Monday, October 17, 2011

Just a couple of things

(Warning: These are my pet peeves and are not meant to be statements of Biblical truth, nor are they meant to be attacks on any persons or groups that practice these things. This is just me being me)

Worship. I believe church is to be a place of worship, but exactly what worship is has been redefined so many times by so many different people that I find the "worship service" to be anything but that.

The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God," so while I'm trying to be still before the Lord (as my form of worship) I find it difficult when I'm being told to stand up, raise my hands, clap (or offer a clap offering) not to mention the music that is blaring so loud that every parent on the street where I grew up would have complained about the noise. I can barely hear myself think, so I wonder how I'm supposed to hear the "still small voice of the Lord." Then I find distractions. The same people seem to dance (in the same place in the church to have maximum visibility), twirlers with flags or other kinds of things to twirl, musicians who are doing the rock band thing with contemporary Christian music. This distracts me. I don't want to be distracted when I come to worship. Call me crazy, but I want to focus on Jesus. And what's with these contemporary songs? I know they can be good and should be woven into the fabric of a song service, but is there any possible way of singing the same songs, I mean at least long enough so we can learn them instead of singing a new song every week? And check out those songs first. Unless really moved by the Lord I don't want to repeat the chorus 15 times. I can't help but think I'm not alone in this. Christian comedian Ron Peason talks about our worship songs this way. He says he likes to sing songs that have meaning, like, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see." I agree with him. He goes on to point to a contemporary "worship" song that goes, "Our God reigns. Our God reigns. Our God reigns. Our God reigns. Our God reigns." He says, "It sounds like it was written by some 8th grade cheerleaders. Some of us old folks would like to sit down after standing for 2o minutes babbling the same words. (Remember, this is just opinion, my pet peeves. If you can't handle it read something else, because I'm just blowing off steam.)

The other thing that really gets me is these new Bible translations. Don't get me wrong, I think having something in contemporary English can be a real plus. But did you ever go to a church where the congregation was asked to read out loud with everyone else the passage of Scripture that the pastor or evangelist or whoever will be using from their text. A few of us are reading in the King James, several others in the New King James, a larger portion are reading from the New International Version, a couple from the New American Bible, and then there is this huge group reading from "The Message", which is basically an upgrade from "The Word". It isn't even a translation, but a paraphrase. So you have all these people "reading together" and no one can understand what the other is saying. Isn't that a bit confusing for the visitor?

When I grew up there were basically 2 translations, the King James and the Revised Standard, although my dad also studied the Philips Amplified Version, just like I may study from my Greek/English interlinear New Testament. But for reading out loud you really need to get everyone on the same, ahem, page, so to speak. For me it was the King James Version. We were encouraged to learn and memorize Scripture, by both my parents and the various teachers at church, all in the King James Version. Now I hear them quoting one of the verses I've memorized and ask, "Where is that in the Bible?" Read and study whatever version you are comfortable with at home, but please, for the sake of us old people who have learned the King James, read from the King James, or if that doesn't suit you, flash the version up on a screen or something so everyone can read from the same script. Otherwise, in my opinion, all you have is confusion.

Well, that's it for now. You go have a marvelous day in the Lord. As I said, I was only venting, these aren't doctrinal points you need to worry about. (Of course maybe you might want to give some of the things a little consideration, but that's up to you.) - David

Getting Things Straight

I get all kinds of emails from Christians around the world. Those I receive from those in the US are disturbing. They talk about how anti-Christian President Obama is and propose various ideas and legislations to bring us back to a Christian society. Hang in there and you'll understand why this is disturbing.

In God's Word King Solomon received this promise from the Lord, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2nd Chronicles 7:14)

That sounds like a map to get us back to where we need to be, but it's only part of the map. We actually have to humble ourselves. We actually have to pray and see the face of God. We actually have to turn from our wicked ways if we want God to "forgive their sin and heal their land."

Now there are many out there that will say, "That's what I'm doing." This is where the other side of the coin is revealed. In the Chronicles and the Kings we have a list of kings from David up until they are led captive in Babylon. Some kings were good, and did what was right. Most did that which was evil. One good king, I believe it was Joash, King of Judah (you see already their evil had spit the nation) ordered the cleaning out of the Temple to make it worthy of the Lord. While they were cleaning out all the garbage, the idols, the things that belonged to other idols, men found the book of the Law. We would know this as the Torah or the books of Moses. They brought it back and read it before the king. Now pay attention. As they were reading this the king tore his clothes and fell (I believe) on his face. The very reading of the Law showed him how evil he was, even though he did that which was right. He ached for the people he ruled over and destroyed all the idols, grinding them into dust. Then he had the books of the Law read before all the people and the priests and Levites cleansed themselves and began to offer up sacrifices for the people.

You may be scratching your head, wondering why I'm bringing up this ancient history. The reason is simple. As long as we try to blame someone else for the troubles we are in we are part of the problem. Until we truly humble ourselves before God, how can we turn from our evil ways? If we do not turn from our evil ways, we, the CHURCH, then our nation will continue to come under the persecution of God. It's not that God likes persecution, but He wants us to come to Him.

Many in our churches are writing their own rules, their own laws. Our hearts have grown hard. While certain people may be doing harm to this nation, they can do no greater harm than we, who call ourselves Christian, and act in ways that do not seek God out or fail to humble ourselves before our Maker. You see, God sets all authorities over us. That means President Obama and all the rest. I'm not saying they are right. I'm saying that God has sent us into our own Babylon by appointing people who would increase the burdens on our back.

Do you see it? Jeremiah prophesied this, as did Isaiah, and a number or others. Are we greater than Israel that God would stand aside for our "democracy"? We are in contempt of His court, and unless we get things right with Him they will only get worse.

The way back is through a veil of tears. Each of us must listen to the law of love that Christ spoke of, and remember that God is Love. How far have we fallen from our first love? What is in store for us if we do not return? These are the things we should be directing our energies to.

Not Political

There are lot of angry people out there following the 2012 election results. While I can understand why they are angry I also realize that anger may be one of the things that is pinning us down in this society.

Fact 1: Just about every news outlet has shown us just how poorly Pres. Barrack Obama has led this nation. He has apologized to people who are our enemies, and have stated that after Israel we are next to be destroyed. This should be scary to say the least.
Fact 2: Obama has driven the country's debt higher than all previous presidents combined.
Fact 3: It is obvious that Obama does not want the people to have the right to make their own decisions. Perhaps the South was right to secede from the Union in 1860. Some people get the idea that the Civil War was about freeing the slaves. While that did become a factor, the real issue was State Sovereignty, and I think they were right in that.
Fact 4: While we have the privilege to vote for the candidate of our choice it is actually God who establishes authorities over us. How God does that is in direct proportion to the way we, as Christians, have, or have not obeyed Him. Currently God has handed us over to a cruel task-master.

So what does all this mean? Why am I bringing this up? I am bringing this up because there are worse things than a president bound to destroy our nation. Many of you may disagree with me on that. It seems to me that as long as you and I regard this nation as the top of our priorities then we will continue to be angry and bitter with our president. This is such a crazy thing to do.

One person shared with me that unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger directed towards anyone, is like wishing they would die and taking the poison ourselves. This is what America is currently doing. We are taking poison in hopes that some other person dies or is incapacitated in their duties, in this case, President Obama.

As Christians we are to forgive, even as Jesus forgave us. Do you think that you, by your own hand, find any goodness in the eyes of God? If you do then you better change your way of thinking. Scripture tells us that there is none righteous, no not one, and that Jesus offered Himself up to die for us that we might be seen righteous through Him. Dare we think any less for the one God has placed over us?

I do not agree with Obama. I believe nearly all his policies are corrupt and seems almost calculated to destroy the United States. And yet I forgive him, with the help of the Holy Spirit. For if I rebel against Obama I am rebelling against God.

The Bible says, "If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, seek My face and turn from their wicked ways then shall I hear from Heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land."

Time is working against us. It flies by like a barn swallow. If we do not repent now, we may never have the chance. The cup of God's wrath is already being filled. People have warped His words to support their own deviant behaviors; anger, drunkenness, sexual lust, and yes homosexuality. These also we must uphold in prayer and forgiveness. I have friends who are homosexuals, but they know my beliefs as well. I don't preach to them, nor do I put them down. People are people.

For instance, the shooting in Connecticut have nothing to do with guns or mental disabilities. It has to do with the presence of evil, and we must realize that this evil exist in all of us. The evil in one may provoke the evil in another. Jesus came into the world for this very purpose, to destroy that evil in us, but He can only do so to those who respond to Him.

While I would normally be writing about the birth of Christ and the miracles that surrounded that birth I believe it is more important to remind you, to remind me, that God is God. I'm not. Therefore I have an obligation to forgive anyone who has slighted me, and that includes the President. In fact, look at your life and pray for every person God has placed over you. Only as we seek His face and repent can we find the healing of God on this nation

Psalm 23