Ferguson, Deflategate & Johnny Depp

The country has been on fire as of late, literally. Cities being burned because folks are angry, protesting the supposed abuse by police among African American communities. We’ve tolerated the looting and destruction by calling it a protest. We’ve also tolerated some authorities to be above the law they’re sworn to protect!

In another story, a lot of folks are commenting on the “deflategate” scandal that has rocked the football world. Most are suggesting that this is no big deal. Making comparisons to the many sports figures receiving lighter punishments, that have beaten their wives or girlfriends, they suggest that this is a non-issue.

Then this morning I heard a story about Johnny Depp. It’s alleged that he smuggled his Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo into Australia, skirting the law that requires them to be quarantined to be certain they are rabies free.

How these stories are related you ask? Simple, it’s a growing trend in our culture that allows people to be above the law if: they’re famous, rich, or angry. In all of these examples we will hear; “the facts don’t matter”, “It doesn’t change the results” or “what’s the big deal.” This is very troubling.  If facts don’t matter, or the end justifies the means, or it’s no big deal, then how is our society to function?

Ferguson – Tom Brady – Johnny Depp

The driving attitude behind all of these stories is ARROGANCE. Arrogant is defined as; having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities. In each example, the parties involved believed that they are above the laws that govern the rest of us.

The abusive officer is above the law because he’s got a gun or is an authority figure. It’s ARROGANCE. The offending character is above the law because he’s poor, or black. It’s ARROGANCE. The protestors are above the law because they feel abused or pushed down. It’s ARROGANCE. Tom Brady is above the law (rules of the game) because he’s a great quarterback. It’s ARROGANCE. Johnny Depp is above the law because he’s rich and famous. It’s ARROGANCE.

We’re all becoming more arrogant and it’s sinful. The Bible, God’s word, talks about this;

“A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,” [Pr 6:17]

God is very clear about arrogance and pride, He hates it!

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” [Pr 8:13]

When Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth, he condemned their arrogance in overlooking sin; “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” [1Corinthians 5:2] The problem is that they thought they were more important than the commands of God! When we ignore His commands, ignore His will for our lives, ignore what He thinks is right, we’re ignoring Him, THE CREATOR. We’re really saying, “the facts don’t matter”, “It doesn’t change the results” or “what’s the big deal.”

If we ignore God, we miss all the blessings He’s promised, we miss the lessons that help us to avoid trouble in our lives, and we miss the mark. If we continue to ignore God, thinking more of ourselves, we miss heaven! We miss heaven because when we ignore God, we also ignore Jesus, the Christ….

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” [John 12:48-49]

If we fail to learn the lessons about arrogance, continuing to think more of our own importance, we’ll never learn to obey God. We see it already in our homes, disobedient children [Ro 1:30], and in our work places [Ephesians 6:5], and we see it in our country [Romans 13:1-6].

There’s only one reason when we’re permitted to disobey man’s law,

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” [Ac 5:29](KJV)

Spencer Blackwelder, is an Evangelist in Borger, TX and has been working to recover from his own swollen head.

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Better than the Golden Rule

You’ve heard of the ‘Golden Rule’, it’s taken from the passage in Matthew 7:12;

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

That is a great rule, hence why it’s been called Golden, but there is another rule I like to call the ‘Platinum Rule’.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [Philippians 2:3]

The word ‘esteem’ is the same word translated as ‘count’ in other passages i.e., Phil 3:7. In that passage, Paul has ‘counted’ all things as loss. Compare that usage to ‘esteem’ and you now have an instruction on how we ought to interact with each other.

Regarding stuff, count it as loss. Regarding people, especially those in the household of faith [Ga 6:10], count them as better than self.

What would it look like if we obeyed the command of our Lord in BOTH of these passages? If you were to ask me how I would describe a Christian, I would begin with these two passages, and perhaps a third;

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. [Joh 13:34]

 – Spencer

Unconditional Love?

by Terry Benton

That God’s love is “unconditional” means one thing to one person and a different thing to someone else. The Bible does not use the expression “unconditional love” but does imply it. God “so loved” the world (John 3:16). That would mean that love is what moved Him to give His Son for the sinful world. Paul said that he loved us “while we were yet sinners” (Rom. 5:8). Thus, it was not a situation of God would love us IF….. God loved us when we were at our worst. Thus, in that regard, it was an unconditional love. But, what does that mean? Some seem to think that because God loves us all unconditionally, that therefore He ACCEPTS us unconditionally. Is this what the Bible really teaches?

False Concepts of God’s Love

One clearly false concept is that God only loves us IF we perfectly obey Him. But, that is not the case because the Bible says He loved us at our worst, “while we were yet sinners”(Rom. 5:8). The Prodigal Son’s father loved him unconditionally, but certainly was not pleased with his son’s choices. To love is not to accept any and all behavior. A parent can “so love” a child but not be pleased with the lifestyle of that child. Still, love is what causes the parent to keep hoping for a turn around and return of the lost child. Love longs for a turning point in the thinking of the child, and love is unconditional. But, love does not accept the child in rebellious behavior. The prodigal son’s father never stopped loving his son, but there was broken fellowship and relationship. The father was not glad about the son’s choices and behavior, and did not pretend that relationship remained the same as ever. Perfect obedience was not the reason he loved his son. He loved his son while he was yet a sinner in hope of his son’s coming to himself and returning in humility. Love is that way. God is not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness (Psalm 5:4-6). A person determined to keep practicing sin is certainly not acceptable to the Lord (Prov. 15:8-9). Love means God longs for a sinner who is ruining his life and his potential, longing for the sinner to wake up and turn back to God. God’s love causes Him to also hate what the sinner represents and how that sinner influences others to ruin their lives as well (Rom.1:20ff).

A similar false concept is that “God only loves us BECAUSE we deserve His love”. God’s love is totally unconditional. The character of God is LOVE. Relationship with God is in fact conditional. Love does not equate to relationship and acceptance. As an illustration we might say that George loves everyone. Does everyone love George? And Does George automatically let everyone in his house? Can we not love our enemies without trusting them with our house and our children? Love does not equate with relationship and acceptance.

Things God’s Love Will NOT Do

Love will not automatically accept you “as you are” if that means “as you have been”. Love does not mean I accept my child as a murderer or adulterer or thief. Love means I have “good will” for someone and will help them get right with God. If one is “continuing in sin”, love means that I am sad for them and long for their salvation from sin and ruin.

Love does not automatically forgive you. Forgiveness is conditioned on being “in Christ”(Eph.1:3, 7; Gal. 3:26-27). Love longs for our forgiveness and will provide a just way that it can happen if we want it. There are conditions for coming into Christ where forgiveness is enjoyed.   God’s love longs to forgive, but will not automatically accept you “as you are”, if that means you are going to decide to continue as you are.

Love will not force your love and service to Him. It will not force you to act against your will, but yearns to get you to change your will in His favor. Therefore, love will not, by itself, prevent you from going to torment or hell. God loved even the rich man, but the rich man still went to torment (Luke 16:19f). It was not that God did not love him. It was that the rich man did not love God and therefore did not love his fellow man.

Things God’s Love WILL Do

God’s love will provide a conditional way for you to be saved. (John 3:16; Mark 16:15-16). These conditions do not merit salvation on your end. They are things that you MUST do (Acts 2:37-41), and yet they are not works of merit whereby God OWES us anything (Eph. 2:8-9). Belief and baptism in Jesus’ name are not meritorious works, nor are they works of perfect law-keeping. They are both actions of mind, will, and appeal to God for His mercy. God loves us and will forgive us if we believe, repent, and are baptized in Jesus’ name for remission of sins. God’s love provides the remission of sins and the conditions.

These conditions are within your power to do. There is no excuse for not meeting these conditions.

God’s love will try to attract your better possibilities and potential and will provide the greatest incentives for you to repent (Rom. 2:4-8). Heaven and Hell are incentives, but God’s amazing love and fellowship is a primary incentive.

God’s love is so great that He will do what is painful to Himself in order to be merciful and just in an effort to win your love and fellowship. God IS Love. (1 John 3).

How do we define His Love?

We cannot define it as automatic acceptance. It does not mean that none will be lost. What does it mean? It means that there is “good will”, mercy, and compassion already resident within His character. It is there driving Jesus to the cross for your possible salvation. It is your greatest opportunity in life to have reconciliation with God now so that He can bring you home to glory.

Don’t blow your opportunity to experience and enjoy His greatness of Being. There are conditions for being made acceptable (Rom. 5:1f). We see how 3,000 Jews came from lost and condemned to being acceptable, having remission of sins (Acts 2:36-41) all because of the love of God. You have the same opportunity because of His love. What will your response be?

 

 

Terry Benton, “Unconditional Love?,” in Answering Religious Error, April 15, 2015, http://www.answeringreligiouserror.com/salvation/unconditional-love/.

7 things Jesus said that made me work harder

While sitting in my office here in Borger, Tx, I was wondering, Why does one person seem to be more active as a Christian and another does not?  Said another way, why do some remain faithful and others fall away? Pondering this question, 7 verses of Jesus came to mind that are motivators for me and my faith.

1)“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” [Mt 22:37]

  • Certainly we should start here. This is the ultimate motivator, IF you believe in the existence of God. For me, obedience to an all powerful God makes perfect sense. He created me, He gave me life, He deserves my life service. Related to this saying are these:
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]
    • Our love, including our demonstration of love, has an impact on my evangelistic efforts. It reminds me of David’s sin. He certainly committed adultery, lying and finally murder, but his real sin was, “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, “ [2Sa 12:14]
  • But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” [Mt 5:44]
    • Elevated even further, love our enemies. This really gets at the heart of the matter because in this one thing we see the truth of the love of God, the love of an enemy. [Rom 5:10]

2)“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” [Mr 8:36]

  • This verse showed me the vanity of worldly pursuits, and that these pursuits can interfere with my ability to win heaven. This verse clearly shows that nothing can be compared to heaven. What’s surprising, not that we sell our souls, but that we sell it so cheaply.

3)“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Lu 9:62]

  • It’s very easy to get lazy and unmotivated as a christian. This verse reminds us that our service toward God is an active service. James reminds us of this when he wrote, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” [Jam 2:18]

4)“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Mt 5:20]

  • So many people believe in an, “I’m ok / you’re ok” kind of life. This verse shows us that our righteousness is to EXCEED another’s. When you also look at this other verse, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” [Mt 23:23] we see that He was critical of their lack in the heart issues. Please note that He said, “without leaving the others undone.”

5)“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:” [Mt 25:35]

  • How do we do this? How do we feed our Lord? When we read the context we see very clearly that it’s done through the care and feeding of our brethren. He then goes on to say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” / “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

6)“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” [Mt 22:29]

  • Can there be any more sobering words from our Lord than these? “Spencer, you’re mistaken.” In what were these mistaken? You may say, “It’s got nothing to do with salvation.” My question for you is this, CAN YOU BE MISTAKEN ABOUT SALVATION, By not knowing the scriptures or the power of God?

7)“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” [Joh 3:5]

  • When Jesus says things like, “except ye______, he cannot enter….” we need to pay attention. So much verbal gymnastics are performed attempting to explain away baptism. When you take the entirety of scripture, [Mrk 16:16; Acts 22:16] you can only come to the conclusion that baptism is essential.

So, there you go. Seven amazing quotes from our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ. What will motivate you to serve Him better? If not these, what?

One more bonus quote I will share: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” [Mt 7:21]

I’m Pro Choice

 It may surprise you to know that I am pro choice

You may say, “What!! A Preacher that’s pro choice!”

Yes, I am. Let me explain something, when it comes to abortion, a person has had many many many more choices that they failed to make wisely BEFORE they became pregnant.

You could choose…….

not to be alone with a person in the back of a car
not to engage in the hormonal passions
not to be groped or to grope another
not to take off your clothes

You could also choose…….

to save yourself for marriage
to always go on dates with a chaperon or on double dates for accountability
to talk about your intentions with your girlfriend or boyfriend

This reminds me of the slogan….

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?

You’ve seen that before, right? Of course you have, it’s on bumper stickers, t-shirts and arm bands. I love the idea of asking what Jesus would do in any given situation. What bugs me is WHEN people ask that question.

You see, there’s no trouble in asking the question. Just ask it sooner.

If you ask the question, WWJD?, while locked in the arms of passion, in the back seat of your fathers minivan, parked in some quiet, dark and private location, you may have asked it too late. At this point, hormones and ego may get in the way of doing what Jesus would do. As a matter of fact, Jesus WOULDN’T do what you’re doing.

Borger High School teens, This one’s for you,

The best way to get the most out of the question, WWJD?, would be to decide now, today, what you would do in many of the situations that young people find themselves engaged. BEFORE you find yourself in those situations. This really applies to any person, young or old.

Jesus would do a lot less than what we’re doing. If Christ is our example, 1Co 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (NKJV), what manner of person ought we to be?

In our thoughts
In our character
In our actions
In our relationships
In our business dealings

If you haven’t figured it out, I am against abortion. It’s wrong, it destroys the life of an innocent that has no choice. There are choices for an unwanted pregnancy. There’s adoption for one.

If you need help because you’re trying to make a choice, let’s talk. If not with me, speak with someone who will give you more than just the one choice of aborting the child. They say that they’re pro choice, in reality, they offer none.

I was a fetus once and so were you.

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10