Thursday, January 28, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

What is anger? It is defined as: “a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.” Some Synonyms are: “resentment; rage (vehement anger); violent displeasure.” Most are familiar with the term “Road Rage” and some may have experienced it. There is a study that states there may be a “Medical Basis For Road Rage.” The National Institute of Health sponsored a study that looked at road rage in drivers. “A general theory came out of the study, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) was identified as the cause of road rage…Whether or not you believe in a medical basis for road rage, you still need to know how to deal with it. Uncertain situations can escalate unpredictably, and the best advice is to avoid confrontations altogether.” Advice is given: “ If you tend to provoke other drivers or are on the aggressive side of road rage, put some effort into learning new driving habits.”

There are numerous situations that stimulate anger within another individual. There is a familiar line that was common place with some that said: “We don’t get mad – we get even.” This is known as retaliation and can be categorized as a vendetta – “a private feud in which the members of the family of a murdered person seek to avenge the murder by killing the slayer or one of the slayer’s relatives.” This would be a rule in gang warfare or in the action of nations. A current example of a vendetta pertains to the Fox News Presidential Debate scheduled for tonight (01-27-16). One person, who has the leading percentage in some polls,  has decided to skip the debate. Why? Is there a conflict in his schedule? No! Is there a pressing matter that requires his attention elsewhere? No! His official response is that “he was likely to skip the debate because he is incensed over how it’s treating him.” His objection is that one of the Moderators asked him questions last Fall that he did not find appropriate. All the Moderator had done was to quote some of the derogatory remarks he hade made about women in past years. In other words, his feelings were hurt and now he will engage in a “tit-for-tat” display as his expression of his indignation and anger!

In July 2012, The Readers Digest published an article that asked: “What Really Happen When You Get Angry?” The answer describes the physical, emotional and mental responses. “When we get mad, our rational prefrontal lobes shut down and the reflexive back areas of the brain take over. The left hemisphere also becomes more stimulated as the brain’s hormonal and cardiovascular responses kick in. A tense body pumps out cholesterol and a group of chemicals called catecholamines, which encourage fatty deposits to pile up in the heart and carotid arteries. It’s no surprise, then, that angry people are three times more likely to have a heart attack than those less prone to fury.  The fight-or-flight response can prompt your nervous system to cut blood flow to your stomach and divert it to your muscles, impacting intestinal-tract contractions and digestive secretions. Stress can also increase stomach acids…It causes a surge in the stress hormone cortisol, which bumps up oil production and leads to acne and other skin problems. During prolonged and frequent eruptions of rage, parts of the nervous system become highly activated, making it difficult to return to a relaxed state and, over time, affecting the immune system.”

The Bible gives a basic response for an impulse to become angry. Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry but sin not, do not let the sun go down upon your wrath (anger).” In other words, deal with it quickly. Ephesians 4:31 indicates a progression that can easily develop within one: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” The chain reaction is both spiritually and physically harmful. The solution is given in Ephesians 4:32, “Be  kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.” If you are a Biblical Christian, you must deal with your negative behavior and reactions. Why? Ephesians 4:30 tells us: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by whom you have been sealed unto the day of redemption.” Being kind, tenderhearted and forgiving is the standard for the Biblical Christian. Let us be committed to this being the expression that others observe in and through us! Consider these things with me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

The History of the World and The United States of America contain numerous accounts of heroic people who were willing to face challenges and risks to accomplish worthy goals. The formation of the this nation by the Pilgrims is one of many illustrations that could be referenced. The Explorers and Pioneers headed out into a land of unknowns as they sought to make a difference. Heroes should be identified and recognized for their achievements.

Biblical History is recorded in the Bible about men and women who faced great challenges and made brave decisions in their attempt to make a difference for the greater good and the benefit of others. A woman who faced such a risk was Esther. Her response to the potential risk to her personally was met with her response: “If I perish, I perish.” A beginning list of Biblical Heroes is recorded in Hebrews 11. It is followed with this testimonial and call for commitment (Hebrews 12:1-3), “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus…Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

While there are many notable and worthy legacies, we should never forget the one that occurred 60 years ago (January 1956). Elizabeth Elliot and Rachael wrote the following: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (II Corinthians 5:18-19). Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Peter Fleming and Ed McCully were five men that understood God’s message of reconciliation for all peoples. The story of their lives is one of determination and sacrifice as they took Christ’s message of reconciliation to the tribal people of Ecuador. Their legacy began in 1955; Jim, Nate, Peter, and Ed, all missionaries from the United States, set out to bring the gospel to the hostile Auca tribe near the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. The four had quite the task set before them. The Auca Indians were known as a violent and murderous tribe that had virtually no contact with the outside world. Surrounding tribes labeled them “savages.” So, the endeavor of reaching the Aucas with the love of Christ was a brave one… The men chose to make their first landing at a beach about 4 miles outside of the tribe. They quickly set up camp, and then made a flight over the village to invite the Aucas to visit their camp. The Aucas seemed to be hostile to the men, but their countenance changed as the men exchanged more gifts offering their peace and friendship. By Friday, the men had their first visitors. A couple and a teenage girl would prove to be their first and last encounter with the Indians. By Saturday morning all contact with Jim, Peter, Ed, Nate, and Roger had been lost. They were later found speared to death by the very people that they were trying to reach.”

Part of their continuing legacy is contained in the words of a Hymn they sang together prior to their journey to reach out to the Aucas:
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
We go not forth alone against the foe;
Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender,
We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!
Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise;
When passing through the gates of pearly splendor,
Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.

The remainder of their legacy is that through the continuing effort of courageous women and others, the Aucas (“savages”) one by one responded to the love and concern of those who followed and shared the Gospel with them. All because men of commitment and courage paved the way, shedding their blood for the cause of Christ. They reckoned with the truth - "The Battle Is Not Yours But God's." The “blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” is a continuing truth for this generation, and all who follow, so let this be your legacy as well. Consider these things with me!

Monday, January 25, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

With the Blizzard Jonas impacting the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, there were power outages due to the storm that left people without a utility upon which most have become dependent for light, heat, refrigeration, etc. The same held true for the hundreds of vehicles, covering several miles, that were snowbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and unable to move. To some lesser degree, many of us have experienced the inconvenience of power failure and a personal sense of helplessness to do anything about it.

In the ebb and flow of life, there are different situations that arise that leave us with the sense that it is beyond our capacity to either prevent or correct what is occurring. An example of this is shared from Biblical History in II Chronicles 20. Three armies of rogue nations have formed an alliance to wage war against Judah and Jerusalem. Their singular goal is to annihilate – utterly destroy the people and nation. The Chapter begins this a very sobering assessment and action: “Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.” As the people assemble together, King Jehoshaphat leads them with this prayer: “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. 

If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save…We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” Does God hear His people when they cry out to Him in their fear and desperation? Will God do anything in their behalf? In verse 13-17, the Lord’s answer is stated through Jehaziel who speaks prophetically: “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat. Thus says the Lord to you: Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” The King and people are then told: “Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley… You will not need to fight in this battle. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

When the King and people come to the overview of the battlefield, “They looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much…And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.” Is our God and Savior the same yesterday, today and forever? Yes, He is! If we come seeking Him, will we find Him if we search for Him with all our heart? Yes (Jeremiah 29:13)! If this is true, and it is, why are we so hesitant or reluctant to seek refuge and help from Him in all things at all times? When we are afraid, powerless and don’t know what to do, we should remember He is our continuing hope and all-sufficient Deliverer! Consider these things with me!

Monday, January 18, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

Being a speaker or a writer has its moments where an attempt at clarity can result in confusion. The internet dictionary ( attempts to instruct one’s use of words, especially when writing. Their lesson for the day pertains to how sound-alike words are used. The words are Allusion versus Illusion.  

The explanation given is: “An Allusion is a reference, direct or implied, to something or someone. Allusions are often found in books, songs, TV shows, and movies. For instance, the title of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World is allusion to a work by William Shakespeare; the phrase “brave new world” is spoken by Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, in The Tempest: "How beauteous mankind is! O Brave New world, that has such people in it." 

By contrast: “An illusion, on the other hand, is something that deceives the mind or senses by creating a false impression of reality. Illusions are often (though not always) related to visual perception, as in optical illusion. A mirage, such as the phenomenon of perceiving a sea of water in a desert, is a type of illusion.”

To add to the confusion on what word should be used, they add: “Allusion and illusion are both related to the Latin term lūdere meaning ‘to play,’ along with their linguistic cousin delusion. A delusion is a false belief or opinion. In the context of mental health, a delusion can be defined as a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact, as in paranoid delusion.”

Some secular Allusions based upon Biblical instances would be: Someone who is disloyal or been involved in a form of betrayal would be referenced as one being a “Judas”! The obvious reference to Judas is when he becomes part of a mob that is seeking to kill Jesus. “Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.  And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, Rabbi! And he kissed him.  And they laid hands on him and seized him.” 

Another allusion is: “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:6, Jesus spoke about judging others and used the phrase: Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

When the time for paying taxes arrives, there is the use of the statement uttered by Jesus, “Render unto Caesar.” The context for this Allusion is Mark 12:13-17 when the Pharisees and Herodians were attempting to trap Jesus, He said: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not? But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it. And they brought one. And he said to them, Whose likeness and inscription is this? They said to him, Caesar’s. Jesus said to them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marveled at him.”

Jesus used several Illusions in His ministry as well. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is saying to His disciples and followers (Matthew 7:13-18): "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Rather than undue concern regarding Allusions versus Illusions, the most important result is to see no one but Jesus only. Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

There has been an ongoing concern about the role of The Church in a what is often referred to as a “Post-Christian World.” With global cultural shifts that are occurring so rapidly and the shifting value system within the Judeo-Christian application of foundational truth and principles, it seems as though the mandated Church is floundering and dissipating in terms of both its message and mission. There was a time when Education measured its success by using a Learning Curve. It is defined as: “A graphic representation of progress in learning measured against the time required to achieve mastery.” If we applied this curve to the ministry and mission of The Church, what would be the resulting conclusions? Has the Church improved in terms of its message, ministry and mission?

The website that focuses on The Church and Culture with James Emory White makes a statement and conclusion. The statement is made in the context of a soon to be held conference that is following the theme, “Standing On Mars Hill: How To Speak Truth and Grace to a Post-Christian World.” The subject matter will include the following premise: “Perhaps the greatest challenge facing church leaders is learning how to bring the gospel to bear on a culture that is far from God. Specifically, how do we speak to the key issues of the day where public opinion is far from biblical truth? We know we want to bring grace to bear, but how do we simultaneously bring truth in a way that is both winsome and compelling?” Even if this premise is embraced, another consideration pertains to demographic shifts and natural attrition especially within the rural churches that dot the landscape of our nation.

In the day when the Apostle Paul went on his missionary journeys with some associates, a contrast in ministry and mission effectiveness is shared in Acts 17. The summary of the effectiveness is given  in Acts 17:10-12, “As soon as night had fallen, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true. As a result, many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men.”

By contrast, the following is observed in Acts 17:16-18, “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply disturbed in his spirit to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, and in the marketplace with those he met each day. Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also began to debate with him. Some of them asked, What is this babbler trying to say? while others said, He seems to be advocating foreign gods. They said this because Paul was proclaiming the good news of Jesus and the resurrection.” Obviously, there was a cultural stalemate. The whole matter came to a head in Acts 17:19-23, “They took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus (Mars Hill), where they asked him, May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you are bringing some strange notions to our ears, and we want to know what they mean…So Paul stood up before the Areopagus (Mars Hill) and said, Men of Athens, I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and examined your objects of worship, I even found an altar with the inscription: To An Unknown God. Therefore what you worship as something unknown, I now proclaim to you.”

The Mars Hill Syndrome reflects on people who are willing to talk about religion and religious themes without any demonstration of application being made of the mandated message and mission of Jesus Christ. The idea of accommodation rather than Biblical adherence prevails within the post-Christian way of thinking. There is a growing and glaring absence of the coupling of Faith with Practice. Rather than accommodation achieving a growing constituency, it has resulted in the sense of irrelevance of the Twenty-First Century Church. One can argue against this conclusion despite the presence of the Mars Hill Syndrome and the increasing number of empty pews in the Churches. Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

It’s difficult to identify or relate to all of the many possible fears a person may have concerns about. In a general sense, we should be able to understand a person’s fear of being alone especially if their residence is located in a marginal area where crimes occur frequently. In a similar way, many people have grown up with a fear of the darkness and what might be lurking in the shadows. Some people have the fear of Surgery or some other medical treatment where they have insufficient knowledge about why it is being done and what the outcome might be. If one does a Google Search of Phobias, there are listed hundreds of various fears/phobias that people deal with on a regular basis.

A random selection of some listed are: Enochlophobia = Fear of crowds; Elurophobia = Fear of cats (Ailurophobia); Electrophobia =  Fear of electricity; Enetophobia = Fear of pins (totally unrelated to a bowling team I know); Entomophobia = Fear of insects; Eremophobia = Fear of being oneself or of loneliness; Ergophobia = Fear of work (obvious in a welfare-oriented nation). There are many more that could be listed but I was particularly curious about the following:  Eleutherophobia = Fear of freedom. Why would anyone fear freedom?  

When Franklin D. Roosevelt Addressed Congress on January 6, 1941, he stated the following: “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want -- which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear -- which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor-- anywhere in the world. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.”

Two other phobias seem to have a natural link to each other. They are: Epistemophobia = Fear of knowledge and Ecclesiophobia = Fear of church. They are linked by Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This same idea is conveyed in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” One further expression is in Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” The only source of true knowledge, learning and wisdom is clearly stated in I Corinthians 1:30, “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” The significance of this new life and relationship is stated in Colossians 2:8-10, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” Colossians 2:10 (NLT) is rendered: “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”

The perspective of the legitimate fear that everyone should possess is stated in Deuteronomy 6:13-15, “It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you, for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.” Consider The Lord’s Word and these things with me!

Thursday, January 7, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

“Churchianity” is loosely defined as: “The devolution of Christianity into a mutual admiration society, a social club, which stresses adapting to the modern world instead of purging the evils out of this world.” The Biblical definition is couched in the words of II Timothy 3:1-5, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

Another aspect of “Churchianity” is the revolving door syndrome. The people described above attempt to influence a Church into thinking the way they do. If they are not as successful as they wish to be, they usually exit Church One and attempt their influence in Church 2. The defining of this tactic is given in I John 2:18-19 as John writes about the antichrist and those who follow him: “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

“Churchianity” allows a given group of people to be somewhat myopic in their view and understanding of what is or isn’t a Biblical Church. To be myopic means that one is: “unable or unwilling to act prudently; shortsighted; lacking tolerance or understanding; narrow-minded.” The focus of “Churchianity” is growing in numbers and retaining all those who have begun to attend. Usually, one’s profession of faith is taken for granted. After all, they are attending “our” Church so they must be “Christians.” Some of these same people may become disruptive or critical of what the Church is teaching/preaching and how the Church is operating. When they don’t get their way, they exit the Church with varying degrees of fanfare. The broad question then becomes, who or what was the cause of their leaving. In too many instances, the fingers get pointed at the Pastor. He comes under the pressure because “Those who went out from us, did not really belong to us.” They were not one in faith and practice. We would do well to remember that Paul wrote in II Timothy 4 some of those who had abandoned him and departed. He mentions Demas and Crescens. Then in verses 14-15, he makes a scathing declaration: “Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.”

In September 2014, Ed Stetzer discussed the true marks of a Biblical Church. He narrowed it down to six areas. He wrote, “Churches should: (1) function under the authority of Scripture; (2) have biblical leadership; (3) exercise biblical preaching and teaching; (4) partake in the ordinances/sacraments; (5) be in covenant community; and (6) live/go on mission together.” Theopedia also has enumerated that which a Church should embrace. It is stated as the Means of Grace. This includes the proper place given to God’s Word and the preaching and teaching of it. There is the important emphasis upon Prayer and seeking the face and will of God. There should be the Singing together of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (Acts 16:25, Epjesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16). Finally, there should be the faithful and regular observance of the Sacraments – Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. Some would see a necessity for the attachment of Church Discipline as another means of God’s Grace, when properly administered.

In a Shepherd’s Conference conducted by Grace To You Ministries, Chuck Swindoll began with his thoughts about the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:18, “I want to focus our attention on one particular part of this text and that is verse 18 where the Lord says: ‘I will build My church.’ Men can build buildings and men can build organizations but only Jesus Christ can build the church. There are churches built by men, some of them you have attended, no doubt, as I have. But here our Lord says: ‘I will build My church,’ the only one approved by God and supernaturally constructed.” We need to move away from “Churchianity” into “Christianity" as Jesus intended and stated it to be. Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

The National Association of Convenience Stores has a webpage that endeavors to define the varying strategies for marketing that will increase sales of goods and services. These businesses offer a variety of items to satisfy one’s appetite or as a place to pick up some necessary item such as milk or bread for use in a home. Another aspect of Convenience Store strategy is to entice the the store visitor to yield to impulse buying such as snacks, beverages, etc. The idea is to make it convenient for a person to return to that convenient location and store in the future. Obviously, the Convenience Store serves the purpose of making items available that one has forgotten. Such items usually are priced with a premium added. If such a store offers what one is seeking, there is the possibility of that person returning there again in the future. That’s part of the genius of Convenience Store marketing.

It seems as though that the convenience store mentality of “it’s there if I need it” bridges over into other areas of life. The philanderer allows himself to think this way. The prodigal child desiring his/her freedom from the sanctity of the home decides on the basis of their personal lifestyle orientation. People in government tend to forget they were elected to serve and represent the people rather than their own personal vested interests and they do so seemingly with impunity. Overall, homes are impacted by the philanderer’s orientations; individual lives of the prodigal become involved with least common-denominator pleasure-seeking groups and influences; and government begins to neglect the purpose of the nation’s existence and the guiding principles upon which it was founded.

It also appears that the Convenient Store orientation has bridged over into Christianity and the Church. The shallowness to this approach is seldom considered. It begins to become a potpourri of thoughts and practices that can be disconnected from Biblical reality and foundational principles, core values and moral standards. As a result, an increasing number of people are determining that Church attendance is no longer a necessity and is no longer addressing the felt needs of the people. The Huffington Post, November 17, 2014, posted an article with the Headline: “NONES! are Now DONES - Is the Church Dying?” The body of the article states: “Given the widespread departure from the Church in all its varied expressions, it is a legitimate question. Add to this the reality that the Millennial generation has not only left the Church but does not seem to be returning and you have a recipe for disaster. The ‘Nones’ are those persons who no longer identify with any particular religion. They are the religiously unaffiliated. A few of them identify as agnostics or even atheists. And even that number is rapidly growing…Further, among those adults under 30, commonly referred to as the Millennials, the numbers of those departing the Church are even higher. Steadily growing as well. One in three Millennials, for example, has left the church. And, while historically many young adults raised in the Church leave for a period of time and then return, Millennials today are not returning.”

There needs to be a return to the Lord and Biblical Values. Part of the cultural chaos is due to the fact that God is no longer revered or central in the life of the nation and people. The basic requirement of the Creator God is stated in Deuteronomy 6:13-14 (NIV), “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only…Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you.” These same words are restated by Jesus Christ when Satan is tempting Him in the wilderness. Jesus responds to him, Luke 4:8, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” For the philanderer, prodigal, ‘nones’ or ‘dones’, consideration needs to be given to the dangers of Convenience Store lifestyles. Proverbs 14:12 states, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” When there are no Biblical values or principles present, it will be difficult to respond to Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying: This is the way; walk in it.” Rather than embracing a Convenience Store orientation toward things religious, common sense must return and a serious approach to matters of the soul. 

The problem is obvious that every organized church claims to be “The True Church” and to represent “The Truth” about God. One needs to remember that God created us all with a brain. It is there to enable one to think rationally and to conduct disciplined study of God’s Word. Then, one should seek out a Church that best represents Biblical Truth. When that occurs, one should be able to identify with Psalm 122:1 (ESV), “I was glad when they said to me: Let us go to the house of the LORD!” At that point, one will be enabled to return and Worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Consider these things with me!

Monday, January 4, 2016


I Was Just Thinking About - - -

Anyone actively engaged in the ebb and flow of life realize there will be many challenges and difficult decisions that will have to be confronted. In like manner, there will also be many difficulties and situations that appear to be impossible, with no discernible resolve. At the outset, it needs to be understood that no one person is an actual island unto himself/herself. To one degree or another, we all have common experiences, difficulties, challenges and temptations. For some, the direction one should go is difficult to discern. The sense is that one has entered a dead-end road where there is no way out and no place to turn around. For the semi-religious person who claims to have faith, disillusionment will be a normal impulse and reaction.

From a secular suggestion, Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), a Scottish writer and creator of Sherlock Holmes, proffered the following thought about mysteries and their resolve: “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be truth.” More importantly, from the spiritual perspective, there are absolutes that the directionless, disillusioned, disenfranchised and those who feel trapped, alone amid their trials and difficulties. Where can one turn and what should one do when feeling so overwhelmed and helpless? When one is exercising a personal faith, albeit from a place of desperation, how can that faith be expanded to grab hold of that which seems impossible? When feeling tempted to surrender to one’s circumstances, where can one turn? Is there a place of deliverance or refuge for the one whose faith is not as strong as it should be? When tempted to give up, is there any hope?

There are two passages of Scripture in particular that should always be embraced and incorporated into one’s life. First is I Corinthians 10:12-13, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” The phrase to underscore in one’s mind is – “God Is Faithful.” He knows your weaknesses, limitations and abilities. Another phrase to underscore is – “He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Second is  II Corinthians 12:7-9. The Apostle Paul had a physical malady that was limiting his mobility. He came before the Lord with the measure of faith he had. He shares the following answer and resolve, not what he was asking for, but he records the following for our benefit and growth in the Lord. “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Note the intensity and urgency of his prayer request, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this…” His decision was to accept and embrace the Word of the Lord for him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Let the words of a Hymn written in 1904 resonate in your heart and soul today: “Be not dismayed whate’er betide,/ God will take care of you;/Beneath His wings of love abide,/God will take care of you. (Refrain): God will take care of you,/Through every day, over all the way; He will take care of you,/God will take care of you.” Believe and embrace the truths: (1) God IS Faithful; (2) He Will Provide a way of escape for you; (3) His Grace IS Sufficient for you too; (4) His Power IS made perfect in weakness. Be of good cheer! Be disillusioned no longer! Find your direction for life in Jesus Christ. Consider these things with me!