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His Master's Voice
|Copyright © 2008 - All rights retained by author|
|Written by: C. W. Booth|
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
A unique thing has happened this evening. Another peaceful transfer of power has occurred. God has overseen the passing of one administration to another in the United States of America without the need for revolution, military force, or bloodshed. All Americans ought to be grateful to God for this incredible blessing.
To be certain, I am disappointed with the choice we have made as a nation. But then, I voted for Mike Huckabee in the primaries, so my favorite candidate never made it this far. Other things also disappointed me. For one, the fact that the junior senator from Illinois, clearly the least experienced candidate, spent more money on negative television advertising than any political candidate has ever done in history. Another was the lopsided reporting of the three major networks. Of course there is the reality that arguably the most ethically and politically liberal pair of individuals ever to sit in Washington have taken the reigns of power over our country. And there is the incomprehensible notion that somehow the people of this country have ignored that for the past two years the law-making body of our land has been controlled by the Democrats and it is they who have have led us into this economic mess, and yet they have been rewarded with even greater influence and power over the economy--truly incomprehensible--for that is not change.
I am frankly grateful to President Bush. When Clinton’s misdeeds in foreign relations enabled and incited terrorists to strike at New York City, Bush’s actions, though unpopular globally, prevented any further such terrorist actions, and gave us eight years of relative safety. He championed righteousness domestically and abroad. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he was undeserving of being so mercilessly and disrespectfully lampooned in the mass media as some kind of brainless bumbler. History will likely prove him out to have been a genuinely fine leader, though rejected in his own day.
All that said, in truth, God is on the throne. He reigns. He controls the heart and mind of kings and presidents. My trust is not in government or elected officials. If terrorists attack, God has permitted it. If the economy fails, God has allowed it. He gives us governments for our corporeal protection, yes, but more to the point, He gives governments to further His Kingdom’s work. Unwitting and unwilling though they may be, they are appointed by Him to do His work. And so it is with Obama, Biden, and the new Democrat dominated Congress (House and Senate). My faith is not in them, but in God. Whatever God has planned for America in the next four to eight years, He is going to use, at least in part, Obama and the Democrats to bring about.
What does God want from Christians in this country? To preach the gospel. To reach out in love to the unloved. To reassure the fearful that God is in control. To strengthen those who are doubting Him. To teach His precepts to a nation that is increasingly forgetting what those are. He does not want us to worry about controlling the future path of the world, that is His domain alone. We have our work, He has His. I trust He will do a wonderful and perfect job, and I pray that I may be His faithful servant.
Praise the Lord that we live in such a land that values freedom and can regularly transfer leadership peacefully. Let us pray for our present leaders, our newly elected leaders, and for the furtherance of the Kingdom of Christ, that God’s will be done faithfully in this country and throughout the world.
Post Script: This morning, several of the major news networks referred to the president-elect as "a return to Kennedy's Camelot." Once again, I wonder what such media people remember of history? Do they remember that Kennedy, being woefully inexperienced in foreign diplomacy, trained a small army, initiated an invasion of Cuba with that army, and quietly withdrew the promised US air support of that invasion causing it to fail, all of which brought us to the brink of a nuclear war? As just one voice, I do not want a return to that Camelot.
It is a truth, we need to pray earnestly and seriously for our national leaders and keep busy with the work of the Kingdom.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
An Insincere Post
Following is an excerpt from an article entitled: "I Am Sorry You Were Offended" and Other Insincere Apologies.
Sadly, the ways in which a sinner can avoid offering a sincere apology are seemingly endless. They can hide behind ambiguity, "Oh, I did not mean you, Susie, when I said those things, I was referring to a generic Susie. I am sorry you took it personally." Or, "Oh, I am sorry you misunderstood, I meant you were a snake in a good way." Such apologies are insincere for they are verbal trickery designed to shed the sinner of his deserved blame but not to express heartfelt sorrow.
Read the entire article here:
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Psalm 127:1-2 -- God Provides for His Faithful, Even as They Sleep -- What Does That Mean???
Psalm 127:1-2 reads:
A Song of Ascents, of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. (Psalms 127:1-2)
This song / psalm is likely written by David to his son, Solomon. David began in earnest the building of military security forces in Israel, but Solomon was charged with protecting it with gates and fortifications as well as with building the first temple to God.
David, the author of the psalm, was instructing his son to keep in mind that building cities and fortifications to guard them is useless if the city is not in service to God. Just as the corrupt twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah could not have posted enough watchtower guards to prevent their destruction by God, neither could Jerusalem if its king and people turn away from God. Serving God in faith is more necessary and better security than armed guards.
Similarly, verse two warns Solomon that he can work from daybreak to nightfall trying to make himself rich and famous, but if he forgets to work for God first, then it only amounts to a painful labor. Solomon, who did decide to work for riches, fame, and pleasure ended up admitting this very thing, "I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14), even calling this labor grievous and painful. Ultimately, he concluded that, "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
At the end of verse two in Psalm 127:1-2 David advises Solomon that God grants food to those who work for and serve Him, even as they sleep. This is an obvious reference to the Jews receiving manna, food from heaven, as they slept each night in the wilderness. When they awoke, they found the manna waiting, and they had enough to eat for that day, even though they did not work for that food. Working day and night only to feed yourself and please yourself amounts to an empty and painful life, but those who work and labor for God will be fed by Him, even as they sleep at night.
Yet He commanded the clouds above And opened the doors of heaven; He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them food from heaven. Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance. (Psalms 78:23-25)
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." (John 6:47-51)
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:24-34)
Friday, November 28, 2008
Of Souls, Spirits, Death Sleep, and Cloning
Recently a Jehovah’s Witness left a comment on my blog. This jogged my memory. I diligently studied the doctrines of the non-Christian religious sect of the Jehovah’s Witnesses for more than a year. Among the quirky doctrines they have invented is one called "death sleep." They believe that no human has an immortal / immaterial spirit. In their system of beliefs a living flesh and blood body houses the life of the person, its soul. Once the body dies, so does the soul, and nothing lives on. Death is non-existence for the soul and results in nothing but rotting for what is left of the body.
They teach that all persons will one day be "resurrected" (except orthodox Christians who have rejected the religion of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as murders, Adam, and Eve), to work and to be tested for one thousand years before those who are deemed as unworthy are again put to death sleep. To them, the resurrection of the dead is not the one that Jesus and Paul preached, where a remade, sanctified, and perfected body is rejoined with the immortal spirit (who has been living in Christ’s massive altar while waiting for the resurrection). Rather, they teach that everyone dies and ceases to exist. One day, God will rebuild the bodies of the dead and make them live again. The body will again become a living reconstructed soul, though it is never rejoined with an immortal spirit because there is no such thing as an enduring immaterial spirit of man.
This sounds half right at first hearing. But one ex-Jehovah’s Witness left the religion once he realized some of the implications of this doctrine. Scientists have practically perfected animal cloning. Sheep, cows, dogs, and cats can be cloned, and in virtually unlimited numbers. There could be 20 identical sheep, all with the same exact genetics. Yet, they are also all individuals, with their own lives and their own personalities. This ex-Jehovah’s Witness realized that the doctrine of the resurrection from death sleep is nothing but cloning. The "resurrected" body might be given his old memories, but it will not BE him, it will be a clone of him. His living essence, his soul, he himself, died that day along with his body. And just as his heart could be put into another living person, that body part is not him, and another soul, another person, will continue to use his body but he will not be there.
Such is not the case with Christianity. There are numerous passages of Scripture that describe people as consisting of body (the flesh and blood), soul (our character-personality), and spirit (our unique moral center that worships God). Non-human animals have body and soul, but not spirit. At death, our soul-spirit leaves our bodies to be at home with Christ until the day of resurrection at the end of all time. At the resurrection, our bodies are not merely restored, but they are transformed into holy, immortal, bloodless, and clean vessels such as they never were while we lived on Earth, and they are reunited with our soul-spirits which never did die or cease to exist. We will not be mere clones of the person who once was, but the same person with a cleaned and immortal "body."
What a clever and cruel doctrine is the Jehovah’s Witness death sleep. However, praise God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) that He does not abandon us to death, death sleep, or non-existence! May we rejoice in being His children now, in death, and in eternity!
To read more on the nature of the body, soul, and spirit, I invite you to read this article:
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