Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alcoholic Stupidity

The drunk husband snuck up the stairs quietly. He looked in the bathroom mirror and bandaged the bumps and bruises he'd received in a fight earlier that night. He then proceeded to climb into bed, smiling at the thought that he'd pulled one over on his wife. When morning came, he opened his eyes and there stood his wife. "You were drunk last night weren't you!" "No, honey." "Well, if you weren't, then who put all the band-aids on the bathroom mirror?"
Drunk people do stupid things. Alcoholic beverages make a fool of those who think they are untouchable or unaffected by liquor. In our city limits, 4 new liquor stores will be opening soon. 4 liquor stores! We need zero more!
I am afraid that in the near future there will be more tales of stupid things. But next time, there will be no humor in it. It may be somebody I know.
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. ~ Proverbs 20:1

Monday, July 30, 2007

Harsh Judgment

People tend to be the most critical of the people with whom they spend the most time. In marriage, it is especially this way. We do not give our spouses enough room to move. Eventually, our expectations of perfection choke them out of their own personality and self-worth.
When you get to know someone in such an intimate way, your ability to appreciate their good qualities is often altered by the mistakes they have made or the hurt they have caused.
I have been married to my wonderful wife for 9+ years. I know this is not very long as compared to others. One observation about myself in this relationship, is that I find myself trying to excuse my weaknesses and bad choices by blaming my faults on her. This is a very stupid and immature thing to do. But unfortunately, people do this in relationships all of the time.
In close relationships faults are very apparent, sometimes gleaming. Selfishness and pride cause individuals to use the negative traits in their spouses to get by with the continuance of behavior that is both poor in judgment and in scope.
As a cancer survivor to this point, who is just happy to be alive, I am begging those of you who are married to see the person you married as the most wonderful person on the earth. Don't execute such harsh judgment. If you are healthy then you should be happy. If you have today to spend with that person then make the most of it. See this person as the person you married for all of the right reasons. Examine your own weaknesses and contribute to the effort of love and peace in your home.

They say a wife and husband,
Bit by bit,
Can rear between themselves a mighty wall,
So thick they cannot speak with ease through it,
Nor can they see across it, it stands so tall.
Its nearness frightens them, but each alone
Is powerless to tear its bulk away; and each
Dejected wishes he had known
For such a wall, some magic thing to say.
So let us build with master art, my dear,
A bridge of love between your life and mine,
A bridge of tenderness, and very near,
A bridge of understanding, strong and fine,
Till we have formed so many lovely ties,
There never will be room for walls to rise.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Love of Money

What are you willing to do for $10,000,000? Two-thirds of Americans polled would agree to at least one, some to several of the following:

  • Would abandon their entire family (25%)
  • Would abandon their church (25%)
  • Would become prostitutes for a week or more (23%)
  • Would give up their American citizenships (16%)
  • Would leave their spouses (16%)
  • Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free (10%)
  • Would kill a stranger (7%)
  • Would put their children up for adoption (3%)
    Source: James Patterson and Peter Kim, The Day America Told the Truth, 1991

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" ` 1 Tim. 6:10.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Echoes from the Mountain of God

Out Revilo Road in Lawrence County and left down into a holler that time forgot, one can find Mt. Zion. There is a beautiful spring-fed creek with a swinging bridge, two old church buildings and a cemetary. The Lord's church still meets here every Sunday. The last few years we have taken our young people to Mt. Zion for a picnic, devotional, and playtime. One thinks of Naaman, the baptism of Jesus, and other things to teach about down by such waters.
The word "Zion" means "fortress." It is the word used to describe the eternal city of God or heaven in the New Testament (Heb. 12:22,28; Rev. 14:1).
Up in the cemetary I roamed today, looking at the various headstones with their epitaphs. The oldest grave in the cemetary contains one John McMasters, born in 1789, buried in the 1830's. I presume it is his son's grave that is also there. Another John McMasters was born July 13, 1831 who died December 27, 1925. The one thing that struck the loudest with me was that many headstones are no longer readable. Not only were the sayings unreadable, but the names and dates themselves had faded with the passing of time. Ironically, several of the epitaphs could barely be seen, saying, "gone but not forgotten." This thought may have been true at one time. But as the book of Psalms notes, even our years of strentgth are only labor and sorrow, and we fly away.
The second McMasters grave had the best epitaph in the cemetary - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." Now here was a fitting end to the life of a man. I don't know if anything will be on my headstone save my name and time. But that verse is definitely on the list of possibilties. I guess it is up to me as to whether or not it will fit.
It may do your soul well to visit the mountain of God. Many things have changed in our world in the last hundereds years. But if you are listening for an echo of yesterday, you may find it there.
"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." ~ Jer. 6:16

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

God's Store

You may select 5 of the following items and add them to your cart. Remember that some of these are gender specific. You may choose only five, so pick wisely.

Fruits of the Spirit:
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control

Tool Department:
Public Speaking, Writing, Artistic Ability, Business Sense, Organization Skills.

Wisdom, Understanding, Truth, Knowledge

Misc. Spiritual Needs:
Mercy, Grace, Hope, Happiness, Humility, Boldness

Women’s Wear:
Teacher, Leader, Mentor, Counselor, Personal Evangelist

Men’s Wear:
Elder, Deacon, Preacher, Teacher, Leader, Mentor, Counselor, Personal Evangelist

Add to Cart:

1. ___________________________________

2. ___________________________________

3. ___________________________________

4. ___________________________________

5. ___________________________________

Briefly explain your choices:

Respond by posting or email: jeremiahtatum@bellsouth.net
Statistics posted in two weeks with commentary.

The Human Touch

Jesus separated Himself from the "religious leaders" not only by His life and teaching, but by His personality. In Mark chapter 1, a man with leprosy approached Jesus and asked for cleansing. The Jews would not go near such a man, not because of anything contagious, but because a leper was deemed "unclean."
But the Savior of the world was moved with compassion. He stretched forth His hand, touched him, and healed him (Mk. 1:41). It is the human touch of Jesus that reminds us of God's loving care. Those who practice this simple concept make an impact that goes far beyond their understanding and into the the souls of others.
'Tis the human touch in this world that counts,
The touch of your hand and mine,
Which means far more to the fainting heart
Than shleter and bread and wine;
For shelter is gone when the night is o'er,
And bread lasts only a day,
But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice
Sing on in the soul alway. ~ Spencer Michael Free

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Local Church Membership

Many have asked the question, "Is the organization we have in the church today similar to the Biblical standard?" If we use the commands, examples, and inferences found in the New Testament, it certainly is. One of the side questions of this matter is that of local congregational membership. Some have said that there is no "placing membership" example. Others don't see a need for it. But what does the Bible give to us as we look at the church?
1. It tells us we are born into a family. "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13). It is not when a person says, "I believe in God" that they join God's family. Jesus said, as per any family, one must be born to enter it (Jn. 3:3, 5). In the first century, when people were born again in baptism, God added them to the church universal. It seemed a very simple conclusion that these individuals identified with local Christians. They became a member of the congregation where they obeyed the gospel.
2. It tells us fellowship begins with responsibility. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). Being brought into the fellowship inherently involves the idea of each one doing his/her own part (Eph. 4:16). While many today first offer that the idea of fellowship has to do with social interaction, the orignial idea in Scripture is that it was "joint participation." Fellowship meant sharing the gospel and the responsibilities of belonging to Christ and the church. The acts of worship were considered acts of fellowship. Benevolence, another responsibility, was fellowship (Acts 6:1-7). Paul considered the money he received from the saints at Philippi "fellowship" (Phil. 4:15). This was because they had done their part in the spreading of the gospel and meeting the needs of the brethren. We do not get baptized, and then just punch our ticket every Sunday morning! Joint participation includes involvement in all of the things the church is doing. How can a person be so involved without identifying with a local body?
3. It tells us we are accountable. "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you" (Heb. 13:17). Each local congregation had elders and deacons (Phil. 1:1). The elders were shepherds, overseers, men who had an obligation to every Christian within the congregation concerning spiritual matters. The members, in turn, were to obey these men. One can only be submissive by recognizing a relationship with the one to whom they must submit. Christians "at large" do not have the accountability that God designed for their spiritual lives. The church was comprised of the saved (Acts 2:47) - thus those who are saved need the church.
If you are a Christian, you should be involved in the work of the church, both universal and local.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

They Called it "Nehushtan"

When the children of Israel neared Mount Hor during the wilderness wanderings, they complained to Moses. The general consensus was that God had led them out of Egypt only to die in the wilderness. There wasn't enough water for their liking and they loathed the manna that God provided for them daily. So God sent fiery serpents into the camp. The snakes bit the people and many of them died. When the people repented and asked for God's mercy, Moses was commanded to fashion a fiery serpent and place it on a pole. When one of the Israelites was bitten, they could look at the bronze serpent and God would save them from death.
Years later, during the reign of Hezekiah, the same bronze serpent was destroyed. The righteous Hezekiah broke it in pieces, because the Israelites had been burning incense to the serpent. They called it "Nehushtan" - meaning - "The Bronze Thing."
This was not the first time the Israelites had given a fashioned object in the shape of animal a name. It was not the first time they had worshipped such a piece. At the foot of Mt. Sinai Aaron formed a golden calf. In this particular instance, the people named the calf "Jehovah." After all, they cried out, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Ex. 32:8).
The spiritual void in Israel was their allegiance to what instead of who. This age old problem continues. It is not the house that shelters. It is not the garments that clothe. It is not the army that protects. It is not the water that saves. It is the God of heaven who does all of these things. He is the one who needs to be lifted up as King...Oh, wait a minute, He has been lifted up.
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of man must be lifted up." ~ John 3:14
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." ~ John 12:32

Somebody's Mother

The woman was old and ragged and gray And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.
The street was wet with a recent snow And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long, Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes.
Down the street, with laughter and shout, Glad in the freedom of "school let out,"
Came the boys like a flock of sheep, Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray Hastened the children on their way.
Nor offered a helping hand to her - So meek, so timid, afraid to stir
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet Should crowd her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troop, The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low, "I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."
Her aged hand on his strong young arm She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided the trembling feet along, Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went, His young heart happy and well content.
"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know, For all she's aged and poor and slow,
"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand To help my mother, you understand,
"If ever she's poor and old and gray, When her own dear boy is far away."
And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head n her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was "God be kind to the noble boy, Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy!"
~ Mary Dow Brine

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's Just Me!

First of all, sorry for all of you out there who read the blog often who have been looking this week for entries. I was out of town and completely out of reach from any computer until tonight. Speaking of that, I have an interesting story about a man I met on a golf course.
Tuesday morning I attempted to play Bent Creek Golf Course near Gatlinburg, TN. It was designed by Gary Player (and no, I did not take any steroids before playing). Anyway, the course has strict rules and I was by myself so they put me with 3 others to make a group of 4.
There were two older men (who obviously played together on the course often), and one other older single man who was on vacation from Indiana. He smoked a cigar the whole time that I can still smell if I try.
As we played, one of the older men, who had a Santa Claus type beard and a portly figure, struggled to hit the ball well at the beginning. When he made a bad shot he used an expletive. It only happened a couple of times, but it was still there. By about hole 3 we exchanged some imformation about ourselves. When I told him I was a preacher, he smiled and said, "Just a minute, I have something for you." He asked me how many weddings I had done and I said, "Only a few." He told me he had performed over 3,000. Next thing I know, he pulled a business card out of his golf bag. He was the "reverend" for the HillyBilly Wedding Chapel in Gatlinburg.
The game went on and it began to rain and fairly heavily at times. We stopped after 9 holes. He apologized for his language and said he was glad I had come his way. He told me that years ago he had been an alcoholic, but that he had not even had a desire for a drink for 26 years. He also said that lately he had been slipping and that he was working on his weakness with his tongue (aren't we all).
I could tell so much more about this man but I will save it for classes and sermons. I learned a lot that morning about how people approach religion. I will be sending him a letter next week and I hope to correspond with him some more. He was a really nice man, who wants to do the right thing. He just needs the proper direction and more knowledge of the Bible.
People have a great misconception about preachers. They think that once they find out that one is with them they have to change their behavior. I have no more a direct line to God than the next man. I am not about to file a report, either. I am not a reverend, pastor, et cetera. I am a human being! My name is Jeremiah Tatum. It's just me!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Real Deal

My niece joined a group of young people who were sending cards to older ladies in the church. It was kind of like a "secret sister" thing. But when she mailed her card it came back. She had only put a 1 cent stamp on it. She thought it would be cheaper. So, yes, that is pretty funny. She did not know the real deal is to send a 41 cent stamp.
When you think about it, there are many people who do not know about the real deal. People talk about their faith. They talked about their church. They do this or that with regard to religion. But they don't know that the one church of our Lord is the real deal. It is not a denomination. It engages in authorized worship. It has no earthly headquarters. It has no pope or president to interpret or clarify God's will for the church.
There are many who also don't know the real deal when it comes to the miraculous. They think they've seen one on television. They've heard stories. They may even believe that a miracle has happened for them. But the miracles of the Bible are far different than what you hear about today. Do you know anyone, dead four days, who has been resurrected? Do you know of anyone who pays their taxes with money that came from the mouth of a fish? Have your ever seen a man who has never walked jump up and run? The real deal is much more than people propose.
There is also a principle here that we can apply to our faith. Faith is not just about finding the church house when it is open. It is not just about living in harmony with your fellow man. It is not just wearing a name or an affiliation. The real deal faith trusts God in every circumstance. The real deal faith overcomes criticism with grace. The real deal faith doesn't dream about the future, it works toward the future. The real deal faith allows the individual to make necessary changes throughout life.
So don't put a one cent stamp on Christianity. You will get rejected unless you are paid in full.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

People often associate certain ideas or feelings with certain days. Friday the 13th is one of them. The fear of this day is called paraskavedekatriaphobia (You have my permission to learn this word and impress at social gatherings). This word is derived from the Greek words for Friday, thirteen, and fear. Many suggestions and theories have arisen to explain the original infamy of this day.
"Friday 13th October 1066 was the last day of the reign of the Saxon King Harold II. On this day, William, Duke of Normandy offered Harold the option of ceding the crown; Harold declined the offer. The Battle of Hastings took place the following day (Saturday 14th October 1066). Harold was slain and William took control of England." (wikipedia.com)
Another theory suggests that Jesus and the 12 apostles made up thirteen individuals at the Last Supper. That evening, the beginning of Friday in Jewish time, Judas betrayed Jesus, and Jesus was crucified later that morning. As far as the notion that Friday the 13th is unlucky, most writings are found only within the last century.
Association does have a profound effect upon people. According to Donald Dossey, who works for the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institue in Asheville North Carolina, "It's been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do."
As for me personally, I find not bad luck, but great blessings on this day. 23 years ago, on Friday, July 13th, 1984, I was baptized into Christ for the remission of my sins. My sister was born on Friday, November 13th, 1970. Today I saw an ultrasound of my soon to be born baby girl. Everything is going fine. Amber and she are healthy and God is blessing us richly.
Paul reminded the Romans, "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike..." (Rom. 14:5). He was discussing holy days, not pagan ones. But the point is the same. Whatever the day, we either observe it, or we don't observe it to the Lord (Rom. 14:6). I fail to see how anyone could observe any day to the Lord superstitiously.
With this in mind, I hope that everyone will have a great Friday the 13th!
"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." ~ (Ps. 118:24)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Can a person get forgiveness for suicide?"

Submitted: "Can a person get forgiveness for suicide?"
Life is the most precious gift to man from God. God granted this gift in the creation. He reestablished this gift again in Christ Jesus (John 11:25). Throughout the Bible, God has stated His feelings about the sanctity of life. "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man" (Gen. 9:5-6).
If one were to read the pages of the Old Testament, they would find that the Law commanded "life for life" (Ex. 21:23). Life was not to be taken, unless it was commanded specifically by God for His higher purpose (1 Sam. 15:3).
Jesus fulfilled the Law by commenting on God's purpose for mankind in the coming Christian age. He discussed not only sinful actions, but the thoughts and motives behind such actions. It was not just murder that was condemned, but hateful thoughts and emotions (Matt. 5:21-22). When people begin to hate themselves, they are missing God's intent for their life and rejecting His genuine and abiding love. There are certainly situations where suicide would lead to eternal death. But only the mind of God has the power to save or damn the soul.
I believe there are cases where those who commit suicide could find forgiveness. I understand from Jam. 4:17 that accountability and knowledge are intertwined. Those who have their mental and emotional faculties in check are obligated to do things that are in harmony with God's word. If we can distinguish between good and evil we are subject to the consequences of whatever path we choose. (I am not speaking with regard to "crimes of passion", rather I am stating that situations exist where the capacity to reason may be absent).
The mind is a very delicate and fascinating organ. What is in the mind of others can only be known when it has been revealed (1 Cor. 2:11). What we know from the mind of God has come through His revelation (1 Cor. 2:12-16), and these things can only be discerned spiritually.
I am not in the place of God, but I have personally known individuals who have committed suicide who were severely challenged by mental illness. No doctor, medicine, or counselor was able to dissolve the problem. I had a good friend. He was a mentor, a Christian man, a preacher, a teacher. He was not perfect. He sinned daily, as I also sin. But the blood of Christ was available to cleanse Him as he repented (1 Jn. 1:9). He was diagnosed as bi-polar, and there were other issues. He struggled mightily for years with the notion of ending his life. He knew what the will of God was on this matter. His fight to overcome for years helped so many others. But, in the end, he took his own life.
I fully trust in the Giver of life to give life again. Just as sure as every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess to God that Jesus Christ is Lord, so God will judge in righteousness. On some mercy, and upon others, justified wrath. Either way, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25).
There may be some cases where suicide seems to be a very clear and open disrespect for life, our richest blessing. In these cases God's wrath will come upon those who reject not only life, but the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6).
But as each soul is different, so are the events that determine the direction of the soul. I believe that some have ended their lives unwittingly. I pray that the grace of God will rest upon them.
In the meantime, the Bible teaches that we should have great respect and love for life. It is a gift so precious that the Son of God left heaven to provide for it eternally.
We must also resolve in our minds that we don't have to answer every difficult question. Biblical faith is not having all the answers, it is trusting in the One who will reveal the answers in His time.

"If You, O Lord, should mark inquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgivenss with You, that You may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my souls waits, and in His word I do hope" (Ps. 130:3-5).

Monday, July 9, 2007

What, not When

George Bernard Shaw was 94 when one of his plays was first produced. Mozart was just seven when his first composition was published. Both of these men accomplished significant things at different points in their lives. We are left with the benefit of the results. The age at which these things were accomplished is not that significant.
Jesus told a parable, recorded in Matthew 20, about a landowner who hired workers from the beginning of the day until just one hour before quitting time. Each worker pleased the landowner. Each worker received the same pay. But some, until they had received word of the work to be done, stood idle in the marketplace. No one had come to hire them. No one had asked them to make a contribution.
But when they were asked, they did their part. Their efforts gained them a place in the vineyard of the master.
Let us not stand idle, but get to work. No matter how late in the day it might be, the land owner is still hiring.
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Passing the Bar

Submitted Question: "As a Christian, is it ok to go in a bar with friends even though you are not drinking?"

On the surface the answer may seem simple to many. Many believe that unless you are committing a sinful act you are permitted. The answer here deals with two things, appearance and influence.

We know that Christ went into homes of which the Jewish leaders disapproved. He was accused of being a winebibber and a sinner (Matt. 11:19). But just because he was accused of those things by these folks who had an agenda, this did not make Him guilty. He stated His purpose in the home of Zacchaeus, a tax collector - "For the Son of man has come to seek and save that which was lost" (Lk. 19:10). He also said, "wisdom is justified by her children." It could be argued that on a certain occasion with a certain purpose in mind, Jesus entered sinful places without engaging in sin.
The real question is - why are you going into the bar? To hang out? To participate in all but the drinking? Sometimes by our very presence we encourage others to conduct themselves in a sinful manner because we fail to oppose their sinful behavior. Paul wrote - "who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Rom. 1:32). He was speaking of folks here who went with the general Gentile mindset, forgetting their knowledge of God and His righteousness.

On the most conservative side, there are folks who believe you sin the moment you walk into a tavern. But I would go there to take someone out. I would go there for a Bible study, if there was no other possible location (I doubt such would be the case). I would invite folks there to worship. But I would not go in and participate or socialize.

I know that if I went into a bar, and ordered a glass of milk, there would be a problem. #1 - I would be supporting the bar, becoming a patron myself. #2 - I would have no good reason for being there. If someone asked me if I had been there, I would have to say, "Yes." If someone asked if I had purchased a drink there, I would have to say, "Yes."

Appearances aren't everything, but when they help or hurt our influence they become very significant. I would like to submit the following Scriptures to close. I think they will speak louder than any conclusion I could explain. I am very thankful for the sincerity of the question:

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.' Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' Says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." (Matt. 5:13)

"Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thes. 5:21-23).

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Rom. 12:1-2)

Friday, July 6, 2007

America and Christianity #4

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." (John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of Supreme Court: One of the three men most responsible for the Constitution).

How should a Christian vote? The founding fathers believed that a Christian should vote for a Christian. Considering the corrupt lives of many within the government, many believe no Christian can run for office, or at least once in office it would be difficult for anyone to remain true to the Christian system.
But the past has proven that this is not necessarily true. Men like Abraham Lincoln and James Garfield held high moral values throughout their presidencies. Moral character does not come without a price, however. Both of these men were assassinated.
When it comes time for an election every Christian needs to vote a Christian ticket. There are no perfect candidates, but the best answer is to vote as near to the Bible as possible, given the choices.
The candidate who is closest to God's standard may not win. But according to the men who started America, this is the person who should.

America and Christianity #3

Everyone appointed to public office must say: "I do profess faith in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ his only Son, and in the Holy Ghost...one God and blessed forevermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration." (Delaware Constitution, 1776 - consistent with the First Amendment).

It is important to note, regardless of current constitutional laws or their interpretation, that originally the authors of the Delware Constituion believed strongly that certain beliefs were integral to obtaining public office.
Our current American society and government is not as interested in the intentions of the founding fathers as we are led to believe. If so, there would be one religion, Christianity. There would be one God, the unified Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There would be one universal truth, the Bible.

America and Christianity #2

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!" (Patrick Henry).

The same men who authored the First Amendment, did so with the desire to promote Christianity. The First Amendment states - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The point was to keep the government from completely controlling Christianity. It was not the desire of the orginal authors to call any belief system a religion. Nor was it their desire to let humanism, atheism, and other false religions thrive.
What other source is more equipped for the exercise of authority over nations than the Bible? Patrick Henry understood that America was founded upon the ideal that the gospel in itself had the power to give him "liberty or death." He chose liberty. His formula for liberty was America and the gospel.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

America and Christianity #1

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people...it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." (John Adams, 1st Vice President and 2nd President of the United States).

The founding fathers stated that without a moral code the constitution is useless. They believed the moral code was nothing other than the Bible itself. Our current problem with the direction of government is the removal of the Bible as the guiding force behind legislation and its interpretation. Without such guidance our government as we know it is without purpose.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


"A Japanese attack on Hawaii is regarded as the most unlikely thing in the world, with one chance in a million of being successful. Besides saving more powerful defenses than any other post under the American flag, it is protected by distance."
(Gordon Prange, At Dawn We Slept, quoting journalist Clarke Beach from Sept. 6, 1941).
The reason why we often are unprepared is because we deem certain things as trivial or unexpected. Are you prepared for a car accident? Only if you buckle up 100% of the time. Are you prepared for a financial cirsis? Only if you have money (right now) in the savings account. Are you prepared for a flood? Only if you live on high ground or own a boat. Are you prepared for Jesus? Only...
"Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him" (Matt. 24:44)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cleaning the Dishes

It has been said that "revenge is a dish best served cold." But the truth is that there are ways we can make a point without hatred. Revenge is a by-product of stored up wrath. The Christian is told not let wrath have its place.
I read a story of two brothers who started buying each other gifts. It all started with an insulting birthday card. The brother who received the card sent 50 back. In response came the birthday gift, a pet rock - only the rock weighed 4,000 pounds. So the other brother sent back 10 tons of pebbles claiming that his rock had babies. One by one the gifts got worse. They included a live elephant, a bus-load of choir boys, and the most recent deposit - two tons of manure piled eight feet high on the front lawn. I guess, as one commentator put it, "It's not just the thought that counts."
Once when Abraham Lincoln was still practicing law, a potential client came to him, desiring to sue an impoverished debtor for $2.50. Lincoln didn't want to take the case, but he knew the man would go elsewhere and sue anyway. So he required a $10 fee for his services. Before the trial, Lincoln gave half of the money to the defendant. All parties benefited, and the plaintiff was satisfied!
Jesus said during the Sermon on the Mount not to resist evil people (Matt. 6:39). He challenged mankind to go the second mile (Matt. 6:41). Our imperfect emotions often put us in a very dangerous place. Even when we have not done wrong, we will allow the works of others to put us in a hole. Then bound up anger works like a shovel, and the hole becomes a pit with no escape. But if we allow time for erosion, the hole will fill up enough for us to eventually climb out.
Only God has the right to be avenged. He gave us everything and we rejected Him. We put His Son upon a cross. Even now, His grace and mercy shine down upon us, offering fellowship with His abiding glory and the hope of an eternal home. "For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord, and 'The Lord will judge His people'" (Heb. 10:30).
God does not want to exercise His wrath. But when He does, let it be noted that He does it in justice.
There are ways to set wrath aside and still respond to evil. We'd better be careful about the dish best served cold. Because Jesus is coming and you can be sure He'll come cleaning the dishes.