Category Archives: Miscellaneous

What if?

Have you ever looked back at some decision you made and wondered what would have happened if you had decided differently?  During the summer of 1957, when I was sixteen years old, I made the most important decision of my life.  I put my faith in Jesus Christ so that my sins could be forgiven.  Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had not done that. Read the rest of this entry

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The Celestial Railroad

In 1678 John Bunyan published Pilgrim’s Progress.  It describes the journey of a  man named Christian from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City and was intended as an allegory of the Christian life.  In 1684 he published part two, which tells how Christian’s wife, Christiana, made the same trip with her children.  The second part ends with these words:

Shall it be my lot to go that way again, I may give those that desire it an account of what I here am silent about.  Meanwhile I bid my reader Adieu.

Bunyan seems to be saying that he intends to write a sequel to the book.  If this is true he never did so because he died four years later.  But in 1843 Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a short story called “The Celestial Railroad” which was a sequel to Bunyan’s work.  It tells of a railroad that was constructed between the City of Destruction and the Celestial City so people could travel the route more easily and avoid the difficulties that Christian and his wife encountered.  You can read the story here:

The Celestial Railroad

Lexophiles

Lexophile describes those that have a love for words, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish,” or “To write with a broken pencil is pointless” An annual competition is held by the New York Times to see who can create the best original lexophile.

This year’s winning submission is posted at the very end. Read the rest of this entry

Interpreting the Bible

Here is some good advice from a Facebook friend, Joshua Agan, on how to interpret the Bible.

***

When people hear me say, “Take the Scriptures literally,” they are quick to say, “So you believe that Jesus is a wooden door, AND he is actual bread?!”

Don’t be stupid.

Scripture contains poetry, prose, parables and prophesies. You must take these literary types in their given sense.

But that leads to a very important conclusion. When Scripture gives us a literary device, accept it in its basic form as given. So when Scripture gives us truths that are not in some literary device, but rather given as plain fact—do we accept it as given, or do we allegorize it anyway?

Some people are comfortable reading that God created in six days, and accepting six days. But then those same people read other truths given, and suddenly try to add deeper meaning to it than what Scripture provides.

I challenge you to approach the Scriptures differently tomorrow.

Accept the text as if it was given to you as a plain statement of Truth from a Father to His child. Well, because it is.

A child does not accept a plain statement and try to allegorize and theorize on the deeper meanings of the linguistic anomalies. A child receives what he is given.

Lean not on your own understanding, friend. Ask the Spirit of Truth to lead you. Follow as a child, wherever the Spirit leads. That requires humility, by the way. It offends our intellect.

“What if this plain statement were the plain truth? What else would God need to say differently in order to get you to accept the plain statement as it is given?”

This question will turn many a tradition on its heels. Ask the Spirit to help us. Mean it. Then listen.

You won’t be disappointed.

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.

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.org.

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).

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.

Christian counseling

If you have a problem and need a professional counselor you probably won’t have much trouble finding one unless you want a counselor who believes the Bible and uses that as the basis for his work. Most counselors base their work on secular beliefs.  One organization that does offer Biblical counseling is Restoration Counseling Ministries.  Here is their website: Restoration Counseling Ministries.

The Restoration Counseling center was founded in January 2016 by Dr. David Johnny Nixon and Joshua Agan. Both have served as church planting pastors and still serve actively in ministry today. The counseling center is designed to be a help to pastors by lightening their load and offering specialized help as they strive to shepherd the flock God gave them.

Based out of South Georgia, Restoration Counseling serves as the official counseling provider for multiple Georgia municipalities, several private organizations, and most importantly, we help pastors and churches across the country.

They offer both local and long distance counseling.  Here are the services they offer:   Getting Started

If you don’t need professional counseling you might be interested in their blog or their bookstore.

I met Joshua Agan several years ago on an internet forum and I have read one book that Dr. Nixon has written so I am confident that they both know the Bible well and will use it as the basis for any counseling they offer.

Amateur shipbuilders

Some of you may have heard this statement: “The ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic was built by professionals.”  Of course the ark saved the human race and many kinds of animals from extinction while the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank during its maiden voyage.  The meaning of the saying is that those who obey God can accomplish more good than well trained professionals who rely on their own wisdom.

While I agree with the intent of this statement I wonder just how true it is.  Was the ark built by amateurs?  We are told nothing about how Noah made his living before building the ark.  It is possible that he and his sons were professional shipbuilders.  If this is so, then the ark and the Titanic were both built by professionals. Read the rest of this entry

Apologize for what you believe

Some people get offended when Christians tell them what the Bible says about something and they sometimes they demand that we apologize.  When someone responds in this way we should apologize.

Before you get mad at me and accuse me of selling out to the opposition I think you should look at what the word “apology” means.  Here are two definitions from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

  1. an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret a public apology 

  2.  something that is said or written to defend something that other people criticize :The book is an apology for capitalism.

When people demand that Christians apologize they generally have the first definition in mind.  We should never apologize for the truth in this way.  If we do this we are denying Jesus. Read the rest of this entry

Power and corruption

You have probably heard this statement, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  No doubt you can think of examples of people who acquired power and used it in a corrupt manner.  The ones I think of first are Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.  Hitler was responsible for the Holocaust which killed 17 million people, including almost 6 million Jews.  Stalin’s policies resulted in the deaths of millions and after World War II the Soviet Union seized control of many nations in Eastern Europe.  The lives of these two are clear evidence that possession of power leads to corruption and a rejection of traditional standards of right and wrong.

Their lives would be evidence of this except for one fact.  God possesses absolute power.  That means he should be absolutely corrupt, but in fact we see that God is absolutely free of corruption.  That shows that it could not have been the acquisition of power that led Hitler and Stalin to commit the evil they were responsible for. Read the rest of this entry

Joni and Friends

In 1967 Joni Eareckson injured her back diving into shallow water and became a quadriplegic, unable to walk or use her hands.  It would seem that someone in this condition wouldn’t be able to accomplish much, but Joni has experiences a successful life and even heads an organization called Joni and Friends whose goal is to help disabled people to live a normal life and to share the gospel with them.

Joni and Friends

Here is their statement of their purpose: Read the rest of this entry

Fire breathing dragons and bombardier beetles

Most people believe dinosaurs became extinct before any humans existed, but many cultures have legends of creatures called dragons that closely resemble dinosaurs.  This fact indicates that the extinction of dinosaurs must be very recent.  (There are some who believe that there are still living dinosaurs. newanimal.org/ )  Some of these dragon legends speak of dragons that breath fire.  Is it possible that such a creature actually existed?  The best way to answer that question is to look at an animal that we know does exist, the bombardier beetle.  Here is what Wikipedia says about it. Read the rest of this entry

Tips for good writing

Here are some writing tips I have found on the internet. Read the rest of this entry

A solution to the bathroom problem

There is a controversy over whether transgender people should have the option of using either the men’s or the women’s restroom.  One side sees it as giving transgender people the rights others enjoy; the other sees it as a matter of protecting personal privacy.  It isn’t likely this disagreement will ever go away.  Perhaps the best solution would be to eliminate our present restrooms and replace them with single person restrooms.  This would be a very expensive solution, especially when it comes to converting buildings that already have men’s and women’s restrooms, but it seems to me that it is the only way to satisfy the competing demands for access and privacy.

I asked the Lord that I might grow

Have you ever prayed to God for something and found that afterward everything in your life seemed to go wrong?  John Newton apparently experienced this but he realized that the troubles he experienced were in fact God’s way of answering his prayers.  He wrote a hymn called I asked the Lord that I might grow in which he expressed both his frustration and his faith.  Here are the words.

1 I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.

2 ‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray;
And he, I trust, has answered prayer:
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair. Read the rest of this entry

An excellent wife

The book of Proverbs ends with a tribute to an excellent  wife.

[10]  An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
[11] The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
[12] She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life. Read the rest of this entry

Things I have read on the internet – 13

My latest list of good internet articles.

*** Read the rest of this entry

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