Thursday, February 28, 2013

No Flesh

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved:... Matt. 24:22

Chapter 24 of Matthew is held by many to be the greatest prophecy in the Bible. I certainly agree. We are warned of deception at its beginning. Yet deception and bad interpretation abounds concerning these words.

I had a young seminarian say, "My professor says this is speaking of the Maccabean revolt." I assume his professor knew the date of this revolt. It was in 168-167 BC, about two hundred years before Jesus gave the prophecy. The professor has Jesus prophesying an event that occurred two hundred years before! And does the professor believe that the intervention of God prevented all flesh from perishing?

Another false teaching is that the Roman destruction of the temple in 70 AD was in view. Did God intervene in this destruction? Would a Roman attack on Jerusalem endanger all flesh?

This is the kind of teaching many seminary students receive. Many young people do not question their teachers--their mis-leaders. Some even graduate to go on and teach what they have been told. No wonder seminaries are often called "theological cemetaries".

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Beginning of the Arabs

And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; ... Gen. 16:11,12

The sixteenth chapter of Genesis is devoted to the birth of the father of the Arabs. It is good to read the whole chapter to see how it all began. Hagar left the home of Abraham and almost died in the desert. An angel found her there and told her she was going to have a child. He would be the progenitor of a fierce race.

Hagar was an Egyptian. Abraham was the child's father. This was before the birth of Isaac, so Ishmael has a long history. Arabs, which came from Ishmael, are half Egyptian.

I saw a learned Egyptian woman interviewed. She dismissed the Arabs as "Tribes without flags," but the Bible tells of their origin, and we may do well to learn its prophecies.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


There has been much said about the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. People were disarmed. There were people killed by police as they fled on a bridge. People were herded into a sports stadium not fit to live in. They were not allowed to leave. All kinds of excuses can be made, some of them valid perhaps.

But what stays in my mind is the fate of a little boy and the dog that was taken from him. After several days a number of people were to leave the area. They were loaded onto buses, two per seat. A woman sat with her child, a boy of about five. In his arms he held a tiny white dog.

A uniformed officer approached him. She took the little dog away from him. "No dogs," she said. She carried the dog away as the boy began to cry. When the bus pulled out the boy cried, "Snowball, Snowball." He could have continued to hold the dog in his arms, but a rule must be enforced, in some minds.

Little things mean a lot to us, like little dogs. This is what I remember even today. I remember you, little boy, and I remember your dog, Snowball.

Monday, February 25, 2013

No Smith in Israel

Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: I Samuel 13:19

Some ladies were quilting in upper Ohio. It grew dark and they lighted lamps. Two thugs passing by saw the lights and pushed their way into the home. They were armed with hand guns.

The home was part of an Amish farm community. The Amish men were unarmed pacifists. They were held at bay as they watched two of the women raped. There was no chance for the Amish men to get even farm implements had they chosen to.

The response to this horror was the decision not to work at quilting so late that lamps needed to be lit. Maybe they would be left alone in the future?

Self defense is an option, I believe. If a person, acting alone, wishes not to resist they have that right. This has been an issue since some have adopted the Sermon on the Mount as a rule of life.

Thomas Aquinas was asked, must we be pacifists? His answer, We have that right, but not the right to make it for others. We must make the defense of wives, children, and all our loved ones our duty. Do not offer them up because of your creed.

Our nation faces disarmament. It is not a US policy, it is a UN policy. In defense of the innocent my stand is to resist unto death. Many of us are of the same mind.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Synagogue of Satan

David Ben Gurion was asked to define "Jew". He said, "Anyone who calls himself a Jew is one. Who would say they were a Jew if they were not?" This was a clever reply, but not true. Jesus warns of people who say they are Jews, but are not. Twice in the book of Revelation, we are warned of them.

Now who would benefit from such a lie? One may think being called a Jew is a great disadvantage. There was a time in a nation's history when an identity had to be chosen. It was either Moslem or Jew.

Judaism was adopted by a non-Jewish people. They had no heritage or connection to Israel in any way. If you have read The Thirteenth Tribe, by Arthur Koestler, this is laid out there. There are Jews, or fake Jews, who think that they are on a path to world domination without their Messiah. My beloved Torah Jews understand this so well and try to warn against it.

Am I anti- Jewish? God forbid. But I am anti-Zionist, where unreligious people seek to gain power before the time for it. Until Jesus returns, Israel will be under gentile domination (Luke 21:24).

These people may not be the ones Jesus warns us against. But the warning is there.

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, ( but thou art rich) and (I know) the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Rev. 2:9

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Their Angels

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Matt. 18:10

Do we have angels dedicated to us? If there was no other passage than the one in Matthew we would need to say "yes," and joyfully.

A child died in England, and a monument was placed by his grave. It showed the child as an angel. This was on church property and the church insisted the monument be removed. When asked why, the head of the church said that one thing that does not happen to a dead child is that they become an angel. It seemed harsh at the time, but I believe the church was right.

We have a lot of strong feelings about the dead and about angels. In my recovery home a lady brought me a cup of coffee. I said, "You're an angel." Later I learned that her name was Angela. It is part of our language and our sentiments too.

But what if we had even better news than that we become angels when we die? Not only children, but adults have what could be called dedicated angels. We are warned not to worship them, but we should be aware of the blessing and protection that they can give us.

A Catholic friend was asked why people with Saint Christopher medals in their cars still had wrecks. He said, "Above 60 miles an hour, Saint Christopher jumps out."

I believe I understand him. We can ignore our protectors and over ride them. But I believe to ignore them is wrong.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Church Disappears

For a book dedicated to the seven churches, it seems strange that the word "church" is not mentioned after chapter 3. Except a sign off statement at the end, our name disappears.

However, there is a simple explanation--our name has changed. We will then be the Bride. Our address changes too. We won't live here any more.

When my sister got married and moved away, I gave her a gift of a pen. She wanted to try it out. She wrote her maiden name. She had yet to adapt completely to her new name.

Some interpreters forget that we too will have a new name and address. They look for us on earth during the tribulation events coming for those who dwell upon the earth. We will not be here.

May I say it once again? Jesus says he will take us out of here so we won't have to endure these terrible things. This promise is in Rev. 3:10. Hard to believe, but many forget this, and many are not told at all.

Some theologies see "church" in every group on the earth. They say Moses was in the church. Even Abel.

I repeat a lot, but church is a generic term. The church in the wilderness is not the church of God. It merely is a reference to a group called out of a larger group. As soon as you see the term "church of God", that is us.

My sister soon adapted to her new name and her new address. I hope we can too.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Life Saving Event

When I was a young man I attended what the Methodists offered as the School of Religion. It was a small affair, but intimate. You could talk directly with a pastor, which meant a lot to me.

Our pastor asked us to tell of how we viewed God. The answers varied from a mysterious force, to a friend. A lady with a fixed expression said, "I think of Him as a little figure on my table. I can sit and look at him." The older pastor was quietly astonished.

He related a story. He was in a large building, looking at its structure when he heard a voice say, "Step to your right." He did so, not knowing of where the voice came from. Immediately, a large piece of masonry fell to the floor where he had been standing. It would easily have killed him had he remained standing where he was.

This was not followed by emotional statements of any kind. He claimed nothing, just quietly told his story. I remember it well, though it was about sixty years ago.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Who Are the Watchers?

And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven,... Dan. 4:23

When I was in the first grade I was shown a book, by Monroe Leaf, all about these creepy little birds that saw everything you do. They were called Watch Birds, apparently the forerunners of the surveilance society.

I remember that one of them watched "stair runners". The book said, "Here is a Watch Bird watching a stair runner." Then, "Here is a Watch Bird watching you. Are you a stair runner?" It was enough to make a six year old boy give up stair running forever.

In the Bible, watchers are mentioned four times. Three times in Daniel and once in Jeremiah. Non Biblical books mention them, such as in the book of Enoch. All agree they are angels with a specific job. Some say observation, some say protection. There may be fallen angels who are watchers too.

It's a subject not explored by many, but since it is in the Bible we might want to take note of them. They seem to be a factor in prophecy. Angels don't get much notice today. Skeptics say they diminish as the Bible progresses. They are not only an Old Testament subject. There are more angels in the book of Revelation than all other 65 books combined.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Remember Me, O My God

Remember me, O God, concerning this, and wipe not out the good deeds that I have done...
Nehemiah 13:14

We were studying the book of Nehemiah. The pastor who read this laughed, and said, "Nehemiah had a problem." He went on to berate him for his lack of humility.

Guess I have the same problem too. How I hope that God will remember my good deeds. They are not on the scale of Nehemiah's , but God inspired them.

Actually most pastors like to quote Nehemiah, especially when they have a building program in mind.

That his prayer will be answered is proven, in many places of the Bible, some quite unlikely.

I am grateful to the person who taught me an important lesson. It is from the book of Numbers chapter seven. A dozen times people's names are recorded as giving offerings, including a spoonful of incense.

How wonderful to have your name recorded and your gift listed. God shows that our offerings are not forgotten.

Monday, February 18, 2013

An Eye for an Eye

How many of us have heard of the vengeful God of the Old Testament, as opposed to the new, kindly, God of the New? And how many have believed it? At least as many as those who never read the Book of Revelation.

Part of the proof offered is that God demanded an "eye for an eye." He demanded vengence of His people, who were noted for their non violence and forgiveness. Not!

This is right up there with the all-time misunderstood quotes in the whole Bible, and that is saying something. Let me use a silly story, to make my point.

A man has a drunken fight with a friend over who will win the upcoming Super Bowl. The fight got rough and he had his tooth knocked out. Maybe his jaw hit the table. Now that he has sobered up he doesn't remember.

He gets up and goes to the refrigerator for a glass of milk and sees a Post 'Em note on the door. It says, "Be sure to go over to Fred's and knock his tooth out. God has commanded it, and we don't want to make Him mad."

Let's look at the kind of people to whom the eye for an eye admonition was given. Quakers, they were not.

And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zilla, Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, , hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. Gen. 4:23.

You get the picture. Though this happened much earlier, this spirit had not gone away.

When God commanded an eye for an eye, it was Take no more than a tooth for a tooth. If a man takes your cow, get one of his cows to replace it. Don't sue him for the whole farm.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jacob's Trouble--No Day is Like It

Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:7

If we were asked which are the greatest days of trouble in the Bible, the flood would come to mind. Yet Jeremiah and Jesus speak of a time like no other time. Unlike the flood where an ark with eight people and a huge number of animals survived, without the intervention of God, in this day no flesh would be saved alive.

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Matthew 24:21,22

For the elect's sake. What a beautiful thought. At any time there are those that are the elect. These are people who have been chosen by God. There are even elect angels, who will not fall (1 Timothy 5:21).

The church is being tested now. Jacob's day of testing is yet to come. But he shall be saved out of it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Did Adam Have a Navel?

This answer is, of course, no. Adam did not have an umbilical cord. He was made of dust directly by God. This is not so trivial as it may sound. The first human was made of dust.

Eve, also was not born, but made from Adam. Today we would call it cloning. But she was one step away from dust, and had no parents.

A Bible search of dust is very revealing. It starts In Genesis and is repeated in the resurrection from dust of Daniel 12:2. An attempt is made to deny this. Moderns do not acknowledge this sobering fact--we are all of dust, and except for those in the rapture, will return to dust.

There is no immortal soul in the Bible. Hell had not been invented yet. But for this grim condition, there is a wonderful remedy. Job knew about it. It is known as resurrection.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: John 11:25

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Know" is Such a Sexy Term!

I am afraid some people will think my term "sexy" is inappropriate, even blasphemous . Maybe one should say "intimate" instead. But since God invented sex, I think it is ok. After all, "intimate" could describe a candle lit dinner, but "know" or "knew" makes babies. Let me start from scripture:

And Adam knew Eve his wife: and she conceived and bare Cain,... Genesis 4:1

Again, And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, Genesis 4:17

This is more intimate even than candle lit dinners.

All I want to say is that the Bible often uses a term to imply very close intimacy when it says "know" or "knew".

When Mary is told by the angel that she is pregnant, she replies, Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man. Luke 1:34

Obviously Mary was aquainted with some men. Certainly her father, and Joseph, for examples. But her question is about more than that kind of knowing. Mary was a virgin.

Jesus uses the term also when he says, "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:23

Jesus knows the wicked, but not at all in the intimate way He knows us.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You've Done Stomped Upon My Heart and Smashed That Sucker Flat

It sure has happened to me, just as in this proposed title of a country song. When I was seven, the belle of my class picked me as her favorite. My first love affair. I started late.

At our big Halloween bash at school, she emerged from a crowd of youngsters, burnt cork on her face. She was wearing a bandana and was to represent Aunt Jemima. She was as cute as Shirley Temple. She put her arms around me. I was ecstatic. A week later she didn't like me any more. I was in training for my later life.

You could say the path of true love is not straight. For me that path was like a corkscrew. I broke a few hearts, too. I guess it went both ways. Besides infatuations and true loves, I branched out. A list of cruel disappointments and disillusionments became the story of my life.

God let my mind "save" me. I was drawn to the Word of God, then to a Godly woman. Each knock took the love of the world out of me. It was like Charles Shultz's cartoon of the falling leaf. When it lights upon the ground, Charlie Brown says, "You won't be happy here."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life Without an Ephod

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod... Hosea 3:4

We could ask, who needs an ephod anyway? Isn't it just a priestly garment that has lost its significance?

Well, Israel needs it, only not now. The need and use will return after "many days". It has no more been abolished than has Israel. For now Israel is in a temprary "holding pattern," but not cast off.

Paul tells about this in Romans 11. I know people who will say, "But Paul is speaking of spiritual Jews." That trick won't work. Paul gives his physical family tree. As in "adobe house," "spiritual Jew" means, Jew who is spiritual. I was taught, as a boy, to watch my modifiers.

So if the Jews are in temporary abayence, who is God working with? Acts 15, the first church council, explains it. God is calling out a people to be called after His name, Christians. When the church is complete then He will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down. Paul asks if God has cast off the Jews? He says, "God forbid." "Many days" is a long time, but not forever.

Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king: and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days. Hosea 3:5

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to Cut Up a Pizza

Imagine someone orders a great big pizza. When it is delivered and the box is opened it has been cut into two pieces. Now who can eat that? People are hungry, but they don't want to tear the pizza up.

Then the lady of the house says, "Here, let me cut it up." She uses a pizza cutter to divide the pizza into a bunch of slices. She says, "Now you people can eat it."

This story is really about two ways to understand the Bible. Covenant people divide the Bible into two parts--the Old Testament and the New Testament. Along came the dispensationalists and said, "Lets divide it into smaller pieces." They made finer distinctions and said, "Now you can understand it."

For as we look at the whole Word, and study it as many do, individuals get left out. What about Abraham? Which covenant was he in? Or, Seth? We find there are a number of ways to understand God's dealings with his people, not just two ways.

Before the flood our diet was plant food. After the flood we were told we could eat meat. Dispensations take these changes into account, and other ones too. They add nothing to the Bible, and take nothing out of it. They just divide it into more sections to make it understandable.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Monday, February 11, 2013

When the Tares Become Wheat--Never

Can we preach and teach until all the unsaved get saved? Some people believe so. I believe in both activities with all my heart. But the great mass of people will not hear you. They cannot, because they are the devil's children, simple as that.

I have no great idea for laying out the whole Bible for anyone. It is just to read the beginning of the Gospel of John. Here we find, in plain language, that there are two kinds of people. God's people and the devil's children. These latter are, by far, the great majority.

Like the way the world is going? We are experiencing the result of the devil's world coming to fruition. It is completed in the book of Revelation. Nothing we do can change this course of events.

Imagine a great flood predicted to come. Can anyone stop it? What would your response be? It could be to take refuge in a big boat, as Noah did. Or it could be to move to higher ground.

I expect to be taken out of the world entirely. We all will be. The church is to be "air lifted" to a safe location (Revelation 3:10). After this occurs, the culmination of the wicked will take place. Kind of like Lot escaping Sodom. The fire was held back until he was safely away.

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. John 8:43, 44

Sunday, February 10, 2013

They're All His Words

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:21

President Lyndon Johnson was reviewing a helicopter fleet bound for Viet Nam. He had been assigned one to ride in. A young airman spoke to the president. "Your helicopter is over here, sir." Johnson replied, "Son, they're all my helicopters."

A man told me very earnestly his church was strictly Biblical. "We stick to the Gospels," he said. Should we commend him for staying in the Gospels?

Many have expressed the belief that the words of Jesus are more valid than those of the prophets, or of the church letters. Paul is good, but Jesus was better. "Jesus had more to say about hell than anyone," they often say, ignoring He never used the word at all. If you were to answer that Paul never spoke of hell, they will use his silence to prove that the words of Jesus were of more importance.

I will take what to some is a radical track. I am saying that all who spoke by the Holy Spirit, in every age, spoke the words of God. All are of God and equally valid. On the cross Jesus cried out with the words of David, who lived and wrote a thousand years before. That is proof enough for me.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

One Down and Two to Go

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 2 Peter 3:6

The Bible speaks of three worlds. One has come and gone. That was the pre flood world. We now live in the second world. After this one is judged and destroyed by fire, there is the millennial world where righteousness will reign. Yet there is one earth that carries them all.

Imagine a blackboard, maybe the old fashioned slate ones. The blackboard remains, though many diagrams and writings are put upon it. How I long for the third one. It will not be erased.

Friday, February 8, 2013

What You Can't Do

A good friend asked why I don't like the Sermon on the Mount. Shocking, but it bothers me. Many, especially, unbelievers honor Jesus's sermon as the so called high water mark of morality.

It sure is--very high. I can't live up to it, no one can.

Is this your rule of life? Is this your guide for living? It is not mine.

I am happy to say, that as a member of the church, I follow the church epistles. They are my guide. Paul and John, and James knew how we are able to live and advised us accordingly. Jesus gave a standard for the Jewish people that they could not fulfill. Only the cross could satisfy its demands.

When we read the church letters, we see our rule to follow. Granted it is a struggle. Paul said he had yet to obtain righteousness in living. Jesus did.

That is the big difference to me--the ideal versus the possible. The sermon drove people to God for forgiveness if they understood its righteous demands.The church letters are for those who have been washed in the blood and have imputed righteousness.

The sermon tells us what we cannot do. The church letters tell us what we can.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Desecrating Momo

In high school, life became dull for me. I could not understand my fellow students. To me they were like nice, pleasant cattle. They were crazy about basketball. The prospect of a prom thrilled them. I almost made beatnik status. I considered leaving school. My mind was mired down.

Then a new student came in from Massachusetts. His father was an aircraft engineer. He was brainy. We soon became friends. Under his influence, my mind woke up. He knew the symbols for the elements. I did not. I began to learn them too.

We competed in running one day. He said he was the champion of his school back home. He was pathetic. I left him in the dust.

We became close friends. Dave introduced me to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, my favorite story even today. We discussed the Morlocks and their subterranean culture of machinery.

On a school trip at a machining company we saw a man open a hatch and peer about. He ducked back down into a giant machine. "Just like a morlock," one of us said. Later my teacher lamented that if only he had known. The father of one of the students worked at the factory. His name was Mr. Morlock. I looked at my friend across the room. He was astounded at this synchronicity.

Dave had a killer sense of humor. He told of a baseball game he and his brother were in. Someone hit the ball into an orchard. Dave's brother went after it, but did not return. Dave went looking for him and found him bowing down to an apple on a stick. Someone threw another apple and knocked the idol down. Dave's brother was horrified. "You have desecrated Momo," he said. Dave laughed so hard at this he cried.

Dave had his first attack at school. I was talking to him when he got a terrified look on his face and fell to the floor, thrashing about. This was the beginning of a mental decline. It was incurable. I visited Dave in a mental institution. He could be rational, but soon tired out. He was fighting his demons.

Not long later, he walked into a severely cold winter landscape. He had done it before. This time they found him too late. He was wearing a short sleeved shirt and seated against a tree, frozen to death.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

69/70ths Fulfilled

Imagine a timed prophecy, very literal, that only has seven years to go. This is the great prophecy of Daniel chapter nine, verses 24 through 27. It goes from the rebuilding of Israel's temple until the end of the great tribulation. There is a gap in it, called the times of the Gentiles, by our Lord, in Luke 21:24.

I read a little book on this great prophecy many years ago. It made no sense to me at the time, though later I found it was a very good book. I needed to work, and eventually I understood it.

What if a man was building a boat and he was 69/70ths through? And what if someone asked him, "What are you building?" Wouldn't the builder wonder why it was not obvious? He was building a boat and was almost finished. Simple as that.

Well, this prophecy predicted the exact day when Jesus would ride in Jerusalem on the donkey. Wise Jews knew this and were waiting to cheer him on. It had been penned hundreds of years before the event, but they were great time keepers, using the Moon. Seems so plain, yet whole churches struggle to "spiritualize" this prophecy. Better yet, by their reckoning, they ignore these few verses totally.

An old interpreter asked this question: "Since 69 of the time periods have been fulfilled, by what principle of interpretation do you try to make the remaining portion non-literal?" But whole churches ignore it. I was in one of them.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Image of the Heavenly

And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
First Corinthians 15:49

We have before us tragedy and joy. The tragedy I know of as you do. Many are living it now. Modern Christians object when I say that life itself is tragic. It ends in death. Is that not tragic?

Fulton Sheen once said, "Remember the happiest moment of your life, then think of it as going on forever." Such a wonderful thought! I know too well the earthy, and the earthy body. I cannot imagine the heavenly, either in body or joy, though I try.

It was said, Dante had no problem delineating the sufferings of hell, but when he tried to picture the joys of heaven, he was at a loss. Even the happiest things are sorrowful when they end and we recollect them. We need eternity and our new bodies for fullness of joy. That is what I think of every day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What Sayeth the Word?

You may hear arguments about Bible doctrines based on what God would do or should do based on the various feelings of the people in the discussions. You may have heard statements such as, "I don't want to believe in a God who would do this." Or "Would a loving God do this?"

I'm sure there are others, but the idea is the same. God should conform to our beliefs and wishes. This is kind of a "designer God"--each person can have his own. And why not? Aren't we all consumers? And isn't the customer always right? After all, I pay my money, so give me the kind of God I want!

Most of us know that this was anticipated almost two thousand years ago by Paul, when he wrote:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. 2 Timothy 4:3.

Now this is not an admonition on my part to avoid this practice. I am only asking how much of it have you seen? Departure from the truth is a Biblical sign of the church's last days. Not false teachers are the issue, but false congregations. They want to order up doctrine as if they are at Starbucks.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Jacob's Ladder, the Movie

Such a gripping movie, almost no one has seen it. More than action, even more than drama, it had a message for me about letting go of the world. The ladder is emotional regression induced by drugs given to soldiers by the Army. They try to turn soldiers into killing machines. The effects linger. The hero's name is Jacob.

A very important scene to me is of Jacob's chiropractor, whether real or imagined in a phantasy. He quoted the mystic Meister Eckert, a new person for me. Eckert says the demons that attack you are turning you away from this world, actually doing you a favor, by making you let go. It is all how you look at it.

This was what I needed to hear. The blues demons won't always attack you. Bad as it can be their days are numbered. As the hero dies he sees his son, hand extended, on the stairs, the true Jacob's ladder. His son, who died in a bike wreck, is surrounded by light, welcoming him.

It is a grotesque movie in many ways, but the message is clear. Real happiness lies ahead.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Romans 16:1,2

What an honor to be named in the Bible. I too, wish to honor Phebe. I also want to go to her church in Cenchrea. I understand it had less than 900 people so it was not a mega-church. No sound system, maybe no choir. Think of that. It had no pipe organ and its lighting system was no doubt just some open flames.

What did they have? They had Paul's writings and presence. They had the Holy Spirit to guide them. The Bible had yet to be written, and could not be misinterpreted.

We have added so much to church doctrine that they did not have. Has it been a gain or a loss? God has all kinds of churches, and all kinds of Christians go to them. But before we all meet in heaven, I wish I could go to Phebe's church.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Kids

They weren't mine, but I considered them so. For one school year I was assigned to help teach second graders, as part of my college course. At that time I was into science, and that is what we did.

I brought them a really old 5 x7 inch folding camera with a viewing screen. The room was darkened and they peered under a black cloth at the image of a burning candle. "Why is the candle upside down?" they asked.

I brought a 15,000 volt neon sign transformer to show them how its arc traveled up spread rods like in the Frankenstein movies.

A huge magnet mounted on wood was used to pattern a tray of iron filings. They could see its magnetic field. We learned what is attracted by a magnet and what is not. I made up a simple test on magnets for my seven year old friends. The teacher charted it and said, "A perfect bell shaped curve," concerning the results.

Demonstrations were set up and an older class was invited. The morning of the demonstration my car was so frozen it would not start. So the children did it themselves. They had learned so well!

Christmas had come and children showed me some of their gifts. "They want to show them to you," their teacher explained. A girl showed me her old fashioned hair dressing set. "You even have a hair receiver," I told her.

I learned to listen to them as they told their stories. Some of the boys were stressed. Drawing pictures was not for them, but I told them to be patient. They could do it. One of the girls was traumatized and did not speak. When gifts were exchanged she brought a broken comb with hair in it. The child who received it began to cry. The teacher quickly gave her a present she had brought just for the occasion.

It was not all science. There was time to listen and learn about them. I found just plain being quiet once in awhile really helped.

The year's end came. It was time for me to depart . The teacher asked them to draw a picture for me. A Jewish girl was named Deborah. I told her she should be proud to be named with the same name as Israel's only woman judge. She drew me a lion. I looked for the sun. I knew it was a father symbol in drawings, and saw that some had a big, bright sun, others had a cloud over the sun, and some had no sun at all.

I left these great kids at the end of the school year and never saw them again. They are in their late forties now, but I will always think of them as seven years old. I still have the pictures. A rather frustrated boy had written on his, "You are an understanding man." That is what I had tried to be.