"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Answers In God’s Time

ODB Capture

“… the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played (the harp) with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.” (1 Samuel 18: 10,11)

      That, and other Scripture passages, beg a question that’s puzzled me for years, How could an “evil” spirit could come from God?

      Today’s Our Daily Bread meditation by Julie Ackerman Link suggested an answer:

“Sometimes when I want to start a fire, the wind puts it out. But when I try to keep a fire burning, wind keeps it going. So, in the first situation, I label wind “bad” because it thwarts my plans; in the other, I label it “good” because it helps me accomplish what I want to get done. where What’s the difference between an “ill wind,” and a “fair wind,” or “a destructive fire,” and “a productive fire?” One works against you, and the other works for you, but both are simply natural functions, with no agenda of their own.”

      For further insight, I consulted some classic commentaries in eSword ,* discovering that actual theologians agree with me about God unleashing anything bad on his people. Characterizing phenomena as “good” or “evil” is the human perception, but in God’s economy all is ultimately good for those who follow Jesus. So many Scripture passages support that idea that laying them all out here would defeat the purpose of a blog post. Those who want to study it out can find many excellent tools such as the one I mentioned. When we study out answers to our own questions we’ll have them ready for anyone who asks us about it. Being prepared could pay eternal dividends.

*   The free Bible-study program from Rick Meyers, whose life work is making Bible-study tools freely available to all who want to wield God’s sword more effectively.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Taking Out the Trash

458220_184213571719926_854969215_oGood theology. Politicians, as well as every one of us, need to carefully consider our attitudes and positions on life's issues. This is as true for pro-lifers as for Pro-abortionists. How many "pro-lifers," in lockstep with conservative doctrine, staunchly defend capital punishment?

      The "Justice" System’s fundamental injustice, including its decisions about who receives the death penalty, never really dawned on me until I heard Paul Harvey deliver a special program clarifying the issue. Research continues to show that capital punishment kills people, irrespective of their guilt.

      We conservatives glibly demand capital punishment for the “really bad” people, saying this world will be better without them. Will our enthusiasm for “taking out the trash” continue when we, because of our conservative activism, become the trash?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Is BONES Going Pro-Life? Episode 4-2


     Dr. Brennan’s pregnancy creates a sub-plot where she has an ultrasound and doesn’t see the need to mention it to baby’s daddy, agent Booth. Well, daddy gets upset at being left out, which creates an opportunity for some Hollywood-style reconciliation. Surprisingly enough, this crime drama somehow manages to inject sound relationship advice into the script when Bones suggests that she walk for a while in Booth’s shoes—which surprised the heck out of me, considering the program’s track record of liberal claptrap.

     When Bones finally produces a still image taken from the ultrasound video, Booth grabs it under the pretense of wanting to study the baby’s development, and it winds up just inside one of his desk drawers where he can “study” it often. By the final scene, Booth and Bones watch the video together, completely in awe of the fetal work-in-progress. In all this, they never refer to the baby as a fetus, but as a baby or a little girl.

     So, what makes this baby so special that she is a little girl, and not a fetus? Just one thing: She is wanted! Biologically and anatomically identical to millions of terminated fetuses, her value lies in her parents’ intention, and not in her budding human life. If the show’s plot had involved a bald eagle’s egg, a fetal grizzly bear, or any other endangered species’ progeny, its ultimate value would have been assumed, but this was a human, pre-born baby, and everyone knows they’re expendable at a whim.

This Is Only a Test

The same could be said for life … This is only a test! The true reason for which I was born, my destiny, is to glorify my God and Savior for eternity. Worldly people will read those words with a quizzical smile, thinking it’s just a bunch of religious bunkum. But I know whom I’ve believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep me safe in him for the day that I will enter his presence to praise him in person. What a wonderful day that will be!

Monday, December 24, 2012


Sci-Fi dramas have one thing right: Aliens are out there. But they’re also here, among us. In fact, they are us.

Need proof? How did you react last time you encountered someone who looked, acted or talked fundamentally different from you, especially if they were on your turf? Suspicion is the entry-level attitude, even if one considers him/her-self an egalitarian. And if you’re on their turf … fear.

Don’t believe me? Drive your Lexus to the other side of the tracks, slowly, with the doors unlocked and the windows down. Fight your impulse to panic when Lexus Link asks, “Are you insane,” or when you spot a half-dozen youngish guys with bulges under their hoodies, sauntering toward you, and all you can see of their faces is grinning, white teeth. If you’re as liberal as you think, just offer them jobs; that’ll win them over.

Name any subculture, race, or religion, and if you’re not one of them you don’t understand them. Even if you’ve “converted” from one group to another, you may think you’re objective toward them, but you wouldn’t have switched if you really had nothing against something about them.

My frame of reference takes me to religion, or to anti-religion. In my early-twenties I jumped tracks from Catholicism to what they call Protestantism, even though I’d never admit to being a Protestant. As a Christ-follower, I won’t hate Catholics, even though their religion has done some awful things throughout history. Even if the Romanist church were to officially deny those blemishes on history, they couldn’t deny what evil people have done in the church’s name.

But the Catholic Church isn’t the only sect that’s blasphemed Christ by pillaging and plundering in his name. The long and bloody war between Catholics and Protestants still rages, though not as publicly as it once did. And yes, they both claim Christ as their Savior.

Think that’s bad. What about the wars between Eastern, Middle-eastern, and pagan religions? No wonder secularists, including atheists, point condemnatory fingers at religion as the bane of humanity or the people’s opiate. But blame isn’t the only thing they’ve pointed at religious people throughout history. Does the name Lenin strike a sour chord? How about Stalin? But we don’t have to scrutinize atheism, or even, Communism, to find oceans of blood outside of historical religion. Hitler embraced, or at least winked at, most any religion but Judaism and Biblical Christianity, if he thought it would advance the Reich and glorify the Fatherland.

I would say Biblical Christianity is the only religion not to have engaged in hatred and murder throughout history, but that wouldn’t be true—Biblical Christianity is not a religion in any traditional, human sense. Rather, it is the spiritual way of life espoused by the eternal, self-existent God, through his living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. And Christ-followers pursue that way religiously, but not as a religion.

To those blinded by materialism and other naturalistic beliefs, we are indeed aliens.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shooting At Newtown Connecticut School

Tragically, shock, but not surprise, reflect my reaction to this morning's wanton, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Predictably, our government will blame this calamity on America's failure to control guns, screen unbalanced people and detect their reprehensible intentions, and monitor dissident groups such as Evangelical Bible-believers. But oddly, accusations aimed at Christians and patriots will at once, be 180° off, and right on target.

God's church may not have physically pulled the fatal triggers during this carnage, but the fundamental responsibility for those terrible events falls squarely on our apathetic, Christian shoulders. If Christ-followers were truly obeying their Savior, tragedies such as mass-murders and bombings would be rare, rather than the stuff of daily headlines. Christ's Great Commission should have been all the instruction we needed to minister His redeeming love and grace to fallen mankind. Instead, grass-fires of error and disobedience began consuming the young churches, as they still do today.

We American evangelicals pride ourselves in our patriotism, clinging to our Constitutional rights as if they were holy writ. When we see those rights threatened, as they are today, we get irate, even hateful, toward those "accursed" liberals who want to rain on our 200 year old parade. So we spend far more time finger-pointing and name-calling than searching out our own responsibility in society's moral decline.

Church, we've not only dropped the ball, but we've picked it up and begun running toward the wrong goal line(Ephesians 6:12). So we must not simply wring our hands in despair over today's horrible events, but rather, fall to our knees in prayer, getting to know the lovely Savior who died to redeem us, and our sinful, broken world.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

They Tremble ...

... at the mention of His name—demons, that is.

    In America, “Holy warriors” are scary, but tolerable, as long as they’re Muslims. Those Christ-following holy warriors? “Fundamentalists! Bigots! Homophobes! Haters! Skinheads!”

    As long as Christians stay in their churches like good religious eunuchs, America has no problem with them. But demonstrate proactive, fired-up, Spirit-filled Christianity, and you discover a whole new level of panic. Better hope the secularists don't see this video; they'll wet themselves.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Open-Handed Help

I'm posting Our Daily Bread for December 4 partly because of the good message, but mostly because of the "punchline" at the end, which is one of the best non-Scriptural summations of love that I've seen. If you've already read it, enjoy it again.

Open-Handed Help

December 4, 2012 — by Jennifer Benson Schuldt

A homeless man spends time in our local library. One afternoon, while I was writing there, I took a lunch break. After I finished the first half of a turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich, an image of the man’s face came to mind. A few minutes later, I offered him the untouched part of my lunch. He accepted.

This brief encounter made me realize that with all that God has given me, I needed to do more to help those who are less fortunate. Later, as I thought about this, I read Moses’ instructions on providing for the poor. He told the Israelites: Do not “shut your hand from your poor brother, but . . . open your hand wide to him” (Deut. 15:7-8). An open hand symbolizes the way God wanted His nation to provide for impoverished people—willingly and freely. No excuses, no holding back (v.9). God had given to them, and He wanted them to give generously enough to supply whatever was “sufficient” for the need (v.8).

When we offer open-handed help to the poor, God blesses us for our kindness (Ps. 41:1-3; Prov. 19:17). With His leading, consider how you might “extend your soul to the hungry” (Isa. 58:10) and freely give to help others in Jesus’ name.

Grant us, then, the grace for giving
With a spirit large and free,
That our life and all our living
We may consecrate to Thee. —Murray

You may give without loving,
but you can’t love without giving.