Bug Zapping Theology

Electric-Bug-Zapper-612x630Americans are very creative in their ways to destroy pests. We don’t simply use mouse traps or just poison them anymore. We can catch them on sticky stuff and then…? I’m not sure what happens. Do you have to kill them or just let them starve or suffocate to death in the trash can? We are also creative with our flying insect destruction. Ah yes, we use fly swatters and practice our aim until we can get “seven in one blow.”  But look where that got Mickey Mouse!  Then there’s the roll of sticky stuff, which is placed by the door so flies get stuck there instead of coming in for a visit. What a wonderful sight to welcome guests!

We starve the flies on sticky rolls, poison them with spray, try to keep them out with screens, but my favorite is the bug-zapper. How soothing it is to sit on a patio with the sound of bugs frying in the background!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bug lover.  I know they have their purposes, but I do wonder if they are a part of creation or the curse.

It’s interesting how the bug-zapper works. The light attracts the unsuspecting bug who thinks it is just going to get warm. Boy, does it get warm! Little does it know that it is in mortal danger!  It can’t see all the fried carcasses stuck to the thing.  It doesn’t smell sizzling critters, and it is not hearing the zap! It is just following the instinct of all Diptera ( the scientific name for flying insects. FYI: the scientific name for Praying Mantis is Mantis religiosa!)

So, what’s the point? Why the title “Bug Zapping Theology?” What is Bug Zapping theology? So glad you asked!

Bug Zapping Theology deceives its followers into thinking that they are following the True Light: Jesus Christ. It is so dangerous for the same reasons a Bug Zapper is lethal–it kills!

Whether it is a false leader who has convinced its followers to blindly follow his cult, or a seemingly upstanding religious pastor or priest who is watering down the Bible, both can be eternally dangerous!

How do you know if you are being deceived? Here are some guidelines for avoiding false teaching:

  • Check the Bible. If someone is teaching a doctrine that runs against the grain of the Bible, it is a false doctrine. In this day and age, EVERYTHING is being questioned. Even the Ten Commandments aren’t excluded from the scrutiny. For example, commandment number four: Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. What does that mean? The Bible is certainly open for many applications, but only one interpretation. When the application says that attending church is not part of keeping the Sabbath holy, we are on dangerous ground. Sadly, many ignore the warning signs of false doctrine for various reasons: family and cultural traditions, feel-good and bandwagon mentality…
  • Check the Bible.
  • Check the Bible.

Why am I so adamant about this? Ask yourself this question: Where is the best place to go for information about God, eternity, morality, etc.? Doesn’t it make sense to check the Book that was written by God? Better yet, don’t just check it–read it!

  • Check your heart. Ask a few questions concerning basic beliefs, like: What do I have to do to get to heaven? Many people say, “Receive forgiveness of my sins by believing that Jesus died for me.” This is the correct answer as long as you don’t add anything to it. You may word it differently, but the idea is the same. For example, Believe that Jesus died for my sins, and be baptized, join a church, do my best, be good, pay my dues… If we add anything to the blood of Jesus, we are saying that His Crucifixion and Resurrection were not enough to take away my sin! It’s sad to me how many people are being duped by charlatans–false lights!
  • Watch out for “easy-believism.” What’s that? It comes in all shapes and size, such as salvation without a knowledge of sin. Can we truly be saved from sin if we do not know or believe that we are sinners? the philosophy of “Come as you are”  opens the door to all, which is a good thing, but “stay as you are” means that salvation never made a difference, and it should! “Just give your heart to Jesus.” Sometimes folks are urged to do this with no explanation or understanding. Then it becomes no more than a good gesture, like giving someone a cookie.
  • Check your life. Did your decision to trust Jesus Christ as your personal Savior change your life? We hate to ask this because of “Check your Heart!” We’re afraid of being legalistic–adding anything to simple belief for salvation. But life DOES change once we are born-again! I’m not talking about putting more gas in the tank, I’m talking about dropping a brand-new engine into a dead car! It would NOT move before, but now it has motion.  It was useless–now it has a purpose. It may have been comfortable, but really, who wants to sit in a beautiful car that can’t take you anywhere? Jesus Christ cannot abide in your heart and NOT affect your life.
  • Be discerning. We can’t follow our feelings.  Sometimes, we can’t even trust our leaders!  That’s scary! But poor council keeps folks enslaved to false religions. If you are in this situation and you feel there is no one to turn to, turn to God! He never goes against His Word!
  • Be prayerful. Praise God, He will ALWAYS answer when we humbly seek His face!

Sadly, as we see the day of our Lord’s return approaching, the deception grows stronger every day!

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

But take heart! John 8:32 is still in the Bible:

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

As a child, I believed in God and that Jesus died for me.  I faithfully attended church, sang in the choir, and played the organ.  But I had never prayed and asked Jesus to save me until I was seventeen.  Would I have gone to hell if I had died before then? I believe so, but I’m so thankful that I didn’t have to find out! If you have any questions, check out God’s Simple Plan of Salvation. It’s important enough to get right–all eternity depends upon it!

 

Many Judases

The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born. Mark 14:21

In just a few days the horrific yet wonderful story of Jesus’ last days on earth will end in glory, and we will celebrate His omnipotent victory over death.  Jesus is very much alive!  He has conquered death. But where is Judas? Judas Iscariot is dead. Who was Judas? What do we know about this man?

Here are the facts that we can gather from scripture:

  • Iscariot tells us that he probably lived in the area of Kerioth in southern Judaea
  • His father’s name was Simon
  • Luke 6:16 calls him a traitor—that he became a traitor
  • John 17:12 labels him as the “Son of perdition” which means he is identified as a man destined for eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire.
  • Several passages allude to the fact that Judas was the treasurer and a thief.

Judas was progressive.  We don’t know what he thought when Jesus chose him as one of the twelve; however, Jesus’ ministry was already flourishing and it could be that Judas saw it as an opportunity to improve his situation. While all the other disciples were disillusioned into thinking that Jesus was about to usher in His Kingdom, it may be that, as time went on, Judas began to believe differently. It seems as though Mary’s gift was the last straw. All this waste—money that didn’t make it into his purse!

Whatever the reasoning for Judas’ hard heart, he betrayed the One who would die for him, rejected God’s precious gift, and took his own life.

“… good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

 Jesus’ words are haunting. What a strong statement, and yet it can still be applied to people today. If we continue in this life, seeking our own way, our own salvation through personal beliefs or the beliefs of false religions, it would be better if we had not been born! Why? Because any other belief will take our souls to hell, and Jesus knew this! Perhaps His greatest suffering on the cross was the realization that so many would still spend eternity in hell, in spite of His ultimate sacrifice!

As our world becomes more diverse, it seems too intolerant to believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Can all the other religions of the world be wrong? Here’s a thought that might stretch you a bit.  Bear with me!

When this world was destroyed by the worldwide flood, eight people disembarked from the ark. Every one of those people knew the one true God and saw His incredible power, but just one hundred years later, they had forgotten Jehovah’s instructions for a blood sacrifice and were building a tower to God—an amazing symbol of man’s efforts to reach God by his own design. They scattered, and instead of taking the truth about the one true God with them, they chose to be smarter than God and make their own gods.

“… good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

The truth is always available to anyone who seeks it. Did Judas have a choice or opportunity to embrace Christ instead of betraying Him? Absolutely! Any person who has taken a breath has that opportunity. If you doubt the truth about Jesus Christ, will you consider this: He died in your place! If you want to read more, here’s a wonderful story that may help to make everything clear, and here’s is the Gospel, plain and simple. May it not be said of you, dear reader…

“… good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

When we leave our hearts and mind open and empty of God’s Holy Spirit, we are just as susceptible to Satan as Judas was.

Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.     Luke 22:3

The Wrong Bottle

brand_cleanersWith fourteen inches of snow outside, I decided this was the week to paint the inside of our home. After six days of painting, I AM DONE! So, I thought I’d quickly wash the inside of the large front window in our living room. Sure, the outside would have to wait, but it would look better. I only had ten minutes before my first piano lesson of the day arrived, but that would be enough time. And it would have been if I had grabbed the right bottle.

I sprayed and wiped, and sprayed and wiped, but the window kept smearing. It wasn’t until I wasted half of my time that I realized that I was using the Clorox Spray and not Windex! Clorox Spray is a wonderful cleaner, my favorite cleaner, but it doesn’t work on windows!

I suppose the first lesson I need to learn would be a challenge for my entire life—SLOW DOWN! One of my husband’s favorite statements is that God gives everyone the same twenty-four hours, and He always gives us enough time to do HIS plan! Admittedly, I am a “stop-and-smell-the-roses” type of person. I rush through my work so I can smell the roses; but lately, I find that too much rush means too much missed life. Life is work, so don’t be afraid to stop and enjoy it!

Lesson number two: Use the right cleaner. More and more often, I find myself wondering if people I know have been truly cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Our experiences mold and shape us, and, for me that meant years of believing in God, going faithfully to church, even loving God and understanding that He sent His Son to die on the cross to take away sin. But it wasn’t until someone gave me a Gospel tract that I realized I needed to ASK Him to be my Savior. It may sound like a moot point, but it that one of Satan’s lies? John 1:12,13 is in the Bible for a reason:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood (I’m a Christian because my parents are Christians), nor of the will of the flesh (I think I’ll get saved today), nor of the will of man (I want you to be saved today), but of God. (Only His Holy Spirit calls us to salvation)

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

What can make me whole again?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Oh, precious it the flow

That makes me white as snow.

No other fount I know—

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

I use an old song visual that unfolds into a cross for this song. It’s been taped together a hundred times, but its message needs to be told! What wonderful Good News.

Are you washed by the Blood of the Lamb?

Leaving the Comfort of the Womb

 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.John 3:3Samuel

As I held our newest grandchild in my arms, I was once again amazed at the creation of God!  One line from one of my favorite songs says, “Creator of the galaxies—You hear the baby cry…there is none like You.”

Little Samuel can see very little. He can’t bring his own hand to the place that itches.  He would starve without the wonder of his mother’s milk.  Each little finger and toe is perfectly formed, and I read someplace that his intestines are no bigger than the lead of a pencil.   His brain, which is soaking up an incredible amount of information, cannot tell his lips to form words.  His smile is just a reaction to a good feeling, like passing those little gas bubbles. And ye he has all the capacity to become all that God wants Him to be.

Until three days ago, his normal was complete darkness.  His home was a cozy, albeit cramped, cocoon floating in water.  He rode around on his head, but it didn’t matter, because that’s the way God designed it to be.

Then, within a matter of minutes, his entire world changed.  Now he must breathe air to live and his food must be digested and leave his body.  His skin is exposed to the elements and he MUST get used to wearing clothes. He can see and touch the one whose voice was as much a part of his live as life itself.

I’ve often thought that this life is just a longer version of pregnancy.  We are on this earth for seventy years, much like we’re in the womb for nine months: we “see through a glass darkly.”  (1 Corinthians 13:14) Then, through the sometimes painful event of death, we are thrust forth into a new and totally different world!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

And yet, the real reason for this post is another parallel: How much did your life change when you were born again?  Did you step out of the darkness and into light?  Did you begin to hunger for the milk of the Word?  Did you put on clothes, not only the clothes of righteousness given to you by your Savior, but the clothes of holiness as well?  And have you come to hear and see the One Who sustains your very life—the One whose voice was as much a part of your life as life itself, even though you didn’t know Him?

After just three days, I can’t even imagine Samuel back in the womb!  As I watch him flail his arms and stretch his little legs out straight, I doubt seriously that he would choose to reenter the womb.  ( I know his mother wouldn’t!)

Dear Christian, why do you long for this world?  Why would you ever go back it’s darkness when once you’ve walked in the light? Why do you starve yourself?  There is no direct pipeline from God to His creation except the Word of God. If you are a babe in Christ, allow other’s to feed you!  Learn from them and grow until you are able to feed yourself!

And dear older Christian, do remember that babies are messy!  All your shouting and looks of disapproval are completely lost on them! They cannot get it any more than Samuel would understand the admonition not to throw up on Mommy’s shoulder!  Just love them, and hold them, and care for them, and PRAY for them, and help them to grow in their timetable–not yours.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.John 3:7

Finally Home 

When engulfed by the terror of the tempestuous sea,
Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul.

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home.

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
O how lonely death can be;
At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light,
For death is swallowed up in victory!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

~ Don Wyrtzen

 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth for ever.
1Peter 1:23

Room for the Impossible

It never ceases to amaze me how words written a hundred years ago can be so timely for us today!  Oswald Chambers died in 1917, at the age of forty-three, yet his words ring true in 2015!

Here is an excerpt from his Devotional Bible:

Jesus is not in the sitting by the tomb; He is not in the bitter tears; He is not in the sad communings.  The place where we will find Jesus is just where common sense says it is impossible to find Him.  It was no use for the disciples to imagine they were going to have a recurrence of those three years; it was impossible to recall the thrilling yesterdays; it was impossible for the two on the way to Emmaus to have a return of the fellowship they yearned for; but there was something infinitely better for them.  “For He is risen, as He said.” Impossibility had wedded itself to what Jesus had said.  The proclamation of the impossible springs from the supernatural, not from common sense.  The supernatural figures largely all through the life of our Lord.  At His birth the angels proclaimed that He should be called Jesus “for He will save His people from their sins.”  We shall not think of our Lord as a savior if we look at Him in the light of our own minds, because no natural man imagines he needs to be saved.  Do we make room in our faith for the impossible along the line of the supernatural?  Or have we reduced our religion to such common sense platitudes that there is no need for Jesus to have lived at all?

It’s deep, but it’s worth reading several times to get it!  Beyond Common Sense–this was one of the devotionals that prompted the new name.  Can we really live this way?  Can we expect God to do the impossible?  Jesus reminds his disciples in John 14:12 that their works would exceed His works in greatness: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

And Matthew Henry has this to say about the passage.  Again, it may be deep, but it’s worth the digging.!

That they should do greater works than these. In the kingdom of nature they should work greater miracles. No miracle is little, but some to our apprehension seem greater than others. Christ had healed with the hem of his garment, but Peter with his shadow (Acts 5:15), Paul by the handkerchief that had touched him, Acts 19:12. Christ wrought miracles for two or three years in one country, but his followers wrought miracles in his name for many ages in divers countries. You shall do greater works, if there be occasion, for the glory of God. Theprayer of faith, if at any time it had been necessary, would have removed mountains. [2.] In the kingdom of grace. They should obtain greater victories by the gospel than had been obtained while Christ was upon earth. The truth is, the captivating of so great a part of the world to Christ, under such outward disadvantages, was the miracle of all. I think this refers especially to the gift of tongues;this was the immediate effect of the pouring out of the Spirit, which was a constant miracle upon the mind, in which words are framed, and which was made to serve so glorious an intention as that of spreading the gospel to all nations in their own language. This was a greater sign to them that believed not (1 Co. 14:22), and more powerful for their conviction, than any other miracle whatever.

Show this world the impossible: a life totally committed to Jesus Christ!  You will shine brightly in this dark, sin-cursed world which seems to deny its Maker more and more every year!  And remember: God is just  as faithful in 2015 as He was in the 1600s and 1900s!

Will the Real Christian Please Stand Up

Knowing the ways of God is such a mystery to man.  We can read His precious Word, standing in awe of the very fact that He gave it to mankind! Can any other book make such a claim?  Did any other god give his people his written word, written by the very finger of God?

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Exodus 31:18

God speaks to us through His Word; however, He also directs our paths through various ways: another person’s words or actions, a dream, circumstances, nature. His Spirit dwells in believer’s hearts and also moves among us, (John 3:8) in ways we cannot see.

It is 4:45 A.M., not my usual waking hour!  I was awakened by a dream and thoughts of my teen years—thoughts I would just as soon forget.  Why did I dream them?  Where did these thoughts come from?  I certainly didn’t wish for them; however, God used them to remind me once again of my salvation.  I cannot give you an exact date of my salvation, only the details and approximate times. Once again, I took a moment to read the Gospel tract which I read so long ago alone in my bedroom, and what a joy it was to me–a blessed reminder of the best day of my life!

Today, the word “Christian” is proclaimed by so many, but I wonder how many “Christians” would find themselves in hell, if death knocked on their door this day.

Last week at the National Prayer Breakfast (February 5th), Darrell Waltrip gave a clear testimony of salvation. What a thrill to hear this man clearly testify:

  1. That his past had been filled with arrogance and self-seeking fame. Several times, he expressed his difficulty in even sharing these facts, ashamed of his actions.
  2. That there was a point in time when he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ
  3. That the testimony of his wife was a constant draw and conviction in his life
  4. That he is a changed man

I had never hear of Darrell Waltrip before last week—we’re really not into NASCAR; but after hearing him speak, listening to him openly share his heart, describing himself as he was and then watching a totally different man as he now is, I was once again challenged: Why are there so many Christians whose lives have not changed?

One possible answer: believing vs. receiving.  In my own life, I can look back and say, “That’s when it all changed.”  Before I was saved, I believed and went to church faithfully, but my life did not reflect Christ, it reflected me!

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe on his name, John 1:12

I love this verse!  For years I missed it, but look how it reads. The ending phrase says it all: YOU CAN BELIEVE AND NOT RECEIVE.

If you have cancer, and your doctor has a miracle pill that has been proven to completely cure cancer—you can believe in that pill all you want, but until you put it in your mouth and swallow it, the cancer will kill you.

Receiving is an act of the will, it is a choice. It is an act of surrendering all to Jesus.  Anything else that I am clinging to must be dropped.  Our president says that he is a Christian by choice.  I’m not sure what that means, but I do know that you can’t embrace both Islam and Christianity. Many American Christians are just like the lost of other lands.  The missionary presents Christ and they accept Him freely, placing Him on their god shelf beside all their other gods.  It doesn’t work that way!

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Jesus said it, not me.  If you have any doubts about your salvation, I’d urge you to read God’s Simple Plan of Salvation There are many tracts out there, but this one is dear to my heart because by reading it, I became a real Christian!

When gods Die

Webster defines God in three ways:

  1.  the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshiped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe
  2. a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people : one of various spirits or beings worshiped in some religions
  3. a person and especially a man who is greatly loved or admired

As Christians, we worship an eternal God; therefore, my title makes no sense: God cannot die.  He has always existed and will always exist–a doctrine which our finite minds cannot grasp, so we believe it by faith! I am not talking about our Almighty, Creator, Infinite God.

Door Number Two: a spirit or being that has great power… That can only be one “being” and that would be Satan.  Although he parades himself as a host of gods, all “small g” gods really are Satan. I am not talking about Satan.

Door Number Three: a person and especially a man who is greatly loved or admired.  The first person I thought of for this category was Elvis Presley. 😦  Certainly, many worshiped him as a god and when he died, their lives were shattered.  It’s always difficult when gods die!  However, I’m not talking about man-gods either.  There are far more treacherous gods for us to face, and we face them every day of our lives! Let me give you an example:

This morning as I was choosing my cereal, a host of guidelines went into that choosing process: This one has wheat and my “Fast Metabolism Diet” described all the digestive difficulties of eating wheat.  Honeynut Cheerios?  Too many empty calories for a working day.  Crispex? Not enough fiber.  With a sigh, I realize that a god of mine is dying: the joy of eating!  Gone are the days of eating whatever I want–guilt-free!  Caution comes with old age, and we need to watch what we eat if we want to maintain any semblance of healthy living!

As I work in the local public school, I see so many changes.  Our district, like most districts across the nation, has had to tighten its belt which boils down to layoffs and school closings.  I believe our district has made it through, but things are different.

Another difference is that many of the teachers that were here when I started eight years ago are gone: many retired and some laid off.  There are a lot of new fresh YOUNG faces, and they hold the center of the stage!  We all move up a notch when that happens, and sometimes it’s hard to step aside and realize that middle-age has arrived!  Life isn’t free Friday nights and pick-up ball teams any more.  Instead, we’re driving the kids to practices, and running on the treadmill in the basement instead of running to the gym!  It’s a time issue.  It’s practical. It’s different!  And if “youthful living” was a god, life can spiral out of control when it dies.  These are just two examples of gods that die.  What do we do when that happens?

I pick Door Number One!  What a safe place: the God that doesn’t die! What a wonderful perspective He gives to this constantly changing life: He never changes!  Wow!  No wonder if feels so good just to rest in the arms of Jesus.  He holds us and says, “It’s okay if the other gods dies.  You know you shouldn’t have had other gods anyway–that command was given a long time ago!”

It’s actually a great day when gods die!  They’re gone!  They have no more control on our lives!  We are free!  And if you need help in this area, we have a god-Slayer ready to help! We just have to recognize those controlling gods in our lives and give God the green light to destroy them!  Sadly, I think we’re a lot like Philip:

Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?
he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?  John 14:9
We don’t recognize God, and the world is constantly trying to “dumb-us-down” about Who God is and What He is like! He’s really big!
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s NOTHING my God cannot do!
CLAP! CLAP! 🙂
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s NOTHING my God cannot do!
CLAP! CLAP! 🙂
The mountains are His, the valleys are His, the stars are His handiwork too!
CLAP! CLAP! (Woohoo!)
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s NOTHING my God cannot do!
CLAP! CLAP! 🙂
Maybe we just need to become children again and simplify things! Isn’t that what He tells us to do anyway?
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 13:33