Ken's Blog

ken@pastorken.com

Saturday, September 29, 2007

TRUTH - IS IT IMPORTANT?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Every sensible person would have to say yes! We can all be seriously hurt by dishonesty and false information. Pilate had a problem with the “truth” before he allowed the Jews to Crucify Jesus.

(John 18:37 NIV) “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” {38} “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The evening news would only last about five minutes if they left out all the stories about honest people being swindled, cheated, and robbed by crooks and corrupt corporations. Leave out the scandals, the daily report on murder, sex, perversion and corruption in our government and we could just skip the whole thing.

Would you believe Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if he said there was no poverty or hunger in Africa? If he said he took this photo to prove it would you believe him?


(Photoshop can create any kind of picture.)

Normal people have someone talking to them every waking moment of their lives. This talk can be very upsetting, painful, creates depression, worry, anxiety and sleepless nights. Most of this talk is wickedly and painfully false. It can even cause bad dreams. Some of it is inspiring, and makes us feel great.

Where is this witches brew of pain and joy coming from? It comes from our marvelous and amazing brain. Just try to sit for five minutes and have no thoughts at all. Unless you are seriously ill and in a coma it can't be done.

With practice we can learn to reject and correct the false and disturbing thoughts that can make us miserable. These can be generated by the prefrontal lobes of the brain. The left side creates happy and cheerful emotions and the right side does the opposite.

The Bible makes it clear that "as a man thinketh - so is he." There's an interesting passage in (Phil 4:6-7 NIV) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. {7} And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. {9} Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Sometimes we need to silence that voice in our head that is giving us all kinds of false ideas and bad advise. If we recorded everything we say in a day and then heard someone repeat it back to us - we would discover that we have been saying a lot of false things. The false things we say can make us miserable.

As a Christian Counselor for many years I've heard things like: "I can't control my temper." That's false. Everyone can do that in certain circumstances. Example: A man who slaps his wife and children around is pulled over by a Police Officer. He's really steamed about being stopped.

The officer walks to the door of his car and the man is meek, submissive and controls his temper remarkably well. The police officer is 6'4 inches tall, 275 pounds, not an ounce of fat, has a gun, billy club on his belt, handcuffs and could easily ruin our angry friend's life. So much for being unable to control his temper.

It interesting how well that voice in our heads can come up with all kinds of deception. Someone has a decent car but starts saying: "I NEED A NEW CAR." The truth is they "want" a new car but it's a clever false argument to say "I need a new (you fill in the blanks).

How many of these false statements in your head can you think of? Get rid of them. Here's a true or false test: "Is it ever God's will for you to set aside the needs of other to take care of yourself?" The correct answer is yes!

(Mark 6:30-32 NIV "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. {31} Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." {32} So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place."

Godly motives say, "You are important and so am I. Jesus loves us -- and he loves us equally."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

IS THE BIBLE TRUE?


If we believe in Jesus we have to believe in the Bible. He taught from it and constantly quoted it in his teachings. (Luke 4:16-22 NIV) “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom and he stood up to read.

17} The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: {18} “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, {19} to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

{20} Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, {21} and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” {22} All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.”

Doubt and questions can lead to a strong faith. As a young minister I saw and heard a lot of things that troubled me. I decided to search for the truth by studying any and everything I could find. I didn't care where it led me, I just wanted to know the truth.

I studied all the major religions, and many different "religious teachings." I found myself rejecting them because they were unreliable and taught things that I knew couldn't be true. I finally found what I needed by diligently studying the Bible. I was astonished by what I found.

The Bible was written by 40 different authors who lived over a 2,000 year time span. Doctors, shepherds, farmers, kings, and fishermen who didn't have a chance to communicate with each other --wrote about health, ethics, science, philosophy, and God. They made over 300 predictions about a coming Messiah who is going to be born hundreds of years later and all their predictions came true. The odds of that happening would be one with 181 zero’s after it.

The bible is an amazingly whole book, unified in theme, logical in development and doctrine. It inspires work, fairness, and justice for individuals, family and community. It has created more benevolent societies than any book every written.

History books will tell you that the humane society was started in 1866 but they are wrong. Moses wrote about it over 3500 years ago in Exodus 23:4-5 and Luke 14:5 also talked about it. Life insurance? Well look at its first form in Genesis 34:12, Exodus 22:16, and Ist Samuel 18:25.

In spite of all the space exploration there is still a flat earth society. These are people who still believe the earth is flat. Yet Isaiah 40:22 describes God, it’s creator, as sitting enthroned above the circle of the earth. By the way Isaiah was written about 740 B.C. And while we are talking about the universe, Job 26:7 tells us the earth is suspended and free-floating in space.

I could go on and on with this but let’s talk about medicine. Years ago I was in a graduate school psychology class at Georgia State University. I heard the professor talk about the amazing progress of Psychological knowledge. He recalled that during the First World War millions of men came home with something the doctors called “shell shock.” Intense combat ruined them and many spent their entire life on disability payments from the government.

During the Second World War, the psychologist discovered an amazing new treatment. When a soldier had reached his limit of endurance instead of being shipped back to the states to a mental hospital he was simply brought back a hundred miles or so from the front lines. His treatment consisted of giving him all the good food he could eat, and letting him sleep 16 hours a day if he wanted to. Battle fatigue was all but eliminated and very few men were hospitalized or placed on disability because of it.

There was a final key to the success of their treatment. The soldier was told that his battle fatigue was not a free ticket back home. As soon as he recovered he would be sent back to his unit and continue to fight the war.

When I heard that I almost said, “Praise the Lord” out loud in class. I immediately thought of Ist Kings 19. Elijah has called fire down from heaven, and then ran into the wilderness from Jezebels threat. He had severe stress and battle fatigue. He even wanted God to just take his life, although Jezebel had promised to do it for him.

He lay down under a tree and fell asleep exhausted. Then an angel woke him up, fed him and let him go back to sleep. Then the angel woke him up and fed him again. You can read it for yourself. God gave him a new commission that sent him back into the battle. Exactly the same treatment the psychologist discovered over two thousand years later.

Let’s talk about the writing of Moses. He was schooled in all the arts and science of the Egyptians as the son of Pharaoh. The Egyptians had a famous medical book called the Papyrus Ebers. It said: “to prevent gray hair - use the blood of a black calf boiled in oil - or the fat of a rattlesnake”. To remove splinters apply worms blood and Asses dung. (Since manure is loaded with tetanus bacteria a lot of their patients died with lockjaw.)

In the case of tetanus or “lockjaw” in as short a time as two days the toxin produced by the bacteria attack the spinal cord that control muscle activity. Muscles become rigid and extremely painful spasms kill the patient unless he is treated aggressive with antibiotics along with injections of an antitoxin. Even then breathing will have to be taken over by an artificial respirator, and it’s a tough fight to keep the patient alive.

The Papyrus Ebers called for hundreds of remedies like lizard’s blood, swine teeth, putrid meat, milk goose grease, animal’s fats, and the manure from animals and even flies.

Now wait just a minute! Moses was schooled in all of this yet in the first five books of the bible he never included a single one of these hideous remedies. WHY NOT? GOD INSPIRED HIS WRITING!

I could tell you that when the doctors gave up on the 14th century black plague that took 60 million lives in Europe - the church stopped it by carefully observing what Moses taught in Leviticus 13:46. Again Moses was 2,000 years ahead of his time.

Moses in Numbers and Leviticus gave a secret that Doctors are using today in Emory University Hospital here in Atlanta, and everywhere else in the world. Let me tell you about it. Vienna Austria in 1840 had the finest medical school in the world. Yet doctors examined patients after performing autopsies without washing their hands. Their patients died like flies. Even in the early 19th century Surgeons and medical students would poke their dirty hands in sterile abdomens. They often sharpened their surgical knives on the soles of their shoes.

Moses in Numbers 19 gave some amazing rules for dealing with contagious diseases. It included washing in water, and even burning your clothes if you had to carry out someone who died. If you watch any surgeon today getting ready to operate he washes under a running stream of water controlled by a foot pedal. Then he is careful not to touch anything else until the scrub nurse places sterile gloves on his hands and he enters the operating room.

How did Moses, schooled in all the arts and sciences of the Egyptians write a book that was 3500 years before it’s time? The only answer is found in Second Peter 1:21:
“For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Our bible wasn’t given as a scientific book to explain everything in our world. It’s a spiritual book about God; his will and plan for every person on earth. But it doesn’t contradict true science. It sometimes contradicts the unproven theories of faulty scientist but you can trust it completely as an accurate book.

Having said that I’m going to have to admit that it is full of errors and mistakes. It gives us without any cover-up the mistakes and errors of Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Peter, Paul and I could go on and on. It shows us what happens when men refuse to listen to God or to obey his laws. It teaches clearly that God can forgive our sins, but sometimes the consequences of our sins follow us all through our life.

Only a very foolish person will deliberately sin, with the thought that God loves everyone and will forgive sins. Get drunk and kill your wife and child, or others and God will forgive your sins. But your wife and child or others you have killed will be forever gone from this earth. Shoot drugs with a dirty needle, or have sex with an aid’s carrier and God will forgive you. But if you contract the aids virus it can destroy your life. God’s word can be trusted to guide us safely from the cradle to the grave. When we look back over a long life, we will be glad that we heeded its teachings.

Hundreds of millions of people have studied and loved the Bible. In the worst of times it was their rock, place of comfort and source of spiritual power. The Bible was not given to us for argument, debate, and to create sectarian division. It is a devinely given light to lead us to a personal encounter with our creator. Once he places his Spirit in our hearts we take on the character of his dear Son Jesus Christ.

I'm the kind of person that will read the back of a cerial box. I love books. Twice I spent over a year teaching every single chapter and verse in the Bible to dedicated church members. My faith in God rest on the solid rock "that the Bible is true and a reliable map that can transform and lead us to my Father's house."