Whose Kingdom?

It seems the world news has been dominated by the rise of a militant Islam. They have made the statement that their flag will fly over our White House! Will we see the world conquered by a hostile religion that beheads those who do not convert to their religion?  I am not a prophetic scholar nor a political analyst, so on an earthly, physical level I don’t want to speculate.

But I do know this…

“so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth—,” Philippians 2:10   The Bible says EVERY KNEE will bow and that means every militant Islam.  No one can conquer the Kingdom of God!

“…I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Jesus’ own words in Matthew 16:18.

No power can or will defeat God’s Kingdom.

Christian influenza: I Want More

If you watch any TV preachers,  you will hear the message that God wants all Christians to be rich and famous.  The Bible tells us that money is both wonderful and deadly.

  1. The wonderful side

You don’t have to look very deep into Scripture to discover that God loves to provide for His creation. Many of the rich folks in the Bible credited God for their wealth.  Genesis 14:23 –  1 Kings 3:11-13.  But to say riches equal godliness is a Scriptural no-no. Jesus said the Kingdom of God belongs to the poor people. Mt. 5:3 Some individuals in Scripture “joyfully accepted the confiscation” of their property, because they were poor – – poor AND godly. Heb. 10:34 Read also Hebrews 11:37-38. Wealth is good but it’s not a symbol of spirituality.

  1.  The Dark Side of Money

The warnings about money in the Bible are severe. Luke 6:24  Luke 12:15

One thing clear in the Bible: money can be a threat to our faith. Money has a way of possessing us.  If riches and possessions equal spirituality, what do we say to the Christ-followers in Africa that live in tremendous poverty? Try preaching the prosperity message to the homeless believer in India!

Is it wrong to be rich?  No.  Is being poor a lack of faith?  No.  Rich and poor, God made them both.

Fence Laws

fenceAs a retired pastor, I have attended and ministered in many churches and denominations. In those churches, I have found most people are loving, caring, and wanting to please God. But these good people, in their desire to obey and follow God, have adopted want I call “fence laws” to the teachings of God’s Word. Allow me to explain. One of the hot potatoes in the church world is the drinking of alcohol.  The Bible clearly prohibits drunkenness but it does not prohibit drinking alchol in moderation. So in an attempt to keep people from excessive drinking (drunkenness) churches have adopted fence laws to keep people a safe distance from temptation.

They begin by requiring total abstinence for their members. They serve grape juice instead of wine during Communion and I have no problem with churches that have that policy. But Scripture makes no prohibition. To make it even safer, they ask their members not to eat in restaurants that serve alcohol or at least do not serve alcohol during meal times.

There are many “fence laws” that find their origin in Scripture but they are not Scriptural. I will not attempt to address them here due to limited space. But while we should teach the principles of God’s Word, we should allow the Holy Spirit to apply it to their individual situation. John 16:13  We should not allow man-made rules to be elevated to the same authority of Scripture.

Who Is In Charge?

“What does a 500 pound gorilla do?” the joke goes. ” Anything he wants to,” is the punchline. People think God is like that. He is the One with all the power.  Everyone knows that insurance companies call the big stuff– –  hurricanes, earthquake, floods, and tornadoes acts of God . Bad God days, I guess.

But is it fair to blame God  for every thing that happens on this planet? What about the devil? What does he do? Are all things pre-determined that happens to us? If God is totally in charge, do we humans have any choice in what happens.

In Genesis chapter 2 it says God commanded Adam not to do something. GENESIS 2:17. After the command,  God says Adam actually had a  choice. How could Adam choose to disobey a command of the Sovereign God? Here is a maybe: maybe sovereignty always has preeminence until it hits human will – then sovereignty pauses. Sovereignty does not disappear ; it just pauses until human  choice has been made, and then it kicks back in. (Just maybe.)

There numerous accounts of people praying and God “changing” His will. Hezekiah was told by God he had a terminal illness from which he would not recover. Isaiah 38:1 Hezekiah prayed and God added 15 years to his life. Isaiah 38:4-5

Sometimes we have authority to stop things with our faith, but sometimes our faith helps us go through things we cannot stop.

The Borg Diease

I know it’s no longer cool, but I am a  Trekkie and I remember when Star Trek  created a scary race of beings known as the Borg. They called themselves “the Collective,” because each surrendered their individuality to function as ‘one.’ The Borg assimilated everyone they bumped into

borgalong their way into the Collective. You could try to resist them but they simply replied, “Resistance is futile.”

 Growing up, I belonged to a Borg-like Church. There wasn’t much (if any) individualism. Everyone wore the same clothes, usually out-of-date, had the same “holy language,” and many mannerisms that the Church Collective held sacred. Many Christian leaders believe that sameness is godliness and they frown on variation. It is so easy to make Christianity about externals and man-made rules. So as long as dress like me, walk like me, do what I do, and keep from going places I don’t go; there is a very good chance you will make it to Heaven.

 Jesus told the Jewish leaders that the Jews did not have a corner on God. John 10:16 Many denominations think THEY are God’s favorite. Paul wrote that we are all different, like parts of the human body. Don’t allow yourself to be assimilated!

Resist the “Borg mentality” and be yourself!

 

 

Japan Has A Different Perspective Of Islam

Japanese children clean their schools every day for a quarter of an
hour with teachers. This led to the emergence of a Japanese generation who is modest and
keen on cleanliness.

* Any Japanese citizen who has a dog must carry special bags to pick up dog droppings.

Hygiene and their eagerness to address cleanliness is part of Japanese ethics.

* A hygiene worker in Japan is called “health engineer” and can command salary of USD 5000 to 8000 per month, and a cleaner is subjected to written and oral tests!!

* Japan does not have any natural resources, and they are exposed to hundreds of earthquakes a year, but this has not prevented its becoming the second largest economy in the world.

* In just ten years Hiroshima returned to what it was economically vibrant before the fall of the atomic bomb.

* Japan prevents the use of mobile phones in trains, restaurants and indoors.

* For first to sixth primary year Japanese students must learn ethics in dealing with people.

* Even though one of the richest people in the world, the Japanese do not have servants.  The parents are responsible for the house and children.

* There is no examination from the first to the third primary level because the goal of education is to instill concepts and character building.

* If  you go to a buffet restaurant in Japan you will notice people only eat as much as they need without any waste because food must not be wasted.

* The rate of delayed trains in Japan is about 7 seconds per year!! The Japanese appreciate the value of time and are very punctual to minutes and seconds.

* Children in schools brush their teeth (sterile) and clean their teeth after a meal at school, teaching them to maintain their health from an early age.

* Japanese students take half an hour to finish their meals to ensure proper digestion because these students are the future of Japan.

The Japanese focus on maintaining their own culture.  Therefore . .

* No political leader or a prime minister from an Islamic nation has visited Japan – not the Ayatollah of Iran, the King of Saudi Arabia or even a Saudi Prince!!

* Japan is a country keeping Islam at bay by putting strict restrictions on Islam and ALL Muslims.

1) Japan is the only nation that does not give citizenship to Muslims.

2) In Japan permanent residency is not given to Muslims.

3) There is a strong ban on the propagation of Islam in Japan.

4) In the University of Japan, Arabic or any Islamic language is not taught.

5) One cannot import a ‘Koran’ published in the Arabic language.

6) According to data published by the Japanese  government, it has given temporary residency to only 2 lakhs, Muslims, who must follow the Japanese Law of the Land.  These Muslims should speak Japanese and
carry their religious rituals in their homes.

7) Japan is the only country in the world that has a negligible number of embassies in Islamic countries.

8) Muslims residing in Japan are the employees of foreign companies.

9) Even today, visas are not granted to Muslim doctors, engineers or managers sent by foreign companies.

10) In the majority of companies it is stated in their regulations
that no Muslims should apply for a job.

11) The Japanese government is of the opinion that Muslims are fundamentalist, and even in the era of globalization they are not willing to change their Muslim laws.

12) Muslims cannot even rent a house in Japan.

13) If anyone comes to know that his neighbor is a Muslim then the whole neighborhood stays alert

14) No one can start an Islamic cell or Arabic ‘Madrasa’ in Japan

15) There is no Sharia law in Japan

16) If a Japanese woman marries a Muslim, she is considered an outcast forever.

17) According to Mr. Kumiko Yagi, Professor of Arab/Islamic Studies at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, ” There is a mind frame in Japan that Islam is a very narrow minded religion and one should stay away
from it.”

The Japanese might have lost the war, but they are in charge of their own country.

There are no bombs going off in crowded business centers,

“Honor Killings”, nor killing of innocent children or anyone else.

This really is something to think about !

On A Lighter Side

Allow me to depart from my usual fare and share a part of my personal life. Two years ago my wife and I were vacationing in Crystal River, Florida. Looking for things to do we came across a brochure for renting kayaks and seeing the kayakmanatees that winter in Crystal River. We enjoyed it so much we returned the next day to do it again! We were hooked! When we returned home, we started looking to buy our own kayak. We purchased a 14′ Santee tandem kayak from Craig’s list and are loving our new hobby.

 

We are fortunate to live in South Carolina which provides us many opportunities to enjoy kayaking. I presswooddiscovered Lake Preswood not far from my home. It is a beautiful lake that provides a lovely water trial through towering cypress trees and some great fishing. (I am still working on the GREAT fishing part.)

If you enjoy being on the water, I encourage you to find a place that rents kayaks and give it a try. I think you will be amazed at how much fun you will have.