A dark day in America. But perhaps 4 judges voted their conscience and the others voted the constitution. The constitution is not flawless and should have been subject to the Bible since the beginning, whenever moral issues come into play. When constitutionalists stand by the constitution they are doing their job. Contrary to what so many believers and unbelievers think, America and her ways has flaws, as does the constitution. The USA is if full of sinners and is largely run by sinners. What do we expect? When the righteous rule, the people rejoice, but sin is a reproach to any people, including The USA.. I am not an expert on the constitution and may not understand it well. But after nearly 50 years of studying the Holy Bible I can say this…we reap what we sow. God is an incredibly patient God, but His patience wears out too. I am sorry to offend my friends, but sin is sin no matter what we call it. And sin is the problem…it is and always has been daily sending people to hell. There is nothing good or permissible about sin. It is why the Father had to give up His Son for a time…To provide a way of forgiveness and for a way to overcome sin.
Monthly Archives: June 2015
To “Repent” means to have a change of mind resulting in a change of behavior.The word “Repent” brings with it all kinds of emotions, mostly negative. Even many believers dislike the word, preferring to maintain a “positive” perspective on life and faith. But our modern obsession with the positive isn’t particularly Biblical. It is scriptural to be negative about the negative, things like sin. John the Baptist, Jesus and the apostles are all examples to us and all regularly used the word “Repent”. If we are honest with the scriptures we have to admit it is impossible to be saved without repentance.
John the Baptist said:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matthew 3:2).
Jesus first words of His first message were exactly the same:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matthew 4:17).
In Peter’s sermon at Pentecost he spoke these words:
Repent, and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Words like “Accept Christ” and “Pray the sinners Prayer” and “Receive Christ” may have their place, and can be a great thing, but too often are a magic phrase that excuses the sinner from repenting now and living a lifestyle of repentance later. They have their place, but have far less Biblical backing than the word repent.
Notice in Acts 2:38 baptism came after repenting, and, in the Bible, it always did. A conscious conversion precedes baptism. Baptism means something when combined with conversion. It is a beautiful picture of dying to the old man, burying the old, sinful man, and rising to a new life, all that happens when one believes and repents and is baptized. To those who came to John who thought baptism alone would benefit them he replied: “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.” A life of repentance must follow conversion and baptism for conversion to be legit. I think the Father is weary of millions being baptized as babies and living lives for themselves with little fruit keeping with repentance. I also believe God is weary of the protestant version of infant baptism, the sinner’s prayer that supposedly saves whether the praying sinner repents or not. John said, “The ax is at the root of the tree and every tree that doesn’t bear fruit will be cast into the fire.” It seems pretty clear.
We often get caught up in our various pet denominational beliefs but need to become students of Scripture and embrace the words of God, sometimes, at the cost of displeasing our fellow believers, or upsetting our long held false beliefs. Through my years of Bible study I have had to change a few beliefs and have never looked back or regretted it, because I have the clear Word’s of God backing my beliefs. I encourage my readers to do the same.
Having purchased building materials on the cheap, Dan began to build the small three bedroom home he had in his mind. He would have to build the doors, the cabinets, do all the plumbing and electrical and, well, do everything. Work began in December of 1988. The weather cooperated most of the time but there were several rainy days to hold up progress. The new home was somewhat livable by the beginning of February. This was good and necessary because a third family was coming to live on the farm and occupy Dan’s dumpy trailer. On February 5, 1989 Dan and family moved into the new home and the temperature dropped to zero degrees. The insulating wasn’t finished yet so the family was very cold and it was a constant battle to keep the temperature inside above 50 degrees. Eventually the insulating was completed and several other things not finished and the house became more comfortable. As is common, when a family moves in the progress comes to a screeching halt.
Like the mobile home, the new house did not yet have running water so it was supplied with buckets of water from the cistern. The electricity came from a long line from the old home that came with the property and was slightly buried here and there. Cooking was done on an old wood cook stove the old fashioned way. An additional cook stove was purchased for the porch and was used for summer cooking so the house didn’t heat up during the hot time of the year. This all sounds like a lot of work, and it was. But just like anything, it becomes normal and routine and, sometimes, kind of fun. When one gets the hang of the wood cook stove, anything can be cooked in it just like a regular stove. All the regular meals became no biggie and even things like Thanksgiving turkeys were cooked in the oven and turned out great. Showers were done with an elevated five gallon bucket, with preheated water, and a spigot out of the bottom of the bucket. Open the spigot to get wet. Turn it off to soap up. Open it again to wash off. Viola, a shower in five gallons or less.
The nice thing about Kentucky Spring is that it came a lot sooner than Minnesota Spring. That meant the garden began sooner and was harvested sooner. Dan planted his first Kentucky garden and it was a big one. Dan wanted it to be organic so didn’t fertilize it at all. And it looked like it. When a field has had tobacco in it for decades with all the fertilizer and herbicides that come with tobacco growing, the soil just isn’t that fertile. It was decided that fertilizer of one form or another would have to be added to the mix or quit the garden. Dan liked gardening so quitting wasn’t an option. The solution? Dan would buy some animals and collect fertilizer from them! Thus began Dan’s goat farm.
The first two goats were muts but they were goats nonetheless, and lots of fun. Baby goats were even more fun. The bucks (billy goats) were as naughty as their reputation and were forever causing trouble. Dan decided that goats are little Houdinis that spent the day trying to figure out how to escape whatever fencing the owner had used to incarcerate them. And it didn’t really matter what kind of fence it was…the goats eventually defeated it. One day Dan’s wife was in the house and the neighbor’s billy goat escaped and paid her a visit. He was on the porch trying to force his way into the house. Eventually the neighbor came over and took the goat home but it was pretty scary for Dan’s wife and pretty funny for Dan when he heard about it!
Over time the herd grew in quantity and quality and Dan daily milked the goats. Dan never did develop a taste for the milk so eventually quit milking and just had the goats for pets—and fertilizer. The baby goats were his favorites. When the mama was in the milking season, the babies were fed with bottles. They would be brought to the house to drink heated milk several times a day. Their little hoofs would make the cutest noise on the wood floors. They would drink the milk nearly violently and then have to be hurried out of the house because they immediately peed as soon as the bottle was done. Soon other animals were added to the farm, but that is a story for another time.
In Genesis chapter three the serpent, or the devil, twists God’s words for the first of zillions of times. Often the devil includes some truth in his words to make it acceptable or believable, but also includes enough error to cause lots of trouble. Millions of Bible ignorant Christians fall for his lies because they are not students of the Words of God. Millions of Believers fall for every new wind of doctrine that blows through the church because of the same reason. When the devil talked to Eve he included both truth and error. As a result, Eve saw some good in the evil, something that benefited her. Justifying evil, seeing the good side of evil, something in it that benefits us is a common but grave mistake. The lie from hell that evil isn’t all bad is indeed a lie, and indeed from hell.. We don’t have to look too far to see or hear someone telling us why evil isn’t really that bad or perhaps not bad at all. The prophet Isaiah said, “Woe to those who call good evil and evil good.” Yet evil and good have never before been so twisted than these latter days.
After Adam and Eve sinned they heard the Lord calling for them and they hid from Him. Imagine, trying to hide from God! It seems silly and in vain but it happens all the time, in one way or another. When you talk about your faith to unbelievers, you run into a type of hiding often. It is in the form of putting the God issue off for another time. It is the equivalent of plugging one’s ears and shouting “lalalala”, and thinking for this reason the issue will go away. Of course this is silly. Not dealing with God does not make Him or the issue of our sins and the need for forgiveness go away. Day after day, month after month, year after year and decade after decade goes by and millions who even believe there is indeed a God in heaven, and that He will eventually judge them, pass time without considering the plight of their souls. They try to hide from God.
Do any of us really think we will somehow not have to face God because of:
- Not believing in Him
- Not thinking about Him
- Hiding from Him
- Redefining evil and good
Sooner or later we all will have to answer the question Pilate asked the Jews all those years ago:
“What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
On the first morning in Kentucky there was frost on the roof which served as a notice to the Erickson family that they better get moving on some housing…with heat! Immediately an old mobile home was purchased which itself needed lots of work. It would be temporary housing while Dan built some kind of more permanent house. Soon a check would come, $4500, which would have to make a great dent in the purchasing of materials for a new home.
The other family that moved to Kentucky with Dan’s family worked hard and got the old farm house in reasonable shape to live in, minus the bathroom and running water. They became very acquainted with the outhouse and drawing water out of the cistern with a bucket…in 1988. Dan spent some time getting the mobile home in livable order, barely. He was also concerned about cutting and splitting enough wood for the winter heating season. There were plenty of things to do and the days were getting shorter to do the work in. Dan’s family heated with a wood stove and cooked on a Coleman camping stove. The mobile also didn’t have running water but did have a bathroom. The toilet was flushed by dumping a bucket of water down it. Not real convenient, buy miles ahead of an outhouse!
Knowing that there were limited funds for building a house, Dan went about searching for the cheapest way possible to gather materials. The biggest savings were found with seconds, like shingles and other building materials, and a saw mill. Dan would be able to buy most of the lumber for the home including a wood interior instead of drywall for well within the budget. This might work…
Thanksgiving came and went, and so did Christmas without the usual extended family get togethers. The Ericksons were beginning to miss their loved ones back home. This was before mobile phones and there was no phone on the farm, so any phone conversations were spent on a pay phone in town five miles away. Again, it wasn’t convenient, but it worked and was kind of like in the 1800’s when some had phones and some didn’t.
Finally, the check came in and Dan went about purchasing enough building materials for the three bedroom 960 square one level home he had in his head. It would be heated with wood full time, Cooking would be done on a wood cook stove, and initially the water would from a bucket and the same cistern that had been serving the old farm for decades. Running water would have to wait due to budget constraints.
The Ericksons started fellowshipping in a home church with the next door neighbors and several others. It didn’t take long before Dan could see that this group had some “quirks” that he wouldn’t be able to tolerate for the long haul. While Dan enjoyed end time studies, they took it to a level that Dan just wasn’t comfortable with and wasn’t willing to participate in. Dan was completely convinced that Christians would go through at least part of the tribulation but wasn’t afraid of it and wasn’t going to spend night and day preparing for it. The simple life, yes, scared to death of the devil, no. Within a few months Dan and his family stopped going to the meetings but remained Christian friends with the neighbors.
And Jesus asked a question: When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
In Matthew chapter 2 the Wise men showed up asking King Herod where the King of the Jews was that had been born. “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him (Matthew 2:3).”
Question: If most of Jerusalem was Jews waiting for the Messiah, why would they be troubled when it is said he has been born? Wouldn’t they excitedly begin the search that they might worship him? Or when it came to the Messiah actually showing up, perhaps they weren’t particularly into Him showing up after all.
Perhaps his appearing would mess with way the things are, demanding a change in behavior, or interrupt the status quo. The Jews were busy at work and play and didn’t want to be bothered with…a change. Or maybe they weren’t really expecting the Messiah to actually make an appearance but just had Him as part of their doctrines. Whatever the reason, they appeared to be uncomfortable with the idea of the Messiah actually showing up. This was proven when finally they delivered that same Messiah up to be crucified.
I wonder if there would be a similar reaction if the Messiah actually appeared on the scene now. He has been promised to return for so long that a bit of a church-wide yawn is taking place at the thought of it. Will the signs of the times be headed or ignored? Jesus seemed to suggest that many who should be faithful will be busy with worldly pursuits when He comes, rather than the work of the Kingdom. And Jesus asked a question: When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
In 1988 Dan contracted to have a 15 minute radio show during the afternoon drive on a local Christian radio station. Dan would record the show a week at a time at his home studio and then deliver it by Monday of the next week for broadcast. Dan enjoyed this ministry outlet thoroughly and developed a bit of a following from listeners.
In the summer of 1988 Dan and his family traveled to the east coast visiting people they had come to know. During a stop in Kentucky they spent some time with some friends who lived out in the hills with some acreage. Dan had long wanted to scratch his country itch, live the simple life, grow a large garden and have a bunch of animals. It was pretty much Dan’s desire and wasn’t necessarily shared with certain others in the family. When they returned home they learned the farm next to the place in Kentucky was up for sale. Dan and another Minnesota family bought it sight unseen. In August Dan put his house up for sale and it sold immediately. A closing for the Kentucky property was scheduled for October 1. Wow, the next month or two was going to be a busy one. One thing not yet mentioned here…The Erickson’s also had a baby due and came September 1!
The baby was a bit of a story himself. Elias Daniel was born at home. All the preliminary appointments were with a midwife that did most everything naturally. Of course not everyone in their friendship circle thought this was a good idea, but it turned out to be a great experience and went very smoothly. One night Josiah and Emily went to bed at home and in the morning woke up to a new baby brother, already living with them at home.
It turned out the move to Kentucky would take two trips so Dan and his friend took an old step van and a large trailer for round one. They had various problems with the old van and ended up taking about 30 hours to get there. When they arrived, they got to see the 47 acre farm they bought without seeing it. The land was beautiful, but the buildings, not so much. In fact, the house didn’t have any plumbing at all. While that may be still somewhat common in Kentucky, it was a bit of a shock for Dan, and soon his family! The water source was a cistern fed by rain water from the house and was drawn from the cistern with, you guessed it, a bucket.
Kentucky is the land of Tobacco so the fields on the farm were near harvest…with tobacco. The barn was to be used until winter for hanging the tobacco while it dried before selling. Lots to learn in what amounted to basically a different culture for the city slickers from the cushy and predictable Twin City area.
Dan returned home to have a large sale and gather the family for the final move south. Things were again a bit of a challenge when a pickup borrowed from a Kentucky neighbor broke down with significant problems. Again, a long trip to the new homeland. Finally they made it to their not so new Kentucky home. The new Kentucky neighbors put the Minnesota families up for a while as they made plans to buy a mobile home and repair the old home on the land they just purchased. It was autumn, the weather was beautiful, but there was lots to do before winter came and challenged the suburban families with all it could throw at them.
Who doesn’t want to be happy? Psalm 1 gives us some helpful hints in the pursuit of happiness:
How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners, or join a group of mockers (1:1)
Blessed is the one who resists these, and, I suppose, cursed is the man who does not resist this way of life.
Instead, (as opposed to the above, which may come more naturally) his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night (1:2)
The result of the instead way of thinking?
He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (1:3)
Simply put, the blessing of the Lord is on those who live right. But not so on those who don’t:
The wicked are not like this; (they think about themselves) instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous (1:4-5).
The ungodly are not blessed and live hollow and fruitless lives. Judgment day will not be pretty for those who choose not to live right and live for themselves.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin (1:6)
These verses are pretty blunt, but what is nice about these and other blunt verses is that they leave no question regarding the ways of God. And it is imperative that we get these most important truths straight so as to find everlasting life.
Mary is a nervous wreck. She has something to tell Joseph and has no idea how to go there. Will the love of her life believe her? Will he understand? Or will he accuse her of being with another man and walk away forever? She is an unmarried pregnant teenager with a fiancé. And the time in history and culture had little patience for such shenanigans. She confesses her condition to Joseph and he is blown away. What do you do with that kind of announcement? He knew it wasn’t him, was it another? And what about this conceived of the Holy Spirit stuff? There is no record of this ever happening before. Why them? There is no scientific evidence that such a pregnancy is possible. Many will say if you can’t explain it, it can’t happen.
Fortunately an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph and helps him get…
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