Praying for prisoners

Christians are commanded to promote the welfare of everyone, including those who are in prison.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.  (Hebrews 13:3)

Some think this command merely says we are to be concerned about prisoners in general and need to pray for them and enable them to hear the gospel.  There are many Christian organizations dedicated to reaching prisoners with the gospel.  Perhaps the best known of these is  Prison Fellowship.  This is certainly a legitimate application of this verse, but I don’t think it is what the author of Hebrews had in mind.  When the New Testament was being written Christians often faced severe persecution and many were in prison because of their faith.  This statement is a reminder not to forget them. Read the rest of this entry

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Things I have read on the internet – 81

My latest list of good internet articles.

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Thoughts from my back porch

A friend of mine started a blog called Thoughts from my back porch,  Some of you might enjoy reading it.

Golden calves

Exodus 32 describes the creation of the first golden calf mentioned in the Bible.  Moses had gone up Mt. Sinai to get God’s commands for the people.  When he was gone longer than expected the people asked Aaron to make a god to lead them.  They had just come out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt where there were images of all the Egyptian gods.  The idea of following a god they couldn’t see was foreign to them.  While Moses was with them they could follow him but in his absence they needed a visible representation of God.

He received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.  (Exodus 32:4,5)

When Aaron proclaimed a feast in honor of the calf he proclaimed it in the name of the LORD, the true God.  In making the calf the people weren’t breaking the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.”  They were breaking the second, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Read the rest of this entry

God’s promises delayed

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt.  They prayed for freedom and God heard their prayers.  He appeared to Moses and appointed him to deliver the people.

Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”  (Exodus 13:7-10)

If you are familiar with the Bible you know what happened next.  Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go and God sent a series of plagues.  The last plague, the death of the firstborn, convinced Pharaoh to release them.

Pharaoh then changed his mind and led his army to bring the Isrealites back into slavery.  He thought he had them trapped by the Red Sea but God miraculously opened up a way in the sea for them to escape.  When the Egyptians tried to follow them, God allowed the water to return and drown them. Read the rest of this entry

But we’ve always done it that way!

Have you ever tried to persuade a church or other organization to change some long established practice?  Often people who oppose the change will say something like, “We’ve always done it that way.”  They believe that because something has worked well in the past they should continue to do it and not change anything.  Are they right?  Is the fact that something worked well in the past a reason we should keep on doing it and not change it?  There was an incident in the life of David that I believe answers that question. Read the rest of this entry

Who do you write like?

Have you ever wondered what famous author your writing is most like?  If so you can find out here:

iwl.me

Write something or copy and paste something you have already written on the internet and ask the program to analyze it.  It will tell you what well known author you most resemble.

Apparently my writing style is a cross between Anne Rice’s and Arthur Clarke’s.  I submitted five posts from this blog.  Three resembled  the writing of Anne Rice and two that of Arthur Clarke.  Obviously having the same style as an author doesn’t mean you have the same talent.  If it did I could have been a professional author all of my life rather than having to do manual work and I would probably be famous today.

Samson’s eyes

The life of Samson is recorded in Judges 13-16 .  God revealed to Samson’s parents that they would have a son.  They were not to cut his hair and he would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines.  He would begin the job but King David would be the one who completed it.  Samson is famous for his strength but his parents were never told anything about this.  The discovery of how strong he was likely came as a surprise both to him and to his parents.

Here is the first incident recorded after he became an adult.

Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.”

But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”  (Joshua 14:1-3)

Read the rest of this entry

Christians and government

Christians disagree about how involved we should be in government.  Some believe we should not be involved at all and not even vote in elections.  Others think we should use the government as a way to promote Christianity.  Most Christians adopt a position somewhere between these two extremes.  We need to look at what the Bible says about this subject.

We are commanded to pray for our government leaders.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  (1 Timothy 2:1,2)

The command is found in the Old Testament as well as the New.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  (Jeremiah 29:7)

This was what Jeremiah told the exiles in Babylon to do.  Since Christians are citizens of Heaven we are in the same position as those exiles; we are exiled from our native land and living in a foreign country.  This is true even if we are living in the country in which we were born. Read the rest of this entry

Things I have read on the internet – 80

My latest list of good internet articles.

*** Read the rest of this entry

The Gibeonites

God commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land and take possession of it.  He began by destroying Jericho and Ai.  Most of the other kings banded together to resist, but one group took a different approach.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.”  (Joshua 9:3-6)

The Israelites believed the Gibeonites and made a covenant without asking God for guidance.  Afterward they learned the Gibeonites lived nearby. Read the rest of this entry

The other TULIP

If you are familiar with Calvinism you probably know of the acronym TULIP which stands for the five points that Calvinists believe in.

Total depravity

Unconditional election

Limited atonement

Irresistible grace

Perseverance of the saints

There is another TULIP acronym which isn’t as well known.

T — Total Humility

U — Unconditional Kindness

L — Limited Criticism

I — Irresistible Graciousness

P — Perseverance in Patience

I learned about the second TULIP from this article: The Doctrines of Graciousness   I recommend this for every Calvinist reading this post.  Anyone believing the first five points also needs the second five.  And if you are a Christian who isn’t a Calvinist you need the second TULIP even if you don’t believe the first.

I learned of the article from a link in this blog post:  Your theological crisis was preordained…

Treating mental illness

While Jesus was on earth he encountered a lot of people who were demon possessed.  In every case he commanded the demon to leave the person and it obeyed.  Today many people don’t believe in the existence of demons and claim that those “demon possessed” people were actually mentally ill.  If they are right, then the Bible reveals a new method for treating mental illness.

Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.

When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.)

Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.

Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission.Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.  (Luke 8:26-33)

Read the rest of this entry

Transgender – the other side of the story, part 2

Recently I published a post called Transgender – the other side of the story  in which I listed some sites of organizations that opposed society’s support of people who wish to change their genders.  Since then I have learned about another such site.  It is called help4families.com.

Help4Families acknowledges that the struggles gender-confused people endure are more than psychosomatic; they are real and they need to be addressed seriously, with godly compassion. But God’s compassion cannot—must not—be divorced from His perfection and His sovereign, righteous rule. Just as Jesus concurrently displayed God’s compassion and righteousness (John 8:2-11), so must His followers (Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:15; Jude 1:22–23).

Things I have read on the internet – 79

My latest list of good internet articles.

*** Read the rest of this entry

Between death and resurrection

Adam’s sin brought death to the whole human race.  There are a few exceptions to this.  Enoch and Elijah never experienced death and all believers who are alive when the rapture takes place will never die, but for most who have ever lived life ends with death.

Everyone who has died or who will die in the future will be resurrected.

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voiceand come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.  (John 5:28-29)

But what will it be like between death and resurrection?  Most Christians believe the dead will continue to exist in a state of consciousness but some believe they are be in a state of soul sleep and not aware of anything that is going on. Read the rest of this entry

Transgender – the other side of the story

There is a lot of news about transgender people in the media today.  Most of the stories support the belief that some people are really of the opposite gender of the bodies they are born in and we need to support their decision to live as their “real” gender.  Among other things this means they should be allowed to use the restrooms and dressing rooms of their choice and not be be limited to using the ones assigned to their physical gender.  Anyone who objects is condemned as being transphobic.

Although we live in a culture which believes we should affirm transgenders by allowing them to live as they choose there are still some who disagree with this.  Here are some sites that reject the popular views. Read the rest of this entry

Gay Pride Month

I have learned that June is Gay Pride Month.  I am sure that those responsible for this designation care about gay people and want to help them, but I wonder if they know what the Bible says about pride.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.  (James 4:6-10)

They are actually advocating that gays adopt a course of action that will lead to their being opposed by God.  If they do this, nothing they try to do will be successful.  On the other hand God will show his grace to them if they are humble.

The rest of this passage describes how a person practices humility.  A humble person submits to God and draws near to him.  He cleanses his life of all sin, both in action and in thought.  He mourns the sinfulness of his past life.  Anyone who does these things will receive God’s grace and be exalted by him.

If you care about gays it would be better to promote the adoption of a Gay Humility Month, when gays are encouraged to do those things which will enable them to receive God’s blessings.  And it wouldn’t hurt to have a Straight Humilty Month too.  Straight people are just as guilty of pride as gay people are.

The naked man

Shortly before his arrest Jesus spent time by himself in prayer.

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”

And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”  (Mark 14:32-42)

This incident was also recorded by Matthew and Luke. Read the rest of this entry

Things I have read on the internet – 78

My latest list of good internet articles.

*** Read the rest of this entry

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