Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Adam's Apple" today is the dollar!

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." Genesis 3:6

"If any man teach otherwise and consent not to wholesome words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, SUPPOSING THAT GAIN IS GODLINESS; from such withdraw thyself." 1 Timothy 6: 3-5

We live in a society that is after money. Everything they do is in the hot pursuit of money. Why? I can hear some of you saying, "But we have to have money to survive!" Don't get nervous here, just bear with me and you'll see where I'm heading.
Money is NOT the root of all evil, you can relax. Now that you have, you can hear the rest: "The LOVE of money is the root of all evil." 1 Timothy 6:10

Did you catch the difference? Money, in and of itself, is amoral. It's neither good nor bad. As a force for good, it is a valuable tool that can be powerfully used for the good of mankind and to grow the kingdom of God on earth. As a force for evil, many lives are destroyed because of it's hot pursuit. It's all in how it's used, which is a direct reflection of our attitudes about it.

In Genesis, Eve (and Adam, we learn in verse 6) is tempted in three ways that coincide with 1John2:16. She first believed that the forbidden fruit was "good for food" (Lust of the flesh). She then believed that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes). Finally, she believed that it was "to be desired to make one wise" (Pride of life). Because she believed these three things, she was willing to throw out ALL of God's teaching on the matter and CHOSE to go after what had been forbidden!

Brother Winskie, you ask, what does that have to do with money? GLAD YOU ASKED!

Anywhere you turn today, be it TV (if you watch it), Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Internet, Movies, etc, there is a pervading philosophy: "He who dies with the most toys wins". There are literally thousands of people that are trying to get rich at your expense. "You need...", "A must see...", or "A must have...". The worst voices of all out there belong to the "name it/claim it" school of Christianity. These people present their "gospel" in such a way as to give the impression that God wishes to "make you rich'. If you'll just "exercise your faith" enough, you'll never need doctors or be in need of money ever again. After all, they say, did not Paul say that we are "to prosper, even as (our) soul doth prosper". Money is the modern day "Adam's Apple".

Unfortunately, besides the fact that they are not taking a look at the WHOLE word of God, they give people the impression that if they are sick or if they are running short of money, somehow, they are not right with God!

One MAJOR problem with this teaching: Paul told Timothy that those who "suppose that gain is godliness" are NOT teaching God's word, but are false teachers that we are to SHUN! ("from such withdraw thyself") Many times, these very same people who claim to be so holy and righteous really are not even close. They flaunt their "blessings" as proof of how righteous they are, yet their attitudes are horrible. How many people that are really in need are sneered at and NOT helped by those that claim to be so right with God and have the means to help them?

The world tells us to be after gain; be it more money, a bigger car, a bigger house, nicer clothes, a better class of friends, attend the right church, and on and on. God has another way for us to live:
"Godliness with contentment is GREAT GAIN". (verse 6)

Our attitude should be one of loving God and others first. When God gives us much, we praise him and use it in ways that will glorify him. When we have little, we praise him and use it in such a way as to glorify him. Paul put it this way:

"Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." Philippians 4: 11-12
We are to learn to be content in whatever state God sees fit to put us in. If we aren't, there is another warning in scripture that we only quoted part of. Here's the whole thing:

"For the love of money is the root of all evil: Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

Those that are seeking riches and not God, usually wind up straying from the faith. They may have the correct doctrine and attend a truly biblical church, but their own works are not biblical. In fact, Paul instructs the rich to be willing to help the poor and not to think too highly of themselves (1 Timothy 6: 17-19)

Brethren, let us learn to walk circumspectly in the fear and admonition of the Lord! Let us be very careful how we treat others and love them. Most of all, let us watch our attitudes about money.

The next time we feel "the need" to CLAIM that lottery jackpot, or that raise, or that promotion, let us remember this: The Apple that we reach for, may just have a hidden worm! Until next time, walk in faith with his word! God bless!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Authentic Popcorn!

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalms 34:8

We went grocery shopping today. I'm one of those strange guys that enjoys the "childish" snack called: popcorn. I'm an avowed Orville Redenbacher fan. My wife surprised me today by buying me a different Orville. There is no microwave involved. This is the place the butter in the pot, add the kernels, and shake till it stops kind.
I have vague memories of mom doing this when I was in elementary school (during the dinosaur age, as my children would say, and before Jiffy Pop). For many years now, I've simply taken the handy bag out of the box, put it in the Microwave, and nuked it! This has served me well and I've grown very accustomed to the taste and the convenience. However, since my dear wife bought it, I decided to try the new old-fashioned stuff.
I had to have my wife explain it to me, as I'm not the best cook in the world and my mind was rebelling against receiving the instructions on the jar! Finally, I had the butter melting (yum, cholesterol city!) and added the kernels, placing the lid on top. I then began melting some more butter in a small pot, as my taste buds began to imagine what this glorious concoction would taste like. How would it differ from the microwave? Would I even like it anymore?
To my surprise, and mild irritation, the kernels did not begin popping almost immediately as I was accustomed to. Further, I even had to turn my butter pot off, for fear of scorching it while I waited on the pops to start.
Finally, I heard a pop. Then another. Wait a few seconds (a lifetime?) and then another pop sounded. Then twosies and trios at a time. Finally, the drum roll! Relieved, I turned my butter back on. Knowing that shortly I'd be eating "the real thing".
While it was cooking, my wife had to remind me to shake it around so as not to burn the popcorn on the bottom. A little disgruntled at the extra effort involved, I obeyed my wife's wisdom filled suggestion. At last, the popping slowed to a crawl and I began to smell a faint scorch. I turned it off, removed it from the burner (along with my melted butter).
I wasn't quite done yet, however. I still had to put the popcorn in a large bowl, add lots of salt, and pour on my butter! Then came the lid for the bowl and me doing my best immitation of a child's rattle toy! I had to vigorously shake the bowl, my mom's bowl by the way (she passed away 10 years ago.), to mix the ingredients just right.
Upon removing the lid, the smell hit me. What a wonderful aroma! Tasting it was even better. As I ate it, I couldn't help but think about the decided lack of flavor in the microwave kind (as compared to the real thing). It was then that it hit me.
Many of us start out well with God! Everything is fresh and new, hot and tasty. Over the years, however, our relationship begins to change. We get caught up in so many things in life. We begin to reduce our relationship with Jesus to a microwave-like religion. A quick prayer here. A verse read there. A service at church to "check the block" of attendance. Slowly, we become accustomed to the routine, easier, and less favorable Jesus of religion.
May I take this moment to challenge us all to reexamine our religion? Can we shake off the day to day religious grind, ignore the microwave, and turn the heat back up? Can we shake ourselves in prayer and study until the kernels of our relationship with him begin to pop again?
Sure, it'll require stepping out of our comfort zones. It also won't be easy to make our flesh put forth the effort required to do so. I can tell you this: If we do, we will find that the relationship tastes a whole lot better and is much more fulfilling than the religion. "Oh, taste and see...."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When they had no king....

When they had no king....

Prayer taken from schools.

When they had no king...

No use of Jesus name in schools and Government buildings.

When they had no king...

No displaying of the Ten Commandments or Bibles in Schools and Government buildings.

When they had no king...

No Fault Divorce.

When they had no king...

Teen sex, STD's, and suicide on the rise.

When they had no king...

Out of wedlock births on the rise.

When they had no king...

Abortion legalized.

When they had no king...

Homosexual marriage legalized and all sorts of perversions are becoming a protected class.

When they had no king...

Government control instead of individual liberty.

When they had no king....

Freedom FROM speech instead of freedom OF speech.

When they had no king...

...everyone did what they thought was right in their OWN eyes!

We need to turn to the real king- Jesus Christ!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's Comforting!

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1

Last night, as you can tell by my previous blog, I was feeling a little down. I won't elaborate again. You can read it for yourselves. However, an amazing thing happened.
We live in Monessen, Pa. It's an old "steel" town that's set on the shore of the Monongahela river. There are several little towns along the river here. All of them were shooting fireworks off last night.
I should tell you that we have 4 dog's. Two are mixed breed Rottweilers. One is a mixed breed Lab. The last is a mixed breed Shihtzu. All of them are good dog's. They're protective and loving at the same time. My dog, "Talon", is one of the Rott's. He likes to act like he's big and bad. However, when all the fireworks were going on, I got to watch something amazing and wonderful.
Talon doesn't understand the meaning of July 4th. He doesn't know why we shoot off the fireworks. All he knows is that they're loud! The noise really bothered him, especially the big booms that the cities fireworks spectacular produced. His reactions at first were comical, as he would bark and growl at the perceived threat, not knowing where it was coming from, or why.
Then he did something precious, he came and laid down beside my recliner where I was seated, wanting to be close to the safety of his masters presence. Before it was over, the whole family, dog's and all, were watching the fireworks, from the safety of the upstairs bedroom, through the windows. The dog's were calm then. I even saw a shooting star.
It was at that point that God seemed to whisper to me. "All the problems and worries you're carrying, let me have them. They're to much of a burden for you. Do me like Talon did you. Simply lay down at my feet and leave the worries to me. Trust me. I won't leave you or forsake you. It'll all work out in my time and in my way."
All I can say is, What a difference a day makes! I've left the worries with my master and I can rest in him. Whatever happens, he's in control! Sound to good to be true? Try it for yourself. I promise, he won't let you down. But don't take my word for it, take his.
By the way, as I write this, Talon and Peter (the Shitzu) are running through the living room playing, without a care in the world because they know that they are loved, cared for, and protected. It's a joy to see. Our master, Jesus, would like to see us the same way! God bless!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independance Day?

I realize what this day means. I truly realize the freedoms and responsibilities we have been blessed with as Americans. However, I must also admit that this day just doesn't seem the same for me as in past years. I won't bore you with a long rant, but I can tell you some of the reasons why.
It's scary to me that the average younger American has no real idea what this day is really about beyond fireworks, parties, and frivolity. Many have no idea that the declaration of Independence was signed on this day in 1776, much less what it says. Our dumbed down institutions of enforced indoctrination that we call public schools, do not teach them. Instead they're told how unfair and horrible our founding fathers (and documents) were. If the schools really taught what the Constitution says, our Government would cease to be able to do many of the things it does.
I don't feel like celebrating because I see our foundational freedoms being stolen and emasculated. Instead of freedom of speech, the politically correct have changed perverted this basic right into freedom from speech. But not all speech, mind you. A movie or TV show can use words that would blush a sailor, but we can't say JESUS in public (unless we're using his name as a curse word).
It used to be that the undergirding principle of personal rights was that "My rights stop where your rights start." Now, it's become, "Your rights stop0 where I believe my rights should take me. We used to be a country of fellow servants, now it's me first and we're reaping the benefits of it! A wise man once said, "If the people ever figure out that they can vote themselves the candy that they want for themselves, it will be the end of our republic." My friends we are almost there!
The bottom line is this: We took the children from our homes to "better educate them" and we took the mothers from the homes to "better our standards of living". Then we took God out of schools so as not to "offend" the few who don't believe in him. Now we've raised a generation of people who don't believe in God or absolutes. The results? Families are disintegrating; drug use, sexual promiscuity and deviance (can you say LGBT's?), and crime have skyrocketed; and our Government is heading speedily towards all out government control of everyone and everything! Our common sense and moral compasses have all but vanished!
The only hope that any of us have is a return to the foundational documents of our republic, the Bible that these documents were based upon, and, most importantly, the God of the Bible and all the universe- Jesus!
May we all get right with him (John 3:3-5, Acts 2:38) before it's too late!