Tuesday, April 30, 2013

All Bugs Are Insects But Not All Insects Are Bugs

My older sister hit me with this when I was a kid of about nine years old. She had learned it from her science teacher. Until I heard it I had considered all truth reversible. I was learning to think, thanks to my sister.

Now we can certainly apply this to modern Zionists, those who are promoting the return to Israel. In fact, through the ages, not all Jews have been the chosen of God. Paul tells us that, For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Romans 9:7,8).

In the wonderful story of Isaac, there is a great message. God has chosen some people to be his, and they are His people. I have just read a diatribe against Israel as a chosen people. "How dare they think their nation is special!"

Well they are a special nation., but not all Israelites are chosen. In Romans chapter nine, Paul explains that, just like Isaac, some of them will receive a great blessing and some will not. Paul goes on in later chapters that this blessing is not because these people are "better" than others. The choice was made before they were born and therefore had done wrong or right.

But what about the nation as a whole? Does Israel have a special destiny? They sure do, it's all over the Old and New Testaments--with a catch--it is not time yet for them to take over. God is presently calling out a people to be His church. These people are from all over the place, not just one nation. The first church council explains it all, in Acts chapter fifteen.

I used to believe all Zionist were Jews. But a lot of church people believe they are doing God's work, when they support the man-made Israel created in 1948. But I follow Acts 15's outline of events to come, and the theology of Romans 9. How is Israel doing? Horribly.

I have been reading of the Haredim Jews in Israel. They are as Jewish as anyone can be. But they are not Zionists. Neither are the Torah Jews in the USA. These Jews understand the time is not yet. Messiah will lead them when it is time.

I'm old-fashioned. Get married first, then have your baby.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Raul Dufy

Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Philippians 3:16

I once knew an artist who told me tales of famous artists. He was bitter that he had not achieved fame, or even recognition himself. He told me of Raul Dufy, who never really made it in the eyes of many. Paralysis of his hands later made his style rather sketchy.

But according to my artist friend, Raoul was unfazed. He told a story of Dufy painting a portrait of a man, not a very realistic or "representational" painting as artists would say. Then he addressed his subject, "Now try to look like that!"

To my artist friend, this was a very funny story--an artist telling his subject to conform to his portrait.

Now imagine someone, very skillfully making a portrait of you. It too, doesn't look like you. The picture shows you as perfect in every way. You are incredibly beautiful, or handsome. Your image gives off light. You want to look like this picture of an idealized you. The artist tells you, "Now try to look like this, because some day you will."

This is our situation now. I know I am not as I would like to be. But the Painter has told me that in His eyes, I have already attained it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ready on the Right, Ready on the Left, Ready on the Firing Line!

Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered. He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Luke 22:35, 36, NIV

Guess we all are aware of the incredible number of people buying guns. Many gun items, like magazines, are out of stock and orders are no longer accepted. To many people,this is horrifying. How un-Christian! And how un-Sermon on the Mountish. To these people, we must not prepare for trouble, we must depend on the Lord to care for us.

How conflicted I was by the doctrine of passivism. I have given it much thought. How do we reconcile turning the other cheek with the advice of Jesus to buy a sword? I am ready to listen to the advocates of the Sermon on the Mount as a way of life for Christians. But first, to show their sincerity, I want them to cash in all their insurance policies because they are a form of giving a thought for the morrow. When shopping, buy only enough food for today.

Now I do not know anyone who is willing to do these things. Apparently, only passivism is following the Sermon. I am only saying this to show that Jesus giving His famous sermon, had an entirely different audience and with a different lesson in mind. To unbelieving Jews, he gave a code of ethics which no one ever has ever followed.

If you disagree, did you ever hear of anyone who plucked out his eye because it offended him? Jesus revealed to a very moral nation, the impossibility of achieving righteousness apart from His shed blood. There is no blood in the Sermon on the Mount.

Toward the end of His life, Jesus told the disciples that there was trouble ahead and to arm themselves in preparation for it. This is what the American people are doing today.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

No Pilgrim Ever Saw a Blunderbuss

This sounds so silly, I mean who cares whether any pilgrim ever saw a blunderbuss? Just because this flared muzzle weapon was invented much later than the time of the pilgrims, what difference does it really make?

But have you ever seen a drawing, around Thanksgiving, of men with blunderbusses over their shoulders, on the way to church in the very early days of America? I can't remember an illustration of a pilgrim carrying a musket, a very different weapon, and pilgrims did carry these to church.

Only reason I mention this at all is that because some illustrator, a long time ago was given the assignment of drawing pilgrims, and drew them this way and forever since then they were drawn this way. Guess the man or woman looked in an encyclopedia at illustrations of old weapons and just chose one. Others, maybe hurried by a deadline, followed suit.

I have pity on most preachers. They have a hard job and often without much support from congregations, either financial or by way of meaningful friendships. But quite often these men quote other men, perhaps in a hurry to write a sermon.

Some congregations are "easy" and really don't care about hearing reused material. Others are allergic to ideas that are new to them. Better to play it safe and follow an old track.

But imagine a man giving us a totally new idea that is, new to us. How brave he would be, and how adventurous. Such a man would have my admiration, and if he was not fired, his congregation would also.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Well, Bless Your Ka

According to early Egyptians we have kas. Today we would say immortal souls. But from what I can glean from the concept, the ka is part of of a rather complicated description of peoples' make up, which contains many elements. Objects have kas too, and of course animals too.

I say this to illustrate how far we have come from the Biblical truth that man was made by God from dust, and upon dying returns to dust. The devil dissents by proclaiming "Thou shalt not surely die."

I believe I know the reasoning pretty well as I once held it. I am not trying to start an argument. I only wish to say that we have added ideas to our beliefs, that are not in the Bible, but are of pagan origin.

Believe it or not, I find the ka belief very interesting and possibly a good description of our psychological beliefs or concepts. But Biblical it ain't.

The particulars of my own beliefs are offensive to many. But I beg you to examine your own beliefs. If it's not in the Bible, it could be wrong.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Objections to Relocating

There are all kinds of objections to relocating. I understand this. For such people, I recommend staying right where you are.

Another class of objections is to my chosen methods and equipment. Who could carry a 29 pound Tent-cot into the woods or tundra? I do not recommend anyone try it. When I was at Fort Knox we had to carry a 78 pound field pack, a 10 pound rifle, a canteen with a quart of water, and wear a heavy steel helmet for a long march into the very steep hills. Such things can be done, but are not recommended.

Ever notice how many "survivalists" are ex-military, lone males? Well, Rambo, what about Grandma, or the babies?

What I envision is travel in a canoe or other human-powered watercraft. Back packing a Tent-cot may not be practical, but my canoe would have no trouble--maybe carry 3 or 4.

For those who say, "My way is the only way," I say, "Then do it your way." Since there will be no collapse and all will be well, why worry about these things at all?

I have out-lived a desire to convince anyone of anything. But I love to talk about what I would do.

Sleeping off the ground is too cold. Good if you relocate to a warm region. It's all in what you plan to do.

Rodney Dangerfield said he had a relative so dumb, that when the Civil War broke out, he sided with the West.

One of my favorite reads are books about canoeing the Mississippi. Some choose kayaks. One fellow gave his GPS coordinates of his camp grounds. He carried his food with him, largely powdered potatoes. The flood plains of this great river are unoccupied. Lots of available places to live.

Some of us will die away from our medical supplies. Others will die trying to get to the drug store.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Revelation 3:10, Revelation 3:10, Revelation 3:10

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. Revelation 3:10, NIV

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience , I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation,which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Revelation 3:10, KJV

The Army couldn't think of anything better to do with me than to make me a wireman and pole climber. I rather liked it, despite my fear of heights. It really helped that we had a good-hearted and very patient instructor.

When it came time for us to learn wire knots, one very important knot was a loop knot, which allowed someone in a jeep to reach up and untie a wire and let it fall to the ground so it could be used elsewhere. If properly made, the loop could be untied from a moving vehicle. The rule was that the loop be 18 inches or more. Our sergeant told us many times to make the knot "eighteen inches or more, eighteen inches or more." He said this so many times that I remember it to this day although my instructor, by now, is either dead or in his hundreds.

It is my hope that people will remember the above scripture in the same way. This wonderful promise is that we will be taken up to escape the terrible trials of those who dwell upon the earth. That a distinction is made between us and "earth dwellers" is another illustration of the rapture.

There is an increasing movement against the doctrine of the rapture. The Presbyterian church I was once in, taught against it saying that the word "rapture" is not in the Bible. Of course neither is the term "Presbyterian church" in the Bible, but they believe in that. Would "catching away" be acceptable to these objectors? It is in the Bible and means the same thing.

I treasure the Biblical doctrine of the rapture. It begins in Genesis and goes on to the the book of Revelation. It shows that the church will not be on the earth during the Great Tribulation. We should remember Rev. 3:10, as I remember my MOS or Military Occupation Specialty of "wireman, 310".

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Dream House

Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:
Psalm 64:2

A good friend had a big, long yard. Children would often play there. One autumn we watched as two little girls carried armloads of leaves and arranged them on the ground in a pattern like an archetect's drawing. My friend understood what the girls were doing. They were planning a house and laying it out on the ground. This charming nesting instinct was their preparation for making a home for their families. Blessed be the peace makers, indeed.

Come the winter, little boys would be making snow forts and stockpiling snowballs for the battle about to come. What a terrible thing, you might say, to prepare for war at a tender age, even in play. I believe those children, boys and girls, were enacting what people have done for thousands of years. For the home builders have been defended by the brave souls who battled to keep them alive.

I too, as a child, "played forts" in a sand box, building imaginary defenses, against an enemy about to come. But, slowly, a new thought came into view. I was not then aware, but their was a third way to dream. It was simply flight, take to the woods, and set up your home there.

I fantasized over camping, and not coming back. I slept out under a blanket draped over clothes poles. I spent all day at a nearby woods, cooking bacon over a little camp fire, with a roasted apple for dessert.

But what about my dream house? They make them, and mighty snug they are. I am speaking of course of cot tents. Up off the ground, windows screened against insects, and rainproof. Live there? Many people of this world would be thrilled to have one.

I would be thrilled also. It would not be Solomon's house. It would be akin to Abraham's tent. Together with a cammo hunting blind, it would be my place to dwell until the One who loves us and died for us, returns. Then we will all live in mansions.

Monday, April 22, 2013

It Takes a Campground

(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Hebrews 12:38

Let me tell you about my ideal community. Maybe not now, though I would like to live in such a gathering until Jesus comes. By community I mean, perhaps, from one to twenty or so people. No taxes, no cars, and a place where children could grow up without interference from government. I want to live where no one else wants to live. Even drones would not surveil us.

I'm familiar with the objections. What, no streets and cars? No restaurants? And no public schools! "I want my kids to get a good education." In this dream, you will have time to give it to them, at home.

I am way too old to be an idealist. In fact I have lived under the reign of pressing necessity for almost eighty years. That is, someone else's necessity. For a change, I would like to try my own necessity. It is an idea similar to Thoreau's, only more suited to the times we will soon be living in.

Let me go on about my little "town". It would be The Final Camp Out", before the rapture. People could live in shelters of hunting blinds, with "bedrooms" of cot tents. The latter are rainproof, bug proof, and snake proof. Toting these fold-up items would be by decoy sleds. Ever try one? For longer distances I propose travel by canoe, those ancient devices that have only one moving part. a paddle.

Where would such a camping spot be located? At the edge of a clear-cut forest. Such lumbering leaves a lot of wood behind, for building fires, using for lodge poles, things like that. Food could be squash, beans, corn, grown in hugel beds made of fallen wood.

It sounds so "Indian" doesn't it? I mean it to. You see, I believe the great American dream is over and is not coming back. We had a good run. Now consider another way of life. Minutes from where I live, such a way of life is possible. It is very likely I have given this more thought than you have. Because I have had more time to do it.

This may sound impractical to you. To me, what is impractical is the way of life that is forming up all around us every day. I always wanted to be Hiawatha. I doubt if I'll make it. But maybe you will.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mousie Versus Alex

PWhen the Himalyan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Rudyard Kipling, The Female of the Species

My cat, Mousie was so small she used to sleep in a shoe. Even when she grew up she was small. One day I was playing in the yard when I saw her run for her life. A large male German Shepherd named Alex almost got her. She went high in a willow tree. She remained there for quite a time, until I coaxed her down into my arms.

Later, Mousie had her first kittens. While they were yet young, we had them in a wicker laundry basket on the back porch, enjoying the sunny day. Suddenly, Mousie jumped from the basket and raced across the lawn. Alex had returned, and was standing by the willow tree. Mousie turned sideways and fluffed out her fur. She pursued the startled Shepherd until he ran away. Her kittens had been defended by my little mother cat.

Our country is in peril, and thus our children. How I hope that mothers will defend their children as Mousie defended her kittens. Evil is upon our land. I hope to see the day when those who can will take their children from the influence of those who would, for example, teach them to put condums on cucumbers, so they may learn the methodology of so-called safe sex.

These people are not merely mistaken, they are evil. I hope to see their prey defended by mothers who are as brave as my little cat.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I Don't Like My Teacher

When my little cousin Vicki returned from her first day at a new school, she said, "I don't like my new teacher!" She was very upset and crying. Her mother told her she would call the school and see if she could be assigned to another class. Vicki did not want to do that. She said, "Just let me cry around for a little."

I made a bet with her, while she was still crying, that she would come to like her new teacher. A few weeks later Vicki told me, "I guess I owe you an ice cream cone. I do like her."

I think of doctrines of the Bible, even whole books, that were objectionable to me upon first hearing or reading. Luther disliked James. Now it is understandable that everyone has favorite books of the Bible, even doctrines that resonate with them. But I am concerned that some people dismiss a doctrine completely. They find it shocking or even offensive and avoid it.

I think of election or predestination as examples. To me, they are very plainly laid out in the Word. But at one time I was offended by them and only spoke of them in anger. I had so much to learn! I needed to be offended and confronted.

A key to my attitude was my emotion. Why could a certain subject not even be talked about? Why the anger? I learned gradually that it was the flesh trying to avoid losing a favorite toy. As my country relatives would say, I was fighting to hold onto my "play pretties".

A defense I often hear is, "It won't make heaven any prettier," or "I don't worry about things like that." Such dismissals are merely opening signals to me. The bell has just rung for the beginning of round one.

As I grow older I am learning about avoidance. After all, I did it myself. Some people just can't handle certain subjects. I leave them alone. Others need a doctrine, but have objections to it. If it is not important, then why did God include it in His Word?

I was teaching prophecy in a church where a man confessed he did not like the subject. He said he could not bear to think of his young child undergoing such things as are often mentioned in prophecy. I told him that together, the prophecies are good news. You need to read them all, not just the warnings, but the coming blessings.

Think of your child playing with once dangerous animals in peace and safety. Imagine your child happy and beyond pain and death. That is in prophecy too.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Church Must Shrink

But the Lord said to Gideon, There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you. Judges 7:4, NIV

My sister practically worshiped my father. Whatever he said was right to her. So I was surprised to hear her say, "If he says one more time, 'The church must grow,' I'll scream."

His denomination believed in "growth" and was always pushing it. Real Estate was a big concern. My little church was sold and combined with others to make a really big church, even though our little congregation had voted against such a move. A big church was a good church to those who called the shots.

When my niece told them the youth pastor had asked her to spend a weekend with him at his condo, the higher-ups told her they could do nothing about it. Apparently the leaders had a different agenda that did not involve what they considered a side issue.

So I learned that "church growth" meant numbers of people, not individual growth or morality. Now when I hear the word "growth," I think of something a doctor should remove.

A friend told me his mega-church had a Wednesday service with no preaching or prayer, just music. It was their most heavily attended event.

Am I saying we should thin out the flock? Absolutely. At least get rid of the goats.

Vernon McGee was invited as a guest pastor and was waiting outside a door when the pastor asked the people to bow their heads in prayer. McGee was watching through a window as there was prayer. Many people, he said, neither bowed their heads, nor prayed. They whispered to one another, looked around the room, and otherwise ignored the praying.

A man who I had gone to school with, told me he attended church as a good way to sell insurance.

Before a battle, God told Gideon to get rid of many men in his army. Only a small army was left, but they won a victory. I understand churches now accept credit cards. People can "pay with plastic". There once was a time when people paid with their lives.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Divided Country? It's Very Biblical

This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your fellow Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing. 2 Chronicles 11:4

Many are talking about a coming breakup of the U.S.A. Some feel that a balkanization of America is even desired by the government as a way to make us easier to rule. If it happens, it would be part of a trend for nations and their empires to break apart. I look at Great Britain and its once great empire almost vanished. Same for France and Spain.

Israel's breaking apart was never healed, and that has been a long time--roughly three thousand years. So a possible division of our land, good, or bad, would not be without precedent.

There are issues today which can not be settled by compromise. I offer abortion as a leading one, along with the loss of the Second Amendment. The military has been asked, "Would you fire on Americans if they resist confiscation of guns?" Such a question was unthinkable within my early lifetime.

Of course the splitting up of Israel was of a different nature. The ten northern tribes were the rebels. But God said the division was of Him and not to try to fight these tribes. Holy people left the rebellious ten northern tribes, and resorted to Israel and Judah where the temple was.

Will this occur here, as it has in North and South Korea, for example? If it does happen, will such a division be of God?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Spear of Phinehas

Numbers 25 tells of a terrible time in Israel's history. Verse one tells us of the men sinning with Moabite and Midianite women, both sexually and by joining them in false religion. Moses told his people to kill those who did this.

Moses did not schedule hearings or ask people to try not to do this any more, please. We're not talking about mistaken ideas on philosophic points. This is about burning babies alive to try to please a god that was not a god.

Moses said it plainly--kill such men. I'll begin at Numbers 25:6:

Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar , the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman's stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.
Numbers 25:6-9, NIV

Today, of course, Phinehas would be arrested and tried for first degree murder. We have no Moses, but we do have Midianite women and those who lay with them. I believe it is called an alternative life style.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Know of a Beautiful Pond

My wife and I found a pond that was so peaceful and beautiful. We walked there though the terrain was terrible, with ankle-breaking ruts and seemingly endless weeds. Eventually we found a path where others had trod before us. But before we found the path, we picked up a lot of burrs and weed seeds.

There is a form of Christianity that tells us if we are good enough we just might make it. To salvation, that is. I know, because I was in that religion. It is not some weird cult, but a very respectable church.

This is what I learned as a child. Jesus came to show everyone a better way to live. He set an example for us to follow. For details we have the Sermon on the Mount.

I heard an older man say, "I don't have any real religion, except to do the best I can. God can't ask more than that." Now that sounds so great--very noble. I knew the man, he was the father of one of my school teachers. I don't doubt that he was a very good man. But he was as wrong as can be about what God can ask.

I mean God can ask for sinless perfection. In fact He has. I am not speaking of a holiness religion where people attain a perfect life from birth to death in everything they do, don't do, or think. The idea of it makes me dizzy, just thinking about it. Anyway, it would be too late for me to plead a case based on "good behavior".

So God asks for absolute perfection. It seems so unreasonable of Him! Doesn't God know how many inborn traits we have to sin? And then there is the devil and his temptations.

Well, I found out that this all-demanding God provided a way to be perfect, and it is guaranteed to work and guaranteed to last forever. And best of all it doesn't depend on my goodness, whatever that would be. It is the gift of Jesus and his blood.

Now why am I telling you this when you already know it? Only for one reason. You might know of a very nice person who believes they must work for their salvation. One slip and they must try again. I got out of my original church.You can help others to understand also. You understand, but someone you know may not be there yet.

What about the pond? Well there was a beautiful pond long before I knew about it. I strived, as did my wife, who left a cult. We picked up a lot of burrs along the way. But the path and the pond were always there.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Michal Looked Down on David

As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.
2 Samuel 6:16

This fascinating story of David leaping and dancing with joy, tells us so much about David. He was a man of such passion, in all things. One gets the impression, from other scriptures that Michal loved David as a warrior, but despised him in his ecstatic moments.

They had an exchange of words with Michal rebuking David for his undignified behavior. One could wonder, why wasn't she down in the streets dancing along with David and the others? Maybe she was too "proper" for such an unbridled display?

Now I am rather reserved and never could dance at all. I am of the slow and steady type, though I do love zany humor.

There seem to be two types among the faithful--the ecstatic and joyful, and the "no-fun" thinkers. I mean, can you imagine Solomon getting up from his ivory throne and dancing?

Looks like we need them both. Though in my experience the dancers far out number the thinkers. Being a dancer has its dangers though. A person could end up emulating those dancing before the golden calf in the wilderness.

The story is told in 2 Samuel 6:9-23 that David told Michal off, to put it bluntly. He told her that his behavior was of the Lord. The passage concludes, And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death. So I do not rebuke those who dance and exalt.

But I remember that David, the dancer, advised his son to ask God for wisdom, not on how to dance.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Iodine's New Shoes

Do you remember a comic strip called "Little Iodine"? It was a long time ago, but I remember it. She's still around in comic book form. For some reason one of the strips comes to my mind.

It was summer and all the kids were going barefoot. But Iodine's father insisted that she wear shoes, for safety or to be more ladylike, I don't remember. Iodine reluctantly agreed.

But she took every opportunity to wear her new shoes out, sliding on concrete, for example, until the soles were gone. She figured she could still wear them but asked her father if she could kind of slide them up a little, since they were really shot.

I have been following news stories about nuclear material from Japan's failed reactors raining down on Pennsylvania, for example. Then a pipeline in Arkansas has burst in the midst of a community. It has polluted a lake used for drinking water. The substance is a special kind of oil from Canadian oil sands. It is mixed with benzine, a very toxic substance. Breathing it is hazardous.

The response has been to pump it into a pristine wilderness area famous for its birds and other wildlife. A picture shows a water bird totally coated with the black oil. It will die.

There are those who really study such things. Helen Cauldicott, a physician from Australia comes to mind. I have read her books. Once she stood almost alone, but by now, many have joined her.

What I am writing is not a plea for the environment. It is a summing up of how it has been destroyed. Little Iodine's shoes have been destroyed. Paper towels and squeegees will not fix things. Radioactivity in oceans and air will not go away.

I am not campaigning for a solution. There is none. I am saying man is doing things that only God can repair. Think we are near tribulation time? First the rapture of the church, then a time so terrible, that Jesus said, unless God intervenes no flesh will survive.

Can people do anything now? We can't even protect the little birds and turtles.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

On the Death of Saul and Jonathan - 2 Samuel 1:17-27

Some feel this passage is the most poetic and wrenching lament in the Bible, at least in the Old Testament. To read it, 3,000 years later, is to cry with David--to understand this great warrior as his heart was breaking. Saul's sword and Jonathan's bow were no more.

David was such a great warrior. Has history ever recorded anyone greater? In the same passage this mighty king speaks of his admiration for Saul and his love for Jonathan. But in the midst of this epic response, a startling passage is recorded: (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow:...) (2 Sam. 1:18).

In a time when men and boys show their skill at arms by playing video war games, it seems so archaic to speak of bows. Men in air conditioned rooms kill children, thousands of miles distant, with remote-controled drones, then knock off for lunch in the cafeteria.

Let's just imagine that the old ways are still alive in us, however stifled by the passage of time. Let us further imagine, that the old warrior-hunter flame has not been extinguished in the hearts of men. But what if such men have no access to any guns, or that ammunition is no longer available. Could King David's admonition still be of value after all this time?

There are many who have no money for a bow. They are buying food and gasoline with their credit cards. High tech to the rescue. No one knows who first thought of the following idea: make archery bows from plastic plumbing pipe. But many are doing it, even fancy recurves. I mean, a 40 pound-pull bow can be made of a single section of plastic pipe. Not counting the string, total cost $10.

In my recent hospital stay I was evaluated as having a "wandering mind". It is so true. My mind has just wandered from 1,000 B.C. to PVC.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Shields of Gold to Shields of Bronze

When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace.. He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made. So King Rehoboam made bronze shiels to replace them...
2 Chronicles 12:9, 10

When my friend Bob went into the army, I gave him some gold plated collar insignia. I thought I would save him the tedious job of polishing the brass. But his sergeant made him get some of brass.

Now I can't imagine the soldiers working with the equivalent of Brasso and blitz cloths to make their shields shine. But the royal court had been sacked by Egypt. This was the punishment by God for them deserting Him (2 Chron. 12:5).

Rehoboam humbled himself, and the Lord relented. Yet they had their treasures taken and this is illustrated by the bronze shields of the court soldiers. For those of the Lord who forget Him, a demotion, if not destruction is in order.

This nation boasts of being special to God. Let's see if it will be true when the dollar is devalued and no longer becomes the international standard currency. Will we go from gold to bronze?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Free Pork, Come and Get It!

I read an old library book on America's Great Depression. We've all heard of the soup lines. But one person wrote that they visited a depression era kitchen where a mother was attempting to feed her starving children. There they found a dog's head. She had been cooking a dog!

Now change one letter and think hog. There are two million wild hogs in America. Most states have them, and some states have them in every county. Pigs are not native to America. All of them were introduced for hunting and for food. Their numbers have recently shot up and are climbing. The damage they do costs agriculture $1.5 billion a year. Cars hit them and sometimes they attack people.

What if people formed a cooperative where some hunted and some slaughtered and preserved the meat? There could be meat and lard in abundance, all for the labor involved. Hard times are coming, where many will die from hunger. I would never eat a dog. But I would love to give one some pork. I bet he would love it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Judging Angels

Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 1 Cor. 6:3, NIV

Such a wonderful promise. And such an amazing idea to someone like me. I have never judged anything or anyone. As far as judging goes I have been pretty near the bottom of the stack.

Now we know that in creation we have been made lower than the angels. David says "little lower" in Psalm 8:5, speaking of our order in creation.

Now what is very important is that Jesus, in the flesh, was also made lower than the angels. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor... (Hebrews 2:9). How much the Son gave up when He became human. J. Vernon McGee used to say, "Mary put a diaper on God."

But how are we ever to be in a position to judge angels? For Lord Jesus, it is very plain, He gave His life for us, and is to return to the Father in glory. John chapter 17:5 says it so well in a prayer of Jesus. "And now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

Now you may ask, how does that apply to us judging angels? It is so wonderful. Jesus won this authority through His life and death, and He will share it with us. We are to be His co-heirs in glory.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Priesthood A to Z

Then they acknowledged Solomon son of David as king a second time, anointing him before the Lord to be ruler and Zadok to be priest. 1 Chronicles 29:22, NIV

We all remember Aaron, brother of Moses, as the first priest of Israel. But, like the kings later on, the priesthood fell into corruption and violence. Phinehas, much earlier cleaned things up with the use of a spear.

David had to fight over the throne that he was leaving to his son Solomon. Who was with David, and who supported him? Among those brave men was Zadok. Sounds like someone you would like to have on your side when the going gets rough.

Now it is fair to ask, "What has this got to do with me? I am under the Melchizadekian priesthood of Jesus, and in the New Covenant. I am in a whole new world, so to speak."

Fair question. But it was important to God and He put it into the Bible. Maybe we can learn from it?

Do we also have a polluted priesthood and leadership? Despite the special priesthoods that men have invented, WE are all priests. Luther knew about the Priesthood of Believers and showed it in his life. After all, he gave up the priesthood of a church and married one of its nuns! How's that for living out your beliefs?

As for getting rid of the pollution of individual priests I am not concerned or knowledgeable about peoples' private lives. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

But what about getting rid of false doctrine? Surely we can all do that. It might even be enjoyable. As for so-called leaders who are going the wrong way, let's check them out, using the Bible as our guide.

Monday, April 8, 2013

On Reading the Book of Esther

There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate, Their customs are different from those of all other people..". Esther 3:8

I told you how I wasted an entire morning watching the sun rise until its rays lighted up the plants on my window sill. It was not a spectacular sunrise, just a regular one, but I enjoyed it so much. Then I had a strong impulse to read the Book of Esther, and I did.

Now many people have--and do now--wonder why Esther is in the canon of scripture. No Bible writer cites it. It is not referred to in cross references.

It is the story of captives under King Xerxes. Esther and her uncle, Mordecai are among those who are "different." They are part of a people who have different customs and beliefs than others in this country. They believe in the one true God.

As soon as I read this I thought, that is like Christians in America today, rapidly becoming strangers in what was once their land. I picture Esther, so beautiful, as a Linda Darnell, if you remember her. She is a smart lady too, who has a heart for her people.

Then that awful word "conspiracy" arises. The word that upsets some people, as if history and the Bible do not have many examples of them.

A persecution is announced. Esther begs the king to revoke it, but she is told that the law, once uttered, cannot be changed. Yet there is still hope--let her people fight back. This is the answer for them, and they do.

I imagine people saying, "I would rather rely on the Lord." As if those who fight do not rely on Him. I see this as the situation in America right now. We sang a song in the World War Two years, "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Groucho and Paul

One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?" Romans 9:19, NIV

I took my sister to see a Marx Brothers film festival. She laughed so hard she said she thought she would have a heart attack. The humor was sure there.

But in "A Day at the Races" Groucho told a really lame joke. People groaned. Groucho departed from the script and walked to the camera. "Look, they can't all be funny, it's just the nature of the business."

The film had a yellowish tinge. Groucho had long been dead, but it was as though he had read our minds. People grew quiet. They had just been reprimanded by a voice from the past.

Groucho understood human nature.

And long before this, the Apostle Paul anticipated our reaction to the doctrine of election. "Ooh, they got me, I think its my ego." We are wounded by this revelation in Romans. Paul knew we would be. Looks like human nature has not changed with the passage of time.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easy Believerism

Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. Romans 14:4, NIV

My best friend told of a family gathering where someone addressed the subject of "easy believerism". Apparently he felt is a very bad ism. He makes me think of a stuffy member of a country club who complains, "Seems they are letting anyone in these days!"

The membership in the church is so varied that people often complain about who the Lord calls. By definition, everyone is born, but no one is "more born" than anyone else.

Now imagine a foot race between two contestants. Let's make it a high hurdle event. When the gun goes off one runner strides out ahead, running like a Greyhound and clearing the hurdles with ease. The other poor soul is not running well at all, and at the first hurdle he trips and stumbles. At the race's conclusion the winner tells the loser, "You were awful. Too bad you weren't born as much as I was."

This ridiculous story is how some holier than thou Christians sound when they talk of "easy believerism". They have a list of conditions that people must follow to show that they are real Christians, like they are.

If we want to criticise others, let us not make their so called easy birth the subject. That has already occurred, just as we are all in the footrace. How well we run the race is another matter. Many people have burdens and problems that we can not even imagine.

The gifts that the Holy Spirit gives are not equal in kind or amount. Can you name anyone with the gifts of Saint Paul? An olympian said, "Even if I don't run as well as others, it is an honor to be in the race at all."

Friday, April 5, 2013

He Threw His Bible Across the Room

I want to tell you about a wonderful lady and her ministry to prisoners. This is not a standard pitch for someone I have only read about. I have known her for about fifty years and I was married to her niece. So we go way back.

She is a widow now, and in her widowhood began, very slowly at first, a ministry to prison inmates. Her name is Minerva Lee Buckmaster, and her ministry is called F.I.S.S. She has sent 1,000 Bibles to inmates in seven states.

She told me the story of one of these men who was trying to read a King James Bible. Trouble was, he could not understand it. In frustration, he threw it across the room. There are, of course, many reasons he had trouble reading it.

Many prisoners have a low educational level and cannot understand a Bible translated in 1611. Some are not very competent in English. But the hunger is there and there is help for them in the form of the New International Version or NIV.

Purists may decry the NIV, and they have their reasons. I, myself was raised on the King James. But I figure an NIV that is held and read is much better than a KJV that cannot be read.

Lee told me about a letter she had received from an inmate requesting a Bible. "Could your organization please send me a Bible?" "My organization," she said, "I do it all from my kitchen table."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sand in My Shoes

When I was a boy I played in a sand and gravel yard. I climbed over piles of sand and dived into them. When it was time to go home for supper I was loaded with sand and all tired out.

My horrified mother could not believe how dirty and sandy I was. My shoes, loaded with sand, made it hard to walk right. I even had sand in my hair. I was a candidate for the Grubbiest Kid in America Award.

I brought home slabs of tar to melt in the hot sunlight of summer. It fascinated me.

My patient mother would spread newspapers on the floor for me to undress on. "Look at you, how do you get so dirty?" she would say. But she loved me anyway.

Now I want to talk about my beloved church that has become grubby too. How can I not love it, despite the dirt it has collected, and some tar too? It happens to churches and governments. They forget their beginnings, and like snowballs rolling downhill, pick up what they roll in.

I imagine some people scolding me for being so critical all the time. "It won't make heaven any prettier" is a common remark concerning things I wish would be gotten rid of. But a bride, going to her wedding, would not stop to play a game of touch football, lest she get grass stains on her beautiful dress.

I had to unload all the sand and really wash up before supper as a kid. We're headed for a wedding and a supper too. Let us be as nice as we can before that blessed day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Partial Fall

Though man fell and is dead in sins and tresspasses (Eph. 2:1), his will is free and if he wants, he may choose God and be saved. This is the partial fall belief. Fallen man is not completely fallen. He still has an attribute that can say yes to God and thus please Him.

Oh, how powerful we have become, and how marginalized God has become! God waits, hopefully, while man decides.

I would like to take the very opposite view--that God has decided, before the world was made, who He is to save. We weren't around at that time. I was going to say "in those days," but that would be incorrect, as days did not exist then.

How this kills the ego! People find it intolerable that the decision process did not involve them. Yet is it not sweet to think of being chosen before the world was made? Like newlyweds preparing a baby's room as soon as they are married.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Appeal of the Orthodox

Those of us who are familiar with Brother Nathaniel know that he is a Jew who converted to Christ. That puts him in the same category as the Apostle Paul. Nathaniel adopted the Orthodox branch of the church. I am not knowledgeable of much of their theology. I know them mostly by their art, which I find very appealing.

Two days ago, on Easter, I heard Brother Nathaniel speak on the different view his church has on the mission of Jesus. His confession of faith is the same as you would find in a Protestant church. No surprises there.

But then he said that his church emphasizes the victory of Jesus over death, a victorious Christ, Christ winning over death and evil. People of the Western church can rightly claim the same of course, but I know of no church I have been to that has his emphasis on Jesus winning over evil, like an all-powerful general, brighter than the noon day sun, as in Orthodox art.

I needed to hear this, expressed in a few words, as it was. I am going to confess something that may at first seem heretical. I am weary of being told of my sin and need of redemption.

There, I said it! I agree with all the Bible tells me on this subject. I confessed my fallen state over fifty years ago and ask God to forgive my sins each time I pray. But as a child who lived through World War II, I knew the weariness of war talk, and the longing for a happy life. I know how sweet the news of victory can be. Please, preacher, stop talking about my sin, and let me hear of God's great victory.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Confessions of a Dead Robot

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:13

I used to take two little brothers on outings each Saturday. This time it was to a conservatory. Traffic was slow so we played a little game. We made up words from the letters on license plates. I saw "DR" on a plate and asked what it could stand for. The littlest boy said "dead robot" and we all laughed.

Now I am going to confess. I used to be one--a dead robot. I once was dead in sins and trespasses, unable to do anything that pleased God. I could walk, talk, and think. But in the eyes of God I had no more free will than an unborn baby.

Now this viewpoint can get you into trouble, especially in Free Will territory. You will meet people who say that they believe in the sovereignty of God, then say that you have the final say so and can negate God's desire of God to save everyone. Imagine a sovereign God overruled by a human. Kind of like a baby who doesn't want to be born, or even conceived.

I have found that man's free will to decide or not to decide in favor of God is very important to a great many people. It turns out that, to these people, God's free will must bow to that of man's.

Here is the confession part. I once believed this idea. I read and was preached out of it though. I discovered a wonderful truth. God planned my birth. I had nothing to do with my birth.

John Calvin did not make this up. The Gospel of John was not named after Calvin. But this writer explained it so well that people think he did. They call this doctrine Calvinism, and most often in a very hateful way. I saw an article on the internet entitled "Is Calvin in Hell?" See what I mean?

For me to give up my former belief and give God all the credit for my birth made me a new man, not a dead robot.