C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

Comment Policy: No profanity or blasphemy will be posted. You do not have to agree, but if you would like your comment posted, you will have to adhere to the policy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last Post for 2007!

Merry Christmas!

This shall be my last post of the year… Okay, hold down the cheers!

Honestly, although I will continue to ponder thoughts to post about, I shall hold them till 2008. I hope that each of you enjoy the holidays, and pray that you are able to spend them with family and friends.

If anyone is interested in the collection of posts, about 95% are available in book and PDF format from lulu.com. The rest of the posts along with all of the comments are still available here.

See you all next year!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tri-fold Effects of Sin

Whether we wish to call it short-comings, faults, mistakes, or accidents, the most direct name given to our daily “transgression of the law” (being the law of God) is labeled appropriately by God as sin.

Sin is so common is our daily lives, whether inwardly among ourselves or outwardly plastered all over in the actions and advertisements of others, we seem to grow somewhat accustomed to it and fail to understand its total disgust to the eyes of a Holy God. Until we come to the realization of just how bad sin is and how corrupt man is because of it, how can we truly ever understand and acknowledge just how marvelous and wonderful the gift of salvation really is?

When we choose to sin as a professing Christian, I believe then cometh the Tri-fold Effects of Sin:

[1] Fellowship Broken With Self
This may appear to sound awkward at first, but consider that Paul tells us that we are to follow the spirit and not the flesh to sin anymore. We are told that in salvation our spirits have been quickened (made alive), and that we should no more live after the flesh. Knowing also that the wages of sin is death, we should live after the spirit which is the new man in Christ. When we choose sin over righteousness, we are turning out backs on the new man to follow the ways of the old man, sowing corruption to our flesh and hindering the growth of our spirit; breaking fellowship with the new man within us.

[2] Fellowship Broken With God
By giving into our flesh and choosing to enjoy sin for a season over the joys of righteousness which shall last forever, we are breaking fellowship with the very God who loved us enough to send His Son Jesus Christ to save us from sin and His Spirit which dwells in us to keep us from sin. Choosing sin over righteousness is telling Christ that we desire such wickedness over the holiness found within Him. Holding on to sin in one hand and Christ in the other is not having fellowship with God. Repentance of sin, returning to that which is right in the eyes of God brings fellowship with the Almighty.

[3] Fellowship Broken With Others
When we are out of fellowship with God and not abiding within the proper Christian character which a regenerate person should desire and possess, there is no way that we can have the proper fellowship with other believers or non-believers. If we have chosen not to adhere to the Words of God or the Spirit which dwells in us which desires to move our spirits to do right, how then can we be conscious of the needs of others around us? Choosing sin over righteousness causes us to lose sight of the fellowship we should have with fellow believers in Christ, and the need of Jesus Christ to those which believe not. A loss of testimony is sure to follow, should we love sin over righteousness.

Any dabble in sin can throw our entire Christian walk out of balance, causing us to break fellowship with everything we know but the sin itself. Are the pleasures of sin for a season really worth the broken fellowship it brings? Consider thy ways Christian. In whose fellowship do you wish to partake?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ekleipsis: Free Autographed Copy!

Hoping before the end of the year, but more than likely before the end of January 2008 will be the publishing of my first fictional book entitled Ekleipsis. My wonderful editor is in the final process of examining the book for content, and then I must make the corrections and put my final touches upon it. Then it must be sent to the publishing company, I must purchase an ISBN, purchase and examine the sample, and then it will be available to the public.

As a simple promotion for fun, I have decided to give a personally signed copy of it away. Anyone is eligible. All one must do is go to http://www.landoferde.com/ and click on Blog, or go directly to http://landoferde.blogspot.com/ and submit your full name and email address to be entered.

On the date that the book becomes available to the public, which hopefully will be no later than the end of January 2008, I will get my editor to draw the winner from the list of names that have been submitted to me by email.

Upon drawing the winner, they will be notified by the email address given, requesting that they send me their address. This will be the address to where the person would like the book mailed. The person will have seven (7) days to email me back with their address, or another name will be chosen.

I appreciate your interest, and best of luck to each of you!

Please continue to check the blog for updates. The winner’s name will be posted for all to see.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Teenagers Choose Fornication Over Purity

At first glance, the notion given by the article title Teenage Birth Rate Rises for First Time Since ’91 may appear to give credible voice to those which oppose abstinence-only classes, claiming this is proof as to their failure to work. It is obvious with the rate of teenagers giving birth being greater than zero that there are indeed those which are not practicing abstinence-only, but that in and of itself does not prove that the rise in teenage birth rates is due to the abstinence-only classes themselves nor that they are failing to work. In seeing the rise of teenagers giving birth, it must also mean (if blame is to be placed upon abstinence-only classes) the non abstinence-only classes are failing to persuade the teenagers also, for aren’t contraceptives 99% guaranteed against pregnancy?

This is why I have to agree with researcher Robert Rector. “Robert Rector, a senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, said that blaming abstinence-only programs was “stupid.” Mr. Rector said that most young women who became pregnant were highly educated about contraceptives but wanted to have babies.” Oh, you mean teenage birth rates are up because the teenagers want to have sex and want to have babies? Well, that makes sense. So, let’s blame those guys that don’t want our teenagers to have sex and have babies before they mature and marry – it’s a woman’s choice remember.

It also appears that it is not only our teenagers wanting to enjoy premarital sex (aka the sin of fornication), for “Unmarried childbearing reached a record high in 2006, according to the disease control centers, with unmarried mothers now accounting for 38.5 percent of all births. Births among teenagers and unmarried women tend to lead to poor outcomes for their children.” I guess abstinence-only classes are the reason unmarried women are having sex and getting pregnant also, huh?

So what was their answer to the “I will have sex with no contraceptive” will? “Helping to prevent these pregnancies was the reason advocates pushed for the wide availability of the morning-after pill known as Plan B.” So as a choice, if you don’t want them to be taught abstinence-only is the best way, and they will not adhere to you teaching them about contraceptives, you simple offer them the slaying of the child which develops at conception. This way they may feel they have been able to enjoy sin for a season without having to ever feel the repercussions of their actions to engage in fornication.

The rise in teenage birth rates is not the fault of abstinence-only classes, but the moral decline in our nation’s heart toward the sanctity of marriage, the purity of life, and a denial of sin and accountability to a Almighty Holy God.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Is Your Highway In Scripture?

Okay folks, I am a Christian, so when I see claims such as this, I don’t know whether to laugh my head off or be upset at the silliness of the conclusion.

Apparently, they have now so-called (that’s what I said, I am going by their profession of such) Christians proclaiming that I-35, the interstate from Laredo, Texas to Duluth, Minnesota, was prophesied by Isaiah as a “Highway of Holiness.”

The claim: “"Everything we do, we want to make sure scripture is backing us up," said Austin's PromiseLand Church Pastor Charlie Lujan. "I-35 being Isaiah 35, it just matched."”

Isaiah 35: 8 does read, “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

Interestingly, can we also find an I-7, I-11, I-19, I-33, I-36, I-40, I-49, and I-62 in Scripture? Can we then also conclude that God will make all highways a “Highway of Holiness?” Isaiah 49:11 records, “I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.”

Let’s get back to the Scriptures people and leave the gimmicks to the salesmen.

Is Santa Wearing Hunter’s Red?

Couldn’t help but laugh at the article I was just sent.

Apparently one guy in his spirit of Christmas has decided to put up wooden cutouts of Santa pointing a rifle at Rudolph. Not sure as to what the red-nosed reindeer has done, but apparently, “The Caillouets have been putting up their tongue-in-cheek display for seven years, and in that time, it's caused quite a stir.”

I guess even non-religious stuff like Santa Claus and Rudolph can cause debate at Christmas time! Who’s to say Santa doesn’t shoot reindeer in the off-season? Hahaha!

Hmmm, here is a thought: Do atheist parents allow their children to believe in Santa?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

F. William Engdahl Sees Seeds of Destruction

A friend of mine sent me an article entitled "Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic, by F. William Engdahl.

“No project is more interesting at the moment than a curious project in one of the world’s most remote spots, Svalbard. Bill Gates is investing millions in a seed bank on the Barents Sea near the Arctic Ocean, some 1,100 kilometers from the North Pole. Svalbard is a barren piece of rock claimed by Norway and ceded in 1925 by international treaty (see map).

On this God-forsaken island Bill Gates is investing tens of his millions along with the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto Corporation, Syngenta Foundation and the Government of Norway, among others, in what is called the ‘doomsday seed bank.’ Officially the project is named the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard island group.”

The article is a little long, but sort of interesting.

Gimmick Heaven Reservations

A friend of mine sent me the link to get my Reservation to Heaven, before they are all sold out.

They have a great selling point:

It is now possible to enjoy your sin filled life and buy your way into Heaven, but how?”

Worried this may just be a fraud, take a look at their guarantee:

“We offer our 100% money back guarantee on all of our packages. If for any reason you do not make it to Heaven then we will refund your money with no questions asked. Don’t worry though, we are confident you will make it.”

But just when I thought I had hit the jack pot, a clear way to get to heaven without having to put faith in Christ and have Him Lord of my life, I noticed the fine print:

All items sold on our site are sold as novelty gifts.”

Oh well, guess it is back to the basics in Scripture, and goodbye to Gimmick Heaven Reservations.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Whence Cometh Wisdom

One of my favorite passages of Scripture, and seemingly often quoted by others is Proverbs 3:5, 6.

5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

These two verses share with us some great truths, about trusting and acknowledging the things of the LORD over our own thoughts. Have you ever continued to the next two verses?

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Here the Scriptures tell us that we are not to be wise in our own eyes. In fact, it goes on to declare that if we fear the LORD and depart from evil, it will bring us health to our physical bodies.

If we are honest, most of us believe we have it all figured out, and seldom wish to adhere to the wisdom of others (of those proven to be wise). This can be seen in our children, as they develop from kids into teenagers and into adulthood, but seldom ceases to exist even as we grow older knowing better than to think we are a “know it all.” It usually isn’t until failure or disaster comes that we may momentarily come to realize that we don’t quite know all there is to know. Sometimes even then we fail to admit it, but simply cast blame elsewhere or reason away why it appears we don’t know as much as we claim to.

In and of ourselves we do not know how to trust in the LORD and not in ourselves, nor do we desire to depart from evil and to allow the LORD to direct our paths.

Whence Cometh Wisdom? From one greater than ourselves!

Maybe David said it best in Psalm 51:

He comes before God in humility, acknowledging his sin, and asking God to show him mercy he knows he does not deserve. He pleads with God to cleanse him of sin, to make him righteous before His eyes; for he knows he is unable to do this himself. He knows God desires truth to dwell within us, and acknowledges that it is God alone who causes us to know wisdom. It is God who gives man a clean heart, and quickens the spirit of fallen man to make it right.

Scripture declares multiple times, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

“Be not wise in thine own eyes,” but seek it from the LORD. Take a moment to read Proverbs 2. Here is just a taste:

1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

As a Christian, knowing we could do nothing to save ourselves from the depravity which bound us to sin, being freed only through trusting in the wisdom of God by putting faith in Jesus Christ, how is it then that we so proudly claim we can be wise by any means other than obeying and fellowshipping with God in prayer and through His Word? Then, and only then, shall we be granted His wisdom, if we shall repent and trust in Him over ourselves.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Atheism Goes To First Church

I know most anyone in the South has seen a sign labeled with First Baptist Church, but have you ever noticed a sign for the First Church of Atheism?

Motto: “With the First Church of Atheism you can become ordained quickly, easily, and at no cost.”

Purpose: “As a legally ordained minister, you will be able to perform weddings, funerals, commitment ceremonies, and other functions that are reserved for members of clergy.”

I did find it most interesting the terminology used in their statement of unity, per se: “The one thing binding every FCA minister is his or her belief in science, reason, and reality.”

Christians have been ridiculed plenty of times by Atheists claiming Atheism has no belief system, but according to the First Church of Atheism, they (at least this church) do have a one thing binding based on “belief in science, reason, and reality.”

Further evidence of a belief system (again, at least this church) is their statement, “We believe that everyone should have the right to preach what they believe, to start a congregation, and to perform ceremonies. This is usually reserved for members of traditional religious sects. We have started a church of our own, based on our beliefs, and will provide our service of ordainment free to anyone who shares our beliefs.”

And one more statement, “A church is defined as an association of people who share a particular belief system. So yes, a church of atheism can really exist.”

Please, let us not have the same old argument about what “belief” means, for I will allow an Atheist to speak for themselves. Click here for one’s own thoughts concerning this First Church of Atheism. Their review appears to be honest, thorough, and insightful.

Interestingly, I have heard loud and clear the sound of “separation of church and state” from among the Atheists, so I can’t help but ponder do they feel the same when it comes to the ideas of the First Church of Atheism? To submit one’s information to be reviewed and to be ordained as one of their ministers, one must check the box which says, “I agree to promote atheism, and the ideals of rational thinking.”

Is this the same as the critical fuss about Christians so-called proselytizing? Or, is this supposed to be a promotion of atheism without actually expecting anyone to convert to it? How so shall it be promoted?

For the Bible Tells Me So Heresy

Again it appears we have the heresy of persons trying to use Scripture to promote as acceptable, that which is clearly stated in Scripture as an unnatural, unseemly, reprobate sin in the sight of the Almighty Lord God of Heaven and Earth.

Interestingly the film title of For the Bible Tells Me So has little to do with honesty on the part of the writers and promoters, for the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is a sin. There is no doubt concerning this matter, for even Atheists (which deny there is a God or that Scripture should be used today) freely admit that the Scriptures and God are against homosexuality. To deny the teaching of Scripture against homosexuality is completely dishonest from anyone who would claim such.

The questions presented by the film are thus:
Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?”

The film’s proclaim is as follows:
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. As the film notes, most Christians live their lives today without feeling obliged to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath or eats shrimp (as a literal reading of scripture dictates).”

The “documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible.” This is such a foolish claim; it goes beyond reason and simple reading comprehension.

Romans 1 states:

“26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

People, if one wishes to do as they please, do so, but to invoke the name of God or the Scriptures deceitfully to try and bring credibility or authority to your sinful, immoral actions is simply foolish.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Prodigal Prayers

This past Sunday our pastor preached a sermon on the passage of the prodigal son, which he entitled The Prodigal Sons (notice the ‘s’). The sermon referenced the actions of both sons: The son who took his inheritance and left, eventually returning, and the son which stayed with the father, as recorded in Luke 15, notably in verses 11-32.

Today I wanted to give emphasis on the Prodigal Prayers we most often pray as Christians, compared to the Righteous Prayers we should consider more worthy to be offered.

The prodigal prayer goes as follows: “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.

Now, what portion of goods did this son mean? Was it not the inheritance in which he would receive upon his father’s death? Therefore, his selfish desires pushed all wisdom aside, giving over to the “I want my way now” attitude, caring not for the wishes of his father.

How often do we, as Christians, selfishly pray and demand that God do that which we voice to Him in prayer? How often are our prayers filled with what we want done, and seldom about the will of God?

It is not necessarily wrong to pray asking God to heal the sick, to help others, and to help us with wisdom in our emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual needs. We just need to realize that we easily become selfish in our prayers by asking all these things of God, never considering His will, not realizing we have taken the glory from God and given it to what we would like to have done.

Scripture declares: “seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Therefore, we must adhere to the fact that we must first seek the will of God over our own wills concerning our prayer life. Remember Romans 8:28, and recall we are to adhere to the Spirit in prayer, for we know not what to pray for.

Recount the son’s prayer “when he came to himself”: “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

Here we see a couple of things:
1. Confesses he is a sinner and has sinned.
2. Repents by turning from his wicked ways, and returning to that which is right.
3. Requests to be made as a servant, one who is obedient and cares for the will of their master (father) over their own will.
4. Faith exercised in knowing his father had the power and would do so.

Consider your prayer life, and ponder if by chance it is full of merely Prodigal Prayers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just How Thankful Are You?

Coming this Thursday, actually tomorrow, many will be celebrating the holiday we call Thanksgiving here in America.

The meaning behind the title, Just How Thankful Are You, is meant to allow you, the reader, to ponder to yourself what you may be thankful of.

I think too often we spend most of our year considering the things that we are not thankful for, meaning the things we dislike or wish we could change, etc. How often do we actually take a moment to just enjoy a fresh thought toward all of the many blessings in our lives to be thankful for?

What if we could enjoy the entire day, the whole twenty-four hours, of tomorrow expressing our thoughts and appreciation for whatever we are thankful for? How about we refuse to allow anything besides that which we are indeed thankful for to creep in and take over our day of Thanksgiving? Some may say, “that is impossible,” but I assume we could at least try. I completely realize there may be those that are suffering from physical, emotional, and spiritual problems at this very time, but surely even you have something to be thankful of.

Is there not something we can all be thankful for? Is there not someone we can all be thankful for? Should we not be thankful for the good things we are able to enjoy here in America, compared to some of the other countries, or compared to how it could be?

Forget what you dislike about America, things, and persons that you may come in contact with on a daily basis, and choose this coming Thanksgiving to enjoy those things which you are thankful for.

To spend Thanksgiving complaining and sorrowing about those things which we do not have or dislike seems like a waste of the purpose of the holiday.

Enjoy Thanksgiving!

You have a whole year to complain about what you are not thankful for!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Atheism or Anti-Theism Taught In The Classroom?

We seem to hear a lot about “separation of church and state” and about how we need to keep religion and Christianity to ourselves or in the privacy of our own homes, but interestingly Scholastic would like to introduce the concept of The Golden Compass: Language Arts Lessons & Activities to our children through their teachers.

Check out the advertisement:

Welcome Teachers! We hope you enjoy this language arts program featuring The Golden Compass, the soon-to-be-released film based on the multi-award-winning novel by Philip Pullman. You’ll find turnkey, skill-building materials on symbolism and characterization that help students understand the relevance of literary themes in their lives. The lessons and activities, while connected to the book and film, can be taught independently to supplement any language arts curriculum.

Here are some SparkNotes concerning the book:

Now, let’s recount what the author said himself about these books:
"My books are about killing God"

So, let me ask…

We should not allow the teaching of how great God is in school, but the reading and teaching of the “symbolism and characterization” of killing God should be allowed?

Is this because the Scriptures are a work of fact, and His Dark Materials are a work of fiction?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Have Australian Santa’s been told to say “No” to “ho ho ho”

There is apparently a claim that Santas, at least in Australia, will not longer be able to say “ho ho ho.” Some have said that they have been told to replace the traditional greeting with “ha ha ha.”

Why, you ask? Seemingly, some may feel that the term “ho ho ho” could be offensive to women. The claim is that not only can “ho ho ho” offend women it could also possibly scare children.

Honestly, I have seen more children scared of Santa’s beard than his greeting of “ho ho ho.” And I have yet to hear of a mother not bringing their child to see Santa at the shopping centers because of his greeting. Maybe the children are simply scared because it is a big fat man, with a beard, wearing a suit, which they do not know.

My son loves Spiderman and he enjoyed getting his autograph while we were visiting Universal Studios, but when we saw Spiderman in the mall a few weeks later my son was scared to go up to talk to him.

The company, Westaff, claims, “"We ask our Santas to try techniques such as lowering their tone of voice and using 'ha, ha, ha' to encourage the children to come forward and meet Santa. We wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.",” but that they have not told the Santas that they could not say “ho ho ho.”

Interestingly, if they have simply made just suggestions, why did “One would-be Santa has told The Daily Telegraph he was taught not to use "ho, ho, ho" because it was too close to the American slang for prostitute” and “Two Santa hopefuls reportedly quit the course because of the hullabaloo of the ho, ho, ho.?”

To this whole ordeal I say, “Ha ha ha.” Poor old man, give Santa a break.

[Ref. 1]
[Ref. 2]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Christian Children's Book: Salvation, Baptism, & Eternal Security

The initial purpose behind writing this book is to focus on the current questions my children have concerning salvation, baptism, and eternal security.

One of the greatest ministries we have as Christian parents is to teach our children about the things of God. Can there be any teaching more important than the Gospel itself, of how the love of God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Willing to suffer the death of the cross, Jesus Christ gave Himself ransom for all those which put their faith in Him. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, we as sinners can find forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Jesus Christ. Our children deserve to know of this great love. As Christian parents we owe it to our children to tell them of the things of God, and as saved sinners we owe it to God to be obedient to His Word.

Although the pages of this book may be read by the children alone, I would suggest that the parent(s) consider spending a moment with their children with it. This book is not meant to save your child, or to convert them to Christianity. Only the Spirit of God can convict the heart of sin, and grant them repentance and faith unto salvation. My hope is that any child that reads, or has read to them, this book, it will cause their minds and hearts to ponder the things of God, and their parent(s) will be there to expound on the Word of God concerning their questions.

Avaliable at lulu.com.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blue Smoke Screen


Well, would you look at that. Your guess is as good as mine.

"Unexplained Blue Cloud Floats, Darts Around Customers At Gas Station"

"A strange blue cloud seen floating and darting around customers, freezing for 30 minutes and then speeding from an Ohio gas station, remains unexplained even though it was caught on security cams. "

Snake Bit Hypocrisy

During my glance over an atheist blog I sometimes visit, the writer references another blog, referencing a Kentucky news article. In reading the article, I can’t help but see why the non-Christian world would enjoy such a tale.

The article’s title is “Family sues hospital over snakebite death,” but that doesn’t really convey what actually transpired to cause the snakebite. Or, should I say what was taking place at the time of the snakebite? Apparently, a 48 year old London, Kentucky woman was trying to handle a yellow timber rattler during a service at East London Holiness Church. Although, it seems, sometimes people that are bitten by snakes during religious services will refuse medical attention, when Linda Long was bitten on the right cheek, she was rushed to Marymount Medical Center in London.

There is apparently a lawsuit pending concerning the medical attention given (or not given) and supposed comments toward the woman and her family regarding the snakebite incident. Please review link, if you would like to see specifics.

The article declares, “Snake-handlers believe the practice shows faith and God's power. The text for the belief is Mark 16:17-18: "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."”

On the legal side:
“Handling snakes in a religious service is a misdemeanor in Kentucky, but police rarely pursue charges because the practice involves a matter of religious freedom and believers are willing participants.” Apparently it is a misdemeanor, with a fine of $50 to $100.

On the spiritual side:
I have never met a “religious” snake handler (one who does it as part of their church service), but I am sure not all snake handlers are religious and I know not all religious persons are snake handlers.

If it is true that they use Mark 16:17-18 as a proof text to making church service snake handling a spiritual thing, then at first glance, I would have to say to be bit and die from a snake bite must mean the persons (more than just the snake handler) are not believers. For the text says, “these signs will accompany those who believe.” Although it only claims that “they will pick up snakes with their hands,” not mentioning what will happen if they get bit, I would say if a person gets bit and becomes sick, why can’t the others “place their hands on sick people, and they will get well?”

I realize some may say I am taking a stab at Christianity, but this is simply not the case. I am merely noting a non-Biblical, out of context, take on Mark 16:17-18. And, I am only holding the person(s) accountable to their own claims to having the gifts recorded in the Scriptures they proclaim. If a reader here is a snake handler, which partakes in snake handling services, and the mentioned Scripture is not a proof text for you, please feel free to share your interpretation of the Biblical text concerning snake handling church services, for I do not see an example of them in Scripture.

My questions to the individuals doing such snake handling, claiming it is God approved, Scripture verified, and provoked by the Spirit would be:

1. What example of snake handling is being followed from a Scriptural example?
2. How does the handling of snakes in church service glorify God?
3. Does the handling of snakes point people to Jesus Christ for salvation?
4. If one believes the handling of snakes is a spiritual gift from God unto believers, if one is bitten, could that not also be a sign from God that they are not a believer and deserve to die as a punishment for tempting Him?

The only example I can remember off-hand of a person having this gift is Paul in Acts 28. If there is another in Scripture, please post the reference.

3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

This is my concern with the misuse of taking Mark 16:17-18 and snake handling into the church service, or time to be worshiping God. We don’t see Paul tempting God with handling snakes, or the Christians in the Scriptures handling snakes in church. We have Paul simply doing what needs to be done, the viper biting him, but it brings him no harm.

Miracles and spiritual gifts are not to bring attention to the person or the gift, but to God, from whom they flow.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Demon Dog

Note: I just found this article interesting. You must draw your own conclusions.

Apparently there was a photo taken of Joe Martinez at a relative’s anniversary several years ago, which has the appearance of a dog looking over his shoulder. Of course the dog is not supposed to be in the photo. Apparently, noticing the dog peering over his shoulder in the photo has allowed him to kick his drug habit, claiming it was a sign from God that he had Satan following him everywhere he went.

According to experts, the photo appears to be genuine, with no evidence of tampering, but there seems to be a lack of evidence to support a true conclusion to the story and photo.

I will note for a moment, that as a Christian, I do believe in God, Satan, devils, and spirits, but in cases like this (and the many so-called sightings of Mary, Jesus, and saints) I find myself being hesitant to quickly accept them as miracles of God. I fully believe that God can and does perform miracles, but His miracles are performed throughout Scripture to cause people to come to Him in salvation and to give Him the glory. Too often these sightings and such do not lead people to trust in God, but to further search for more sightings and to continue to look everywhere but to God. Is there more awe found in the sightings or in God?

So again, I just thought the article was interesting, but each reader must draw their own conclusions.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Killing In The Name of Darwin

He describes himself as "a social darwinist."

"I am prepared to fight and die for my cause," Sturmgeist declares, "I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection."

A teenager, claiming to be Pekka-Eric Auvinen, (but authorities will not say for sure if that is his name) has apparently killed seven of his fellow students and the headmistress at Joleka High School in southern Finland, after posting a message to YouTube (as user called Sturmgeist89 - Sturmgeist means storm spirit in German.) predicting the event.

“Hours after posting his last message it appeared the teenager carried out his threat and, shot dead the school's principal and five male and two female pupils, before shouting "This is the start of the revolution" and shooting himself in the head. He was said to be in a critical condition last night and unlikely to survive.”

Is this the next step for mankind in evolution?

I can’t help but ponder an atheist’s blog I sometimes visit, whereby the writer has a phrase he often writes about concerning Christians. The phrase used is “Know Them By Their Deeds,” where the writer usually speaks about Christians that have veered from the path of Christianity. I ponder can we also say we can know the atheist or Darwinist by his deeds also? Should we judge all Darwinists by this one’s deeds?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Preview: Ekleipsis, In the Land of Erde

Coming soon will be my first attempt at writing a fictional book. Entitled Ekleipsis, it will be the first book, in at least a two part series, taking place in the Land of Erde. Feel free to check out the preview: http://www.landoferde.com/

The book has been edited for grammatical mistakes, and is now in the process of being reviewed for content. I hope to have the book completed and available at http://www.lulu.com/ by the end of the year.

The book is a medieval type, with a religious theme. No, it will most likely not be found on the Best Seller List, but I have enjoyed writing it none the less. I shall post an update when it is had been completed.

Until then, enjoy the blog!

George's Secret Key to the Universe

Apparently, Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy, have written the book entitled, “George's Secret Key to the Universe” to explain the universe and black holes to children. Different than a simple science fiction book, this book is supposed to be “an adventure that is based on real science rather than on fantasy. I thought it was important to weave science into the story line because I wanted to make “George’s Secret Key to the Universe” appealing to children who wouldn’t otherwise pick up a book on physics.”

According to the interview, the following question was asked to Mr. Hawking:

Q: In your children's book, you describe the universe without a creator. Does this reflect your personal beliefs?

A: The lesson of the book is that the universe is governed by the laws of science. One could regard these laws as the work of God but discussion of such theological issues is not appropriate in a children’s adventure story.

Has anyone read this book?

If so, what is your opinion of the content?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Replacing Scripture with Scientology Literature

It never ceasing to amaze me when so-called Christians, especially pastors or teachers, claim that the Scriptures are ancient or merely too hard to read (apparently just for their congregation), so they find literature by various kinds of authors (Christian or non) to take its place, believing it will do a better job than the Word of God in people’s lives.

Apparently, “Two [Pentecostal and Methodist Episcopal] pastors who spoke recently with CNN explained that when it comes to religion, they still preach the core beliefs of Christianity. But when it comes to practicing what they preach in a modern world, borrowing from Scientology helps.” [article]

They would have us believe, “As men of God rooted in Christian values, they do not see Scientology as a threat to their faith, but rather as a tool to augment it.”

Note:Scientology was founded in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer. Followers are taught that they are immortal spiritual beings called thetans. Although the church says there is a supreme being, its practices do not include worshipping God.”

Apparently, one of these persons attended a meeting at the spiritual headquarters of the Church of Scientology in Florida, and fell in love with the book entitled "The Way to Happiness" written by the Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. “It constitutes Hubbard's attempt at developing a non-religious moral code based purely on common sense.”

The 21 precepts are: [wikipedia]

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Be temperate.
  • Don't be promiscuous.
  • Love and help children.
  • Honor and help your parents.
  • Set a good example.
  • Seek to live with the truth.
  • Do not murder.
  • Don't do anything illegal.
  • Support the government designed and run for all the people.
  • Do not harm a person of good will.
  • Safeguard and improve your environment.
  • Do not steal.
  • Be worthy of trust.
  • Fulfill your obligations.
  • Be industrious.
  • Be competent.
  • Respect the religious beliefs of others.
  • Try not to do things to others that you would not want them to do to you.
  • Try to treat others as you would want to be treated.
  • Flourish and prosper.

Tell me again, just by looking at this list, why one must turn from the Scriptures to an atheist’s book, claiming, “it is easier to understand and clearer to follow than ancient Scriptures taken from the Bible?”

Point blank, sir, does Scientology contract the gospel of Jesus Christ?

“"Sometimes yes. Sometimes no." But, the “congregation can relate to "The Way to Happiness."”

If this person (so-called pastor) can honestly say that he and his congregation can relate to an atheist’s writing more than they can relate to the Word of God, there is a deep spiritual problem, which can’t be found in the broad way which they are walking.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Filling the Void

In a recent blog post, the writer suggests, by the title “Saying Goodbye to Your Imaginary Friend,” that persons should turn away from believing in God.

The claim is through childhood, children may easily develop beliefs that fictional characters and invisible friends are somewhat true, since their ability to perceive fact and fiction is greatly less than adults. Although, as a child grows and matures, they begin to see the line between fact and fiction in somewhat of a new light, realizing that some things they considered to be fact are but fictional, and some things they considered to be fiction are actually factual.

It is here that the writer would like to assume that Christianity is merely made of adults who are unable to say goodbye to childhood fantasy, without Filling the Void with another fantasy, namely a mythical being we call God. Interestingly, throughout time man has also filled science with cases of unexplainable fantasy, only to later replace fantasy with more fantasy, or sometimes even having to come to terms with the fact that they simply believed fictional thinking. Some may wish to claim that science merely corrects itself, and man continues to question it, but I can’t help but ponder is it all just Filling the Void of their childhood fantasies, as they say Christianity is.

It seems there is a failure to understand, in their own examples, how a doctor can both pray to God for wisdom and healing, but also use the technology God has allowed our generation to have. Why can one not accept it is completely acceptable for an Engineer to both use the proper tools to design and construct a building, as he also prays to God asking for wisdom and blessing upon his work? Why can the writer not understand, there need not be one without the other?

In closing the writer claims, “as adults, it is time for us to say goodbye to the remnants of a long-ago childhood, and embrace a godless, free-spirited future with logic, rationality and passion as our steering wheel.”

In questioning such a thought, I simply asked, “But what exactly do people turn to, when they turn away from God? It is not always "logic" or "rationality," for sometimes it is merely for a "passion" to do that which they know God has commanded not to.”

The writer’s response was, “This is a question I was faced with when I became an atheist. I guess everyone has to find an answer to fill in that void.

Some turn to sports, others turn to science, and depending on your passion, there is always something concrete to hold onto, till life ceases to exist no more.”

So, we have adults which turn away from God, which sent His Son Jesus Christ to forgive sinners of sin, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, turning to sports, science, and to any other thing which fulfills the lusts of one’s passions. These things are not concrete, nor do they give one comfort in the moment of death, nor through times of struggle, hurt, or need. They are simply a temporal, man-made solution in hopes of Filling the Void. They are unable to fulfill mankind’s eternal need of Christ dwelling in us as Lord and Saviour.

Interestingly, one does not need to turn away from God to enjoy sports, or some of the things science has given us. There is also no reason to hold back one’s prayers and thanksgiving toward God, for what He has given us to enjoy and use to make our lives better. Physical man-made things, regardless of how grand they may appear, cannot fill the spiritual void within mankind’s being. To believe one can fill that gap with fleshly entertainment and wisdom is merely missing the mark, not Filling the Void. The void remains with a superficial covering which must be continually maintained and/or replaced with a new one.

Most, if honest, would confess that the point at which they turn their backs on God, is because they refuse to adhere to His Word: Loving the sin over the Savior. Denying sin as sin, merely acknowledging they may do some things wrong, people falsely believe they are removing themselves from their accountability to a holy, sinless God. Why deny one’s sins, when our great God has made provision through Christ, that it may be forgiven thee? Simply turn to God, repent of your sins, put faith in the work of Christ, whereby you may be saved and cleansed.

In salvation, one has Jesus Christ Filling the Void, for in turning one’s back on God, the void yet remains.

Friday, October 26, 2007

108 Year Old Rabbi Dies, Leaving Claim Jesus Is the Messiah

I was recently given an article, though it is from April 2007, whereby “one of Israel's most prominent rabbis” had apparently left a note proclaiming “Yehoshua, or Yeshua (Jesus), is the Messiah,” wishing it not to be read until one year after his death, at age 108.

Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid.

The Hebrew sentence (translated above in bold) with the hidden name of the Messiah reads: Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim

The initials spell the Hebrew name of Jesus, Yehoshua. Yehoshua and Yeshua are e‑ectively the same name, derived from the same Hebrew root of the word “salvation” as documented in Zechariah 6:11 and Ezra 3:2. ­The same priest writes in Ezra, “Yeshua son of Yozadak” while writing in Zechariah “Yehoshua son of Yohozadak.” ­The priest adds the holy abbreviation of God’s name, ho, in the father’s name Yozadak and in the name Yeshua.

There seems to be some debate over the authenticity of the writing, for obvious reasons, but it appears that there is more evidence which points to its credibility than to it being a fake.

It also appears that:
“A few months before Kaduri died at the age of 108, he surprised his followers when he told them that he met the Messiah. Kaduri gave a message in his synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, teaching how to recognize the Messiah. He also mentioned that the Messiah would appear to Israel after Ariel Sharon’s death. (The former prime minister is still in a coma after suffering a massive stroke more than a year ago.)

Other rabbis predict the same, including Rabbi Haim Cohen, kabbalist Nir Ben Artzi and the wife of Rabbi Haim Kneiveskzy.”

I assume we will find out if this is so, but further in the article it mentions an interesting thought of Kaduri, concerning the Messiah. The Jews do not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah, nor the New Testament concerning Scripture, and it appears that this speaks more concerning the Antichrist than the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The claim here is that, “As leader, the Messiah will not hold any office, but will be among the people and use the media to communicate. His reign will be pure and without personal or political desire. During his dominion, only righteousness and truth will reign.”

Consider Scripture declares the Antichrist shall come in peaceably, assumingly bringing comfort and unity to the world.

It is also true that “It will be easier for non-religious people to follow the [m]essiah than for Orthodox people.” Simply because [1] the children of God (both Jew and Gentile believers) will have already been raptured, and [2] anyone left which the Spirit moves upon toward the Truth will deny the Antichrist the title of Messiah.

The further claim is, “The revelation of the Messiah will be fulfilled in two stages: First, he will actively confirm his position as Messiah without knowing himself that he is the Messiah. Then he will reveal himself to some Jews, not necessarily to wise Torah scholars. It can be even simple people. Only then he will reveal himself to the whole nation. ‑The people will wonder and say: ‘What, that’s the Messiah?’ Many have known his name but have not believed that he is the Messiah.”

It may be that the Antichrist does not know he is the Antichrist at first, as with Judas, but clearly after the first 3 ½ years, when Satan enters him, there will be no doubt. As he proclaims himself as God, peace shall turn into destruction. And most likely, “the wise Torah scholars” would see him as a fake, not having any true likeness to the Messiah of Scripture.

Interestingly, Scripture is clear as to the return of the Messiah (Christ), that He indeed knows who He is and will show Himself to both the Antichrist and the whole nation of Israel. For it is written:

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

I can’t help but find it interesting that a Rabbi would name Jesus as the Messiah, but equally interesting is his professed understanding and description of things to come, which appear to point more toward the Antichrist than the Scripture’s account of the return of Jesus Christ.

Here is a link to some interesting information concerning the book of Revelation, by Clarence Larkin [1919]. He also has a needed “companion” study on the book of Daniel, and some interesting Charts.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Yes, it is spelt that way in the title on purpose. How do you consider Halloween personally? Do you see it as a pagan holiday, religious holiday, or simply just a day for you and/or your children to enjoy dressing up in costumes, walking around the neighborhood collecting a bucket full of candies, and maybe visiting a haunted house or two as all innocent fun?

“The modern holiday of Halloween has its origins in the ancient Gaelic festival known as Samhain.” Samhain (“the word for November in the Gaelic languages”) has origins as being “used for a month in the ancient Celtic calendar, in particular the first three nights of this month, with the festival marking the end of the summer season and the end of the harvest.” It appears that the Gaulish calendar (noting “the Gauls practiced a form of animism,” the worship of animals, and “perhaps the most intriguing facet of Gallic religion is the practice of the Druids.”) was set to the belief that the year was divided into “the 'dark' half, beginning with the month Samonios (the October/November lunation), and the 'light' half, beginning with the month Giamonios (the April/May lunation).” “The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead. In Ireland and Scotland, the Féile na Marbh, the 'festival of the dead' took place on Samhain.”

“Samhain is observed by various Neopagans in various ways. As forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some Neopagans have elaborate rituals to honor the dead, and the deities who are associated with the dead in their particular culture or tradition.”

“Samhain is one of the eight annual holidays, often referred to as 'Sabbats', observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four 'greater Sabbats'. It is generally observed on October 31st in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown. Samhain is considered by most Wiccans as a celebration of death and of the dead, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness and death, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of life and fertility.”

“As October 31 is the last day of the bright half of the year, the next day also marked the beginning of winter, which the Celts often associated with death, and with the slaughter of livestock to provide meat for the coming winter. The Celts believed that on October 31, the boundary separating the dead from the living became blurred. There is a rich and unusual myth system at work here; the spirit world, the residence of the "Sídhe", as well as of the dead, was accessible through burial mounds. These mounds were opened twice during the year, on Samhain and Beltane, making the beginning and end of summer spiritually resonant.”

“The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day", also which is now known as All Saints' Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13 to November 1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day.”

“Halloween did not become a holiday in the United States until the 19th century, where lingering Puritan tradition restricted even the observance of Christmas prior to the 1800s. American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries do not include Halloween in their lists of holidays. The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849) finally brought the holiday to the United States. Scottish emigration from the British Isles, primarily to Canada before 1870 and to the United States thereafter, brought the Scottish version of the holiday to each country.”

“There is little primary documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in the United States or elsewhere, prior to 1900. Mass-produced Halloween costumes did not appear in stores until the 1930s, and trick-or-treating did not become a fixture of the holiday until the 1950s.”

“Halloween is now the United States' second most popular holiday (after Christmas) for decorating; the sale of candy and costumes are also extremely common during the holiday, which is marketed to children and adults alike. According to the National Retail Federation, the most popular Halloween costume themes for adults are, in order: witch, pirate, vampire, cat and clown.”

“The jack-o'-lantern can be traced back to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a greedy, gambling, hard drinking old farmer who tricked the devil into climbing a tree, and trapped him by carving a cross into the trunk of the tree. In revenge, the devil placed a curse on Jack which dooms him to forever wander the earth at night.” “But in America the tradition of carving pumpkins is known to have preceded the Great Famine period of Irish immigration, and the tradition of carving vegetable lanterns may also have been brought over by the Scottish or English; documentation is unavailable to establish when or by whom. The carved pumpkin was associated generally with harvest time in America, and did not become specifically associated with Halloween until the mid to late 19th century.”

“The main event for children of modern Halloween in the United States and Canada is trick-or-treating, in which children disguise themselves in costumes and go door-to-door in their neighborhoods, ringing each doorbell and yelling "trick or treat!" to solicit the usual gift of candies. Although the practice resembles the older traditions of guising in Ireland and Scotland, ritual begging on Halloween does not appear in English-speaking North America until the 20th century, and may have developed independently.”

“In North America, Christian attitudes towards Halloween are quite diverse. The fact that All Saints Day and Halloween occur on two consecutive days has left some Christians uncertain of how they should treat this holiday. In the Anglican Church, some dioceses have chosen to emphasize the Christian traditions of All Saints Day, while some Protestants celebrate the holiday as Reformation Day, a day of remembrance and prayers for unity. Celtic Christians may have Samhain services that focus on the cultural aspects of the holiday, in the belief that many ancient Celtic customs are "compatible with the new Christian religion. Christianity embraced the Celtic notions of family, community, the bond among all people, and respect for the dead. Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine in a gallimaufry (hodgepodge) of celebrations from October 31 through November 5, all of which appear both to challenge the ascendancy of the dark and to revel in its mystery."”

Click above to see what Chick Publications suggest.

A litte more history.

An Atheist’s Fantasy of Killing God

Verified at snopes.com, coming this December 2007, is a movie entitled The Golden Compass.

Origins: “The film is based on (released in the U.S. as The Golden Compass), the first offering in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy of children's books, a series that follows the adventures of a streetwise girl who travels through multiple worlds populated by witches, armor-plated bears, and sinister ecclesiastical assassins to defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God.”

Snopes also notes, “The series' author, Phillip Pullman, is an avowed atheist who has averred that "I don't profess any religion; I don't think it's possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words 'spiritual' or 'spirituality.'" Critics of Pullman's books point to the strong anti-religion and anti-God themes they incorporate, and although literary works are subject to a variety of interpretations, Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "My books are about killing God." (Conservative British columnist Peter Hitchens labeled Pullman "The Most Dangerous Author in Britain" and described him as the writer "the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed.")”

Bill Donohue, president of The Catholic League, has said: “Look, the movie is based on the least offensive of the three books. And they have dumbed down the worst elements in the movie because they don't want to make Christians angry and they want to make money. Our concern is this, unsuspecting Christian parents may want to take their kid to the movie, it opens up December 7th and say, this wasn't troubling, then we'll buy the books. So the movie is the bait for the books which are profoundly anti-Catholic and at the same time selling atheism.”

“Other critics, however, have described Pullman's works as being more generally anti-religion rather than specifically anti-Christian or anti-Catholic: In "His Dark Materials," Pullman's criticisms of organized religion come across as anti-authoritarian and anti-ascetic rather than anti-doctrinal. (Jesus isn't mentioned in any of the books, although Pullman has hinted that He might figure in a forthcoming sequel, "The Book of Dust.") His fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny and the rejection of this world in favor of an idealized afterlife, regardless of creed. As one of the novel's pagan characters puts it, "Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling."”

I guess this is just: An Atheist’s Fantasy of Killing God.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Qualifications of a Bishop or Deacon

In I Timothy 3, we have the qualifications of a bishop and deacon, as given us by God, through the pen of Paul.

1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

As Christians, we understand that bishops (pastors) and deacons are not sinless persons which have reached a stage of perfection others cannot. We must acknowledge that it is the power of God which works in us to do that which is right. Although there be some that feel the moving of the Spirit of God to be called to these positions of service, can we not all strive toward these qualifications in our own personal lives also, even if we are not called to the specific ministry of bishop or deacon?

Men: Is there any cause whereby we should not desire to be vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach (even if simply presenting the gospel to a lost soul or sharing what God has given us from Scripture with a friend or family member), not addicted to alcohol or a drunkard, not a fighter, not greedy of filthy lucre, patient, not a brawler or covetous, not double-tongued, holding firmly to the faith of the gospel within us, without slander, being faithful in all things, ruling our house and raising our children well (by the use of godly wisdom, correction, and Scripture), being of good report both within and without the church?

Ladies: Is there any cause whereby you should not desire to be serious concerning the things of God and how you study and obey them, not a liar or a gossip, faithful in all things, helping your husband raise the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, being an example of a godly woman both to those who are within the church and those who are without?

If we dare look for these qualities in the bishops and deacons, whereby we judge their character and walk with God, as whether to call them to service within our churches, should we not also look for these same qualities within ourselves lest we hold them to a higher standard while we ourselves become slack and lazy in our service to God?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Christopher Hitchens : Militant Atheist?

“Myers says Hitchens wasn't noticeably drunk, so he doesn't have his usual excuse for inexcusable behavior, such as in this previous instance. In any event, such antics are the logical extension of his increasingly warlike thought. This ex-Trotskyist, whose support for militant secularism led him to idolize the founder and first commander of the Red Army, has gone so over the top with his crusade against all religion that he has come to advocate wiping out entire populations. "Demolish it!" he said, when asked about Iran – with apparently no more moral compunctions about the slaughter of the innocent than one might normally exhibit toward a swarm of midges.”

“Hitchens is quite clearly marketing himself as a contemporary Robert Ingersoll, the spokesman for atheism and secularism in the English-speaking world, although, clearly, looking at the bestseller list, he has a lot of competition for that title. If someone with that kind of a public platform should use his status to spread and popularize the suggestion that it's a good idea to kill off the world's Muslims, then we, as a society, are poisoned by his prominence. Decent people cannot allow it.”

You may read the article and decide for yourself here: http://antiwar.com/justin/

Spiritual Immigration

I was recently given an article speaking of the Dutch apparently, “have just instituted some of Europe's most stringent requirements for would-be immigrants.” It seems that “Verdonk argues that the Netherlands can no longer afford to welcome immigrants who will not integrate into mainstream society, which is why she has advocated a new restrictive visa system.”

I know here in America we have some of the same issues of immigrates coming to America, and rather than adapt into our culture and society, they would rather keep their culture and society, sometimes even demanding we accept and nurture theirs over Americas; But, this is not where I would like to go with this post. I am sure if one would like to argue for/against immigration in America, there are surely an abundant amount of places to visit to have your voice heard.

Today I would like to discuss the idea of Spiritual Immigration from a person without God, to a person of God. We understand Christianity is so-called, because it is made of persons who are called Christians, meaning they have put faith in Christ Jesus for forgiveness of sins unto salvation, and should desire to be Christ-like. So, although the context shall remain in Christianity, I would ask for the moment to dismiss the idea of denominations, for I would assume that any Christian denomination agrees that a person is either without God, or is of God (meaning Christ has saved them).

As a lost man, we are out of fellowship with God, living in our sin, and have no desire for the things of God. We are happy to do our own thing, and make our way upon this earth without adhering to what is written in Scripture. There may be times that we feel sorry, may even try to live by what Christian things we have heard, and may even try church for a while, but soon find ourselves pushing it all aside once more to do what we find pleasing in our own hearts and minds.

One day, whether at home, work, church, or merely anywhere one finds themselves, they come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit of their sin and need of Christ as Savior. By grace, they put their faith in Jesus Christ, repenting of sin, as they are converted from a place out of fellowship with God, to a place of being in fellowship with God. Scripture declares, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” At this very moment of conversion, one has passed through Spiritual Immigration, from the devil unto God.

Why then, when we have been given a new birth by God Himself, do we wish to yet cleave to the old man, old ways, and desire not to embrace the new? Why do we believe that now that we have been placed into fellowship with God, by Christ, that we should try to bring with us those things which kept us out of fellowship with God? Do we not grieve the Spirit in trying to doing so? How is it that when we know God does not like that which we have been saved from (sin), do we think He will somehow accept it now within Himself, simply because we refuse to let it go?

Dear Christian, do we not see this as spiritual hypocrisy, as we claim to thank God for allowing us to spiritually migrate from the land of Satan to the land of God, only to desire the things of the land of Satan over the things of the land of God; further acting as if God doesn’t care that we desire sin over righteousness. God help us as professing Christians, to not hold on to our sins as we Spiritually Immigrate, by the hand of God, from the desert of Satan into the holy land of God.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.