The CDC reported its highest ever number of deadly drug overdoses in the United States for a twelve month period that ended in May, 2020 … over 81,000 people!
The Covid pandemic no doubt has had an affect on these numbers but, as the report acknowledges, the sad numbers were already on the increase before the full effect of the pandemic.
I watched an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” today and it reminded me of an important principle for preachers, Bible teachers and personal workers alike.
The episode was titled, “The Sermon for Today” and it centered around a visiting preacher from New York. This visiting preacher preached a sermon called, “Watch Your Hurry” and the topic was exactly what you might think it would be … it was about the “modern day” obsession with being busy and the need for people to stop hurrying and remembering to relax. The lesson was so “soothing” a couple of the listeners comically fell asleep.
So what principle did this episode remind me about? It was about the importance of remembering your audience. The listeners definitely understood the lesson because they referenced it several times throughout the episode (even if they didn’t properly apply it), but if you were to ask me I think the preacher forgot his audience. His audience wasn’t the hurrying people of New York; his audience was the people of the sleepy little town of Mayberry, North Carolina.
If pork-barrels were as illegal to government as pork-rinds were unclean to the Jews we would be better off.
Many politicians placate to the poor while feeding the rich; some even stubbornly wait until after elections to help in hopes of making others look bad or good depending upon your perspective. Take for example the latest “stimulus package” released by the American government – all nine-hundred-billion dollars of it! Mathematically spelled out that’s $900,000,000,000. And what will the average American get from this number? $600.
Now am I turning my nose up at $600? Absolutely not! But I will thumb my nose at anyone who thinks the politicians who held out support for regular people care anything about these regular people! I know people need help during this pandemic, but I also know that right now the rich are only getting richer and the powerful politicians care nothing about helping the common man. Know how? If this stimulus package was about helping the “common man” (instead of bailing out poorly run local governments and irresponsible fat-cat businesses) then more money would be given to the people instead of filling the coffers full of pork.
Do the math! What’s $900,000,000,000 divided by a nice round number of 300,000,000 people? See if that comes out anything close to $600! And be mindful that this is not the first time this is being done this year!
I am not an anarchist. The point I’m making has nothing to do with anarchy. I believe there are God-given responsibilities for governments and the leaders of whom it consists (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:17). I pray for our government as a Christian should (1 Timothy 2:1-4). But I also know you can’t dig your way out of a hole by making it deeper, and that respect of persons is no more beneficial in government than it is in religion.
“The king establishes the land by justice,
But he who receives bribes overthrows it.” (Proverbs 29:4 NKJV)
#politics #money #government
Aside from being an English sentence with a double negative, there’s a lot of good to be found in this post’s title, and the following thoughts aren’t meant to be exhaustive with the idea. The following thoughts (particularly the first question) came to mind after a positive interaction with a stranger today.
What is our health if we don’t share our strength? What is our wealth if we don’t reckon it with compassion? What is our time if we don’t spend it with wisdom? What is our influence if we don’t use it for the benefit of others? What is our knowledge if we don’t teach others with it?
The answers to the above questions is weak, nothing, a waste, hollow, and empty. Because if we are not able to share what we have then we really do not own it – it owns us!
While it’s true we cannot share what we fail to posses (2 Corinthians 8:11-12), it is also true that possession is determined by perspective (2 Corinthians 8:13-15); and this is why perspective is so important! Because while possession is 9/10 of the law on this Earth, we will leave this Earth with 0/10 of it all! So let us use what we have while we have it to use.
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. … Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:7, 17-19 NKJV)
If you pay attention to the recorded dialogue of Israel toward God, between the books of Exodus and Numbers, you will eventually notice one thing about their perspective concerning Egypt and the wilderness – they never had anything bad to say about Egypt!
The Israelite generation who wasted away in the wilderness had numerous complaints about their new found freedom from slavery provided by God but seemingly only “fond” memories of the physical nourishment they enjoyed in Egypt. At one point they wanted to choose new leaders to go back to the land from which God had made them free!
We don’t have the musical notes to play “Name that Tune”, but we can use the lyrics.
If I were to say I watched a retail commercial the other day (in December mind you) and it played a song with a lyric that says, “Joy to the world…” what would you say if I asked you to “Name that Tune”by completing the lyric?
In a nationally televised debate last night, two US Senate candidates (immensely powerful people in the US government) for the state of Georgia addressed the topic of abortion. In regards to his position, the Baptist preacher in the debate said the following:
“The question is: whose decision is it? And I happen to think that a patient’s room is too small a place for a woman, her doctor, and the U.S. Government. I think that’s too many people in the room,” (“Reverend” Raphael Warnock)
Amazing! Pro-choice due to the lack of square footage in the room? I wonder if this preacher believes there’s enough space for God to fit in the patient’s room? Or would three still be a crowd?
That’s what happens when you confuse morality with politics.
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” (Psalm 139:7-12 ESV)
#abortion #politics #morality
Snickering, snide opinions and downright ridicule is how large swaths of people view “pointless” statutes of Moses’ Law. Rules for clothing, haircuts, diets, sacrifice and cleanliness fall on deaf ears because they hear the principal but not the principle.
For example, while discussing his right to companionship, rest and financial support, Paul asks, “Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.’ Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does he say it altogether for our sakes. For our sakes, no doubt, this is written…” (1 Corinthians 9:8-10)
Our generation does not live under the old covenant and we will not be judged by it (in and of itself), but if we fail to learn from its principles we will fall prey to the same old sins.
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11)
The Bible mentions tanners, purple makers and launderers. These were jobs fulfilled by the common men and women of their time for the benefit of the multitude.
I recently watched a video that demonstrates how the aforementioned jobs were carried out. Mind you, the video shows how these jobs were carried out during the Victorian times of England so techniques from the first-century (and earlier) may vary a bit but the demonstrations are interesting none-the-less. I will warn you ahead of time, although there is no foul language used in the video, the processes used to accomplish these jobs can be foul in their own way.
The ease at which we are able to buy things in our culture causes most of us to take for granted the production processes performed by others, but we should not forget the benefit of having individuals in our culture who are honest, hard-working, and who are not “too good” to do jobs from which others enjoy receiving the benefit thereof.
“So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel.” (Jeremiah 18:3)
When I say I’m not the poetry type I’m not saying I don’t like poems … I’m saying I don’t like all types of poems. It’s all the rules that turn me off. When I write I just like to write, but I will happily confess that poetry, at times, is one of the highest forms of communicating man’s language and thoughts.
I recently heard a poem “written by a father for his son” titled “If”. The actual author is Rudyard Kipling.
Hearing the poem caused me to look it up so I could read over the words, many of which contain strong biblical principles. I thought it was worth sharing because I know at least one guy around here who appreciates “good” poetry from time to time.
“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as also certain of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” (Acts 17:28)
In the latest issue of House to House, the following statement was used as the first sentence in a very well written article:
Satan tries to get unmarried couples to- gether and keep married couples apart.
“The Marriage Bed”; House to House, Heart to Heart; Volume 25, Number 11, Page 4
The article may not be first time this idea was conveyed but it shouldn’t be the last time because it’s the truth!
#quote #marriage #PDF
The whole story reveals all of the truth; not standalone snippets. This doesn’t mean standalone snippets are not true. It means until the whole story is available for consideration, the details cannot be compared to each other in totality so that the whole truth can be known (Proverbs 18:13).
It’s kind of like when a parent asks their child if they’re telling the whole truth. A little here without a little there leaves us without the sum total, right?
The scriptures are a source of record even to atheists, but to be fully useful, even to theists, the scriptures must become a source of truth. This only comes by allowing the entirety of the Bible to tell the entirety of God’s will. This is like comparing puzzle pieces sitting in a box to puzzle pieces that have been placed together.
It isn’t terribly uncommon for people to use Bible words without knowing their meaning. For example, consider the word “hallelujah.”
Hallelujah is a word we read in the scriptures (depending upon the translation), sing in songs, and may even use in conversational exchanges … but is it possible some of us don’t understand what we’re saying? Odds are, the answer is yes.
The meaning of hallelujah is quite simple to understand and remember. Primarily made of two Hebrew words, hallel/hallal (meaning to praise, to celebrate or to boast) and Jah/Yah (the principal portion of YHWH, translated as LORD/Lord, who is the God of the Bible). When these two words are combined it brings forth the phrase “praise the Lord” or “praise God” or “praise be to God.” At times, the words “hallel” and “Jah” are recorded next to each other but are not combined (Psalm 150:1); but whether standing alone or combined into one phrase, the meaning remains unchanged.
If you didn’t understand what was really being said when the word hallelujah was used, now you do; and being more aware of its meaning may give you more opportunities to joyfully say it.
“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!” (Revelation 19:1 NKJV)
#Bible-words #worship #God
Perhaps you have heard the rhetorical question, “Is nothing sacred anymore?” Perhaps the question, in our modern religiously pluralistic yet atheistic society, should become, “Has everything become sacred?”
I recently read of the opening of a new dog park in which a “reverend” connected the following convocating statement to the canines’ little piece of heaven: “A celebration proclaiming this space sacred.”
Sacred? A sacred dog park? I know it has nothing to do with the context, and I’m not trying to wrest the scriptures … I’m simply asking another rhetorical question, but has anyone heard the admonition of not giving that which is holy to the dogs? Is this newly founded ground, which will be in sharp demand of sanitary shovels, really something that deserves veneration in the eyes of a community? Will they also drink “holy water” from blessed vessels?!
Is it still worth wondering why the western culture seems to have lost our ability to recognize the biblical principle of holiness when we have “reverend” people unashamedly calling animal parks hallowed places but ending a prayer “in Jesus’ name” is controversial?
I recently read in a Mississippi travel map that $3.2 million is spent every year picking up trash along the state’s highways. A thought provoking declaration then says, “This money could be used to build and repair roads and bridges – things that improve our state’s infrastructure and economy.”
From that statement a thought sprang into my mind … how much of the church’s resources do we have to spend cleaning up all the trash strewn upon her by the very people of which she consists? How much more progress could be made for the name, the works, and the kingdom of Christ if we did not have to deal with the unnecessary garbage so carelessly, or intentionally, used to mar her beauty for all the world to see?
“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!” (1 Corinthians 6:1-6 NKJV)