A message from the dead

God has forbidden us to communicate with the dead in an effort to discover truth.

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD.  (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus described the afterlife and revealed that God places some restrictions on the dead who wish to communicate with us.  (Many believe this is a parable and not something that actually happened.  I have discussed that in this post: Lazarus and the rich man – parable or actual event? )  When the rich man saw Abraham and Lazarus he asked that Lazarus be allowed to come to him to give him some relief from his suffering. Read the rest of this entry

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Things I have read on the internet – 83

My latest list of good internet articles.

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Interpreting the Bible

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

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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.

Good cop/bad cop

Good cop/bad cop is a routine police sometimes us when interrogating suspects.  The bad cop is hostile toward the suspect.  The good cop is sympathetic and sometimes even restrains the bad cop.  The suspect comes to accept the good cop as his friend and sometimes will give him the information the police are looking for.

The suspect comes to think of the two cops as being opposed to each other and he naturally sides with the one who is friendlier to him.  In fact they are working together.  From the suspect’s point of view they are both bad cops because they are trying to get him to give them information they need.  From the point of view of law abiding citizens they are both good cops because they are trying to enforce the law and fight crime. Read the rest of this entry

A soft answer or a harsh word

A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

There will be times when others are angry at us.  We can’t avoid this but we can choose how we respond to their anger.  We can either give a soft answer, which will turn their wrath away, or we can respond with a harsh word, which will increase their anger.  Two of the judges of Israel, Gideon and Jephthah, encountered the wrath of others in nearly identical circumstances but responded differently.

Gideon was a farmer.  When he first appears in the Biblical account he is beating out wheat in a winepress to keep it hidden from the Midianite invaders of the land.  The angel of the LORD  appeared to him and told him he had been chosen to destroy the Midianites.  He reluctantly accepted the assignment and after a successful war against the Midianites he encountered opposition from one of the other tribes of Israel, Ephraim. Read the rest of this entry

Rapture Forums

Nearly one third of the Bible consists of prophecies.  Some of these prophesies have been fulfilled while some will be fulfilled in the future.  You would think that people who believe the Bible and read it regularly would be well informed on this subject.  That isn’t always the case because many prophecies are hard to understand and there are a lot of conflicting ideas about what they mean.  If you have a hard time understanding this subject you might be able to find help at this site:  raptureforums.comRead the rest of this entry

Dying for Christ

On January 8, 1956, five men, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youdarian, were killed in Ecuador by Auca Indians.  The five were missionaries who were trying to preach the gospel to the Aucas.  It would seem that this incident would end any attempt to evangelize the Aucas but in fact it had the opposite effect.  The incident was widely reported in the news media and the publicity stimulated many Christians to step up efforts to reach the Aucas with the gospel.  Other Christians carried out the work the slain missionaries had begun and as a result many Aucas, including some who took part in the murders, became Christians. Read the rest of this entry

On earth as it is in Heaven

Matthew 6:9-13 contains the prayer known as the Lord’s Prayer.  It contains the phrase “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Is this part of the prayer being answered today?  It appears to me that most of the earth is rebelling against God’s will rather than following it.

The Bible tells us that God created the world and everything in it in six days and we should acknowledge him as our Creator.  Humans have come up with the belief that the earth developed by natural processes over billions of years and that life arose by a process of evolution.  This belief is such an integral part of our culture that even many Bible believers accept it and interpret the Bible in a way that accommodates the belief that the earth is old.  I once believed in an old earth and reconciled this belief with the Bible by believing in the gap theory. Read the rest of this entry

YOLO

YOLO stands for You Only Live Once.  It is the philosophy that the life we are now living is the only we will ever have so we should make the best use of it by doing those things which bring us the greatest amount of pleasure now.  Like any other philosophy it needs to be tested by comparing it with what the Bible teaches.

If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  (1 Corinthians 15:32)

It is correct in one point.  If the life we live now is all there is then the wisest course of action would be to get as much enjoyment as we can.  But is this life really all we have?

It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.  (Hebrews 9:27)

We do indeed only live once, but our existence doesn’t end when our body dies.  Here is a description of the final judgment. Read the rest of this entry

Voting and praying

The United States has just had an election.  The right to vote gives all citizens a voice in deciding how the country will be run.  Christians, like other citizens, should exercise this right, but we have another way we can influence the government and that is to pray for our leaders.  Jeremiah sent a letter to the Jews who had been taken into captivity in Babylon urging them to do this.

 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)

The apostle Paul gave the same command to Christians.

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)

In both cases the reason is the same.  We will be better off if we live under a stable government that cares about the welfare of its citizens. Read the rest of this entry

The ark of the covenant

Exodus 25:10-22 describes the construction of the ark of the covenant.  The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness, during which time the ark was carried from place to place.  After they entered the promised land the tabernacle was set up at Shiloh and the ark remained there for many years.  King David eventually brought it to Jerusalem.  When King Solomon built the temple the ark was placed in it.

Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.  (2 Chronicles 5:7)

The king and the people probably thought the ark had found a permanent resting place and the days of its being carried from place to place were over.  That turned out not to be the case.  Here is an incident that took place during the reign of King Josiah. Read the rest of this entry

Things I have read on the internet – 82

My latest list of good internet articles.

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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

Things I have read on the internet – 81

My latest list of good internet articles.

*** Read the rest of this entry

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

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

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