Odds 'n' Ends

 

Introduction


Welcome to my    CHRISTIAN    Odds 'n' Ends page, a page that stands alone, with somewhat off the cuff stuff, a kind of soapbox, or blog perhaps. Here I will be putting anything from random thoughts, notes, quotes, (serious or amusing), book or website recommendations, to questions that I might put to the reader in the hope that I'll receive an answer via the Feedback form on my website, (accessed via the Contact button). 

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction,
and those who enter by it are many" (Matthew 7:13, ESV). 



Those Beaming Santas


Everytime  Christmas comes around, there’s the unusual round of cards with Santa beaming. Now that’s bad enough given that Christmas is supposed to be about Christ, but when it’s Christians who’re responsible for those beaming Santas, it’s a clear indication how far Christendom has strayed — Santa simply being another one of Satan’s substitutes who’s trying to muscle in on God’s territory. 


So Very True Also


"Faith ends where worry begins, and worry ends where faith begins."
George Mueller

If This Isn't What We Live By...


Then we're hardly Christians:

"But I say unto you. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt 5:44, KJV).

And surely food for thought regarding those Christians who're considering divorce.


Author Unknown


AND I WEPT!

I wept when I saw him in church for the first time on Wednesday.
He was in his mid-70's, with thinning silver hair and a neat brown suit.
Many times in the past I had invited him to come.
Several other Christian friends had talked to him about the Lord and had tried to share the Good News with him.
He was a well-respected, honest man with so many characteristics a Christian should have, but he had never put on Christ, nor entered the doors of the church.
“Have you ever been to a church service in your life?” I had asked him a few years ago. We had just finished a pleasant day of visiting and talking.
He hesitated.
Then with a bitter smile he told me of his childhood experience some sixty years ago.
He was one of many children in a large impoverished family. His parents had struggled to provide food, with little left for housing and clothing. When he was about ten, some neighbours invited him to worship with them.
The Sunday School class had been very exciting! He had never heard such songs and stories before! He had never heard anyone read from the Bible!
After class was over, the teacher took him aside and said, “Son, please don't come again dressed as you are now. We want to look our best when we come into God's house.”
He stood in his ragged, unpatched overalls.
Then looking at his dirty bare feet, he answered softly, “No, ma'am, I won't — ever.”
“And I never did,” he said, abruptly ending our conversation.
There must have been other factors to have hardened him so, but this experience formed a significant part of the bitterness in his heart.
I'm sure that Sunday School teacher meant well.
But did she really understand the love of Christ? Had she studied and accepted the teachings found in the second chapter of James?
What if she had put her arms around the dirty, ragged little boy and said, “Son, I am so glad you're here, and I hope you will come every chance you get, to hear more about Jesus.”
I reflected on the awesome responsibility a teacher, pastor, or parent has to welcome little ones in His name. How far- reaching her influence was! I prayed that I might be ever open to the tenderness of a child's heart, and that I might never fail to see beyond the appearance and behaviour of a child, to the eternal possibilities within.
Yes, I saw him in the church house for the first time on Wednesday. As I looked at that immaculately dressed old gentleman lying in his casket, I thought of the little boy of long ago, and I could almost hear him say, “No, ma'am, I won't — ever.”
And I wept!

Yes, we need to be very careful. There are ways and means and a time and place.

Watchmen On The Wall


Pastors are watchmen on the wall of the church. Their duty being to watch out for any wrong and heresy entering the church. In the days of ancient Israel, the watchmen were to also keep an eye on each other in order to make sure that they hadn’t fallen asleep or got distracted.
What a tragedy when members have to keep an eye on pastors, and do the watching for them.
However, and though such is specifically the duty of pastors who'll be held accountable for such, all christians are called to be watchmen on the wall, so we need to take this duty very seriously.


Leaders, Take Note.


Christ calls leaders to be servants, not masters. In His kingdom, it's serving others that defines who is greatest. 


Something To Ponder On


The following is from the book “Not A Fan — Becoming a committed follower of Jesus,” p. 164, 165, by Kyle Idleman.

Snuggie Theology.

One of the elders at my church described in a sentence how this happens. He said, “What you win them with is what you win them to.” When we win them with a Snuggie Theology, they are not going to be happy when they are told to take up a cross.

This is how many sermons are presented. I think a lot of well-intended preachers adopt a Snuggie Theology when they find themselves in a church of a few hundred people and discover an incredible pressure to grow. The attendance isn’t what was hoped for, and the offerings are down. Before they know it has happened they gauge success not by their faithfulness to God’s Word but by the weekend stats. And so the sermons get sanitized. Scripture gets edited. The cross gets covered up. The sermons are often about salvation, but never about surrender. Often about forgiveness, but never about repentance. Often about living, but never about dying.


Those "Quickie" Baptisms


"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you..." (Matt 28:19,20).

To obey you have to know. Hence why I have a real concern over what I call the “quickie” baptisms that have become part of the contemporary Christian scene.
It’s almost as if it’s a case of:
“Do you accept Christ as your Saviour?”  “Sure do.”  “Okay, under the water you go. Now you’re baptised, are a Christian.”
Whoa!
A study of God’s Word conveys that before a person is baptized they must have repented, turned from their wrong path, and been soundly instructed in God’s truths. They need to have a good understanding of them.
So, part and parcel of becoming a “follower” of Christ is the acceptance of His truths, all of them, not just some of them. It’s a package. If we don’t know them all first, if we don’t truly know what God desires, how can we really know if such is for us, and whether we’ve the metal to carry such out.
One cannot be a partial or part-time Christian.
We don’t just accept Christ as our Saviour, you know, but as Lord of our life, hence that taking up of our cross and whatever the cost may be.
But what is happening is that many have been getting baptized without a full understanding of what God truly requires of those who take on His name, and without a full knowledge of those important, foundational, biblical truths that not only set us free, but that we’re to likewise impart so that others won’t walk in error, nor be led up the garden path.
Such truths are not to be learnt after, or along the way, but before hand so that from there on one can walk in them, and thus shine that light for others to see.
Baptism is an outward sign of what has already happened, not what's going to happen.
The sad upshot of these “quickie” baptisms is that the Church is being inundated by people who are not only quite ignorant of what they shouldn’t be ignorant of, but are still clinging to those things that they should have left behind.
When Christianity became popular under Constantine, many flooded into the Church bringing their pagan ways and thoughts with them. Hence the ills that soon plagued the Church.
The sad truth is, that aside from the Church of today becoming more paganized, those largely ignorant, green Christians are oft seen to pack their bags and go when finally confronted with what God truly expects of them. Or they stay and become part of the charade, the faulty witness.
As members with voting rights, and given their ignorance, such even fair-weather Christians help usher in what wisdom and sound knowledge wouldn’t.
And so, baptism wise:
A person must understand (Matt 28:19,20; Acts 2:41; 8:35) -- therefore has to be taught.
A person must believe (Mark 16:16; Rom 10:9) -- therefore has to exercise faith.
A person must repent (Acts 2:38; 19:18) -- therefore has to acknowledge and be genuinely sorry for their sin; turn away from sinning. Thus the new direction must have already begun before baptism takes place.

And remember this:

"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin"
(James 4:17, ESV).

“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins [God’s grace is made void], but [rather] a fearful expectation of judgment [unless we repent]...” (Heb 10:26,27, ESV).
 

Take Note


You may be saved, but why die too young, and when you really don't want too? Therefore, don't pointlessly endanger yourself.

"Do not excel at wickedness, nor be a fool. Why die before your time?" (Eccles 7:17, ISV).

What Did God Intend Each Church To Be?


A place of unadulterated truth.
A place where folk would be assured of sound pastoral food, be it sweet or bitter.
A place we’re folk would share God’s Word, meditate on it, praise Him and pray.
A place where folk would learn reverence.
A place where the difference between the heavenly and worldly would be marked.
A place that all would recognise as distinctly Christian.
A place where worship would be free of self and any distractions.
A place where the focus would solely be on God.
A place where only spiritual exercises would take place given that God is a jealous God.
A place where the lonely, broken-hearted, discouraged or fearful would find hope and caring fellowship.
A place where combined effort and the various talents would prove more successful and thus bring more glory to God.


How I See It


God blesses us with a car, (for example), many people not having one, nor able to afford to run one.
Therefore, we show our gratefulness by looking after it, keeping it washed, tidy and maintained, (the latter as much as money will allow).
Such care is good stewardship because such care lessens money spent unnecessarily.
Such care prevents adding to Earth’s rubbish too early and needlessly.
Such care witnesses to the same order, beauty and care that God himself delights in, which we should emulate.
Therefore, we shouldn’t mistreat it, neglect it, thrash it or even use it for things that aren’t in harmony with God’s will and Word.
And so, the same applies to our house, property, chattels, etc; and because we’re God’s creation, we looking after our bodies too.


One Could Go On And On And On


But here’s just a few examples of Satan going about as a roaring lion knowing that his time is short:

1)  Darwin’s theory of evolution has been destroying belief in the biblical creation account.

2)  ISIS has been destroying archaeological evidence that backs up the validity of God’s Word.

3)  Christendom has largely swallowed the erroneous belief that God’s moral Law has been done away with when the apostle Paul, for one, clearly says it hasn’t been (Rom 3:31)!

4)  Governments have been busy legalising what blurs and runs counter to God’s creational intent, design and directions regarding males and females.

5)  Hollywood has been busy creating movies that distort or alter biblical doctrine, that wrongly portray biblical accounts and misrepresent Bible characters and God himself, and that also create an unhealthy interest in the occult, the realm of Satan.

6)  The music industry has been busy creating oxymorons via the likes of Christian Rock and has diluted the spiritual with a generic version.

7)  The fashion industry has been busy creating clothes that snub their nose at biblical directives that guard against immodesty and licentiousness.

8)  The cosmetic industry has been busy creating things that snub their noses at humbleness and self forgetfulness.

9)  Fast food outlets have effectively been busy encouraging ill health, the destroying of our “temple.” 

10)  Feminists, both secular and evangelical, have been busy attacking or challenging God’s Word. And many Christians in general have been following suit with their disputing of this and that too.

11)  And then there was that earlier Christianizing of pagan festivals courtesy of Constantine, of which there’s no biblical mandate.

Yes, one could go on and on and on.


Now Here's A Worry


"Always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim 3:7, NIV).

Tattoos And Body Piercings


We’re God’s handiwork, His creation, and are made in His image. Thus what right have we to do what we like with our bodies? No right, according to Scripture (1 Cor 3:17). A tattoo or body piercing disfigures and is thus akin to destructiveness, graffiti.

Yes, some refer to Leviticus 19:28, but logic itself indicates that tattoos and body piercings would hardly please God, and 1 Corinthians 3:17 obviously including such with those destructive things that are taken in via the mouth. A Christian is to keep his or her body clean and unmarked that it may more truly reflect our Creator who's a God of beauty, purity and health.

A tattoo is a mark that identifies one with the world.

A tattoo or body piercing is the embracing of a heathen practice. God forbad such imitating.

A tattoo personifies and establishes a rebellious atmosphere.

The very foundation, origin, meaning and purpose of the tattoo is both pagan and demonic. It often associated with magical rites, and thus comes reeking with Baal worship, occultism, shamanism, mysticism and even cannibalism.

Tattoos, throughout history, have been used to mark criminals, adulterers, traitors, deserters deviants and outcasts. Such being a dreaded mark of reproach and disgrace.

All being why many who’ve come out of heathenism have removed such from their lives, they well aware of its significance.

Regarding Halloween


"I'm glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year." Anton Lavey, founder of the Church of Satan.


A Little Reminder


When Christ returns at His second coming, the Bible says nothing about Him setting foot on Earth; we being caught up in the air to meet Him and wing our way to Heaven (1 Thess 4:16,17).

Also note John 14:1-3.


If God Doesn't Care About Us,


Why did He give humanity a second chance by sparing Noah and his family?
Why did He die and rise on our behalf?
Why is He coming back to get us?
Why has He delayed His coming in order that more might be saved?
Why has He left us with encouraging promises?
Why did He send the Holy Spirit to empower, inspire, comfort and guide us, and aid our prayers?
Why does He still send the garden watering rain and healing, warming sunshine?
Why has He borne so long with us?
Why has He given us direct access to His throne via prayer?
Why has He given us the following via His Word?
a) A life saving gospel.
b) Health prolonging information.
c) A recipe for happiness.
d) A better way of living.
e) Warnings of perils.
f) Signs of the nearness of His coming.
Why did He give us His moral Law so that we wouldn’t wander after false gods, wouldn’t end up in jail, wouldn’t hurt ourselves and others, or be in the dark as to what sin is?
Why did He give us a day of rest so we wouldn’t work ourselves to death, wouldn’t miss out on fellowshipping with fellow believers, wouldn’t miss time with our spouse and family that otherwise mightn’t happen, and wouldn’t miss out on the benefits of a richer, deeper spiritual experience?


As Sure As Eggs


Given Christ's soon return, the devil will no doubt double his efforts to make good people look bad and bad people look good, and to make those who have truth look like they haven't and those who haven't look like they have.


Regarding Infant Baptism


What the Bible teaches:

1) One must be taught to observe all things as Christ has commanded.
2) One must believe with all his or her heart.
3) One thus makes an intelligent decision.
4) One is converted to Jesus.
5) The Holy Spirit enters one’s heart at once.
6) One is fully immersed under the water, such symbolizing complete burial and resurrection.

And thus why infant baptism is a serious departure from God’s Word, because:

1) The infant knows nothing.
2) Is incapable of believing anything.
3) The decision is made by the parents and not the candidate.
4) Such is thus a contract between the parents and the church for the candidate.
5) The godfather and godmother take over until the candidate reaches age of accountability.
6) A few drops of water are sprinkled on the head of the infant.


Logic, Really


“… Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name” (John 15:16, NIV) — and here God meaning: Whatever is in harmony with His Word and will and in our best interests, for God is not foolish, indulgent, irresponsible or contradictory.
Hence the following:
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14, NIV).


And So Say Who Of Us?


"Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?" (Gal 4:16, ESV).


Other Worlds


We need to remember that we’re not the only world but just the only fallen one and thus a lesson to the inhabitants of those other worlds-cum-universes that God has also created and why so much is at stake regarding the great controversy between good and evil.

“Has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Heb 1:2, NKJV).

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb 11:3, NKJV).

The KJV, NKJV, NRSV all state "worlds."

Another Gem


“A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.”
A.C. Clarke


Have You Noticed The Parallel?


Not only did three angels warn Abraham of Sodom's end, but the three angels' messages (contained in Revelation chapter 14) warn of the world's end.


Where Church Planting Errs


Though planting churches is a good thing, it’s only so where it doesn’t conflict. In other words, where it’s really necessary and not at the expense of existing or problematic churches, and hence my intention here to deal with the latter, for here:

Church plants can fragment and deplete an existing congregation that’s in need of both attention and numbers. Such church plants can prove an unnecessary drain on limited resources.

Church plants can hamper the efforts of a congregation to work together in the one place and time just as church hopping benefits no one too. In fact, church plants in relatively close proximity can aid church hopping. Church plants can also remove upstanding and experienced people who are really needed where they are.

Dysfunctional members can create dysfunctional church plants. Some church plants are nothing more than the result of disgruntled members who desire to do their own thing. Hence why some church plants simply become little cliques. Best any existing church get itself sorted first.

The more church plants, (in relatively close proximity), the more money that is gobbled up in rent, purchases, resources and general expenses, and so unneccesarily.

Unnecessary church plants can lead to less accountability, order, cohesion and visibility — the latter more so where such a group goes under a new name.

Is it possible that some who’ve been encouraged to plant a church have been encouraged by someone or others in order to wrongly be free of then from an existing church? Perhaps their removal allowed those encouraging them to better control and manipulate the existing church that’s thereby all the worse for their removal and thus more vulnerable.

Just as leaders aren’t always commissioned by God but by erring members, church plants aren’t always the will of God but the desire of those who’re misguided or ambitious. In many cases church planting is just another fad of the day rather than a seriously thought out avenue.

Never Were More Truer Words Said


Know then that every soul is free,
To choose his life and what he'll be,
For this eternal truth is given,
That God will force no man to Heaven.

He'll draw, persuade, direct him right,
Bless him with wisdom, love and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.

I'm unsure of the source, but am of the understanding that these two verses are from a larger work.

Revisiting Julian Assange and Wikileaks


I was thinking about Julian Assangeasking myself — “Would I do the same thing?”— given how highly I value freedom, liberty, freedom of expression-cum-speaking out about any wrong, and the conclusion I quickly came to was, “No."
You see, no matter how bad any government may be, or what’s going on in the world-cum-behind the scenes, Christians are called to obey the laws of the land except where such conflict with God’s requirements for the Christian. Christians are also called to behave rightfully and-cum-no behind the scenes plotting of their own.
Thus, Christians shouldn’t act lawlessly, destructively or cunningly, and are to wait on the Lord for release from tyranny and oppressiontheir meantime peaceful and legitimate measures fail. It may be that such release may only come with Christ’s return. In other words, as He sees fit. And let us also remember that God has promised that He will deal withand the likes in His own good time. They won't go unpunished, unless they've repented.
Many seeking freedom, and who’ve turned to arms-cum-unlawful means, have become instrumental in wrecking their own country via such, and often have ended up no better off. Yes, they may have got rid of some despot-cum-dictator, but in the process ended up with a high death toll, much future suffering-cum-their country in continual turmoil, and with their country’s infrastructure in a mess.
The biggest failure in times of apparent peace is that good men do nothing or little, (they often lulled into a false sense of security), and by the time things are going astray, they often— in their desperation— turn to measures that are neither lawful or noble, and this, all too late anyway.


Fitting Words From An Old Hymn


You go to your church,
And I'll go to mine,
But let's walk together.


Halloween


Unfortunately, Halloween has come to New Zealand — another sad American import — Halloween being part and parcel of that imaginary world of ugly, evil creatures that belong to the realm of darkness, alias the devil, and of which no Christian should have a bar of — God’s words, not mine.
A cute little girl arrived at our door sporting a witch’s outfit complete with pointed hat, her father almost unnoticed but near. I explained to Him that as Christians we don’t believe in Halloween. His reply was, “Nor do I, I’m just doing it for her sake.”
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
Aren’t parents supposed to lead by example, Christian or not?
If you don’t believe in something, you certainly shouldn’t encourage your children to do it.
As far as that cute little girl goes, might she one day dabble in the occult as a result?


The Bible Contains...


This pithy compilation seems to pop up every now and again, though with the slightest of changes. Who knows which one is correct. However, I thought it worth repeating here.

The Bible contains:
The mind of God, the State of man, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrine is holy, its precepts binding, its history true and its decisions are immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy.
It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrims staff, the pilots compass, the soldiers sword, the Christians charter.
Here paradise is restored, Heaven opened and the gates of Hell disclosed.
Christ is its grand subject, our good the design and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.
It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure.
It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment and will be remembered forever.
It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

Author unknown.


The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth


Though elsewhere on my website, (but not so easily noticed), I thought that I would place the following quote here as well, given that I believe that what it is saying is so true, yet seemingly little understood nor applied due to the erroneous views that many now hold.

"The Bible knows nothing of faith in Christ that falls short of the moral integrity and good works of a life that is right with God." Edward Heppenstall (1901-1994)

And here's the biblical confirmation in a nut shell:

"You were taught to PUT AWAY YOUR FORMER WAY OF LIFE, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MINDS, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, CREATED ACCORDING TO THE LIKENESS OF GOD IN TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS.” (Eph 4:22-24)


A Personal Concern


I'm under the strong impression that not only is such encouraged by certain Christian quarters, but that it's the "in thing" for young folk, (and even older), to head overseas to some country where they spend a couple of weeks either doing some painting, (for example), at some orphanage, or getting involved in some missionary outreach — sometimes, (or often), of little real consequence or substance in the scheme of things.
Yes, we're talking two or three weeks as opposed to six months, say.
Now, I'm all for them doing what they can to save souls, or to ease others' humanitarian needs, but the problem I have is, that it can often be at the expense of not looking after their own backyard, (and even family?), where there is often as much darkness, and even a considerable degree of real physical need. And for that matter, many who are sitting in the Church pews are in need of a conversion experience — in other words, are in need of reaching too.
In fact, I can't help thinking that many in the western world are possibly more in darkness than many in third world countries, given that those in the western world are generally so full of sophisticated intellectual nonsense from all kinds of quarters that badly blocks their ability to see what they need to see. Along with this, many in richer countries are no longer doing so well, though many weren't doing well in the first place.
Okay, back to where I came in.
These young folk who head overseas are spending sizable amounts of money on their flight there and back, and who knows how much more on this or that.
Let's take a young person who spends up to $2000 on flying to some country for two or three weeks in order to help others paint, furnish, repair, or generally tidy up an orphanage, say, and thus thinking that they've done something wonderful.
Now don't get me wrong, for such is great, but is it appropriate, and quite that wonderful? Would that money have been better spent employing a person who lives in that same third world country, one who not only could have helped paint that orphanage, but continue to help around that orphanage for months (years?) to come, given the low wages there?
Likewise, could not that $2000 have been better put to use in some missionary outreach over there, via donated materials, say, or the employment of someone who lives there, and who for many months (years?) could work within their own country doing the same kind of reaching out?
And then there's that other question first alluded to. What's the situation like spiritually or physically back in their own city, town, home, and even church?
It seems to me that so many of these young folk return from their "wonderful" time “reaching out” or “helping out” only to fall into the same Laodicean day to day Christian drift doing little if anything where they actually live, and where the need is also great, and their city (backyard) having missed out on the greater benefit of that $2000.
You see, though God may bless any good thing we do, it doesn't mean that it meets His full approval in the sense that so much more could have been done for His cause had that same time, energy and money been spent more appropriately. Thus, is it possible, just possible, that the devil has a finger in the pie. By that I mean, rather than him putting a stop to good works, he simply encourages what will ensure less value for money — in other words, less spiritual impact, or other.  After all, what the devil can’t stop, I’m sure he’ll certainly try to hinder and lessen via so-called good ideas, or flawed ideas.
I’m somewhat reminded of a family man who is active in helping out his neighbours whilst allowing the home that his wife and family are living in to deteriorate. Yes, great for the neighbours, and indeed such is very good works, (and even so in God's eyes), but hey, isn’t there something wrong here? In this case, it wouldn't be so great in God's eyes, even if it is acheiving good. Imagine someone giving their neighbour $2000 to fix his or her fence, but as a result, not being able to keep their family adequately fed or warm.
How much back home is crying out for attention, (spiritually or otherwise), while these accumulated $2000 run into millions possibly, and for how much impact, or should I say, for how less impact?
Surely when we do things for God, or on behalf of others, we should seek to do such in a way that has the biggest impact possible, and that makes the money stretch as far as possible.
After all, when it comes to trips overseas, it's hardly like just slipping down town — nor something that one does every week. Thus, better six months of high output overseas, than three weeks of what may have more to do with fun, and for the same cost of flying.
As you can see, I don't have a problem with young folk going overseas as such. Having said that, and given the dangers of flying around the world today, (including the dangers of flying), I don't think anyone should embark on such lightly. God will protect? God also expects us to use our brains. We know the times.
At the end of the day, we should do what's best and right — not get caught up on some "in thing."
I'm also reminded of those who move on because not much seems to be happening where they are. Well, that's one good reason for not moving on. It's time such folk made things happen where they are. Yes, it could be said that it's hardly right for us to go elsewhere to reach out when there's a serious need right in front of us.
Forgive me for opening up another subject, but I wonder how much of God's work is languishing due to the amount of money that gets spent on our personal desires? Isn't God coming soon? Isn't time short, and many in need  of saving? Given that we will have an eternity of treasures, why aren't we prepared to forgo some here?

Careful Now


It’s always a joy to see young people, (and older), seriously committing themselves to the Christian walk, and especially when it’s their desire to walk in all the fullness of God’s will for the Christian.
However, one of the unfortunate things that I have observed is, that many such ones after having decided to walk the straight path, and having naturally gravitated towards those who are of like mind, tend to swing too far, or to put it another way, embrace certain things that may seem right but that aren't right, which is compounded by their not really mixing outside of those ones that they’ve gravitated towards.
One example being: The errant view, (belief), that we must obtain perfection before Christ comes, which is the complete opposite to the errant "once saved always saved" view, (belief), the latter seeing Christians taking licence with God's grace.
One of the reasons that such occurs, I believe, (and as I’ve just mentioned), is because birds of a feather tend to flock together, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can be if they’re not exposed to others who don’t quite see things the same way.
You see, we really only grow when we’re challenged, and when birds of a feather flock together there is often little to challenge, if anything.
Now, that may be fine if those ones that we're mixing with are on the right track, (and remember that most think they are, even if they aren’t), but if there’s no exposure to differing thoughts and views, (beliefs), then we're hardly likely to think outside the box, consider other points of view, (beliefs), or stretch ourselves both biblically and in general, though the emphasise here is spiritually.
To further clarify: If we only hang around those who think exactly the same as us, and who hold the exact same views, (beliefs), we may never discover that the very ones who we're mixing with have got some things wrong, or something wrong, and likewise us. While we all may prefer to be around those who think and feel exactly the same way as us, and who hold the exact same views, (beliefs), such can work against us as much as it can work for us.
And hence how ultra-conservatives, conservatives and liberals can get caught in certain unhealthy grooves, (or groves), and all because of that distance that they keep each other at. The truth is, that they can no doubt all learn something from each other.
And remember: Unity is simply an attitude.


Regarding The KJV Bible


Firstly, I wish to mention that I have no problem with anyone making the KJV Bible their choice of version. It’s a good, trustworthy version, though not fault free.
However, I do have a problem with those who seem obsessed with convincing everyone that they should only use the KJV as opposed to other versions, and who seemingly make it their mission to disparage any version outside the KJV.
Such people believe that God specifically had His hand over the KJV. Personally, I’m more inclined to think that it wasn’t that He specifically had His hand over the KJV, but that He had His hand over the Bible itself — in other words, as opposed to that particular version. That it worked in with things at the time.
Or, that He simply worked things so that the KJV was the foundation from which other versions could be done, as it were, and with His blessing, knowing that modern versions would have certain flaws — always the cost where humanity is involved.
Needless to say, such KJV promoters see modern versions as not being of God.
Personally, I do not share such a view.
To be honest, one could argue against the KJV, and here I will, but only in the sense of personal preference along with a few other considerations.
As far as I’m concerned, the KJV was not only written in the words of the day, but as a consequence, has a very archaic rendering of God’s message. By the way, I'm not just referring to the Thee's and the Thou's, for they're the least concern. Many wax lyrical about it being very poetical in style. Well, poetic it may be, (I'm not so sure), but if it’s difficult to understand in the sense of what it’s trying to convey, then there you have one big problem to start with.

While one can pretty much understand the following text, the wording is hardly rendered in modern english, nor helpful, and there even appears to be a spelling mistake, for surely "good" should be "goods" —

"But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (1 John 3:17, KJV).

Now here's the same text via the NRSV —

"How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?"

Now here's a glaring example, and what makes it worse is that here we are dealing with a serious Bible prophecy:

"I beheld till the thrones were cast down..." (Dan 7:9, KJV).

Now here's the same text via the NRSV —

"As I watched, thrones were set in place..."

Other translations agree with the NRSV which has the correct rendering, as well as they. "Cast down" has the completely opposite meaning to "set in place."
According to a reliable Bible commentary: The translation "cast down" seems to have been based on an interpretation that regarded the "thrones" as belonging to the beasts.
However, the "thrones" are clearly to do with God's judgment hour.

Thus, I wouldn’t initially give a KJV Bible to a child or a new Christian, for the very same reason that I personally found such difficult as a child myself, and in that respect, I don’t think it helped me, and it may have even held me back somewhat. By that I mean, that I found its rendering very difficult to grasp. At times one has to interpret certain texts before interpreting the writer’s intent. It can be hard enough interpreting the writer’s intent at times without having to figure out the text itself, if you follow me. Sometimes its wording and style can suggest the opposite to what it is actually meaning, or simply leave one puzzled.
Hence why I believe that a reputable modern version has its place, and is thus a double blessing. Personally, I have a preference for the NRSV — a preference I’ve come to after having compared many texts via different versions in the course of my studies. Time and time again I’ve found the NRSV to give a far better rendering of a text and greater clarity despite there being some renderings that I’m not happy with and nor think correct.
And personally, I don’t buy the gender distinction hullabaloo — that is, that the NRSV has chosen a wrong course by putting “person” instead of “man” throughout. Sure there are cases where “man” should definitely remain, and here, I believe they’re acted appropriately. To me, it just doesn't make sense to say, “The man who sins shall die.” After all, we all surely know that its true rendering would be, “The person who sins will die.” In other words, not just men will die, but women too. Such is hardly some feminist coup, even if there was a desire to appease. In my mind, such actually worked in the Bible’s favour.
At the end of the day — what’s worse — a Bible that makes it difficult to understand the writer’s intent but is supposedly more accurate, or a Bible that gives a good, clear and easily understood rendering of the writer’s intent but has certain flaws here and there?
Despite any flaws, a reputable modern version conveys the gospel message and all God’s truths just as well and just the same as the KJV.
And another thing: Many of the arguments used against the modern versions just don't stack up under investigation, or simply come under the heading of straining at gnats. Personally, I'll use any reputable version, and that includes the KJV, but beware those paraphrased and colloquial versions. If anything is more worthy of condemnation, it's the likes of them, and anything that reduces the Bible to what looks like a common book of the day. After all, it's God's Holy Word. 
By the way, the NRSV has been produced in the KJV tradition.
Let's remember that it's the Word that convicts, and not the version. 

It's Best We Know


Oh, how seldom we want to hear that which we need to hear. Oh, how we prefer to believe what we prefer to be true. But surely not Christians? Well, the sad fact is, that all too often, Christians are just as guilty regarding such.
Though I’m not one to be taken in easily by the likes of advertisements promising this or that, things too good to be true, I succumbed to an add on a website based in America promoting capsules that supposedly cured tinnitus and that could even improve one’s damaged hearing.
The website was lacking certain information, (not forth coming on request either), and certain claims were being made that didn't seem to stack up, all of which rang alarm bells. I did consult with someone on a hearing website who felt it was worth giving such a go and that the engredients didn't pose a problem.
Despite it costing me an arm and a leg, I thought I would give such a go, and because I was so wanting to find something that would do what these folk were saying, I refrained from a deeper investigation of the ingredients within each capsule lest I discovered what might put me off. Yes, I know — crazy, ay. However, you've got to suffer from hearing loss to truely understand.
Though somewhat apprehensive, given that one of the ingredients bothered me a little, I religiously took these capsules for a month. A three month course was recommended. The add also stated that some folk may have to keep on taking them to maintain the desired effects. Anyway, by the end of the month I was beginning to feel rather unwell, one day unpleasantly anxious, and I had been experiencing a weird and elevated heart rate which had been interfering with my sleep and which was leaving me feeling on edge.
Feeling very concerned, I decided I had better investigate the ingredients more fully. Upon doing so, I discovered two ingredients that rather upset me — one being Pregnenolone — so I immediately stopped taking them. I discovered the side effects of Pregnenolone — a steroid, hormone — were: Anger, anxiety, hair loss, irritability, insomnia, over stimulation, headaches, heart palpitations, irregular heart rhythms, the latter even on a low dosage. The American Cancer Society also reports that pregnenolone has been known to cause liver problems. It is also suggested that the growth of hormone-responsive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer may occur as a result of the use of pregnenolone.
On consulting a friend who’s a doctor, I was told that such could prove dangerous, and especially at the dosage prescribed and contained in those capsules — 20mg per day.
This brings me back to my opening statement. The truth was that I hadn’t really wanted to know this information because I had been hoping the capsules would work for me. How foolish! The cost could have proved very serious indeed.
Yes, it’s best we know. And hence why we need to ponder on what other Christians are saying to us, lest we be upholding something that isn't correct, but rather, what we prefer to be true.


Regarding Prodigals
    

A few years ago one of our cats went missing. He simply disappeared. We attached LOST notices to lamposts and popped same in letterboxes around the neighbourhood, and even turned to the web for assistance. It wasn't until a month later (to the day, I think) that we were reunited with our much loved cat. He had been hanging around a certain neighbourhood that we never expected he would be hanging around. He had been spotted by a neighbour who happened to be passing through that neighbourhood. We rushed to that area and stared calling. We also left LOST notices in letterboxes. The next day we received a call from someone who rang to say that our cat had been hanging around their property and adjacent properties.  Apparently he had been crying out mournfully from underneath houses. After putting the phone down, we rushed to where he had been seen and stared calling, and out he came from behind a fence. He was so light that it felt as if we were just holding a ball of fluff. Oh, how sorry we felt for him. What he must have gone through! On returning home we saw to it that he was fed (gulp! gulp!) and restored to his former glory.

A few years have since passed, but because he was lost once, and given what he must have gone through, I now have a certain soft spot for him. Such must surely be how Christ feels towards us, for many of us were also lost once, having strayed, but now are back within the safety of His arms, under the security of His grace, being fed again by His Word, and being restored via sanctification into His image (the work of a lifetime). Thus, how tender His heart must also be towards us, He knowing the pain we've suffered as a result of our straying. Though He loves all on earth, and the inhabitants of those other (but unfallen) worlds that He has created (Heb 1:1,2), He no doubt has a special place in His heart for us -- a certain soft spot that is touched when He looks at us, just like that soft spot that I have, which is touched when I look at our cat who wandered away from the safety of our arms.


Some Quotes To Ponder On


"Too many of us have a Christian vocabulary rather than a Christian experience." Charles F Banning

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." Susan B. Anthony 

"We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking only to learn that it is God shaking them." Charles West


Reflections On The Titanic


This morning I was thinking about those members of the band who were on the Titanic when it went down, and who as the Titanic was sinking stopped playing their usual dance music and began playing "Nearer My God To Thee."
It’s as if, midst their fear, they thought that by so doing they might ensure God’s mercy, but no, there’s nothing more dubious than death bed confessions. Hence why we need to live as if Christ is coming today, this very hour. How many of those band members would have returned to their old way of life had they been spared such a watery grave.

“And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I [Paul] die every day...” (1 Cor 15:30,31, NIV).


How Much Do We Really Care?


"Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" (James 2:15,16, NIV).

I wonder how many within our circle or neighbourhood are left struggling with their burden while we visit some store in town to pamper ourselves -- and how often might we do that?


Regarding Julian Assange and Wikileaks


The following text comes to mind:

"Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops" (Luke 12:3, NASB).


Sharing Your Beliefs

I came across this quote recently --
"People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them"
-- and I thought, how true that has been in my own experience as a Christian, and I dare say that many others have experienced such too. I once worked with someone who loved to wax lyrical about what his church was doing but whenever I shared what my church was doing he seemed to switch off. Such reminds me of many who knock on one's door in the hope of sharing their beliefs but aren't so happy for you to share yours with them. Such doesn't say much for their spiritual walk, and nor does it emulate their God, who said, "Come now, let us reason together..." (Isa 1:18, NIV).