If Jesus lives in you, then He does so full-time, and grants you the full benefits of being His co-heir. There is no part-time with Jesus, as this would be what the Bible describes as lukewarm faith. A person is either with Him or against Him. If the person is lukewarm (part-time) then Jesus spews out the person. At least this is what the Scriptures teach.
When going through some old social media stuff, up popped a number of social media memories. Lots of photos, loads of well-wishes, even plenty of encouraging words, like these:
“He is risen indeed! The gospel is the good news that Jesus defeated sin, death, and evil by His own death and resurrection. And He is making all things new, even us. May God continue to bless you today and for eternity.”
“May the blessings from the Lord above be yours in the coming year! The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.”
The above two comments were clearly from Christians. So, too, was this link (below) to a story about Donald Trump, with my friend commenting, “Do you think this is what the Bible means when it says ‘and a little child shall lead them?’” My first thought was to remark that President Trump is not “little”. But more seriously, this link and sassy comment from my friend appears to have been a line of demarcation. The number of very negative social media posts – by professing Christians – skyrocketed after this one. The world’s reaction to “The Donald” was a gamechanger, for better or for worse. (It was for the worse.)
Putting a silly face on all of this (for now), I’ll add this:
I’d like the Smoking Gun special, please. Wait, that does come with the Nothing Burger and a side of No There There, right? Is there a kiddie version that comes with a toy dog whistle? Oh, with regard to the media and societal meltdown over the Trump presidency… according to an article in the “Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences” the meltdown is being caused by human emissions of CO2.
Speaking of such controversies, I’m reminded of this story (below) about the controversy attached to the sitting Vice-President of the United States speaking at my daughter’s commencement ceremony.
The link contains an interesting commentary, and I applaud anyone who takes a public stand for what they believe. Sadly, however, the essay too frequently resorts to remarks that are ad hominem and unsubstantiated. For example: “Alumni and students flooded administrators’ inboxes with emails protesting the decision.” How do we know this is true and how many constitutes a “flood”?
“Faculty members have called for boycotts.” Which ones? How many? “Many who oppose the decision say that hosting Mr. Pence will serve as an endorsement of the current president.” Again, how many constitutes “many”? And are there also “many” who argue the opposite view? “Students study the politics of Ronald Reagan and the literature of C. S. Lewis as well as the Bible.” Is there something wrong with this? And is this all they study?
“Most of us were raised in Protestant evangelical households, and more than 16 percent of the 2,500 students were home-schooled.” Is there something wrong with this? Approximately 400 of the students were home schooled before entering college. So what? Why is this important? “Some students have had little exposure to popular culture or liberal politics.” How has this been ascertained? Is there supporting research for this assertion?
“A few seem to see their conservative political affiliation as a ticket to eternal salvation.” Are there examples that could be cited to support this claim? And if it truly is only “a few”, is this significant enough to include in the article? “In Donald Trump, however, evangelicals were confronted with a candidate who pledged allegiance to conservative ideals, but embodied none of them.” None? Really? Not even one?
“By being politically accommodating to the administration of a faithless man who enacts damaging policies…” The President claims to be a Christian. Observers might have their doubts, but only God knows the heart. So, we should be careful about calling someone faithless, especially without knowing them personally. And which “damaging policies” are specifically in view? “Students expressed their concerns in editorials for the school newspaper and in meetings with administrators.” Did others also share their support for the decision?
“Students are debating the merits of tying faith to politics — a subject that has always been taken for granted.” Taken for granted by whom? It is totally okay to share concerns and to protest. However, we do well when we root our arguments in provable statements and seek to avoid painting others as caricatures.
What is one to make of these other oldie-but-goodie stories?
A favorite quote from the testimony, “As I said to Mr. Gowdy, I don’t do evidence”. How can he make a claim without it? And, with some snark intended, does he have any evidence that he doesn’t do evidence?
One must be discerning when traversing the datasphere. You’re just minding your own business when, whammo, someone posts a link to an article about reincarnation.
It’s online, so it must be true. Well, actually, if it’s online on one of the major platforms, the odds are that it is not true at all. Anyway, here’s a question that’s better to ponder than the ones presented in the reincarnation article: What are the signs that you have a current life?
Are you someone who thinks the “social justice” issue is brand new, as in never was a problem before 2020? Here’s a link from five years ago highlighting the fact that we should have begun the advocacy for truth much sooner than last year (or the year before).
Despite the cries of parents defending their kids’ right to bear math, it might be time, with the rise in math violence, to admit that we need more math control.
A brother in Christ reported a news item: “Explosion in Manchester is now being treated as a terrorist act. There is a special place in hell for people who do this to innocent people… and the hem of His garnet will be red with the blood of those that turned against or didn’t know Him.”
In many ways it is a very sad world we are living in. But as for the “special place in hell” comment… Not if they repent and trust in Jesus Christ to take their sin upon Himself.
A wrap up thought for this section of the blog:
“Don’t we watch people do all sorts of things to avoid submitting? Children lose privileges rather than spend ten minutes doing their homework. Addicts keep drinking or playing the slots rather than walk away, returning to a family, maybe even a loving family ready to rejoice with them. Jonah jumps to his death rather than simply turn around. Reading his story, one might begin to think, ‘This can’t be true, just turn around. All you have to do, Jonah, is turn around.’ Yeah, all Jonah, all I, all you, all we need to do is turn around and submit to God. The destruction of the storm, or drugs, or selfishness, or stubbornness, or pride, all goes away… when we submit to God.”
In my previous blog I shared an online apologetics example, meant to encourage you to likewise get engaged in the spiritual war. Do so in person, online, via smartphone, whatever… just be sure to join the battle. Here’s another example (much shorter than last week’s example).
An associate remarked: I’m no expert, but if one is a Christian, and not a follower of the Old Testament, then I don’t think using violence to prevent evil is the Christian way. Just my opinion.
My comment in return: Quick point of clarification – Christians are followers of the Old Testament. And followers of the New Testament, too.
I’m-No-Expert responded: Are they? Didn’t Jesus contradict the Old Testament?
Me in return: Contradict, no. Fulfill, yes. For example, I refer you to Matthew 5:17-19.
I’m-No-Expert came back with: Matthew 5:38-48?
Me in return, once more: In the verses leading up to verse 38 we can see Jesus expounding the Old Testament Law. As difficult as it is to keep the Old Testament Law, Jesus makes it even more difficult. Jesus says it’s not enough to refrain from murder, we must also refrain from becoming enraged with others. It’s not enough to refrain from committing adultery, we must also refrain from lust. One gets the sense from Jesus’ words that the Old Testament Law sets out the bare minimum requirements. Jesus teaches that the righteousness of His disciples must exceed that of the Pharisees who were keepers of the Law, but only keeping the bare minimum. Disciples of Christ are to do more. As in the verses that precede it, beginning with verse 38, what Jesus is doing is quoting the bare minimum of the Law and then challenging His disciples to do better. It is helpful to understand that when the Law states “an eye for eye, and a tooth for a tooth” it is not propagating violent retaliation. Rather, this is the principle of proportionate retribution. The idea is that the legal punishment must not exceed the crime, and this law was something to be applied in legal disputes and not in personal confrontations. Anyway, as in the preceding verses, Jesus is advocating that His followers go beyond the minimum requirements of the Law. Instead of insisting on justified retribution in all circumstances, disciples of Christ should refuse to adamantly insist on their rights, regardless of how legitimate they might be. So, contrary to contradicting the Old Testament, Jesus is affirming it and then amplifying it a few notches.
I’m No Expert: Yeah, well, I have never gotten a real good explanation as to why Exodus 21:22 says, “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.” Then in verse 23, “And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life.” So, if the fetus dies it is a fine, but if the mother dies it is a life for a life. So Jewish law gives way less value for a fetus than a person. So, in Scripture it is determined not to be “murder”.
My thoughts on this new direction in the conversation: Since you’ve never been given a good explanation, let me add my two-cents to the list of bad explanations you’ve received. English translations of the Bible are almost all very good, but none are perfect. Some of our English translations muddy the waters with the way they handle the original Hebrew in this text. Others do a better job with this passage: “And when men fight and strike a pregnant woman (‘ishah harah) and her children (yeladeyha) go forth (weyatse’u), and there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the husband of the woman may put upon him; and he shall give by the judges. But if there is injury, you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” It’s helpful to note that there is a Hebrew verb for miscarry (to lose a baby by abortion, to be bereaved of the fruit of the womb). This word is shakal. In fact, it is used just a couple of chapters later in Exodus 23:26, which says: “None shall miscarry (meshakelah) or be barren in your land.” Remember, this word is not used in Exodus 21:22-25. Instead, in Exodus 21 we find the word for “go forth” (weyatse’u, the root is ytsa’) which means live birth. This verb does not ever refer to an abortion. When it refers to a pregnancy, it refers to live children “going forth” or “coming out” from the womb. (See for example Genesis 8:17, Genesis 15:4, Genesis 25:25-26, Genesis 38:28-30, 1 Kings 8:19, Jeremiah 1:5, 2 Kings 20:18, etc.). So, the text in Exodus 21 requires a fine to be paid, for causing a premature birth, while injury/death to either of the parties involved (the mother or the child) incurs a more severe punishment. I hope that this helps.
I’m No Expert had nothing more to say.
Here are a few tidbits to help encourage restraint, if working on protecting your waistline, but have a weakness for doughnuts:
A Krispy Kreme raspberry jam-filled doughnut has about 300 calories, and a Krispy Kreme chocolate iced doughnut has about 350 calories. Doughnuts can be up to 25% fat because they absorb so much of the fat that they are fried in. In order to go from a size 6 to a size 14 in just 3 months (so that she could portray Bridget Jones), Renee Zellweger says she ate 20 doughnuts a day. If a person added a doughnut a day to their regular diet, they would gain about one extra pound every 10 days. Because doughnuts are fried, they contain a large amount of saturated and trans-fat. According to one report, doughnuts have more trans-fat than chocolate, peanut butter chocolate bars, and chips. A single doughnut will meet the maximum amount of trans fat for one day. Now, when you break down and eat a doughnut, just pretend you never read any of this.
Lastly, a woman at the gate keeps saying “thanks patiently for waiting.” I think she’s the same lady who wrote the printed instructions for the new electronic device I just purchased.
Glad we could end with some smiles,
Pastor Troy Skinner