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.

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.

The ‘God Used Evolution’ Error

aug02, stars and sunDid God use evolution to create the universe and everything in it? Believe it or not, some professing Christians claim he did. They do so to harmonize science with the Bible. But such a ham-fisted process to create anything is an impossibility.

Scripture is clear, right from the start, that God made everything. Genesis 1:1 leaves no room for doubt. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

When anything is created, it doesn’t happen of its own accord. Every effect, like the universe, must have a cause which caused it.

Another error those people make, albeit inadvertently, is that they minimize human value through their errant supposition. Genesis 5:1 (KJV) explains why human life is valued over the animals and plants. “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;”

Since this is so, the killing of a human isn’t mere termination of a creature’s life but murder. Genesis 9:6 (KJV) clearly states this truth. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

And contrary to some, gender isn’t fluid but set at conception. Sex is binary, as Mark 10:6 (KJV) shows. “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.”

Furthermore, God thought it proper to work through the lineage of Israel to send the Messiah to save us from our sinful rebellion against him. Jesus could have beamed down and made himself a body before being crucified. Yet, as Paul wrote in Philippians 2:7 (KJV), “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”aug02b, Family of Abraham chart

The Father also knew that the law he gave Moses was impossible for flawed beings to obey. Romans 8:3 (KJV) states, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”

But knowing all this, how can liberal Christians deny God’s creative power? Jesus himself explained this mystery in John 3:19 (KJV). “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

Jesus also showed Martha, and all who think that the resurrection is a mere event in the distant future, who he actually was. John 11:25 (KJV) reads, “Jesus said unto her, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:'”

It’s abundantly evident that we humans were meant to have relationships and fellowship with our creator. Chance can’t do that with us. Neither is happenstance able to plan the future functionality of any creature. In fact, those who obey the Lord will be part of his government. Revelation 20:6 (KJV) foretells, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

We canaug2a, Moses and law on 2 stone tablets also see in 2 Peter 3:11 (KJV) that we will remain after the old universe disintegrates in fervent heat. “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,”

This truth will be part of my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? If we are mere beasts, morality is relative and no horrific act can be judged as evil. But since we are made in the likeness of God, he has the right to correct us or condemn us if we won’t obey him. He made everything, from blue giant stars right down to neutrinos.

You might enjoy my Saturday Song post. It’s based on a song from the sixties about a girl who said one thing but continuously did something else..

The Slain in the Spirit Error

Jul30,people bent overAnother error which Charismatic Christians make is the idea that people can be slain in the spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit is supposedly making worshippers fall backwards.

And once again, these people wrench verses light years out of context. John 18:6 (KJV) reads, “As soon then as he had said unto them, ‘I am he,’ they went backward, and fell to the ground.”

What these people don’t realise, or want to admit to, is that Jesus said “I am,” to the temple guards and soldiers who came to arrest him. Are these “slain in the spirit” adherents aware that those were the enemies of Christ, not his followers?

Worse yet, these folks don’t realize that God wants us to be in charge of our faculties. We’re warned in 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV) to, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

Paul likewise exhorted in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (KJV), “But let us, who are of the day, be Jul30a,people fooling aroundsober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”

And we must remember what was written two-thousand years ago in 1 Peter 4:7 (KJV) and that it is even closer today. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”

Matthew 24:42 (KJV) “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

Furthermore, here’s what Jesus said in Matthew 25:13 (KJV). “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

This “slain in the spirit” idea is obviously nonsense. It’s what unstable Christians seek in order to gratify their own lust for spiritual advancement. They forget that God wants humble people who love him and definitely not the sort who want what they think they can get from him. Shame on such shallow people.

Jul30b,people holding hands around the world, cartoonThese folks will definitely benefit from my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? Our job as followers of Christ is to proclaim the gospel, not to show off how super-spiritual we are. And like humility, it vanishes the second we become proud of it.