Thursday, August 29, 2013

Slingshots

And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook. He put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, a lunch bag. His sling(shot) was in his hand. He drew near to the Philistine.  (1Sa 17:40)
Most of my reader(s) are very familar with the story above taken from I Samuel.  This particular slingshot story took place approximately 3050 years ago. Yes, slingshots are that old.  The ones in use during ancient biblical times are mostly referred to as shepherds slings.  These consisted of a pouch of some sort which held the projectile along with the sling made of  braided material such as flax, hemp or wool. The slings were used to create the centrifugal force for the release of the projectile.  Even the army infantry had their specialists in the art of slinging. “Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss. Judges 20:16”

One tends to think that in the biblical account between David and Goliath that the smooth stones David selected from the brook were smooth flat stones.  Now if you have ever picked up a smooth flat stone it cannot be hurled with any accuracy.  This particular type of stone would have sailed worse than any hook or slice you could hit with a golf ball.  The stones David used were smooth but probably round and about a third the size of a golf ball. These would have been best for the most accurate throw.  And, of course, if you are Reformed in your theology you know there was another hand involved in the slinging of that one particular stone.  David would acknowledge his total dependence upon his creator in Psalm 62:6 “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.”

Now, recently I have taken up the art of slinging.  Slinging, yes, but not the biblical or ancient type.  I have been creating and shooting various styles of 21st century slingshots which utilize either surgical tubing or theraband gold elastics.  As a side note, I am no where near slinging at “hair breadth” accuracy, although as with anything, practice does make for improved performance.

I’ve posted below some of the my favorite creations: (click images to enlarge)










Sunday, August 4, 2013

Will Roger's Climate Change



















(click cartoon to enlarge)
God's Climate Change:   "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22)

Here's an interesting article from Dr. Roy Spencer, climatologist, author and former NASA scientist.
Change its happened before

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Church Violence

I suspect that your fellowship or church probably would not like to talk openly with the congregation about this particular topic.  I envision this type of question being asked at a congregational meeting:  to the elders;  “do we have in place a “home security plan” or a security plan of some sort in the event that a “crazie” comes into our midst with violence on his/her mind”?  I would not expect an in depth answer from the leadership but would be satisfied with a simple “yes” or “no”.  And...in the event of a negative answer, an inquiry into the leadership’s desires to pursue a plan would be in order.

I sent the linked article to a dear friend whose advice I cherish.  He and I attend different churches that both preach repentance and turning to God.  His summation was that all “violence should be repented of ”.  This particular thought in my warped mind created this topics cartoon “du jour”.  I told him that I would split the profits for this cartoon with him since it was his inspiration that brought it about. ($0.00 / $0.00 = $0.00)

Click on this link to read this very interesting article on “The Heidelblog
      (click cartoon to enlarge)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Born Againism

There are two concepts that are scripturally true regarding salvation that can be deduced from the Bible. The first is that salvation IS of the Lord. The second concept is, “you must be born again”.  What?...born again? Is that still a valid theological term in this day and age?  Richard Ochs has written an enlightening article on the subject and you can find and download it here:
http://lakeroadchapel.org/~lakeroad/cms-assets/documents/87865-426487.born-againism.pdf

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Photoshop

'Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.' This forbids not making an image for civil use. 'Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, It is Caesar's.' Matt 22: 20, 2I. But the commandment forbids setting up an image for religious use or worship.  'Nor the likeness of any thing,' etc. All ideas, portraitures, shapes, images of God, whether by effigies or pictures, are here forbidden. 'Take heed lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make the similitude of any figure.' Deut 4: 15, 16. God is to be adored in the heart, not painted to the eye.

Quest. 1. If it be not lawful to make the image of God the Father, yet may we not make an image of Christ, who took upon him the nature of man?

    Response:  No. Epiphanius seeing an image of Christ hanging in a church, broke it in pieces; ’tis Christ’s Godhead, united to his manhood, that makes him to be Christ; therefore to picture his manhood, when we cannot picture his Godhead, is a sin, because we make him to be but half Christ; we separate what God hath joined, we leave out that which is the chief thing, which makes him to be Christ.

Thomas Watson (1620-1686)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Springtime Fertilizer

“See how he spreads the lightning around him.... by these mighty acts he nourishes the people, giving them food in abundance." (Job 36:30-31)

From the oldest book in the Bible comes that which in today’s scientific jargon is known as “nitrogen fixation”.

“The extreme heat of a lightning flash causes nitrogen to combine with oxygen of the air to form nitrogen oxides. The oxides combine with moisture in the air. The fixed nitrogen is carried by rain to the earth, where, in the form of nitrates, it is used by plants. Nitrogen fixation occurs naturally in the air by means of lightning.”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Question

“What must I do to be saved?”  As most of you know, I’m not the first to ask this question.  Remember the Corinthian jailer asked this question in Acts 16:30...and Paul’s response..”believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”.   Then again the Lord’s disciples inquiring about salvation in Luke chapter 18..”Lord, who then can be saved?”....in response to Christ’s statement that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  What did Jesus tell them about who can be saved?  “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”  Job was a rich man.  What was his conclusion?  “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him”. (Job 13:15) Abraham was a very rich man.  How was this rich man saved?  Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Gen 15:6 & Rom 4:3)

There are two concepts that are scripturally true regarding salvation that can be deduced from the Bible.  The first is that salvation IS of the Lord.  Man in all his effort is unable to to please God.  There are none righteous...not one. Rom 3:10  Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is only evil continually. Gen 6:5  The heart is deceitful & wicked. Jer 17:9  There is none that seeketh God. Rom 3:11 & Ps 14:1-3  Man’s condition is clearly delineated.  There are no seekers.  Is it any wonder the disciples would ask, “Lord, who then can be saved?”...and Jesus’ response..”impossible with men...possible with God”.  Jesus says, “you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you...” Jo 15:16  How could we possibly choose God if we are not righteous, not seeking, but with evil and deceitful hearts?  Impossible!  But not with God!  He has chosen us, he has blessed us, he has predestinated us, he made us acceptable, he has redeemed us, he has forgiven us, and he has given us all Godly wisdom and intellectual insight.  Why?  Because it is according to his will and purposes.  (my paraphrase of Eph 1:3-10)  That old hymn says it so well, “it was not I that found, O Savior true; no, I was found of thee”.  Our preaching and worship services should be designed to please “The Seeker”....so that  “...the He may come to seek and to save”. Luke 19:10

The second concept is, “you must be born again”.  What?...born again?  Is that still a valid theological term in this day and age?  I’ve heard that trite, hackneyed phrase all my life.  Have you been born again?  Are you saved?  What does it mean and how can I become born again?  Now, I have heard evangelicals all my life spell out the seven steps or the five procedures or the road to follow to become born again.  Just do this, and this, and this and you will be born again.  Do this, and this, and this and you will stay born again.  Jesus said to Nicodemus in John chapter 3...”you must be born again” and it is true ..you must be born again.....BUT you cannot effect this new birth.  You can’t do it!  How much input did God require of you for the first birth?  That’s right, as my teenage daughter said defiantly years ago...”I didn’t ask to be born!” (now, her teenage daughter is saying it)...and you weren’t consulted either.  You just showed up!  The theological term is “regeneration”.  It is the sole prerogative of the Holy Spirit of God to whom and when and where regeneration is applied and accomplished.  Jesus told Nicodemus, “Only God’s Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.” John 3:8 (CEV)  The Westminster Confession of Faith puts it this way:

All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call,[1] by his Word and Spirit,[2] out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ;[3] enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,[4] taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh;[5] renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good,[6] and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ:[7] yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.[8]

1.  Acts 13:48; Rom. 4:28, 30; 11:7; Eph. 1:5, 11; II Tim. 1:9-10 2.  II Thess. 2:13-14; James 1:18; II Cor. 3:3, 6; I Cor. 2:12 3.  II Tim. 1:9-10; I Peter 2:9; Rom 8:2; Eph. 2:1-10 4.  Acts 26:18; I Cor. 2:10, 12; Eph. 1:17-18; II Cor. 4:6 5.  Ezek. 36:26 6.  Ezek. 11:19; 36:27; Deut. 30:6; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; I Peter 1:23 7.  John 6:44-45; Acts 16:14 8.  Psa. 110:3; John 6:37; Matt. 11:28; Rev. 22:17; Rom. 6:16-18; Eph. 2:8; Phil 1:29

Salvation is truly of the Lord.  If this is the case (and it is) what is one to do?  Jesus gives a parable in Luke chapter 18 that will answer this question: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. (Luke 18:10-13)

Both concepts above are equally true. Salvation is of the Lord....and you must be born again.  It is all of God.  But...one more thing is also true.  Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37)  God accomplishes his salvation most generally in this manner:   “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1Co 1:21) (KJV)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Healing

Dr. C. Everett Koop died at age 96 on Feb 25, 2013.  He was the Surgeon General during the Reagan administration.  Dr. Koop was president of Evangelical Ministries and had been for many years an elder at the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pa.  I recently noticed an article that he wrote in a book that I had in my library entitled “The Agony of Deceit”.  He was asked to write this piece for the 1990 book by Michael Horton, editor.  His article is entitled “Faith-Healing and the Sovereignty of God”  Here are a few quotes from the book by this great pediatrician and surgeon-in-chief at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia:

"A surprising number of Christians are convinced God will not be believed unless He makes tumors disappear, causes asthma to go away, and pops eyes into empty sockets.  But the gospel is accepted by God-given faith, not by the guarantee that you will never be sick, or, if you are, that you will be miraculously healed.  God is the Lord of healing, of growing, of weather, of transportation, and of every other process.  Yet, people do not expect vegetables without plowing."

"The proper response of Christians to affliction is not to demand healing but rather to witness to the world that through the grace of God a Christian is able to accept affliction, trusting in the sovereignty of God."

"If it were the sovereign will of God that humans be healed of all illness and of all afflictions, all humans would be immortal.  Isn’t death, after all, the ultimate illness?
"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Poignant Prophecy

Concerning worship in song:

“We shall in the end have a mass of corrupting religious poetry against which the church will have to wage a sore contest.  The danger is that of habituating the taste of Christians to a very vapid species of pious doggerel (nonsense, drivel), containing the most diluted possible traces of saving truth, suitable to the most infantile faculties supplemented by a jingle of vain repetitions.”  (R.L Dabney, 1876)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Dream...

                    (click to enlarge)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Alter the Altar Call

This is your opportunity to be saved; do not let it pass you by....is the concluding call from many preachers.
“You must decide for Christ...”  many in the pulpit are saying.  “If you would only give yourself to Him, He will give Himself to you”....say the evangelists of “decisional regeneration”.  Or as Finney used to preach it.....”and you must decide now whether you will follow Him or not -- and decide for eternity!”  “You can make the choice tonight.  You can make the first step....by a choice you make,” says Billy Graham

There is a very familiar verse found in I Cor 1:18 that says, “for the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness.”  It seems that this verse is being twisted around by some in the evangelistic community. It is the preaching of foolishness that is being used to attempt to save the perishing, especially concerning what has become known as the “altar call”.  Please raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of the modern altar call.  Yes..I see those hands.  Now for those of you who raised your hands I’m going to ask you to get up out of your seat and come to the front; you must come openly and publicly.  You can come, just as you are (but evidently not where you are)...but you must make the first move.  Sound familiar?  Too!  One local pastor in the KC area has written about his early years in his ministry:  “we sang verse after verse of invitation hymns like "Just As I Am" and we sometimes sang on for an hour or more trying to get people to come forward. I once had an evangelist in a church where I pastored and his entire program consisted of night after night telling sob story after sob story climaxing with the saddest one of all and then giving an invitation to come to the front and accept Christ.”   http://www.victorybaptist.us/show.wc?msgaltarcall  (see my blog..Emotional Engineering)

Not only is the “altar call” unbiblical, (not found in Holy Writ) I believe, it is also anti-biblical (putting works prior to faith).  The problem is that we are a “results” oriented people.  We need to see the results...NOW!  We can’t preach like Noah did for 100+ years and not see someone come forward or walk the aisle.  We can’t wait for the Holy Spirit to do his regenerating work.  We need to usurp that part of the gospel or we may be deemed unsuccessful preachers...even though we were never called to be successful preachers....just faithful preachers....you know...like Noah.

Now here is my problem or issue with the modern day gospel preachers.  Many are giving a false gospel.  “Do this and live”...kind of appeal.  Even one of my favorite Reformed theologians hints at “do this and live”. “The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.” R.C. Sproul ( http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/what-gospel/)  How can one who is “dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph 2:1)..”do that”?  The only way one can (is able, or has the ability to) “do that” is with a changed heart or nature.  Now R C Sproul makes this abundantly clear in his 213 page book “Chosen By God”....but that is not explained in the link above to “What is the Gospel?”  Perhaps some may think that if I only lift myself up by my own bootstraps I can achieve what God requires.  There is a popular preacher I call “The When We Begin Ta’...”preacher.  His sermons are full of “when we begin ta’ fill in the blank, then God will fill in the blank   R. C. does explain the futility of this thinking in Chosen By God:  “In regeneration God changes our hearts....regeneration precedes faith.  Without rebirth (regeneration) we have no desire for Christ”.  Any of our outward responses to Christ are initiated inwardly by Him.  It is God that works in you....(Phil 2:13)  Only in this manner can the bible truly declare..”Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9)

How was it that Spurgeon, Edwards, Whitfield and many other Reformed preachers got the message out without the use of an “altar call”?  (which, by the way, was unheard of prior to Finney, early-mid 1800’s) Basically the same way Peter and Paul did: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ...” Acts 2:38   And Paul: “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God...” (Acts 26:19)  In Peter’s call to repentance, 3000 souls were added to the church.  How were they added? “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47)  Can you believe it...without any emotional engineering?  No “Just as I Am” sung “Softly and Tenderly”?  No altar call?  No hour long begging and pleading by the evangelist?  No!  The Holy Spirit was active... “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he wishes" (John 5:21)  May we just have faithful preachers that leave the altar call to the working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those whom He has foreknown, predestinated, called, justified and glorified. (Rom 8:29, 30