Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Christian’s perspective on the Health bill

I have no doubt that many many articles, posts, blogs and such have been, and will be, written about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Health bill. I am not one of those however. It isn’t that I do not care about the decision. Actually, I was quite astonished by the decision. I was not happy with the decision. Yet, I know that on the other side of the fence there are those who may also be astonished and yet very happy with the decision.

However, after I got over the surprise, I moved on with what I was doing at the time. That I moved on so quickly surprised me, I am, by nature, driven to fight to right wrongs. Maybe I figured it was too big a wrong, or too hard to fight but after a little while, I began to realize that it doesn’t matter. I am not saying that is not without consequence, I am simply saying that in the bigger picture, it does not really matter.

It will affect me, to be sure, at some point in my life. Perhaps the effect will be in higher health premiums, perhaps it will be in poorer health coverage. I mean, it seems logical that the “Right” is correct  that costs will go up. On the other hand, the “Left” says that everyone can be covered this way and costs will go down; perhaps they are correct. Maybe health care will thrive like this and people will live longer and more diseases and ailments will be cured.  It is probable that the only truth is that both cannot be correct.

However, as I said, it doesn’t really matter. The reason is simple. Even if the health care in the country deteriorates to such a level that I die 10 years earlier, or if it improves so that I live 100 years longer in good health, the fact of the matter is…I am going to die.

I am finally convinced that the most and best that Christians can do in this world, while in this world, in relationship to the political environment is to heed the advice of Paul:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Ti 2:1-4)

What Paul urged was not demonstrations, protests, and hours endlessly glued to Fox News or MSNBC while grumbling about the opposite political party and how dumb or corrupt they are. Paul said PRAY  for them. Thank God for them and pray that we (as Christians) can live a life that is peaceful, quiet, godly, and dignified.

Especially in America, we have such a great freedom. I am not saying “do not vote.”  Actually, I think that right given to us needs to be exercised. Far too few people do it anyway. However, what I am saying is that prayer is a much more effective tool to be used to make sure that this country, or any country, will go the way that it should. Yet, in all these types of prayers, there is a need to say “Thy will be done”

If you noticed in the above passage, Paul alludes to the saving of souls. Why do we pray for our leaders? So that souls can be saved.

Translation: Turn off the T.V., spend time in prayer, and then go out into the world and be a light shining in the darkness. Souls are being lost because they believe Satan’s lies. Whether Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative, a  Christian will focus his/her time, money, and efforts on supporting the effort to bring souls to Christ.

As I said, the health bill does not matter, but serving Jesus is something that does.

Question: What else do we spend time doing that, from an eternal perspective, does not matter.

photo credit: themostimportantnews.com

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Have you ever gone overboard in brotherly love?

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Rom 12:10 ESV)

Perhaps you remember those gophers (Mac and Tosh) on the Bugs Bunny Cartoon show who were so polite to one another. It seemed that they would never climb the tree or go down the gopher hole due to their insistence that the other one go first. (“After you…”, “No, I insist, after you….”) Can you imagine two Christian brothers trying to outdo each other in showing love like that? Whether to one another, or to another brother, this would be a great thing to behold. Of course, it would be great as long as they were not doing it in a competitive manner and changing the motive from “showing honor” to “tooting one’s own horn”.

For sure, the danger in serving God, and one another, seldom is the danger of going overboard in such an effort. It seems that we are more likely to look for an opportunity to get by with the minimal amount of effort  possible. Time and money are the only two ways I know of for showing honor to another brother.

Barnabas a good example of Brotherly Affection

The effort it takes to show brotherly affection develops slowly in some people. Others, have it very naturally. Barnabas seems to be such a person. Three examples in his life show his desire to outdo others in showing brotherly love.

First, he sold land to help others. (Acts 4) Some have speculated it was a burial plot, others that since he was not in Cyprus that he didn’t have a need for it. In either case, he removed his concern for things in the world by selling something he had and then he brought the money to the Apostles for the distribution to saints in need.

Second, he took Saul of Tarsus to the Apostles after his conversion and told them how he had changed. (Acts 9) When others did not want anything to do with Saul of Tarsus, he took a risk and showed a brotherly affection to one who may have imprisoned some of his family or friends.

Third, he stood up to help John Mark, a young disciple who needed a 2nd chance. (Acts 15) Mark had left Paul and Barnabas on their 1st missionary journey and Paul was not inclined to give him such a chance. Barnabas did and it was many years later that Paul agreed that Mark had changed.

The challenge for the rest of us.

For the rest of us, we swim upstream against a society that doesn’t understand brotherly affection the way God wants it.  It is easier to just give up and fit in by belonging to groups of our friends and ignore those on the outside. However, Christians need to stick together and be able to cross boundaries that the world insists are normal. Christian brother affection must cross racial boundaries, it must cross political boundaries, it must cross University boundaries  (If you have a favorite college sports team, you know what I mean by that!) and it must cross social status boundaries.

If I could instill one thing in the youth today, so that it would not be a problem as they move into adulthood, it would be this: Social status such as “Jocks”, “Cheerleaders”, “Geeks”, “Nerds”, “Wannabes”, “Gothic”, and a dozen other descriptions meant to divide must, Must, MUST be conquered when it comes to fellow Christians.  If it is “social suicide” to be seen with a fellow Christian from church, just because he or she is some outcast to your friends…then prefer the Christan brother to your “of the world” friends. In so doing, you will let your light shine.

This is part of the adding brotherly affection to your faith that Peter tells us to do. By adding it, we assure ourselves that we will be fruitful and effective Christians in His service.

Question: What are some ways you have seen the world’s boundaries ignored so that Christian brotherly affection can continue?

Photo credit Sitcomonline.com from Google images

The Best free bible software I know

Have you ever wanted to research for an scripture and didn’t know were to find it? You were sure that it was in there but couldn’t find it! If you are like me, you might thumb through the Bible  book that you are “sure” that the verse is in and even look to one side of the page because you know that it is on the left side or the right side!

A few years ago, I was introduced to a windows form software called E-Sword. I do not receive any points, money, or free upgrades for this recommendation but I do recommend that anyone wanting a good Bible software to go to E-sword.net and download a copy.

The software comes with one or two Bible versions already downloaded but you can download more free ones and you can add others  for a modest price. Reference books, commentaries and the like are also available.

I am able to find passages based on a word, or a phrase a lot more easily. It does help a lot, if you are preparing a lesson on Brotherly Love, to find passages that use the phrase. But what you might also find is things that will make you go :Hmmmm!

For example you might be surprised to notice that the word (Brotherly Love) does not show up in the Gospels. However, the root word of Philidelphia, “Phileo” shows up a lot more in the Gospels than the epistles. Whether or not that little bit of trivia makes a difference to you or not, you will notice things like that. Additionally, Philidelphia is used 5 times in the NT and with one exception, it appears in the same context (verse or paragraph) of the word Love (Agape).

There a lot of features to this software that will take you a long time to explore but searches and finding those verses online will be an easy (much easier) thing to do with E-sword.

Question: What Bible software to you use? Do you pay for it? Feel free to post the link and a statement about it.

 

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