Pot Calling The Kettle A White Devil

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said in a speech the other day that, “If Jesus and Muhammad were on this stage, they would embrace each other with love,” Farrakhan told the crowd. “How come we … can’t embrace each other?”

“If we would live the life that Jesus lived … we would not be in the shape we’re in today,” he said. “We praise Jesus and live a crazy life. … We praise Muhammad and live a crazy life.”

Hot Air

The Reverend Jerry Falwell says global warming “is Satan’s attempt to redirect the church’s primary focus” from evangelism to environmentalism.

Falwell said the Bible teaches that God will maintain the Earth until Jesus returns, so Christians “should be responsible environmentalists, but not first-class nuts.”

Hmm, so much to say and so much restraint granted me by the Holy Spirit.

The Silence Of Preaching

Two news stories today struck me as interesting. Al Gore is being exposed as wasting tons of electricity, more than average people, even though he goes all over the place telling us to stop raping Mother Earth.

Prince Charles is calling for a ban on McDonald’s as being horrible food, meanwhile, his own brand of Duchy Original pastries is much worse than a Big Mac!

The proliferation of information and the free access we all have to get it out there is keeping people more honest, or at least demonstrating more hypocrisy. This is something Christians should take to heart.

The reason we have been accused of hypocrisy so much is because we are hypocrites. It’s actually nice to see it being admitted that Christians do not have the corner on the market. However, this is no excuse.

The reason why much of our preaching has little effect is because our lives don’t back it up. You can talk to you’re blue in the face about your pet doctrines but if they aren’t being lived in your life people will find out and the power is gone.

One of the reasons the Apostles had some success in preaching and converting is because you could not find fault with their lives. They were unbelievably consistent with their message. Christ is the ultimate example, He demands nothing He didn’t do.

Granted, we’ll all fail and Christianity sets us up to be hypocrites, and that should be part of our theology as well, along with the resultant humility that should arise because of that fact. But we point to Christ, and that being the case, our lives should do so as well.

Psalms Of Vengeance

David always gets ripped on for having written psalms calling for the destruction of bad guys, like Psalm 58:10 “The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.”

Isn’t that wrong? How come no one has made a worship chorus out of that one?

The typical answer I have always heard is that it was OK to think this way under the Law because God punished sinners then, but we’re under Grace now so you can’t think that.

I agree, in part. But Revelation 19 contains believers being quite happy about the destruction of the wicked. Don’t Paul’s words in Romans about “vengeance is mine I will repay sayeth the Lord” the same thing as what David is doing?

David wasn’t telling God that he was going to go out and shed their blood, he was asking God to do so, isn’t that consistent with what Paul says?

Now, I can’t quite bring myself to ask God to kill people or blot them from the Book of Life, but maybe that’s a problem with me!

Hear me carefully here, I’m not willing to encourage people to pray for the misery of others, however, I’m also willing to admit that perhaps we don’t view sin as being all that bad anymore. Sure, Hitler should have been killed, but not regular sinner types.

David’s Psalms were still inspired by God and even though we’re under Grace, God has not changed His opinion of sin and sinners. Just a thought: maybe these Psalms are so offensive to us because we’ve lost the seriousness of sin and when we do view sin as serious, we’d rather take vengeance on our own rather than ask God to do so.

Esther And Women

My wife has been at a ladies’ Bible study about the book of Esther, a book which I just read again the other day. I asked my wife why women always study Esther.

“Because it’s a woman who is empowered to have some control and help.” She said.

“Yeah, but all she did was get beautiful and sleep with a king, how is that empowering to women? Isn’t the whole message rather demeaning, especially to ugly women?” I asked with true curiosity.

“Well, she didn’t just sleep with him, she made him dinner too.”

“Ah, say no more.” The book of Esther is a tad weird in my mind and there are many elements of the account that make me wonder why women want to study it so much, since seemingly every women’s Bible study ever has studied the book.

In my mind, the true point of Esther is this: Esther is from a despised group of people yet is unbelievably beautiful in the eyes of the king, the very same king who OK’s the destruction of Esther’s people.

Esther is a picture of Christ. Christ is rejected, and yet beautiful in God’s eyes. God has marked all sinners for destruction, yet Christ intercedes and begs for their pardon and God assents.

Esther is not about women’s empowerment nor is it about being a beautiful cook, it is about the empowerment of anyone to intercede on behalf of others, just as Christ did for us. But being a beautiful cook is good too.

Judging Your Standard

I am not a mathematically inclined person, but while formulating this idea, a graph came to my mind, which looked remarkably like the one I drew here. Here is the point.

The lower our standard of conduct, the more judgmental of others we become. It would seem as if the inverse would be true, but alas, tis not. Allow me to expound.

Speaking of being judgmental, there are two groups of people who have struck me as being egregiously judgmental.

1) Legalists–anyone with a checklist of taste not, touch not, handle not become very judgmental. The reason for this is that they have adapted a standard of conduct they believe they have met. Their standard is on par with their current behavior. Thus, if you are not like them you are heretical and evil. Their standard has declined to themselves and they are hyper-judgmental.

2) Libertyists–I know this isn’t a word but it fits. The particular crowd of evangelicals who claim that since we’re under grace God could care less what you do (God forbid) also become very judgmental. Since they allow themselves to do everything and you don’t, you are a close minded weirdo who has also veered into heresy. Their standard has declined to “whatever” and thus they become very judgmental of others who make a “what” every once in awhile.

Bottom line is this: the Bible’s standard is perfection (2 Corinthians 13:11; Matthew 5:48). Since our standard is so high, Christ, we know better than to judge others, we’re having a hard enough time ourselves! The easier our standard is the less we look at what we are doing and the more we examine what everyone and their mother is doing.

Just a theory, feel free to ignore it.

19 And 3/5 To Go

Today I went snow-shoeing. I must admit I have never done this before. The reason I never did this was because I always thought it was rather silly.
After doing it, I still think it is rather silly. I find sinking into snow with big ol‘ Sorel boots on much easier than walking on top of snow with 3 feet of wood strapped to your feet. There were a few places where I experienced the advantage of snow shoes but they were far outweighed by the many times I experienced the disadvantage of them–no traction up hills, slips on wood under the snow, straps loosen causing left snow show to crack into my right ankle, my boots don’t fit in them so I have to wear tennis shoes, gets stuck on weird snow ridges or twigs, etc.
All that being said, what a beautiful day in the Northwoods. Snow is lightly falling, little wind, comfortable temperatures around 30. There is no noise back in the trees except falling snow. I love that.

Good And Bad

I biked 25 miles on Saturday and came across this house that had built a wall separating the house from the road. The unique thing is that the wall is made out of firewood. The picture does not do it justice. I thought it was a beautiful piece of work, he even turns a corner with the wood wall. If you’ve ever stacked wood, you’ll appreciate this fine work of art.

Unfortunately, during this ride, my chain began flopping all over and even fell off once as it is worn out. So today I took my bike in to the shop to have its annual $200 maintenance done to it. So, that means I will not have a bike for a week finalizing yet another horrible February.

I will finish the month with 158 miles and a year total of 458. This will also get March off to a bad start as well. I will now have to find other ways to exercise this week. Luckily we are getting lots of snow this week so I should be able to do some fun things outside.

Not Intimidated

Nehemiah is working hard to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to get a little bit of respect back to Israel. In chapter six several different people attempt to intimidate and discourage Nehemiah and his project.

It didn’t work. Every time he received an intimidating message, Nehemiah went to God and asked for strength and the ability to ignore the message and carry on.

He did. In Romans one, Paul says he is “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” This wasn’t just something that helped Paul share the Gospel with an unbeliever. His unashamedness allowed him to live his faith, as the “just shall live by faith.”

We are constantly surrounded by discouraging messages trying to intimidate us into not following the Lord. They often work, at least on me anyway. There are even times I intimidate and discourage myself with irrational fears and worry.

Living by faith is a fight, the fight of faith. It aint easy. Nehemiah needed to stick with his vision, pray for strength, ignore the nay-sayers and press on. The life of faith is no different for us.

20 And 3/5 To Go

I accomplished another goal on my list of things to do: I went for a walk in the woods during a winter storm. Well, “storm” is a relative term. It qualifies as a storm this winter.
Most of our snow fell overnight. But around 5 pm it started to get grizzly again so I went out. I’m standing on our lake in this photo, you can see the treeline in the background.
There was a nice 20 mph wind out of the north with snow falling and blowing, I love this stuff! You can also observe my new Bears coat I was given, which is a very nice coat as well as a fine endorsement of God’s Team.
After walking across the lake I entered the woods I enjoy trespassing in during storms. It goes straight up onto a ridge that drops off on either side and you can usually get the full force of the wind up there. However, today, for some reason, it was very still back in there. A nice little evening walk.

Jesus Back In School

Well, his mom is anyway.

An employee in a public school in Houston saw an image of the virgin Mary in a baking pan while doing dishes. The pan was displayed in the lunch line until it began drawing a huge crowd. Mary was then evicted from school, again, and is now on display at the dish washer’s house.

Some hope to set up a permanent spot for the baking pan in the neighborhood, where anyone can visit, day or night.

“I think someone was watching over us,” Guerrero said. “I think someone is watching over this community and this school district and this school.”

Tempting Faith

David Kuo was a young man in Washington working for W’s faith-based initiative program. Through several years of experience trying to make the thing work, he came to a conclusion: The White House was just using religion to get votes.

Kuo has gotten himself in trouble with many people. Liberals don’t like him because he’s still conservative, conservatives don’t like him because he points out conservative hypocrisy, and Christians don’t like him because he tells them their guys are all frauds.

However, Kuo says nothing I haven’t been saying for many years. Politics is politics. It is not the sphere by which the Church is to focus on. All church leaders who do focus on politics are or become ego maniacal frauds.

If you don’t believe these things already, read this book and you might. If you believe these things already this book will reinforce and solidify your opinion. I couldn’t agree more with Kuo and wish many more believers would read this book and share his opinion.

Coming Out

You can’t help but be depressed if you read through Kings and Chronicles. Israel has sunk low and sunk quickly. Ezra picks up on the depression. You feel for these guys.

Israel was living in captivity, their emotions are on their sleeves as they attempt to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem under the supervision of the King of Babylon. They get it done. Some people are happy, others, who have seen the glory of the previous temple compared with this new one, just bust out crying.

Ezra confronts the people and the priests for marrying foreign women and disobeying God’s command for them of being pure. More tears. Everyone is crying.

The point of Ezra is how tough it is to live a life separate from those around you. You feel their pain as they were lead astray and now desire to come back to God. The pressures from those around them are everywhere. Defeat is right around the corner.

But they persist, in all their humiliation, tears and anguish, they persist in following God.

Amazing that it is so easy and happy for us, is it not? Or could it be that we are not coming out and being separate as much as God may have intended?

Jesus Has Returned

Jesus Christ has gotten tired of waiting and has made an early second coming. Apparently, he appeared to a group of people on top of a mobile phone tower.

Witness Eric Odongo, who claimed he “first saw clouds on top of the mast and that Jesus appeared to be standing amidst clouds”, told the paper: “I saw Jesus standing on top of the mast. He was standing between two people and was putting on a white cloth. His hair was black.”

Thousands of people gathered at the mast before the day was over. Reporters were unable to see Jesus proving once again, the anti-Christian bias of the media.

No word as to when the mast will show up on eBay or how much shipping will be.

Its Over, Hope You Enjoyed The Ride

Well, it’s official: Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, they had a child and there is a privileged family line out there somewhere.

A new documentary, “The Burial Cave of Jesus,” proposes that Jesus’ tomb has been found and has proof that Jesus had a family.

The 2000-year-old cave had already been discovered in 1980 in Jerusalem’s Talpiyot neighbourhood. In it were 10 coffins, six of which bore inscriptions, which – translated into English – included the names “Jesus son of Joseph,” twice “Maria,” and “Judah son of Jesus.”

If true, this discovery could shake Christianity to its core, maybe even end its 2,000 year reign of terror and crutchiness. Get ready to convert to a more credible religion, there are so many to choose from.

Lit Class

For those of you who know Herb and Bev Olson, their granddaughter has made the news out in Washington. During an American Literature class they were assigned to critique the myth of the Genesis account of creation by their teacher who told them he was an atheist. She couldn’t quite bring herself to do it.

I could never bring myself to do my American Lit homework either, but for much less noble reasons.

Keeping Doctors Away

I was talking to an older man today who has had a number of medical problems and he gave me some good advice. He said, “Stay away from doctors, they always find something wrong.”

It’s true, they do.

I was brought up with a healthy fear of doctors. In fact, I was even given a healthy fear of hospitals or anyone who spoke of their recent medical trauma. For some reason, I would get physically ill when around any of these things.

Apparently, my father and grandfather did as well, no telling why. All I know is that my head starts swimming, my hands get sweaty and I start to lose it. I’ve done so a number of times during hospital visitations. I find that it’s a nice way to help patients worry about someone else for a change. It’s a service really.

I do not like doctors or hospitals but I am getting better around them. But I still don’t want to go to them for me. They say that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and I have always believed that and is also why ever since I’ve had any say on what I eat each day I have always eaten an apple.

I’ve been to the doctor twice in the last 15 years, once for a sinus infection and once for strep throat. I like apples. Apples are our friends.

Doctors And Other Evil People

“And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians” (2 Chronicles 16:12). Then he died.

Many people have died due to listening to verses like this one. They have concluded that it is evil to go to doctors and we should depend on the Lord instead.

I honestly think we run to doctors too quickly these days, unless you pay for your own insurance. I think we are way too wimpy. There are pills for everything now and I don’t begrudge people getting their pills and yes, I know I’m too young to understand what pain is, however, I stick by my point.

We’re wimps. As I said a few days ago, when we are weak He is made strong and our consuming desire is to be in a continual state of strength. A little weakness won’t kill ya.

I believe there is a balance, we should depend on the Lord and also use the means we have to alleviate pain. But I also believe that we can go way overboard in sustaining life! This is a personal call for each person, so you do what you gotta do, as for me, I’m not sure why so many are trying so hard to stay here.

Revelation 18:23 talks about the great city Babylon and all her evils and says, “by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” This is one of the few points I remember from a Revelation series I heard once, the word “sorceries” is the Greek word pharmacaia, which we get our word “pharmacy” from.

The possible intent being that the sway of the Antichrist will be helped by pills! Sort of makes sense seeing as how everyone and their mother is on 47 different kinds of pills. Why not just slip another ingredient in there and dumb us all down to complacency?

I’m just saying. There is a balance, good luck finding it.

Hodag Country

Another loverly day in Rhinelander, goodness. It was about 45 degrees and sunny. I made it 16 miles. Only downside was the fact that the roads are very wet with all the melting, which means my backside is rather wet. Oh well.

Here is a picture of the Rhinelander Hodag wishing you a belated Happy Valentines. This is one of the items I am supposed to take a picture of for my list of 25 things to do in Northern Wisconsin. It is in its new location in front of our visitor’s center. I feel very welcomed every time I see it.

Seek And You Will Find

Romans 3 says “there is none that seeketh after God.”

I read a blog post talking about this phrase and how it’s not really true, there are many Scriptures that say man can seek God (Acts 17:27 being a great one).

2 Chronicles 15 mentions seeking God several times as well. “Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them” (15:3,4).

Even though they were without God, a teaching priest (an interesting description) or even the Law, they still sought God and even found Him. They got quite serious about it too.

“And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman” (15:12,13).

If they didn’t seek God they were put to death! There’s some motivation for ya! Romans 1:20 says that God is so obvious there is no excuse for not finding Him. So what is Romans 3 talking about?

Romans 3 is quoting various Psalms talking about wicked people, evil guys, people who deny the existence of God. We all have this in us as people, but we have also seen that God is seeking us and making Himself known to us.

There are many who persist in ignoring Him, but there are also those who will seek Him.

Romans 3 says that the Law condemns people, it points out our sin and selfish desires to ignore God. The point is not whether man can seek God, the point is that the Law can point out our fault and direct us to (help us seek) Christ where righteousness is given to all who would believe (3:21,22).

Seek and you shall find (Luke 11:9).

Happy Travails To You

Today was another beautiful day in the Northwoods. Even though I did not much feel like biking, I knew I had to. In order to turn this horrible month into an OK month I had to get some miles in this nice weather. I got 30 miles in 2 hours and 13 minutes. Not bad.

One huge bonus is that it is now warm enough that my bike has decided I can shift gears now. This is a helpful thing.

Here is a picture of a house that always makes me laugh, especially this year. Laughter is good for you.

The Fast Lane

Fasting is one of those things. I get annoyed every time someone mentions fasting because it’s always done in a weird way. As though, simply by ignoring food, you have become spiritually mature.

Near as I can tell, the Bible never says we should fast. Fasting, if anything, is more assumed or mentioned in passing that someone was doing it. There is no fasting command.

All that being said, I’ve done it. The first time I did it was just to see what it was like. I read a book about this guy who almost died of starvation and he started having hallucinations. Cool. I planned on seeing how long I could make myself go without food. I made it 60 hours and then ate manicotti. No hallucinations.

I also did it one day a week for a few weeks, 24 hour long deals. The point of fasting is to develop self-control. The battle of the flesh takes over and you hear your flesh’s justifications, “Oh just eat food. You’re the idiot depriving yourself, who cares if you eat? Hey, you’re under grace anyway.”

It did help me lose weight. It also helped me eat less on other days. Did I find spiritual benefit from it? Actually, yes I did. It did work my self-control and put my flesh battles in perspective. I found it helpful, which is why I think people do it.

I’d recommend giving it a try every once in awhile, just to get those self-control muscles working again. Also, trying not to tell anyone you are doing it while doing it is another battle of self-control. It’s fun stuff.

Weakness In Strength

Rehoboam takes over the Kingdom of Israel soon after Solomon’s departure. It got off to a rough start but soon he got things settled down. 2 Chronicles 12:1 says, “When the kingdom of Rehoboam was established and strong, he and all Israel with him forsook the law of the LORD.”

As soon as Rehoboam got strong he left the Lord. As the king does, so do the people.

We often hear about how when we are weak He is made strong. I think we understand this from a spiritually intellectualized mindset, but do we really get it?

When our needs are met, we rarely think about God. Crisis and pain are what drive us to dependence on God. But as soon as we get a crisis or a pain we ask God to eliminate it! Heal me quick before I get too weak and have to depend on you more!

Do we really and truly rejoice in our infirmities because it helps us rely on God or do we rather beg for life to be easy and nice so we can meet our needs and carry on?

When we are strong, He is made weak.

Merry President’s Day

Hope you are having a fine President’s Day not getting any mail. Christians are supposed to pray for our president even if he did steal the election and rape Iraqis.
Today, in no particular celebration of any one particular president, I went 11 miles. It was 30 degrees, which was very warm feeling considering where we have been. No part of me was cold at any point on this ride, very nice. A welcomed change. We are gaining 21 minutes of sunlight this week!

Because I Want To!

I’m sure I’m way off on this one, but I thought I’d share what struck my mind anyhow. I was reading about bad King Jeroboam who ruled over Israel. He was a bad king, doing idol worship and serving false gods.

But there was one step he took that was worse than everything else, I will let the Contemporary English Version explain it to you,

“But Jeroboam kept on doing evil things. He appointed men to be priests at the local shrines, even if they were not Levites. In fact, anyone who wanted to be a priest could be one. This sinful thing led to the downfall of his kingdom” (1 Kings 13:33,34).

Anyone who wanted to be a priest could be one, it didn’t matter what God’s qualifications were, if you felt like being a priest, go for it! This sin led to the downfall of his kingdom.

Everything that has been written in Scripture is written for our learning. Perhaps we could learn from this example as well.

Today, anyone who wants to be a pastor can be one. The standards for being a pastor, as spelled out by God in Titus and the Timothy’s, have little to do anymore with the selection of a pastor.

In fact, the main criterion for a pastor today seems to be, “do you feel called to do this?” Which means, “Do you want to be a pastor?” If you feel called, if you feel like being a pastor, go for it.

We’re seeing many pastors taking dives into immorality and hypocrisy. Perhaps it’s because we’ve ignored the qualifications of scripture and are hiring immoral hypocrites.

When the spiritual leadership declines so to will everything else. History does repeat.

%d bloggers like this: