January 31, 2011

Thy Kingdom Come

Matthew 6:10 "Thy kingdom Come, thy will be done."
Take 15 minutes; empty your mind of all the popups;
reflect on the beginning of The Lord's Prayer. Do you
want God's Kingdom? Think about it. If you really want
it, then you'll do His will, at least part of your time.

You may find the whole prayer at Matthew 6:9-14.

Let me know.

January 24, 2011

A Vision of Abraham's

One of Abraham's Visions

Abraham was the founder and father of the three
principal religions of our society. He was born about
three millenia ago in Mesopotamia (in what is now
Iraq). As a boy he emigrated with his family to Haran,
near the headwaters of the Euphrates (in eastern
Turkey. He later went, with his nephew, Lord, South to
Palestine, responding to a directive he had received
from God (to the Promised Land). Abraham and Lot were
so prosperous that it became necessary to divided the
land. Lot choose the 'plains of Jordan' and took up
residence in the town of Sodom.

Sitting outside his tent he received a visit from three
men (whom he thought to be God). He entertained them
and had an extended conversation. God revealed that he
was going to Sodom to see if the direful rumors about
the place were true. Read Abraham Genesis 18:20ff:
20And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

22And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

23And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

24Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

25That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

26And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD, which am but dust and ashes:

28Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

29And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.

30And he said unto him, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

31And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the LORD: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.

32And he said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

33And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

January 10, 2011

Professional Christian

1. Acts 8:
[9] But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
[10] To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
[11] And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
[12] But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
[13] Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
[14] Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
[15] Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
[16] (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
[17] Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
[18] And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
[19] Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
[20] But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
[21] Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
[22] Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
[23] For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
[24] Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
[25] And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel.
Is there any relationship between money and the gospel? It is mentioned now and then, here and there; two other passages come to mind:

2. Acts 18:3 (King James Version):
And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

3. Luke.10:7: And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

Some critical scholars (like myself) might see an apparent contradiction here. Does a Christian profit financially from his spiritual gift? Fox of course didn't believe in it; he ranted about hireling priests.

That message reached me after 8 years as a professional minister; the parishioners bought a lovely house for me and my family; I also noticed that most of them lived in houses of a poorer sort. I noticed that very few of my associates seem to have any problem with that.

Things came to a head when I visited a moderately large church, on denominational business. I discovered that the pastor had one guiding feeling: he really felt like he needed two Buicks (or was it Oldsmobiles): one for his use and the other for his daughter's use.

I noticed also that my fellow ministers, especially the most 'successful' ones, seemed to spend most of their time with the banker and other prosperous members.

Can one be a professional Christian? It's a matter of values and of your theology. Is it of the Norman Vincent Peale type (God will make you rich!), or do you hearken more to
Matthew 25?