Friday, September 25, 2020

God and His Role In Temptation

Given our weakness, would God ever “lead us . . . into temptation”?

First, we have to use as our anchor this scripture, "God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession." (James 1:12 - 18)

So how do we explain the meaning of the strange (to us) parallel passages in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles in which God and Satan are both said to have incited David to number Israel: 

Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” (2 Sam. 24:1) 

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. (1 Chron. 21:1) 

So which was it? 

Friday, September 18, 2020

10 Ways Music Can Impact Your Life

When I was around 8 years old my parents were somehow convinced that my life would be enriched through taking piano lessons. After much discussion, (I vaguely remember this being absurdly one-sided), I was enrolled in this horrifying experiment. The deal was struck and the piano teacher was informed that if I had no talent in this area than I would be let out of this demonic deal and restored to playing with my friends in the great outdoors. However, I had to practice a minimum of 30 minutes a day or the deal was off. Thus with all the particulars decided this cultural manifesto promptly began. 

I will leave the details of what I haven't blocked out of my childhood for another blog but all kidding aside this was a huge blessing in my life. For over 50 years music has been a faithful companion, opened many a door, and provided countless hours of pleasure. (Mom and Dad if I neglected to thank you over the years, Thank You!!!) 

I think we can all agree that listening to music can be entertaining, and some research suggests that it might even make you healthier. Music can be a source of pleasure and contentment, but there are many other psychological benefits as well. Music can relax the mind, energize the body, and even help people better manage pain.

Let's take a quick look at ten ways that music can impact your life. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Ultimate Question

In the radio series and the first novel, "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings demand to learn the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything Else from the supercomputer Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought ​7 1⁄2 million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42. The twist is that Deep Thought points out that the answer is meaningless because the beings who asked it never actually knew what the question really was . . . 

So here's a question, what if each one of us was immortal and at the conclusion of our finite period of time here on earth we move on to our infinite destination? Follow-up question, what would determine where we spend this eternity? 

I bet we would agree that no matter how much time, energy, sacrifice, and resources we spent on this question we would never exceed the depth and importance of our answer? Adding a layer of further complexity this question has a limited window of time in which it can be answered, because after our time here on earth is done, our freedom and ability to answer this question is gone. Forever

In 1 Corinthians 15:29 the apostle Paul addresses this very issue, "If this world is all there is, let's eat and drink and party all night because tomorrow we might die." Paul is agreeing with the culture of his time, (and our time) that if this world is all there is than why not spend it in pursuit of our own pleasures. 

But what if there is more to our existence? 

Let's see what Jesus says about this question:

Friday, September 04, 2020

Self Portrait Questions

  • Date and Place of Birth: October 18th, 1960, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • A Book I Recently Read: "The Ragamuffin Gospel"
  • Something Few People Know About Me: I Love the game of baseball
  • I Wish I Could: Travel For A Living
  • My Most Valuable Possession: My Soul
  • I Am Most Comfortable When: I'm Reading A Good Book
  • My Most Precious Childhood Memory: Playing Football With My Brother and The Neighborhood Kids
  • Five People I Would Invite To A Fantasy Dinner Party: Jesus Christ, My Grandpa Bible, Rich Mullins, Paul McCartney, and George S. Patton
  • The Best Gift I Ever Received: The gift of forgiveness from Jesus Christ for all of my sins.
  • My Favorite Meal: Krystal Hamburgers, Fries, Chili, Large Coke
  • I Am Most Proud Of: My Daughter
  • One Word To Sum Me Up: Grateful
  • Favorite Things To Do To Relax: Reading, Watching a Movie, Playing the piano
  • Last Words You Would Say To Those You Love: Love Jesus and accept His gift of salvation - Your Eternity Depends On Your Response
  • Favorite Sports To Watch: College Football (Go Vols!) and Baseball (Go Braves!) 
  • Favorite Sports To Play: Baseball, Tennis, Racquetball, Ping Pong, Football, Basketball
  • Scariest Thing You've Ever Done: Spending the night in a haunted cabin outside of Mt. Rainier
  • Favorite Song: "Brandy" by Looking Glass