Thursday, January 28, 2010


I made it through an hour of the President's speech last night, owing mostly to the fact that I was running on the elliptical machine at the gym and it was on the tv in front of me. I make this disclosure so you won't think it was a heroic effort.

The president looked like he was really struggling. He did not have much of the old pep. It has been a hard year for him and it showed.

Still, it is evident that he thinks his ideas are good and he wants to continue with them, despite opposition. Only grudgingly is he modifying his plan.

I also thought the pandering on jobs was pathetic. For a minute, I thought he might coop the old Ford slogan and say: Jobs are Job 1!

First of all, you know the reason he emphasized jobs was because his Democratic congressmen up for mid term elections are scare to death and want to campaign on creating jobs.

Second, the stimulus plan in which Congress voted a record spending package was supposed to create jobs. It has not done so. His claim of 200,000 new jobs is hard to nail to down, but, regardless, is a drop in the bucket to the number of jobs lost even last month. This is the guy who crows when he can say we lost fewer jobs than we expected.

In that vein, the claim that Tampa was building a railway with stimulus money was doubtful. They may be getting money, but you know they haven't planned a new rail way from scratch since the stimulus plan went into effect and the money started going out.

Third, if jobs are so important to him, why didn't he put stimulus money into programs that would create jobs soon, rather than long term government programs that take years to plan?

Fourth, did it not occur to you that corporations would not add employees until they saw what this major overhaul of the health industry would cost them?

You could see by the way the Democrats got to their feet when he announced it, that the congressmen were relieved he was pitching it.

Otherwise, their constiuents are more likely to pitch them in the mid terms.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Analyzing John Edwards In Light of the Bible

Although the Ten Commandments and other words of the Bible are often ignored ridiculed in today’s society, I thought it would be interesting to examine the life of the former 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee in light of the Bible’s teaching and to ask “would his life be better or worse had he obeyed the commandments?”

Here is the fact situation. John Edwards is very pretty. In fact, when he ran for vice president, many said he was too pretty and that would hurt him. Edwards has been married to his wife for 32 years. They had four children, although the oldest died in a car accident in 1996. Mrs. Edwards has cancer.

Last week Edwards admitted that he fathered a child with a videographer who worked on his campaign. He had a sexual affair with her while he was married and while his wife battled cancer. He had previously denied this. A book is coming out next week in which one of his former aides alleges that Edwards tried to get the aide to claim the child to get him off the hook. Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, has now separated from him.

First of all, of course, the Bible says not to commit adultery. In other words, do not have sex with anyone other than your wife.

Second, he lied about what he did. This is pretty common for politicians, as they hope they can cover it up and remain in politics. We almost expect it, especially after the Bill Clinton years. But now, Edwards is known as an adulterer and a liar.

So, the consequences are these:
Because he did not obey the command regarding adultery, he now has suffered embarrassment in the national media. He looks particularly bad since his wife was suffering with cancer while he had his affair. No one would trust him. His career is finished in politics. So, you can see he will personally suffer from this.

Second, he has hurt his wife, who has enough suffering to handle with her cancer. He has hurt and embarrassed his children. Imagine going to school while the news outlets are broadcasting the story. Imagine seeing your friends at the coffee shop reading a book about your father’s misbehavior.

Third, in using a young woman for his pleasure, he has caused her to be publicly humiliated. In addition, he has given her the burden of raising a child with no husband and father to help.

Fourth, he has doomed the child to a mark of embarrassment. This child will always be known as the child born of this adulterous relationship.

Fifth, Edwards will have to pay child support and other expenses for the child, taking money away from his existing family.

I am sure there are more consequences that could be listed. So, is Edwards better or worse off for ignoring and violating these Biblical commandments? He clearly is worse off as are the other victims of his conduct.

So, why engage in this exercise? It is not because I think I am morally superior to Edwards, but to demonstrate that God gave commandments that create people who reflect his glory and holiness. They also create people who fulfill themselves and live at the highest level possible for human beings. When we rebel against God’s standards, we cause suffering for ourselves and others.

This rebellion against God’s standards is, in the Bible, called “sin”. It is a missing of the mark of God’s standards. Many today see that as an old fashioned concept. But here, in the life of John Edwards, you see a plain demonstration of the damage done and the suffering experienced when we rebel against God’s law.

I pray that John Edwards will find his way to repentance.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Cindy McCain has posed for an ad for gay marriage. She is pictured with duct tape on her mouth. This is part of a campaign in California to oppose proposition 8, which defines marriage in the traditional way, a union between a man and a woman. McCain does not live in California, but has decided to jump in the fray and lend whatever fame she has to the homosexual agenda.

The purpose of the duct tape over the mouth is to indicate those who support homosexual marriage are not allowed to speak. This, of course, is anything but true. They have spoken loud and often. Despite that the voters of California have voted twice to uphold traditional marriage, homosexuals have continued to advertise, protest and sue. They actually persuaded a California court to rule that homosexual marriage was legal, but the California legislature passed another law saying it was not. Now there is another suit.

So the point is, Californians have rejected the message. They have not suppressed free speech. Our federal constitutions, and most state constitutions, guarantee the right of free speech. That means you can advocate your position without fear of arrest or censure. It does not mean anyone at all has to listen to you or agree with you.

This is true even if you whine and portray yourself as a victim.

This is true even if you get pretty girls from out of state to pose in pictures for you.

This is true even if you do not understand how any thinking person could disagree with you.

This is true even though the majority is very tired of hearing your continued whining and would very much like to actually put duct tape on your mouth.
HERE is an assessment of the grim situation in Haiti from the Baptist Mission. It sounds like they desperately need someone to be in charge and to keep the planes landing.
"Eternal and Infinite, Onmipotent and Omniscient; … he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. … We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final causes; we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion."

Sir Isaac Newton, Principia.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The Lord is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

He knows the way I take. Job 23:10

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Cast your care on Him for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Why did God create us? He created us for his glory. In Isaiah 43:7, God refers to his people as “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made”. He made us and he made us for his glory.

The first question of the Westminster Catechism deals with this. It asks “What is the chief and highest end of man?” The answer is “Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.”

The Westminster Confession puts it this way “It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.”
Since we were created for God’s glory, we should live in a way that brings glory to him. Paul said, In 1 Corinthians 10:31, to do it all to the glory of God. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus said “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise (or give glory to) your Father in heaven.” It is not that we add anything to God’s glory, but that we reveal it to the world.

In contrast, Paul describes the world as those who “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Because we are created to bring glory to God and to enjoy him, or to be satisfied in him, we are only fulfilled when we do. When we live a life that seeks to glorify ourselves, we will feel empty and unfulfilled. The great philosopher and theologian Augustine said “You have made us and directed us toward yourself and our heart is restless until we rest in you.” (Confessions 1:1).

Friday, January 15, 2010


Tony Cartledge, who writes at, wrote an article praising Crawford Toy, one time professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who resigned and eventually taught at Harvard and became a Unitarian. Cartledge address the story that Lottie Moon broke off her engagement to Toy because, upon her return to America to marry him, she discovered he had abandoned the faith to embrace liberal theology. Cartledge wrote that Dr. Toy was “no less devoted to Christ” than Lottie Moon.

This is an incomprehensible statement in light of the fact that Moon sacrificed marriage and comfort for Christ and the gospel and would not marry the brilliant man and live in comfort because she stayed true to the gospel and Toy left the faith for Unitarianism and taught at a liberal seminary.

Dr. Al Mohler, president of the same Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, took umbrage at the statement by Cartledge on Toy’s devotion to Christ. He said “The article is breathtaking in its argument — that a man who abandoned the Christian faith was “no less devoted to Christ” than Southern Baptists’ most famous missionary.” But, then Mohler went on to use the “H” word.

Citing Toy’s union with the Unitarian faith and his belief in evolution, he said “In other words, Toy became what Christians throughout all the centuries of church history and in all the major traditions of the Christian Church would rightly identify as a heretic.” You can read Mohler’s blog at:

Next, Dr. Bruce Prescott, at the blog Main Stream Baptist , jumped into the fray. Prescott took umbrage at Mohler’s statement, saying: Mohler labels Toy a "heretic" because, after he was forced from his position at Southern Seminary and went on to have a distinguished career at Harvard University, he joined a Unitarian Church. That is an accurate summary of Mohler’s statement, although Mohler added the sentence on Toy’s belief in evolution.

But then, Prescott goes on to write: I have no insight into C.H. Toy’s personal relationship with Christ, I am not authorized to pass judgment upon it (Matt 7:1), and I am not inclined to pay attention to men or women who presume to have such authority.

If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, Matthew 7:1 has become the last refuge of liberal theologians. I think he misapplied the scripture, but, in this case it is no matter to the discussion.

Whether or not you can judge Dr. Toy’s heart, you are able to ascertain his beliefs by his actions and his words. Dr. Toy rejected the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity in his writings.

He denied the deity of Christ by joining the Unitarian Church. The hallmark of Unitarian belief is that there is one God, the Father, and Jesus was a good moral teacher but not God.

Toy also denied, in writing, the virgin birth, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. He claimed, in writing, that Jesus was mistaken in a many of his ideas.

Dr. Toy denied the inspiration of the New Testament writers by claiming they were mistaken in their interpretation of Old Testament writings.

A heretic is a professed believer who actually has beliefs contrary to those of his church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.

What does the Christian church believe about the deity of Christ?

John the Apostle believed in the deity of Christ. In John 1:1, he wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (RSV)

The Apostle’s Creed (not written by the Apostles, but an early creed written and used within 50 years or so of the last books of the New Testament) said:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;

The Apostle’s Creed proclaims the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, and the bodily resurrection of Christ and believers.

The Westminister Confession, chapter 2, article III, proclaims the deity of Christ:
In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

as an aside, Toy once wrote, if the Westminister Confession is the definition of Christianity, he was glad not to be called a Christian)

The Abstract of Principles, to which Toy would have had to subscribe in order to teach at the Seminary, says in part III, regarding the Trinity: God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.

The deity of Christ is central and essential to Christianity. If you oppose that belief, as Toy did, you are a heretic.

Dr. Mohler is right.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh, and Hat Tip to Centurion for the Coulter piece.

First we had Britt Hume tell Tiger Woods to seek forgiveness in Christ on Fox News, then defend it on the Bill O'Reilly Show. Thank you, Britt, for an earnest testimony and plea.

Now, Ann Coulter backs that up on her website with a gospel message of her own, displaying a good grasp of the New Testament. I could quote parts of it, but the whole thing is good. Read it here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


There is terrorism, i.e., will you be humiliated by being blown up by something in a Muslim's underwear? I mean, getting killed is one thing, but reporting to the Pearly Gates and having the angel say "dude, an underwear bomb, really?" is too much.

There is the recession. The recession is confusing because the government says it is over, but jobs continue to be lost every month. But it is better because not as many jobs were lost as the month before. Which stands to reason because there are fewer jobs to be lost, right?

There is Global Warming. We are freezing, but still worry about it. And we still want to sign a global treaty about it and pass laws about it and especially tax people for it. This will occur right up to the moment the scientists realize they can make more money selling the mini ice age. A mini ice age is sort of like a mini refridgerator on a global scale: it won't really get anything really cold, but will make everything just cool enought to let you know it is there.

There is, what time will the Tonight Show come on? Will it stay or will it go now, as in back to the old time slot with Jay Leno at the helm instead of that red headed guy.

I think it should come after the news, so that after you have been scared to death and depressed, you can waste an hour and a half on totally inane entertainment. It sort of numbs the soul so you can sleep and not dream about The Under Wear Jihad.

Instead you can dream about the intelligent word an actor will say, such as "huh". Or, if the actress will be drunk when she comes out of the green room and has a hard time keeping her, well you know, in her dress. (Why is it when actors get drunk they never have a hard time keeping their body parts in their clothes?) Or will the comdedian actually say something mildly funny in the monologue?

I take it back. It should not come on at all and we should just go to bed, scare or not. Let the dreams come. I am prepared to fight Underwear Man in my sleep.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Climate Summary
December 2009

The average temperature in December 2009 was 30.2 F. This was -3.2 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average, the 14th coolest December in 115 years. The temperature trend for the period of record (1895 to present) is 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.

If you thought it was cold in December, you are so right!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

This girl is smarter than I am. She is in Yucatan enjoying sun and warmth. Look at the pictures and sigh.

At least this morning, it was several degrees colder. We celebrated by going out to eat at Mimi's Cafe. For you dieters, I got the fitness omelet, which is mushrooms and broccoli in Egg Beaters. It was pretty good. It also had a side of tomatoes.

Anyway, I digress. It has been below freezing all week here. Since the last few winters have been terribly mild, mostly in the 50s, it really feels cold.

Unfortunately, you will not get the same panache by saying you survived Fort Worth rather than Antartica or the South Pole. I am, however, thinking of designing a t-shirt with an icicle on it that says "I survived the winter of '10". We can wear it this summer when it is 100 degrees outside.

Thank you God for heating and air conditioning.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


The annual Taxpayer Advocate report of the IRS reveals that the IRS’s goal for 2010 is only to answer 71 percent of the calls from taxpayers who want to speak with an assistor. (The goal in 2007 was 83%.)

Certainly, one way to achieve one's goals is to set them very low. The IRS apparently intends to lead the way to mediocrity and substandard service.

The tax laws are inordinately complicated, too complicated for the average guy to handle. The least the IRS could do is provide help.

Government Fail.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Among all the other weird things he says, Harold Camping now says the end of the world will occur in October 2011. I was worried I would miss my birthday party that month. I guess I will, because Camping also says May 21, 2011 will be the date of the rapture.

Camping teaches an odd and often contradictory set of beliefs. He claimed to be an amillenialist, but believes in a rapture and sounds more like a dispensational premillenialist. He also believes the church age is over, but the “rapture” has not come yet, although the purpose of the rapture is to end the church age and remove the church from the world before the tribulation (if you are dispensational and believe in 3 comings of Christ).

I thought Camping would be better off to say the end will come a year later, in 2012. The Mayans say 2012 and even got a movie out of it. Camping got nothing but his radio show, and I bet he has to pay to air that.

Here is what Camping says about The End. “Thus, we have learned that a great many facts harmonize with the conclusion that the Great Tribulation began in 1988 and ends at the end of the world in A.D. 2011. Further, that it was divided into two parts, the first part being 2,300 days and the second part being 17 years, also appears to harmonize with any and all Biblical data that relates to this subject. And now, we have no option. We can't say 'maybe' 'it's possible' 'it looks very probable...' No way! We have to say this is what the Bible teaches! This is fact! May 21, 2011 is the day of the Rapture, it is the day that Judgment Day begins....” (Harold Camping, 12-3-2008 on "Open Forum")

It sounds like he is pretty sure of it, doesn’t it? Well, note that he previously thought it would end in 1994.

Lest you think Camping is the only wing nut to predict The End inaccurately, you might examine the teachings of some other famous folks.

For example, there is Chuck Smith, who started the “Calvary Chapel” movement. He wrote a book in 1978 called "Future Survival". He predicted The End for 1981. This really upset me because I had just graduated from law school. I was rather carnal, but wished it would have ended before I did all that studying. I think Smith even planned a “Welcome Home, Jesus” party. Of course, I knew even then that earth was not Jesus’ home, at least not until the Father made all things new and we all lived with the new heavens and new earth.

I guess the ‘70s were ripe for this kind of prophesy of the end. The real biggie was Hal Lindsey. I had never heard of him until someone gave me his book, "The Late, Great Planet Earth" in paperback and told me it would explain everything. I really did not know anything about the dispensational model at that point in time.

Well, Lindsey wrote that the Rapture would be happen no later than 1981. He was most impressed with the fact that Israel had been re-constituted in 1947-48, tied it to the metaphor of the olive tree, added in Jesus’ comment about his coming in “this generation”, ignored the fact that this generation would be within the lifetime of those to whom he addressed his speech, and decided the “rapture’ would occur within 40 years of 1948. That meant 1988 was the last possible year. I could not make any sense of the olive tree thing, remembered Jesus said no one knew the date and ignored it. The book is in my garage somewhere. 1988 came and went, but The End did not.

Lindsey went on to write several other books, his failure to predict the date seemingly guaranteeing his success at publishing. This may have been because his reading of Revelation was not literal, but found symbolism of modern day events, weapons and nations and applied the scripture to the events of the day to make it look like this was the moment of fulfillment.

The End still did not come, so he wrote "The 1980's: Countdown to Armageddon". That didn’t happen either, but he still sold books and did interviews on radio and television.

The 1980s continued to abound in End Times Fever as Edgar C. Whisenant) wrote his famous book “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988”. I was pretty jaded by this time and did not pay any attention to it. Others did, however, buying over 4 million copies of it and his next book. Whisenant was a former NASA engineer and had the sense of exactness that only engineers can muster: he said the Rapture would occur in 1988 between September 11 and September 13.

I remember my pastor said he received many inquiries from fearful folks, so he preached a sermon debunking the book. My thought: if the supposed Rapture means we all go to heaven and avoid the difficulty, why would you be afraid? Wouldn’t you jump for joy?

Well, Whisenant also wrote “On Borrowed Time”. He was so confident, he said "Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong…" He was definitely wrong, but you cannot find a Bible version that says Jesus will come in 1988.

Of a funny, and weird, side note, Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) provided special instructions on praying for the Rapture.

I have no idea why you would need to pray for the Rapture. Maybe “make your calling and election sure”, but not pray for the Rapture. The Rapture is doing fine, thank you.

Whisenant was not deterred. He continued to write and predicted dates in 1989, 1993, and 1994 for the Rapture. For some reason, sales dropped off. I guess it was that “cry wolf” thing. Whisenant finally died and Jesus still had not come. Hopefully, he was able to find out why.

Maybe it was the big hair of the 80s that set all these preachers off, but failure did not abate the predictions. Pat Robertson picked 1982. He predicted that the Soviet Union would invade Israel. That would set off a nuclear war that would be the Battle of Armageddon and that would be The End. That didn’t happen, but others thought the world was coming to an end when Robertson ran for president in 1988.

Moving along, Lester Sumrall wrote a little book called “I Predict 1985”. In 1986, he wrote a book called “I Predict 2000”.

The 80s mercifully ended, but the predictions did not. Benny Hinn, white wearing stadium preacher and channeler of a dead evangelist, predicted the Rapture would occur in 1993. He went on to say that God would destroy all homosexuals by fire in ’95. Of course, 1993 has come and gone, Benny is still wearing white, making millions, but has, thankfully, cut the comb over, which some thought made him look like the Anti-Christ. And I have not seen any gays flaming in the literal sense.

Where Hinn failed, Kenneth Hagin stepped in without fear, predicting 1997 for The Grand Finale. For some reason, Hagin evidently felt it would all start in St.Louis rather than the Plain of Megiddo, but I would have thought Detroit.

Jack Van Impe, who also has suspicious hair, made a video with the catchy title of "A.D. 2000...The End?" He figured the Rapture would occur in 1992 and, of course figuring in a 7 year Great Tribulation, calculated The Final Curtain for 1999. I'm guessing he did not get invited to Prince’s big party.

The 1990s ended without the Big Event, Clinton did not turn out to be the Antichrist, and Hal Lindsey got back into the game with "Planet Earth - 2000". This would be the date for the big battle. Hey, you can’t hit if you don’t swing. Plus he is in good company. Newton went for that date, too. There is something about those zeros they just cannot resist. Here is a thought, though. What if God uses the Hebrew Calendar rather than the Julian calendar? I mean, which would he want the Julian Calendar? Or, what if he does not use a calendar? Would he care about the zeros?

All this has made me tired: So many predictions, so much time. I think I will stick with Jesus and believe no one but the Father knows the time and he did not leave a puzzle for us to figure out. If he had, I am sure Dan Brown would have written a book about it.

Remember, the purpose of the warning to watch for the return of Christ, is to be living for him when he returns, not to try and figure out when it will be so you do not have to pay your credit card bills.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy Epiphany Sunday

If you are "low church" like me, you do not know what this is. If you are "high church", bear with me.

Christmas was adopted to celebrate the birth of Christ. Ephiphany is to celebrate his manifestation to the world, particularly the Gentiles, represented by the visit of the Magi to worship Christ. It is celebrated 12 days after Christmas, hence the 12 days of Christmas and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

It is now commonly moved to the nearest Sunday, which is today this year of 2010.

It was quite a thing that the Messiah would present himself and his message to the Gentiles. Certainly, Isaiah prophesied it, but the Jews began to think of the messiah as the one who would deliver Israel from political oppression and restore the kingdom of David. Oddly, dispensational Christians today have adopted that same belief. However, God was moving to the Gentiles, as he had said he would.

God's original promise to Abraham in Genesis 15 was that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. The Jews interpreted this to mean themselves, and they were part of the fulfillment of that word, but the greater fulfillment was in the Church, for all who believe in the Messiah\Christ are the offspring of Abraham. In fact, Paul goes on to say that it is not the physical descendants of Abraham who inherit this promise, but those who believe in Jesus are the true descendants.

The next promise to Abraham was that all nations, not just ethnic Israel, would be blessed through Abraham. Again, this promise is fulfilled in the Church, as Abraham's descendant, Christ, brought blessing to people from all nations.

Isaiah told this truth in many ways in his writing. One of these occurs in Isaiah 42:6, where Isaiah recorded that God said "I, the LORD, have called you (Christ) in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles..."

Paul quoted this to the Jews in Pisidion Antioch after they opposed him and added "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. (Acts 13: 46).

Then, at the very end of Acts, when the Jews of Rome would not receive the gospel, Paul told them "Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the gentiles, and they will listen!

Today, Epiphany Sunday, you might not engage in any of the formal celebrations of the day that are observed by the Roman or Orthodox church. Regardless, you can and should celebrate God's moving of the gospel to the Gentiles, for most of us are they. The disciples were commanded to spread the gospel to all the world, to the uttermost parts. Surely, America is the uttermost parts compared to Jerusalem and Judea. The disciples did not even know our continent existed. Yet, the gospel went forth from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, to Samaria, throughout Asia and Europe. Then, ships sailed to America and the gospel came to these wild shores. All of these believers from all of these places are all part of one body. The "Epiphany" signaled the beginning of this magnificent journey.

When I worship today, I will thank God that he brought me into this great salvation long ago promised to Abraham's descendants. As the song says: Father Abraham had many sons, and I am one of them, and so are you.

So let's just praise the Lord.

Friday, January 01, 2010


I spent the first day of the new year doing the same thing I did all of the last day of the old year: cleaning out my mother in law's apartment. she had a small apartment in a retirement village and is moving to an assisted living place.

she has more stuff crammed into this small apartment than many families around the world own, and most of it is clearly not used. In addition, the apartment is crammed full of twice as much furniture as is comfortable. You can hardly walk around in it. I guess this makes her somewhat of a hoarder.

Hoarders are people who keep a lot of stuff around because it makes them feel secure. Many depression babies do this, always worried that the economy will fail and leave them penniless. Other people collect worthless junk just to surround themselves with stuff.

However, there is little permanent satisfaction in this process. There is always a hole that needs filling.

All addictions and excessive behaviors are this way. I know there are physical problems that can be addressed with drugs. But there is a spiritual problem as well. We are looking in the wrong place for satisfaction. It is sort of like the old song from Urban Cowboy, "looking for love in all the wrong places".

All of us have deficiencies. Our human nature seeks to overcome those, or compensate for them, by excessive behavior in other areas. Some of us fixate on food. Some drink too much. Some take drugs, engage in high risk sexual behavior, exercise excessively, hoard possessions, compulsively wash hands and many others.

The Bible tells us the place to look for satisfaction is Christ, not in excessive behavior. The Apostle Paul, for example, suffered from physical pain. In 1 Corinthians 12, he referred to it as a "messenger of Satan". It tormented him. He wanted to be rid of it. He asked God to remove his pain, but God said no.

So, what did Paul do? He could have started drinking to kill the pain. Many have done so. He could have taken drugs. He could have turned to excessive sexual behavior to distract himself from the pain.

But, he didn't; he turned to Christ. What he says about it is simple, but profound. He said God told him "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". And Paul believed God. He believed it so much he delighted in his weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties. As he continued on his spiritual journey, he could say, in his letter to the Philippians, "to live is Christ".

What this tells us, as followers of Christ, is to look for fulfillment, satisfaction and comfort, to Christ. I do not think the average American evangelical believers has learned even the beginning of this process. However, I think it means that when we feel the need to fill ourselves with too much of anything, or with things that are bad, we should, instead, turn to Christ. Paul says God is the God of all comfort.

Take him at his word.