Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Natural or Spiritual Thinking? Dedicated to my brother

For four years I studied in two different higher educational settings.  These studies were almost entirely in the secular realm and dealt with natural thinking.  God gave us our ability to reason, but reasoning without God, the Bible and the help of the Holy Spirit often leads to all manner of wrong think and ultimately wrong actions.  That is where I ended up at that time in my life.

Generally, natural or secular or even liberal thinking usually concludes that the correct party or politician or government is the cure-all for every problem.  On the other hand, spiritual thinking sees the Christian church and Christian ministries as the answer for most of the ills of society.  Now, it is quite easy to find huge government waste in multitudes of different programs,  The Christian realm is not without its faults, but for the most part funds used to help people by a Christian ministry are much more likely to meet real needs than huge government programs.

Let’s look at a clear case in point where the results have been measured: education.  Very clear studies have been done comparing children in secular and Christian schools.  By the time children in Christian schools are in middle school, they are much more than a grade ahead of those in public schools.  Why is that?  There are probably a variety of factors involved, but the one I believe is most important(and I taught in Christian middle schools for five years) was Bible study and prayer.  When God is brought on the scene, the atmosphere changes, and the Holy Spirit goes to work to help students.  When parents, teachers, students and administrators pray, educational advancement occurs.  What is amazing is that the average cost per year for students in a Christian school is less than half of what it is in a public school.  I rest my case.

Note: Even though this blog was written awhile ago, I decided to dedicate it to my brother who recently passed away.  Most of his working life he spent teaching in a Christian school.

Postscript: This blog is in no way meant to denigrate those godly, righteous teachers who are working in secular education.  Almost certainly they are doing the best they can with their hands tied, so to speak, in terms of bringing biblical values into the classroom.

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Japanese Kids & Christmas

The timid youth hid their emotions as we began the English class.  Today, the last class before the break we would talk about Christmas.  Not about the pagan origins of the celebration that still remained to a vast majority in Japan but about the Christian meaning.  When I asked what Christmas was about besides Santa Claus, the blank stares I received reflected more than lack of English ability but little or no knowledge whatsoever of Jesus’ birthday celebration.  I had been surprised before in my English classes but never more than now.  These students seemed to never have heard of Jesus.  It was a wonderful opportunity for me, but I wondered if these junior high students might never have heard about Jesus if I had not come to Japan.  When I talked about the cross, the resurrection and the fact that Christians believe Jesus is God in the flesh, there may have been a glimmer of recognition in one or two pair of eyes.  The bottom line is that I am thankful that I did come to Japan and share the Good News of the Gospel because I not sure they would have ever heard the message otherwise.

Note: This is throwback article written a number of years ago while I was in Japan.

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What You Worship You Become

The title pretty much says it all.  If you worship a particular ideology, you will become like it.  If you worship an icon of society like a political figure, you will become like that person.  If you worship the truth, you become like the truth.  But which truth are you talking about because in our world there are supposedly multiple truths?

First of all, let us define truth.  According to Webster’s dictionary truth is “that which accords with fact or reality”.  For example, a math problem has one answer that is true not several answers.  In other words, there are not multiple truths but only one.

Now, we must decide where the truth resides.  Does it reside in politically correct philosophies, some religious dogma or in the Bible?  They can’t all be true as Webster pointed out.  In fact, in many ways they contradict each other, so there is no way they can all be true.

Two thousand years ago Jesus came to earth and fulfilled numerous prophecies of the Old Testament written hundreds of years before.  In addition, historians like Josephus attest to the truth of the New Testament.  Today you can go to Israel and walk where Jesus walked and visit churches on many of the prominent sites of the Old and New Testament.

Now, you can try and deny the facts of the preceding paragraph, but in the end there is no getting around them, and what is listed there is only the tip of the iceberg.  If what I have stated above is true(and it is quite easy to verify), then it is time to set aside the false and embrace biblical truth and place our worship where it belongs.

Labels Can Block Healing

Most everyone is fighting against some type of infirmity in their life.  In many cases a doctor labels us this or that medical term usually with a correct diagnosis.  The problem, though, with accepting such a label as “truth” and calling ourselves by such a word is that it can block God’s healing power in the process.  What we say about ourselves has tremendous power as this verse in Proverbs declares: “The power of life and death is in the tongue.”

Now, I am not suggesting that we stop going to doctors or stop taking medication if we in fact we are.  What I am suggesting is that we recognize that there is a higher truth that supersedes a doctor’s diagnosis.  When we feed spiritually on God’s words of healing in the Bible and proclaim  those words over our life, the labels of infirmity fall away and healing can begin.

This process often takes time and energy and so some give up, but with an extended effort over a period of time even the worst infirmity can see marked improvement.  “With God nothing is impossible.”

Is Heaven For Everyone?

I heard this story on Christian television awhile ago.  Suppose you lived in a middle class neighborhood with your family and someone you didn’t know came to your door and asked to live with you.  Would you let them in?  Because you have no idea who the person is and because you would want to protect your family, you would almost certainly close the door on them.  Similarly, God only lets people into heaven whom He knows.  Heaven is a perfect place and if God let people in who have not built a relationship with Him, then heaven would be anything but perfect.

But what does it mean to know God?  All of us have sinned according to the Bible and all of us deserve hell.  It is only because of what Jesus did on the cross to take away our sin that any of us have a hope of heaven if we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Jesus made it very clear when He said, “No person comes to the Father(God) except through me.”  There is only one door into heaven, not numerous doors as the New Age belief system attempts to get us to believe.  Jesus is that door, and not just a mental assent of Him as Savior, but as the Lord of our life to whom we look for direction on a regular basis.

Life Source Or The Source Of Life

What we worship is extremely important because what we worship we eventually resemble.  Many today worship a life source which we all have.  It might also be labeled soul power.  If you set your mind or soul on a goal, you can accomplish great things.  However, can our own greatness or our own soulish desire bring about spiritual good?  For the most part no because we are leaving out the source of life.  We are simply building our own kingdom.

Jesus Christ is the source of life.  It is he who knows what can bear good fruit.  It is only Jesus who can reveal to us our true motives and aims.  It is Jesus who can lead and guide us through the Holy Spirit and the Bible to actually accomplish true lasting spiritual good.  Without Jesus we are living in the dark realm of the unredeemed soul.

God’s Way Or The World’s Way

Choices matter.  Our decisions here on earth have eternal consequences.  If you, like I have, have made Jesus Christ your Savior and Lord, then one day in heaven we will come before God for the white throne judgment.  At that time we will be rewarded for what we have done on earth.  Now, this isn’t some divine payday that lasts a limited time, but a reward that will go on for trillions and trillions of years.  When we make righteous choices instead of worldly one, that will be rewarded.  When we share the Gospel or give finances to further the Gospel, then that will be rewarded.  Jesus’ words saying, “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” are words I hope we all want to hear.  Choices matter!

Unplugged

Spiritually speaking, there are two sides to the word unplugged, one positive and one negative. Let’s look at the down side first.

Unfortunately, many people have unplugged from God and the Bible. Instead of taking directions from the small, still voice of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in the Bible they follow personal whims and fancies. What looks good in the natural realm catches their attention and off they go. Proverbs clearly delineates this approach to life: “There is a way that seems right to a person, but that way leads to death(spiritually).” There is a world of difference between following God’s Word and what appeals to our carnal mind.

The positive side of our title word unplugged begins when we decide to cut off from the multitudes of media-related connections that draw us away from God. If we are influencing our world and pointing others to God through our media-related connections, that is great. However, if our media connections are dragging us into Hollywood’s morass of immorality, then it is time to unplug.

Following the Word or the World

The Word of God in the Bible clearly contradicts the media-driven world around us on a number of issues. The question is whether we are going to follow what popular culture says or what God says. The bottom line is that in the long run God can’t bless those who follow popular culture where it goes directly against the Word of God.

Pressure Or Peace?

Recently, I was listening to a very good message by a pastor that could easily have been titled “Pressure Or Peace”. In our fast-paced world people often make decisions based on pressure and not “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding”. Following Jesus, our Prince of Peace, will almost always lead us to a place where we want to be. Following pressure will generally result in circumstances that are less than God’s best.