Archives for category: Articles

Breaking News —

Quite often, when we hear the phrase “Breaking News,” it is bad news, like some emergency or tragedy. Today, we have some breaking news that is good news!

For years we have been looking forward to this day. After much longing, we found out that we can now order the next DVD science course from The 101 Series!

General Science 101

Yes, these courses are that good! Now we have the very happy anticipation of watching this new set of videos as soon as they arrive.

Full disclosure: We get absolutely no compensation for promoting these courses from Westfield Studios. As you can tell, we just really like them and want to get the word out.

https://the101series.com/

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Conspiracy Theories —

What is a conspiracy? Well, for starters, there needs to be more than one person involved. That’s the point. It always takes more than one person to overthrow a national government, for example, though that sounds like it might make a good plot for a Chuck Norris movie. Some number of people are planning together towards some scheme.

Almost exclusively, the context where this word is used strengthens the connotation that the plot is evil. Quite often the conspirators themselves would admit that their secret agreement is nefarious, but not always. Sometimes the conspirators see themselves as righting some wrong against a corrupt regime. In this case, the secrecy is to keep the bad guys from stopping the good guys. So often, though, it is bad guys against bad guys.

Sometimes the identity of those involved in the covert operation is kept secret forever, but other times the secrecy is only needed until the deed is done.

There have been many wars throughout history. It is possible that some of those wars were started right out in the open, with no hidden agenda to create a coalition, but that would be a rare occasion. A coup would also need a conspiracy, even more so than a war.

It would be quite odd for anyone to suggest that there are no conspiracies. First, it is an indisputable fact of history that conspiracies have been happening quite often over the years. Second, if there was a conspiracy, how would you know? It is supposed to be a secret. This is not to defend all “conspiracy theorists,” as if they were all correct.

If someone sees evidence, or something suspicious, what is wrong with pointing that out? In a neighborhood watch, we all agree to report suspicious activity. That makes our community more safe from crime.

It is easy for us to look back in history and condemn those who knowingly allowed the Nazi plans to go forward, resulting in WWII and the Holocaust. How can we now use the phrase “conspiracy theorist” as a term of scorn?

Mordechai was rightly rewarded for reporting, thus stopping, the conspiracy to assassinate the king. This is not to say that slander is OK, like when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph. It is good to be skeptical about these reports of evildoing, but not shoot the messenger.

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Twelve Weeks to Freedom —

By the grace of God, I have never personally been addicted. However, please allow me to draw your attention to a ministry that I have found to be very helpful to our community, to our society, and to the individual souls who have been touched.

This addictions ministry, Twelve Weeks to Freedom, is an outreach of Bible Baptist Church in Ballincollig, Ireland. Because it is biblical and effective, and I have seen lives who are changed for the better, it is my great pleasure to commend this program.

Please feel free to check out my brief lesson introduction video for week three.

With Liberty And Justice For All —

Justice in society is a matter that is on God’s heart.

Amos 5:15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate:

Isaiah 59:15 The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

Proverbs 21:3 To do justice and judgment [is] more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.


Ministry to the Poor

You are most likely aware of the analogy of the live frog being boiled by turning up the temperature slowly, even though the pot is open, so he could easily jump out. Over the decades, with each successive crisis, the politicians accumulate power. This growth of socialism will eventually choke out justice. It is already happening in the US. For example, not many are aware that the US has, by far, the highest incarceration rate of any developed nation. In the US, if you have enough money, you can get justice. In other words, there is a direct correlation with wealth. God hears the cries of the poor, and the society that neglects justice for the poor will lose the blessing of God.

It was not commanded in the Bible, but George Müller decided to do a “Christian experiment” of sorts, in funding his ministries. This was extremely successful and it is valuable for every Christian to know the lessons learned from his experiment. In the old Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia was the deliberation of another experiment of a very similar sort. Quotes from the Bible, and those who wrote about the application of biblical principles, were sourced more than all other sources combined. The founders saw their venture as an experiment, and we can take away some very valuable discoveries and lessons. It is quite clear that ministering to the poor is a biblical virtue, and the learnings from the US founding will greatly help us in that ministry of justice.

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More Than Harvest —


Evangelism

Many Christians consider evangelism as just the harvest, but that is not biblical. This is to say nothing about all the biblical ministries blessing the brethren. Yes, leading someone to Christ is the most important step because it is literally the difference between Heaven and Hell. That step would not happen if it were not for the steps that brought the person to that point.

In the parable of the sower, there is good soil and there is bad soil. How did some of the soil become good? Even in the garden of Eden, man had the vocation of dressing and tilling. Is there a corollary in preparing the soil of men’s hearts? In the farming vocation, upon which the parable was based, rocks and weeds must be removed, and the soil tilled, before the seed is sown. Imagine a farmer who hikes out into the wilderness and starts scattering wheat. Foolishness! You would not even call such a person a farmer.

John 4:35-38
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

After the seed is sown on good soil, then there is watering, and later there is a harvest.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Glorifying God

If a person says the “sinners’ prayer,” but does not see God as glorious, this false conversion will leave them worse off. Now they think they are saved, so their heart is even more hardened to their need for the true gospel.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

There are repeated opportunities, throughout a person’s life, for them to see the glory of God. Each of these occasions can help them to see the light. There are many methods each of us can use to glorify God.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

You could think of it as preparing the soil, or planting seed, or watering. Everything good thing we do brings glory to God, and is thus an effective work of evangelism to the lost, as well as ministry to the soul and spirit of the brethren.

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Not Your Calling —

It is quite clear from Scripture. The Apostle Paul had a calling. He explicitly pointed out that not everyone has the same calling. Of course, not all Christians fulfill their calling, but some have a calling that I cannot even see. It is a pity when any Christian condemns the brethren for their failures. It is even worse when such failures are actually misperceptions. What they are really seeing is a fellow Christian who simply has a different calling.

Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?

James 4:11-12
11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

Examples of various callings, gifts, and ministries

Luke 6:13 He called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

Exodus 31:1-6
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
5 And in cutting of stones, to set [them], and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;

Romans 12:1-13
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 [Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

Matthew 19:10-12
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with [his] wife, it is not good to marry.
11 But he said unto them, All [men] cannot receive this saying, save [they] to whom it is given.
12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their] mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it].

Ephesians 4:1-16
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

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Judges —

There was an occasion, in Exodus 18, when God spoke to Moses through his father in law Jethro. God ordained, by Moses, to set up this structure of judges that Jethro had described. The purpose of these judges was to hear and settle disputes. That way, Moses no longer needed to do this all himself. In the cases that needed to go to Moses, so he could pray for an answer, God gave laws that would address all such future cases (Exodus 18:16). So, ultimately, we had all of the needed laws. This was God’s providence for the time coming when they would no longer have Moses (Exodus 22:9, Leviticus 19:15).

This system of judges was established extremely early in the time when Moses was leading Israel. By the end of the 40 years, when God was handing leadership over to Joshua, He said, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

Even after Moses and Joshua, there was a time of history when Israel continued to be governed by God, through His Law, and by judges whose basis for judgment was God’s Law. They no longer needed Moses to go to God and ask about the most difficult cases. The Law had already been delivered to Moses, and he wrote it down (Deuteronomy 31:9), so they had this as the basis for their judgments. They did not need to legislate, only judge.

Most of this historical time of judges is covered in the book of Judges in the Holy Bible. When they were living in accord with God’s design, this was the mode of civil government and criminal justice in Israel. When they departed from God, He afflicted them. They eventually repented and re-established the proper system, “and the land had rest.” This cycle repeated several times, over many generations, for more than four centuries.

1 Samuel 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him?

1 Samuel 7:15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.

The demolition of this system is found in 1 Samuel 8, when the people demanded a king instead. It is extremely important to note that God said, in verse 7, that they were rejecting God as King by ending the time of the judges and starting the time when the king was merely human. This was also emphasized as God described the great problems that would result from their destruction of God’s design for justice and authority.

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Reminder: One-Year Bible Reading Schedule —

Tornado+Lightning

We would like to highly encourage you to read through the Bible each year, in conjunction with other biblical studies. That is why we have been posting this each December, even though it is the same schedule each year. This reading schedule has been incorporated into our online software, for KJV Bible reading and searching, that you can access for free without any advertisements or cookies.

We have tried several Bible reading schedules. There are some preferences that we wanted to incorporate into the plan, so we have made our own. Here are some of the features of this schedule:

  • It is designed for reading aloud.
  • The amount of reading is fairly consistent each day, about twelve to fourteen minutes, so you can reliably fit it into your schedule.
  • Each chapter is read completely, instead of breaking the chapter up across different days. We have found it to be distracting to keep in mind a specific verse number to end the day’s reading. When we know the entire chapter is included, then we can focus on reading and just check the schedule chart between chapters.
  • The chapters are isolated when they include many names that are hard to pronounce, so easier passages fill in that day’s reading. Consecutive chapters of difficult reading are on separate days, requiring less endurance of the tongue.
  • The schedule can be printed double-sided on a single sheet of A4 or US letter size paper.
  • It can be folded in quarters and used as a bookmark for the next day’s Old Testament reading.

We have been using this schedule since the beginning of 2015 and it has worked well for us. We plan to continue using this plan for the foreseeable future. As we have done with other reading schedules, we make a pen mark on the date for today’s reading, then fold it with the pen mark inside, so the fresh ink does not rub off inside the Bible. By the end of the year, the paper is fairly well worn, so we just print a new one.

Dogma Kennel —

Toastmasters Speech

The following information is not a transcript of the speech video. This blog post is here to provide additional details.

Pathways, Effective Coaching, Level 2, project 3 (7th speech) — Mentoring

Project objective:
Write and present a 5- to 7-minute speech about a time when you were a protégé. Share the impact and importance of having a mentor.

Please see the video on LinkedIn.

Here is a link to the book I referenced.

Another awesome book, in synergy with the above, is from John Maxwell.

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Coronation —

chickCoronation

The “fact checkers” cannot block this post! It is my opinion! And that is a fact!

It is commendable how so many people have responded to the quarantine regulations — making the best of a very bad situation. This is a good attitude, in general, that stems from our concern for others.

This sudden and drastic shift took much effort and attention. It also handed significant additional power to the bureaucrats.

Please consider this: It is extremely easy to shout danger, safety, risk, and caution — like Chicken Little. In contrast, it requires deep research and good judgement to confidently endorse a measured amount of caution.

It is leadership, not technical expertise, that is needed to weigh the risks and chart a course forward. When there is a void of leadership, the shouts for safety drown out reason. A risk-averse society will over-compensate for dangers, and end up destroying its vitality instead of protecting it.

In many regions of the world, Chicken Little is now king and the bureaucrats are celebrating the coronation!

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools

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