because it did not see who he was."

And thanks to Christ's sacrificial work on the cross, we are freed from sin's grip. As Paul wrote in Colossians 1:13 (BBE) about our Lord, "Who has made us free from the power of evil and given us a place in the kingdom of the Son of his love;"

So we understand, just from those verses alone, what a great event salvation is. Let's appreciate and value this awesome gift which the world, in all its arrogance, can't understand.

I'll be posting on Monday about how some people actually think they can comprehend the entirety of God.