Random Christian stuff like my thoughts.
Religion finally Back in Schools – 10-26-99
Religion is now back in schools as one jury decided Monday of last week. The trial was Green v. Board of Education, and Mrs. Green did not like a short prayer being recited after the Pledge of Allegiance. That is just too bad the jury decided. Mrs. Green was quoted as saying â€œIâ€™m taking all my children out of public schools and home-schooling them.â€? After a short deliberation, the jury decided to allow the prayer to be recited by a 6-2 vote.
In this case, the defense asked the question â€œDoes the reference to God in a classroom imply that the school supports a specific religious doctrine?â€? The answer is apparently â€œNo,” and jury member Tim Johnson said after the trial. He was also quoted as saying â€œIn no way does this make the school Christian or Catholic, every major religion has a â€˜Godâ€™, and thatâ€™s all the prayer talks about.â€?
In each classroom at Mohawk Elementary School, children recite the prayer every day and some stay quite. When one boy was questioned about why he did not recite the prayer and remained silent, he responded by saying â€œMy parents said that is not what we believe.â€? This is what transpires in a lot of the classrooms, some children recite the prayer, and some choose not to.
The issue of being able to â€˜chooseâ€™, as the defense made a point of, is free to every student. No children are forced, persuaded, encouraged, rewarded, or penalized if they choose to say or not to say the 23 word prayer. The prayer is not mandatory.
Some positive effects of this prayer is one, that it might result in a decrease of violence. This might happen by students remembering what the Bible says about certain subjects, and then deciding to not indulge in those actions. While some individuals may see the prayer as harmful, in reality, it is not. If people don’t want to take part of the prayer, they are not required to, and may remain silent at their own choosing. How can remaining silent hurt someone?
I personally agree with the decision of the court and jury. I am religious and do regularly attend church. I am Christian, and do not believe that this ruling can be harmful in any relevant way.
Enduring Columbus was about the Native American experience after the first white settlers came to America. I also have a lot of Native American blood in me so I was very interested to see what my ancestors experienced. I had always read whatever was written in my textbooks as a child about Native Americans, however I had never gotten the other side of the story.
In this movie it talked about how the Spaniards arrived in the West. They killed the men and then sent the women and children to be slaves. Their relationship does get better. The Spaniards and pueblo people pulled together to protect themselves. They began to understand each otherâ€™s ways. The Spaniards gave the Indians land grants, but the Spaniards still tried to convert the pueblo to Catholicism. There was much trade at these trade fairs. Pueblo people were sold as slaves. However the Mexicans lost their lands. The pueblos were dissatisfied with the Mexican government. Tribes of Indians revolted against the Mexicans. The revolt failed.
During the rebellion of 1847-indians took a stand against the U.S. Colonists who were trying to take their lands. Indians killed a governor and news spread and so did the rebellion. The U.S. won the revolt, they took the Indian leaders to Santa Fe to â€œtalkâ€?, but these leaders were actually hung.
The Pueblo people went from fifty thousand to seven thousand. Indian slavery was very acceptable, even after the civil war. There was a treaty signed that was supposed to end the war against the Indians, but it didnâ€™t. Non Indians settled on Indian land, so did the U.S. government. Roosevelt took Blue Lake, a sacred place for the Pueblans. They took Indians to an Indian school to become more â€œcivilizedâ€?. They taught them English and Christianity. They were trying to make the Indian culture vanish.
But the Indians refused to disappear. This is what I found so amazing. The Indians never gave up. They refused to conform to the ways of the White man. It is difficult to stand up for what you believe in, but the Indians still do today.
How to benefit from the Bible.
April 7, 2002
– Juan Carlos was a famous pirate. He was notorious for his thievery, and it was rumored that he had a very large amount of plunder buried. One day he was in Mexico and a man came up to him, pushed him to the ground and said â€œJuan Carlos tell me where all your money is buried or I will shoot you right hereï¿½? Juan Carlos didnâ€™t speak a word of English, so he found a young boy to act as interpreter. The boy relayed the message to Juan Carlos, and fearing for his life Juan Carlos said â€œtell him that I donâ€™t want to die. All my money is located 30 paces north of the city water tower under a large rockï¿½?. So the boy turned to the man and said, â€œJuan Carlos says he is an honorable man and will never tell you where the money is. He says to kill him now.ï¿½?
Thatâ€™s actually just a good jokeâ€¦that has nothing to do with the sermonâ€¦but this one does.
– A preacher and a soap manufacturer were walking down the street one-day. As they walked they notice how wrongly people were treating each other. The streets were filled with corruption. The soap manufacturer looked at the preacher and said, ” Preacher, that bible you preach must not be any good, itâ€™s not helping anyone. Look at all the filth and corruption “. The preacher didnâ€™t say anything, he just kept walking. After awhile they came up on some children that were dirty and nasty. It looks as though they hadnâ€™t taken a bath in weeks. The preacher looked at the soap Manufacturer and said, ” That soap you make must not be any good. Look how filthy and dirty these children are “. The soap manufacturer replied, ” Soap doesnâ€™t work unless you use it and apply it “. Thatâ€™s ” right ” said the preacher. ” Itâ€™s the same way with the Bible. The bible want work unless people use it and apply it to their lives “.
So you see from the story that without application, there is no benefit. Without the application of the soap, you donâ€™t get the benefit of cleanliness that the soap brings.
The same principal applies to the Bible, and thatâ€™s what weâ€™re talking about today.
I’m here to tell you this morning that it doesnâ€™t matter how many Bible verses you can quote, how many Bibles you own, or how long youâ€™ve been going to church. None of that matters, unless you do what the Bible saysâ€¦and apply it to your life.
None of it matters until you apply it to your life.
Read James 1:19-27 for background and content, focus on v. 25.
James 1:25 says â€œBut the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.ï¿½?
The word intently does not mean to â€œglanceï¿½?, and then look away. The Greek word for â€œintentlyï¿½? is â€œparakypsasï¿½?. â€œParakypsasï¿½? literally means, â€œto stoop downï¿½?.
So you ask, â€œHow does this apply?ï¿½? well, what would be a good reason for stooping down? One might stoop down to see something more clearly, get a better understanding of something, or just to get closer to it. Is that ironic, that this is the word used for studying the Bible?
The â€œperfect lawï¿½? talked about here is Godâ€™s perfect lawâ€¦which is the Bible. Perfect means no lacking, or having everything.
In the next part of the verse we are told that the man who looks intently into the Bibleâ€¦how often? Once? No, continuously.
Read James 1:25 with emphasis on â€œcontinues to do thisï¿½?.
The word â€œcontinueï¿½? does not mean once or twice or even 1,000 times. The word â€œcontinueï¿½? is indefinite. It does not have a time limit. It essentially means until God returns or you die, whichever comes first.
Read James 1:25 with emphasis on â€œnot forgetting what he has heard, but doing itï¿½?.
Now hear me out right here.
If you were in the mountains, and saw a hole and your friend who was with you said, â€œif you put your hand in that hole, a deadly snake will bite you, and youâ€™ll be dead in 2 minutesï¿½?. Would you put your hand in the hole? Of course not.
You took what you heard, didnâ€™t forget it, did it, and saved your life.
Thatâ€™s what this part of the verse is talking about.
â€œNot forgetting what he as heardï¿½?.
â€œNot forgettingï¿½? â€œNot forgettingï¿½? â€œNot forgettingï¿½? â€œNot forgettingï¿½?
Read the verse againâ€¦â€œNot forgettingï¿½?
Moving on, the next part of the verse talks about the application.
What did I say at the beginning of this lesson? â€œWithout application, there is not benefit.ï¿½?
You could know every snake hole, on every mountain, but if you donâ€™t take that knowledge and apply it, youâ€™re going to be putting your hand in a lot of snake holes.
But, if you are wise, and donâ€™t forget what you have learned, there is just one more thing. Now that you know what to do, you must do it to gain the benefit.
Towards the end of James 1:25 it says â€œnot forgetting what he has learned, but doing itï¿½?.
This is by far the most difficult part. Anyone can read the Bible and go to church, but not everyone can take what the Bible says, and live their lives according to it.
Donâ€™t think that this may be a part of the Bible that you can skip over, or act like you didnâ€™t hear. Itâ€™s so important; God said it more than once!
Read up a couple verses, and in James 1:22 it says, â€œdo not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. DO WHAT IT SAYS.ï¿½?
It doesnâ€™t get any plainer than that right thereâ€¦DO WHAT IT SAYS. DO WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS!
If you only listen and hear, but do not do what it says, your not going to be any use, and you surely will not be blessed.
Weâ€™ll talk about being blessed in a few minutes.
So as you can tell, itâ€™s easy to see how much content there is in just this one verse, but what happens when you do all the things we talked about?
Well, if you â€œlook intentlyï¿½? into Godâ€™s word â€“ the Bible, and â€œcontinueï¿½? to do this, and you donâ€™t â€œforgetï¿½? all that you learned and heardâ€¦here is how the title of the lesson fits inâ€¦if you do all those thingsâ€¦read the last part of the verseâ€¦
â€œHe will be blessed in what he doesï¿½?.
Itâ€™s that simple. If you do those things, you will be blessed.
Now its time to talk about your benefit from the Bible, and God.
What exactly does being â€œblessed,ï¿½? mean? Is it that great? Am I sure I want it? Should I go out of my way to make sure I get it?
The verse weâ€™ve been studying, James 1:25, tells you how to become blessed, but lets find out what blessed means.
A good definition of â€œblessedï¿½? is â€œHappy or Wonderful; praiseworthy; bringing pleasure or divine favorï¿½?.
That surely sounds good to me. â€œHappy and wonderfulï¿½? and â€œBringing pleasureï¿½? sound great, and it definitely sound like something that I want in my life, and I’m sure you would agree with that.
But what is the practical, real life, down to earth meaning of â€œblessedï¿½??
First lets recap what weâ€™ve learned so far:
If you want happiness and pleasure in your life, you want blessings, and to get blessings you need toâ€¦
1. Look Intently into the perfect lawâ€¦the Bible.
2. Continue to do it indefinitely.
3. Donâ€™t forget what youâ€™ve learned and heard.
4. Put it all into your lifeâ€¦Application
Then itâ€™s all smooth sailing from here.
Lets finish with the real life, practical, down to earth meaning of blessing.
What kind of blessings might you receive?
There are many different kinds of blessings.
1. Wealth (Proverbs 10:22)
2. Children (Luke 1:39-56)
3. Protection (Malachi 3:11)
4. Delightful land (Malachi 3:12)
5. Compassion (Isaiah 30:18)
6. Justice (Isaiah 30:18)
7. Deliverance (Psalm 41:1)
8. Mercy (Psalm 32:2)
9. Prosperity (Psalm 1:3)
These are just the start of the blessings, and God will definitely pour them out when you fulfill the pre-requisites.
(King Davidâ€™s blessings)
When you fulfill the pre-requisites, start looking for blessings in your everyday life, and donâ€™t be like the man who was on his roof, and he started sliding down the roof. As he was half way down, he started praying for God to save him, right when he started praying; his pant leg got stuck on a nail, and was saved. After that the man said â€œnever mind God, I got it, thanks anyways.ï¿½?
April 7, 2002
How to Benefit from the Bible.
James 1:25 â€œBut the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.ï¿½?
How can I be blessed?
The word â€œintentlyï¿½? translates into the Greek as ___ _______ ______.
The â€œperfect lawï¿½? is the _________.
The word â€œcontinueï¿½? does not have a _____ ________.
The phrase â€œnot forgettingï¿½? means _____ _______.
The most difficult part is ______ ___.
If you accomplish those things, you will be ________.
What exactly is a â€œBlessingï¿½??
The definition of blessing includes ________, _____________, ___________, and _________ _________.
Wealth (Proverbs 10:22)
Children (Luke 1:39-56)
Protection (Malachi 3:11)
Delightful land (Malachi 3:12)
Compassion (Isaiah 30:18)
Justice (Isaiah 30:18)
Deliverance (Psalm 41:1)
Mercy (Psalm 32:2)
Prosperity (Psalm 1:3)
Godâ€™s Perfect, Unknown, Plan
Turn with me to the Book of Philemon. Philemon is right before Hebrews.
This 1 chapter book, Philemon, was written by Paul in the early A.D. time period, maybe as early as A.D. 60. Paul was in prison in Rome while he wrote this letter to Philemon.
Just to give you a quick overview, Paul wrote this letter to a fellow Christian named Philemon. Philemon was a leader in the local church, possibly the pastor, and was also a slave owner. This use of the word slave is translated as â€˜servantâ€™ in other verses of the New Testament.
One of Philemonâ€™s servants, or slaves, named Onesimus had apparently stolen from him and then run away, which was punishable by death under Roman law at the time.
He ran all the way to Rome, where he just happened buy Godâ€™s perfect plan, to meet a man named Paul. We all know that part of Paulâ€™s ministry was to the lost people in his time.
Onesimus was a servant of Philemon, a thief who was now in debt to Philemon, a criminal, but more importantly, a new convert when he got to Rome.
Onesimus the slave of Philemon is converted to Christianity by Paul while one the run in Rome.
Onesimus now sees clearly his sin and is willing to go back to Philemon and face the charges against him.
Paul writes this letter to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus in the hope that Philemon will have mercy on him, but not just mercy, Paul has a bigger idea in mind.
Letâ€™s begin reading in verse 1.
Philemon 1:1-3 â€“ Paul starts his letter in a very traditional way. He says who he is, and then who he is writing to.
Apphia is most likely Philemonâ€™s wife and business partner, and member of the local church. Archippus is most likely a leader in the church that meets in Philemonâ€™s home.
In Philemon 1:4 Paul begins his letter, by building rapport with Philemon. Paul remembers back when he was with Philemon and the times that they shared together.
Paul has heard reports about what Philemon is doing, and is happy that he is continuing in the faith.
Maybe Philemon is wondering who told Paul all of these good things, and he thinks about the people his church has sent to help Paul in his work.
Then Paul says something in verse 6 that really stands out.
Paul prays that Philemon will be active in sharing his faith â€œso that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.ï¿½?
Wow, what is Paul saying here? Read Philemon 1:6 again.
This verse is really shocking to me because if we turn it around it says that if we are not sharing our faith, we will not have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
This leads us to our first point.
1. Share your faith and you will understand the good of God.
Verse 6 gives us insight into an area we know very little about. What happens to us when we witness? What happens in your mind and your heart when you go out and tell someone about Jesus Christ?
We know what happens to the other person, they have an opportunity to accept Jesus Christâ€™s free gift of eternal life, but what happens to the person sharing the love of Christ?
For me, I am always overjoyed when I do what I know God is calling me to do. God is calling each one of us to share our faith.
When we do, not only does another person have a chance to accept Christ and go to heaven, but we also gain a little understand into the good things that God has specifically set apart for those who share the faith they have in Christ.
Dale Losch asked the question this morning, â€œWho would share Christ with someone if you earned $1,000 every time you did it?ï¿½?
Itâ€™s a funny question and made me smile thinking about God paying us to do his will, but think about it…
Would you share your faith more often? Would you quit your job and do it full time? I would venture to guess that 99% of people would quit their jobs immediately and start sharing Christ with everyone they could get to listen.
What a sad time we live in that instead of being motivated because God sent His Son to die for us, we have to be motivated by money…what do we get in return is more important than what someone else gets out of what we share.
Verse 7-9 Paul probably led Philemon to Christ at one time in the past. Paul plays his trump card and tells Philemon that he could â€œorderï¿½? or â€œcommandï¿½? him to do what is right, he doesnâ€™t want to.
Paul holds enough power that if he were to tell Philemon something, Philemon would do it…but Paul doesnâ€™t want it to be like that. Paul wants Philemon to make the decision.
Verse 10 is where Philemon finds out what this is all about.
However, first imagine this. Philemon is sitting at home when someone comes and knocks at his door. It is Onesimus. I bet the first thing he wanted to do was call the police and have his arrested.
Immediately Onesimus pleads with him to let him speak for one second. Onesimus explains that one his travel he met a man named Paul and Paul sent him back home with a letter for none other than Philemon.
Philemon takes this letter and begins reading just like we did, then he comes to verse 10.
Paul tells Philemon that Onesimus is now a Christian!
Verse 11 says that Onesimus was once â€œuselessï¿½? which is funny since Onesimus means â€œusefulï¿½?.
Paul says that this kid who was named â€œusefulï¿½? was actually â€œuselessï¿½?, but now, the kid named â€œusefulï¿½? is living up to his name, and is now â€œusefulï¿½?.
In verse 12-13 Paul tells Philemon how important Onesimus is to him, which leads us to our second point.
2. Words matter
You can think a person is great at something, and you can think a person does a good job, but they donâ€™t know what you are thinking.
Ephesians 4:29 tells us to build each other up according to their needs. Most people need words of encouragement.
When we realize that our words matter, and that our thoughts donâ€™t help others, we can truly make a difference in someoneâ€™s life.
Onesimus now knows that Paul wanted him to stay in Rome because he was such a great help to Paul. In fact, he was such a great help, he could pick up where Philemon left off.
Paul then lays a big guilt trip on Philemon in verse 14. Paul tells Philemon that he wanted to keep Onesimus, but didnâ€™t want to step on Philemonâ€™s toes so he sent him back. However, Paul tells him he sent him back so that if Philemon wanted to send him back, it would be spontaneous and not forced.
Paul didnâ€™t want to dictate what Philemon did, but he sure wasnâ€™t shy when he told him what he wanted him to do.
In verse 15-16 Paul now is fighting for Onesimusâ€™ freedom from slavery. He tells Philemon that Onesimus is very dear to him as a brother.
And in verse 17 Paul wants Onesimus to be welcomed just as Paul would be welcomed.
Imagine again that Philemon and Onesimus are still standing in the doorway while Philemon is reading this letter.
Philemon is still mad at Onesimus, but is holding back his anger. Now he is not only an employer who has to set a good example, but also a more mature Christian who has to set a good example.
These next few moments will be remembered by Onesimus forever.
Verse 18-19 Paul is willing to pay whatever debt that Onesimus owes. Paul knows that Philemon wouldnâ€™t hold Paul to a debt since Paul is in jail for the cause of Christ, but he wants to let Philemon know that Onesimus did something wrong while not saved, but now he is saved and should be forgiven.
That leads us to our third point.
3. Forgive since you have been forgiven
It is pretty obvious how we have been forgiven. Christ died on the cross once, and for everyone so that we would not have to spend eternity in hell.
The least we can do is to forgive someone who sins against us.
Philemon knows this as well.
At the end of verse 19 is where Paul is really starting to lay it on thick. He reminds Philemon that he led him to Christ…just incase he forgot some time during the letter.
Verse 21 is very profound as well. Paul says â€œConfident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.ï¿½?
Paul is asking Philemon to not send Onesimus to his death, but to welcome his as a brother. What more could Paul be asking when he says â€œknowing that you will do even more than I askï¿½??
I think that Paul was suggesting that Philemon should set Onesimus free. Let the burden of slavery no longer be upon Onesimus. Onesimus is a new man with a new lease on life…let him out of his slavery.
Verse 22 â€“ Iâ€™ll be coming soon, get a room ready for me!
Paul wants Philemon to know how serious about this he is. In fact, when he gets out of prison, he will be coming to see how everything is doing with the Colossians.
1. Share your faith and you will understand the good of God. (Philemon 1:6)
2. Words matter. (Philemon 1:12-13)
3. Forgive since you have been forgiven. (Philemon 1:18-19)
As we close, think about these things.
Are you sharing your faith?
Are you giving other people words of encouragement? Building others up?
Are you quick to forgive?