Saturday Song: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, Telephone

Aug18,telephone 1Remember when phohnes were used for conversations with family members and friends? People used to have only one telephone in the house and it was such a thrill to receive a long distance call.

In many ways, times have changed. More people, especially in the Third World, have cell phones. And instead of family or friends, people are often interrupted by telemarketers and spammers. Even if you’re on the “Do Not Call” list, those weasels still manage to hide their identity while dialling every number combination with their computers.

I must admit that I feel enraged when one of those jerks dials my number. That’s why this zany song by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band resonates with me. When I’m busy writing or napping and the phone rings, I feel like taking a sledge hammer to every jangling instrument in the house.

Listen to Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band’s song here.

I love the fact that we who place our trust in Jesus can call upon the Father any time of day. We pay no roaming charges, no long distance tolls, and we never have any static or dropped calls.

I love what Peter said in Acts 2:21 (KJV). “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

No matter who a person is, the Lord is open to accept whoever realizes they can’t face the emptiness of life and the wrath of God at the end of it.

So, what do you think of the song and what I wrote here? Please leave me a comment. But if you’d rather not, have a wonderful weekend anyway.

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The God of Power Error

Aug16,jester hat 1I wrote before about how God’s ways are contrary to how we do things. One of those ways is in respect of power. We admire super heroes and people who win victories over nature and competitors. And to be a loser is to be despised as cowardly.

We should be thankful that God works through weakness and what the world considers as foolish. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 1:25 (KJV) why. “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Two verses ahead, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:27 (KJV), “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”

God likes to use seemingly foolish things to bring himself glory. As 1 Corinthians 1:21 (KJV) says, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

Even religious people, such as the Pharisees, fell into the trap of judging by strength rather than weakness. This was especially apparent when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and children started shouting”hosanna.” Matthew 21:16 (KJV)shows what Jesus thought of their judgmental attitude. “And said unto him, ‘Hearest thou what these say?’ And Jesus saith unto them, ‘Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?'”

The biggest apparent weakness was Christ’s crucifixion. I read a story once about a pagan man who read the gospel of Mark. He felt disgusted when Jesus was crucified because his tribe valued strength. He couldn’t understand how Christ’s father couldn’t even defend him. The Holy Spirit coaxed the man to read the rest of the account and he realized that Christ died to pay for his sins.Aug16a,Jesus at the last supper

Jesus could have easily obliterated the soldiers who came to arrest him. Matthew 26:53 (KJV) quotes him as saying to the guards, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”

Look at the power just one angel had. Scripture says in 2 Kings 19:35 (KJV), “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”

People who are yielded to the Lord, though week, were empowered to do great things. Hebrews 11:34 (KJV) says that they, “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

Many folks assume meekness means weakness. The truth is that it is power under control. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 5:39 (KJV) not to retaliate, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Being slapped was considered a hAug16b,Jesus on the crossuge insult in the first century as well as in some circles today.

I’ll be writing more about how God’s ways run contrary to ours in my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? It takes much more strength to turn the other cheek than to hit back. Only our Lord can give us that self control.

On Saturday, I’ll feature a song which sums up my feelings about Alexander Graham Bell’s invention. It used to be helpful but now it’s a way for scammers to find suckers.

The Rejecting Suffering Error

Aug13A,Bruce Atchison (mid 70s)Should we really reject suffering? Certainly it makes sense to deal with physical pain since it’s a warning that something’s wrong. And though we suffer emotionally, we should deal with that too.

The suffering I’m writing about is persecution for having faith in Christ. It can be as mild as somebody mocking our faith to having our lives violently ended. We plainly read in 1 Peter 4:12 (KJV) that, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:”

I certainly experienced this in school when I witnessed to my fellow students about the great gift Christ offers humanity. It was difficult to take the mocking of my friends but I persisted for a while. I didn’t know back then about the verse in James 1:2 (KJV) which says,”My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” I certainly felt like quitting but I clung tightly to my faith.

Fortunately, I knew about what Christ said in Matthew 5:11 (KJV). “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”aug13,Jesus and Pilate

I also did my best to practice Matthew 5:44 (KJV) which says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

Luke 9:26 (KJV) continually reminded me that, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

It’s counterintuitive to rejoice in suffering. Even so, we have good reason to do so. Paul, who suffered extreme persecution, wrote what God told him regarding weakness and suffering in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV). “And he (God) 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.”

Aug13b,Bruce drinking coffee in officeThe Lord’s ways are contrary to ours. That’s why I’m writing a book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? The human way is to do works in order to please the Lord. God’s way is for us to surrender our lives to the authority of Christ and to receive forgiveness. The Lord’s way is the only acceptable way and we must obey it in order to be in heaven.

I’ll be posting on Thursday about how people want to use a god of power when the real God wants yielded people.

Saturday Song: The Dick van Dykes, “Chain Letter Massicre”

I feel confident that many of us are affronted by chain letter senders. They think we’ll take time out of our busy days to forward their nonsense. It’s easier now because we can copy and paste messages into e-mail and Facebook posts. Even so, it’s still an imposition upon us by people we often don’t know or even care to know.

I sympathize with the writer of this song. People used to send me all sorts of chain letters with the expectation that I’d send copies to my friends and pay the sender money. Back in the late eighties, this was a labourious task. I could borrow the photocopier at work but then I had to address envelopes and affix proper postage. In the end, I never got any responses from the friends I wrote or any cash wrapped securily in carbon paper.

Listen to The Dickvan Dykes here.

 

here’s only one message worth passing on to friends and that’s the gospel. We who follow Christ are commanded to do so. Look at what Mark 16:15 KJV) plainly says. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

But some folks don’t want to hear that they can be saved from hell. To them, they assume they’re good enough and God will automatically open the gates wide for them. They oppose any presentation of the good news, which is what gospel means, and even persecute those who preach it.

Aug11,envwpBut why should we Christians not proclaim such wonderful news. Look at what Paul, one of the most persecuted messengers of the Lord, said in Romans 1:16 (KJV). “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Furthermore, we have no excuse not to tell others about such a magnanimous gift. Look at what Paul wrote in Romans 10:15,( KJV) “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

So, what do you think of what this song and what I wrote? Please let me know in the comment box below.

On Monday, I’ll be posting on how we need suffering in our lives.

The Condemning God Error

Aug09, Gavel, striking wood blockOne excuse, for that’s what it is, which non believers give for rejecting Christ is that God seems to only condemn people. They think all he does is find fault. Some militant atheists have even called God a child abuser because he supposedly forced his son to die a horrible death.

I feel confident that such people have never studied the Bible and recognize that all texts need to be read in context. Scripture is filled with metaphors, similes, allusions, hyperbole, and other literary devices.

And it’s a sad fact that most professing Christians don’t read the scriptures. They rely on devotionals rather than studying the sixty-six books for themselves.

So, what can we say about all those Old Testament verses regarding God wiping out nations and commanding Israelites to commit genocide? According to the totality of the Bible, God wants to forgive people. Look at what Micah 7:18 (KJV) says about Israel and, by extension, us. “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”

Whenever God did punish people, he had a valid reason for doing so. Exodus 15:7 (KJVAug09a,Moses and law on 2 stone tablets) is one of many verses which shows the Lord’s retribution to wicked people who won’t relent. “And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.”

Jesus also explained how God, and all of heaven, feels about those who come to their senses and ask his forgiveness. Luke 15:7 (KJV) says, “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

Truth be told, it’s God who has been treated with unfair and harsh anger by puny humanity. He could have destroyed Adam and Eve for breaking the only rule he gave them. Instead, he showed compassion by promising a deliverer. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:22 (KJV), “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Aug09b,Jesus and the woman caught in adultryBut unrepentant people think they need no deliverer. In fact, they dare to judge God. Jesus was even criticized for reaching out with love toward sinners. Matthew 11:19 (KJV) quotes his answer to the Pharisees who condemned him. “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber,’ a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.”

It’s for people who ignorantly criticize Christianity that I’m working on my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? My hope is that I can give reasonable answers to skeptics as well as to Christians who need something to say to doubters.

On Saturday, I’ll post about unsolicited offers to earn money and how false they are. Only the initiators get rich in those schemes.

The Statistical Proof Error

aug06b, MAGNIFY glass on note pad, green backgroundWe certainly live in a world of statistics. It seems like there’s a study reported on by newscasters about anything from pandemics to left-handed banjo players who vote Republican. But can we really trust every study whichnews agencies proclaim?

The Pew Research Agency claims that 70.7 percent of Americans are Christians. But when a person looks deep into the numbers, only * percent are evangelical, Bible-believing Christians. On the face of it, the general statistic seems to indicate that America is a Christian nation.

So, what makes a Christian a true believer and follower? Romans 10:8-10 (BBE) states what God has wanted everybody to do since the beginning of creation. “But what does it (the scriptures) say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart: that is, the word of faith of which we are the preachers: Because, if you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and have faith in your heart that God has made him come back from the dead, you will have salvation: For with the heart man has faith to get righteousness, and with the mouth he says that Jesus is Lord to get salvation.”

The key word in that passage is “heart.” Only those who truly want salvation and trust inaug06a, heart Jesus’ finished work on the cross will be saved.

But, some folks might argue, anybody can claim to say the words but not believe in their heart that it’s true. We can tell who is truly saved by the radical change in their lives. Look at what 1 John 4:16 (BBE) says about God’s love in Christians. “And we have seen and had faith in the love which God has for us. God is love, and everyone who has love is in God,”

Another indicator of becoming truly born from above, is continuing in the faith. We can read in 1 John 2:19 (BBE) why false Christians don’t remain steadfast in the truth. “They went out from us but they were not of us; if they had been of us they would still be with us: but they went out from us so that it might be made clear that they were not of us.”

aug06, graph and magnifying glassIt’s obvious from these verses alone that many people profess to be Christians but they have never committed their lives to the King of Kings. They live as they always have done and give atheists ammunition for calling believers hypocrites. Genuine followers of Christ are transformed by his love and it shows in everything they do.

I’ll emphasize this in my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? Without surrendering unconditionally to Christ, it’s impossible to be withhim throughout eternity. As for Thursday’s post, I’ll be discussing how some non believers perceive God as a condemning grouch.

Saturday Song: Manfred Man, “I Can’t Believe What You Say”

Have you ever known a person who says one thing but does another? I’m sure we’ve all met somebody like that or been like that at one time.

This is a song about a girl who claimed to love her boyfriend and that she’d marry him. By her actions, he could tell that she was lying.

Listen to this single here.

Fruit is often used as a metaphor in the Bible. It’s an indication of results. Even in secular language, we say that somebody had a fruitful or fruitless search or endeavour.

Jesus said that we can tell what a person is truly like by how they behave. It’s easy to boast but the proof is in the results. Matthew 7:16 (KJV) says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

The Apostle Paul also showed that we can tell a person’s character by their actions. After listing the fruits of wickedness, he wrote in Galatians 5:22 (KJV), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”

aug04As he also wrote in Ephesians 5:9 (KJV), “(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)” In other words, righteous is as righteous does.

It’s obvious as well when somebody’s faking piety. God looks at people’s hearts, that is, their characters. He doesn’t judge by externals like nice clothing and lofty promises.

So, what do you think of this song and what I wrote. Please leave me a reply. It makes my day when people do that. I wish you a happy and productive weekend as well.
By the way, Monday’s post will be about how statistics don’t reveal how many Christians are real.