Saturday, June 28, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

As and when we meet people in life, some of us are haunted by earlier training and teaching that “first impressions are lasting impressions.” Another aspect to this thought is that one never gets a second chance to make a first impression. In this age of marketing, a first impression is tremendously important. A person with whom one meets will either have a positive impression or a negative one. If the first impression is negative, it may take the better part of a lifetime to recover from the initial first impression. All of us have met people where our response is determined by the first impression. There is an innate sense in terms of whether or not a person is genuine or more facade than reality.

Some people are the product of school of positive and possibility thinking, or the school of self-improvement. In the secular sphere, Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (1888 –1955) was an American Writer  and lecturer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. In his writings and lectures, he would say: “There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.” Linked with this, he shared: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” In the religious sphere, Norman Vincent Peale with his emphasis on, The Power of Positive Thinking, and Robert Schuller with his similar emphasis on Possibility Thinking, had an impact on generations of people who began to think less negatively about themselves. The major downside to this is that it was directed to the self-improvement concepts rather than to spiritual regeneration and renewal. 

In terms of Imaging, Peale wrote (Book: Positive Imaging, 1987), “Imaging consists of vividly picturing in your conscious mind, a desired goal or objective, and holding that image until it sinks into your unconscious mind, where it releases great, untapped energies. There is a powerful and mysterious force in human nature that is capable of bringing about dramatic improvement in our lives. It is a kind of mental engineering. In imaging, one does not merely think about a hoped-for goal; one sees or visualizes it with tremendous intensity, reinforced by prayer. Imaging is a kind of laser beam of imagination…in which the desired goal of outcome is pictured so vividly by the conscious mind that the unconscious mind accepts it and is activated by it.” This type of teaching tends to bypass the body, soul and spirit guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

The Biblical teaching regarding Image Projection is considerably different from the secular, self-improvement (social engineering) concept and philosophy. The significant difference between the secular and self-improvement approach and the spiritual and Biblical approach is in terms of God and one’s focus upon Him. In Genesis 5:24, we read this simple and basic summary: “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” In Genesis 6:9 are these similar words of significance: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” In Micah 6:6-8, the issue of what the Lord requires of a person is raised. The answer is: “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you…what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” How does one begin to learn and apply this lesson? Jesus stated in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me…Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This is a starting point for the one desiring to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being who God wants you to be and being where God wants you to be is more desirable than developing a self-determined image you think you need to project. Consider these things with me!

Friday, June 27, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

Myths, legends and old wives tales have been shared over many generations. They can be in the form of Ballads or Stories that have varied adaptation. All of us have had some exposure to Fairy Tales and Fables, as well as Legends and Myths. One of the most famous legendary heroes in history is Robin Hood (author unknown). He's a figure in English folklore, whose story originates from medieval times but who remains significant in popular culture where he is painted as a man known for robbing from the rich to give to the poor and fighting against injustice and tyranny. His band consists of a group of fellow outlaws going by the name of his Merry Men. Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the medieval period, continuing through to modern literature, films and television. In the earliest sources, Robin Hood is a yeoman,  but he was often later portrayed as an aristocrat wrongfully dispossessed of his lands and made into an outlaw by an unscrupulous sheriff of Nottingham. He lives in Sherwood Forest with his group of followers. When he sees Maid Marion, he develops a love interest for her and goes to any means to gain her attention and reciprocal love.

Another one of these notable stories is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written by Washington Irving. He tells the story of Ichabod Crane and his unimpressive attempt to win the heart and hand of Katrina van Tassel in the context of a comical ghost story. Ichabod comes to Sleepy Hollow, New York, from his home state of Connecticut, to be the schoolmaster of the village. Sleepy Hollow is a small, very quiet town said to be under some kind of enchantment. Its residents all seem to move a little slower, daydream a little more, and be more prone to believe in the supernatural. Sleepy Hollow’s most famous supernatural phenomenon is the ghost of the Headless Horseman, said to be a Hessian soldier who lost his head to a cannon ball during the Revolutionary War. The Horseman is seen most often riding by the church, where local historians say he was buried. He is believed to be always in search of his head. Ichabod is fascinated by this story, being especially interested and prone to believe tales of the supernatural.

In a non-fictional area, the idea of Myths and Legends has infiltrated matters of the church. The Encyclopedia Britannica (Online) states: “Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) is referred to as being a leading 20th-century New Testament German scholar known for his program to demythologize the New Testament, i.e., to interpret, according to the concepts of existentialist Philosophy, the essential message of the New Testament that was expressed in mythical terms.” His basic premise was: “that Christian faith is, and should be, comparatively uninterested in the historical Jesus and centered instead on the transcendent Christ. Christian faith, he asserted, is faith in the kÄ“rygma (proclamation) of the church, into which Jesus may be said to be risen (Bultmann’s understanding of the Resurrection), and not faith in the historical Jesus.” Some of his students expanded into areas such as “the linguistic mode of human existence (New Hermeneutic).”

In practical areas, perhaps one of the greater myths in the contemporary church is found in the phrase where effort is to be made to safeguard the peace, purity and unity of the church. A primary way to achieve this reality is adapting to the Prayer of Jesus Christ in John 17:20-21 where He prays: "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” One of the detriments to this reality are strong-willed people in the church who are also people of means. They effectively control the direction of ministry and those who minister. They are in clear violation of Scripture, such as Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Our focus and commitment should be in terms of what God is and what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. It should be God and “WE” - not “ME” and God. Consider these things with me.

Monday, June 23, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

Headiness is a word that has different applications for different contexts. The primary usages of the word are: “(1) intoxicating (following the use of certain alcoholic beverages), (2) strongly affecting the mind or senses; extremely exciting, or (3) rash, impetuous.” A major place where one can witness headiness is in the area of sports. A team may believe they are made of the “stuff” that produces a championship and they are quick to put everyone on notice that they are the team to beat. The same is true of a particular player who believes he is superior to the competition and will be instrumental in bringing about their defeat. This was evidenced in some comments leading up to the Soccer competition between the United States and Portugal yesterday. The Coach of the USA team was quoted as saying (boasting, bragging) that Team USA would put Portugal in its place. It may have appeared that way but in the last minute of play Portugal scored and tied the match. That brought an abrupt close to the USA headiness.

In the realm of national and international world affairs, headiness also enters into the actions and interactions among nations. The recent belief was that the USA could influence the world diplomatically and with rhetoric. How has that worked so far? No one can deny that disarray is what characterizes the world in which we are living. When the United States decided to back away from being the force the rest of the world needed to heed and reckon with, the limits were tested and disarray was ushered in. Today finds a nation, Iran, “counseling” the USA to stay away from the battle for Iraq and not to send 300 Advisors into Baghdad. Once a nation decides to weaken itself and back away from its world-wide influence, testing boundaries and disarray was bound to occur. In Proverbs 16:18, is an instruction and warning: “Pride (headiness) goes before destruction and a haughty (arrogant) spirit before a fall.”

Headiness is illustrated several times in Scripture. One illustration pertains to the headiness of Lucifer recorded in Isaiah 14:13-14. The condemning language is clear, “You said in your heart: (1) I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God; (2) I will set my throne on high; (3) I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; (4) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; and (5) I will make myself like the Most High.” It resulted in his banishment from heaven. A second illustration is the scene stated in I Samuel 17. The Philistine’s man of the hour was Goliath who came and thundered his words of derision and challenge for 40 days and nights, and his words had an impact. In verses 23-24, “the champion…Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him. All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid.” Everyone was afraid except for David. In Verse 37, “And David said: The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said to David: Go, and the LORD be with you!" Was Goliath impressed by the one person who stepped forward to face him? With ridicule and disdain, he dismissed this boy challenger, That was his mistake and undoing. His headiness would cost him his prestige, power and prominence and his life. His quick demise occurred in verses 47-50, David said: “and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand. When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him.”

In summary, a word for us today, Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Consider these things with me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

Living in a Politically Correct world has interesting moments. However, attempting to do what is politically correct is not new. It has been around for several generations. Currently, the news of yesterday had to do with the name of a National Football Team logo. There has been much racket of late about the name of the Washington Redskins and the offense that name can cause native Americans. There have been speeches in the Halls of Congress about the way that name denigrates the Native American. Fox Sports reported: “A federal trademark board ruled Wednesday that the Washington Redskins nickname is disparaging of Native Americans and that the team's trademark protections should be canceled, a decision that applies new financial and political pressure on the team to change its name. The 2-1 ruling from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board came in a case that has been working its way through legal channels for more than two decades.” According to Team Lawyers, they have been down this road previously and they expect another reversal of this ruling. 

Years ago, there was a young lady in the church where we were who went by her middle name “Gay.” She was a joyful, happy little girl and the name was appropriate for her. But then, those with alternative lifestyles were given a group name of Gays. The alternative lifestyle group did not pause to think about those whom their adopted name would offend. They embraced it and used it as a title for events and parades, namely, Gay Pride. The happy little girl had to change her name in the school she attended and the community where she resided to another of her birth names. Her civil rights were ignored and no politically correct advocates cared about her or others who would be impacted by the Gay Pride Movement name.

The Politically Correct and Religiously Correct became intertwined in the first century. It became apparent in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ and has continued since that time. The religious leaders objected to the message of Jesus Christ and would resort to an appeal to Caesar to make their point. We see the result of these efforts when the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ was a religious demand that was legitimized by the political representatives, even though Pilate would declare: “I find no fault in Him.” Additionally, John 19:19-22 records a further act of Pilate: “Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but rather, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ Pilate answered: What I have written I have written." 

Another act of censorship was attempted in Acts 4:1-21. In verses 1-3, Peter and John have been preaching and a miracle has occurred. The cause of the act of censorship is simply, “And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day.” The decision reached regarding Peter and John is stated in Verses 17-21, “But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name. So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them,” Persecution would continue in the first century and exists in the twenty-first century. Censorship of Christian Values exists in our own nation today. An old Hymn states: “What will you do with Jesus, neutral you cannot be…” Will you be bold and courageous and name His name regardless of personal cost? Consider these things with me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

Denominational groups of every stripe usually meet at this time of the year to conduct the business of the Church. There are reports from the different agencies that are endorsed and supported by the denominational group. One area that occupies considerable time in Presbyterian conclaves are overtures about various concerns and desired corrections or amendments to the governing documents. One denomination meeting this week (PCA in Houston, TX) has before it 52 Overtures. Some of them will address social concerns such as same-gender marriages; child protection; sanctity of life and marriage, etc. The goal of the deliberative body is to come to a meeting of the minds and reach agreement that is best for the church. Is that always the case? There is often more heat than light and the seeds of schism have been planted.

An interesting Historical account was shared in the daily - "This Day In Presbyterian History" - of an event that occurred in the early 1800s. It is titled: “The Mother of All Schisms in Presbyterianism (Old School Presbyterians…New School Presbyterians). You were either one or the other in the early to mid-nineteenth century in the Presbyterian Church in the United States…The fundamentals of the faith were at stake. First, the Old School Presbyterians held to strict subscription to the church standards, such as the Westminster Standards, with church discipline for any dissenters. The New School Presbyterians were willing to tolerate lack of subscription if evangelism was being accomplished. Second, the Old School Presbyterians were opposed to the 1801 Plan of Union with the Congregational church, while New School Presbyterians were committed to it. Next, the Old School Presbyterians were opposed to the false gospel methodology of a Charles Finney,…while the New School Presbyterians did not wish to hinder revival…Last, there was the matter of theology. Influencing some among the New School Presbyterians…were the two “isms” of Hopkinism and Taylorism from New England, which denied original sin and gospel redemption. Old School Presbyterianism more uniformly held to the Westminster Standards on both doctrines of original sin and gospel redemption as essentials of the faith. For several General Assemblies, there were more New School Presbyterian delegates than Old School Presbyterian delegates. But on June 5, 1837, that majority was reversed, with the Old School Presbyterians in strength. In the assembly that week, the Assembly was able to abrogate the 1801 Plan of Union with the Congregationalists. They then proceeded to expel four largely New School synods from the church, composed of 28 Presbyteries, 509 ministers, and 60,000 members! In one swift vote, they were no longer members of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.” Schism was inevitable.

Fast forward to 2014. The Associated Press reported the major focus for a church court this year. “The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) appears to be on the brink of handing a major victory to a movement that wants institutions to wield their investment dollars against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.The Presbyterian General Assembly, gathering in Detroit through next week, will consider withdrawing its investments from some companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the Palestinian territories. Divestment advocates were narrowly outmaneuvered at the last Presbyterian convention in 2012, losing a crucial ballot by just two votes. They enter this year's fight with signs of increasing momentum, within and outside the church.” Is this the God-ordained mission and purpose for His Church? Schism is inevitable.

The mission and purpose of the Church has always been to proclaim the Gospel; make disciples; and declare the whole counsel of God. Is the Church today able to identify itself with Paul when he said, Acts 20:17-22, “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials…how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ”? The answer is “NO!” The preoccupation is with temporal matters rather than spiritual. Once again, schism is inevitable. Consider these things with me.

Monday, June 16, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

We are living in a day and time where the Cultural Calamity and shift is far outpacing one’s ability to either comprehend or cope with the changes. The more recent is the movement of ISIS and the movement to the establishment of a Caliphate. The Christian Science Monitor reported on June 12, “Istanbul, Turkey — A transnational Jihadist group now controls a swath of territory across northern Iraq and Syria, creating a de facto Sunni Islamic “caliphate” in its wake as it pushes south toward the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) endangered the oil refinery of Baiji and yesterday seized Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, 80 miles northwest of Baghdad. The advances came just a day after ISIS shocked observers by easily taking full control of Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest cities, where Iraqi soldiers trained and equipped by the US shed their uniforms as they fled…”

Fox News reported, “Long before it looted the Iraqi central bank in Mosul of $429 million, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIS) was well-funded in its quest to establish a Sharia caliphate, thanks to a raging criminal enterprise of extortion, bank robbery and petty theft, as well as donations from well-heeled sponsors throughout the Arab world, according to experts. The latest payday — gained when the jihadist group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi overran Iraq's second largest city and emptied the vaults of cash and gold bullion — swelled already healthy coffers and made ISIS, by some estimations, the world's richest terrorist organization. The group also seized U.S.-made tanks, Blackhawk helicopters, cargo planes and an unknown quantity of guns, all part of a $14 billion arsenal the U.S. sold or donated to the beleaguered Iraqi security forces. The money and weapons are already helping ISIS in its ferocious bid to carve out a nation governed by strict and merciless Sharia law in northern Iraq and northwestern Syria. The group already sees itself as an independent state with large swaths of the two battle-scarred nations, areas it now controls and is bent on expanding. The "Levant" refers to an eastern Mediterranean area that also includes parts of Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Cyprus. Could this be their design and goal?

Our nation and its allies are caught without a contingency plan. Is it because they are naive about Jihadist and Islamic goals? Is it due to arrogance: “Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run”? Could it be be leadership incompetence and stupidity? Could it be ignorance of a larger plan, an eternal plan, a definitive plan of God? Is Revelation 17 and 18 a prophecy about the revival of Babylon as the center of world dominance? What is the location of the Biblical Babylon? Wikipedia contains the following: “The Babylon of the Bible and Nebuchadnezzar's day is now called Iraq. All that really remains of the Ancient city are some mounds of broken mud/brick buildings and debris in the plains between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. They are found in present-day Hillah, Babil Governate, Iraq, about 85 km (53 mi) south of Baghdad.” The focus of the news today pertains to the defense and protection of Baghdad, Iraq. ISIS is on the move toward the seizure of Baghdad. Why? What is their design and plan?

For your thought and consideration, Revelation 17:13,17 states: “These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast…for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.” Revelation 18 speaks of the prominence and centrality of Babylon as well as its sudden demise and judgment. A reason for this is Revelation 18:24, “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.” The resulting judgment of God is the fulfillment of Romans 12:19, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” If you believe God is in control of all He has created and He has an eternal plan, then regardless of the Cultural Calamity of our day, you can confidently abide in His peace. Consider these things with me!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

The traditional concept of a family was one man, one woman and their child/children. For the past decade or two, there has been a radical change that has occurred within the historic and traditional home and family. It is experiencing fewer fathers (absentee Dads) who are a viable part of the home and family. They are AWOL and this has had a tremendous impact in the home and lives of children, who through no fault of their own, have found themselves in a dysfunctional context for their growth and development. 

What happens with the children in a non-traditional context and/or dysfunctional home setting? The statistics give one a sense of the impact: “63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes; 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes; 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes; Children living in single-parent homes or in step-families report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families; 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes; Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely than those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity; In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households; Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes; Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contract, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married; The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families…”

If there was a return to the Judeo-Christian values and principles for the Biblical norm for the home and family, what would one expect to see  and observe? The Biblical Standard places an emphasis on the role of the husband-father in the home and family. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 establishes one foundational principle: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” The prominence of the man as husband, father and spiritual leader in the home. Verses 6 and 7 in the MSG reads: “Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.”

What is the man who is a husband, father and spiritual leader obligated to do in his home and with the generations that follow? An interesting instruction is given in Joel 1:2-3, “Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.” There was a place for oral tradition in the Old Testament, especially as it pertained to the family and religious instruction. The Biblical Father was expected to lead by example and instruction. It would be an occasion for celebration and a Happy Father’s Day if Dads would accept their responsibility and obligation in the home. It has to begin somewhere - will you let it begin with you? Consider these things with me.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

Paralogism is the most recent Word Of The Day on The O’Reilly Factor. The word means: “An argument that is illogical and fallacious.” The broader question pertains to how one responds to a whole array of things one encounters on a daily basis. The response can be anything from passiveness, indifference, shrugging of one’s shoulders all the way to a trite expression of “everything always works out in the end.”  Usually, the things we understand least or with which there may be several possible interpretations, brings one to a paralogism result. 

There are several discussion groups on Facebook that are supposed to champion Discussion and Debate in a meaningful and helpful way. It is amazing how the highly educated and intellectual types can stumble into the paralogism approach - and then - argue or criticize anyone who may differ with them. It is understandable that there is an innate drive to defend oneself and to treat one’s views as though they are infallible. However, Discussion and Debate should mean laying out a postulate and/or subject for which there is a desire for greater and better understanding. Too often it can become: How dare you offer an alternative possibility? If one attempts to “poke” at the position or view being espoused, it can lead to derision and/or a negative judgment (not based upon knowledge but upon an individual’s subjectivism).

To “weigh” something, especially one’s words, has a two-pronged meaning: (a) to consider carefully what someone says (or writes), and (b)  to consider one's own words carefully when speaking (or writing). In terms of Christian Discourse, should one’s comments be weighted with negatives, rants or diatribe? Paul concluded his list of disciplines in and for life in I Thessalonians 5 with these words in verse 21, “but test everything; hold fast what is good.” The MSG paraphrase of verses 19-22 is: “Don't suppress the Spirit, and don't stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” There is no room for indifference in these words, neither is there room for intransigence. 

How does the Word of God assess the use (or misuse) of one’s words. One of the more sobering verses are in the words of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 12:36, we read: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak…” The key phrase is: “give account for every careless word they speak.” This is something totally other than group approval or someone’s censorship. In Paul’s reference to that which grieves the Spirit of God, he writes in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” The emphasis is on the place for edifying words (“building up” words) that gives grace to those who hear. 

The bottom line measure for one’s words thought, expressed or written is Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Proverbs 16:23-24 are encouraging words: “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” One last verse about which there should be no paralogism, and certainly no debate, are in Ephesians 5:3-4, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let be words of thanksgiving.” Without the use of paralogisms, consider these things with me.

Monday, June 9, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

In the professional sport of Boxing, a TKO is not necessarily a good thing. It means that the Referee has stopped a mobbing match because one of the fighters is no longer capable of defending himself. It can also mean that a person has received a cut or injury during the match that makes it unwise to continue. Whatever the case may be, the TKO represents a Technical Knockout of an individual. Life in general has TKO moments. One may not have been pummeled by an opponent nor incapacitated by an injury sustain - but - in the sense that his/her level of competency is not equal to a task at hand. This is often glibly referred to as the Peter Principle.

What exactly is The Peter Principle? It basically means: “The Peter Principle was first observed by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and published in his book, The Peter Principle in 1968. Dr. Peter also states that a promotion to the higher-ranking job position may not necessarily reveal the employee's incompetence, but rather the new position may require different skills the employee does not possess. Dr. Peter sums up the Peter Principle with the saying: the cream rises until it sours. The Peter Principal can be a problem for businesses which can be solved through continued education. Even with proper employee training, the Peter Principal predicts the employee will eventually get to a position where they are incompetent because of further promotion.” An amplification of this principle states: “An observation that in an organizational hierarchy, every employee will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence. The Peter Principle is based on the notion that employees will get promoted as long as they are competent, but at some point will fail to get promoted beyond a certain job because it has become too challenging for them. Employees rise to their level of incompetence and stay there. Over time, every position in the hierarchy will be filled by someone who is not competent enough to carry out his or her new duties.”

The sermon at the church service we attended was based on a TKO concept. The text was Psalm 119:97-109. The outline of the sermon focused on the Word of God and one’s approach to it. The three points were: (1) Treasure It; (2) increase Knowledge from it; and (3) Obey it. I thought of this in terms of the cultural malaise in which we are living. How did we become what and who we are in our culture and society? Is their anything that can be done to prevent further erosion of Judeo-Christian values and principles? Who is responsible for the prevailing conditions today? These questions and many more crossed my mind as I thought about how the Church and the Christian is being neutralized and marginalized. The other thought is in terms of preparation and anticipation. Does any of the prevailing cultural and societal demise come as a surprise to God? 

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus spoke of a day of great deception when He said in Matthew 24:22-26, “And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.” Paul echoes a similar thought when he writes in II Timothy 3:1-5, “understand…in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” Somewhere and somehow, there needs to be a resuscitation of those who are supposed to be salt and light amid a decadent culture and society. Will you assume that role and identity or will you continue as a TKO person - unable or unwilling to continue in the conflict? Consider these things with me! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

Five years ago (June 05, 2009), the cover of Newsweek declared: "The Decline and Fall of Christian America." The article written by Jon Meacham goes on to declare: “America Has Moved Into A ‘Post-Christian’ Phase - [God] Is Less Of A Force In American Politics And Culture Than At Any Other Time In Recent Memory.” Assertions are easy to make but the facts of the case ought to be given as well. The writer looked at the subject from a political point of view and the “Christian” influence in terms of the outcome of elections. The article does contain some data in this regard, such as: “According to the American Religious Identification Survey, the percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 percent since 1990, from 86 to 76 percent…these figures show that America has not only become less Christian, but moved into a "post-Christian" phase. This is not to say that the Christian God is dead…but that he is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time in recent memory.”

With the above assertions, there is also an assumption (perhaps it is wishful thinking) that “God…is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time in recent memory.” He makes one other assertion/assumption when he wrote: “Not only has the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation nearly doubled since 1990, the Northeast…has emerged in 2008 as the new stronghold of the religiously unidentified. In addition, many conservative Christians believe they have lost the battles over issues such as abortion, school prayer and even same-sex marriage, and that the country has now entered a post-Christian phase.” R. Albert Mohler was quoted:“A remarkable culture-shift has taken place around us, The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture. What was once the cradle of American civilization may be the cradle of America's secular future.”  

Was this assertion, assumption and assessment correct when it stated that “God is less of a force in American politics and culture than at any other time…”? In a day of embattlement, Jehoshaphat summons the people to gather for prayer. When he prays, his words and understanding are very significant They are recorded in II Chronicles 20:4-6 (ESV), “Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD…And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD…and said: O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” The basis for their hope was that God is always in control of His creation and His universe. Mankind can think of themselves as being in charge and control but they are believing a lie and are making their choices based upon false premises. 

Romans 13:1-7 contains several startling declarations:“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” The key phrase is: “there is no authority except from God.” The secular society and culture chooses to ignore this truth. Paul warned of these things in II Timothy 3. He wrote : “But understand…in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power…evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived…” Regardless of the direction of the secular culture, the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ have the hope and confidence that, at His appointed time, God will take us into His heaven and the home He has prepared for us. Consider these things with me.  

Monday, June 2, 2014


From My Perspective - - - 

Events and experiences in one’s life occur at such an accelerated rate that one can become overwhelmed. When one is overwhelmed, other aspects within one’s life become buffers in terms of what is happening and allowing one to realize the near-impossibility of being able to alter what is taking place. The chain of one’s life begins to add links - (a) overwhelmed; (b) indifferent (c) lethargic; (d) acquiescent. When one acquiesces, he/she is passively “giving tacit assent to that which is occurring; agreement or consent by silence or without objection; compliance.” This type of response has generated a newer compound term that likens people to sheep, namely, “sheeple - people who tend to follow the majority in matters of opinion, taste, etc.” This life choice contributes to the rise of cults both religious and alternative lifestyles. In our culture and society, we are tolerating things like the legalization of same gender unions; the legalization of marijuana use[ and a variety of other whims and/or unrestrained behavioral choices.

An issue that should be attached to acquiescence is compromise. The Cultural Pressures can become a dominant factor in terms of what one will either accept or oppose. To avoid conflict, too many acquiesce rather than to become engaged in the discussion and debate regarding moral and core values versus cultural and societal trends and direction. For those who have expressed and embraced the Judeo-Christian lifestyle and values, among some is a type of mental gymnastic in terms of how to adapt to that which is contrary to the long-held Judeo-Christian ethic. An Opinion Column - The Post Rail - in the Tuscaloosa News for Sunday, June 1st, Larry Clayton headlined his column: “The Top 10 Sermons About Hot Issues Worth Hearing.” His list begs the question and he allows that the list can and will include different topics by different people. Some of his shared rationale does have merit. Clayton writes: “Our culture and civilization change over time.What concerned people in this country in 1765 was different from 1865 (try the end of the Civil War), and 1965 for example, when women’s liberation, the civil rights movement and Vietnam War were all demanding our attention. As the Civil War drew to a close, for example, a hot issue among Southerners was “why did we lose, and so catastrophically at that?” Whose side was God on in this immense internecine conflict that still casts shadows on our world today…?

Clayton continues: “Every age has to contend with the fact that while Scripture does not change, the customs, habits and culture of a civilization do change. The tough question…is how do we interpret Scripture when we have grown so complicated, so complex, so sophisticated (we think), so modern, so scientific, so in-charge-of-it-all. Scripture seems, by contrast, static, antique, boring and old fashioned, and not relevant at all to the world we live in. As the world tries to adapt Scripture to fit its own needs, the result is what theologians and scholars call the ‘cultural captivity’ of the Bible; or, how we adopt Biblical principles and rules and laws to our times. Or, put another way, each different culture — of, let’s say, the Roman Empire, or medieval Europe or of the Enlightenment — reads and interprets Scripture to suit its fashions.”

While many Biblical passages could be referenced one that states the encompassing worldview from God Himself is expressed in Isaiah 46:8-10, “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying: My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Any attempt by the “church” to finesse and/or adapt the word of God to the Cultural Trends will only result in God’s frown and His shaking His head disapprovingly. Sin will always be sin before God; unrighteousness will never be modified by Him to make it more righteous; The Gospel is uniform throughout all generations and cultural shifts, Sadly, the “church” is allowing for gradualism and a drift into a cultural captivity. Stand firm upon the Solid Rock - Jesus Christ - and communicate His message free of acquiescence and/or compromise. Consider these things with me.