Category Archives: Bible Lessons – mini

Little Bible lessons under 500 words. You or your group can look up the passages, discuss the scripture and develop your own questions.

Seeing the World through God’s Eyes

Poor ‘ole God gets blamed for so very many things He had nothing to do with. His plan for Man is that we live in our own way, our government, our decisions, and our culture.  Those 70 years give us enough time to make up our minds to follow God’s principles or not.  The results become ours. And because He does not interrupt our lives, our nations, our wars, unless we make a federal case out of it, we blame Him.

Not so fast. We can’t live in free will at one point and then insist that God step in.  We can’t have it both ways. What God does is to listen to our honest prayers and then provide an impact on life wherever we have made ourselves available to His will.  The result is that God is able to make something good come out of evil.  He always does.

I would have preferred to have never lived through the 2nd World War.  Millions of souls were lost, not to mention the awful loss of property, animals, destruction of families, and refugees.  But God was able to make something good out of it all.  He had promised the Jews (@ 2,000 B.C.E.) that He would restore their homeland (Isaiah 11:11) at some point in history.  That war, and the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, sufficiently embarrassed the European nations to arrange for the Israelis to return. They’ve had a hard time keeping the peace but they are still holding on to their land.

No one was happy about the Korean War, cutely referred to as a “police action,” but the long range results were that South Korea is the strongest Christian nation in the Pacific Rim and the major missionary nation to the orient. South Korea is wildly prosperous, educated, westernized and hope-filled and when it is forced to revive North Korea, a nation that knows no equal for evil and loss, the nation will have the wherewithal to do it.

President George Bush gets a pile of grief for going into Iraq, but it is a strong and prosperous nation and will get on its feet as soon as ISIS is eliminated. They have money in the bank! We have the same hope for the Kurds in the North who have been treated badly for generations and yet are the best hope for any group stuck in a Muslim enclave of nations.

God’s plan for earth is that all men should be saved.  That they are not is not God’s fault.  God has set up a system of salvation hat man must follow, but in actual practice it is not all that hard. One single man thousands of years ago got it into his head that God was a personality who actually made the universe and everything in it.  God was so impressed He visited him personally (Genesis 14) and the family of Israel, and God’s precious people began there.  So if you, or some unsaved friend believe God is the creator, you are half way there.

God usually takes bad situations and bails them out. I was nearly killed as a child, removed from the home and sent to a private school.  I received a scholarship to an Ivy League College and my life changed permanently and forever.  I suspect nothing like this could have happened otherwise. God can take anything and reform it. And it all happened without me being any the wiser for the events that brought this on.

This isn’t Pollyanna stuff.  We are not trying to make silk purses out of sows’ ears.  But we must not assume that God is a “deist” off somewhere ignoring man and his systems. Nor is He under any compulsion to inform us ahead of time. He has a whole set of plans for you, me and our universe of which we as yet have not one hint.

You Don’t Need to be Wicked to End up in Hell

I’m dancing around a problem these days.  I have an acquaintance who is headed for hell.  Furthermore he is ill and I suspect he doesn’t have that much time left.  His background is completely non-Christian.  His father was a Unitarian minister, the parents divorced and he attended Berkeley in California in the 1960s.  He knocked around the world playing in bands, and he believes that as a Flower Child all will be rosy and happy when he dies. 

He knows I wrote a book and I said I would print out a chapter for him because it is not yet ready for the presses.  He asked for something on philosophy or psychology. He was not all that interested in religion or information about God.

So consider this portion of a verse. Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.

This man is not evil.  He doesn’t rape, steal or murder at will.  He does not beat up small children or march with rioters in the streets.  He just has no place for God in his mind or his life. Yet he thinks that because he has committed no great sin heaven will be open to him where he can live a life of love, joy and peace with all his old buddies, playing the guitar and singing on the beach by a nice campfire.  Something like that.

But the hard truth is that heaven is God’s hometown.  If you end up there it is because God wants you and you want Him.  You just don’t slip in unnoticed because you haven’t bombed a church somewhere or set fire to your neighbor’s laundry. Heaven, and by extension hell, is serious business.

Hell is not all torment, screaming, and flames. Parts of hell are in complete isolation where there is barely a scrap of light and not another single person, a place of total loneliness.  If you want to hear something you’ll have to do your own screaming. There may not even be a single demon to contend with. Other parts are wastelands, like the burned out cities with sticks and rocks left from a firestorm.  Or complete quiet.  Or unremitting noise.

But most of all the decision about where you go after you die is not in your hands.  You only have free will on this side of the grave. If you made the wrong choice here, it is too late after you die to change your mind. Everyone has everlasting existence; not everyone has everlasting life.  The difference is in the decision we make for God now.

Free will lulls us to sleep, makes us comfortable in this life, allowing us to enjoy an uneasy peace. You may be saying to yourself, “Oh I’ll get saved before I die.  NO problem.  I just want to have some fun first.” But the truth about life is that it often ends without warning, not on your schedule but someone else’s.

Three thousand people entered the two towers in New York City for a normal work day on September 11, 2001 and nearly that many died before noon.  The calming notion that you have any time left for decision making is a cruel ruse. Put God back in your mind, and back into your life while you still have a chance.

Understanding Laziness

Several years ago a driver took me to a medical appointment deep into Dallas so we had a chance to chat.  I always ask men how they like their job, knowing they’ll always respond,  This fellow in his early 50s said he liked it now but he had spent years in half-hearted jobs where he never really finished anything.

I piped up.  “You know I read somewhere about this.  Were you criticized and abused early on like when you were 12?”

“Yes,” he answered quite surprised at my response. “I remember nothing but as a kid.”

“Here is what I learned,” I said. “People who  are blamed for bad workmanship or inadequacies don’t want to finish a project so they don’t have to face the verbal abuse. I had that problem myself.”

Of course there are really lazy people too, those who don’t like the job they are doing, or perhaps have no aptitude for it. But if we kill motivation in people they won’t want to do well.  That is why bad managers and bosses must pay higher wages to their employees. I wonder how much of the striking and negotiation for wage hikes is nothing more than hating the job?

The Bible has something to say about laziness, here called sloth,

As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

An Open Apology To Dolly Parton 

Rawe-struck

Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent just to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”

Oh.

You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more…

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Can You Handle Rejection?

One of the ways we know the Bible is being misinterpreted is when the theologians (and others) blame God for what is going on, or in the case of poor Cain and Abel, insist that one is saved by “good works” or simply, saved by works, period. cainandabel753812_960_720 St. Paul spent a good deal of time on this topic, even going so far as to say that those who return to a works-salvation are placing themselves under a curse. (Galatians 3:10-13)

The story of these two brothers comes early in Genesis because the rest of history will be about wars between brothers, and then non-brothers and on and on.  God expects from all of us a portion of our “increase” that is the Biblical word, to honor Him as the generous God making all of life possible and profitable.  Abel brought a present from his flock, but Cain was a farmer and brought some grain. (Genesis 4:1-16)

The redactors have us believe that it was all because God expected a blood sacrifice not a loaf of bread.  But that does not match the holy book.  God has instructed us to bring of our first fruits.  Apparently Cain has no animal stock.  and as a farmer and brought the best of that. There is no record that God condemned the offering from the field. In fact later on we read of a bread offering under the Law.

And he was rejected.  No, God is not pulling a fast one here.  He has not indicated that some form of gift is preferable to another.  I would remind those of you reading this now that you may be an artist, or a housewife, or a parent, or an office worker.  What you bring to the Lord’s table is the best job that you can do for your employer and for yourself  Can you say to God – this is the very best that I can do?  I sometimes wonder about people whose only gift to the church is some old clothes for the poor.  Gee thanks.

The Bible says the poor need money not clothing,  But that is for another day.

Genesis is full of tests.  First Adam and Eve get sidetracked.  Now these two brothers have a test.  Will Abel gloat over his brother and say, “Nah Nah” God accepted my gift and not yours?  Will Cain realize that his reaction to being rejected is on trial here?

I’ve had many successes in life but I learned lots more from my failures.  I’ve been severely rejected a dozen times, all very painful and sometimes very costly.  I’ve been lied about and slandered.  One man even traveled to the West Coast to assure someone that I was a liar because the donor had $38000 for him.  God remembers this by the way.  He will repay.

But back to Cain.  Here is his chance to examine what happened.  He muses, “Did I do something wrong, or did I just not check thoroughly on what God wanted?  Is this a test of my believing God?”

Look around you.  Is not a lot of politics “murdering” another – their reputation, their home, their finances – in order to win public applause and recognition? Dan Rather allowed bitterness lead him into revenge which backfired and he was forced to retire.

The Bible says Cain failed this test.  Instead of realizing this was his test, he believed it was a competition with Abel.  No,  God does not set up competitions between his people.  We compete against ourselves. Paul speaks of going for a prize, but not against another person, but against his own call from God.  Cain looked at his situation in envy and bitterness.  The Bible says we are not to allow a root of bitterness, revenge and blame to arise among us.  (Hebrews 12:15) But this happened and he murdered his brother.

He failed the Reaction Test. His lesson can be ours.  We look at the Bible and think all our tests are what we do or fail to do – our actions.  But God wants our reactions to be holy as well. What is yours?

Hate Didn’t Elect Donald Trump; People Did

A kind hearted look at reality.

Tori's Thought Bubble

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Over the summer, my little sister had a soccer tournament at Bloomsburg University, located in central Pennsylvania. The drive there took about three hours and many of the towns we drove through shocked me. The conditions of these towns were terrible. Houses were falling apart. Bars and restaurants were boarded up. Scrap metal was thrown across front lawns. White, plastic lawn chairs were out on the drooping front porches. There were no malls. No outlets. Most of these small towns did not have a Walmart, only a dollar store and a few run down thrift stores. In almost every town, there was an abandoned factory.

My father, who was driving the car, turned to me and pointed out a Trump sign stuck in a front yard, surrounded by weeds and dead grass. “This is Trump country, Tori,” He said. “These people are desperate, trapped for life in these small towns…

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Apostasy

We know this is true because large numbers of people are leaving the apostate churches and either not attending a church at all or joining newer ones who preach the whole counsel. If you build it – the corrected church – they wil lcome.

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Hebrews 5:11-14 (NASB) 

Apostasy: [Middle English apostasie, from Old French, from Late Latin apostasia, defection, from Late Greek apostasi, from Greek apostasis, revolt, from aphistanai, aposta-, to revolt : apo-, apo- + histanai, to stand, place; see st- in Indo-European roots.]

Noun pl -sies abandonment of one’s religious faith, political party, or cause [Greek apostasis desertion] from:Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers…

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Judge Jeanine: ‘This Wasn’t an Election, It Was a Revolution’

Bad political thinking leads to bad theological thinking as well. America- we need to clean up our minds.

Reformed Musings

No matter how you voted in 2016, you have to see this video. Judge Jeanine Pirro captures the heart of the election, or revolution as she calls it. She gets it, and even called Trump’s victory months ago:

“They told you you didn’t matter, that if you supported him you were probably uneducated, small-minded and irrelevant, you were beneath them,” Judge Jeanine said.

“Even though we felt forgotten, alone and beaten down, we all came home, because this wasn’t an election, it was a revolution.”

And after watching Judge Jeanine, if you still think she’s wrong, go listen to the ultra-liberal Michael Moore talk about the election. He also said months ago that Trump would win. Here’s how he answers the liars who say the election was about race:

Filmmaker Michael Moore pushed back today against the notion that Americans who voted for Donald Trump did so based…

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A Different Type Of God

CHristians need to understand that the God we worship is the same one in this article.

Finding Ourselves In Biblical Narratives

When we were slaves in Egypt, the Pharaoh was not just the country’s king. Pharaoh was a god.  

That pagan god was afraid that we Hebrews were becoming too numerous. So he called in the Hebrew midwives Shifrah and Puah and told them: when you help the Hebrew women give birth, if you see that the child is a boy, kill it. If it is a girl, let her live.

But the midwives ignored the instruction of that god-Pharaoh. They listened instead to the voice of the one true God, a different type of God, and kept the boys alive.

The pagan god-Pharaoh then ordered his soldiers to throw every Hebrew baby boy into the Nile. But Yocheved was loyal to a different type of God and would not give up her baby.

With a fervent prayer she set her precious child in a basket and floated him…

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The Danger of Deductive Reasoning in Spiritual Matters – A Devotional

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Is there anything inside?

For the past 7 or so years she firmly believes that Jesus would return in 2016.  He might anyway, but her reasoning is only based on her needs which are financial as they face even greater business loss, the failure of family, friends and business associates to pull their weight, her several physical disabilities and surgeries. unwelcome attacks from people who think they should determine what she is to say, and the failure of her family to make the necessary changes in their lives to guarantee a peaceful future, and finally old sins not yet straightened out.

Jesus is not going to return just because we are not happy.  If there is any reason at all to believe the 2nd Coming is this year it would be the immense cruelty and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the  ongoing violence against Israel especially in never ending raids and military incursions, and the deterioration of the American Church which is historically been a bulwark against error and demonic attack, now clearly AWOL on all fronts, compromising itself out of business by sleeping with the enemy.  ALL churches have bowed an unwilling knee to political correctness, which we now pray is no more.

If God would not intervene on account of this kind of attack against His People, why would He interfere just now with someone who has personal miseries?

Maybe He will return in Israel’s year 5777 which just started  Maybe not  But no theology of God is to be based on our own unhappiness and loss.  Unhappiness and loss is the human condition, not the barometer by which God does or does not act.

he acts on the basis of our prayers regarding His promises, not just for individuals but for whole nations and societies.  As the Middle East and Europe explode in rape and murder, across the world Asians and Muslims everywhere are finding Jesus as Savior.  The numbers are so astounding no one will ever again think that Jesus is white and speaks English.  These kinds of statistics are a shock even to people like myself who have faith for the strangers among us.

The 2nd Coming is called the Blessed Hope, and indeed  life would be hopeless without believing in His return.  God’s predictions about the EndTimes is of increasing trouble for the world and blessing for believers in the midst of them.  Climate Change Panic is because people have not read what God said – that He and He alone would destroy the world by fire.

Yes, we can plan on a hotter and hotter environment.  And our political environment will get hotter and hotter too yet He gave us everything we need for life and godliness.  He has not given us a calendar of events; in fact, we have the opposite – a guarantee that even Jesus does not know the final date and time.

Our job is faith in His promises and obedience to His word, not letting the fallen World dictate our deeds and expectations.

Prayer: Dear Lord, give us your peace, not the world’s peace, and keep out of my brain anything that speaks against you or your plans, In Jesus Name, Amen.