Archive for November, 2008

Watching movies and being holy?

My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts– the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.” (Psalms 57:4 ESV)

 I recommend parents check out Parent TV, a web site where you can get a fair appraisal of not only movies but TV shows as well. 

Once in a great while I rekindle my former love affair with movies and rent (after an agonizingly long perusal) what I think will be some life affirming and uplifting movies. This past weekend, I rented “Son of Rambow” and “Leatherheads”. Both were rated PG-13 and the first one said it was rated this way due to “Some violent imagery and reckless behavior”, the second, a movie by George Clooney, was rated PG-13 due to “Brief strong language”. Judging the first to be good clean fun with some behavior bordering dangerous recklessness, I thought it might be a bit nostalgic considering my own reckless behavior growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. Mr. Clooney’s effort I figured I could tolerate (ignore) the language since it was brief. 

 

 

1341438 Well, I must say I would never recommend “Son of Rambow’ to any Christian much less to a parent of an impressionable child. The movie was littered with profanity, swearing using the Lord’s name and crude language. The child actor who played Will, the bully, was a foul mouthed version of Huck Finn. I imagine we were supposed to allow for his sailor talk because of his loveless and abusive home environment. But, kids did not have to talk this way a few decades ago no matter what their background.

The second movie I watched completely, having turned off “Son…” about 30 minutes into it. Let me just say that the PG-13 rating was not entirely truthful, again. The bad language was not brief at all, but at least it was not consistently strong or terribly crude. My biggest problem was with the very casual use of the Lord’s name or a regular basis. The movie was funny and christian-movies-right-bottom3nostalgic and had a thin morality tale immersed in it, but overall was a weak movie. I like George Clooney a lot as an actor since he seems so comfortable being self-deprecating and down to earth. At the same time the movie was not uplifting or enlightening so I rate it a waste of time.

What this has taught me (and this came to me while I asked God to forgive me for the time I wasted watching these) is that God wants us to be like little children when it comes to evil of any kind. So that means, in my family, we are going to limit ourselves to watching only movies that are appropriate for small children. Movies like “Toy Story”, “A Bug’s Life” and others seem to fit that bill nicely. I am fairly sure even “Monsters Inc.” will fit into that category. But, as Christians we are called to be like David and “set no evil thing” before our eyes.

I read many other believers blogs where I have seen pastors (!!?!!) recommend crude comedies as “the funniest” they have seen. What is wrong with these so called Christians? Simply put, I believe they do not let God rule their lives or their thoughts in a way that glorifies Him or shows they truly love Him with all their hearts, their minds, and their strength. What are they doing being shepherds then?

I have a friend whom I enjoyed good fellowship with for a while, but since the last time we spent time together he has apparently begun to lose sight of what is evil, giving high marks to the darkest kind of movies such as “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will be Blood”. I pray for him and have let him know how much I grieve over him watching such movies. Many excuse it as a way to really grasp the kind of evil there is in the world. Does any Christian really need to know how evil and wicked the world is and continues to become? I can barely stand to read the paper or watch the news anymore, but in order to stay “relevant” I force myself to do so occasionally. And sometimes I find myself becoming cynical about the foolish people they show or write about. The evil that is in the world will steal your love!

Fellow believers, do not buy into the idea that you are strong enough to “handle it” and watch or read the trash that is out there. Satan wishes for nothing less than your destruction and to paralyze your walk with God. Every time you give into evil or excuse it, you are rebelling against the very Savior who bought you with His precious blood! Please don’t betray Him! And don’t think that what you watch won’t affect your witness to others. Like the old saying “:You are what you eat”, so is “What you watch will become normal, and you become what you read”.

Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. “

(2 John 1:8 ESV)

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Psalms 57:5 ESV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catching up

I apologize to my few subscribers and the occasional visitor for ignoring my blog. I have been very busy lately, not lazy!

To make up for this, I am posting a few of the thoughts that I have had over the past weeks and invite you to ponder them with me. Comments are welcomed!

ADDICTED TO DISTRACTIONS

I ride public transportation to and from work every day. And it just amazes me how addicted to gadgets Americans are these days. At least every other person on the train either is on a cell phone, talking or texting, playing with their portable game machines, or listening to their MP3 players. The rest are immersed in some popular fiction or fantasy novel and some are even sleeping and wearing earplugs!

I believe Satan has put many people to sleep and is keeping those who are awake very distracted and preoccupied to prevent them from hearing or caring about what really matters. It is very difficult to talk to people about their precious souls when there are several loud phone conversations going on, loud and obnoxious gutter talk and very few people who will even return a “Hello”. It’s very discouraging, but I am always ready for that one honest soul that God allows me to speak to.

EVERYTHING WE HAVE

We should always remember that the gifts of the Spirit are truly given to those who believe. We don’t earn them; we receive them IF……. we ask for them.

What does Jesus tell us? “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. ” Jesus says also “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
(Matthew 7:11 ESV)

Everything we have that is good has been given to us: our talents, our desire for God, our faith, our salvation, the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and life itself. We can nether pay for nor obtain by own means any of these things!

FREE INDEED

The Bible tells us “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ” (John 8:36 ESV)

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. ”
(Romans 8:2 ESV)

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”
(1 Peter 2:16 ESV)

So, we are free from condemnation, but not free to sin:

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. ” (Romans 6:22 ESV)

It’s hard to grasp the fact that we are no longer slaves of sin, but sons and daughters of God. “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. ” (1 Corinthians 7:23 ESV)

This is what caused the early church to rejoice, even when they had their property confiscated because they were Christians (Hebrews 10:34). They were convinced and absolutely sure, even to the point of death, that they were saved by faith in Jesus. Not because they were good enough, but because they believed they were God’s property, slaves to Him and served Him faithfully, not out of obligation, but from sincere gratitude because…they really believed what they were taught! How much could we do through Christ if we only believed as truly as they did?

US AGAINST THEM

Many in the church believe the following:

– Being gay is worse than being addicted to porn

– Picketing a porn shop is an appropriate way to react to one

– That the state is who should take care of the homeless, the poor, and orphans or widows

– That nursing homes are more appropriate places to put their parents than their own homes

– Bad language and nudity on TV is a pressing concern, but abolishing the sex trade of children in the third world is not

– A tithe is 1/10th and is all we are obligated to give to God’s causes

– Prayer in school should be mandated by law

– “In God We Trust” on our money somehow pleases God

– Divorce is not as bad as being gay, alcoholic, a drug user or a pedophile

– Boycotting a company because they sell or advertise to gays is commendable

What do you think?


When the Bible fulfills prophecy – is that the end of it?

Many in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements claim that Joel’s “Latter Rain” is a present day reality beginning in the 1950’s. Others, of a Post-Tribulation Rapture persuasion, believe is is still to come and that the present day events touted as “Latter Rain” events are false and carnally driven.

I happen to agree with the portion of the Post-Trib view that this “Holy Laughter” and “Latter Rain” are false works of Satan and deceiving spirits.

What I don’t agree with is that Joel’s prphecy is in any way a future event. Why? Because, if you read what the Apostle Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost referring to Jeol’s prophecy:

“…This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: `AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, `THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. `AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. `THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. `AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’ ” (Acts 2:16-21 NASB)

Was Peter wrong? Can he have been mistaken? Or do we forget what Jesus told him and the other disciples concerning the Holy Spirit: “ But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. ” (John 14:26 NASB)
Will God repeat this miracle again? Or a similar one?

I don’t know, but I do know that the church will be judged first in the days of tribulation which lie ahead and in which “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” I think the foolish virgins are the western churches who think they are rich because of their influence, their mega churches, their financial might, their political agendas and harlotry. The elect are promised they will escape God’s wrath; not tribulation! Remember the disciples asked not only about the destruction of the Temple, but the end of the world.

See to it that no one misleads you. “For many will come in My name, saying, `I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:7-14 NASB)

The false doctrine of Pre-Tribulation Rapture is false and leaves many of you thinking you will escape the trial of your faith falsely referred to as God’s wrath. God’s wrath is typified by destruction of the wicked, not political unrest, martyrdom of believers, and the threshing out of the wheat from the tares. No, the church will be shaken so that what is grounded in true faith will be all that remain: “And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:27 NASB)

Read the rest of what Christ said about the tribulation to come: “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

There is only one “Day of His appearing”. The Bible does not teach that with thousands of believers being tortured and persecuted to death in many countries every day that somehow the “easy living” church of the western world (USA) will get off completely “scott free”. You do not know your Bible or believe that God has to purifiy us before He is finished with us.

Get Rich Plans for Christians?

All of us have, at one time or another, heard the spiel that we can make a ton of money without actually having to work for it. What amazes me is the fact that some of these “get rich quick” schemes are successfully targeted to Christians. That makes me seriously wonder about those Christians!

Andy Willoughby advertises a Three Step Plan on a local Christian programming radio station. The pitch is to call a number and the plan for success is revealed via an audio recording. First, you need to purchase a “share” in good ol’ Andy’s business to get started. Then, the same message becomes available to you to “play back” to a prospective caller who dials the toll free number Andy advertises. If you can get that caller to respond with a purchase of a “share” then you get a portion of the $105 dollar “share” fee. Andy gets the rest. It’s a “win-win” for Andy and maybe eventually for you (don’t count on it!), but is this an honest occupation? Is this a legitimate business? Personally, I think it borders on unethical and deceptive business practices, which no true believer of Christ should participate in.

At the same time, we have the umpteenth generation of network marketing products out there whose gambit is always to show you how well the top sellers are doing.  Many little worker bees make a few others very well off and the marketers constantly hold out that dream of driving Mercedes Benz cars (one for you and your wife gets one , too!), relaxing all day at Spas, and all the hedonistic pleasures that a successful person, by the world’s standards, could dream of. And yet….this pitch also gets many naive and/or materialistic minded Christians involved. It is an industry acknowledged fact that 95% of all people fail in this industry! Is this what God wants a Christian to do? I don’t really think a Christian should be in a market that requires you to persuade other people to buy a product that doesn’t fill a need, is far too expensive to purchase, and many times is not regulated by the FDA or other government entities. Can you honestly sell a product you don’t really know contains the stuff it claims to?

One in particular is a product called MonaVie which is marketed as a “miracle” fruit drink. Unfortunately, it costs $45 per .75 liters, which is the size of a normal wine bottle. If you pay $39 up front and become a “distributor” you can get it for $39 a bottle + shipping. Hello!!! This product doesn’t tell you what the concentration of acacia berry is, but you are told it is a blend of 19 fruit juices. So is “Juicy Juice”! Can a Christian really sell a product this expensive to people without any idea what the bottle actually contains? Certainly it has acacia berry juice in it, but it is reconstituted freeze-dried powder. Everyone should know that even freshest processed juice is hardly the equivalent of eating fresh fruit . This is one of those marketing scams that people are claiming cures everything from low libido to cancer. And many gullible and clueless people are being sucked into it for the way it “changes lives”! It most certainly does change lives when people must spend $160 a month (at a minimum) to take the recommended daily dosage. I make very good money and could afford this product with very little sacrifice. But, most people cannot afford to buy a product this overpriced! I told the person pitching this to us that I could not, in good conscience, spend that much on an egalitarian product with no proven record outside of company claims. I would much rather send the money to someone who needs food than try to preserve my own life and health selfishly.

It didn’t help my opinion of the product whatsoever to find out that Rodney Howard-Brown was a “Black Diamond” rep for this company. Ol’ Rodney is not only a big time distributor, but also got his divinity degree from an un-accredited distance learning school. This scam definitely rides abreast the Prosperity Gospel that so many carnal people are attracted to as well as the emotionally charged and experiential false doctrine of the Latter Rain charismatics. Ol’ Rodney is also working for his friend Brig Hart who participates with him in “Market Place Evangelism and is a former AmWay exec. This is all about making money, not about touching lives for Christ!

Get an insider’s story on these MLMs here.

So, what I am doing is simply repeating this “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

We are to be harvesting souls for Christ, not riches for ourselves. It doesn’t matter how you justify it, if your seek your own life now, that is all you will get – “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.(John 12:25 ESV)