June 30, 2012

Well, I was going to write about being double minded, but I am having trouble keeping other thoughts out of my mind. It is not a new problem as I am very undisciplined and rather like being that way.

I have been called for jury duty and it brings mixed thoughts to my mind. Perhaps that is why I have been thinking about being double minded.

Most everyone hates to be called to jury duty. Where I live it is a two week ordeal and it could be much longer if one has to serve on a high profile case.

Personally I do not want to give two weeks of my life to trying to determine if someone is guilty of a crime. That is a selfish and self-centered attitude and I am quite aware of it, but it is also true of me, and to try to hide it would be somewhat less than honest. So to be fair I have included my weakness.

I also considered just not showing up. I could get away with it as no shows (in my area) are not punished in any way, but 1 Peter 2:13&14 (NIV) says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” And it is the authorities that requested that I serve.

I also hear (in my mind) “whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much” and I think ‘If I cannot be trusted to do God’s will in such a small thing, should God trust me with big things’?

Everyone, including me, is guilty of some crime. Maybe not the crime that the legal system has chosen to haul the accused before a court of law, but still guilty of crime and it might be a greater crime than the one specified by the court against the accused, so at first thought it seems as though it should not bother me if I think someone guilty of a sin and declare so as a juror.

Well, it does bother me. That is what Satan does. He stands before God and declares me guilty of sins: and I am guilty. If it is wrong, and it is, to stand before God and reveal the sins of someone else, then is it right for me to stand before men and declare that someone else is guilty of a sin?

I am quite sure that you are having the same thoughts as I am and that is if everyone thought the same as I, then all of the guilty would go free, and if all of the guilty were freed then no one would be safe.

Think about it: everyone, that is free, is guilty of sin, and no one really is safe in this world.

Then there is the second thing that bothers me. As a juror I am supposed to find the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Because I was not there at the time the crime was committed there is always some doubt as to whether or not the person is guilty. How far does one go before they can declare doubt reasonable or not reasonable?

I spent much of my life repairing something that has failed in some way. Many times I have been sure, in my mind that a certain part or adjustment would repair the unit and solve the problem, but it did not.

I have been blessed in that if I was wrong, no one died, and no one’s life was ruined by my mistake. I got a second chance to repair the item and along with it I learned a bit more about my profession. By the way, just encase you are wondering, I did not charge anyone for my mistakes: I counted them as money spent for education. Just saying.

I don’t think that I can serve on a jury and obey the second royal law, which is do to others as I would want them to do to me.

Even if I were guilty of the sin that I was accused of, I would not want to receive the punishment that I deserved. How could I sentence someone else to receive their just punishment, when I would not want the same to happen to me, and still obey the second royal law?

I am supposed to be as much like Jesus as I can be. Jesus does not stand before our Father and declare anyone guilty of sin; even though all four, Father, Son, Holy Spirit and the accused know the truth of the matter. Knowing this, could I?

I have determined to report for service, but I am quite sure when I state that I cannot vote someone guilty, even if I think they are, I will not serve.

I doubt if you can change my mind as this is not a snap decision, but you are welcome to try.


June 22, 2012

I attend a small Bible study at a small church. One of us reads a few verses and then we talk about them.

Not to long ago, it was the leaders turn to read and the verses that he was to read were the first verses of First Peter Chapter three. His wife was also one of the participants and it was obvious that he took great delight when he read the first verse. It was not malicious and his wife took it well, but the glee of reading the verse was great.

He read, “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands” and with a smile on his face said, “We could stop right there, couldn’t we”.

I thought, and of course I said, “Why yes, and we men usually do stop right there”.

I had to bust out laughing. That part of the verse did not apply to him and therefore it did not apply to his wife, or one could say that part of the verse did not apply to his wife and therefore it did not apply to him!

The man was a believer and the verse is written to the wife of an unbeliever. I still smile when I think about it.

Now, that is not to say that a wife should not be submissive to her husband. The verse is a continuation of the advice that we should all be submissive to everyone and endure pain and suffering, because we are conscious of God. The verse says, “In the same way” and it is a continuation of verse chapter two eighteen. (1 Pet 2:18 NIV) Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

Because we men stop in the middle of the verse the way we usually interpret it bothered me greatly. It did not fit the Second Royal command which is; do to others as you would have them do to you.

I do not want someone, other than God, telling me what to do and so applying the Second Royal Law, to myself, I do not want to tell anyone else what to do. So the verse did not seem correct. However, as usual, it was I that was not correct and when I realized that it was to a wife married to an unbeliever, everything fell into place and I understood.

If I were the husband that the verse was written for, I would want my wife to do everything that she could to bring me to my senses, so that I might turn to God, repent and be baptized into Christ. So, looking at all of the verse, it does indeed fit the Second Royal Law, for if it were the wife that was unsaved, she would want the same.

First Peter 3:1-6 is written to women and as a man I am kind of eavesdropping on God and women. I must because, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16&17 NIV) However, one should be careful with the information that is gained by eavesdropping.

Having said all of that, I asked myself, “Doesn’t God give all the same advice?”

My answer is “Yes, God asks the same from every one.” Whether slave, wife, or husband the requirement is the same. He starts by saying everyone should submit to all authority and then He singles out slaves, then wives, then husbands and He says “in the same way” to everyone.

Now, if you are a husband and believe God appointed you as the master of your wife, you may well be correct. However, consider what Jesus did while here on this earth. Though God had appointed him king, he was and is the ultimate authority and yet he submitted himself to all earthly authority: authorities that were weaker than him!

Men, lighten up, a perfect master (Jesus) doesn’t demand obedience. He earns it. Go, and do the same. Do not demand your wife obey you. That must come voluntarily from her and if it does not, you are violating the second royal law.


June 4, 2012

First, I feel the need for a disclaimer. I do not want to attack all of the preachers and teachers in this world. However, I feel this must be said, because Scripture says, in Matthew 23:10 (NIV), “Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.”

This verse, as all verses in Scripture, should be obeyed, but it is not. We try to justify why it is right to call others, and sometimes ourselves, teachers, but if Scripture says not to, then should we try to find a way around what it plainly says? Or should we try to understand why God said it?

I will not beat around the bush and make anyone wait for the answer. When we claim, or permit any one to call us a teacher, we take some of God’s glory.

If you want to test anything in order to determine if it is right or wrong, then apply the two Royal laws to it and what God desires will become clear.

The second Royal Law is ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’ and if we put ourselves in God’s place, in order to view our actions as He does, it is possible to understand why we should not view ourselves as teachers.

Our Father has accomplished everything “good” that has been done, from creating the universe and everything in it (That includes us), to devising and working the plan that is the only way that we might be saved. If and when we come to our senses and ask Jesus to save us, God sends the Holy Spirit to teach us. Everyone that is baptized receives the Holy Spirit.

(1 Cor 2:16 NIV) “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:12 NIV) We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

Now, consider how you think God feels when a mere man claims to be a teacher! One might claim to be a “practice teacher”, such as found in some universities, but to claim, or let others claim that you are a teacher takes the honor and praise from God and places it on the one that claims to teach.

In defense of those who want to do the will of God, it seems to me that preachers have become victims of the system.

I know that there are many that grit their teeth and read my posts, that permit others to call them teacher, and that are trying to do what God wants and believe that they are doing it. It would help if they spent a little more time studying Scripture; which would lead to a little less teaching it.

This error (calling someone a teacher) may seem small to the one who teaches, but it is an error that has greatly contributed to a “lukewarm church”.

Because our (man’s) desire to help God in His work, we have created a whole system where money must be served: despite the fact that Scripture says that we cannot serve, both God and money.

Everyone in the church of this day thinks that we should hire someone to preach the word. When someone is hired, they must work for money and Scripture states that “You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Luke 16:13)

Of course we know that a teacher must have a diploma that states one is qualified to do so and that leads to universities that must serve money in order to serve God.

Then the church must have a place to meet, a building, and the bigger the better, which demands money to build, and more to maintain and we are trapped into serving both money and God!

The standard answer from those who are in charge is “God will provide” and if that is your answer then I would ask you if you know that the Tithe was not given to the Levites every year? And if you know this, then why do you not teach it? And if you do not know this, why do you not? By not teaching about the Tithe, are you attempting to serve both God and money?

If you are a teacher and think that the church is right then consider Acts 8: 18-24.

(Acts 8:18 NIV) When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

You can neither buy, nor sell the ability to lay hands on any one that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Simon’s desire was right, but the fact that he believed money could buy the ability ruined his chances of accomplishing his longing.

I am no Apostle and I haven’t been asked, but I am praying for the church anyway.

If you think that I am speaking on my own then consider what God thinks of those who teach for a price. (Micah 3:11&12 NIV) Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.” Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.

Also consider those that came before us and that understood God’s Word (2Co 2:17 NIV) Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.