Tools of Faithful Titans

A couple weeks ago I finished reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.

It’s a massive book, 600+ pages, comprised of snippets of interviews Tim did with, what Tim considers to be, successful people.

Much of it was weird. Many push doing hallucinogenics. Many are overly obsessed with diet and exercise to the extent it consumes most of their waking hours, or at least it would if I were to do all that. Most also pushed transcendental meditation.

Many of their heroes and recommended resources were religious in nature, but mostly Buddhist, Taoist, of Gandhi type things.

Not a single one mentioned Jesus Christ. Six hundred plus pages and not one mention of Jesus Christ, not even in a sloppy way. No mention whatsoever.

At first this bugged me, “are you suggesting that no successful people follow Jesus? I mean, seriously?”

But as I thought about it more, this is actually a good thing!

What Tim Ferriss respects are people who are dominant, those who have followers, and material success.

Buddhism allows you methods by which you can attain material success. Meditation is a “spiritual” thing you do to get better physical results.

If a person followed Jesus Christ, they would never be on Tim Ferriss’ show, nor in his books.

Jesus Christ will not lead you to be materially successful.

Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t those who manipulate His teachings to arrive at material success, there are, and they are called false teachers–their god is their belly.

But an honest following of Jesus will leave you disrespected by Tim Ferriss and other self-help gurus. Even if you did achieve financial success, following Christ would make you get rid of that money in a non-flashy, not gonna make it on Tim’s show, kind of way.

Hebrews 11 is God’s version of Tools of Titans.

All these people were massive losers in the world’s eyes. But in God’s eyes, they were eminently successful.

And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

The world has no respect for no-name poor people who suffer and then die. Tim Ferriss has no use for such folks. They provide no value to him or his worldview.

Even the great people of faith we do know did not have great material success.

Abraham never saw any of the promises he was given fulfilled, he died still wondering where the fruit was.

Moses couldn’t get anyone to listen to him ever.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel were largely ignored and then killed by the people they were sent to help.

Paul died alone, no man stood with him.

Peter was crucified.

And, of course, our Leader, Jesus Christ, was rejected and even forsaken by His own disciples.

He asks you to follow Him in this rejection, in this lowliness and humility. Lose your life to find it.

This is all insane on an earthly level.

Tim Ferriss wrote a 600+ page book about how to be successful on this earth and Jesus was not mentioned once.

I like that.

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Trump, Jerusalem, and Your Bible

 

Last week President Trump announced that the US would move their embassy to Jerusalem, the “capital of Israel.”

This caused quite the stir.

Politically speaking, I’m all for America treating Israel well. They are a valuable ally, and I think some compassion should be shown them due to their precarious position and miserable history. I’d rather side with them than any other nation in the Middle East. I actually like Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, because, duh, it clearly is.

Common sense tells you Jerusalem is the capital. It’s so common sense that a video was put out showing that all our recent presidents acknowledged this:

All recent presidents have promised to do what President Trump actually went ahead and did. It did take guts, whether you agree with it or not.

In all honesty, the desire to not treat Jerusalem as Israel’s capital comes from a humanist, Bible-rejecting worldview. Not saying everyone in that camp is a Bible-rejecting humanist, just saying that’s where this stance comes from.

Physically speaking
, the Bible was written by Jews. It’s mainly about Jews. Your Savior was Jewish. Salvation is of the Jews. All who are of faith have Abraham as their father. They are the tree we are grafted into.

Antisemitism, the foundation for any Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel thinking, exists largely because of the Bible. They have suffered for thousands of years for what we take for granted. They deserve our respect and appreciation.

Unfortunately, many people, mainly Christians, put too much significance on this sort of thing. It’s the mindset that lead to the Crusades: we must fight to regain the Holy Land!

Here’s a gem I came across from President Trump’s rally last Friday.

Speaker at Trump rally: the soon coming King is coming back to Jerusalem because President Trump declared Jerusalem to be capital of Israel

 
According to the above quote, Donald Trump has allowed the Messiah to return.

Jesus Christ does not need anything to be put in place by anyone to come back. He can just come when He, and/or the Father, wants.

It is important not to mix modern national Israel with the promises of God to Israel.

So, spiritually speaking, we can view all the diplomacy of the US as being without much consequence.

The children of the flesh (racial Israel) are not the children of the promise (those who are of faith).

National Israel today is just a chunk of dirt on the globe. It bears no eternal significance, now that the presence of God has departed the temple.

Israel is a fallen nation of fallen people with fallen leaders just like our country and every other.

These are just geo-political nations that have zero eternal value. Christ does not need US diplomatic permission to return!

Views on Israel can get very frustrating. Lots of confusing positions are taken. Be careful. I think it’s good to break down your view on these Political, Physical, and Spiritual levels. It might help you think things through better.

Rather than wasting breath arguing over Trump, Israel, Jerusalem, or such things, instead listen to Psalm 122:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

Donald Trump, nor any other leader, will bring lasting peace to Jerusalem. God can and will. All our attempts will merely be more evidence of our great need for the King of Kings to reign.

Christ’s coming will bring peace to Jerusalem.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is praying for Christ to return.

If that doesn’t get you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I don’t know what will!

Stuff to Look At

Here are a couple things I’d like to promote:

*My sister, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, and I are planning on doing a Read Through the Bible program this year and will be doing a 10-15 minute podcast on each week’s reading. If you would like to participate, send me an email to daweddles@yahoo.com and we will add you to the list and keep you posted on new episodes.

*I have been writing for a ministry called Ananias House lately. They are a ministry to the persecuted church in Syria and surrounding environs. Here are a couple articles I have written for them:

Persecution, Death, and Other Things to be Thankful For

We’re not Salesmen; We’re Ambassadors for Christ

The Suffering of the Body

The Daily, Un-celebrated Plodding of Faith

*I preached a couple months worth of sermons about the Gospel and then a series on Evangelism. There are a couple sermons I’d like you to hear that encapsulate many years of experience and frustration with the average explanation of Evangelism.

Evangelism and the Other Person

People have to Want the Gospel

God in Evangelism

True Evangelism is Hard

 

Thank you. That is all. Carry on.

Doubting Fanatics

“The fanatic is always concealing a secret doubt.”

George Smiley, author of spy novels, said this. I have no idea what the context is because I do not read spy novels.

I will, however, use my ignorance of the context to pontificate on an idea.

A fanatic is someone, in my opinion, completely sold out to an idea to the extent of being willing to fight for it. Not just willing to fight if a fight comes, but itching to fight for it, starting fights for the sole opportunity of fighting for it.

People who yell and scream and get mad at those who disagree with them. These are fanatics.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: Me thinks thou dost protest too much.

People who make a scene of defending their cause, who use violence, vitriol, and red-faced arguing, are actually displaying their insecurity.

Emotional rage is a substitute for intellectual reasoning.

Observe our modern political landscape. There are few calm voices. Everyone is yelling. Most Americans who are yelling can’t name the three branches of their government or the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Theologically, Calvinists are largely fanatical. Calvinists have no monopoly on fanaticism, but they are a handy example since this response is prevalent among them, which makes a guy like me have that much more confidence in my own stance on the issue.

One Calvinist posted on this page for years, made everything about Calvinism, and argued every post. I eventually blocked him.

He changed his username and email and tried posting under a new identity. But I had ways in place to block him and knew it was him changing his identity. He then sent me emails for months, few of which I read, continuing to fight.

This was all very weird to me. I make no secret of not liking Calvinism. But I do not hunt them down to fight with them. I do not troll their blogs.

The reason behind our responses, in my opinion, is because I have confidence the Bible is on my side; he did not.

Several times in our discussions over the years he could not answer my arguments and told me to talk to his pastor or read some book someone wrote.

Anytime someone says that to you it’s because they do not know what they are talking about. People who don’t know what they are talking about have doubts. People with doubts get loud and argumentative.

It is a waste of time to argue with fanatics. They are not listening. They are just arguing to give them a confident feeling their intellect can not. They go to bed at night knowing they defended the faith against the nay-sayers.

Watch out for yelly, argumentative fanatics of any camp: political, doctrinal, religious, etc. They don’t know what they’re talking about and use the number of fights they are in as proof of certainty.

Don’t give them that certainty. Calmly state your opinion and then move on.

Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.

Israel Rejects Jesus Christ for the Same Reason We Do

The vast majority of Jews reject Jesus Christ as their Messiah.

There is one primary reason why: He didn’t meet their expectations.

Jewish expectations for the Messiah were: a physically impressive man who would physically deliver Israel from physical enemies and bring Israel into a glorious, physically-rich kingdom.

Instead, Jesus Christ showed up meek, lowly, humble, serving, and ultimately dying. In other words, He brought a bunch of nothing that no one needed.

Who needs a Messiah who can’t pay the bills, kill enemies, and give us free health care?

Jesus clearly demonstrated He had the ability to do these things, but He didn’t on a national level.

There are two comings of the Messiah. Israel skipped to the fun one. But the first lowly, humble, dying coming was necessary for our eternal salvation.

Lest we begin to bash Jews, they are just people like you and me.

Unfortunately, the Church is falling into the same error as Israel. We’re not interested in lowly, humble, serving and dying. No thanks.

We want Jesus to help us achieve the American Dream. We aren’t interested in a Savior that doesn’t give us our stuff now.

Spiritual blessings in heavenly places don’t pay the bills!

So, again, just like Israel, we’re rejecting the True Messiah because He’s not what we need.

What we fail to realize is that what we truly need is a Savior for our souls. You can get stuff if you try hard enough. You don’t need a Messiah to get a paycheck. But you’ll never get salvation for your soul without a Messiah.

But, most people don’t care about their souls. They care about the bills and the reputation and the promotion and success here and now.

So we reject Jesus Christ and follow a god of our own making. Our dream messiah. Our Golden Calves, “Behold your gods who brought you out of Egypt!”

Our affections and lusts are completely off, folks. I don’t think we have any idea how completely off the mark we are.

Every once in a while I get a glimpse, but then I go watch TV.

Materialistic Christianity

Materialism has taken over our world.

I don’t just mean the “buying stuff” kind of materialism.

The classic definition of materialism is living life as though only the material exists and matters. Life is about my body sensing material stuff around me. There is nothing higher, no spiritual component.

Self-help books are materialism. They give you advice about how to use your physical body to be physically successful. Success means being a master at manipulating material things so you get more material things.

Even our spirituality is materialistic.

Modern Evangelical Christianity is about how Jesus can help you pay off your mortgage, heal your knee, and help you accomplish your dreams.

It seems the only reason people get interested in spiritual things is if it will benefit their physical attainments.

Here’s a perfect case: a weight-loss Bible study aerobics class. They are amazed at how much interest there is in it. I am not amazed by it at all. The only stuff people in our day pay attention to is stuff that will benefit them physically/materially.

True Christianity, as delineated in the Bible, tells you that in Christ you are dead to this world. Your flesh is dead. You are crucified with Christ. You don’t live any more.

Christianity tells us this world will be dissolved and melted. We’re to set our affections on things above, lay our treasure in heaven, and live for the better country to come.

True Christianity says we die to our fleshly affections and lusts, and mortify the deeds of our bodies. Our bodies are living sacrifices, ready to be killed all day long for the sake of Jesus Christ.

If you are looking to Christianity to help you succeed materially, you will be vastly disappointed.

If, however, you understand the book of Ecclesiastes and know that everything is vanity and this world is corruptible, you will love Christianity.

Jesus Christ will lead you to peace, love, joy and other SPIRITUAL fruit, which only come when you realize the futility of pursuing physical things.

Are you following Christ in an effort to get more and better physical things? Or are you following Him because you’re fed up with physical things and know there must be something better?

Would you still follow Christ if it didn’t benefit you one bit physically?

Eternal Morality and Being on the Right Side of History

Biblical morality is at odds with culture. This is not new. People have always viewed God’s wisdom as foolishness. What man esteems, God despises.

Societies base morality on majority vote. Morals change because the majority of people today have different morality from the majority of people hundreds of years ago.

Tie this in with our evolutionary mindset and our rampant self-flattery, and we conclude that morality is evolving. Modern morals are superior to ancient morality.

Even the church has bought into this evolutionary idea. We’re embarrassed to maintain biblical morality written thousands of years ago. Many who claim to be Christian promote moral evolution.

Today we talk about changing your morals to be “on the right side of history.” When people look back on this day, you don’t want to be viewed as being on the wrong side.

Typically, and ironically, this statement is said by people who despise history as a record of oppression written by the winners.

To be honest, I do not care what side of history I am on. People’s opinions of my morality bothers me very little.

I believe my morals are correct because, as best I can, I base them on God’s Word. The only side I’m worried about being on is God’s side. His judgment is the only one that matters.

God’s moral standards are eternal. They don’t change. Right will always be right and wrong will always be wrong. God’s truth is not evolving. God’s truth does not change by majority vote.

In the end, the old, out-dated biblical morality will shine through. People who maintain biblical morality will avoid the ailments that come from immoral living. The fruit reveals the wisdom.

In the end, this world will be melted and dissolved. What a melted planet thinks about my morals bothers me none. Use eternal morality to guide your temporal living. You’ll shine in the end.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.