Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baptism Questions

On another blog I responded to some statements that were made by someone who does not believe that the Scriptures teach that Baptism saves us and that babies are to be baptized. The arguments are very much like the usual arguments against these matters of doctrine and practice.

Much confusion and division exists among people claiming to be believers of the faith declared in the Bible. Many different conclusions are drawn in accord with the many different presuppositions that are imposed upon the Biblical texts that people read and try to understand.

These are not small matters. They actually change the entirety of the faith embraced by those holding the various positions.

I share here the content of what I wrote in response to this person’s objections. This certainly is not a comprehensive dealing with the matter. It does nevertheless address the issues and demonstrates at least some of the Scriptures that speak to these matters.

For your consideration:

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I challenge you to consider several Scriptures regarding the positions that you have stated concerning Baptism.

In John 1:12-13 St. John plainly teaches that receiving Jesus is a passive act on the part of those who are born to become sons of God, that their regeneration or birth is “not of the will of man, but of God,” that is, not of human decision but of God’s action alone.

In John 3 the Lord Jesus teaches the Pharisee, Nicodemus, regarding the regeneration or above-generation or rebirth by which we are brought into the kingdom of God. First He says that except one be “gennethe anothen” = “generated from above” he cannot see or perceive the kingdom of God.

When Nicodemus demonstrated that he was not able to perceive the kingdom of God, Jesus further explained: “except one should be generated out of water and Spirit, not able is he to enter into the kingdom of God.”

So why would Jesus teach that one is not able even to see the kingdom apart from being born from above and then to say that one is not able to enter the kingdom apart from being born out of WATER and SPIRIT unless this were true? Give this serious thought and answer it for yourself.

In Titus 3 St. Paul writes:

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:4-5)

St. Paul says that God our Savior saved us how? “By the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” and NOT by works of righteousness that we have done.

In Ephesians 2 St. Paul says that we are saved by grace through faith. He says that this IS NOT of ourselves and not a work of our own but a gift of God. He says that faith is NOT something that we do.

In 1 Peter 3 St. Peter says that Noah and his family were saved BY WATER (vs. 20). Then he says in verse 21, “baptism doth also now save us.” Did St. Peter lie or does baptism save us?

In Acts 2:38-39 St. Peter tells those in whom the Holy Spirit pierced their hearts with the preaching of the Word,

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

St. Peter says that the promise of Baptism is for “you AND your CHILDREN.” He says that the effects of Baptism are the forgiveness of sins (= salvation) and the gift of the Holy Spirit (= faith and communion with God). He says that this promise is for your children.

Which part of this is not a statement of the Scriptures? Which part is not true?

Does the fact that God has worked specially for someone like the thief on the cross so that he was saved, does this nullify the clear words of the Lord Jesus and His apostles regarding the effects and the promise of Baptism?

There is much more that can be said on this matter, but these questions are ones that you should give serious consideration. The statements are recorded in the Scriptures. The question is: why do people reject them and invent their own beliefs instead of what the Scriptures plainly teach?

St. Paul writes:

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11-12)

St. Paul calls Baptism the circumcision of Christ by which we are buried and cut off from the sins of the flesh. He calls faith the operation of God by which we are raised with Christ. This operation of God St. Paul links directly to His working in and through Baptism, the circumcision done without hands, that is, with water and the Word through which the Spirit comes and sanctifies from within.

Yet you and those who have taught you say these things are not taught in the Scriptures. Ask yourself why you follow those who reject these clear passages rather than believing what the Holy Spirit has recorded? What is the reason that you and many others do not believe these words of Scripture? Perhaps no one has ever presented them to you clearly. I do not know the reason, but you would do well to challenge yourself in this matter.

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More on Definition of an Expert

Someone hearing the title of this post rather than reading it could hear:

Moron: definition of an expert.

In my tree business, people will often respond to my question regarding their preferences: “Well, you are the expert. What do you say?”

I always share as much as I know and give the best advice that I am able regarding the condition and health of the tree or shrub, the structural integrity, the extent of damage or disease, the best pruning approach, safety, and such matters. I even give advice regarding the effects that actions can have regarding heating and cooling needs of the house, irrigation needs, and the aesthetic values.

Yet I always remember that my knowledge is limited. I share what I can state with certainty. Regarding what a person would prefer, I leave to the person to judge according to the best information that I can supply.

However, even after expressing that the decision belongs to the customers, they often will ask, “What would you do if it were your tree?”

In the Church, for the sake of the Church, Christ has given some to be “pastors and teachers.” He has given some to serve in the capacity of full-time study of the Word and teaching of the Word.

Prior to the Lord’s suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the apostles tended to think of themselves as experts. This changed after they perceived the truth, after the Holy Spirit opened their hearts to what really is. St. Paul, the last of the apostles, likewise thought of himself as an expert before his conversion.

Afterwards, however, they perceived themselves and presented themselves entirely differently. Afterwards they were merely men appointed to speak and teach and preach what they had heard and seen. They were promised to be directed by the Holy Spirit and they thereafter spoke what the Holy Spirit directed them to say. When they spoke with absoluteness, they did so only regarding what they had received. They simply reiterated to others what had been told to them.

No one should hold a pastor or teacher more highly than this. The Jews in Berea (Acts 17:10-12) are commended for their caution in trusting Paul and Silas until they searched the Scriptures and found that Paul and Silas were indeed teaching in accord with the Scriptures. In this regard, there were many things that sounded to them as though they were brand new doctrines. But as they searched the Scriptures, they saw that these were not new at all, but were in exact accord with what had been previously written. Baptism fulfilled and superceded Circumcision. The Lord’s Supper fulfilled and superceded the Passover. The Old Testament was fulfilled and superceded by the New Testament, and so on.

Today there are a multitude of doctrines claiming to be in accord with the Scriptures. As St. Paul admonishes, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

Truly we need daily to examine what we hold to be true so as to be absolutely certain that we are not setting ourselves up as self-proclaimed experts, but rather, are hearing what the Spirit says to the churches.

Definition of an Expert

I cannot recall whether I have shared this before, but my father had a saying that always tickled me. He said:

An expert is someone who can tell you today exactly why what he said yesterday did not happen.

The weather forecasters cause me to think of this saying almost daily. Other “experts” likewise make me think of this.

In addition to my father’s saying, I have some other thoughts.

An expert is someone who is able to convince others to elevate him and his opinions above their own, and usually even to praise and pay him for sharing his elevated opinions.

For what it is worth.

Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day and Freedom

On this President's Day, I wonder how many people have seen this article and the CNN video included there.


Quite a story! Quite a video, considering that it is a CNN video. Since we do not watch TV, we don't know whether or not it made headline news. Did it?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

Does anyone really take the Lord Jesus’ answer to this question seriously? Why do the disciples even ask this question? Do the people who confess to believe the words recorded in the Bible really believe what the Lord Jesus teaches here?

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 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. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matthew 18:1-7)

We, especially pastors, need to hear what the Lord Jesus sets before us in this example. Why pastors especially? Because pastors are specifically those whom Christ calls to do the receiving of the little ones.

Matthew records that the Lord Jesus answered this question for His disciples. Why? They are the ones whom He was preparing to do the work of receiving into His kingdom those whom He purchased with His lifeblood.

When we consider the question, to whom do our thoughts turn? Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Of whom do you begin thinking? It really is ridiculous that we should have to think at all! The King is the greatest in the kingdom! The point is not for us to consider who among us is the greatest. The point is to realize that it is none of us. That is why the Lord Jesus says that whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Who did this? He did! He alone humbled himself. This is why He says of all of the rest of us, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” We all have to be converted, regenerated through water and Spirit to be brought into the kingdom of heaven. We have to be made to be humbled, to be made into the image of God again, the God who humbled Himself to be born as the little baby whom the world counted as nothing. But the Magi, who had been humbled by the Spirit to believe the Word, followed the star and bowed down to this little beggarly baby in the feed trough. The humble shepherds, also, humbled still further by the words of the angels, came and worshiped the baby Jesus.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

The word for offend is skandalise. It means to ensnare or trap or cause to stumble. The Lord Jesus warns very strongly against doing this. Moreover, He does not distinguish between doing so intentionally or unintentionally. Good intentions do not matter. Clever rationalizations and justifications do not excuse. Such only perpetuate the scandal. Such only propagate further hypocrisy and stumbling.

How is this demonstrated in the life of those professing to be the Church? In the next chapter Matthew records:

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. (Matthew 19:13-15)

This text is oft used as a proof text for those who teach that the Lord commands that the babies be baptized, too. They are absolutely correct. Baptism is the means that the Lord Jesus has given by which all sinners are to be regenerated into the kingdom of God, into the body of Christ. To such as these belongs the kingdom of heaven.

Now if the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these, and this text teaches that they must not be denied Baptism as the means that Christ has given for their entrance into the kingdom, how then is it not also understood and taught that these little ones are to be recipients of the blessings given within that kingdom? How is it that partaking of the unity of the Lord’s body and partaking of the life of His blood is denied them? How is it that they are counted as unworthy of partaking of the Supper of the life of Christ’s Church?

Suffer the little children to come unto me. How do they come to Jesus so that He may commune with them? On the day that Jesus rebuked His disciples, they were being carried into His presence to have Him touch them and pray for them. How does He promise to do this after His resurrection and ascension? For what did St. Paul rebuke the Corinthians in regard to the Supper, saying that they were not even eating the Lord’s Supper? They were treating some of the members of Christ’s body differently than others. They were going forward and eating without including the rest of the members of the congregation. They did this because they did not treat seriously the purpose of the Supper. They did not rightly discern the body of Christ.

So what does this say of pastors and congregations who allow the children to be baptized into the household of God and then refuse to allow them to partake of that which Christ has commanded for the nourishment of the children of the kingdom? What does this say of those who forbid the little children from obeying Christ’s command to eat and drink? What does this say of the many children who are trained up to disobey Christ’s command to be one and to rely upon the Sacrament for their life in Him?

Are there enough millstones today? Do we need more? How does this really apply?

Consider what Christ says:

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Where do Christ and His apostles teach that it is good for sinners to be drowned? Is Baptism not where this takes place? Should pastors and congregations not be returning to the waters of their baptism, confessing this great sin and receiving absolution so that they rise up in this repentance to sin no more?

Or should they continue making excuses, relying upon their sinful human reason rather than the clear words of Christ and His apostles? How long will they preach grace and deny the means by which Christ says that it is given? How long will they insist that God’s grace in the Sacrament is conditional? How long will they teach the children that salvation is by grace, but not once you are actually in the kingdom, that once you are in the kingdom you must make yourself worthy of the Sacrament of the kingdom? How long will they tell those to whom the kingdom belongs that they must sit in the corner until they are worthy to partake of the means by which they are to be nurtured and fed and made strong in the Lord? How long must the little ones to whom the kingdom belongs go hungry or be satisfied with only spiritual milk, if such compromised doctrine can even be called that? How long will pastors forbid the children from partaking of the Lord’s Table of forgiveness and grace and communion, and then wonder why when the children become adults that they rely upon their own prayers and other works rather than upon the means of grace? Who is teaching this to them? Who is causing them to stumble?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Excuses and other Lies

Last night as I was driving to park my truck and chipper, I had a frightening occurrence. At one major intersection, I waited patiently for the left turn arrow and then proceeded to turn into the proper lane of a four lane road. A short distance after making my turn I began signaling to change lanes, checked my mirrors, and seeing no vehicles, I began to change lanes.

Moments later I heard a horn honking. I checked my mirrors and still saw no one. I checked again and found a car to the side of me, whom I was about to crush. I eased away. The driver of the car backed off. I signaled again and checking carefully, changed lanes.

I wondered how it was possible that this happened. I have a ten inch convex mirror that shows the entire lane and that side of the truck. However this car must have pulled just ahead of the viewing area, a blind spot.

How did it get there? I was the first to round the turn. I was doing the speed limit. The other person must have been speeding to try to get around me. The other driver must not have turned into the legally required lane. This must have been the result of that driver breaking the law.

I was making excuses. It matters not what the other person did wrong. I am responsible for not turning into another vehicle. I am responsible even if the other person violated safety rules and ignorantly entered into my blind spot. I was wrong. Realizing this I wished for an opportunity to apologize to the other driver, but the driver turned off at the next intersection. How that person must have trembled! How terrible to be put into such a situation!

Excuses and blaming others are forms of lying. When I find myself doing this, I am in need of God’s forgiveness and restoration to His grace.

This is true for all Christians. Pastors especially need to be aware of this as people look to pastors as examples of the true faith and the way of life to which God calls us through the Gospel. If pastors make excuses for their mistakes and sins, what will those who look to them as fathers in the faith do?

The pastoral office is one for which no man is worthy, save the One who ordained it. All the rest of us are in perpetual need of being called to repentance. We need always to stand ready to confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness. When the matter is one of which people have encountered publicly, then the confession and recognition of God’s absolution need to be public, too. This is for the sake of the perception of the Gospel that people will receive.

On another pastor’s blog I recently asked him about a very simple mistake that he made. I knew not whether it was a mistake or a choice based upon some other reason. It turned out to be a mistake. But his response was first to ignore my question. Then when I asked again, he made excuses, blamed others for his mistake, even tried to divert attention to the Antichrist, and accused me of impatience and arrogance in asking why he did not answer my question. Each of these was deception on his part. He was being dishonest. He outright lied.

Here is the response that he gave:

Do you think my job is to answer your questions, pronto? Sorry, the pay for that is rather skimpy. I simply misread my computer calendar, and I don't have a Thrivent desk calendar, if they even publish it anymore.

The Lutherans are taking all their cues on the liturgical calendar from Rome now, so I suggest you write to His Holiness, the Antichrist, for additional details and advice.

If you know this pastor, please do not hold this against him. I have no desire to identify him personally. My desire is to hold forth an example of the way that pastors sin against the office, often without realizing it. I began with an example from my own life. I can recount other ways in which I have failed in this regard as well. The point is not to accuse but to preach awareness.

Here then is an explanation of what is wrong in this response:

First is the false accusation of impatience on the part of the questioner, namely, me. This pastor’s blog is set up for moderation of comments, which means that no one can post a comment that this pastor does not first read, examine, and then post. In addition to posting my comment, he posted several others as well. I waited another day after this before asking why he did not answer my question. His diversionary tactic was dishonest. It was a lie.

Next he blames Thrivent for not supplying him with a calendar. The hymnal that he uses has the calendar printed within. It is the calendar that I use, in coordination with my regular secular calendar. Even my secular calendar tells when Ash Wednesday and Easter occur, the festivals by which the Sundays in Epiphany are calculated. My question to him was regarding his ending of the Epiphany season a week early. This was his mistake. Thrivent did not cause this. Thrivent was not even driving in his blind spot.

Next he blames Lutherans in general for his mistake. There is without doubt a multitude of blame for which Lutherans in general deserve. But whatever compromises apostate Lutherans have made and are making, none of them had anything whatsoever to do with his failure to check the dates of the Sundays that he observes. Moreover, Vatican II, the alterations of which he attempts to connect to this issue, occurred long after the hymnal that he uses was compiled. Moreover, Vatican II and the Pope did not change the calculation of Ash Wednesday and Easter.

Excuse upon excuse. Lie upon lie.

Why should anyone care? Because lies are not of God but of the devil and of the sinful flesh. Lies work to diminish or even annihilate the life that the preaching of the Gospel generates. Lies undermine the pastoral office and the Church.

Lies must be recognized and confronted, condemned and rejected. They have no place in the life of a Christian. They have no place in the life of a pastor. But we are all liars. We all lie, both unintentionally and intentionally. From this we need to be called to repent.

Moreover, the attitude displayed in the making of excuses, the acceptance of lying to divert attention from oneself and one’s own mistakes, is infectious. It is a leaven that works its way through the entire loaf. This is true for the spirit and life of the pastor as well as for the congregation or even church body. Pastors must be on guard against this in themselves and in their daily service in the office of the Word.

Children follow in the footsteps of their fathers. Pastors have been ordained by God as spiritual fathers or overseers of those who look to them for guidance. This is a very serious matter.

Now while I have singled out myself and then also this other pastor, this is an issue that all pastors need to face personally. The making of excuses is a trait that we all have inherited from Adam. Cain did not guard against it and it made a murder of him. In trying to cover his own dishonor, in trying to cover the shortcoming of his own ego compared to Abel’s, Cain rose up and murdered his brother.

We do the same when we make excuses and especially when we try to shift the blame for our errors to someone else. We kill another’s reputation in order to try to save our own. Understanding this begins with the Eighth Commandment and moves to the Fifth, upward to the Third, Second, and finally the First.

In this we injure everyone involved. First we injure ourselves by not being honest with ourselves. Then we injure whomever we attempt to blame. Then, we also injure anyone who follows us in our sinful behavior.

How much easier and better it is to be honest and simply to say: “Oh, I made a mistake. I am sorry. Thank you for making me aware of my error. Please forgive me.”

Now, I pray that God will make me to remember this next time myself.

THE Born Loser

Many times I begin to feel like a loser. Sometimes I even imagine myself to be the born loser, as though I were the worst off of anyone.

Yesterday, as I finally made it out to do some work that actually counts as work, after allowing various interruptions to alter my day’s schedule, I was feeling down on myself. I was thinking what a loser I am so often to be giving of myself, taking time for others, scrambling to shift funds to pay creditors, doing work that makes men half my age quit. My thoughts ran to the comic strip, The Born Loser. I was equating myself with that mentality.

Before long that line of thinking was overthrown by the realization that I have no business thinking of myself that way. After all, there is one who truly qualifies as THE Born Loser. We celebrate His birth at a season we call Christmas. He truly is THE Born Loser. He was born into the world for that very purpose. He was born to lose everything.

He was born of a virgin at a time when unwed motherhood was way beyond unacceptable. His adopted father was a poor carpenter. He grew to be a man and had no possessions except a little house in Capernaum. He sojourned from village to village, preaching the Gospel and healing the sick and driving out demons, all at no charge. He was ridiculed and demeaned throughout His ministry. Finally He was condemned for everything that He was and did and claimed to be. He was tortured and killed by a horrible and inhuman method. He was hung up naked on a cross for everyone to gawk at Him. He was spit upon. He was mocked. Finally he was buried.

He lost everything. He did so willingly. He did so for the sake of those who were born losers according to their inheritance. He did so in order to take their place as losers and give to them the riches that were His from eternity.

On His account St. Paul writes: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

This the apostle writes in response to all of the things that would make us imagine ourselves to be losers. “In all these things,” we are more than conquerors.

MORE than conquerors? Yes! For the victory has already been won. All of the things that would bring us down, all of the things that would work against us, they have all been defeated. Christ suffered them all and rose again, ascending to heavenly glory, where these things do not even exist. He rose from the dead in order to guarantee that our lives would not be lost. He not only paid the price to release us from the punishment that we deserve, but He also rose again in His body to guarantee that death would not be our end. Our greatest enemy, death, has no hold over us. The victory has been accomplished. We cannot lose, not while we are bound to the life that is in Christ Jesus.

So how dare I imagine myself to be a loser? How dare I blaspheme against the grace of God by counting myself a born loser when Christ has taken that from me? Yes, by my own stupid choices I am a loser, but even these and their consequences are temporary. They have no power to defeat me so long as my gaze is fixed on Christ, so long as I am in communion with Him through His means of grace. For this reason I and my house refuse to bind ourselves to communions that corrupt these gracious means. After all, if we surrender to compromise the things by which Christ’s victory is made to be ours, then we truly shall be losers. What do we gain if for the sake of earthly fellowship we cut ourselves off from the Holy Communion that we confess in the Creed?

No, the way of victory is the way of the cross. The preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the hope to which we shall cling. The pure administration of the means of grace is sufficient to ward off all of the aspects of living in this world of sin that would make us to be losers. When we have these, why would we look to anything else? Why should we ever imagine ourselves to be losers?

Media Bias Challenge

Are you ready for a challenge?

How proficient are you at recognizing media bias?

Can you pick the actual newspaper front page headlines from the selection below?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Enslaved by Lust

Wow! I saw this advertisement today.

I often glance past advertisements but this one seemed to burn into my brain. Lust is not limited to sexual desire. We lust for sweets and for junk food and for entertainment and for basically everything that exists.

These lusts enslave us if we allow them to do so. More accurately, they enslave us and we need to be set free from their powers. Our lusts burn from within us. They smoulder within our sinful nature until various factors fan them into roaring flames.

So how can we be free? Do we muster up strength from within to resist them? Do we go to a hypnotist and allow our emotions and our subconscious to be tricked into submission to the hypnotic “suggestions”?

There is a better way. There is a way of true freedom from lust. That way is the way of conversion. That way is the way of true faith. The Holy Spirit is poured out to us in our baptism to live within us. He works continually through the Word and through the Word filled Sacrament. Jesus is in the Sacrament of the Altar. Our God comes to us and gives Himself to us. He empowers us with the true faith with the gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism. He nurtures us in this true faith through the Holy Supper.

By these means and through the continual preaching of the Gospel, He fills us with His will. His thoughts and holy desires begin to fill us so that our own lusts are pressed out of us. The two ways oppose one another. But God’s will is greater. His will is omnipotent. When His will fills us, our wills are converted to be one with His will. The more that we partake of His means of grace, the more that we rely upon the means that He has provided for us, the more fully our wills become subjected to His.

This is not the same as making a choice. Rather it is a way. God comes to us through His Word. His Word confronts us in our ways and shows us the destruction, the everlasting destruction of the ways that we choose for ourselves. He shows us the everlasting blessing of His way. His Word penetrates our very soul, converting our spirit and our mind and our heart and our will so that His will fills us and drives out the old will. Then He continually calls to us through the Word that has taken root in us and is growing within us by the activity of the Holy Spirit. His Word takes hold within us and even though the old nature tries to come forward and tries to grow again to press out the Word, the Word prevails. The Word is greater than our sinful nature. The Word is greater than our sinful desires. The Word is greater than even our sins.

The question is not whether or not we will choose to listen and heed the Word. The question is whether or not we will choose to stop listening and heeding the Word. Once the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts, there remains no choice except for the original choice that Adam made that brought death to the world.

According to our sinful nature we resist the notion of bondage to God’s will being freedom. I like to use the example of my tree climbing to illustrate why bondage to the right way is indeed freedom.

In my tree climbing I bind myself to certain rules. One of these rules binds me further to my climbing rope or ropes. Before I enter into a tall tree I always position my climbing line into a suitable crotch of a limb of sufficient strength to support my weight. Then I tie the appropriate climbing friction knot and attach my climbing saddle, which I have secured to my body. This binds me to the secure crotch in the tree. While it restricts my movement in certain ways, it also sets me free to climb without fear of falling. There are numerous other rules involved in my climbing, to which I bind myself. These restrict me from certain things but set me free to do such things as to walk out onto a branch that otherwise would not support my weight. These set me free to do some rather amazing feats in the tree.

There is a difference, however, between this and the bondage of the true faith. In the example above I do the binding. In the matter of the faith, God does not leave this to me to do for myself. He does the binding. Not only does He teach the need for this binding, but He actually makes it happen. He converts my will so that I become bound to Him and His will. He binds me with the gift of His Holy Spirit. He binds me and maintains the tie, the communion. He does it all for me and I merely follow along in His way. On my own I would wander, but because He has bound me to Himself, I am gently led along the right way, even pulled onward in His way.

God works the same for all who are truly united with Him through the means that He has ordained. This is the way of freedom that little babies know. God makes us to be His beloved and protected children once again.

City OKs $430 million Kellogg design

Bilking the people of their money seems to be a movement that knows no limits. The Wichita Eagle article City OKs $430 million Kellogg design reports the city's plans for a 4 1/2 mile expressway enhancement project that will cost $430,000,000. That is a lot of money for a project where most of the property is already owned. That is a lot of money for the same big contractors. But that's OK. The people will pay for it.

1-cent sales tax

What a powerful and BIG deception! How often is this deception used to make such a tax seem insignificant? This is not a one cent tax. It is a One PERCENT tax. If a person buys $100.00 of groceries, the tax is not $0.01 but $1.00! How many people are able to go to the supermarket and walk out spending only one dollar, thus one penny of sales tax?

The article shares without any emphasis the fact that so far 13 miles of this project have been completed at a cost of 550 million dollars. The current project of only 4.5 miles will cost 430 million dollars, and that is only the preliminary guess. 1/3 as much highway, in an area where no residences will have to be purchased and no big department stores will need to be torn down, 1/3 as much highway will cost almost as much as the entire project has cost thus far.

Here is the satelite map of that area.

It truly amazes me that the people continue to elect to office those who are promoted by the business mobsters who profit from such swindles. People continue to read the Eagle and watch the news casts without seriously questioning what is reported. Even though the facts are often included, people do not evaluate the meaning and learn from it.

Is this project really even necessary? How much time will it save people? Will it save two minutes? Will it prevent serious accidents? What really is gained through this expenditure of $430,000,000? Is this really what Wichita needs? Is this really the best investment of such a sum? If this really must be done, could not the same benefit be achieved at a lesser sum?

Why do we not demand answers to such questions? Why do we continue to allow this fraud and waste and misuse of power at every level of government?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Effects of the Cold and Protection by Snow

I received this e-mail today:

The early morning of Feb 10 we hit a low of -17F. According to article below – this was the coldest night in 29 years, the second coldest in 106 years and the 4th coldest ever recorded in Wichita.

This is essentially a zone 5a temperature -

How will this affect us? Time will tell. We were blessed to have six inches of snow cover still on the ground this will help perennials that were covered. Gardeners in Minnesota (zone 4) can get by with some zone 5 and 6 perennials when they have adequate snow cover. Some shrubs may die back to the snow line.

How will this affect trees and shrubs? Zone 5 plants should be fine. Zone 6 plants may have cambium damage that can cause them to die back or die. After it got down to -21 in Feb of 1982, some zone 6 died totally, and mimosas leafed out then slowly died back to just the lower trunks over the next year.

Bob Neier

County Extension Agent, Horticulture
K-State Research & Extension - Sedgwick County
7001 W 21st N,
Wichita, KS 67205-1759
316-660-0140 phone
316-722-1432 FAX

A Love Letter

This is a letter that I wrote today to someone for whom I have deep and abiding love. Personal points have been removed, but perhaps someone reading this can apply it personally for personal benefit.

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I have something to share that may be of some help to you in your internal struggles. Consider the following:

The things that you do, if they are from pure motives, are not done so that someone cannot say that you did not do thus and so, but rather they are done simply from loving concern and care. If truly your actions flow from the love of God in Christ, then no one can effectively accuse you otherwise. You will be able to stand firm in God’s love, unmoved by anything that may confront you. God’s love and works are our defense, not our love and actions. Our love fails. Our actions are corrupt. Our faith and trust are false. But Christ bore our sins, our weaknesses, our falseness of faith, our failures, our condemnation.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

Therefore, do not walk after the flesh. Do not live looking to your own faith, your own attempts at loving actions, your own devotion to God. Look not to these but to the faithfulness of God in Christ, to the salvific works of Jesus, to the means of grace. These are the things wherein we walk in spirit. In these no condemnation exists.

Think on these things. You will find them to be the way of surety.

Boot Dryer

Insulated boots are a great blessing in cold weather and in snowy and icy conditions, at least until they become soaked throughout. Wet and soggy boots loose much of their effectiveness.

This is my design for a boot dryer. It works very well.

The hair dryer must be used on the low setting, however. Otherwise the pipes melt.

Five Below

It was five degrees below zero this morning when I awakened. That is cold for Wichita. That is cold for a native Floridian! Even though I've lived farther north and have experienced much colder weather, five below is still very cold and harsh.

The coldest weather that I have experienced is forty below. I changed my mother-in-law's thermostat in her car that day. I thought that my hands would freeze solid.

Such weather does make me long for the Day of the Lord's coming to arrive. Even though I know that He is being patient for the sake of all who will be regenerated to believe the Gospel, still I become somewhat impatient on account of the pains of the cursed ground.

Growing up in Orlando, I was entirely unable to conceive of the day when I would speak of forty degrees as being warm. Before being driven out of the garden, mankind was free of such troubles. Sin has changed everything. Turmoil and trouble and wars and rumors of wars and riots and inflation and corrupt government leaders . . .

Yes, the Second Advent of the Lord will be a good day. Those who reject the Gospel and refuse to be ruled by the peace of God will be gathered up and sent to the place that has been reserved for all who prefer the deceptive leadership of the devil so that those who have been converted to trust and rely upon God and His grace will forevermore be free of all of these troubles.

Such freedom is beyond imagination except for the promises of God in His Holy Scriptures. No garbage about 70 virgins, as the Lord Himself declares that marriage and giving in marriage will no longer be the way for men and women. Our sexual desires will have served their double purpose of procreation and leading us to realize the greater marriage of God with mankind in Christ. Such anguish as the burning passions of sexual lust will no longer burden us. Neither will the freezing temperatures that often cause frostbite in relationships. No jabbing and piercing comments, no angry lashings out at one another, no selfish expectations and impositions upon one another, none of these things shall press upon us anymore.

Having called my next-door neighbor to be sure that he is OK, an elderly fellow of 90 years, I was informed that the weather channel report for the low last night was sixteen below, even colder than I realized. In addition to looking forward to the parousia, such announcements also make me very thankful for God’s gifts of house and home, shelter and clothing, furnaces and insulation. As the old gray cat walked carefully along the sidewalks that I shoveled yesterday and last night, I also was very thankful for the warm shelter of my house, as well as the warmth and comfort of all of God’s promises in Christ.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Better off without the Paper

I really am better off not reading the newspaper.


Living together: What various denominations say

My wife cut out this article and drew my attention to it: Living together: What various denominations say.

One Baptist pastor says:

"We believe that if people are living together, they should be married," Brooks said. "But we welcome everyone. We don't judge them (those who are not married) or make them feel bad. We simply teach the Bible and what we believe to be true.

Another pastor says:

"Some pastors may avoid this topic, but not me," Evans said. "You can't talk candidly about this if you are afraid. Some pastors are afraid that by telling people their position, the people will start looking at them.

"But people have to know that nothing can separate you from the love of God, and God can change you and fix whatever it is."

Evans said fornication is a sin, and, "We hate the sin, not the sinner. We should not condone their lifestyle, but not condemn the people."

People do like to quote Romans 8:39 divorced of its context.

I especially laugh/cry whenever I hear: “we hate the sin, not the sinner.” This is usually stated as what people impose upon God as saying. I guess sins exist apart from those who do them and lifestyles just sneak up on people and drag them into them. People apparently do not actually choose their sinful lifestyles. People who have sex apart from marriage must be unaware of what they are doing.

I wonder, do these non-judgmental pastors hold the same tolerant views concerning domestic violence? How about rape? How about failure to pay alimony or child support?

Anti-abortion event scheduled at school building draws criticism

The February 4 edition of the Wichita Eagle had this headline at the top of the first page of part B:

Anti-abortion event scheduled at school building draws criticism

You can read the article here.

When is the last time that a major newspaper or other major media group identified a group of people who have as their sole purpose the protection of helpless unborn babies and other threatened people as anything other than Anti-Abortion?

Naturally the NOW group, the National Organization for Women, would rise up in protest against a group of Kansans for Life, regardless of their choice of meeting place, but especially when meeting in a place where parents and children will be noticing their presence.

Why is it that the media never identifies the National Organization for Women as Anti-Unwanted-Unborn-Babies? Why is this group NEVER identified regarding their true motivation and activities? Why is the National Organization for Women, and groups like them, never given the label of abortion-promoters or pro-abortion or anti-prenatal choice? Why are they never labeled as being opponents of safe gestation for all?

Why does the news agency report the challenge presented by the NOW group without any investigation whatsoever into the legitimacy of their challenge? The news paper most eagerly reports:

Kari Ann Rinker, state coordinator for NOW, questioned the agreement.

"It is almost unbelievable that this kind of event is to take place in a taxpayer-funded facility, especially one where children receive their education," she said.

Rinker said it was especially unsettling that Coleman, at 1544 N. Governeour, is less than a half-mile from the spot where abortion doctor George Tiller was fatally shot by Scott Roeder in May 2009.

Why does the Eagle not even attempt to address the fact that the education of children and the protection of children is a very important concern of the group being attacked by the NOW group? Why does the Eagle not raise the issue of the rights of law abiding citizens to use the public facilities but leaves it with the position that perhaps the policies should be changed?

Furthermore, why does the Eagle in no way attempt to raise the question of what Tiller’s killing has to do with the matter? Why has the Eagle NEVER raised the issue that while Tiller’s murderer was a deranged man who appointed himself to do something that the pro-life groups do not condone, that Tiller was by comparison many times worse than Scott Roeder? After all, Scott Roeder, in a clearly deranged state of mind took the life of one human being. How many lives of human beings did George Tiller take with full mental awareness and for considerable sums of money? Why does the newspaper allow an absolutely false and absurd comparison and link to be made between Roeder and those who are genuinely Pro-Life? Why does the paper never make the very obvious comparison and link between Roeder and Tiller as men who practiced the same hideous acts?

I find it ironic, or perhaps fitting, that the initialism for this anti-protection of children group is NOW. NOW as opposed to Future. NOW as opposed to Posterity. NOW as opposed to the clearly stated concerns and motives of the Declaration of Independence. NOW is clearly the concern of those who seek to promote the abortion industry. The future anguish of mothers who choose to destroy the life that is within their bodies and within their protective responsibility is not counted in anyway whatsoever. The loss of children of the future generations is not counted at all. The future achievements of future generations are not anticipated. Only the money to be made NOW and the possible avoidance of the immediate inconvenience of a pregnancy are counted. And boy oh boy is the money that is to be made NOW ever counted!

Where is the Eagle’s or any other news agency’s objective reporting on this?

ACLJ Re: Planned Parenthood

The following is an e-mail that I received from ACLJ, American Center for Law and Justice, regarding Planned Parenthood. To view this on their web site, click here.

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As if being responsible for the majority of the 53 million babies slaughtered through abortion since Roe v. Wade wasn't enough, Planned Parenthood's systemic corruption was exposed even further in the last week.

A pro-life group's investigative reporting has provided videos showing Planned Parenthood clinics in multiple states offering assistance to sex traffickers seeking abortions for girls as young as 14 and support for underage prostitution.

Planned Parenthood must be held accountable for their actions, and the ACLJ has a unique opportunity to do just that through another case.

The ACLJ is lead counsel in the largest case against Planned Parenthood in America today. We have them in court facing charges for fraudulently billing the taxpayers over $180 million. Winning this case could potentially bankrupt Planned Parenthood's California offices and bring their expansion to a halt.

We have a team of senior attorney's working on this case, but we are up against Planned Parenthood's $1 BILLION-dollar-a-year budget.

Will you help make Planned Parenthood pay for their actions by giving a tax-deductible contribution to the ACLJ today?

We will not sit idly by while this organization takes the lives of unborn babies and aids in the assault on children - using hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to clear the way so they can use other resources to fund abortions! We are working with Congressman Mike Pence's office and the Pro-life Caucus in Congress to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. We will not stop until we make them pay by winning the battles in court and taking away their taxpayer funds on Capitol Hill.

Planned Parenthood's actions can only be described as reprehensible. In a separate case, a shocking undercover video has been disclosed of a conversation between a Planned Parenthood clinic's office manger and two people who she believes are a ''pimp'' and a prostitute. The office manager:

* Advises them to have their under-age sex slaves lie about their ages on the forms so they will look ''as legit as possible.''
* Is worried that her clinic is required by law to report statutory rape. She hands the couple a paper with the address of another clinic: ''You never got this from me,'' she says. ''If they're 14 or under, just send them right there if they need an abortion ... Their protocols aren't as strict as ours.''

This is revolting, and Planned Parenthood must be stopped! Please make a tax-deductible contribution to help us fund the case that could cripple Planned Parenthood financially.

Last year Planned Parenthood performed hundreds of thousands of abortions, relying on tax dollars to subsidize this high-profit industry. It receives over $350 million in tax dollars each year. These taxpayer funds clear the way for Planned Parenthood to use other resources to fund abortions.

We cannot miss this important opportunity to stop Planned Parenthood in its tracks and force America's number one abortion provider to pay for their actions.

Thank you for standing with us to stop Planned Parenthood and save the lives of unborn babies.


Jay Sekulow
ACLJ Chief Counsel

P.S. Hold Planned Parenthood accountable for their actions. Please share this important message with everyone you know who is concerned with protecting the lives of unborn children. Thank you.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Translations or Interpretations?

My frustration over the inaccuracies in our many translations is experienced frequently. Over the period of my life I have used many different translations or “versions” of the Bible. I learned Luther’s Small Catechism in at least three versions, each using another version of the Bible. Three different versions of the Hymnal also were foisted upon me. This is a confusing practice. It makes remembrance of the specific passages of Scripture difficult, especially when seeking to use a concordance.

But this is not the main cause of my frustration. My greater frustration arises from the continual bombardment that I experience of interpretation being forced upon the texts of the Holy Scriptures and being presented as what the Scriptures actually declare and teach. I do not know of any English version/translation that does not do this.

I have returned to using the King James as my primary source. It is the most widely known and accepted. It is better than many so-called translations. And, it is in the Public Domain and can be quoted freely without limit.

Nevertheless I encounter many false things in even this old stand by translation.

In the Gospel reading appointed for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, the reading for this week’s sermon, the first sentence is translated the worst in the ESV and RSV, which are virtually the same translation of this verse. The text is Matthew 13:24.

Here are a few of the translations of this verse:

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;

Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.

Another parable he before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field;

He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared unto a man who sowed good seed in his field,

Of these the KJV is the closest to what Matthew writes. The RSV and The ESV are the worst. These actually change the meaning of the verse entirely. Matthew records Jesus as saying: “Was made like/was likened the kingdom of the heavens unto a man sowing/who sowed good seed in the field of him.”

The RSV and the ESV change this to “the kingdom of heaven may be compared to . . .” This is horrible. May be . . .? Jesus says that it was likened unto and they translate that it may be compared to.

This completely changes the point of the parable. It completely changes how preachers preach this text and how people perceive the Word of God, even the kingdom of God.

IF you are interested, my exposition of this text is available here. PDF and Audio are available here.

My former church body has chosen the ESV for its official use. Before that they chose the NIV. Both are very bad choices. I used the NIV for years and regret it now. But even the NIV does a better job with this text than the ESV.

I find it frustrating that with the resources that a church body the size of the LC-MS has, with the number of experts in the original languages that they employ in their seminaries, that a really faithful translation has never been produced. But I suppose that would require an entirely other focus for the church body. Then, also, who among their “experts” would even understand the issue while they continue in a communion that does not care? It is a sad thing to observe, especially since so many people continue to trust such leaders because it is easier than standing on and in the Word alone.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Organization or Organism

More and more disillusionment and disheartenment seems to be expressed than I can ever recall. This is in every aspect of people’s lives, but my greatest concern in this regard is concerning how people see the Church. This is especially true for those who thought that they were part of a faithful church body and then discover heresy and fraud and hypocrisy throughout their church body in which they trusted.

One of the frequent comments that people who have surrendered in their search for the true Church of God on earth is that they do not believe in organized religion. This comes from a deep misunderstanding of what true religion is. For the Church and the religion that God supplies from above is most certainly organized. From Moses to the apostles, the Scriptures declare the order that God has ordained for His Church.

However, even though the Church is ordered and organized, it is not an organization. It is an organism. It is a living body, the body of Christ. It is His bride, His beloved. It is not merely a group of individuals brought together into an organization any more than the members of our own bodies are merely gathered into an organization. This illustration can be carried to the cellular level. The body has MANY cells. These cells are differentiated from one another from early in the gestational process. They begin exactly the same until God causes them to become differentiated. Yet they never become separate from one another. And while the various cells differ from one another, serving different functions within the body, forming different organs of the body and different bodily members, they are united inseparably as one body. The Scriptures teach the same regarding the Church as the body of Christ.

The reason that people become disillusioned and disheartened and confused is on account of ignorance of this fact. They perceive, perhaps because of their own assumptions or because they have been falsely taught, that the Church is an organization. When a church body or congregation acts as though it were an organization, it is not the Church. It has no life to give because it is not the body of Christ. It is merely a group of people who have chosen to organize themselves in an imitation of the Church. The unity of such an organization is entirely dependent upon the actions of the members. While they may profess to be depending upon God for their unity, they really are depending upon themselves and their collective agreed upon capacity for organization and cooperation.

This is not the Church nor the way of the Church. The Church is a true incorporation or ingrafting of members into one body. They are interconnected not by a collective decision or commitment to one another, but by the organic union into the body. They cannot exist apart from the body, whereas the members of an organization can exist apart from the organization.

This is why people encounter so much disunity in their churches and church bodies. This is why they eventually become disillusioned and disheartened and surrender the hope of ever partaking of true communion with God and with one another.

The fact is that there is only one true Church of God on earth. It is united in the doctrine of the apostles. It lives and functions as this doctrine declares. Where this is not the case, something other than the Church of God exists. The Church is not of our making. It is the holy communion of the saints, called and gathered and united by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel. Through Baptism the members are generated into the kingdom of God, the body of Christ, the Church. Having been generated or born into this body, they continually partake of the body and blood for their preservation unto the life of the body. This is why the divine liturgy begins with our baptismal regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit into the saving name of Jesus and carries us to the Lord’s Supper of His Holy Communion. This is the life of the Church, the body of Christ.

If people truly understood and believed this, they would not gather with those who are not the Church and they would not become disillusioned and disheartened. They would not look for authorization and validation from a church body that men have organized. They would gather instead to the pure administration of the means of grace and would be truly united through the koinonia or communion of the body and blood of Christ.

Then they would not be confused regarding who the true preachers are. The true preachers are known by their fruits, even as the Lord Jesus declares. (Matthew 7:7-20 )

The true Church is not hard to identify. The Lord Jesus assures us:

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)

He actually says this more powerfully and specifically than our translations. He actually says:

For where are two or three having been together brought into my name, there I am in midst of them.

If people truly understood this and believed it as He says it, they would realize that this synegmenoi, this being brought together, this being congregated, is entirely passive on their part. It is purely the work of God, effected through the preaching of the Gospel in connection with Baptism and preserved through the Holy Supper wherein Jesus promises that He is in their midst. He distinguishes this with the words eis, which is into, and en, which is in. The Church is the congregation of those who have been brought together into the power and unity of His name where He is there in their midst. This is not a choice to gather in His name, as the many churches imagine. This is true ingrafting into His body through being baptized into His name and thereby being regenerated through water and Spirit into the body in which Jesus, Immanuel, truly is. When people understand and believe this, they know where Jesus is by the obvious signs that He has ordained, the pure administration of the Sacraments in accord with the preaching of the pure doctrine of the Word. Then those having been gathered are truly the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints. Then the congregation is truly the same, whether there be two or two thousand and whether they are in New York City or in Rome or in Jerusalem or in Timbuktu or even in a foxhole in Afghanistan. They will be united through the divine liturgy, even if the hymnals are burned and all they can remember is the Creed and the Our Father and the words of consecration for the Supper.

I Never Knew You

These are harsh words. They are spoken by the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the world.

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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)

“I never knew you.” This is spoken by the one who is born unto us from eternity. He says this of those who have called upon His name and have done what appear to be mighty and good things in His name. In fact, He does not even discount their claims. It seems, from what Jesus says, that they are correct in what they say, that they did indeed do all of these mighty works. They preached and prophesied and cast out devils according to the power of the name of Jesus. Yet He says to them in the day of judgment that they are workers of iniquity whom He has never known as His own workers and disciples.

Occasionally I visit the web site of the congregation in which I grew up. I was baptized at the fount in this congregation. I was confirmed there. I was ordained there. I preached there. But as I see what is happening, as I have watched the congregation change from what I knew to what it now is, as I see what is on the opening page of their web site, I wonder whether I ever knew them.

This is what I found today on their home page of:


I see this and I wonder who these people are. For nearly 20 years I warned my family and friends of the erosion of the true faith and the theft of the preaching of the pure Gospel and of the pure administration of the sacraments that was occurring there and within the LC-MS. Many of the people I once knew have left this world, hopefully while the Gospel was still their true hope. But the congregation is in turmoil. My family has disintegrated and splintered. Finally, my mother has stopped attending there, though she still clings to the dead church body.

I find myself realizing that perhaps the church that I thought that I knew never existed, or at least, as it now is, it has become something entirely foreign to me, something that I never knew.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

NewsMax Lies

Recently NewsMax has resumed bombardment of my e-mail boxes with their propaganda. Propaganda has come to have a negative connotation in our society, even though the word itself is positive. Certainly as I am bombarded with NewsMax propaganda I am left with the negative association that has become common today.

Some years ago we signed up with NewsMax to receive a very worthy newsletter: The Blaylock Report. However, NewsMax also pulled some trickery on my wife (and many others). From that time we stopped trusting NewsMax. Of course, things like what I received in my e-mail today continue to reinforce our distrust of this pretender to the role of a defender of liberty and morality.

Today’s e-mail reminded me of the prophets of old who decried the same kinds of lies and thievery among the Old Testament people. One specific quote came to my mind:

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, Who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, "Bring wine, let us drink!" (Amos 4:1 NKJV)

The e-mail was from the President and CEO of Newsmax Media. In it he claimed to have sent a video to me the previous week and had noticed that I had not viewed it.

What?!!! How could he know whether or not I had viewed the video? I checked the link to see whether a person would have to give an e-mail address or other identification in order to view the video. Nope. So I called customer service to ask. Nope, he lied. The poor customer service lady was required to try to cover for his lie, but he lied.

The video is also loaded with lies and false promises.

How often today do we hear that something will be given “ABSOLUTELY FREE” if only we will call this number watch this video or whatever. Then, the offer is proclaimed to have a shipping fee, or is connected with a subscription to a newsletter, or is a “no risk” trial offer?

This is false advertising. This is raw deception. Even with the “no risk” offer, such as this one, a payment is required, which allows the seller to use our money interest free.

But this is not the ultimate issue of concern regarding this e-mail and what is contained in the video to which it links. The video has promises that are not kept, promises to tell about two amazing investment opportunities but those are not actually revealed. But this, too, is minor contrasted to what is forthrightly promoted.

Now most people are unlikely to respond to this with this concern. Most people will likely respond with desire to be included in what is promoted. But to this the Lord declares:

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, Who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, "Bring wine, let us drink!" (Amos 4:1)

The video tells how we can learn how to profit from the misery that the international bankers, the greedy controllers of the economy, and the corrupt politicians are causing. It tells how we can learn to imitate the ways of those who are destroying the great heritage of America and are taking over America and the world’s nations through economic manipulation.

The video, which can be viewed here, follows the typical way of promoters of hype. The video is set up so that you have no control. You cannot fast forward or back up or pause. If you try to leave the web site it pops us and makes you click more buttons. When you refuse to stay, it gives you another page with the information in page format. Perhaps this is good, as at least one can examine it better.

From that page, here is what is stated regarding the third stock option, one of the two that are promised but not actually revealed without signing up for the trial subscription.

2011 Guaranteed Dividend Stock #3:
A Wall Street Bank Everyone Hates!

My mantra of being greedy when others are fearful lets me recommend another unlikely stock for 2011, one of America's biggest banks and one of the biggest bailed out by the federal government.

The current bogeyman of the Obama administration is Wall Street money center banks like this one. Temporarily, this would seem to be a bad investment.

However, in 2010, this administration also attacked Goldman Sachs, British Petroleum, Berkshire Hathaway, and Johnson & Johnson. All four stocks took turns being the bogeyman, and all four are up HUGE since being attacked. This company is just the latest "villain" for the White House.

The company's revenue sources include credit card services (25%), global corporate banking (18%), global markets (17%), wealth management (14%), home loans and insurance (16%), and deposits (10%).

Just a few years ago, this stock was selling for close to $60 a share. Today you can buy shares for pennies on the dollar — pretty close to what it was selling for in the early 1990s and 11% off of its tangible book value of all its intangible assets.

In plain English, you are buying it for a price less than you would pay if you started a bank from scratch.

And you get all the rest of it — the card services, global corporate banking, global markets, and wealth management businesses — for free.

One last thing: Hedge fund superstar John Paulson, the man who made $20 billion on the subprime debacle is betting HUGE on this stock. His fund has been profitable in 13 of the past 14 years, including an almost 40% gain in 2008.

He has taken his largest equity position in this company's common shares, buying 168 million shares.

I think this stock is a slam-dunk for 2011 . . . and I'll tell you all about it in my brand-new special report, The Best Dividend Machine Stocks for 2011.

Just in case you read past it without noticing, here is the key point again:

My mantra of being greedy when others are fearful lets me recommend another unlikely stock for 2011, one of America's biggest banks and one of the biggest bailed out by the federal government.

Once more for good measure, slightly more condensed:

My mantra of being greedy when others are fearful lets me recommend . . .

Now, NewsMax claims to oppose the bailout and the stimulus spending bill and the raping of people through health care. They promote newsletters for doctors who speak against big pharmaceutical promotion of drugs as the answer for all problems. They promote awareness of the tea party movement and the cry to stand up for what is right and to oppose the big government and big business pillaging of the people and their earnings and of the trampling of the Constitution.

And here they promote investing in the very things that they claim to oppose. They promote profiting from the big drug pushers called health care. They promote profiting from the foreclosure of homes. This mindset is especially promoted in another e-mail sent a few days ago, the first portion of which can be seen below:

And again from the video:

My mantra of being greedy when others are fearful lets me recommend another unlikely stock for 2011, one of America's biggest banks and one of the biggest bailed out by the federal government.

And where is the federal government getting this money to bail out big banks and to give money away in the trillions of dollars? The government swindlers are borrowing the money from the international bankers who own the Federal Reserve. They are borrowing this money in our names. They are stealing this money from you and from me and from all of the future generations who will be bankrupted by this action.

So why should we not follow the advice to get rich from other people’s loss and misery? Why should we not take advantage of the situation and profit from it just as the big boys are doing? Why should we be left behind to suffer the loss?

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, Who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, "Bring wine, let us drink!" The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness: "Behold, the days shall come upon you When He will take you away with fishhooks, And your posterity with fishhooks. You will go out through broken walls, Each one straight ahead of her, And you will be cast into Harmon," Says the Lord. (Amos 4:1-3 NKJV)

Is the Lord blind? Does He not see how we join with the evil ways of the world? Were the prophecies of old only concerning the greedy of those times?

More importantly, is this really the way that we want to act? Do we really want to imitate those who take advantage of others unfairly? Is greed the way to happiness? Or is the way to true happiness the way of contentment and of defending the poor and the widows and the fatherless and the oppressed?

Ultimately it comes down to who and what one counts as God. In whom and in what does one trust and rely? In whom and what does one find security and peace and satisfaction? How one answers these matters determines one’s affinity to the ways promoted in the above propaganda.

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
(Matthew 6:24-34)

Fluoride Is Good for You

“Fluoride Is Good for You!”

Is it really?

Who is to be trusted, those who blindly accept the so-called consensus, or those who examine the evidence? One group that is working to set the evidence before the population is Fluoride Action Network.

The following 28 minute video, “Professional Perspectives on Water Fluoridation,” can also be found at their web site.

Featuring a Nobel Laureate in Medicine, three scientists from the National Research Council's landmark review on fluoride, as well as dentists, medical doctors, and leading researchers in the field, this professionally-produced 28-minute DVD presents a powerful indictment of the fluoridation program. The DVD also includes four special features including Dr. Bill Osmunson's acclaimed statement on fluoride. A great resource for anyone involved in the issue.

On the matter of fluoride concerns, I have long wondered about even the amounts in toothpaste. Our dental hygienists have long encouraged using a fluoride rinse for our teeth, to “strengthen” them and to “reduce sensitivity” in them. We learned after that from various sources that evidence shows that teeth are made brittle over time by fluoride and that tooth chipping and cracking often results after years of exposure and saturation. Moreover, we learned of the extremely toxic nature of fluoride. After learning of this, we stopped using the rinses and have begun limiting our toothpaste exposure.

One of the things that troubles me regarding even toothpaste with fluoride, is the fact that for a period of two or more minutes one of the most highly absorbent parts of the body is being exposed to this highly toxic substance. The mouth and the blood vessels under the tongue have long been used for administration of nitroglycerin for heart attack minimization. This is because of the extremely rapid and efficient absorption of substances by the blood vessels of this area. Within seconds the effects are noticeable, meaning that the substance goes directly to the heart (and also the brain). So what does this say of even small amounts of fluoride in toothpaste and fluoride rinses?

Should this be a matter of concern for those who seek to maintain good health? And what then when it is added to the public water supply? Should people not be made to be aware of this issue?

Fluoride Action Network should be applauded for their efforts in this regard. In this video, other issues such as bone density and strength and arthritis are addressed. Oh, and have you heard of fluorosis? How many people even hear of these connections? Is it not time for someone to be alerting people?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Faith out of Hearing

After preaching Sunday’s sermon, “Why Are Ye Fearful,” and editing it for HTML markup for the web site, I found myself wondering whether I had misspoken. In the third paragraph of the first part I stated: “Faith is not what we do but that which works in us and upon us to bring to effect the hearing and following of God’s Word.” As I pondered what I wrote and said in the next paragraph, at first I thought that I might have spoken a contradiction.

Understanding how God works faith in us is beyond our human reason to grasp on its own, and even when it is declared to us rightly, we are inclined to doubt its validity. Upon careful repeated examination I realized that what I had preached is correct and in keeping with what the Scriptures declare.

In the fourth paragraph I said what at first seems to contradict the statement of the third paragraph: “Hearing produces faith, not the other way around.” Without careful attention, this struck me as contradictory. But it is nonetheless true. Hearing produces faith, not the other way around. Likewise it is true that the true faith works in us and upon us to bring to effect the hearing and following of God’s Word. Hearing produces this faith in us and this faith that is generated in us brings to effect the hearing and following of God’s Word thereafter. Both the hearing and the faith are God’s work. The hearing must precede the faith, producing the faith in us by which we are made to be believers, so that forevermore this faith keeps us in the Word, hearing it and following it.

Depression - Food - Life - Faith

In a brief report Dr. Blaylock, a medical doctor with a long established neurosurgical and nutritional practice, shares how Fats Affect Depression. The article is worthy of reading.

What we eat undoubtedly affects our health. The old saying: “You are what you eat,” continues to be proven to be true. Most people are clueless regarding what they are eating. People go to the grocery store and the restaurant and imagine that because the government has approved a processed product that it is therefore safe. People also are unaware that the government is deliberately preventing many healthy foods from being marketed commercially.

But what we eat is only part of the problem. It is a BIG part of the problem, but still only a portion. Ultimately depression is a spiritual issue. What we eat does have an impact upon our spiritual condition. This is especially true regarding what we eat that is spiritual, but also what we eat that is physical. I suppose that my awareness of this is why I appreciate a mealtime prayer passed down by my father, a prayer that he always called “Uncle John’s Prayer.”

Lord bless these gifts for their intended use, that they nourish and strengthen us both physically and spiritually. Amen.

Those things of which we partake we bind to ourselves. This includes our many daily activities. Our thoughts, words, and deeds shape us. Our choices in lifestyle shape us. This is why God has given us the Decalog or the Ten Commandments. These Ten Words or Sayings of God teach us who He says that we are according to whom He created us to be and recreates us to be. These Ten Sayings teach us what we are not according to our own sinful lusts and nature, and what we should be and will be by His gracious intervention.

These Ten Sayings of God teach us why we experience the troubles that we have in our lives. Depression is most certainly caused by our unwillingness to be bound by God to His ways. If we start at the end of the Ten Sayings and work our way back to the First, we easily identify the many ills that we bring upon ourselves. At the end of the Sayings or Commandments, we encounter our covetousness. Lusting after what we do not have robs us of contentment and true satisfaction of heart and soul and mind and finally even of body. Working our way back to the First Declaration, we find that all of the things that trouble us arise from our stubborn refusal to fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

Our choices in foods stem from this. Oh how busy we are trying to provide for ourselves and to fulfill our needs for income and whatever else that we believe that we must acquire. Then we don’t have time to prepare our own meals. We don’t have time to sit and talk quietly and to pray and to commune with God as a family. We even grasp after the worship services of the Church and recreate them after the lusts of our wayward hearts and minds.

Then, rather than hearing God’s call to be turned from these things back to Him, when our ways fail us, we imagine even more anthropopathic and anthropomorphic answers, remedies, and cures. But these all ultimately produce even more problems, often called “side effects.” It is not uncommon for these side effects to be even more of a problem than the original ill that is being treated.

The farther that we move from what God has designed and declared, the farther we move toward disorder, confusion, and trouble. The more that we rely upon ourselves and other people and worldly answers, the more disappointment that we encounter. What we eat, how we live, how we treat others, even how others respond to us, these all are dependent upon how we hear God. Do we even hear Him at all?