Praying for Geographical Regions

Every time there is a natural disaster, and there is a new one at least once a day, we are told to pray for the place where it happened.

Pray for Houston
Pray for Texas
Pray for Florida

It just got me thinking: Why? What does this mean? Where does praying for a geographical region come from?

I’m honestly not trying to be snide here. I’m trying to understand something. Getting to the root. In no way am I trying to encourage people to pray less!

The closest thing I can see from Scripture is Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Mixed in with this psalm is a longing for The Kingdom and the Davidic promises fulfilled. “Peace in Jerusalem” means the Messiah came. It’s a longing for Messiah, not some sort of generic prayer for a geographic region.

Every other usage of “pray for” in the Bible is directed at people. No doubt “Pray for Houston” means pray for people in Houston. But then again, I don’t pretend to know what any Christian means by any of the words they use.

There is an idea within Christianity that the more people who pray for something, the more likely it is to occur. People assume that if so many people pray the same thing, God will hear the prayer and act.

I have no idea where this is from Biblically. The closest I can come is that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, so your odds of getting one of those to pray increases with the more people who pray!

Other than that, I see nothing in the Bible that if Christians all agreed to pray really hard for some geographical location that disasters would go extinct there.

The Bible is pretty clear that disasters happen to the righteous and the unrighteous. Time and chance happens to them all.

Again, I’m not telling you not to pray! We don’t pray enough as it is. I’m rather encouraging people to pray more specifically. Pray for the church in Houston, for specific believers there, to show the love of Christ. Pray for people you actually know who are affected.

Quite frankly, I don’t normally pray for places where I don’t know anyone. I’m not telling you to follow my example, I just have a hard time throwing out a general request for a general group of people that I’ll never know if it was answered because I’m not even sure what I actually requested!

More than likely, if you don’t know anyone in the affected area, you’ve moved on to the next geographical location and the latest disaster the news decides to cover, leaving last week’s disaster survivors on their own.

It is ironic that the only disasters we pray for are the ones the news tells us about. There are disasters happening on your street, few of which will be on the news. Why not pray locally more?

Remember James’ warning that saying nice things for someone without doing anything to help is worthless. How can you be doing this for every geographical region the news tells you a disaster happened in?

Also wondering how plastering #PrayForSomeplace all over the internet is consistent with that whole pray in your closet and don’t let others know what you’re up to command. When you post this, are you actually praying, or are you virtue signalling? But alas, I imagine I’ve stepped in it enough for one day.

Anyway, not trying to be obnoxious. Just thinking a thing through. Pray. Pray more. Then pray some more. At some point it’s helpful to pray for something you actually know about and can help. Don’t let your prayers be driven by the news; let it be driven by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.

I’m willing to be wrong. Any verses I’m missing on the issue?

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How to Get Politicians to End Legal Abortion

Politicians are primarily motivated by getting votes. When they keep their jobs with your votes, they make money. To get your vote, they give you other people’s money.

A politician will magically appear to grant any wish, as long as you rub their bottle with a vote.

Abortion has been legally killing American humans for over 40 years.

Many efforts have been made to stop abortion, yet it continues. Voting has us in a stalemate. Vying living people can’t settle the matter, and politicians/Americans are not motivated by morality (if they were, abortion never would have become a political issue).

Democrats and Republicans both seem inept at ending this mass slaughter.

Here’s why: fetuses don’t vote.

Politicians don’t care about the unborn because they can’t use the unborn for anything. I think this is the main reason euthanasia is not an American thing: don’t kill old people; they actually vote!

Here are two possible ways to get politicians to overturn Roe v. Wade.

  1. Give fetuses the right to vote.
    This obviously presents a challenge: how do you discern how a fetus is voting? I don’t know, but certainly a way can be devised. Quite frankly, it doesn’t even matter, they just need to have the semblance of voting. If nothing else, you could give pregnant mom’s two votes. Say they have more voting power to make up for obvious male oppression, and everyone will be happy.
  2. Tax birth.
    I am fundamentally against more taxes, but this seems like a good one. If each of us owed a $10,000 Birth Tax to be paid gradually over our working life, politicians would end abortion immediately.

Either of these options has a good chance of working. The system is corrupted. We need to use the materialistic bent running our nation. Nothing we’re doing now is working, might as well try something new.

Some Short Observations on Modern “Culture”

–We now live in a time when parents are shooting their kids full of hormones so they can “change genders,” while simultaneously protesting the injection of hormones into cows and chickens served for dinner.

–If it is true that anti-abortion Conservatives “care about babies before they’re born and not after,” then isn’t it also true, by that same logic, that abortion-supporting Liberals kill babies before so they don’t have to care after?

–Parents have taken it upon themselves to be their kids’ friends, not authority figures, not people who make rules and enforce them. It’s all but impossible for a kid to rebel today since society so readily approves of all their trying-to-be-rebellious sin. Since there are no longer any human standards to rebel against, kids are now rebelling against biology.

–The two main arguments atheists use against God are:
1) How can a good God allow so much evil? Why doesn’t God do anything to restrain evil?
2) How come the God of the Old Testament is so angry about evil and judging evil people all the time?
They see no contradiction in these criticisms of God. I do and I’m pretty sure God does too. The point of these arguments is: no matter what God does; people don’t like it.

–Everyone keeps saying they want the truth, no more fake news. What Liberals mean by this is “shut up the Conservatives!” What Conservatives mean by this is “shut up the Liberals.” In the end, neither side wants the truth. Both sides want the other side to shut up so they can control power.

–More and more sins are being chalked up as diseases. C. S. Lewis once pointed out that the more people view sins as diseases; the more our diseases will become sin. We are already suggesting people with handicapped “fetuses” should abort. At what point in our healthcare crisis will we get tired of paying for other people being sick? Sick people are good for nothing, just draining the system. If Lewis is right, it won’t be long before being diseased is viewed as sin.

–How many times have you watched a news report about a tragedy, only to find out later, all that they said was wrong? You should not watch or pay attention to the news. The immediate reporting of news begs for misinformation. History gives context. Even waiting a week will benefit you greatly. Everything needs context to make sense. Wait for context before freaking out.

Some Child-Raising Advice from a Dad Who Doesn’t Listen to Child-Raising Advice

When my kids were little, I received tons of advice about how to raise them. Some of it was helpful. Most of it was wasted breath.

This Fall, all my kids will be in high school. I notice that I do not receive advice about parenting any more. There are several possible reasons for this:

  1. My kids are obviously awesome, which shows I do not need advice.
  2. No one has any idea what to do with teenagers.
  3. People are afraid to talk about this subject any more.
  4. People are afraid of me.
  5. People are still giving me advice, but I have stopped listening.

I can’t say for sure why the advice-giving has ceased. I’d like to think it’s #1, but it’s probably more #5.

Here’s a confession: I don’t like most people’s kids. If I don’t like your kids, there’s not a chance I’m going to listen to your child-raising advice. Not one chance.

In my opinion, based on the plethora of annoying kids in the world, I don’t know who all these parents are who think they should advise others about raising kids.

Everybody thinks their kids are special. And, trust me, they are. Very special. But here’s the thing: they are only that special to you. I’m glad you like your kids, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does, or even that they should.

While studies show us that today’s kids are more neurotic, failing in actual learning (and good grades don’t even mean anything anymore), emotionally out of whack, incompetent at most life tasks, and largely not doing anything, every parent feels their kids are the awesomest.

Our self-esteem culture has pumped our lazy, incompetent children with happy feelings. They feel great about themselves while failing at pretty much everything. Everyone gets a trophy to celebrate their abject loserliness.

I resist self-esteem. I might, perhaps, go too far the other way. I test myself all the time. I find fault with everything I do. This isn’t some kind of depressed, moroseness, it is, I like to think, an honest analyzation of my performance.

I do the same thing with my kids. I test them. I don’t let them win unless they earn it. I tell them the truth when their performance was awful. I even punish them when they didn’t do the work they said they were going to do.

This takes effort. It’s exhausting. My kids get mad at me from time to time. All the other kids get ice cream after their sorry performance. I have taken my kids home without the treat that everyone else got, because I didn’t like how they acted (Actually, I think I made them get the treat and then watch me eat it! No sense wasting free treats!)

King David had a son named Adonijah. He was a bad kid and grew up to be a bad adult. Here’s a phrase from 1 Kings chapter 1 about David’s parenting of this fool of a kid who was now a fool of an adult:

And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, ‘Why hast thou done so?’

Adonijah’s dad never questioned him about why he was doing bad things. He never “displeased” his son. “Displeased” means “hurt, pain, grieve, vex.” Fathers are supposed to do this. I think this is a father’s job because 1) a father is better at finding fault with his kids than their mom is, and 2) a father is better emotionally equipped to discipline.

If my kids mess up, I have no motherly nice feelings. My all-consuming desire is to put them in their sorry little place!

I do this out of love. Some dads go too far and all they do is find fault and displease. Don’t go overboard. I also praise when my kids do something worthy of praise. I reward and honor and give treats to my kids when they actually work and accomplish things.

The problem now is we’ve over-reacted to the fault-finding fathers by having the best-friend fathers who just pat their kids on the back all the time. One sure way to raise a loser is to constantly praise their losing.

Proverbs 29:5 says “A man who flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his steps.”

Pumping up people’s self-esteem (also known as “flattery”) is a sure way to ruin someone. God does not like lying. Tell your kids the truth. Make them strong enough to face up to their failures, to take criticism, so they can learn and improve.

Lying to kids to make them feel good is not a good long-term strategy.

Raising kids is not easy. There are many threats to its success and each kid is responsible before God for how they turn out. Parents have a huge say in this, however. It is a terrifying responsibility.

I’ve stopped listening to parenting advice. As I told one lecturing parent, “If God wanted you to raise my kids, He would’ve given them to you.”

I’m not telling you to listen to my advice, you probably think my kids are annoying, too!

But if there’s any summary advice I have for parents, it’s said here. This is my theory. It’s not complicated. I think I have Scripture in support, and my wife and I put the work in. We’re pretty much done with their training. It’s up to my kids now to do with it what they will.

Be honest with your kids. Tell them the truth. Help them deal with truth, even when it hurts. Some day they will stand before their Creator, who IS THE TRUTH, to be judged by His word, WHICH IS TRUE.

Don’t lie to your kids. Love your kids, and remember: love rejoices in the truth.

The 3 Easiest Ways to Get a Christian Book Published

Christian publishing has become quite the money-making field. In order to get a Christian book published you must either be

  1. A celebrity
  2. A heretic
  3. A member of the dominant Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex.

Christians have always been desperate for validation by celebrities. We are so accustomed to celebrities being against Christianity and Christian virtue, we’ll pretty much bend over backwards to not have a problem with any famous person claiming Christ. I’m stunned by the otherwise-level-headed believers who will pontificate about some random celebrity, “Oh, she’s a Christian.”

Celebrities get little criticism if they claim to be Christians. We gladly accept them and all their strange views. Celebrity sells.

Not a well-known athlete, musician, or actress? There’s still hope for you in the Christian Publication Industry!

Be a heretic!

Heretics sell well. Find a new doctrine, make some stuff up, and then write a book about your new-fangled doctrine. Sit back and let the royalty checks pour in!

Or, if that’s too scary for you, write books about other heretics. Write books to attack the books already written.

There are constantly new books and authors that are the latest heretical threat to Evangelical Faith. There are legitimate threats, but who? Rob Bell? Andy Stanley? Joel Osteen? Or is it John MacArthur, John Piper, or Tim Keller?

The problem is in identifying who the heretics are. Heresy is defined as “unorthodox views.” Orthodox views are–what those in power believe. To be a heretic isn’t always bad: it depends who thinks you’re a heretic!

Heresy is usually nothing more than–views held by those who are not in power at the time. This is where we get into group 3 above–the Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex.

Whenever a new book is published that does not match up with the Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex’s doctrine, you will see a multitude of their blog posts letting you know what a horrible threat this new heretical book will be to you.

Observing this trend for a couple of years now, it makes me wonder–is the Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex truly worried about me believing heresy, or are they more worried about losing market share?

For instance, is The Shack or Jesus Calling as bad as “Desiring God Ministries” and “The Gospel Coalition” and “Together 4 the Gospel” and all the other Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex members say it is, or are they just trying to protect market share?

The best way to drive web site traffic is to critique a best-selling book. People are obviously into the book, the market has been proven, readers will do a search and come across your web site. Instant traffic! There is a healthy market for books written to debunk other books. “Why The Shack Will Destroy Your Faith” books sell well too.

It does not require genius to find fault. I am proving that in this post, in fact.

In all honesty, I have reservations about Jesus Calling and The Shack. I’m not defending these books or authors, nor their doctrinal foundations.

What I am saying is this: Market interests are beginning to dominate the Evangelical world. There is good money in being and labeling things “heretical.” I’m not saying that all members of the Reformed-Conference tour-industrial complex are necessarily wrong, I’m merely speculating that their market interests should cause some reservation in walking with them lockstep.

There is a lot of noise in the marketplace these days. Everyone is selling something and promoting their personal brand. It’s hard to hear in the midst of deafening levels of noise. The Christian marketplace is too noisy. As Solomon said, “In the making of books there is no end.”

It’s been a while since I’ve purchased a new Christian book. I want the market to slow. There are good books out there, but you have to read about 25 in between every good one. Markets are driven by popular demand. Right doctrine has never been in popular demand. Be careful out there.

Doctrinal Convictions and Spiritual Growth

In my years of listening to Christians, I have become aware of a fascinating phenomena: One person’s heresy was another person’s life-giving doctrine.

Let me illustrate.

Not long ago I saw a couple of Christians rejoicing in their Calvinism. They both claimed that they did not see the power of the Gospel until they were taught Calvinist doctrine. Since that day their faith blossomed.

I also know other believers, myself included, who say that ever since they were shown the errors of Calvinism and were taught non-Calvinist doctrine they saw deeper beauty in the Gospel and their faith blossomed.

I have seen this with churches–one group claims massive spiritual growth due to their church, while other people found growth by leaving that church.

I have seen this with adhering to a pastor or professor or author. I’ve seen this with Charismatic experience and deliverance from Charismatic experience. I could go on and on. Each side worked growth for opposite groups.

So, what gives? Here are some possible answers, solely based on my experience and observation of the phenomena.

Continue reading “Doctrinal Convictions and Spiritual Growth”

Trying to Humbly Be Right

Yesterday I talked about being humble in our opinions whether we are scientific, religious, or both, or neither. Not everyone knows everything.

At the same time, some people do know some things! We’re not floating around in an incomprehensible void of mush. Some things can be known.

Science can help us know many things, but not all things. The Bible can help us know many things, but not all things. I think both have their place and the person who embraces both will know more than the one who embraces only one or neither.

But humility is key. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Being humble is how learning starts.

Some people are right and some are wrong. There are times when the person who is right needs to correct the person who is wrong, but that correction must be humble too.

Here is a recent conversation I had on the internet, which did not involve me desiring to be in any argument. The question I responded to was asked by a non-Calvinist on his non-Calvinist web site. Here is his question:

What are the potential effects of teaching the Calvinistic claim that if God wants you then He will make you want Him?

Here is my answer:

Then God doesn’t want everyone, eliminates God being good & not a respecter of persons, Christ not a propitiation for sins of the world etc

Not bad for 140 characters! Of course, being the internet, it devolved into an argument. Here is the flow of what ensued.

ANONYMOUS INTERNET ARGUER: Eliminates God being good????? Even if He chose to not save anyone at all He would still be good! He owes us no mercy!!

ME: You are defending the point that being unmerciful would be consistent with being good?

AIA: Yes because He is God and doesn’t HAVE to be merciful. He is good to give justice. Is He not good to give justice to unbelievers? That’s what mercy is!! Exodus 33:19 Titus 3:5
He doesn’t owe anyone mercy. He could damn us all to hell like we deserve. He would still be good. Sorry you have a poor view of Him.

ME: I’m aware of what mercy is. Your point is that God can still be good if He were unmerciful and I disagree.

AIA: God is not unmerciful……He does however withhold His mercy from some….He is still good though.

ME: thank you for making my point. Been a pleasure.

The conversation was dropped here, much to my surprise. I can only assume it’s because the Calvinist at hand was not male.

Now, I have a certain amount of pride in posting this. I think I have a very legitimate point and I think I made it well without going into personal attacks and diversions. I stuck to the original point and I think I made it.

That’s right, so you might want to back off.

AIA’s point is that God is good, therefore, everything He does is inherently good. So, even if God did something that wasn’t good–if He were always unmerciful–He would still be good. Therefore, His hypothetical mercilessness would be good.

This is very bad logic. This rips the word “good” right out of any common-sensical meaning. In order for someone to be good, someone else must be able to recognize the goodness.

God is good, which is why He’s merciful; and God is merciful, which is why God is good. It’s not like one came before the other.

To claim you are good means you do things that are good in and of themselves. Saying you are good, and then doing all manner of bad things, and yet claiming your bad things still define good, is arbitrary and not very orderly. Language falls apart at that point. Words don’t mean anything, so we might as well figglemunch dasser wooblesnouse.

I believe I am right. I believe I am right based on scripture, logic, and word etymology.

I believe I am right based on the arguments against me. The main issue is not addressed, but verse references are given about mercy that don’t touch on the pivotal point at hand, points that are not essential to the debate are brought up, and then there’s this nugget, “Sorry you have a poor view of Him.”

Anytime such responses are used, you know you’re on to something. I ignored it and went back to the original point.

Again, I’m showing this to you so you can see what flawless arguing looks like. I nailed it! Notice my “Been a pleasure!” At the end? That is one sarcastic “!”! I am now an arrogant jerk bragging about my awesomeness to others, thus showing I did not argue out of love, but rather to show intellectual superiority and frustration with non-sensical Calvinist reasoning.

Knowledge puffs up. That’s what it does. I don’t know how to beat it. I just know it when I sees it. I seens it big time. Good luck out there. Stay humble, my friends.