Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School









Candle Photo: J. Samuel Burner

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Popular Culture vs Psalm 1


Many, many years ago I memorized Psalm 1.  Occasionally I have to refresh some of the lines but generally it has been "stuck" in my mind for all these years.

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This morning I was reciting this to myself and I had some thoughts about it which I've decided to share in this post.

Let's take look at the first verse.


Psalm 1:1 (RSV)

 
BOOK I
 
Blessed (Happy) is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

 
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For some time now as God has been dealing with me over a number of issues and recently it became very clear to me that our "popular culture" has been COMPLETELY at war with my faith.


All the while, I'd passively sat back and watched its TV shows, gone to and purchased its movies, bought and consumed its music and applauded its stars, listened to its radio, filled my mind with it's books and magazines, and allowed myself to travel down many dark roads on its internet.

Ironically I'd always wondered why I felt so defeated in my Christian walk.

Slowly over the years God has been calling me to a more righteous way...and I've finally begun to see the divide between this calling and the filth I'd been allowing to come pouring into my mind.

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This morning as I recited the words from the first verse of Psalm 1:  "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked...."


....suddenly I thought about all the "advice" (counsel) pouring out from all the television "talk" shows:

The View, The Talk, Dr. Oz, Wendy Williams, etc...and extending back from Oprah Winfrey all the way to Phil Donahue....

....and all the "help" segments on "news" programs, in newspaper advice columns, on radio call in shows, and in scores of books and magazines etc.



How much of that is Godly advice?  How much of it is the "counsel of the wicked"?

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So what about the next two lines of Psalm 1:1 - Blessed is the man who does not "stand in the way of sinners" or "sit in the seat of scoffers"?

I think back on concerts I've attended, parties I've gone to...all the countless places I've been where I was "standing in the the way of sinners"?

And the innumerable hours I've watched shows like Saturday Night Live, late night talk shows and comedians, sit-coms, YouTube Videos, and all the websites etc I visited...where they regularly scoff at and mock God and Christian values.

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Sadly far too many Christians not only partake of all that the world offers...but we bring it into our homes by the car-load.

We buy book shelves full of books, magazines, DVD's and CD's. 

In addition, many of us pay huge sums of money each month for Cable and Satellite TV.



How much of that would meet with God's standards and approval?


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Recently, I've decided to mostly watch Christian TV and listen primarily to Christian or classical music.

And now when I do allow myself to catch something from a secular source...I've already begun to really notice all the filth that I used to allow myself to bathe in for hours every week.

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A few months ago I would have read a post like this and thought to myself that it was a bit extreme.

Someone suggesting I shouldn't watch secular TV...listen to it's music...partake of its culture....would've sounded over the top

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But let's go on to read what Psalms 1:2 and 3 have to say:

2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.


So when we are asked to trade the things of this world for God's advice and council through his Word we receive an incredible "pay-off" in return!!

Have you felt like a tree planted by streams of water?  Have you felt fruitful?  Have you felt like what you do is prospering?

If not, it may be that you've been feeding yourself on the things of this world rather than than the things of God.

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The great news is that as long as we have breath, it is never to late to set a new course.

If you are a Christian and desiring to change, ask God to forgive you, and ask Him (as David writes in Psalm 51) to "Create in me a clean heart, oh God, And put a new and right spirit within me"...and to "sustain in me a willing spirit".

Then look for Christian TV, radio stations and other entertainment choices and ask God to give you the strength to enjoy them instead of the things that war against your spirit.

And the great news is that a lot of it has gotten quite good!

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If you are not a Christian and want to become one here are some steps you can take:

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Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, ask God to forgive you of your sins, and ask Him to strengthen you so that you may overcome the sin in your life.


After this confession some may find they are immediately free from addictions or other habits...some may experience an emotional response.

Others may not feel anything and might still struggle with old ways.


Either way...if you sincerely meant this confession, begin reading the Bible and praying, and seek out fellowship at a church or with other people who believe in Jesus and the God of the Bible.

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If you are not ready to take these steps allow yourself to have an open heart and ask God to reveal Himself to you.

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No one is guaranteed more time in life...so if you feel this message "speaking" to you...don't put it off...turn to Jesus today.

It will be the best decision you ever make.

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A note on the Christian life:  Sometimes a well meaning Christian will say to someone seeking God, "Just give your life to Him and everything will be PERFECT for you."

But this kind of message caused me a tremendous amount of doubt and trouble in my Christian life...because God never promises freedom from trials after one comes to Him.

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So then,what do you gain by turning to God?  For starters...The Bible (God's Word) promises us eternal life!

And as you grow with God your life will produce the "fruits" of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

There are many other promises you can read about this "new life" in the Bible's New Testament.



You can find many free translations of the Bible on line.  I like Biblegateway.com and suggest reading from the New Testament in the New King James translation as a good place to start.


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I pray this post has spoken to you today.  If you have questions feel free to ask them in the comments.

May God Bless you no matter where you are at...and draw you ever closer to Him!!!



Monday, November 26, 2012

The Words Of Jesus On The Signs Of The Times And The End Of The Age

Hello and thank you for stopping by! 
 
I have several drafts in the works for this blog...but so far haven't felt anything was ready to be published.
 
In the meantime, the words of Jesus as he replied to his disiples about the "end times" have been on my mind a lot lately.
 
We definitely have seen the "roaring of the waves" here in the US and also all over the world.
 
Plus there certainly have been earthquakes and wars and rumors of wars all around the globe.
 
It definitely seems like it's time to "awaken" and know the "signs of the age".
 
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Luke 21 (NKJV)
 

The Disciples of Jesus Ask Him About:  The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age


7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”

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10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.


The Destruction of Jerusalem



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20
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.


The Coming of the Son of Man


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25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

 


The Parable of the Fig Tree


29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.


The Importance of Watching



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34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. 38 Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.





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Please:  Share!  Comment!  Join!


 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So What's Up With This Shiny New Blog?

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Over the last few years I have fully returned to the Christian faith of my childhood.

This journey has literally turned most of my views of the world upside down.

I've begun this blog in order to first just to have a place where I can organize my own thoughts about seeing the world in this new and different way.

And at the same time share what I've learned with the world.

Some day I may also take some of the topics I post here and create videos for them.



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If you are already a Christian and have a deeper understanding of spiritual matters...I would love to receive your comments, read about your ideas...and receive corrections for any errors I may present.

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I freely admit that I am still learning and hope that if you are further along in study or understanding, that you would be willing to share your knowledge and your experience.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination holding myself up as an expert.  

Nor am I suggesting that I'm a perfect Christian.

I am far from either.

I have MANY flaws and weaknesses.  I am a sinner.

But this only makes me hold tighter to the gift of grace...the unmerited forgiveness of my sins that God's son Jesus purchased for me by coming to the world as a man, by living a blameless life, by the surrender of His life on the cross, and by His resurrection from the dead.

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If you don't share these beliefs you are still very welcome here.  

You are invited to comment and share your thoughts and opinions as well.

You may question and debate with me or anyone else.  If I know the answer I will be happy to reply.

- But please show respect for everyone.  

- Please do not post excessive argumentative comments. 

- Please do not use abusive language directed towards me or anyone else.  

- Please do no use any obscene language or four letter words.  

I will delete comments containing any of the above...and will block repeat offenders.

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I will be attempting to present things in this blog that I have discovered that may very well turn your world upside down too.

Here are a few of the topics I plan to cover:

- If Jesus was God - Why didn't he just call on His angels to rescue Him when he was on the cross?  If He had so many followers...why didn't they save Him?

- The Bible says there was a flood and there were Giants on the earth...so how come there isn't any proof of either?


- Is there proof that TV and the Mass media try to surpress the truth? 

 - If there is a God...why is He so hard to find.  Why doesn't everyone know about Him? 

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Thank you for stopping by...more soon!








Romans 1:18:  

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.