Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Politics of Harry Potter

Hey, this isn't much, but I thought it was neat. Today, I was looking at Wikipedia. They have "Did you know..." section.

One of the titles was, "Did you know that several universities now offer courses on the politics of Harry Potter?" Of course, I wondered what in the world a course on "the politics of Harry Potter" could possibly be. Under the link to this article, I read, "There have been many published theories that read politics and meaning into J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. Often the theories conflict with each other, such as some writers who see Harry Potter promoting devil worship and others who interpret it as promoting Christianity." And I thought, "Well, they are arguing the same thing." :-)

I think that is incredible... that we know these two things to be the same: devil worship and Christianity.

It is incredible, Elijah. And only God can help us keep believing that truth in the facer of such opposition.

Stay humble, and there is no telling what else the Lord will teach us, or what good he will use us to do. And in the meantime, please remember that although participation in the religion of Christianity does glorify Satan, and even though God has precious children in there unwittingly doing that, He still loves them dearly. Always do good for them when you can, and never puff yourself up against them because of the truth you know.

Passing Time

Pastor John,

I wanted to tell you that I'm so glad that you said Saturday night, "We are just passing time on this Earth." Everything we do is just passing time and you were talking about the attitude of a servant.

Sunday I usually get sad b/c the work week is about to start again and the weekend is over. But, this time I thought, "I'm just passing time by going to work." Just look for opportunities as you pass time there!

I woke up at 4:30 am this morning and instead of thinking, "aww, it's so early, I want to go back to bed" like I do every morning, I thought, "Welp, I'm up early and passing time; it's all good." I thought about it all day at work. After work, I usually rush out to get home. Today, I walked and passed time enjoying my walk to my car and my drive home. I love thinking like this. Things don't seem as important - I mean being anxious about getting things done or stuff like that. I want to slow down and enjoy each passing moment, no matter what I'm doing. It feels like a big adventure, you never know what the master will have you do next. Meanwhile, just enjoy living life and wait on the master.


Beautiful, Maleah! Sounds like thoughts coming from a slave.

Solomon said, "He who hastens with his feet is sinning." There is no one who can be in a constant hurry and keep from sin. Righteousness includes faith and wisdom, and faith and wisdom teach us that we have nothing to do here on earth but pass our short time doing the will of God, until the Master comes and takes us home.

To paraphrase an old saying, "If you live in a hurry, you will die. And if you don’t live in a hurry, you will die. So, why hurry?" Hurry is not faith, and it is not wisdom.

Pastor John

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Now and Then

Sometimes when the Lord gives us a song, it teaches us. An example of this is the song "Now and Then" that the Lord gave me a few months ago. Here are the words:

- 1 -
Now I’m sharing Father’s throne and resting in His glory;
then I suffered all alone and bore your sin and shame.
Now the angels sing my song and millions tell my story;
then, I didn’t have a friend, and no one called my name.

Now, I sing a song of joy alone unto my Father;
then the song the drunkards sang disgraced me everywhere.
Now, whenever you feel down, I take it to my Father;
then, when tears fell from my eyes, no one even cared.

– Chorus No. 1 –
Now, I have a place of rest . . . from all the earth, from all its strife.
Then, I had no comforter . . . no help or home where I could hide.
Now, God’s mighty angels bow and tremble at my power;
then, men beat me to the ground and nailed me to a tree.

- 2 -
Now I’m sharing Father’s throne and resting in His glory;
but He has promised me that I can bring you here someday.
Now, I’m waiting for the time appointed by my Father;
then I’ll rise up from my throne and come take you away.

Now, I sing a song of joy alone unto my Father;
but then, we’ll lift our voice and sing together all His praise.
Now, whenever you feel down, I take it to my Father;
then, He’ll hold you in His arms and brush your tears away.

– Chorus No 2 –
Now, you have no place of rest . . . from all the earth, from all its strife.
Then, you’ll have a hiding place, with me at home right by my side.
Now, I sit and dream of then, when we can sing together;
then, upon the crystal sea, we’ll give our Father praise.

Pay close attention to the second verse (in bold). It is a thought I had never had until Jesus gave me this song. It tells us that, even though he is gloried now and sitting at the Father’s right hand, Jesus is not perfectly content because we are not yet home with him. We are not the only ones looking forward to the future; Jesus is, too. He died so that we might be with him where he is, ans we are not there yet. How can he feel perfect contentment until the reason he suffered and died is fulfilled?

This lets us know that it is acceptable with God for us not to be perfectly content, either. We have peace with God; nevertheless, we all want something else: salvation. And Jesus will bring that with him when he returns for his faithful saints. We all – even those who have fallen asleep in Christ – feel incomplete while we are here in this world. We all who belong to Christ are misfits on earth, "strangers and pilgrims", and only the coming of the Lord will remedy that, for he will take us to the place we belong.

I always pictured Jesus as having reached the goal and, so, being absolutely and perfectly at rest, but the love for us that led him to the cross forbids that. He cannot be perfectly content until we are safely home, with him and the Father.

Friday, August 17, 2007

By God's Word

"Concerning the works of men, by the word of your lips
have I kept myself from the paths of the destroyer."
Psalm 17:4

Satan is the "destroyer" that David mentions in the verse above, and Satan’s principal mode of destroying the good among the saints is by using the first thing mentioned by David in that verse: "the works of men". Jesus said that Satan "savors" the things of men (Mt. 16:23). But why? First, because he envies the precious opportunity men have to obtain eternal life and fellowship with God. He wants what God is offering men. Second, Satan "savors the things of men" because by craftily using "the things of men", he can lure God’s children into his sphere of influence.

The devil has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9). That means that all men are under his delusive spell, and so, the things that are of men are under his control. That is what makes him "the god of this world." His influence is so pervasive, his craftiness is so subtle, that no one can escape his control. Everything on earth, every institution, every custom, every law, is working with the fleshly nature of every person to bring each soul under the dominion of Satan. But there is hope because there is truth, and David rejoiced in it.

The religions of man are "the things of man" that Satan loves the most, and the closer to the truth that a religion comes – without being true – the better he can use it. This is why Christianity is, to date, his most effective weapon in dividing and confusing God’s children. It speaks of the true Lord, and that is very good, but it does not speak truly of him, and that is very bad.
"By the word of your lips" is a phrase that points us to our hope. David discovered that what God says is the means of escape the confusion that is in "the things that are of man". By the word of God, David discovered the precious pathway of righteousness and rejoiced as he walked on it. By the word of God, David learned what was good and what was evil, and with the strength which that Understanding brought to him, he overcame the heavy pressures of this world to go the wrong way. When joy is in the heart, David discovered, the world’s call to sin seems nasty, no matter how prettily Satan paints it, and no matter what holy-sounding titles he gives it.
There is nothing of "the things that are of men" that is like the voice of God. Nothing of man’s medical knowledge can heal as God’s word can; nothing of man’s educational systems can enlighten as God’s word can; nothing of man’s art can comfort as God’s word can; nothing of man’s religions can guide into righteousness as God’s word can. When David learned this, he wrote, "Truly, every man at his best state is altogether vanity." And to that, we can add, "Truly, at His worst state, God is altogether and eternally good."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Ten Virgins Parable


Tonight when I listened to you telling about the wise and foolish virgins (Mt. 25), God cleared something up for me! I love these new thoughts! I was thinking how those wise and foolish all looked the same; they were not wearing different colored robes to show which was which; they weren't labeled "Wise" and "Foolish"; and they didn't call each other those names. They were all waiting for the same thing (the coming of the groom).

There was a question in my heart as to why the groom wouldn't open the door when the foolish virgins came back from buying oil. I didn't even know the question was there until he gave the answer tonight. The whole plan was designed to expose the hearts of those virgins. God designed it! And he designed it that way because He will not receive the foolish virgins into His kingdom. Praise God! He is not a beggar, and He is perfectly in charge of His house. Wow! That is big! I just love it! He does not want the foolish. Wow.


Sister Donna:
The foolish virgins dishonored the Bridegroom by not being prepared to greet him when he finally arrived. The fact that he "tarried" and did not come when expected is irrelevant. That was his prerogative. Those who truly loved him prepared for the possibility that he might be late; they made no claims on his time. That is genuine humility.

jdc, sr

This Is The Day

Dear Pastor John
The last day Shiela was in the hospital Bro.Tom was there. He told Shiela God had given her a gift. God had taken to death's door, yet extended her life so that she could have a greater appreciation for each day.
I keep thinking about that. These are my goals:

(1) To love God and keep His commandments to the best of my ability and with my whole heart.
(2) To love, care for, and do good to the hearts around me.

I know this is the only real way for me or anyone else to be happy. I woke up this morning with a song: "This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it!"
I think that is a commandment!


Hi Sister Sue!
Jesus said that all the commandment of God hinge on but two things: loving God supremely and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Sounds as if you got the point. That's good.

Pastor John

Falling Away

Pastor John,

This morning I stayed home sick form work and had a chance to listen to some of your teaching series on Galatians. While I was listening, you started talking about Titus and Timothy and what special young men they had been to Paul. When you got a little further into it, you started talking about those people who fall away from Christ and how we are to look at it. It really blessed me and I though I would pass it along. The excerpt is below.


Galatians Series Notes

Things were falling apart as Paul got older.

Titus left Paul. Paul was about to appear before Caesar. Titus couldn’t take the pressure.

Now I have this question for you: Was Paul fooled? Was Timothy a fake the whole way through? The answer is No. What God did for Timothy, and where Timothy stood with God, was as real as what Paul had from God.

Don’t ever beat yourself up and think you’ve been less than wise because somebody else is unfaithful to Jesus. Don't condemn yourself for loving people, and giving to people, and spending time and effort on people who later backslide, as if you have been foolish to do so. Paul loved Titus. He called him his own son; he took him to Jerusalem to show him off as THE example of Paul gospel for the Gentiles. And Paul was right to do every bit of that. It wasn’t Paul who failed to encourage. It wasn’t Paul who failed to discern where Titus really stood the whole time. Don’t condemn yourself when someone else errs, as if you have failed. Do not do that to yourself. And don’t do that to anybody else, either. There is such a thing as somebody good going bad, of somebody blessed who doesn’t appreciate their blessing, of having fellowship in the light with people who later wander into darkness or is overcome by a fault.

It happened to Paul, and it has happened to us. It’s nothing unusual. It has always happened and it will continue to happen until God thoroughly purges the body of Christ near the end of this age in preparation for the return of His Son for a bride "without spot or blemish or any such thing." There is such a thing of a child of God that you may love dearly getting weak in the faith and stumbling. It doesn’t mean you’ve been lacking in discernment.

On the other hand, I know you can discern weaknesses or faults in others. Every person who comes to the Lord brings some baggage of the past with them, and pride will lead you say (if somebody does fall away), “I knew it would happen all along”, as if you foresaw everything. Don't fall for that. That is just your flesh puffing you up. You didn’t discern anything anymore than anybody else did. They just never submitted to God's chastening hand to be made perfect. Then again, if you did discern more, maybe you should have been praying for that person more than others were praying. Did you?

According to one of Jesus' parables, only half of God's children will be saved in the end. Paul even mentioned a "great falling away" from the truth among God's children. It is a sad reality of spiritual life. The world attracts some of God's children and leads them away from Jesus. Others become stubborn when God chastens them (as He does all His children), and they harden their hearts against Him -- and us. Solomon said, "He who, being often reproved, hardens his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. Things like that do happen. It’s been happening from the beginning. Jesus lost many people along the way while he was here who had some real conviction, at one time, for righteousness. Disciples leaving him and forsaking him is a reality that is plainly recorded in the Gospels. Look at John 6:53-65:
"Jesus therefore said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you do not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me, and I am living by the Father, so also that man who eats me shall live by me. This is the bread that came down out of heaven – not as your fathers ate manna and died. He who eats this bread shall live forever.

"These things he said while teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum."
"When many of his disciples heard this, they said, 'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" And Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, 'Do you take offense at this? What if you should see the Son of man ascending up to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh is completely useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit, and they are life, but there are some of you who do not believe.' (For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe and who it was who would betray him.)

"And then he said, 'This is why I said to you that no one is able to come to me unless it be given to him from the Father.'"

Now read the next verse in John -- 6:66 (an appropriate number for this, don't you think?)
"At this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him."

Was the indignation of these disciples at Jesus' words a reflection of their spiritual condition or Jesus'? Should Jesus have felt depressed, as if he had failed? No. He was unmoved; he know he was doing the will of God. No doubt, those bitter disciples grumbled as they went away, "He's a fake!" or "He's a false prophet!", etc. Then, they would have gone away and slandered him to anyone who was foolish enough to listen. They would have encouraged Jesus to blame himself for their unfaithfulness to the light God had brought them. But Jesus was having nothing of it. Their unfaithfulness, and their unwillingness to be corrected by God was not his fault.

Remember this lesson, the next time one of your dearly loved brothers or sisters in Christ walks away, speaking evil of you and the way that they themselves once said was good and right. Jesus told us that it must be that some of God's little ones stumble and fall away (Mt. 18:7); just be sure that it was not for following your example that they fell.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Better To Die Than To Be Born


Playing soccer when I was younger started getting frustrating from the standpoint that you could put your whole heart into a game, preparing for it, etc. and you still might end up losing because of a funny bounce, someone would lose the ball in the lights, something seemingly fluke (or, someone could just "outdo" you because they were more capable in the flesh - which seemed equally senseless to me). The "return" did not seem to justify the "investment" at times (I don't know how else to put it). At the end of it, it was just striving in the flesh, and you know how that can go, disappointment, frustration and all the rest.

In God, if you sow 100%, you return much more. There are no funny bounces and flukes in the kingdom of God. He rewards every good and every evil thing, perfectly. Life got so frustrating to me when I was younger because I didn't know there was a God in heaven keeping things in order like that (you saying what you did about God working to get us back in line with Him and with others reminded me of that). There's purpose everywhere. If we don't see it, life can seem pretty hopeless.
I'm so glad we serve a God like this. Whenever I think of it (here lately at least), it feels like I'm taking a good, deep breath of air. It's like, "Ohhhh, everything is right in the universe, what a blessing".
Talk to you later.

What you are describing is why Solomon said "Therefore, I hated life." What wise man can love living in a world like this, where unjust things can happen to us, and often do? It is bad to live in a world where we do not always reap what we sow. Solomon thought it was far better to die and get out of this crazy world than it is to be born into it because after we die, there is nothing but perfect, eternal justice waiting for us. Here, we can earnestly do what is good, and then suffer for it; and here, people can do what is evil and perverse, and be glorified for it - but that will never be the case beyond the grave.
Pastor John

Saturday, August 11, 2007


"You are bought with a price; do not become slaves of men."
Paul, in 1Corinthiunas 7:23

Preacher Clark told us that God doesn’t want His children to act as a doormat for anyone. That is, God is not pleased when we bow before the unrighteous and knowingly allow sinful people to take advantage of us. When the righteous fall down before the wicked, Solomon said, it is like "a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring." In other words, it is poison for those who partake of it. Solomon also said, "the lying tongue hates those who are afflicted by it." The world will respect the man who "turns the other cheek" when he is persecuted for righteousness sake, but it will only scoff at the man who wilfully allows the world to take advantage of him. Yes, Jesus did say that we are to be harmless as doves, but he also said that we are to be as wise as serpents. There is a right balance of the attributes of the Spirit to which we must attain if we are to be like Christ.

Was Jesus being "harmless as a dove" when he drove the money-changers out of His Father’s temple? Some of God’s children will stand by and watch as truth is being trampled and goodness condemned, as if that is humility. But it is not; it is cowardice. We are not the servants of men; we are the servants of God.

Recently, I was talking with a woman who was being taken advantage of on her job. She was crying as she told me of how much was being demanded of her by a new boss and the impossible load of work she was expected to bear. She didn’t see any way she could do all that was being asked of her, and she was right. Instead of feeling sympathy for her, however, the Spirit of God became indignant with her. Why was she allowing the world to abuse God’s temple? Why wasn’t she driving the money-changers out so that she could have peace and God could be praised in His house again? "You are bought with a price;" wrote Paul, "do not be slaves of men." Jesus has bought us; this is his temple. Do not let men abuse it! I bluntly replied to her, "What’s the point of you coming out of Christianity and then allowing the world to use you up? If you will not allow Christian ministers to use you up for their glory, why will you allow business men to do it for theirs?"

The spirit of the world is the spirit of Christianity. That religion uses God’s children up with responsibilities and ceremonies that God never intended for His children. If we will not allow the spirit of the world that is in Christianity to use us for its own vain glory, then why would we allow the world of unbelieving sinners to use us up for it’s own vain glory? It is the same spirit. And it takes the same faith to overcome both of those evils.

The word of the Lord came to me last year for a certain brother whose appearance of humility impressed everyone he met. I was commanded to warn this brother to see to it that his humility come from the heart, and not allow it to degenerate into a mere appearance. I delivered that word of God to him in the presence of a room full of witnesses in my house. But he failed to fear God and put it into practice. Because appearances impress men and gain us praise and respect from them, we are tempted to act so that men will honor us as righteous, but God judges the heart. And He must have foreseen that this humble-appearing brother was headed toward that dead end, for that brother, still as meek in appearance as ever the last time I saw him, has now fallen away from righteousness altogether to pursue his own ways. God knows. We cannot judge who is truly humble by what we see or hear. Some very proud men know how to appear humble. But it is a matter only of the heart.

No, God does not want His children to be anyone’s doormat. True humility is neither blind or foolish; rather, it is wise and just, and it makes us nobody’s fool or plaything.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wrong Thoughts

There is nothing on earth more deadly than a wrong thought about God. A wrong thought about God was the beginning of all sin. Adam and Eve sinned only because of the wrong thought about God that was placed in Eve’s heart by the devil. Without that wrong thought sown into her heart, Eve would not even have had the thought to do what God said not to do.

"Woe to them who call good evil, and evil good", said God through Isaiah. Wrong thoughts about God result in wrong thinking about what is good and what is evil. And that leads to misjudging liars to be telling the truth and honest men to be liars. The true prophets of ancient Israel were all persecuted in their time because false prophets had fed the Israelites wrong thoughts about God, which led them to think good was evil, and evil good, which in turn led them to hate the righteous and trust the ungodly.

The truth makes us free because it delivers us from confusion about what is God and what is not God. And when we are not confused about what is God and what is not, then we are no longer confused about what is good and what is evil. And if we know what is good and what is evil, then we will recognize God’s voice when He speaks, and we will know a deceiver when we meet one.

The truth is the opposite of a wrong thought about God. If a wrong thought about God is the beginning of sin, then knowledge of the truth is the beginning of righteousness. "I am understanding;" said the Son of God through David, "I have strength." When you take God’s truth in, you take in the saving strength of the Son of God.

Do you have the saving strength of God in your soul? You do if you have embraced the truth, for the truth will protect you and enlighten you. When the truth is alive in our souls, it saves us from the power of darkness! Nothing else can do that.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Loving With God's Love

No man is worthy to lead, naturally or spiritually, if he fears the people he is supposed to be leading. Consider King Saul. He disobeyed God’s clear command because the people did not like what God told Saul to do, and then denied he had done any wrong. When pressed by the unyielding prophet Samuel, however, King Saul confessed that he disobeyed God because he feared the displeasure of the people (1Sam. 15:24). Later, God rejected Saul as king over Israel, and the poor man died a miserable, tragic death. He gave in to the pressure to please God’s people rather than God, and lost out with God.

God’s children need to be loved with God’s love. But God’s love may move a man to do things that may be interpreted as hate. Moved by the holy love of God, Jesus looked at Peter one day and said, "Get behind me, Satan!" And on another occasion, moved by that same pure love, Jesus sharply rebuked James and John, saying, "You don’t know what kind of spirit you are of!" And yet, in the end, the Lord commanded his disciples to love one another "As I have loved you." Did Jesus know something about the love of God that carnally-minded men do not know?

Stephen was accused of hating God and His ways, and stoned to death, because he loved men with the love of God. Paul was beaten within an inch of his life by the people of Israel, whom he loved more than his own life. And when the blood-stained apostle, held up by Roman soldiers, tried to explain himself to his beloved people, they threw dust into the air and screamed, "Away with such a man! He is not fit that such a man should live on the earth!"

Martyrs of Christ who have suffered torture and death through the ages suffered only because they were not afraid to live in the love of God, and love others with the love of God. But not many are willing to do the same because, as a rule, men fear men. That is a quality of the flesh that must be overcome if we are ever going to do God any acceptable service. No man can love people with God’s love if he fears that those people may not like being loved that way. And God’s people are no exception. An ungodly minister is one who fears them and, so, tells them only what they want to hear in order to keep their favor.

The love of God is the love of God. It prefers Him and His righteousness above all things; it considers His feelings and His will first. Then it acts. We must love people with God’s holy love, which is full of both mercy and truth, and which is almost always misunderstood and condemned by men, even the children of God. Still, without the motivation of the love of God in our decisions, our words, and our actions, our life is worthless to others.

So, we really only have two choices. We can love men with the love of the flesh and be spoken well of by everyone (and bring a curse on our souls - Lk. 6:26). Or we can love people with the love of God and be misunderstood and "hated of all men for Jesus’ sake" (and reign with Jesus in the end - 2Tim. 2:12). Jesus chose to love us with God’s love, and he asks us to follow his example in dealing with others, no matter how they react to the holy love that we show them.