Critical Thinking for Christians
 As I share my thoughts in this blog, it is my hope that you will be challenged to look at issues facing our world from a biblical perspective. It's been reported that only about 6% of American Christians have a biblical worldview. This is my humble attempt to help change that. Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone be the glory)!
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So What, Another Year
As I sit here at my computer, just over 24 hours from the beginning of another year, I ask myself the question, "What will 2023 bring?" I'm finding that the years continue to roll on (I celebrated my 59th birthday just a few short weeks ago), yet, there is  "nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). But, is that the attitude that I'm supposed to have? I often find myself weary with the monotony of the world. Sure, there's a lot of huff and puff from social media, the news networks, and our next door neighbor; but has anything really changed? Politics is still full of corruption, as it has always been, we are entertaining ourselves into an oblivious alternate reality (which may be more sane than the real world); and mankind is finding more and more ways to satisfy its' depraved mind. Nothing new, just different. And yet...
We have another year! Another year to walk with Jesus! "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). Another year to experience the joy of journeying through this life with Him by our side!
We have another year to learn to know Him better! "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." (Philippians 3:10). What an amazing thought; I can know, really know, the great God of the universe, my blessed Savior and glorious Lord. I can know Him as I know my loving spouse or my dearest friend! And I get to share in "the power of His resurrection", for it lives within me: "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." (Romans 8:11). But I also have the tremendous privilege of getting to share in the "fellowship" (communion or intimacy) of His sufferings. As I walk with Him, His strength is displayed through my weakness. As I endure temptation and persecution because of my relationship with Jesus, I am getting to know Him in a greater way!
 And we have another year to anticipate His glorious return! "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Be Steadfast Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation..." (2 Peter 3:11-15a). What a day that will be when Jesus returns to fulfill all that the Scriptures have foretold! And I get to live according to that truth in 2023!
So, yes, another year; but what a year it can be if we will focus our eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ! What a tremendous year it can be if we strive to know Him and to walk as He walked! It will be a year to rejoice in if we will not only walk with Him, but help others to know Him and live for His glory! And, even though the world will go on as it always has, and though it may  continue to seemingly spin out of control, and though evil may flourish and lawlessness may abound, Jesus is coming back! And we can live lives of peace, joy, and confidence in knowing that we have been saved for a purpose; the purpose of glorifying God as we live for the honor of Jesus Christ! Blessings, my friend, and have a happy, and blessed, new year!
Posted By: 12/30/2022 9:14:01 PM

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The Blessed Life of a Pilgrim
     Psalm 1 is a psalm of tremendous blessing and encouragement. It is a priceless road map for the pilgrim as he/ she journeys to that fair land where beholding the face of our Savior will be our greatest delight and treasure. Psalm 1 gives us a safe border along the narrow way that we walk and promises us a prosperous end to our travels; this is actually a parallel idea to the word blessed that we don’t often understand. It means more than simply being happy, it means to walk straight and to make progress.
     So, what do we find here in this Psalm that is so beneficial? We find wisdom given to direct us along the way. Notice, first, the instruction given in how we are to think, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…” (v.1). We see here that the pilgrim is not to seek advice or guidance from the wicked. It must begin here for we are told in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” This is where the battle begins and where we must win if we are going to travel this path successfully. This battle is won as we renew our minds by God’s Word.       This is brought out in verse 2 as the Psalmist speaks of meditating on the Scriptures. We must do more than simply read the Bible; we need to ponder it, reflect upon its words, and feed upon and digest it. We need to, literally, fill our minds with God’s wisdom as given through His book, the Bible.
     Next, we see that the pilgrim is not to “…stand in the path of sinners…”. This is speaking of behaving as those who are already under God’s condemnation, offenders of God Himself. This is obviously the outcome of having a wrong way of thinking. The reason so many “Christians” fail to see a change in their behavior is because there has not been a transformation in their thinking. So often in our churches we try to get people to modify their behavior without an infusion of the changing power of the Word of God; this is getting the cart before the horse. The Apostle Paul in his letters to the churches showed that he understood this truth very well. If you look closely at his writings you will see that he always began his letters with principles teaching the truth that he wanted them to grasp; the basis or foundation that he wanted them to understand, then he would move on to how that looked as it was lived out. He addressed the redeemed mind first and then fleshed it out for his readers. We would do well to follow that pattern with our new believers in our day.
     Finally, we see that the pilgrim is not to, “…sit in the seat of the scornful…”. We have seen a progression here as the Psalmist has spoken of “walking”, “standing”, and now “sitting” in the seat of the scornful. This downward spiral takes place when the pilgrim does not heed this wisdom and we see him, finally, making his “habitation” with the mockers, the arrogant, those who flat out refuse to listen. A wise sojourner will be very careful of the company that he keeps, especially as the closest of friends. Notice that the progression takes us from walking with the wicked to a place of settling down with those in outright rebellion to God. The Psalmist is reminding us, delight in God and His Word! Heed the instruction that He gives! This is where the blessing and encouragement will be found!
     And the result of such a life is found in verse 3. We will be deep rooted in our faith and nothing will move us. Our lives will be prosperous and fruitful in the work of God and for His glory. And, ultimately, we will stand at the judgment and know the greatest blessing of all, the warm welcome of our Savior as He bids us enter and we hear those words, “well done, good and faithful servant”! I long to see His face and to bring joy to His heart as I walk this pilgrim way and I’m sure you do, as well. Let’s prayerfully ponder and heed the words that the Psalmist has for us here and live the life of a blessed pilgrim.
Posted By: Pastor Tim8/17/2022 10:08:19 PM

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We Must Not Let the Foundations Be Destroyed!
 If The Foundations Be Destroyed
In Psalm 11, verses 2 and 3, the Psalmist writes, "For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?'. This verse is extremely significant in light of the recent events surrounding the document leak at the Supreme Court. As I write, the anger and vitriol coming from those who want to continue murdering babies in the name of medicine is ramping up. The threat of physical violence is growing, even as some pro-life organizations have already seen graffiti and Molotov cocktails! If this isn't what David had in mind when he penned this Psalm, I don't know what else he could have been writing about! The real issue in the events going on right now is that of continuing to do wicked while calling it good and wanting to silence those who disagree, even if it means shutting us up through threats and violence! Isaiah spoke of these people in chapter 5 of his book when he wrote, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" (Verses 20, 21). Our society is so warped and depraved now that it is calling the wickedness of murdering babies a right and a choice, even going so far as to see it as a good thing for women in particular and society at large. Listen to their reasoning: " Everyone benefits from abortion. Thanks to women who choose to have abortions and then generously donate their aborted fetuses to medical research, scientists have been able to use fetal tissue to develop all kinds of treatments and cures for diseases. Isn't science a wonderful thing?" (Wonkette.com/ Abortion Is Good for Everyone, It's Science! by Kaili Joy Gray). What kind of insanity is that? They don't want us eating chicken or eggs because it's cruel to the animals; they don't want us to use fossil fuels because it's bad for the planet; but they're okay with murdering babies so that they can harvest the organs and use the stem cells for research? God was absolutely on target when He said, "that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually". Humanity has done everything that it can to throw off the Bible, the Word of God, because they don't want to answer to the God found in that Word! This is not a political issue, nor is it one of rights found in the Constitution. This is a moral issue that is at the very foundation of our country! America was founded on the principles and truths of the Bible! None other than Patrick Henry himself, said, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here." Herein lies the solid foundation of American liberty and freedom! He also stated, ""Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles." Friends, this is where we are today! The foundations are being destroyed! American has not only forgotten God, but we are now spitting in His face and rejoicing in wickedness and debauchery! When the LGBTQ+ crowd is allowed to publicly parade down the main streets of American towns and cities flaunting their wicked lifestyle, when men are given the okay to use women's restrooms and locker rooms because they "identify" as a female, when marriage has been redefined to accommodate any and all forms of vile lifestyles, then we have made ourselves, as a nation, enemies of God! And His just wrath will be poured out against such rebellion! The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1, verse 18, " For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness". So, what is the purpose of this article? It's primary purpose is to encourage Christians to speak up! We have truth on our side, the Bible, the Word of the Living God! We need to speak out and stand up for righteousness for a couple of reasons: 1) the glory of God! We started this article with Psalm 11:2, 3. Now look at verse 4, " The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men." God is not surprised nor worried about what is going on. He will allow wickedness to increase more and more, but He sees it all, and there is a day coming when He will judge the wickedness of man! He will vindicate Himself of their blasphemy and rebellion! God will be glorified before every person!; 2) The future of our children and grandchildren: Thomas Paine is quoted as saying, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace; and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.” Friends, this is still true today! If we love our children and grandchildren, we will fight today for freedom, liberty, and righteousness so that they can have a peaceful and free future.; 3) The advancement of the Gospel: We are on the verge of losing our liberties to tyrants who want to tell the rest of us how to live. They are already shutting down free speech for conservatives and Christians, while they spew whatever hatred and vulgarities they so choose. Listen to me, please! We cannot lose religious liberty and hope to keep civil liberties! If we lose one, we will lose both! Those who are seeking to destroy the Judeo-Christian foundation of this country are doing it for one simple reason: POWER! They want the state to be god of your life instead of the God of the Bible! They are seeking nothing less than totalitarian rule where they call the shots and you and I just simply fall in line! The church doesn't need revival; it needs reformation! We need to be obedient to what Scripture commands us to do: walk humbly with our God, act justly, and seek mercy (Micah 6:8). Maybe, just maybe, if the church does these things, we will see God extend His hand of mercy and heal our land. If we don't, judgment is coming to America, beginning with the Church:      1 Peter 4:17, " For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" To our knees, Church, and then to the task, armed for battle!
Posted By: Pastor Tim5/10/2022 11:17:26 PM

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Engaging In the Fight for a Righteous Nation
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)
      The true measure of a nation is its' righteousness. America is a nation that was, at one time in her history, a righteous nation. Does that mean that America was perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Even though our country had the blight of slavery in its' earliest days, the principles for freedom and the value of every human being had been etched into the core of our fabric. It was found in the words, " We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Preamble to The Declaration of Independence). Even though it took this nation almost 100 years to begin the process of eliminating this heinous sin, we had to because we knew that it was an abomination before God and a hindrance to biblical righteousness. It cost the lives of 600,000 to 750,000 soldiers, way too many civilians, and led to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Today we seem to be fighting another civil war. This one is not being fought with bullets and cannonballs, but with ideologies and words. It is the battle for the soul of a nation. It is a battle between truth and deception, justice and injustice, and, at its' core, righteousness or lawlessness. Will America continue to be a nation that is blessed by God, or will we find ourselves under His judgment? It really is that serious.
       I've struggled for years with the question, "How involved should a Christian be in politics and the battle for the nation?". I mean, really, didn't Jesus say, "My kingdom is not of this world"? The commission He gave us as the Church was to go and make disciples. As a pastor, isn't that my main priority? As I've asked myself that question, studied my Bible, and sought God's wisdom in this, I keep coming back to the fact that God is the One who has ordained government. As an American citizen, because we live and function as a Constitutional Republic, I am part of the government. Again, in the Constitution, we read these words, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union...". It's "We the people", not Washington, D. C., that form the government. Therefore, we will be the ones held accountable for what happens to this country. And that includes Christians! Many of the issues that are tearing our nation apart today are not political. Abortion is not political, it is biblical. Gender and marriage are not political hot buttons, they are biblical truths by which we must live. The race war going on in our streets and courts is not a political football, it is a battle for the heart of the gospel that every person is a unique individual created by God for fellowship with Him and our fellow humanity. If we get these fundamental values wrong, we miss out on God's best for us as a person and as a nation.
       I write all of this to get to this point: Those who love truth, those who seek justice and love mercy, those who want to see America return to her position of favor in the eyes of the Creator God of the Bible, MUST take a stand for righteousness! We must fight back against the cancel culture and push back the forces of darkness that seek to eliminate God, undermine the gospel of Jesus Christ, and destroy the unalienable rights given to us by God Himself! If we don't, then it will not be long before we will be sitting with the shackles of our apathy and inaction dangling from our wrists and the chains of our own making binding us to a life of bondage and misery. The fight begins on our knees seeking the mercy and forgiveness of an offended, holy God; offended by our blatant disregard for His character and His Word. We must then arise from our knees, and with the message of the gospel on our lips, the compassion of Christ in our hearts, and a passion for holy living and a God-honoring nation, fight to our dying breath for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must also fight for our children and for generations to come! We can take the words of Thomas Paine to heart, "I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace" or we can become those to whom Samuel Adams was speaking when he said, "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!" The choice is ours, friends. "And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed." Romans13:11
Posted By: Pastor Tim3/15/2022 10:59:57 PM

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