Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's Been a Good Week

Things are finally quieting down. It's been busy around here. Getting the roof done, (which was a real challenge -- getting good help is hard to do and we didn't get good help).

Finally got the new computer stable (memory timing problems. The particular Intel motherboard I selected is apparently difficult to get stable with high speed ram so there have been lots of random reboots).

Then, of course, keeping track of my weight loss, which has been particularly joyful. I mean that. This past week I finally got down to 260, which is a ten year low for me. I've lost 25 in the past seven weeks and need to lose another 75. So, you could say the first quarter is down with three to go. So far, so good. And I'm thankful. And I do feel better.

Drinking lots of water helps but you end up being rather, well, busy when you take in a gallon a day or close to it. I'm finding this web site to be extremely helpful. I recommend it highly, it gives you some accountability.

My work remains a challenge but that is to be expected in being a care giver. The struggle is seeing things happening that apparently the family cares to be oblique about. Given that I'm giving this person perhaps 95% of the care they get through the week, it gets kind of lonely. There are two of us - myself and one of the grand daughters (who has a full time job already). So, it's between me and her. By God's grace neither one of us has had any illness to deal with. Another reason to be thankful. As always, I'm thankful for your prayers.

Next on the list is working on finishing the attic. Now that the roof has been done and we have proper venting installed, we can drywall our "A" frame attic. It'll be a nice diversionary project.

I'll try to liven things up here at the 'Fly this week. I know. It's been quiet. But there is a time for that.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Hermeneutics 101, Part 2

It was last December that I started a discussion of Biblical Hermeneutics. It was written to meet a perceived need in view of the popularism of "the dialectic method". And you can read that first post here. In that post, I began to list the general principles of hermeneutics.

Two months after that, I posted part one of this series on Biblical Hermeneutics. In it I discussed the first of the four basic principles, which discusses the need to take the Bible literally. And I mentioned that while we are literalists, that doesn't make us "wooden literalists". People use figures of speech in every day life. We all do, such as when we talk of the "sunrise". We know it's the earth revolving but we have used a figure of speech. When we say "the four corners of the Earth", we don't mean the earth is a flat square, we mean the compete Earth. My understanding of this expression is that it really refers to the four basic directions of the compass. And that would seem to be very likely.

But those who want to discount the authority of the Scriptures will pick verses such as these and say "See? If you take the Bible literally, you must believe in a flat Earth!". This is just a willful denial of what we know to be true; that we all use figures of speech. They did then, just as we do now. Years ago I would be in debate with them. I have since learned to use my time on more productive things.

So we take the Scriptures literally but we also allow for figures of speech, just as we do in our everyday conversations with others.

The next principle is the Historical principle. The historical principle means as we approach the text, we study to gain an understanding of what was going on when the text was written. This requires some effort but is no real burden. There are good tools out there for this purpose. It is just a matter of learning plain old history!

For example, you can't really understand why John wrote as he did in 1 John unless you understand that the believers he was writing to were infiltrated by a group known as the Gnostics. The gnostics believed a number of heretical things, such as the flesh was inherently evil and the spirit was good. Hence they denied that Christ was God in human flesh because that would mean that He would be corrupted.

Another example has to do with Jesus saying "I am the Light of the World". He said that while He was in the Court of the Women. There were candles there, which represented the presence of God. So, when Jesus stood there in plain view of those candles and said "I am the light of the world", people clearly understood His claim.

One final example may be in Romans 7 where Paul says "Who will free me from this body of death?". Paul was from Tarsus. And they had a unique way of dealing with murderers. What they would do is place the corpse face to face with the murderer and bind them together. As the corpse would rot, it would eat into the body of the murderer. It was slow death by contact with the rotting, stinking corpse. Now, Paul may not have had that in mind when he wrote what he did but it is a distinct possibility.

There are a number of tools, both from the secular world as well as the extra Biblical writings of Christianity. Some of the ones I have used include Tertullian, Josephus and Alfred Edersheim among others. The comments on Jesus' statement above is from Edersheim's work "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" and I recommend it to you although you'll have to do lots of reading to glean what's there. It's not light reading. Another book that I have used is "Daily Life in Ancient Rome" by Jerome Carcopino.

Of course it also helps to read about geography and archaeology. It clarifies and confirms.

I get so tired of hearing pastors who speak on a passage and make a point only to say "now, this is only my opinion and maybe you think differently and that's ok". While I understand that not everything can be tied down tightly, when this kind of statement becomes the norm, something is wrong. In light of the tools God has given us, it is a claim that either God has mumbled or has not equipped His people to understand the most important Book ever written; the Scriptures.

More later, hopefully not in another 6 months.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Once a Christian?

How many times it has been that I've heard someone claim "I used to be a Christian, but I don't believe that any more." They have become agnostics, atheists and pagans. Conversing with them has become an apparent lost cause.

At one time they bought the false gospel of modern "evangelicalism", walked an isle, maybe been baptized and been told that their conversion rested on a prayer they prayed.

Now, having turned from from what they perceive to be the faith, they fight against it. And if you try to help them understand that they turned from a false gospel and were never converted, they curse and swear about their conversion being genuine. "I was because I know I was" is the verbal foot-stomp.

This is a plain product of modern "evangelism" which basically turns conversion into "I did this or that, therefore I can say I was converted". Never mind the plethora of verses that warn of continuance in the faith, such as 1 John (". . .they left us because they were not of us, but they left us to make it manifest that they were not of us. . ."), Philippians 1:6 ("He that has begun a good work in you will continue to perform it until the Day of Christ Jesus").

Becoming a Christian isn't a matter of saying a few words and asking Jesus to become part of your life. That's the popular view which has its roots in the error of Charles Finney. "Poor old Jesus, waiting there at your heart's door. Too bad He has to wait for you to let him in". No. It's not about doing something (praying) to get something. It isn't about taking Jesus onto a part of your life. It is about literally becoming a new creation.

Biblical regeneration is being changed from one kind of creature into another. The Bible clearly says that it is about being brought from death to life! That kind of life is eternal. It is a quality of life that never ends. It perseveres. And it perseveres because God causes it to do so. And endurance is part of the new creature.

Again, 1 John says that "whoever is born of God will not continue to practice sin. . .whoever is born of God continues to purify himself even as Christ is pure". The bottom line? If you are really converted, the best evidence that your conversion was real is that you are still being conformed to the image of Christ. The Great Betrayal of false conversion is trying to say "I once was a Christian but no more. . .I'm done with that". My friend, if you say that, the scriptures clearly say that you were never converted to begin with! Stomping and arguing to the contrary won't change that.

In the natural realm, does a butterfly go back to being a caterpillar? In the supernatural, does the sheep turn itself back into a goat? What nonsense! Of course not! But 2 Peter does talk about the dog returning to its own vomit. The dog was never transformed!

When Jesus said "You must be born again" in John 3, he was talking about a literal rebirth. A literal recreation. It is caused by a work of God (John 1:12 says we are "born not of human will but of God"). You are transformed from death to life. You are transformed from a goat into a sheep. This is an irreversible transformation. You can't reverse it, and God won't.

Have these people crossed the line of hope? I don't know. I do know I was once one of them. I bought the false gospel of "Pray and lean on what you did" (which is salvation by works). Having done that, years later I turned away and even cursed God. This was maybe 14 years ago. I distinctly remember saying (one day) "If this is how God treats His Children I don't want Him anymore!" Ahh! But I was not one of His children!

But God. Aren't those good words?

It was in 1998 that the Lord, without the intervention of human preaching, woke my conscience and showed me that I was truly lost and without hope. It was later in my struggles that I, like Paul said to Timothy, had been acting out of ignorance and unbelief. The Gospel I had turned from wasn't the real gospel but a false one. And God chose in His mercy to help me see that. This was a major breakthrough for me because I had felt so irredeemable. After all, I had cursed God! And yes, that was serious! But the Gospel I said "didn't work" was the false one I had been given. "Pray a prayer and all will be well!"

Perhaps this became the biggest stumbling block for me for many years. What God started in 1998 was only the beginning. He had to bring me through a very dark period where I had such persistent doubt, regardless of God's obvious intervention in my life. It took the Lord Himself to get me past my arguing to a point where I knew that the "gospel" that I had embraced and turned from was not the Biblical one. It had been about "me doing", not what God has done and my trust being in that alone. And that is the eternal difference. Again, I had been acting "in ignorance and disbelief"!

But there is an eternal danger. The eternal danger is hanging on to the old "I know I was a Christian and it was all false" argument. This is a sure sign of inoculation. Hopefully it won't prove terminal.

Can one get to a point of no return? Sure. Hebrews 6 warns of being enlightened and tasting but turning away. Hebrews 10 also, as well as other passages, warns of falling away once one knows the truth. And Hebrews 12 warns that the local body is to make sure that no one falls short of God's Grace. In other words, realize that there can be tares in your midst and do all you can to reach them.

And the much ignored issue of Church Discipline is, really, nothing more than an element of evangelism. The person is in a sin pattern, give them the law and the message of grace. See to it that they don't fall short of the Grace of God.

Once a Christian but not now? No such animal exists. You don't become a Christian by self-proclamation. It isn't by your own choice, regardless of what the contemporary church says.

Be sure that you aren't deceived.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Their "Messiah" is Our Antichrist!

It was a while back that I received an email from someone in Canada who is apparently of the Islamic religion. The comment that was submitted contained the following statement, among many others:

"You have not lost hope as yet . There is still time. Go over the Quran maybe it might help you see things clearly."

While it's not my habit of posting such comments, it isn't because I have no concern for the person or what they think. And, as for my own welfare, what this person may or may not have meant by "there is still time" is unknown and not relevant. Was it a threat of an oncoming persecution by Islam on those who reject Islam? I don't know, although I am certain one is coming. Is it possible that this is an Islamic warning of "convert or perish in hell"? I doubt it -- conversion to Islam is no guarantee that the god of Islam will accept them anyway - the god of Islam is a very capricious god. The closest thing you get to assurance in Islam is martyrdom. Could it have been a prank? Perhaps but I thank that is unlikely.

But no matter. They are lost and in need of the Savior. So we pray for them. There is only "one name under heaven whereby we must be saved" and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. I would ask this person if Mohammad died for their sin? We've all sinned. We've all broken God's law which is as immutable as God's character. That includes myself, you and this person who sent the above statement.

Having said that, I wanted to fulfill a "promise" (not really a promise but I said I'd do this) by simply posting a link to a page that reflects what I've been learning about Islam. If you are interested in end times developments, you'll find it of interest if you haven't been made aware of it before. The summation can be found here. It is a comparison of the Islamic "Messiah" and the Biblical Messiah. If you want the details and documentation, it is here. This isn't the material that brought me to this study, I think it was a broadcast that I heard on Messianic Jewish radio a few months ago. But the points I heard are all there, at least mostly.

The title of this post gives away what you can expect to read at the links I provided.

Convert to Islam? Me? No. No thanks. I prefer to trust the Scriptures which have repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be reliable through history, archaeology, prophecy and my own personal experience. If that means my beheading, so be it. Besides, I believe that the Savior Who died for my sin deserves all I've got.

Arctic Ice Refuses to Melt as Ordered!

Here's another installment about the silliness of "global warming" as posited by politicians and "environmentalists". This is just another installment of a series of articles on the subject here at the 'Fly.

Again, we know that the earth's temperature goes through warming and cooling cycles. Or do we all need to stop breathing?

On a humorous note, I was taking care of granny the other day. She gets cable TV. There was a program on about creating a "green" garden, of all things. One of their suggestions? Get rid of the grass and replace it with cement tiles and gravel, after all "Grass only consumes water". Yes, that is what they said!

Uh, green plant life converts CO2 to oxygen?!?!?!? Duh? It reminded me of the lyrics to "Big Yellow Taxi":

"They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
No, no, no, don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone
They paved paradise, and put up a parkin' lot"

Now we're "putting up parking lots" in the name of "being green". You just gotta laugh.

Oswald Chambers

"And I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

"Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once and ask Him to establish rest. Never allow anything to remain which is making the dis-peace. Take every element of disintegration as something to wrestle against, and not to suffer. Say - Lord, prove Thy consciousness in me, and self-consciousness will go and He will be all in all. Beware of allowing self-consciousness to continue because by slow degrees it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is Satanic. Well, I am not understood; this is a thing they ought to apologize for; that is a point I really must have cleared up. Leave others alone and ask the Lord to give you Christ-consciousness, and He will poise you until the completeness is absolute.

The complete life is the life of a child. When I am consciously conscious, there is something wrong. It is the sick man who knows what health is. The child of God is not conscious of the will of God because he is the will of God. When there has been the slightest deviation from the will of God, we begin to ask - What is Thy will? A child of God never prays to be conscious that God answers prayer, he is so restfully certain that God always does answer prayer.

If we try to overcome self-consciousness by any common-sense method, we will develop it tremendously. Jesus says, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest," i.e., Christ-consciousness will take the place of self-consciousness. Wherever Jesus comes He establishes rest, the rest of the perfection of activity that is never conscious of itself."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Update

If it appears that things have been quiet around here at the 'Fly lately, there is good reason. Work!

I work on a contract basis giving care to an elderly (95 year old) lady here in town and this past week we've been trying to get her to drink more fluids. She's been borderline dehydrated for some time. Not any more! Her fluid intake is greatly improved. However, what goes in must eventually, well, come out, so that means more trips to her home to help her out.

I love my job. It is such a blessing to me. She says that even though it is hard to drink so much, it is helping her feel much better. She's losing some weight and that helps too.

So, lift up "granny" and me as I continue to work to help her health improve.

I will be posting an article here in a day or two regarding Islam. I've been getting "convert while you have time" comments from Islamic readers here. I feel a good post on the error of Islam coming on.

I'd appreciate your prayers.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

For My Wife On Our Tenth Anniversary

It's hard to believe it's been a decade since we exchanged vows on that most special day. And we have been through so much together. Job changes, losing family members. Being tested over the prospect of insecurity, not knowing if we could make it. But we have.

You have always been there. Through all the rough times, you've been there. You have seen me at my best and, hopefully, my worst. You've been a source of support when I thought I could go no further and you've helped me to remember Who is in control when it would have been all too easy to forget.

I love you. I tell you that every day, and I never get tired of it.

You are God's gift to me.

Your husband,


You're Going To Live Forever. . .Somewhere. . .

From Apprising Ministries:

"Christian journalist Nick Harrison makes this important comment about the life of the Christian:

'My wife is a skilled seamstress. She quickly restores garments that need mending, giving them many months of extra use, whereas they would otherwise be ready for the trash. In our own unique ways we all have talents given to us by God to help mend torn people. Some may help financially, others may pray diligently still others may be called to daily hands-on involvement. But whatever our gifts, the mending pile of humanity grows daily.'

In my view it’s good sometimes to be reminded, that although God is sickened by the sin in this world, He still loves people within it. And one of the reasons the Lord has chosen to delay the Second Coming of Christ is because God the Father is patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But alas, the sad truth remains that there are many who will not make it. And in the end this will prove to be the result their own choices.

You see, when God made man He could have “programmed” us to obey Him. However, even though the LORD God Almighty is completely sovereign, at the same time He also holds man to be responsible for his won moral choices. And God, Who is love, knew that people cannot be forced to love because that would, in fact, no longer be love.

You’ve no doubt heard the old saying along the lines of: If you love someone set them free; if they love you they’ll return. In the case of our Creator, that’s essentially what He did with His cherished creation mankind. However, because sin has now warped our perceptions about God, and with not a little help from Satan, we are incapable of returning to Him unless the Lord draws us to Himself. And God knew along what the cost would be for mankind to be able to live with Him; our Creator Himself would have to come into His Own world and die for His Church. . .

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Richard Abanes: In Denial and In Need of Repentance

Found this over at "DefCon". Kind of sums up what I've been thinking.

Are Evangelical Pulpits About to Praise Islam?

Jan Markell has a good read over at Christian Worldview Network. This is kind of a follow up to a post I made months ago.

About the only thing I'll add to this is that this would come as no surprise. Evangelicalism has become a mere shell of religion, having little or nothing to do with Biblical Christianity. This has come to pass, at least in part, because of what has been referred to as a "fatal meltdown" through the influence of "leaders" such as T.D. Jakes, Brian McLaren and others. It's a "DUH" thing; if you don't have something definite to believe, you'll fall for anything. And what passes as "evangelicalism" has come to a point where it will fall for anything. I've seen it first hand and I'm sure many of you have as well. This is the reason why I still say, as I have said before, "I'm sick and tired of being associated with a "Christianity" that does not seem to care one whit about holiness or obedience to God's Word. Let me say this as perfectly clear as I can: I believe that "Christianity" in America is nearly totally apostate. Why? We have abandoned the vision of the Holiness and Fear of God."

And once you don't care about the Holiness of God, truth doesn't matter either. So, again I say "Is Jan's question really a surprising one?"

You can read Jan Markell's article here.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Comments Have Been Reopened

Some months ago, I made a post here announcing that comments at this blog would be turned off until further notice. Much or most of it had to do with self-assessment and plain old distractions. You can read about it here.

It's been a good time. Very quiet. And I think I've demonstrated to myself that which I sought to demonstrate, namely my motives for publishing what I publish. Well, after something like four months I'm still here posting things and I actually still have readers. And I'm thankful for that.

So, I think the time has come to reopen comments. At least temporarily. I'm not sure it'll make much difference; historically I've received relatively few comments on most of what I've posted and that's ok. But if you are like me, a blog that is "read only" is sometimes frustrating.

Of course, this means that I'll be reopening the doors to those who are, well, less than mature in expressing their views. And there are those who want to troll and strut their stuff in a thread. Of course, having been around the block a few times I have gotten to the point where it isn't too hard to smell the stench. Well, let's just say that everyone is free to submit a comment but I'm free to moderate comments.

Then, of course, are those who argue that "if you don't allow all comments ("mine"), then you shouldn't allow any comments". Or, "It's not fair that you only post comments that are positive and not negative" (which has been said to me but is not true). Immaturity has many permutations. Suffice it to say I won't feed it.

Others want to "discuss" things but already have their minds made up and no evidence is ever worthy of thought. I'm open to honest discussion but frankly my time is worth more than spending it trying to convince the unconvincable.

Another childish kind of comment that will never be posted is the old reliable "See? You didn't answer my objection in X number of seconds or minutes so that proves that you can't deal with what I said". No, it only proves that I a) didn't read it yet or b) don't have time to deal with it in your time frame or c) will let someone else mess with it if they care to. Due to the nature of my work (I work for myself), I am in and out a lot. And, the time I spend away from work involves other things that are important as well. But some (with too much time to sit in front of a computer waiting for five minute responses) have way too much time on their hands. Besides, the kind of comment that I just mentioned at the start of this paragraph just proves the immaturity of the commenter and I'll probably just end it right there. And then, of course, I may not respond because d) you haven't said anything I haven't said a ton of times before. Such as "You say the Bible states in Isaiah 40 that the earth is a sphere but the word to describe the "vault of the earth" doesn't mean "sphere", it means circle. . .so see? You're all wet. . .Nah nah nah nah nah nahhhhh!". A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing; the Hebrew language doesn't have a word for "sphere" but I doubt very much if they thought spherical objects were flat. Get over it. I'm tired of wasting my time over it.

Then also there are those who submit a post that is three miles long and object when I focus on one point. "You are ignoring what I have to say". What I am doing is focusing in on what I see as relevant. And I am, after all, the blog moderator. That means it is my right to control the direction of a discussion.

You get the point. Been there, done that. It's a waste of time and grade school behavior is something I won't feed.

Then again, you never know. . .I can always publish it under "Trolls Say The Darndest Things".

So, comment away! Let it fly! (And, of course, a few kind words once in a while wouldn't hurt, either!). I'll be adding a "blog rules list" in a day or so.

Thanks for visiting!

Isn't Archaeology Wonderful?
Historical Evidences for the Accuracy of the Bible.

For those who refuse to believe, no evidence is sufficient. However, for those inclined to believe, evidence helps. And, it would appear that archaeologists have unearthed more evidence for the veracity of the Scriptures.

By Grace Alone!

I found this at "A Peculiar Pilgrim". I like it. I think you will too!