Monday, August 26, 2013

Randomness for August 2013

We haven’t done a random thoughts post in awhile.  It seems like we do one every other year.  Sometimes, it just seems like we have a few things we want to say, but none is long enough for a full post.  So, let’s get to it.

My friend, Pastor Bob Colban, spoke for the offering at our second Sunday morning service.  Some of what he shared made me think of some things I’d recently shared here.  Pastor Bob teaches Old Testament in our Bible college.  That’s gotten him digging into history.  His wife gave him a huge timeline chart  that showed Bible history on the top and world history on the bottom.  Pastor Colban talked about who paid attention to the “truth” of each line of history.  But he made a statement that got my attention.  Both Buddha and Confucius were contemporaries of Daniel.  The thought struck my mind that three spiritual giants all on earth at the same time couldn’t be coincidence.

When we consider Psalm 8:3-4, Psalm 19:1-6, and Romans 1:18-21, it’s obvious That God made a way for everyone to find Him.  Even those with no Bible and no knowledge of Jesus.  We recognize that God gave us Apostles and great preachers to guide us and aid us in properly understanding God’s Word and God Himself.  Why wouldn’t He do the same for those who only had nature as a testimony of God by giving them men like Buddha and Confucius?  Admittedly, they ended up with limited and flawed understanding.  But there is some of what they taught that was right.

I’m not suggesting we should start following Buddhism or Confucianism, neither of which recognizes a god in the sense we do.  But they have been given a spiritual foundation that, if we understand what they believe, it will give us easier ways to bring them the rest of the way to the truth of the Gospel.  By understanding what they believe instead of just dismissing it as total falsehood, we show them respect.  And we gain a means of showing them how what they believe can connect to Biblical truth and the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Matthew 10:16 tells us to be as wise as serpents, yet gentle as doves.

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Deuteronomy 5:7-9a (KJV)  Thou shalt have none other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them:
 
Of all things, TV Guide online got me thinking about that one.  They had a series of photos from the Video Music Awards.  I was reminded how much entertainers are more and more going for the bizarre.  They seem to aim for being the utmost focal point of everyone’s attention with their dress, images and their utterings.  If God is removed from our belief structure, most of us are left with nothing more than ourselves.  That’s no less true for celebrities.  They merely get paid better for the same sorry spiritual state.  And, somehow, if there’s no God, the most trustworthy thing seems to be themselves.  Self replaces God.  And another idol is formed.
 
That wouldn’t be a problem for the believer who’s in The Book.  But most aren’t that way enough.  So, some succumb to the “everybody’s doing it” syndrome.  They pay attention to the less than demure fashion and behavior, equating financial success with wisdom.  They haven’t determined that not all blessings come from God.
 
Worse, yet, that idol worship has come into the church.  There are pastors, preachers, teachers, evangelists who have taken on their own celebrity.  There’s nothing wrong with appreciating someone who has spent time and effort studying the Word.  But there are those who have convinced people that their word is truer than the Word, making themselves idols both to themselves and others.  And all those pleas for money?  That’s not a love of money, it’s building a foundation of wood, hay and stubble for their idol status.
 
It all comes down to being cautious.  We need to be careful about what we take in and from whom.  Everything needs to be compared to the Word of God.  Yes, there are things the Word doesn’t talk about.  But the foundational principles are there to make decisions on things not mentioned in the Bible.
 
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I’ve been around a day or two longer than many.  And I’ve been reminiscing about my personal journey through the history of technology.  I began computing with a Kaypro portable.  That chunk of tech compared to a modern day laptop in about the same way a St. Bernard would be considered a lap dog.  And the technology was spectacular!  It ran on C/PM, an operating system that existed before DOS and Windows.  It had two 5.25” floppy drives that were high capacity – they held 1.2 megabytes each and one had to have the operating system on it, besides anything else.  Pretty primitive compared to today, much like a cartoon shared by Tully NewsInfo.

comp1980-2013

Does that look familiar?  We’ve seen a lot of changes.  But this isn’t our tech blog.  So, you know we’re going somewhere else with this.  My mental journey back in time got me considering the early church compared to the modern church.  We tend to glamorize the early church and how spiritual they were.  But we only have to look at the New Testament to realize there were doctrinal differences.  And most got their only Bible study from someone preaching.  There weren’t a whole lot of copies of Scripture.  When I compare that to my own library and capabilities, today, there’s quite a comparison.  I have some hardcopy books, but there’s my electronic library.  Where it would have been difficult for a first century Christian to haul around all the pages for what we now consider a complete Bible, my 7” tablet has multiple translations of the Bible, plus a decent sized library of study tools.  Does that give me an advantage in growing closer to God?  My answer would have to be a definite maybe.

God doesn’t do anything without a reason.  We may not understand the reason, but we’re not omniscient.  Which means I can only guess at some things.  In this case, my deduction is that there are more things coming against believers, today.  For that reason, we’ve been given so many more ways to get into the Word and delve into its depths.  But, whether it’s the first or twenty first century, we still need to heed Matthew 6:33 – we need to develop that relationship with God and grow the experience of His righteousness in our lives.  Knowledge does nothing for us if we don’t have it working in our lives.  Everything else comes out of that.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

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