Saturday, 19 August 2017

Saturday Song: Eric Burdon & The Animals, "Sky Pilot"

I remember feeling offended by this song when I heard it in the spring of 1968. To me, Eric Burdon was saying that God was inept and that prayers were futile in the face of monstrous carnage. Because we, through Adam and Eve, chose to do things our way, God let us suffer the consequences.

Hear Eric Burdon and the Animals' "Sky Pilot" here.

I now understand what Eric was getting at. He was examining the matter of how God could let horrors like war happen. But not being instructed by the Holy Spirit, he couldn't comprehend the vast plan God has for each human life.

How wonderful it is that we aren't stuck with this damaged world forever. Isaiah 65:17 (KJV) promises, "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."

And as the Lord says in Isaiah 66:22 (KJV), "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain."

Here's another assurance of the good eternal life to come for believers. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:13(KJV) that, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."

So, what memories come to you when you hear Eric's song? And what do you think of what I wrote? Please leave me a comment in the box below. Or if you don't wish to do that, have a wonderful weekend anyway.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Weakness Vs. Strength in the Bible and the Qu'ran

Another point on which the Bible and the Qu'ran differ is on strength. While the Bible shows that God uses our weakness, the Qu'ran shows Allah's hatred of it.

The Apostle Paul certainly learned this value of yielded weakness. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV) he wrote, "And he said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Furthermore, there were times when the Lord fought for Israel. He did so to show them he could save by many or by few. Look at what 2 Chronicles 20:17 (KJV) says. "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you."

But in Islam, its weak people are supposedly strengthened so they can fight for Allah. Sura 8:66 reads, "Allah has now lightened your burden,  knowing that there is weakness in you. If there are a hundred steadfast among you, they will defeat two hundred; and if there are a thousand of you, they will defeat two thousand by Allah's leave. Allah is with the steadfast."

Sura 8:15-16 explains the war-like nature of obedient Muslims. "O you who believe! When you meet those who disbelieve on the march, never turn your backs on them. Anyone who turns his back on them on that Day, except while maneuvering for battle, or to join another group, has incurred wrath from Allah, and his abode is Hell, what a miserable destination!"

These are just some of the verses and suras which show the infinite difference between Christianity and Islam's deities. I'll be mentioning more differences between all other religions verses Christianity in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Only Christianity is based on the fact that we can't save ourselves. Only God through Christ's sacrifice on the cross is able to save us.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

God Takes No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked

As I've written before, the Bible and the Qu'ran differ as to the role of who avenges wrongs. But the Bible goes further by saying that God doesn't enjoy the death of sinners.

Certain critics of Christianity claim that the Old Testament God was vengeful and petty. If so, why did he command one of his prophets to say what he said? Ezekiel 33:11 (KJV) reads, "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

But some folks will point to verses such as Deuteronomy 7:2 (KJV) which says, "And when the LORD thy God shall deliver  them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them;  thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto  them:"

People neglect to remember the context of this and other verses which command genocide. The descendents of Israel were weak and prone to worship idols. The seven nations in the Promised Land were extremely cruel, even roasting their babies alive to appease their demon god Molech.

Leviticus 20:2 (KJV) shows how seriously God took this barbaric practice. "Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel,  Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that  sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall  surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with  stones."

I've written before about Christ's command to love our enemies and do good to them but Islam contradicts this. Sura 3:118, as one of many examples, reads: " O you who believe! Do not befriend outsiders who never cease to wish you harm. They love to see you suffer. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their hearts conceal is worse. We have made the messages clear for you, if you understand. "

This "convert or suffer" mentality is at odds with the Bible. That's why I'll point this out in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Those who assume we worship the same deity as the Mohammedans need to see how different the two of them are.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Saturday Song: Al Wilson, "The Snake"

What a story this song tells. A woman has pity on a poisonous, half frozen snake. So she places him by the fire to warm up and then leaves for work. But when she comes home, she ends up being betrayed by the very one she helped.

Hear Al Wilson's song here.

This is so true of life. Though we Christians are commanded to love our enemies, we must also exercise prudence. As Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 10:16 (KJV), "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

Satan is also described in Scripture with metaphors such as a serpent, Leviathan, a dragon, and a ravenous lion. He never physically became  any of these creatures, as some folks allege. These metaphors are use to describe the nature of the Devil, not his physical form. He's only a spirit and spirits have no mass.

As for me, I can relate well to this song. People who I thought were my friends just wanted something from me. Once I was of no use to them, they discarded my friendship.

I'm also sure that we all have had people who we helped suddenly turn on us. If you feel up to it, please post your experiences in the comments box below. If you don't feel like doing that, have a wonderful weekend anyway.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Hadiths Vs. Epistles, Their reliability

Another factor regarding the New Testament and the Islamic writings is their authorship. We know that the nearer the writing was done after an event, the more accurate it is.

In the case of the gospels and the epistles, they were written as early as thirty years after Christ's resurrection. Once the disciples and apostles realized that Christ wasn't immediately returning, they began to write down all that transpired during his incarnation.

Furthermore, people copied the epistles and sent them to others who copied them. There was no central authority which dictated what went into them, apart from the Holy Spirit of course.

Luke 1:1-4 (KJV) shows exactly what was going on at that time. "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."

We don't know what happened to Theophilus but we do know about Timothy, Philemon, and other gospel workers who received letters from eyewitnesses of Christ's ministry. This, by the way, is what determines which books are canonical, meaning reliable as written by the apostles or people associated with them.

But the Qu'ran, supposedly the next installment of God's revelation to humanity, was gathered in a different way. The following information comes from an article on www.bible.ca. After Mohammad died, Muslims noticed that there were divergent views on what Mohammad said. So a man named Abu Bakkr  set out to piece together a standardized version of Mohammad's sayings. He also ordered the destruction of all other versions which people had. Therefore, the Qu'ran isn't exactly what Mohammad claimed to have received from the angel Gabriel.

A collection of stories of Mohammad and his companions was also compiled into volumes of books later on called the Hadith. Its purpose was to explain the Qu'ran and is held as the second-most authority on Islam by Muslims.

Having heard arguments on God and Allah being the same deity, I feel compelled to add this subject to my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? People need to know that God and Allah are polar opposites in every possible way. Only faith in the saving work of Christ will gain us access to eternal life in heaven.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Role of Government in Islam Vs. The Bible

God and Allah differ greatly on the role of government. Christians understand that the government is given by the Lord to punish evil and to reward obedience.

The best example of this is found in Romans 13:1-8.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good.

But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

But in the Qu'ran, the commands of Allah are more important. Sura 4:59 says, "O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you dispute over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is best, and a most excellent determination."

Since Islam is a theocratic religion, only what Allah and his prophet said applies. Sura 5:47 instructs, "So let the people of the Gospel rule according to what Allah revealed in it. Those who do not rule according to what Allah revealed are the sinners."

In Christianity however, only laws preventing us from worshipping the Lord or commanding us to do something contrary to his commandments are what we must disobey.

I'll be writing more about this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? In all matters other than what Christ has taught us, we must obey our secular leadership. We don't take the law into our own hands as the Qu'ran prescribes to the followers of Allah.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Saturday Song: 'Tar and Cement' by Verdelle Smith

Even though I was only nine years old when I heard this song on my mom's radio, it still touched my soul. This was because I had been sent from my home in the town of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta to a school for blind children in the metropolis of Vancouver B.C.

In this song, the person left the familiarity of the small town for the money and excitement of the big city. Like many people, the grass seemed greener on the far side of the fence.

When the protagonist returned to that once-small town, it had become acres of tar and cement. Gone were the lilacs which perfumed the air. Gone was the child-like joy of running through the grass and enjoying merely being alive.

Fort Saskatchewan is now a city. Where a farmer's field and the town dump used to be is now a conglomeration of big box stores. And half of the forest at the creek where I used to play has become a parking lot for fast food joints and industries.

Even the vibrant downtown has been subdued because of big box stores siphoning off customers. And the Fort Hotel, one of my favourite landmarks, burned to the ground back in 2010.

As I've pointed out before, we can't relive the past. So what can we do? Follow the Apostle Paul's example. Philippians 3:13-14 (KJV)reads,  "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."