Monday, 8 August 2022

What The Stanford Prison Experiment Teaches Us

The Stanford Prison Experiment was a project designed to find out how people use or misuse power over others. The BBC documentary at the link below will explain the background of this psychological exercise. Suffice it to say that it was a huge disaster.

What many people don't realize, and refuse to believe, is that we all are born wicked. Live with a toddler for a while and you'll understand the assertion of Jeremiah 17:9. The Bible in Basic English says, "The heart is a twisted thing, not to be searched out by man: who is able to have knowledge of it?"

Holy Scripture makes it abundantly clear that not a single individual is righteous. As Psalm 14:3 (BBE) frankly admits, "They have all gone out of the way together; they are unclean, there is not one who does good, no, not one."

But, some might ask, aren't babies innocent? The truth is that we're all tainted by Adam's rebellion against the Father. According to 1 Corinthians 15:22 (KJV). "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

Since this is so, who can go to heaven? Trusting God and obeying the gospel is the answer. As Paul said to the Athenians in Acts 17:30 and 31 (BBE), "Those times when men had no knowledge were overlooked by God; but now he gives orders to all men in every place to undergo a change of heart: Because a day has been fixed in which all the world will be judged in righteousness by the man who has been marked out by him for this work; of which he has given a sign to all men by giving him back from the dead."

When people gain power, they tend to be cruel. But God will punish those mighty rulers. Psalm 76:7-9 (BBE) declares regarding the Almighty, "You, you are to be feared; who may keep his place before you in the time of your wrath? From heaven you gave your decision; the earth, in its fear, gave no sound, When God took his place as judge, for the salvation of the poor on the earth. (Selah.).

What a relief it is to know that wicked rulers and powerful people won't get away with their crimes. The Lord's wrath is slow but absolutely sure.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Adults Must Be Responsible - Bruce Atchison

Back in June of 1976, I felt torn between two desires. I needed my job at the CNIB smoke stand, located in a seedy hotel, but I also wanted to stay true to my faith in Christ. That shop sold pornographic magazines, something I wanted nothing to do with. Neither could I transfer to another shop as there were no openings left.

In no way did I want to be responsible for selling porn to people, thus contributing to their lustful satisfaction. Just handling those wicked publications made me feel defiled. Even so, I needed the money.

So I prayed and thought about my decision. Whether God gave me the answer, I can't tell. This is what I concluded. Those adults who purchased those filthy magazines were doing it of their own volition. I was a Christian but I was a mere employee of the CNIB. So I would be excused from guilt as I wasn't the owner of the shop.

And not being the owner, I had no say about what I couldn't wear. A local Christian store sold badges with various sayings on them. Some of those were humourous, such as the one showing a little boy who lost the ice cream from his cone. As a dog licked the blob on the ground, he said, "Praise the Lord anyway."

My manager wasn't at all amused. I was told to take off my badges and not wear them at work. I could have them on my coat but not on my shirt. 

There too, I was tempted to quit. But I realized that it wasn't my shop and I was under the authority of the manager. Even so, I could talk to customers about the Lord since nobody from the CNIB was looking over my shoulder.

Our employers often ask us to do what we find morally troublesome. So we need to think long and hard, and pray as well, about what we should do. But if we're asked to do something immoral, like Potiphar's wife wanting to have sex with Joseph, that goes over the line.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

What Makes My Heart Sing?

For me, there's nothing more important than truth. Our arch enemy knows it sets people free. Like Christ said in John 8:31 and 32 (Bible in Basic English), "Then Jesus said to the Jews who had faith in him, 'If you keep my word, then you are truly my disciples; And you will have knowledge of what is true, and that will make you free.'"

Being able to know the truth also helps us resist the Devil and cling to Christ. As Peter admonished his readers in 1 Peter 5:8 and 9, "Be serious and keep watch; the Evil One, who is against you, goes about like a lion with open mouth in search of food; Do not give way to him but be strong in your faith, in the knowledge that your brothers who are in the world undergo the same troubles."

Old Testament worshippers also felt the wonder of God's holy law. Psalm 119:165 exclaims, "Great peace have lovers of your law; they have no cause for falling."

Falling is what causes people to turn from the truth. We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, "Now as to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our meeting with him, it is our desire, my brothers, That you may not be moved in mind or troubled by a spirit, or by a word, or by a letter as from us, with the suggestion that the day of the Lord is even now come; Give no belief to false words: because there will first be a falling away from the faith, and the revelation of the man of sin, the son of destruction, Who puts himself against all authority, lifting himself up over all which is named God or is given worship; so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, putting himself forward as God."

We can depend fully on what the Holy Spirit inspired the scripture writers to write. As Jesus said in John 17:17, "Make them holy by the true word: your word is the true word."

So important is God's word that Jesus quoted it when tempted by the Devil. Matthew 4:4 records, "But he made answer and said, 'It is in the Writings, Bread is not man's only need, but every word which comes out of the mouth of God.'"

May you always remain in the truth.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Rick Derringer: "It's Raining"

This American guitarist had a few minor hits in the seventies. this album track is about a couple sheltering from a hurricane. Check it out here.

Whenever we end up unable to leave home, like we did during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can use the Apostle Paul's idea to make the best of it. During Paul's frequent imprisonments, he used his down time to write letters. 

In Philippians 1:12-14, he noted that his jail time was in some ways advantageous. The Bible in Basic English renders it this way.

"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."

When Joseph was sold by his brothers as a slave, he made the best of that bad situation too. Genesis 39:5 and 6 (BBE) tells us, "And from the time when he made him overseer and gave him control of all his property, the blessing of the Lord was with the Egyptian, because of Joseph; the blessing of the Lord was on all he had, in the house and in the field. And he gave Joseph control of all his property, keeping no account of anything, but only the food which was put before him.

And when Potiphar's wife got Joseph in trouble for not having an affair with him, Genesis 40:21-23 (BBE) tells us of yet another betrayal. "And he put the chief wine-servant back in his old place; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand. But the chief bread-maker was put to death by hanging, as Joseph had said. But the wine-servant did not keep Joseph in mind or give a thought to him.

Now some folks will say that this was long ago. But Jesus promised he'd be with his people always. John 14:18 (BBE) reads, "I will not let you be without a friend: I am coming to you."

One advantage we modern-day Christians have is the Internet. Through it, we can hear and see one another. It's nowhere as nice as meeting in person but it's better than the isolation experienced by biblical heroes.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Zager and Evans: "In The Year 2525"

Being a true science fiction fan, I loved this song. Though I hoped God would show up long before 2525 A.D., I still loved this one-hit-wonder group's futuristic song from the year 1969. Listen to it here.

Nobody knows when Christ will return. Even so, each generation of Christians has hoped they would be the ones to see Acts 1:10 and 11 (Bible in Basic English) fulfilled in their lifetimes. "And while they (the 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.'"

Before that, Christ told the disciples it was none of their business about future events which they didn't need to know. Acts 1:6 and 7 (BBE) reads, "So, when they were together, they said to him, 'Lord, will you at this time give back the kingdom to Israel?' And he said to them, 'It is not for you to have knowledge of the time and the order of events which the Father has kept in his control.'"

So what do we do? Christ spoke a parable in Luke 19:12 and 13 (BBE) which should be our instruction. "So he said, 'A certain man of high birth went into a far-away country to get a kingdom for himself, and to come back. And he sent for ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds and said to them, "Do business with this till I come."'"

For those concerned about rewards, they're in good hands. Luke 14:13 and 14 (BBE) reads, "But when you give a feast, send for the poor and the blind and those who are broken in body: And you will have a blessing, because they will not be able to give you any payment, and you will get your reward when the upright come back from the dead."

Monday, 27 December 2021

XTC: "No Thugs in Our House"

This New Wave band from England weren't very famous out of their own country but they did have a few North American hits. Some of them were quite thought provoking. Hear one of that kind here.

Unlike those parents in the song who figured their boy could do no wrong, God expects parents to be critically involved with their children. As Proverbs 22:6 (Bible in Basic English) reminds us, "If a child is trained up in the right way, even when he is old he will not be turned away from it."

Teaching youngsters the ways of God must be a constant effort. As Deuteronomy 6:6 and 7 (BBE) also reminds us, "Keep these words, which I say to you this day, deep in your hearts; Teaching them to your children with all care, talking of them when you are at rest in your house or walking by the way, when you go to sleep and when you get up."

And unlike the prevailing attitude of people today, Psalm 127:3 and 4 (BBE) says, "See, sons are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the body is his reward. Like arrows in the hand of a man of war, are the children of the young."

And to keep them from going astray, parents need to discipline children. As Proverbs 20:15 (BBE) says, "Foolish ways are deep-seated in the heart of a child, but the rod of punishment will send them far from him."

To modern people, this sounds cruel. Even so, Proverbs 29:15 (BBE) tells us why children need correction. "The rod and sharp words give wisdom: but a child who is not guided is a cause of shame to his mother."

Likewise, spiritual children also need the example of godly parents, as 1 Timothy 3:14 and 15 (BBE) demonstrates. "But see that you keep to the teaching you have been given and the things of which you are certain, conscious of who has been your teacher; And that from the time when you were a child, you have had knowledge of the holy Writings, which are able to make you wise to salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus."

If Christ hasn't come for us by New Year's Eve, I hope to have a post published about the future and who is in charge of it.

Saturday, 25 December 2021

William DeVaugn: "Be Thankful For What You've Got"

I found several versions of this song on YouTube but I believe this is the original version. Not only is this a great song but it's excellent advice. Check it out here.

 What a great motto this is. If only everybody on earth would learn this lesson. But advertisers cause us to covet things we didn't know we needed or even wanted.

Luke 3:14 (Bible in Basic English) is one instance of how we should be thankful for what we're paid. "And men of the army put questions to him, saying, 'And what have we to do?' And he said to them, 'Do no violent acts to any man, and do not take anything without right, and let your payment be enough for you.'"

Furthermore, we're happiest when we aren't concerned with future successes or failures. As Paul learned in Philippians 4:11 (BBE), "But I will not say anything about my needs, for I am able, wherever I am, to be dependent on myself".

Here's another verse advertisers would hate people to take to heart. Hebrews 13:5 (BBE) reminds us, "Be free from the love of money and pleased with the things which you have; for he himself has said, I will be with you at all times."

And because our heavenly Father is taking constant care of us, we need not worry about the future. As Christ said in Matthew 6:26 (BBE), "See the birds of heaven; they do not put seeds in the earth, they do not get in grain, or put it in store-houses; and your Father in heaven gives them food. Are you not of much more value than they?"

So if he in whom we yearn for hasn't returned for us by