Christianity Lite

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Going Soft On The Word – We live in a day and age where God’s Word no longer seems to be “carved in stone.”  People seem to prefer the “soft-cover” edition that allows them to do as they please, where the truth is relative to the particular situation, and adjusting God’s Word to fit their lifestyle is easier than adjusting their lifestyle to fit God’s Word.  But do they really prefer this, or are they really looking for something more satisfying, but that seems to always elude them? Continue reading “Christianity Lite”

If I Have To Stop This Car…

Exodus 16:2In the desert, the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “if only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!  There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into the desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”  (NIV 1978)

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My Musing – Anyone who has ever gone on a long road trip or vacation by car can likely relate to this cartoon.  My dad would say, ‘if I have to stop this car…”  In all my years of growing up, my brothers and I never heard the rest of that sentence.  We never had to.

The Israelites had a short memory, having come from slavery.  Like the Israelites, we have a tendency to focus on our present circumstances and remember the past as perhaps better than it really was.  This is a form of ingratitude like “what have you done for me lately God,” or “why are you letting this happen to me now God.”

My Advice – We may face many “road trips” and “desert wanderings” in this life.  They all have a purpose that God will use to grow our character.  Let’s do our best to focus less on present circumstances and what is and more on God working in our lives to make them what can be.  And while we are at it, let’s not be revisionists about our past, but focus on the reality of how God was with all along, with deliverance from our slavery to sin as He takes us through our own desert wanderings on the road to “the promised land.”  “[F]or it is God who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose,” so “[d]o everything without complaining or arguing” (Philippians 2:13, 14 – NIV 1978).  Because we really do not want Him to “stop this car” or “turn our Exodus around.”

The First Black Friday

TG Amusing

Psalm 100:4, 5Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (NIV 1984)

My Musing – The above comic stands in stark contrast to this passage from Psalms, as the shoppers “enter the mall gates with Thanksgiving” seeking a good deal on Black Friday.  A long time ago there was another kind of Black Friday, which culminated in the greatest deal ever offered to mankind.  This deal allows anyone who accepts it, the greatest bargain ever conceived – eternal life at no cost to us.

My Advice – Take the deal.  There will be no buyer’s remorse.

 

Let’s Talk Turkey

Amusing TG 2017

1Thessalonians 5:18Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Once a year, American’s pause to give thanks for the good things in life and the blessings they have received.  Some even reflect during Thanksgiving to wonder why they are not more thankful throughout the year for such things.  But few would even dare to think that giving “thanks in all circumstances” might also involve Continue reading “Let’s Talk Turkey”

But Mark This

But Mark This

End is Near

2 Timothy 3:1-5There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. (NIV 1984)

This text could almost be taken from the front page of the today’s paper.  But it almost needs one more word to complete the thought – cynical.  Cynicism about the power of the Gospel (many paths/religions lead to God), the power of the Creator (science trumps design) and the power of Jesus’ promise (I will come again), just to name a few.  But while Paul did not include cynicism is his Epistle, Peter did in his.

2 Peter 3:3-4First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers [cynics] will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (NIV 1984)

The common denominator in both Paul’s and Peter’s writings is the phrase “last days,” a phrase that has fascinated and intrigued Jesus’ followers since His initial promise that He would come again.

With this, I am introducing a new mid-week musing that will kick off this coming Wednesday that is entitled “Studies In Revelation.”

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Cover Artwork by Gustave Dore (1832 – 1883)
Adam and Eve Expelled (Paradise Lost)
The New Jerusalem (Paradise Restored)

These will be excerpts from a book that I have been working on for quite some time.  As noted, it is a compilation of various view points that I have gleaned from a number of scholars and that I have attempted to synthesize into an integrated narrative. Following are a couple of endorsements from my pastors, both of whom were kind enough to review the manuscript and offer their comments as well as their encouragement.

After World War II, interest in the imminent return of Christ began a new eschatological frenzy. Atomic weapons exposed the world to the possibility of thermonuclear annihilation. Israel established herself as an independent state and proved to survive against great attacks of surrounding nations.

The Cold War provided an insecurity that continued to stir the evangelical imagination regarding prophecy. And although the millennium ended with a flurry of predictions, the discourse on the subject seems to have evolved into sensational theories of blood moons, planetary alignments and natural calamities as signs of Christ’s return.

Steve Brewer in his book, Studies In Revelation, has carefully gathered together scholarship from the last century as well as the wisdom from the previous ages to give us a thoughtful commentary of the Book of Revelation. I recommend it for the encouragement of your faith and renewed delight in the soon coming of Our Lord.

Reverend Stephen Persson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Sycamore, Illinois

The capstone of theology is Eschatology {the last days}. Here as in no other field, except perhaps the doctrine of the person of Christ, are the tools of exegesis of each page of scripture displayed. Steve Brewer has done a great job bringing God’s truth to light.

Eschatology more than any other major field of theology has suffered much at the hands of its interpreters. Even among those whose confidence in the Word of God is unquestioned have trouble with the interpretation because of different stands or attempt a detailed presentation of premillennial eschatology such as is provided in this book. Steve has skillfully dealt with many controversial issues, has met and solved many prophetic problems.

Steve has condensed a lot of material often not contained in even larger volumes. This book should serve as personal study or a small group and a Sunday school setting.

Thanks Steve for your hard work on this book.

Pastor William Badal
Associate Pastor
First Baptist Church
Sycamore, Illinois

I hope that you will like it too, and that it will fan into flame your longing for His coming.  If so, please be sure to share the blogs with your friends.  In the meantime, “until Armageddon,” we have a commission to fulfill.  The harvest in plentiful but the workers are few.

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts On Aging*

*And What Comes After

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If you’ve been following my blogs, you know by now that my Sunday “amusings” start off with something a tad bit humorous (like this caricature of the Village People and their performance of the YMCA), but quickly moves on to things a bit more serious.  This week is no exception. Continue reading “Random Thoughts On Aging*”

Is Your Backup In The Cloud?

Is Your Backup In The Cloud?

Philippians 4:6, 7Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV 1984)

Pray Amusing

Who’s got your back?  As much as we want to be independent and self-sufficient, it is nice to know that someone has our back.  But not just anyone, but rather someone who is both dependable and capable.  For what good is backup if it cannot be relied upon to be there when needed, and also capable of providing the backup without “crashing?”  For Christians, our backup is God.  Not only is He dependable (always faithful), but He is capable (all powerful).

We also want personal attention.  Not a “one-size reply all” type of attention.  This too is something that we can count on from God.  He knows all about us, every single detail and every single concern.  For “[b]efore I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”  (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV 1978).  I like that.