Saturday, December 31, 2005


What's the point of armor? For sure, it makes for an interesting Bible lesson, especially for juniors, because often the little boys like the whole medieval knight thing. You could probably use up a few weeks of Sunday School doing that. I'm going to guess that you don't think that this is a major purpose of armor though. Ephesians 6:10ff does go into a lot of detail about it. Most people don't even require the armor because they either don't know what it's for or they don't do the activity for which it's needed. People back in the chow line at the mess hall don't need armor. People don't need armor to check the mail or to make a grocery run.

OK, here it is. Armor is for spiritual warfare. We "wrestle not against flesh and blood." We are battling spiritual forces of wickedness. These forces are deceiving people in their minds, setting up imaginations that exalt themselves against God (2 Cor. 10:3-5). The weapon is the Bible. The rest of the armor is for using the sword. So let's start with that. Do you use the Sword? In Acts the manifestation that most corresponds with the Holy Spirit filling people is boldness. Boldness in what? Boldness to preach the Bible to people. Most churches are not encouraging their people to be bold; they are trying to get people to stop offending anyone. Why do you think we are called to suffer in the Bible? Not enough people are suffering anymore in the United States. We are too busy attempting to impress the world.

I'm going to stop there, but you ask yourself what the armor of God is all about, and why it makes any difference for you to have it on. Then put it on and open your mouth boldly as you ought to speak.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Convenient Use of Scripture

Most people don't have this verse memorized, but let's give it a shot. "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." You give up? OK. Exodus 32:4. It seems that it was Aaron and others that said these words after having completed the task of forming a golden calf idol. A few verses later we know that God had heard the words, because He quotes them verbatim, and He isn't happy. One would think that this would end future references to this special quote, tucked deeply into the ashamed-of-ourselves drawer. Not so. 1 Kings 12:28. "Whereupon the king (Jeroboam) took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Jeroboam had a verse ready to defend his two new idols at Dan and Bethel. He wanted the worship in Israel as convenient as possible, and Dan and Bethel would cut down on the commute. Worship would be much easier, you wouldn't have to blow a day of travel to Jerusalem, and if you need some evidence, there's even a verse. There is. It's Exodus 32:4.

You can have a verse, but that doesn't mean it's what God said.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Just Due It

I have noticed how much happier I am when I render due benevolence. Have you rendered lately? Part of proper rendering is understanding what is due benevolence, with the emphasis on due. Wives need treatment very different than the nature of the man. Sometimes I haven't understood it. After all, she is from Venus, right? Some other planet, that we know. I have figured out that my wife likes to be appreciated. She does a lot that deserves appreciation, but I can ratchet up the expectation level past Pluto, and no one from Venus can meet that standard. I think it is a matter of just sorting out what Scripture says and doing it. You know 1 Corinthians 7:3,4 says, "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. " That "let the husband render" part is a command. She must be given God-designed benevolence, a unique womanly stew, ingredients hard to come by for most men. Nike had that ad campaign a few years back; maybe they still do, "Just Do It." Regarding rendering due benevolence, victory will come in a marriage if we just do it. Most men might get around to it after a bit of complaining about how hard they have it. Notice how I switched to third person when I talked about the bad stuff. After all, I don't complain, I just sigh very loudly, and act like I've had it rough. I'm working at getting due benevolence, but is that the command? I guess not.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Global Warming

Skeptics get upset because believers get to have it both ways---if things go wrong, they were trials, and if things go right, they were blessings. Either way all things work together for good. We understand this by faith in God's purpose to conform us to the image of His Son. Well, I get upset when pantheists get to have it both ways. Global warming results in blizzards in Europe. If the weather were unseasonably warm there, that would be global warming too. Cold, global warming, warm, global warming. No matter what the temperature, it was caused by global warming. I think all of us have a right to treat that kind of flip-flopping with skepticism.

This reminds me of all of the world's so-called science. Darwin debunked due to monstrous gaps in the fossil record. OK, then let's look at microscopic bacteria and watch how they alter themselves to adjust to immunity. Look, see, evolution! But they're still bacteria! They haven't evolved. Not unless you change the definition of evolution. Oh, that's right, they did. All of this starts with rebellion against God, worshiping the creature rather than the Creator, and then moves downill from there. We should all be glad that Judge Jones didn't allow intelligent design in Pennsylvania. The evidence of design would destroy faith. Oh really? They also redefine faith. Faith is substance and evidence (Heb. 11:1), not a leap in the dark. God provides evidence for faith. He doesn't give evidence for everything He said He did and will do, but enough for us to believe.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Magic Rings

Discover Card paid us back today. My family and I went on a little trip we take annually this time of the year to spend part of that 3% in the way of Borders cards and then Red Lobster later (disclaimer: this blog cannot endorse everything that Borders, Red Lobster, and Discover Card does, including popcorn shrimp). Well, my in-laws bought us the entire CD set of The Chronicles of Narnia by Clive Staples Lewis, who preferred "Jack" at age four. They are a well-done dramatized version by Focus on the Family (more disclaiming). We listened to the first CD in the car along the way.

OK, let me get to the point. In the first book, Digory, whom Aslan calls "son of Adam," travels to the tree to pick an apple with hopes that his mother, back in the real world, will be healed. If you know nothing about these books, bear with this. In route, having forgotten food, Digory and his friend Polly, whom Aslan calls "daughter of Eve," mention being hungry. They wonder why Aslan hadn't sent them with some victuals, especially seeing that Fledge, their winged horse, could chomp down on the super-abundant grass. Fledge suggests that Aslan would gladly provide and surely if they had asked. Yes, prayer. Digory and Polly discuss whether it might be a good idea to use some of the magic they have at their disposal, a primary methodology of the wicked witch and also obviously a human solution that tends toward magnifying their own cleverness. They could slip on their gold rings for a quick trip back home to raid their own ice box. They decide that they will not be lead by their own lust, but by the plan that had been laid out for them. They practice contentment, avert panic, and lean not on their own understanding, resulting in providential feeding without diversion from the right path. I thought a couple of ideas at that juncture: how prescient Lewis was to see the danger of men using their own devices to complete God's works and that perhaps this is how it already was in his day as it has always been.

In no way am I pushing C. S. Lewis theology or philosophy. His fiction is usually judged to be good literature conducive to a higher level of thought than the modern stuff for children. Putting that aside for a moment, what is it that we trust or utilize to accomplish God's will? When God lays out a plan and we add our own "magic rings," we might get what is required in the short term, but is God glorified and what long term havoc do we cause to the work of the Lord?


Pilate asked the Lord Jesus at His trial, "What is truth?" Many consider this the age-old question of philosophy. When I was in college, professors and visiting speakers told us students, "People are hungering for the truth." I believed them. After planting a church in 1987 here in California, I haven't found this to be accurate. My experience, which I think counts because of the number of individuals whom I have confronted, says that people are mostly running away from the truth. Nevertheless, the truth is important. If sanctification is the purpose of living (Romans 8:28-30), and we are sanctified through the truth (John 17:17), then nothing is more important to us practically.

With this regular blog, I will tell the truth. I will expose Scriptural truth. I will tell what is to me the truth about various issues---cultural, political, spiritual, and physical. Why do I think anyone really cares to hear what I have to say? They may not. I think some will, maybe many, and time will tell.

You are welcome to comment on what I say, but be civil. I won't expect anyone to write just to make me feel better about my efforts. However, I encourage you to interact thoughtfully. "Come let us reason together."