Friday, July 29, 2011

Are there bad people?

A web site declared, "On this day, God wants you to know, there are no bad people, only people with bad ideas."

The general consensus is that all people are basically good.  Some just happened to receive some bad ideas.  Where these ideas come from, nobody seems to say.  Maybe it is the environment, or maybe it is the influence of others.  This has been debated for many years, and will probably will not be settled here.  I just want to throw in my two cents worth.

The most common thought on this, begins at birth.  After all are we not all born innocent?  We are always referring to children ages birth and up to 1 year as innocent babes.  How could they know anything bad.  Let me ask, When do babies begin to want thier own way before anything else.  At what age do they begin to want to doninate over things or others?  Did you or your spouse theach them to be bad?  My wife and I have raised four boys and one girl, we never had to teach them to behave badly.  We did have to teach them to share and not to treat others roughly and to have good manners.

The Bible has many things to say on this manner, some of which are as follows:

Gen. 6:5  "...Wickedness of man was great... the thought of his heart was only evil continually"  Notice that the heart was evil continually.
Psalm 51:5  "behold I was brought forth in inquity and in sin did my mother conceive me." 
Psalm 58:2  "The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray from birth speaking lies."  (from birth)
Romans 3:10  "None is righteous, no not one, no one understands, no one seeks God."  Not only are we not righteous, no one seeks God on
                     his own accord.

Then, if we are born bad or wicked, how can we do good things and receive salvation?  I personally know some good people that have no desire to know God.  These people learn good things, they don't come naturally!  Goodness has to be learned.

If left to our own thoughts we would be totally bad.  The reason that the tribulation period will be so wicked, is that the restrainer will be removed.  The only reason we do not oive in chaos now is ththat the Holy Spirit restrains evil from bcoming rampant.  I pary to God that you will not have to endure the tribulation.

Salvation and knowing God comes from the Grace of God!  The Spirit draws us to Him.  God comes looking for us, not us looking for God.  The Bible says in John 12:32 "But I, when I be lifted up will draw all men to myself."  Christ will draw all men, (not some or a selected few), to Himself.  The decision will be ours to make, He gives us that right.  He draws us to Himself through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

Romans 10:9  9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Verse 13 says that if you ask or call on Him you will be saved!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Self esteem

Esteem - Respect and admire;  Admire - to look at with pleasure:  Using these two definitions, if we have self-esteem, we are to respect and look at ourselves with pleasure.  I realize that every person needs or ought to feel confident in their selves.  I am for encouraging each person, whether child or adult.  But, to what extent.  I know those that coach activities where no-one loses.  Everyone gets a trophy.  Schools that does not give failing grades, etc.

Is this really a good idea.  Let's teach that you don't really have to run the race well to be entitled to the prize!  Let's teach that you don't really have to work hard to succeed!  Let's teach that you deserve the best, even if you don't work for it!  This breeds a generation that wants a paycheck but doesn't want to have to earn it.

When I was growing up, my dad always encouraged me to do my best.  He never said I had to win, just do my best.  My dad impressed on me that not all are winners, but all are players.  I liked to play baseball, wasn't the best player on the team, but I gave it my best.  I wasn't on the all stars, but I gave it my best.  Dad said that it isn't whether you win or lose, its how you play the game. (Of course it feels better when you win).  Even if I lost, I could hold my head high, because I did my best!  That is self esteem!

I remember that he told me that when I hired out to another, I owed that person or company the best I had for the time I was at work.  In other words if I was on the job for eight hours, I owe it to my employers eight hours of my best work.  If I did not give them eight hours of my best, I was stealing from them.  If I could not give them my best then I should leave.  If I don't give my best, they had the right to let me go.  They don't owe me anything except my earned wages.

Self-esteem is important.  We are important to God, the Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  We are made in the image of God.  What a wonderful thought.  But, I agree with another author, . A healthy self-esteem needs to be realistic, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think is just as self-defeating as a low self-esteem.  It can cause us to ignore our need of God. Those with a healthy and realistic self-esteem are those that believe they can do anything God ahas enabled them to do.
                                                         - Martin R Dehaan II -

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith ith virtue and knowledge.  2 Peter 1:5.  Know our limits and do them to the Glory of God.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

WOW! 51 yrs to the same wonderful woman!!

The year was 1958, I noticed this cute girl in church.  My brother was going with her sister and he and her got this cute girl and I to double date.  That's when it happened.  I began to chase her, hoping she would catch me.  By the way, her name is Claudetta.

I was in college at the time, the weeks seemed to last a lifetime before I could get home to see her. We weren't going steady at the time so she was free to date anyone she wanted, I had no claim on her.  I remember one time calling her to let her know that I was home for the week-end and if she would like to go out with me.  I heard her shout to someone, "I can't go out with you, Aaron's home".  Music to my ears, maybe she was going to catch me yet.  We had a great time dating for awhile and I asked her to marry me.

July 16, 1960 we were united in marriage. Fifty-one years later, we are still married.  Being a minister, I have the opportunity to counsel young people before I preform a ceremony.  I often-times ask if they would like my secret of a long marriage.  Of course they would, I then look the guy right in the eye and say, "Shut up and do as you're told"  Of course, I am joking!  then I explain the reason marriages don't last this long in most cases.

The real secret is committment!  If we remember the words of most ceremonies, they begin with and announcement of uniting in the presence of God.  I believe that my marriage and all marriages should be founded on God's principle and with His blessing.  Then the officiating person (minioster, JP, etc.) will ask if we take each other to be our spouse.  This means do we, on our own accord purpose to be together as husband and wife, to which we said, "We do".

The most serious part is the vows we make to each other.  The vow is something like this, - - -

I take you to be my husband/wife to be my spouse.  To have and to hold, this means that we give ourselves to each other.  We no longer just consider ourselves as individuals but also have to consider the needs and want of the other.  To love and cherish, this is a serious statement.  Love is a word thrown around, sometimes carelessly.  We love so many things and then throw them away.  Love and cherish should denote our affection toward this other person above any-other being or thing.  We would give our lives for them.  Til death do us part, this is really the serious part.  This is the commitment that has kept us together for fifty-one years.  Divorce is not in our vocabulary.

Here, I can only speak for myself, but Claudetta has demonstrated to me, she feels the same.  There is nothing she can do to cause me to divorce her.  I want you to know, (I am sure this will be a surprise to those that know me) I can be hard to live with.  There have been many trying days for the both of us.  Sometimes we would feel like, what's the use.  But our love was commited!  sometimes fast, sometimes  There have been good times and bad times!  We laughed, we cried, we spoke softly and tenderly, we shouted and fought, but we were commited.

We have been blessed with six children (one girl died before her first birthday), fifteen grand children, and six great grandchildren.  It has been a great life, all in all.  It seems as though the years have flown by, (although it probably seems longer to Claudetta). 

Stay commited!  I would recommend it to everyone.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The further we get from the Cross, the further we get from the Cross

In the book of Matthew, Peter followed Jesus at a distance, after the arrest in the garden.  Notice, Peter has not abandoned the Lord.  He was just distancing himself.  Not the courageous Peter that claimed he would stay unto the death.  Peter was not denining Christ, he just wasn't confirming his relationship. 

Understand that Peter had been in the presense of the Lord for three years.  He had seen many of the miricles performed.  He saw Jesus still the waters.  He saw Him have power over the elements, demons, etc.  Peter knew above all others the power of Jesus, but yet here we see him following afar off.  Probably, he was afraid of public opinion, afraid of the ridicule of others.

Reminds me of a story I once heard of a young man that wanted to go to Oregon to be a lumberjack.  His mother tried to discourage him.  She told him that these men were rough and would make fun of him because of him being a christian.  The boy really had his heart on becoming a lumberjack.  He left one day to fulfill his dream.  It was several years later when he returned home to visit his folks, his mother asked how he faired being a christian in such an environment.  He responded, "They never found out.".  That was where Peter was, he didn't deny, just didn't tell.

He distanced himself.

A few verses later, we see him in a crowd around a campfire.  A young lady said that he was one of the followers of Jesus.  He denied saying, "no I'm not".  Again, another said he was, again he denied "NO I AM NOT".  The third time he began to curse saying he was not one of them!  That stopped the accusations.  If you want to convince people you are not a christian, just start cursing and using foul language.  That will do it.

This is a picture of where we are today.  Not only are we two thousand years away from the cross, where we have forgotten the significance of the cross, we are afar off spiritually.  We get further away by several ways.  Three of which are: 

1..  We quit praying.  When we don't have communication with someone we kind of lose connection.
2.   We quit attending church.  We no longer have the support of like minded brothers and sisters.
3.   We begin to act like the non-followers.  Our lives become worldly.
(This is not necessarily the order in which we wander away for the cross)

In short we become like the Israelites in the book of Judges,  We forget who God is and what He has done.  We begin to do that which is right in our own sight instead of what is right in the sight of God.  We have gotten away from the Cross.  The further we get spiritually, and distance, the further we get from the truth of the cross.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony

Let me start with a story.

The pastor of a local church went down town for some supplies one evening.  The only parking spot to be found was in front of the main street bar.  He drove around several times, but this was the only one available at the time.  There he parked his car and walked down the street for his supplies.  While he was in the store, all the other cars left.  This left his car all alone in front of the bar.

One of his ladies of the church drove by and noticed his car in front of the bar.  Of course, she couln't wait to get on the phone and let everyone know where their pastor was spending his evening.  She knew this is where he was because his car was all alone parked in front of the bar.  What other conclusion could there be!

The pastor heard the stories and tried to convince her of the circumstance, to no avail.  One night, late, he drove over to her house, parked his car in front of the house and went home.  He left the car there all night.

The above is a case of circumstanial evidence.  The twelve people on the jury for Casey Andrews undoubtly could not see the guilty verdict without reasonable doubt.  Therefore the voted Not Guilty. 

It is easy for us to sit in judgement of others for the way they see differently than us.  We need to remember that they saw and heard things we did not.  I am sure that in their minds, they saw her guilty, but had to follow the evidence presented and that did not prove without a reasonable doubt, her guilt.

I am not saying she is or she is not guilty!  Just saying the court did its job, now lets move on!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Seperation of Church and State

In the past few years, we have heard the voice of ACLU and others crying, seperation of church and state.  All of this is designed to quell the influence of the Christian community.  It is also designed to keep God out of our schools and public places.  This debate ahs been going on for hundreds of years. 

The proponents of this refer to the words of Thomas Jefferson when he referred to a wall of seperation between the church and the state.  Of course any knowledgeable preson in congress knows that the constitution does not contain this phrase at all.  The atheist and ACLU refer to the first admendment to support their claims. 

We need to know what that admendment says to understand the meaning.  Does it really create a wall between the state and church.  Here, read it as it is written.

                   Admendment I

                  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prhibiting 
                   the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speach, or of the press; or
                   the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for
                   a redress of grievances.

Let us dissect this statement:  Congress shall (1) make no law against or for an establishment of religion ( that is to say a particular church or denomination),  (2) nor shall they prohibit the free exercise thereof (here the admendment give the church the right to voice our opinions concerning what we believe about government or any other thing that will cause effect on our beliefs). 

These two statements (in my opinion) keeps the government from a depriving us the freedom of speech, of press; or the right to assemble publicly, etc., without the intereference of the government.  Thereby the government cannot dictate what we can believe or not believe.  This is a protection for the Christian, atheist or other, as stated as follows:

As president, Jefferson was voicing an idea that was fundamental to his view of religion and government, expressed most significantly in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which he drafted in 1777.
Revised by James Madison and passed by Virginia's legislature in January 1786, the bill stated: "No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened (sic) in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief ..."

Seperation of Church and State?   A qualified Yes

Seperation of God and State?    A definate NO

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Constitution

Is our constitution out of date, some think so.  Read what one of our presidents said, 150 yrs later.

"It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."
- Calvin Coolidge
July 5, 1926

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence Day 2

Took the grandaughter and family to the rodeo in Canadian, Sat. night.  As they sang the National Anthem, a man jumped out out of a helicopter and parachuted into the arena.  As he jumped, he unfurled an American Flag behind him.  A magnificant sight to behold.  Many people oohed and awed at the sight.

I was quite taken as the flags entered the arena and the anthem was played.  I saw many cowboys and cowgirls along with many in the stands, stand at attention with hand and hats over the heart. 

This stirs my heart, but am saddened by the many that did not seem to reverence our anthem or our flag.  I have noticed that many on parade routes and other places our flag is displayed, many do not even stand, unless directed to do so.  Have we forgotten to teach our children respect for our country?

The further we get from our foundation (over two hundred years now) the further we get from the foundation of our country.  The Book of Judges says of God's people, they forgot who God was and what He did for them.  They began to do that which seemed right in their own sight. 

We have forgotten what God has done for our country.  Our forefathers incorporated into many of the documents, the thought that our heritage is in the faith in God.  I learned this morning in a message by Dr. James Kennedy, that he visitors center of the capital in D.C. has basically removed any mention of God in many documents displayed there.

The Bible says that the nation that forgets God will be destroyed.  LET US BE WARNED!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Independence Day

In just a few days we will be celebrating the 4th of July.  I was wondering if our younger generation even know what the fireworks are all about?  It seems to me, at times that the American people have forgotten our heritage.

I am sure if we were to ask, we would get the reply "we celebrate Independence Day".  But the question that arises from this, is independence from what?  A few hundred years ago, our forefathers were under the authority of Great Britain and being taxed without any say.  The cry went out, "Taxation without representation".  Thus the Declaration of Independence.  Hear the the words of John Adams:
         , John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more
He missed the date by two days, but nevertheless we still celebrate this occasion.  We do all the things listed by this man, except for one important statement.  John Adams said, "by solem acts of devotion to God Almighty"!  Especially when our President and officials declare that we are not a Christian nation.

Even though not all American (maybe a majority) are not Christian, we are or ought to be working under Christian principals!  It is these principals that make us independent and free.  These principals are what has Made America the Great Nation that we are.