Saturday, 15 June 2019

Saturday Song: Cher, "Half breed"

I certainly can identify with Cher's song, even though my ancestors were all Europeans. Being partially sighted, I don't fit in with the fully-sighted or blind communities. People with good vision are confused that I can see but I'm classed by the government as legally blind. Some blind people hate us partially-sighted folks because we can see a bit and can't relate to total blindness. That's what I've been told by certain friends.

Listen to Cher's poignant song here:

This sounds strange but we Christians are half breeds. We are in fact royal children of Christ. Look at what Romans 8:15 (BBE) 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."

As adopted children of the King of Kings, we must behave in a way that won't make him ashamed of us. Look at what 1 Peter 2:11(BBE)  says. "My loved ones, I make this request with all my heart, that, as those for whom this world is a strange country, you will keep yourselves from the desires of the flesh which make war against the soul;"

We also are citizens of Christ's kingdom. Ephesians 2:19 (BBE) clearly states, "So then you are no longer as those who have no part or place in the kingdom of God, but you are numbered among the saints, and of the family of God..."

Jesus knew that we would be left in this world. He prayed in John 17:15 (BBE), "My prayer is not that you will take them out of the world, but that you will keep them from the Evil One."

What a wonderful privilege we have to be adopted and cared for by the greatest king in the universe. And what a pity that our unsaved friends refuse such a magnanimous offer.

On Monday, I'll be posting about The Lord's take on wages and what our attitude should be about them.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

How to be Free in Prison

Having one's freedom restricted is irksome to most people. After all, the whole point of a penitentiary is to make people penitent. But what if I said that some folks actually were freer in jail than those on the outside?

The Apostle Paul certainly spent plenty of time behind bars. In fact, we wouldn't have nearly the number of epistles if Paul were allowed to go free. He'd be too busy preaching to write much to the churches.

Paul was in prison when he wrote in Philippians 1:12 and 13 (BBE), "Now it is my purpose to make clear to you, brothers, that the cause of the good news has been helped by my experiences; So that it became clear through all the Praetorium, and to all the rest, that I was a prisoner on account of Christ; And most of the brothers in the Lord, taking heart because of my chains, are all the stronger to give the word of God without fear.

Paul didn't waste time pouting over his ill fortune either. He wrote in Philippians 4:21 and 22 (BBE), "Give words of love to every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send you their love. All the saints send their love to you, specially those who are of Caesar's house."

Quite a few people came to faith in Christ because Paul was thrown in prison. One notable example was in Philippi when Paul and Silas were put in the stocks. Instead of railing against their unfair and unjust treatment, they prayed and sang hymns. Because of this, no prisoner escaped when God sent an earthquake and the cell doors opened.

We read in Acts 16:29-31 (BBE), "And he (the guard) sent for lights and came rushing in and, shaking with fear, went down on his face before Paul and Silas, And took them out and said, 'Sirs, what have I to do to get salvation? And they said, 'Have faith in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will have salvation.'"

So we see from just these two examples that God uses jail time for saving souls. One mistake Christians make is to assume that they'll never suffer adversity. I hope to correct that error with my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The Lord lets our faith be tested but he never forsakes us.

On Saturday, I'll post about how we are like half breeds in this world. We can sympathize with Cher but we also are new creations living in old bodies

Monday, 10 June 2019

What if Christ were Your Employer?

This might sound weird to new believers but we must work as if Christ were our boss. No matter how nasty our supervisor or manager is to us, Jesus expects to work as his ambassadors in the workplace.

Though we can hardly compare employment to slavery, especially with so many labour laws forbidding mistreatment of workers, we still must have a Christ-like attitude. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:5 and 6 (BBE), "Servants, do what is ordered by those who are your natural masters, having respect and fear for them, with all your heart, as to Christ; Not only under your master's eye, as pleasers of men; but as servants of Christ, doing the pleasure of God from the heart;"

Peter wrote essentially the same thing in 1 Peter 2:18 (BBE). "Servants, take orders from your masters with all respect; not only if they are good and gentle, but even if they are bad-humoured."

Another reason for being well-behaved in all circumstances is that it makes those who slander us and Christ look stupid. In 1 Peter 3:15 and 16 (BBE), it says, "But give honour to Christ in your hearts as your Lord; and be ready at any time when you are questioned about the hope which is in you, to give an answer in the fear of the Lord and without pride; Being conscious that you have done no wrong; so that those who say evil things about your good way of life as Christians may be put to shame."

God won't be ashamed of us either if we repay poor treatment with respect. Look at what Hebrews 11:16 (BBE) says about the faithful folks throughout history. "But now their desire is for a better country, that is to say, for one in heaven; and so it is no shame to God to be named their God; for he has made ready a town for them."

Christ feels the same way about that too. Hebrews 2:11 (BBE) reads, "For he who makes holy and those who are made holy are all of one family; and for this reason it is no shame for him to give them the name of brothers,"

For these and many other reasons, Let's strive to be the best examples of believing Christians our friends and coworkers have ever seen. I wasn't the best example all of the time myself but I know for sure that people knew there was something different about me. You can read more about that in my most recent book called How I Was Razed. Please message or e-mail me if you want to buy a copy.

On Thursday, I'll be posting about how to be free in prison. That sounds contradictory but it's possible.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Saturday Song: Cat Stevens, "But I Might Die Tonight

This song is about the wisdom of not striving for a high position in a corporation. There's nothing bad in wanting that but it can be a trap where all your time is spent at the office or taking work home. Far too many men end up divorced because their god is their position rather than the Lord God Almighty.

Hear Cat Stevens' song here.

James sure nailed this presumptuous belief in his epistle. In James 4:13 and 14, (BBE) it says, "How foolish it is to say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into this town, and be there for a year and do business there and get wealth:' When you are not certain what will take place tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist, which is seen for a little time and then is gone."

This song also reminds me of Christ's parable of the rich farmer. This man had a bumper crop and decided to build bigger barns to store his grain in. Then he decided to relax and live off his bounty. Luke 12:20 (BBE) tells us what happened next. "But God said to him, 'You foolish one, tonight I will take your soul from you, and who then will be the owner of all the things which you have got together?'"

We North Americans tend to be self-reliant people. To appear needy is looked upon as a sign of laziness by some folks. But Jesus said in John 6:27 (BBE), "Let your work not be for the food which comes to an end, but for the food which goes on for eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you, for on him has God the Father put his mark."

What a relief it is that no matter how bad things get, we know that our Lord is watching over us.

On Monday, I'll post about working for our bosses as if they were Christ himself.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

What is 'The Image of God'?

When I was a boy, nobody adequately explained to me spiritual matters such as why God used plural nouns for himself or why we were made in God's image. That was a pity because I really did want to know the answer to those things. Either the adults at the Anglican church were too busy or they didn't know.

The Bible says that we are the image of God because of our attributes. We have been given rulership over the animals and plants but the Father rules over us. Genesis 1:26 (BBE) states, "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, like us: and let him have rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every living thing which goes flat on the earth."

And the reason that murder is such a heinous crime is that it's the malicious destruction of an image bearer of God. Even when an animal killed a human, God required its life. Genesis 9:5 and 6 (BBE) says, "And for your blood, which is your life, will I take payment; from every beast I will take it, and from every man will I take payment for the blood of his brother-man. Whoever takes a man's life, by man will his life be taken; because God made man in his image."

But how can animals be considered murderers when they can't sin? This law was given to us by God so we may exterminate dangerous animals which kill people. Even domestic livestock are subject to this law. Exodus 21:28 (BBE) decrees, "If an ox comes to be the cause of death to a man or a woman, the ox is to be stoned, and its flesh may not be used for food; but the owner will not be judged responsible."

Remember too that animals were used in sacrifices to God because of their innocence. In particular, the Passover lamb is symbolic of Christ and therefore it had to be innocent as he was. Exodus 12:5-7 (BBE) shows us how the animal was to be taken into the house of each Israelite. "Let your lamb be without a mark, a male in its first year: you may take it from among the sheep or the goats: Keep it till the fourteenth day of the same month, when everyone who is of the children of Israel is to put it to death between sundown and dark. Then take some of the blood and put it on the two sides of the door and over the door of the house where the meal is to be taken.

We know that Jesus was that lamb of God, as John the Baptist exclaimed. John 1:36 (BBE) says, "And looking at Jesus while he was walking he said, 'See, there is the Lamb of God!'"

This subject is too big for one blog post to cover. That's why I'll be writing about the Lamb of God in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The entire Bible is about God's plan to rescue humanity from sin and present those people to himself at the end of this age.

On Saturday, I'll post about the foolishness of piling up wealth for wealth's sake. There's nothing wrong in providing for one's retirement or one's children. It's the fixation on money rather than loving God which is a sin.

Monday, 3 June 2019

How to Be In the World but not Of It

We Christians often quote John 17:15 (BBE) which says, "My prayer is not that you will take them out of the world, but that you will keep them from the Evil One." But what was Christ asking of the Father?

The Apostle Paul explained the meaning of this prayer request in 1 Corinthians 5:9 and 10 (BBE) which reads, "In my letter I said to you that you were not to keep company with those who go after the desires of the flesh; But I had not in mind the sinners who are outside the church, or those who have a desire for and take the property of others, or those who give worship to images; for it is not possible to keep away from such people without going out of the world completely:"

Jesus also said of us in John 17:16 (BBE), "They are not of the world any more than I am of the world."

And believe it or not, the reason we aren't of this world is because we're at war. It's a spiritual conflict which requires spiritual weaponry. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5 that, "For the arms with which we are fighting are not those of the flesh, but are strong before God for the destruction of high places); Putting an end to reasonings, and every high thing which is lifted up against the knowledge of God, and causing every thought to come under the authority of Christ;"

As a result, we mustn't get embroiled with the things of this world. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:4 (BBE), "A fighting man, when he is with the army, keeps himself free from the business of this life so that he may be pleasing to him who has taken him into his army."

But what are these affairs of the world from which we must abstain? John doesn't list them but he wrote in 1 John 2:15 and 16 (BBE) that we mustn't, "Have no love for the world or for the things which are in the world. If any man has love for the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Because everything in the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world."

As I've written before, it isn't the activities themselves but the lusts they produce which are sinful. I'll point this out in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Just as an axe can be used to cut down trees or murder a person, so things of themselves aren't sinful.

On Thursday, I'll post about what the "image of God" is and why it's so important.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Saturday Song: David Bowie, "Star Man"

If you're a science fiction fan and also enjoy David Bowie's music, you'll love this song. It's about teenagers who hear a broadcast from an alien being.

Hear David Bowie's song here.

But we Christians look forward to the arrivel of a different kind of alien. He came to Earth two-thousand years ago and promised to return. Luke 24:51 and 52 (BBE) describes how he left our planet. "And while he was doing so, he went from them and was taken up into heaven. And they (The disciples) gave him worship and went back to Jerusalem with great joy."

Luke explains further in Acts 1:10 and 11 (BBE(, "And while they (Christ's disciples) were looking up to heaven with great attention, two men came to them, in white clothing, And said, 'O men of Galilee, why are you looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come again, in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

The Apostle Paul also wrote of Christ's return, filling in some of the details. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and 52 (BBE), "See, I am giving you the revelation of a secret: we will not all come to the sleep of death, but we will all be changed. In a second, in the shutting of an eye, at the sound of the last horn: for at that sound the dead will come again, free for ever from the power of death, and we will be changed."

Paul also wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17 (BBE), "Because the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a word of authority, with the voice of the chief angel, with the sound of a horn: and the dead in Christ will come to life first; Then we who are still living will be taken up together with them into the clouds to see the Lord in the air: and so will we be for ever with the Lord."

What a wonderful hope that our Lord will someday reappear and take us up to be with him. No more will we suffer and be harassed by Satan.

On Monday, I'll tell you how to be in the world without being of it. It seems contradictory until you understand what "of the world" means.