Gas Prices, You and God

I was filling up the tank with gas today, $35 for 11 gallons or whatever, I wasn’t really paying attention because there was an elderly lady next to me who couldn’t get the pump to work. So I got it working for her, she didn’t push the button, which she never thanked me for, the older generation just doesn’t know respect. She then proceeded to whine to me about gas prices and “What really makes me mad is how the big oil companies are making all this money.”

“Well actually, if big oil companies didn’t make money you wouldn’t be getting any gas right now” I didn’t say to her. One thing I’ve learned in life is never argue with a woman with grey hair. You’ll never win and they probably can’t hear you anyway.

So anyhow, I already know that I’m going to hear people say that they would have been to church but “gas is so expensive.” I’m already gearing up for it. Please. Whatever. The amount of money we pay for so many other things pales in comparison to what we pay for stupid gas.

I also have a feeling that when we stand before the Lord and He asks us what we did with what He gave us and we reply, “well I would have done more but gas was so expensive” I’m guessing we may not get a nice response. Grow up. Adjust. Support oil drilling in Alaska. Ride a bike. But most importantly, SHUT UP!

Stupid Comments

I have changed the settings of my blog and now only registered blogger people can leave comments. IF you are a non-registered member then you’ll have to send me an email, which I will spell out so that email spammers can’t find it jcweddle1 at you know what I mean.

Anyway, sorry about that but morons ruin it for everyone. You’ll adjust.

I’m Comin With You

We drove down to see the folks the past couple days. On the way down our 5-year old and 4-year old girls were very excited because their school was starting soon and now they were going to see the grandparents. Our 2-year old boy was just following their lead.

It was loud. Happy generally, but loud, with occasional shrieks of joy that set a parent’s spine on edge. We pulled off the highway to get some gas. The kids were going nuts in the car. It was loud. As we pulled back on to the tollway I saw a guy sitting on his backpack with his thumb extended.

“Oh yeah right, like he’d really want to ride with us.” I said to my wife. “Wait, pull the car over.” We pulled over and backed up to him. He jumped up expectantly and then stopped as he saw me get my bag, set it down next to him, and sit down with my thumb extended. “I’m coming with you pal.” I said.

OK, no, I really didn’t do that. But boy, it sure gave me something to think about until my right hand of judgment had to make another move toward the back seat.

Pope Knows Best

The pope has a big job, lots of bulls to write and so forth. He also has a lot of issues he needs to address to help “his people.” Here’s his latest. The pope wants Catholics to have more babies for the “good of society.”

“Having children is a gift that brings life and well-being to society.” The pope also spoke of “the security, the stability and the force of a numerous family.”

Spoken like someone who has no kids. I’ll act on it as soon as he does.

Psalm 36:7

How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

You can’t go on and talk about all that without reverting back to God’s love and what do you know, that’s exactly what the psalmist does.

It doesn’t matter who you are as a person, God loves you. He wants you to come to Him. Whether you are esteemed by others or rejected by others, or a little bit of both, God is always there for us to find refuge.

Amazing love. It’s beyond price. God’s love is infinitely valuable and makes all the other attributes work together and emphasizes the greatness of everything that God is. The goofy thing is that people don’t want to find refuge! “What do we have to fear? Refuge from what?”

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Matthew 23:37

Psalm 36:6

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

God’s love and faithfulness are huge but these aren’t the only aspects of God He wants us to know. He also wants us to know His righteousness. Righteousness is the stuff that is right. Everything God does and is is righteous. It’s this righteousness that lays the foundation for His justice. If He weren’t right all the time He wouldn’t be able to judge righteous judgment; He would be faulty, capable of making mistakes.

Mountains are big. They don’t move. They last for a long time. God’s righteousness is just like that. It’s impressive, majestic and tough to climb–we could never attain God‘s righteous standard.

It only makes sense that justice is the next thing the psalmist speaks of. God’s ability to pass a verdict is like the deep. Dark, cold and wet? Um, sort of. Since we can’t attain the lofty heights of God’s righteousness, you’ll never be able to comprehend the depths of His justice. If you aren’t as right as He is His judgments may not make sense to you. But that’s our problem not His!

Even though God is righteous and can pass judgment, you can’t forget His love which underlies the whole thing. He shows mercy to man and beast. People and animals are all under the heavens, all under the canopy of God’s love. Therefore, even though we’ve messed up the whole joint with our sin, God preserves us. Romans 8 talks about the whole creation groaning. The animals are waiting for people to get their act together!

Christian Priorities

Ask most Christians what the point of the Christian life is and you will probably get an answer like this–show the love of Christ, spread the Gospel, love your neighbor, etc. All things centering on the distinctives of our beliefs and seeking to spread it by example.

Then there is reality.

There is also Pat Robertson and his ilk. Venezuela has now suspended permits for all foreign missionaries due to Robertson’s call for their president’s assassination. Not only did Robertson violate the Christian principle of love, he has also caused the cessation of the spread of the Gospel in Venezuela, at least temporarily.

If believers were as concerned with Christian morons as they are with presidential morons we’d all be better off.

Psalm 36:5

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

The first verses of Psalm 36 point out how gross man is. Man does not fear God so they think highly of themselves even when their sin is pointed out. “Yeah, it’s true. Pretty cool sin eh?” He says bad stuff and stops doing good. Good is for wimps. When all the good people are at home sleeping, the bad guys keep thinking of ways to be bad.

Then there’s God.

God is different. He’s good all the time and rejoices in goodness. The psalmist starts out with God’s love–the ultimate demonstration of His goodness. His love is like the heavens. The heavens are always over us, they aren’t going anywhere and there’s nowhere you can go where the heavens are not above you. God’s love is like that–always above you, covering all of life.

God’s love is not here and there, or coming and going. God’s faithfulness guarantees the presence of His love. His faithfulness keeps us in contact with His love. We’re here; God’s love is above us; His faithfulness allows us to use His love. He doesn’t love just for Himself. He loves so we can benefit from it.

There’s a lot of sin being done by people. But there’s even more of God’s love and there’s no stopping His activity in keeping us in contact with His love.

Anxiety Anxiety

There are lots of problems in life, most of which roll off my back. But there are a few which constantly nag at me, causing my brain to become frantic. Two of those anxieties are overtaking me today.

The first is that for some reason the garbage man did not take my garbage yesterday. They came too early I guess because even though for 5 years now they have picked up my garbage after 10 am, they apparently picked it up around 7. Now I have bags of garbage all over. Garbage Can Anxiety is in full force. What will I do with it all until next Thursday?

The second has occurred the last few times I’ve gotten gas, from the gas station that is. About four trips to the gas station ago I let go of the pump handle exactly on $20. I mentioned that to my wife, how much of a man I was. Just FLICK, and boom, $20. Oh yeah.

But then the next time I went and I missed it by a penny. Then the next time I missed it twice. I get very nervous now. I stretch my fingers. I mentally prepare myself to hit exactly $20. Today I had my money out and I saw that I had a few stray dollar bills so I had plenty of chances to hit an even amount.

I missed the first one, then the next one, then the third time. I finally ended up at $31. Horrible. I’ve lost my touch and all the confidence that is necessary in proper gas pump handling. Thus continues Gas Pump Anxiety.

I now have Anxiety Anxiety. What will I be anxious about next? What other routine event in life will suddenly grow to uncontrollable proportions? This is not good. Not good at all.

You and the Kingdom

The Kingdom of God is a major subject of Scripture. There are several ways the term is used and to mix them leads to great confusion and doctrinal error. The problem is that it’s such a huge topic you have to do a lot of work to sort it all out.

Well, life in our world is much easier than in the past and that’s true for Bible study too. Elva McClain has done all the work for you in his book The Greatness of the Kingdom. It’s a beauty.

He talks about the Kingdom of God in Israel under David and Solomon. The Kingdom of God in OT Prophecy. How Christ addressed the Kingdom. What Paul means by the Kingdom and finally deals with the fulfillment of the Kingdom for eternity. It’s great stuff. Never seen a beter treatment of the subject. A must read for anyone who has ever had questions about how Israel, the Kingdom and the Church fit together.

Annoying Comments

The last few days I’ve had some spam commenting. These morons are not smart enough to know that their little comment spamming may work better if they just did one at a time. So this puts me in a dilemma, what to do about these people who have way too much time on their hands?

1) I could let it go and just not look at their dumb cheap prescription site and not let it waste any of my time.

2) Keep deleting the comments, which still wastes my time.

3) Take away the ability for all anonymous posts, which would stop some people from commenting who don’t have a blogger identity.

4) Delete the whole blog and just give up because vanity, vanity all is vanity.

5) Hunt them down and flick their ear with my finger.

6) Visit their sites and leave tons of anonymous comments. Maybe even establish a Christian comment spamming posse.

7) Let it go and let God sort it out.

If you are thinking of leaving some spam comments, let me know what you would like me to do.

What’s Your Sign?

A church near Philadelphia had their sign vandalized. One morning people passing the church saw the message “God hates you” on the church sign. Vandals had picked the locks on the sign and rearranged the letters to put out their message.

The sign was used to say pithy, feel-good Christian type messages. You know the ones “Get to know the Son that prevents burning” and such like. I’ve always wanted to change those too. The church replaced the vandalized message with “God loves all of us, even sign vandals.” Which is just asking for trouble.

But, Jesus said to know the signs of the times. So very punny.

It’s Not Just The Pew That Stinks

A new study was done trying to figure out why people left their churches. The studiers were surprised to see that doctrinal issues ranked fairly low as a reason for people leaving the church. The main reason people left church was due to problems with other members.

“Most churchgoers who abandon their weekly worship do so because they have had a dispute with a fellow member of the congregation. A disagreement on a range of issues, from the way the organ is played to the content of the sermon, was the reason that nearly three quarters of respondents to a survey gave for why they felt people had left the Church.”

“It is not big doctrinal issues. Typical arguments take place over types of buildings, styles of worship, youth work. If not that, then they argue over the flower rota.”

Ah yes, proving another one of my points–all that other stuff (everything besides the preaching of Christ and Him crucified) is just there to divert attention and get people arguing. Satan is disguised as an angel of light and no doubt plays the organ in many churches. Nothing like the love of Christ bringing unity in the Body of Christ. We’re off, we’re way off. Time to come back.

What Would Mr Bean Do?

The Anglican Church has been struggling for years. No one goes anymore. The reason why is a mystery to the higher-ups of the Church. So they’ve been trying all manner of goofy thing to get people to come back. Here’s the latest.

Mr. Bean, the annoyingly stupid yet often funny, British comedian has joined forces with the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, in making a DVD encouraging people to come back to their church. The DVD features several hilarious cuts from Mr. Bean shows where he tries to fit in with the church crowd along with a sermon suggestion and ways to invite friends.

And there lies the problem. In order to see this video about going to church you have to go to church to see it. Hmm. Seems like they could have thought that out better. But before passing criticism, perhaps I should take the “bean” out of my eye first. I kill me.

Thy Meth Stinketh Too Mucheth

Do you know who works at your church?

A church janitor in Indiana has been arrested for making meth in the church attic. On top of that “Deputies searched Mosley’s home and pickup truck, where they found several loaded handguns, including one that had been reported stolen. Police also confiscated several items associated with making meth, including cooking manuals and the finished product from Mosley’s home.”

Don’t meth with God.

Have To Get This Out Of The System

There is a verse in Scripture that most people know but few apply. It’s a verse that has bugged me for some time but in the past year I have come to terms with it. I think I know what it means. Recent events with hearing that my dad has 12-18 months of life with cancer has brought the verse back to my mind.

Ephesians 4:26 is the verse: “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”

We all know it. What has always boggled my mind is that two verses earlier he tells us to put on the new man and then commands us in verse 26 to “be ye angry.” He didn’t say, “when you are angry do not sin” he said “be angry.”

Now that just doesn’t sound like a new nature, reborn thing to do. But look at the life of Christ. Read Matthew 23 and tell me Jesus wasn’t angry. Look at the cleansing of the temple, the cursing of the fig tree, the impatience with his slow disciples who ask about their seats in heaven instead of worrying about whether their seats will make it there to begin with.

Jesus had an underlying anger and frustration with life–yet He never sinned.

Boy do I feel that anger. Sin has messed up our world. God made this place beautiful and lovely, it was all good and stupid bonehead satan comes and ruins the place. He takes life and makes it miserable. He took nature and made it corrupt. He took God’s perfection and stained it.

That makes me angry. It makes me angry that he could take a guy like my dad and is trying to cut him off so soon. It makes me angry that people will refuse to learn the lessons that life and death teach. It makes me angry that I have to be crying right now. It makes me angry that the wonderful gift of life that God gave us has been turned into vanity, vanity, all is vanity. It makes me angry that I’m angry. It makes me angry that my dad gets to go to heaven before me. It makes me angry that people have never appreciated my father as much as they should and it takes something like death to show them. It makes me angry that many times I haven’t appreciated him. I love my dad and it makes me angry he has to leave.

But it’s morning. There’s plenty of time before the sun goes down. The Bible tells me to be angry and if you’re not from time to time, I do believe you are missing something that God wants you to see. He wants you to know what our stupid sin has caused. He wants us to know His love. He wants us to desire a better place and not be content with this dump. I hate this world and the things it does. But I love my Lord and I love that He loves the world.

O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It’s Never A Good Thing. . .

when Pat Robertson gets my attention two days in a row. I have always had a problem with “Christian” “types” who have notoriety who get mixed up with politics. It always makes them compromise their Christian beliefs and it just comes out all warped and does no favors for Christianity.

Robertson proved my point yesterday when he advocated assassinating Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. From the horse’s mouth:

“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war … and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”

“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”

That’s what Jesus would do. Perhaps Robertson should keep to his diet shakes. At least then his mouth is busy sucking and not talking. I know, Jesus wouldn’t have said that either but I couldn’t help it.

The Eternity Of Now

Two days ago I found out my dad has cancer. Doctors take up a lot of time trying to find out what’s going on while you sit and wait for their verdict. Then the verdict comes and you still sit and wait.

Dealing with life and all the possibilities that can end it is frustrating. The small things of yesterday become the big things of today. Who knows what tomorrow brings. Knowing that there is an eternity coming with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is awful nice.

The perspective of eternity is amazing. Yet how often do we consider that our eternal life has already begun? At the point of salvation you entered eternal life with Jesus Christ. Christ repairs the past, secures the future and puts us in Now.

It’s already eternity because it’s Now. Now is eternal. No matter what time it is, it’s always Now. Now never ends. Now lasts forever. As I trudge on through life with Christ I have realized how important Now is. Regretting the past doesn’t help. Wishing for the future is pointless, the future can shift radically in one phone call.

Don’t worry about the past–it‘s already done; don’t worry about the future–it’s in God’s hands. Adopt the eternal perspective, which begins with–what am I doing Now? Live for Eternity and Eternity is Now.

Now is the accepted time–2 Corinthians 6:2

Shaking Things Up

Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club, has been promoting “Pat’s Age Defying Diet Shake” for about four years. He has been promoting it on the 700 Club as well as on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s web page. Now Pat has decided to take his age defying diet shake national by getting a contract with GNC.

Here’s one of the problems–Pat has been promoting his for-profit business for free on non-profit TV and web pages, both mediums are run by donor-support. Oops.

Here’s another problem–Pat had a contest to see who could lose the most weight by taking his diet shake. A bodybuilder lost about 200 pounds and Pat had him on the 700 Club. Pat is now using the man’s photo in his new GNC ads and the guy in the photo was never told about it. Oops. The bodybuilder is now suing Pat.

Ah yes, I didn’t have much of a favorable opinion of Pat Robertson or the 700 Club already, this isn’t helping. Thank God he’s not president.

Suing Your Brother

A pastor in California was recently on sabbatical and when he returned he found that his church had changed the locks and fired him. He was fired under allegations of being obsessed with another pastor’s wife and daughter and that he embezzled money.

The fired pastor is now suing the church for $15 million. “The lawsuit also describes accusations that Sabolick [the fired pastor] lied about having Jewish ancestors, fell under the control of Satan and “abused” his wife by making her wear “tight jeans.”

To top the whole thing off, one of the board members who was instrumental in firing him is his brother! You can read the story to see who you believe but surely something could be done “in house” to settle this without dragging the name of Christ through the mud again.

“For starters, Joe wants his old job back. “If someone steals your car and drives it around for a year, you don’t say, ‘Oh, go ahead and keep it,’ ” he said. No, but that’s kind of what the Bible says. But it also says not to lie about people, be jealous, don’t sue fellow believers, etc. What a mess.

What’s The Big Idea?

Big Idea, the makers of Veggie Tales filed for bankruptcy awhile back after a lawsuit they lost to Lyrick Studios costing them $10 million. But the suit has now been overturned and they no longer owe that money.

Apparently, the issue was over a verbal agreement between the two companies that went by the wayside. Since it was a verbal agreement it could not legally be enforced. So, even though Big Idea wins the suit, they are now known as people who don’t necessarily keep their word. Not sure that’s any better.

But, on the plus side, they will now go back to making more Veggie Tales videos and that’s really all I care about.

Stay-Puff Part 3

Knowledge is an integral part of love but it also causes problems. There are two verses about wisdom and knowledge that you have to know:

“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. (Ecclesiastes 1:18)”

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. (Proverbs 3:13)”

Wisdom adds to your happiness and it adds to your grief. You better believe it. I think the same could be said for wisdom and love–much wisdom allows you to love much more. Much wisdom makes it harder to love.

Marriage illustrates this well. Because I know oh so much about my wife I know many things about her that you don’t that makes it easier for me to love her. At the same time, I know many things that make it more difficult to love her that you would never have to struggle with because you wouldn’t know those things. And, of course, the same is true for her love for me.

Wisdom and love are tough. Knowledge of a subject can make you aware of its pros and cons. Knowing the Chicago Cubs adds to my enjoyment of them but also adds greatly to my general discouragement with them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn more to avoid grief. No, that knowledge that leads to grief makes the knowledge that leads to happiness that much happier!

Knowledge and love are inseparable. How can you truly love something you don’t know anything about? But, at the same time, the more you learn of it the harder it is to love it, with the warts you now know about. Our approach to knowledge is what makes love possible. If we learn about others for our benefit and to brag about how wise we are, expect trouble. But if we learn about others for their benefit, and stay away from being conceited, love is the result.

Knowledge of God comes first. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. (Philippians 3:10)” Learn it, love it, live it.

Stay-Puff Part 2

Saying that believers know too much is like saying the Chicago Cubs win too much.

Since when have you heard that Christians are informed about their faith? Coincidentally, there is also an article on the Connexions blog about how Christians don’t know anything about their Bible or God.

The last thing in the world we need to be doing is encouraging people to be afraid of “knowing too much.” Good night, you can’t accuse people who don’t know anything about knowing too much!

One thing I have learned is that people who really, really, really know a subject are so confident in their knowledge that they don’t have to flaunt it. They don’t have to put on a show. It’s the people who know a little bit who are always the most arrogant. They know how to argue their pet doctrines and then lord that over everyone to scare people off so they don’t show their ignorance.

Paul’s point about knowledge puffing up was not because they knew too much. It’s because they showed it off. Any time you show off, you are setting yourself up for failure–pride doesn’t go before summer you know.

Stay-Puff Christian Man

Love is a difficult subject. If you don’t think so, I’m guessing you don’t love anyone.

I often hear people talk about how knowledge puffs up and so we should love instead. 1 Corinthians 13 says love is not puffed up. The application is that we need to “learn less doctrine” and try to love more. Boy that irritates me. I was going to write on this today anyway and coincidentally, Christianity Today has an article saying this very irritating application. Instead of learning more people want experience. Experience is better than knowledge, which sounds awful close to walking by sight rather than faith.

The context of knowledge puffing up is 1 Corinthians 8. He is not talking about not knowing God or not knowing doctrine (love is a doctrine, by the way), he is talking about knowing the situation. After saying knowledge puffs up the very next verse talks about what we know about God.

The problem comes because the stumbling brother knows what you know! You apparently have shown what you know about meat offered to idols. The problem is not what you know about God but what you do in relationship to what you know about God and the situations of life. If you make a show of your wisdom others will know what you said you knew and then judge you accordingly.

Here’s the point–1 Corinthians 8 does not mean we shouldn’t learn doctrine, that’s just plain obvious and totally ridiculous to think that the Bible at any point tells people not to know too much about God. The issue is what you do with your knowledge. If you’re out flaunting what you know, expect to cause people to stumble around you.

Romans 14 talks about the same subject–meat offered to idols–as 1 Corinthians 8. Paul’s point there is the same one he’s making here–“hast thou faith? Have it to yourself before God.” Don’t flaunt what you know! Just know it and use it to love others. The more you know about God the easier it will be to love.

Who Would Jesus Harass?

A church seeking to expand in Rockaway Township, New Jersey has raised some protest by their community. One member of the community started an opposition group posting things on the internet.

A member of the church that is being opposed began to email her and post things on her message board including the phrases “you should live in fear” and “you are toast.”

At the same time, her website does invite comments from the public. He is part of the public and these are comments. She will probably not win her case against him.

However, it raises the question–what is your church doing to offend people? Are our needs bigger than anyone else’s? Who’s needs did Jesus try to meet? I think the Church is becoming too big and too self-centered.

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