An Aside


I have not been regularly posting of late. For that I apologize. I should be more giving in what God gives me, but this post is totally off the side.

I have been a Corvette aficionado for some twelve years. This last one I had was with us for seven years. In the last couple of years it has sat in my garage, not being driven for weeks or months. The battery would die and I’d have to put the charger on it. In the seven years I owned it I drove it a mere 25k miles. That averages less than 3600 miles a year. It was a hoot to drive no matter what, though.

My Libby and I went to a little spot in the middle of nowhere to a place called Yoder’s last weekend for breakfast at their restaurant and general store near Greenville, NC for her daughter’s birthday. I wanted to go to the Harbor Freight in Winterville for an impact wrench and sockets. Next door to that was a Harley Davidson dealer called Boneyard Harley Davidson. Used to be Hometown Harley. My wife asks me would I like to go over and possibly find a hat. I have loads of them, but a I never pass the chance at a new one. So, I agreed. The dealership was having a party with a live band and all kinds of specials going on.

Needless to say I got a hat, but I got captured by a bike on the floor that looked like me. It is a Harley Davidson Sportster 1200NS Iron. It’s a very powerful bike. They were also giving $250 gift certificates for new buyers. Folks, I traded my Corvette for the bike, a helmet, leather vest, hat, free t-shirt for me and my wife. They had me ring a good size bell with blaring music and every employee came by and shook my hand and welcomed me to the HD family. Never in my life have I been so taken aback. We did upgrade the seat to a buddy seat with sissy bar to accommodate my wife. It was delivered this past Tuesday and as of this writing I’ve already put a little over a hundred miles on it and ran out of gas. A passing biker stopped and asked did I need help and a yes got me a pint of gas to get me to a station. I’ve not rode a motorcycle in over 30 years and had forgotten how exhilarating it can be. Even for this old man.

Some younger folks have given me the wild eye, like I’m too old. I may be old, but not the “too” part. Most of my relatives have already gave me the safety speech about watching out for crazy drivers and such. Safe to say all things are possible, but I am ultra-aware of my surrounding as much as possible. I don’t plan on becoming a statistic. I wear my helmet, leather vest, gloves and boots with jeans. I’ve ridden three different size bikes, but this is my biggest. You can safely say, I will be careful.

Posted in Harley Davidson owner, Old Age, Ponderings, Retirement | Tagged | 2 Comments

Is the Devil to Blame for our Circumstances?


Colossians 3:1-4 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

I Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I’ve read different teachings on the above and the variables. Below in quotes is derived from Bible.org.

“From the title of this post I’ve heard this is a common question and one that is often mishandled. Satan is blamed for everything evil and while there is a certain sense in which that is true, it fails to take into consideration all the other issues like our own personal responsibilities for our own actions. It’s too easy for us to blame the devil and excuse ourselves, as the comic, Flip Wilson, used to say, “The devil made me do it.” People are inclined to blame the devil in order to remove their guilt, justify their actions, and ignore their responsibility and the things God wants to teach them through their suffering. This has been true from the very beginning as we see so clearly with Eve’s answer in blaming the serpent when faced with her sin in the garden. Adam too had his scapegoat in blaming Eve and even the Lord, i.e., “the woman made me do it, the one you gave me.” Certainly, as the deceiver and liar, Satan instigated the temptation, but Eve responded with negative volition, unbelief, and disobedience, and Adam failed to stay true to his responsibility as the leader in his family.

Today, regardless of the various external sources of temptation (Satan and the world), the final source is our own sinful nature or the lusts of self-centered desires of our own hearts (Jam. 1:14-15). In Christ, by virtue of the finished work and victory of the Savior, we are victors; He has provided everything we need to defeat sin and Satan (1 John 4:4; 5:4-5; Rev. 3:21; Rom. 6:1-14; Col. 2:6-15; 3:1f; Heb. 2:14-15; Eph. 6:10f).

However, having said all this, it is equally true that through the world system and the demonic hosts that Satan controls (John 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12) we are constantly faced with the power and activity of Satan in more ways than we can possibly imagine. As Paul warns, our battle is not only with the flesh and blood, but with supernatural powers that are constantly in operation in the sons of disobedience and against the body of Christ (Eph. 2:1-3; 6:10-13f; 1 Pet. 5:8; Jam. 4:7).

When Satan can attack us he will and only God knows how much of what we face is the direct result of the devil’s onslaughts. At the same time, much of our suffering is the direct result of our own self-induced misery, sometimes as a product of our ignorance, or unbelief, or indifference, or a combination of all of the above. So Scripture tells us to resist the devil and he will flee from us, to put on the whole armor of God, to be controlled by means of the Spirit, to have Word-filled lives, to walk circumspectly and in wisdom, and to be on alert because of the activity of Satan who is constantly on the prowl.

But there are two things we should not assume:

(1) That everything evil that happens to us is the result of direct Satanic attack. Though he is indirectly involved, some of what happens is simply the result of life in a fallen world. For instance, take cancer and other degenerative diseases; probably more than anything else these are the result of Satan’s involvement through a world merchandising system that has promoted an unhealthy diet (highly-processed foods, foods that have lost much of their food value due to depleted soils, pesticides, preservatives, chemicals, high fat and sugar diets, etc.).

(2) We should not assume that all our suffering is the product of our own sin or indifference to the Lord. There are many reasons for suffering. (See the study “Why Christians Suffer” on our web site under the “Spiritual Life” category). Job was a righteous man who walked with God, yet for His own purposes and for Job’s spiritual growth (all testing is ultimately designed for our growth), God allowed Satan to attack him. Paul too was a godly, spirit-filled man, yet he experience a thorn in the flesh which he defined as a messenger of Satan. It was an affliction God used as a tool in Paul’s life to teach him some important spiritual lessons (2 Cor. 12). The Lord healed all kinds of illness, but a careful study of the NT shows us that only a small portion of these illnesses were actually attributed to Satan or demonic causes. The same can be said of the writings of the Apostle Paul. He spoke of Trophimus who was sick, but he never even suggested this was the product of direct Satanic attack. Timothy may have been experiencing some kind of stomach difficulty, but Paul’s advice was simply to take a little wine for his problem. No mention of Satan or demons.

A general reading of the epistles puts the emphasis not on the demonic, but on our own responsibility to appropriate our assets in Christ. So while we need to acknowledge Satan’s constant activity, nefarious ways, and be on alert, our primary focus needs to be, not on Satan, but on the Lord and our responsibility to grow in Christ. It is often a cop out, pure and simple, for us to blame the devil when what is needed is honest to God personal examination and confession that we might be restored to fellowship, learn the spiritual lessons need, and be made like Him as a part of the process of growth and maturity in Christ. What takes more faith and character? To live through the suffering or to simply be miraculously healed without having to truly think through and trust the Savior for spiritual change?” (End of excerpt from Bible.org)

I’m of the persuasion that as said in Col. 3:3 that the devil has no say or influence on us as long as we are hidden in Christ. The question is, how are we hidden. Going back and re-reading the verses 1-4 we see it explains it fairly simply. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

First and foremost I see that we have died. Verse three plainly states that. Having died we are then risen in new life with Him and will never again be seen by the enemy of our soul until we appear with Him in glory. The blood of His sacrifice granted us this new life.

An analogy such as all of our past written on a piece of paper being burned to ashes means we no longer have ought against ourselves that can be brought up by the enemy. You can’t reconstruct the past that was buried or burnt in this analogy shows. Therefore he is left to do as I Peter 5:8 states. He searches or looks for someone that he may devour. But you can’t be found.

But we do have to fight with principalities and powers of the air. That is where we cover ourselves with the whole armour of God. It’s a part of our being hidden from the enemy.

Eph 6:12 – For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We are to put on the whole armor of God and this chapter goes on to explain. There’s a lot to explain here, so I hope to rightly divide the “hidden” you from the “warrior” you at some point, but for the sake of brevity, the point here is that we are hid in Christ. As long as we are focused on growing in God and going on to maturity we will not be found by a toothless enemy roaring “like a lion”. Notice that he’s not a lion. So. There’s really nothing to fear of your enemy.

One last thought and I’m done here. Temptation will come. What you do with it will depend on you being uncloaked to the enemy or not. Don’t “entertain” temptation. Dismiss it and move on and stay cloaked with the righteousness of God.

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, church, Love, Patience, Ponderings, Prayer, Priorities, Salvation, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual, Spiritual Investment, Spiritual Investments | Leave a comment

Praise and Worship Services


I recently saw a post about modern day praise and worship services among a lot of

churches from small to mega size. Most of what I read was somewhat harsh about the so called the night club style of them. I admit I am not too sure about the smoke and flashing lights. myself. The first time I was in a church similar to this description was Florida, in the Tampa area.

When I walked in the inside looked similar to a multi-use convention center with the ceiling much like Walmart or Sam’s Club. I don’t go to night clubs, but I’m sure there are such. It was dark except for the stage lights. The music was upbeat and the crowd was responsive, but it just didn’t seem right. It seemed like a “new cart” kind of worship service.

I Samuel 6:11 – And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods.

For goodness sake folks, do you know what an emerod is? It’s translation is talking about tumors or more to the point, hemorrhoids. Golden mice? What? Why?

Cut the developing rabbit trail here and get back to the main subject. Yes, I agree that modern, progressive churches are turning to worldly methods to draw a crowd.

My problem is that certain of the praise and worship methods employed properly are meant to usher in the Presence of God, but are being thrown out like the baby with the bathwater.

In the Old Testament there was an approved method of worship.

2 Chronicles 29:25 – And [Hezekiah] stationed the Levites (has to be a Levite) in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets”

If you will read the context of the above and below you will find David was authorized, but Amos, the shepherd turned prophet, was sent to the Northern Kingdom of Israel to rebuke and admonish them. Israel, in order to keep people from traveling to Jerusalem in Judah, built their own temples in Israel. These temples were not authorized places of worship and their priests were not Levites. Their lives and their worship were extremely paganistic. And although they still attempted to worship Jehovah God, they did so in an unauthorized fashion.

Amos 5:22-23 – Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen

Amos 6:4-5 – Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music.

With that somewhat established let’s move into today. I know of churches who abhor the idea of instruments in the church. If that’s what they want it’s okay with me. I just won’t be in attendance there. Then there are churches that think old fashioned. I once played drums with a southern gospel group for a season. We went to an old fashion Pentecostal church to sing for the people and the preacher got up and lambasted any form of Christian music if it wasn’t southern gospel. That I cannot agree with either, even though they did have instruments. One side note, the idea of women not cutting there hair was in full force there. His daughter who played the piano had probably never cut her hair since it was literally down to her ankles. It reminded me of something I would see in a circus side-show.

Way back in 1979-80, I started playing drums in a praise and worship team, as we called it. I played for 25 years in what became something that was very interesting before I gave it up. I became more tuned to the Spirit and played to that end. If the Spirit moved a certain direction that’s where I went. That came from playing under a worship leader who knew that even with a predetermined song list for the morning that God’s moving can change the course of the service and that’s where we would go. It didn’t have to be exactly 1,2,3. Songs we played were not elaborate or accentuated by talent. It was played by what God directed. It has led me to know what is and what isn’t.

My wife and I have been to quite a few Christian concerts. Some of them were Rend Collective, Jeremy Camp, David Crowder, Mandisa, Danny Gokey to name a few. But to us the most in tune with the Spirit is Big Daddy Weave. We’ve been with the Big Daddy Weave group and just Mike Weaver alone acoustically in a local talent show.

My wife and I have gotten up and left one concert because the flashing lights gave me a headache and the sound was way too high. The talent was great, but lacked the leading of the Spirit. Christian music is about all I listen to anymore since there is not even any talent in secular music anymore. Oh there is some, but most music industry executives cobble together what they think the public will love to hear. The main stream music industry is just that. Industry. If Christian music doesn’t maintain a careful watch, it will end up the same way.

To make this short, yes there are churches who burn strange fire, so to speak in their music, but there are a few big churches I feel God is still there working in the services. Small churches probably carry the same percentages of such.

The rule of thumb here is this. There is no book on how to conduct a praise and worship service. Talent is surely helpful, but it isn’t the key to the service. Listening for God is the key. Music is meant to carry one into His presence. It’s not something to drum up emotion with lights, smoke and mirrors.

My learning from how to please God is this. When you enter the church before service it should be a time to talk to God first. In the prayerful state on an individual basis, we then come together in the praise and worship to pull everyone together as one. Listen for God to speak. Prayer, praise and worship is a two way street. As God moves He will direct and then when, and if it’s time, the messenger of God will speak on what is for the people that day. At that end, then the people should talk to each other to confirm as they leave to fulfill their week as God directs.

I don’t think I’m too far off of the point of a gathering according to Hebrew 10:25. We need to be assembled. Not just in one place, but assembled together as a body. Music is an important part of that assembly.

Posted in Abundant life, Christian, Christian Music, church, Music, Ponderings, Prayer, Priorities, Spiritual, Spiritual Investment | 3 Comments

Paige


Image may contain: dog

I’m sad this afternoon. My first Papillon, Paige passed on this afternoon in my arms. She had been failing for a bit, but last night it took a quick decline. By morning she couldn’t walk. I sat with her most of the afternoon until she died. She was about fourteen years old. I’m going to miss her agonizing barking, mental issues, but most of all those little dark eyes looking at me telling me she loved me.

I cried.

Posted in Fur Babies, Love, Sadness | 2 Comments

Salvation


It’s a simple solution to the world. How it came about is a difficult thing. Jesus, the

Son of God, had to die. To die a most horrible death. The physical aspects are incomprehensible. Torn to shreds by a cat o’ nine tails of sorts. Nailed to a cross.

Yet I feel the worst part of being on the cross was when Jesus felt that separation from His Father. The physical pain is indeed unbearable, but to feel the Father turned His back is more than any physical pain that had been endured.

There are millions of people who feel the despair of living without something to fill that void in their heart. I believe all men have that little compartment in their heart that is empty till they come to realize it was meant for God to live there. If there was no horror in living without God, why do people constantly try to fill that compartment?

They fill it with at least one of the seven deadly sins. Drugs, men, women, money, power will never fill that compartment. It can be filled to overflowing, but never satisfying.

If you read this and feel empty, perhaps you need to consider from where your source of fulfillment comes from. I was saved at sixteen, yet it took till my latter twenties to make a solid commitment. Then being baptized in the Holy Spirit magnified the presence of His life in me.

Then came a test to see what I was truly wanting. One evening after fasting a week with such a rich presence, He withdrew from me as I drove to work. I sensed just a small fraction of what Jesus felt on the cross. There was a total absence of God. At that point I felt if I could not live with His presence in my life I no longer needed to live and for a split second I considered ended my life, but like a rush, He came back in. That was the evening I was baptized in His Spirit.

Since that time I have felt His love and his discipline. Like any good father, He has guided my path for the last forty one years. I’ve known God’s voice longer, but true dedication to Him came at this point. True, I did lose my way for a while, but He was always there and we always talked even though I was unchurched, so to speak.

By in large, I have given everything I have to Him for His service. God loves me. He can do that for you. Once you accept you are His, He will never leave you or forsake you. If you turn away, He will always be there when you turn around.

Dying on the cross was the turning point for mankind. Everyone for eternity was written in the Book of Life. The only way it’s blotted out is if you don’t respond to the gift of Life He so freely gave. Judgment is based on how you respond. God gave His all. All you have to do is give yours.

It’s a simple thing. Just ask Him to abide with you and surrender to your future in eternal life. Ask forgiveness of your past and the nature you were born under and your own sins. Turn about and walk towards Him.

Posted in Christian, church, Love, Ponderings, Possibilities, Prayer, Priorities, Salvation, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning


I feel torn this morning. My wife and I have become involved in a church we

dearly love. The website I developed for it is here.

https://www.kingdomculturechurch8.com/

It’s still under construction, so if you visit there you’ll find it incomplete.

Part of my point this morning is we’ve been in a play called IMMANUEL that was written by two of our church members. I know they mean well and for the sake of brevity many of the events portrayed are shortened. Again, from my past post concerning my need for order, I cannot find myself doing anything without precise Biblical accuracy. This isn’t my thrust for this post, though.

My wife and I have been so busy this week. The fly in the ointment for us is we’ve both been down with allergy related issued coupled with some sort of head cold, congestion problem. By Friday evening my wife’s left eye had become very puffy, red and oozing a mucus that ran like a stream. Her voice was about gone.

The play ran last week on Friday and Saturday evening and again this past two nights, Friday and Saturday. With my wife’s issues, I include myself as well with all but the eyes.

On top of that I worked my regular two school bus routes all week and included two school activities on Thursday and Friday that made my days eleven hours long each. I’m beyond tired for my sixty eight year old body. By last evening both my wife’s eye’s were involved. My otherwise beautiful wife looked very bad, yet she insisted on performing her part as Naomi.

Last evening when we got home we crashed into our bed and unlike other Sunday mornings we didn’t get up for at least a couple of hours later than normal. We are exhausted to say the least.

So this morning, with one look at my wife, I decided it was a no-go for church. I didn’t want her cooking breakfast as she usually does. I went out and bought something for breakfast.

The only time we’re getting up today is to eat or go to the bathroom. We need to rest. I don’t think God intends for us to abuse our bodies. We must be good stewards and use good judgment.

So we stayed home this morning, but our hearts are there.

Posted in Abundant life, church, Family, Health, Old Age, Priorities, Sobering Thoughts, Spiritual Investment | 3 Comments

The Origin of Easter


This is so in line with what I’ve learned decades ago. It’s a tough read for those steeped in tradition. But remember that the traditions of men of no effect. Learn what the Bible has to say. Not man.

Overcoming The Times

The Origins of Easter are rooted in European traditions. The name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Esatre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the Goddess of Spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe.

A festival called Esatre was held during the spring. Equinox by these people to honor her. The Goddess Esatre’s earthly symbol was the RABBIT, which was also known as a symbol of fertility.

Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil), practices that went along with the celebration. TODAY EASTER IS ALMOST A COMPLETELY COMMERCIALIZED HOLIDAY . WITH ALL THE FOCUS ON EASTER EGGS AND THE EASTER BUNNY BEING REMNANTS OF THE GODDESS WORSHIP.

In the Christian Faith, Easter has become to mean the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, three days after His Crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year because of the…

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