Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why I am grateful for apostasy

If you listen to old time radio pastors from the 1930s through 1950s and later, each one at some point, has said that this generation of church-going Christians or this era of Christianity is going downhill. Charles Spurgeon famously published an anonymous article actually written by his friend Robert Shindler (with input from Spurgeon himself) addressing a visible downgrade in an 1887 issue of his magazine, Sword and Trowel. That article, and its follow up, famously brought the "Down-grade controversy" to the public's attention.

A hundred and fifty years before Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards wrote about the devil's triumph in squelching a religious revival in New England and a lack of religious affections that had become evident in the people.

We can trace the genealogy of apostasy back to Genesis 6, or to Genesis 3. So is it anything new to say that this generation of church-going Christians, that visible Christianity itself is downgrading itself in a compounding manner, faster and faster as we go? No.

Kay Cude Poetry: Desertion

Kay Cude is a poet whose sensitivity to the glorious salvation of Jesus Christ is uniquely expressed through poetry and picture. Here is her latest offering, in which she explains her thought process. Enjoy

-----------------------------Kay Cude-----------------------------

If you look closely at the tower, you'll see a tiny figure of someone, which refers to the statement, "As gazed I o'er the valley fair, to there below from tower high." 
That little figure caught my eye, as well as the city lighted up and the storm approaching from the left (approaching spiritual death). So I began to write. The city represents the safety of true salvation in Christ and understanding His Gospel. 
The people represent those captured by a "different gospel" suggested as the "real" place of safety. Even though they "know" God's truth -- they are persuaded to run to false teaching and reject Christ. 
Christ's refuge is known to them and still stands in its truth, but when extreme peril approaches, they are convinced by someone's whim (spiritual deception), to flee to eternal death and separation. Even the donkey digs in his heels against the "unknown" way," and the dog barks at their sudden rejection. 
Their end is eternal separation and eternal living death because they quickly deserted Christ's truth for a distorted gospel.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Introducing AutoBibleCorrect, the killer app of tomorrow

THE PIECE YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS SATIRE
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I know most of us are familiar with AutoCorrect. This is an application installed on cellular phones which automatically corrects misspelled words when the user sends a text. The AutoCorrect application takes it upon itself to correct items it believes are wrong, removing the user as thinking mediator.

Well now there is a new app! AutoBibleCorrect! Yes, all one needs to do is overlay the app on their online version of their Bible, whether it is on your phone or on your favorite website like BibleHub or BibleGateway, or on your tablet or even Kindle. AutoBibleCorrect works for all digital versions of the Bible.



Here is how it works. All Apps need updating. Yet, we know that the Bible has not been updated for over 2000 years. Some parts have not been updated for 4000 years! When an app isn't updated regularly, it becomes clunky and hard to use. It becomes difficult to understand. Then the outdated app become obsolete. Don't let this happen to your Digital Bible!

The old Bible has too many thees and thous and verilys. It commands things, it judges, and it's just not loving enough. And God is love, right?  We know that God has evolved over these thousands of years, so why not update His word! That's the genius of AutoBibleCorrect, or ABC.

Humans have advanced so very much since 4000 years ago, and we are no longer ignorant shepherds in the desert looking at the stars for information. Let's face it, we're smarter now. Some of the things in the Bible are just ridiculously uneducated. Donkeys that talk? A God who judges? Come on! Image is everything, and the last thing we Christians want to look like is uneducated. It is important to be hip, cool, and relevant, like the Buddhists. Everybody knows this.



How it works: You open your digital Bible (because no one has a dusty old tome they drag around anymore, do they?). Then click ON for the AutoBibleCorrect (ABC). As you bring up your verses, the App automatically corrects any text that appears on your screen. The texts are automatically updated it to modern language and even modern thought, removing the user as thinking mediator! Here are a few examples:

Luke wrote in the dim and irrelevant past, that Christians were to be faithful to Jesus when they "devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers," as Acts 2:42 reminded us. But that is so boring. We all know now that as Rick Warren said at this week's Purpose Driven Conference that "Unfaithfulness is not taking risks". AutoBibleCorrect is so handy to be able to update old verses saying that faithfulness is prayer, teaching, and fellowship to today's hip and fresh message of what faithfulness is really all about - taking risks.

Beth Moore also shows us the value of AutoBibleCorrect. In the stale and useless past, we would read that the Lord considers His Bride sanctified, holy, clean, splendorous, and without blemish as Ephesians 5:27 says. But when Beth Moore used AutoBibleCorrect, we learn that instead, the Bride is actually paralyzed and dwelling in unbelief! WOW!

Do you see the difference AutoBibleCorrect makes? It's critical for any thinking Christian to have this at their disposal, so they no longer have to be burdened with having to think. Questions such as "What does this mean?" or "How can I apply this to my life today?" become irrelevant as AutoBibleCorrect makes it all just so easy for you. How? ABC shows that it's all about you. We understand us way more than we can understand God, because we know now that He is a being who is past our figuring out, (except that we know he is too loving to be wrathful.*)

Another AutoBibleCorrect user is the prophet of perpetual pearly whites, Joel Osteen. Where we read in Genesis 12:3 that God uses words to bless people and curse people, using ABC we learn that the verse is actually that it is you who can bless your future with your words, or you who can curse it! Great update! I curse those who do not buy AutoBibleCorrect! HA HA just kidding!



Kenneth Copeland was one of our first ABC users. We discover that in the long-ago past of Exodus 3:14 God used to say He is the great I AM. However, when we use ABC, we discover that times have changed! Kenneth Copeland taught us the fresh understanding. In the updated Bible version using ABC, Copeland said, uttering these very words, "When I read in the Bible where he [Jesus] says, 'I Am,' I just smile and say, 'Yes, I Am, too!' How did I miss this?! I was not updating my Bible with ABC, that's how.

Our advanced technology brings out these truths to you. Techs have been working for years, emerging finally with the emerging truth, uncovered through using ABC updates. No more stale Bible, only the freshest word here. ABC is contextual. ABC reimagines the truth of God into a tribal narrative so fresh it practically leaps off the screen and runs down the broad road of happiness to the authentic village!



Here are some fake testimonials for AutoBibleCorrect:

Steven Furtick loves this App. "Are you underestimating what you can do with your opportunity?"

Mark Driscoll swears he uses ABC to “Study the Bible like a soldier on a mission, not a scholar on a sabbatical.”

Paula White after trying ABC for one month: "Remember, when something leaves your life, God is making room for something much better to enter! Get ready!"

Kenneth Copeland says that with ABC we can "Dream big, talk big, and turn your faith loose!"

Joyce Meyer says that without AutoBibleCorrect, "You are going to have to do the right things, sometimes for a long time before you get a right result."

Christy Nockels learned early about our Bible App, during pre-launch she said, "So, I couldn’t be more giddy to announce that this is going to launch in the next several days"

See what you would be missing out on, for not having updated your Bible with AutoBibleCorrect.

The community of believers using ABC urge you to get a fresh word now. Join the journey toward an authentic, subjective faith! It will work for you. Why? AutoBibleCorrect is missional, modern, and marvelous! Update your faith now with AutoBibleCorrect the true killer app.


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Note: False teacher quotes are not testimonials but are actual quotes.
Note: I used the emergent glossary *here
Note: This essay is satire. AutoBibleCorrect does not exist. No verses were harmed in the making of this essay.
Note: Photos courtesy Pixabay and Unsplash, free use.


False teachers dishonor the mighty name of God


"The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity." Leonard Ravenhill.

We are living in a plague now. It is a plague of false teachers. False teachers bring a different Gospel, or meld the true Gospel with a false one, and they try to make the people forget the True and Living God. Jeremiah had complained to God about the false prophets and their message.

"But I said, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” (Jeremiah 14:13)

He was concerned that the falsely positive messages would dampen their fervor and alertness of the people. Any message that a person accepts that is not from God is inherently damaging. Paul referred to this process as gangrene. (2 Timothy 1:7). This is why we must insist on proper interpretation of biblical messages from our pulpits, read books that have proper representations of the Gospel and God, it is why we must study for ourselves so when a TRUE message of peace does come, we can rely on it.

Later, God answered Jeremiah,

"They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship." (Jeremiah 23:27).

Jeremiah was broken by the false prophets' falsehoods and treachery upon the people and against our Holy God. Do we have that same attitude today? Do we simply say, "Meh" when learning this one or that one is a false teacher, and do we say say, "Well, let's be loving and not say anything negative about it" ?

Matthew Henry's explanation of Jeremiah's concern:
Because of the prophets and their sin, the false doctrine they preached, the wicked lives they lived; especially it filled him with horror to hear them making use of God's name and pretending to have their instruction from him. Never was the Lord so abused, and the words of his holiness, as by these men. Note, The dishonour done to God's name, and the profanation of his holy word, are the greatest grief imaginable to a gracious soul.
Do not forget the Lord's name. It is holy and perfect and exalted. It is not a tool to get money. It is not a cover to use for your sin. It is not a tennis ball to be bandied about by false teachers. Do not seek after false messages brought in another's name. DO ignore messages that the false ones bring. Don't listen even a little bit. The false ones dishonor the name of God, Our Mighty Jehovah to misuse His name.

Matthew Henry continues:
"He charges it all upon the prophets and priests, especially the prophets. They are both profane (v. 11); the priests profane the ordinances of God they pretend to administer; the prophets profane the word of God they pretend to deliver;" ... "God threatens to punish these prophets for their wickedness. They promised the people peace; and to show them the folly of that God tells them that they should have no peace themselves. They were very unfit to warrant the people, and pass their word to them that no evil shall come upon them, when all evil is coming upon themselves and they are not aware of it,"
Honor God's name by studying His word. Speak highly of Him and lift up fellow Christians, encouraging each other. Reject even the smallest amount of leaven, for it is dishonoring to His mighty name. Most importantly, do not let false messages creep in, for their design is to make you forget the name of God. Instead, say, "I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise." (Heb 2:12).



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Language of Death: Obituaries

Death, the final frontier. These are the lives of the starbaby Humans. Their 7000-year mission: to explore strange new hearts, to seek out new life and new religion, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
OK, a thousand pardons for re-writing that famous opening line from the original Star Trek television series.

Death IS the final frontier. All humans are eternal, death is just a passing over of the line between this life and the next. However, the life in the next is permanently and eternally fixed. One will either pass over the boundary into the final frontier into hell, or into heaven.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)




For the Christian, the anticipation of the next life is real and exciting. We believers are not so thrilled about the process of death, whether we drown or are in a car wreck or a tornado takes us or any of the other imaginative means under which our body expires and we're launched into glory. But the anticipation of being forever with Jesus, in His New Jerusalem, in glory...ahhh, it is a balm for the troubled soul dwelling in this strange land.

For the non-believer, death is terrifying. They do not know what the next life holds for them. They all do suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (Romans 1:18) and thus deny themselves certain knowledge about what lies beyond the veil.

I like reading historical papers from my area. It's fun to read an old newspaper from late 1800s to early 1900s about the town I live in. It gives me perspective and a peek into a way of life that is gone by. One thing that has passed into history is the flowery, poetic obituary. The History of the Obit is presented in short, bullet point form, and it's pretty interesting.

The difference in a Christians' obituary language and a non-Christian's obituary language is stark. Here are a few examples of Christian obits.

1911
At the home of Dr. B.W. Hall at 7 a.m. September 7, 1911, the spirit of Mrs. Teresa Ann Hall passed peacefully to that undiscovered land from which no traveler ever returns.

1895
Mr. Grimes Dead
News has just reached us that Mr. Gabriel Grimes, of Jackson county, formerly an honored citizen of Madison, has passed over the dark river into the great beyond. It is customary, whether deserving or not, to say, of this good man would be enough that he lived the life of an honest, Christian citizen, is known by all who knew him. A devoted father and husband, a man who believed in the religion of the blessed Savior, his death will be regretted by all who knew him.

1920
Sad indeed were the hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Hardman Thursday July 1, when they realized that little Aubrey, their only child, had left them in the world of trials and care to be at rest with the angels above.

1922
DEATH OF MRS. J.B. HENDRIKS
When God in his infinite wisdom called from this world to that celestial City above. Mrs. J.B. Hendriks of Danielsville a beautiful and useful life was ended. Yet we know that God knoweth and doeth all things for the best therefore we say his will and not ours be done.

1922
IN MEMORIAM OF M.A. JOHNSON
On Sunday morning March 12, his spirit took its flight to God, who gave it. A good man has gone. He was never heard to speak ill of any one, which was a good trait that we all would do well to follow.

1899
Felicia, daughter of Mr. James and Mrs. M. H. Jaenkins, died of fever Nov. 4th 1989, aged about 30 years. Felicia was a pure, noble Christian, and has passed over the cold stream and joined the might host, the redeemed of the Lord.

1923
Mary Boggs
Mary was a sweet bright baby, so affectionate that every one loved her. In the death of her another cradle has been emptied, another little angel has been added to God's great white throne. She was the joy and the light of the home which she was permitted to cheer for only a short period.

1893
DEATH MAKES ANOTHER CLAIM
Mrs Ruth Berryman
Her remains were interred near her home in Madison county, beside five of her little sleeping children, and her husband's mother, who only a
short while preceded her, there to remain a little while we think, until the "trump of God shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise first."

The language is beautiful and reflects an assurance from those who lived under the commands of Jesus in redeemed, holy lives of the place to which the departed would be soon met. The Savior is mentioned. There is acknowledgement of who gave us our spirit. There is understanding of where the saved dead go upon death. They reference the throne, and show the contrasts of life on this earth with the peace that is coming in the next.

Death, the final frontier
The Bible makes reference to death as sleep over 50 times, which the final obituary in my list above makes note of. When a Christian passes from enemy to friend of God, death is no longer the person's enemy, either. In Jesus' resurrection, death was conquered by death. We know this. This is the hope we have, that our sins are forgiven and we are now in right standing before a holy God, and He will bring us to His home in heaven when we die for an eternal life of peace and joy. We are no longer separated from Him in this life due to our sin, nor will we be separated from Him in the next, where His wrath is unleashed in hell upon those die still in their sin.

The unsaved wonder. They seek knowledge of "the other side". They try seances, gobble up books about near death experiences, elevate any person they think has the answer. They ask burning questions about whether life goes on, or if we return to dust as we came from dust. When death approaches them they are forced to contemplate their own mortality, and it is uncomfortable.

The obituaries of the old timers were saturated with sadness, of course. We all miss someone who dies. Even Jesus wept for Lazarus though He knew He was going to resurrect him momentarily. Death causes tears. But death does not bring fears, not for us. Death comes to everyone, and when it strikes the saved family, it causes us to re-evaluate our lives. It does the same for the unsaved.  But you can see the difference in the attitude toward death in the old time obituaries. Death for the saved is a passage, and a hope. Death for the unsaved is not. This verse is so perplexing to them!

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

Our life is as nothing to us? How can that be? It is because of the surpassing treasure of infinite and eternal value. The exchange has been made: Jesus is our life now.

In one sense, we are all dying. My body is dying and it will die and it will disintegrate in the ground,or wherever these old bones happen to fall. We are called to preach life to the dying, both saved and unsaved. For us it is a glory to hear and re-hear the work of Christ and His cross. For the truly dying in flesh and in spirit, they agonize over their mortality. However, preaching life also brings life. For those who are going to be in the Lamb's Book of Life, we know not when our preaching to a sure election and calling will ignite the dead heart and hope will enter in.

As Ian Rush said in his The Master's Seminary article, London is Burning
All men are spiritually dead apart from this gospel, they stand teetering on the precipice of eternal fire and torment with no hope of rescue but Christ, and we are commanded to preach to them this rescue. Natural disasters and national tragedies (like the Great Fire of London) serve as powerful reminders of the brevity of life and the impending reality of eternity.
The memory of such events ought to motivate us, as believers, to live with eternity in our hearts and on our tongues (Rom. 10:13–15, 2 Tim. 4:1–5).




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Obituaries courtesy of the following site with its notice. Also fair use & public domain since pre-1923.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

It was an ordinary day, and the woman was thirsty

The woman was a harlot. There was a moral code and the woman fell far below it. So far below that she couldn't even see the underside of it anymore. Jumping from husband to husband, bed to bed, with or without benefit of divorce, man after man. She was a slut. Her sins were monumental, public, known to all, and she was regarded with disgust and hatred. She knew it. She didn't care. She did care.

She was loathed, and also lonely, marginalized, and excluded. The other women in town didn't talk to her, so that her taint wouldn't infect them. There were cliques, all right, and she was definitely not part of any of them. She wasn't invited to baby showers or to weddings or to sewing circles. She wasn't even welcome at the well, at dusk when the other women went to draw in the cool of the day. The looks...the turned backs... the whispers. Once, even that fight when they said those nasty things. She never went back.

She'd rather walk the extra half mile to the further well, at noon, in the heat, than face those women again. Sometimes she hated them for their calling out of her sin, other times she just felt ashamed. My life will always be like this, she thought. Her reputation preceded her. She was known as a harlot and she always would be. Harlot, whore,  prostitute, she'd heard them all. She was trapped in her town, in bondage to her sin, encased in her reputation, living out her days with a man she could barely tolerate, in an ever tightening circle of despair and self-loathing, no hope.

Shifting her water jug to the other shoulder, she shrugged. To hell with them, she thought. I don't care about them. At least I've got my man. He's no prize, either, but he's all I've got. What else is there? I can't go to synagogue, I've got no friends, except a few of the other loose women like me. She laughed bitterly.

The well was coming into view. Good, the woman was dusty and hot. It was so hot at noon, but she would rather walk the extra during the height of the day than to see those self-righteous harpies again. Sweat was trickling down her back, mixing with the dust on her neck where she held the jug. Dirt, dirt, dirt...she felt dirty both inside and out.

There was a man sitting there, against the well. He looked hot and dusty too. And tired. He didn't look familiar. Ah, he was was dressed as a Jew, that's why. Strange, Jewish men never walked into Samaria. He was all alone, no servants or anything. As the woman approached the well, the man spoke to her.

"Give me a drink"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Just like that, on a day like all the others, a dull, dreary, regular day, Jesus broke into the woman's life. SALVATION came to a women who had not expected it. Jesus burst in from beyond the veil to pierce the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Going toward the well, she was encased in sin. Sin defined her. Her reputation dripped with depravity and seeped in the very shadows on the stark and dusty road ahead of her. Though the day at noon was bright, her path was dark and hopeless. All she could see for her entire rest of her life were those shadows preceding her feet, one plodding shadow after another, dirt and dust and darkness.

Waterpots. The International
Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Her joy and surprise caused her to leave her waterpot behind. This is a valuable possession. If you don't have a pot to draw water with, you don't have water in your house. Water of course is a necessity, for cooking washing, drinking. Yet the shamed woman approaching the well was no more, she left the well full of living water coursing through her veins, cleansing every spot and wrinkle. Each step back toward the village was a step away from her dark and haunted past and toward a clean and bright renewal. She'd left the pot behind. She left her shame behind, too.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus does that today. He doesn't appear in body to us but He pierces an ordinary day with suddenness, speaking words of life. Salvation could come like that to any person you have been praying for, at any time. Jesus had an appointment with her. He had to go through Samaria. (John 4:4). The woman's sin was not too much for Jesus. After all, His purpose was to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10). He had a divine appointment with her since before the foundation of the world, because Jesus loves sinners. He loves to redeem. He loves to make a new creation for His glory and worship.

Any ordinary day could be like it was for the Woman at the Well (John 4:1-43). Your mother or husband or boss or friend could walk away from your conversation or head out the driveway or go into the living room and suddenly return a new creation. The walls of their heart holding in sin like the walls of Jericho, tumble down in an instant. Jesus has that power. When He creates a new creation in us sin is flushed away and His righteousness comes. It did for the woman at the well, it has for millions of people ever since.

Pray for the ordinary day to become extraordinary. Pray for the natural woman to become supernatural. Pray for the walls of her or his heart to tumble down and the conscience breached with righteousness. Pray for a gush of His living water to flood your loved one.

"Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did." (John 4:29a)
[And He loves me anyway]

"Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:29b)
[It certainly is.]

The ordinary day was suddenly saturated with joy. Because Jesus came.




Sunday, June 26, 2016

Truth is the inseparable ally of love



Have you noticed that satan has co-opted another word from our Biblical culture and twisted it to suit his own ends. We lost gay, rainbow, hate, tolerance, judge, and now love.
  • Orlando vigils: 'We will conquer that hate with love'
  • US Attorney General Loretta Lynch calls for 'love' in aftermath of Orlando massacre
  • Social media shows outpouring of love for Orlando massacre victims
  • Thousands Attend Orlando Vigil To Prove That Love Wins
  • After Orlando: Love Wins, But When?
The last one on the list is a 'Religion Dispatch' from Huffington Post, whereupon the author asks aloud how God could let such evil happen, and calls those who had been killed inside the homosexual nightclub martyrs of freedom. The inference is that they died for the cause of freedom, but it's only the world's definition of freedom... he meant freedom to live in sexual sin, which is abominable before the Lord.