Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13)
John D's Questions
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I received, a few days ago, the following questions from John D, he was interested in how I would answer them. I thought some of you, dear readers, may also like to know my views on these questions:1- How would you compare the view of Divine Providence that many American Christians have, to yours? Many of them think that the United States and the others of the Middle East Coalition are right now carrying out God's Plans in Iraq and Afghanistan; ie they are fulfilling the Word of God, or helping to set up the Kingdom of God by doing the things they are doing there. Do you think that is faulty logic?
Faulty doesn't even begin to describe this logic. Such thinking may be the result of a marriage between the desire to stand by a political party and Postmillennial
eschatology. Problem is, I have no sense of duty to any political party, and I have no time for Postmillennialism
. The Bible is clear, man will have no part of "setting up the Kingdom of God". If anything, what we find in Scripture is that things are going to get worse and worse in the church age:"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
The Man, the Lord Jesus Christ will take care of setting up the Kingdom, not George W. Bush or any other politician:"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war... And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:11, 15-16)
Now, all this being said, there is no doubt that Coalition Forces are "carrying out God's plans in Iraq and Afghanistan". They are fulfilling God's plan for this age, but keep in mind, so were the 9/11 terrorists when they flew their planes into buildings.2- To what degree if any is the Iraq War a thing that the Christian God wants to do?
My last point in the question above should answer this question. God has determined all things: war, peace, prosperity, poverty... etc... etc. If we have a mess in Iraq today, it is because God has determined it to be so."And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Daniel 4:35)
Now does this mean that prior to the Iraq war, a Christian should have been able to determine that a war in Iraq was something God wanted to have happened. No. God's sovereign design for the age is, for the most part, quite secret.3- Do you support the Iraq war? And if so why? And if not, why not?
Tough question. There are different angles by which to answer this question, and depending on the angle, I have different answers.
I support the war because:
-it has rid the world of a psycho dictator.
-without a doubt, Israel is more secure with Iraq under the control of the West.
-the world is also, undoubtedly, a safer place without the former Iraqi regime.
-under Hussein, the people of Iraq had ZERO hope for true liberty and democracy. Under Western control, such liberties are at least possible.
I don't support the war because:
-it has and continues to re-enforce a serious social problem: ISLAM.
-it is a pretty safe bet that Iraq's oil riches was the incentive for invasion, which kind of takes the nobility of the action away from the U.S. (i.e. Iran hasn't been dealt with, nor has North Korea and they are as much of a threat as Iraq was).
-I can't see an end-game. I mean, I know what the desired end-game is (free, democratic Iraq), but Babylon has always been a mess. ALWAYS. You don't change 5000 years of messed up society with a few "smart-bombs" and helicopter gun-ships over the span of a decade.
In the end, I wish Coalition Forces well; I truly hope they succeed in their endeavour. I'm not holding my breath though.
BTW... I apply the jist of this answer to the war in Afghanistan as well.4- You've criticized the American Christian population for being so concerned over "tradition" rather than Christianity itself. You said,"Christian, you want to make the world a better place through socio-political means? You are wasting your time." Would you say generally that the major theme in the whole 'Christian Conservative' American movement is to: make the world a better place through socio-political means?
Christians have a duty in this Church Age. Their duty is simple:"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
So simple, my 5-year old son understands exactly what the above verse means. So simple, most Christian adults manage to mess it all up. You see, this whole preaching the Gospel thing... well, politically, it's a hot potato. You see it on this blog all the time. My Gospel isn't the Romanist gospel, or the Mormon gospel, or the Church of Christ gospel; and it's pretty tough to build a "movement" when you can't get people to move together and stay together.
So what happens? The Gospel gets thrown out the window. Ecumenical prayers in public schools, abstinence-only sex education, opposition to the homosexual agenda, creationism... now here we can build a "movement". So Falwell gets to work on a "Moral Majority". Dobson builds up his "Focus on the Family". And a "movement" is born! Romanist, Baptist, Mormon, even Jehovah's Witness!!! All of them on side and moving together!
Yes, John D, the goal is to make the world a "better, friendlier place" for "christians" and/or people of faith. Problem is, the "movement" exists at the expense of Truth.5- How would you characterize the dynamic of the Republican politician to the Christian Conservative himself?
I don't believe that an elaborate conspiracy was formed between the two, but it is fairly obvious that a "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" philosophy has developed. The Republicans get support from the CCs on foreign policy, economic policy, and a myriad of other portfolios, and in return, the CCs get a Christian-friendly social policy.6- Would it be fair to say the politician is taking advantage of the Christian Conservative (CC), by appealing to the CC's religious interest, while deceptively gaining the thing he really wants?
That being said, it is important not to look upon the CCs as being stupid. The CCs usually couldn't care less what the Republicans are "gaining", so long as they get the kind of social policies that suit them. Do you think anyone in the CC movement really cares about the dirty politics that goes between the U.S. and the Middle East? You offer them prayers in public schools or restrictions on abortions at the expense of good fiscal responsibility and you can say: "Hello debt!!!"
And that isn't being stupid, it's just that they want the one more than the other. The same kind of thing could be observed on the other side of the political spectrum. You wouldn't have to look too far to find a Democrat voting homosexual who believes in small government, yet would he/she/it ever vote Republican to get that smaller government? Not likely, because other priorities end up determining his/her/its vote.7- How would you compare the Christian Conservatives in Michael's blog to the American Christian population at large, or the world's Christian population at large?
True Christians? As in born-again saints (which excludes Romanists, Mormons, most Methodists... etc)? I would say that most of them are the "garden variety" of born-again saints. If, on the other hand you call "Christian" all those who claim to follow a "jesus", well, then we have quite another situation on our hands. The kind of Christian Michael attracts to his blog
are mostly evangelical, born-again Christians, which throughout most of the world, are few in number."Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
Hope these answers are to your satisfaction. Take care, dear friend...
Sunday, March 26, 2006
this blog glorifies God...
Well, I've made my decision. In this post
, I asked you all what I should do about homepage links in the comment box that direct my readers to ungodly webpages (romanist, queer, left-wing wack-o... etc). I thank all my brothers and sisters in the Lord who commented with profitable suggested: PB
, Pat, Doug
, and Allan
. An honorable mention goes out to John D also, who, while an atheist, gave me, what I consider, good counsel. It is Pearl
and John D who have most influenced my thinking.
Indeed, I want to post my views on various issues here in an attempt to edify God's people, and I would love the opportunity to answer the questions of honest Truth seekers. The problem is that we have regular commentors here which are anything but honest Truth seekers, and while answering the occasional nay-sayer is alright, their constant nagging usually ends up aggravating me. Then we have the HOMEPAGE link which acts like free advertising for their wicked views, and that ON MY VERY OWN BLOG!
So my decision is clear: no more links to sites that are antagonistic to the views of A Form Of Sound Words
. I considered removing the HOMEPAGE link completely, but I do want to offer my brothers and sisters a chance to promote their sites. I also considered Jake's contention about not always being able to remove HOMEPAGE links when posting a comment, that is why I will assume complete responsibility in editing all comments on my blog.
Also, be advised that my commenting rules will be more vigorously enforced. Debates, apologetics, contentions from commetors that oppose the standard of this blog will be deleted and repeat offenders will be banned. It won't be a "three strikes, you're out", it will be "do once, get deleted... do twice, get banned". If these rules seem unreasonable to any of you, so long, and have a great life. This blog's purpose is to glorify God and to be a blessing to God's people; not to be a center for useless, profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so-called. (1 Timothy 6:20)
I apologize if this post sounds a bit austere, my goal is to be as clear as possible so that there is no misunderstanding. In the end, I'm sure my Christian brothers and sisters will have no problem with any of this, and I am sure I will be criticized by my opponents.
So be it.
Labels: Commenting Rules
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, March 25, 2006
the night of the Romanists...
The weather was quite mild tonight for our customary three hours of street preaching. I still wore my winter jacket, my gloves and my boots, but for the first time, I can honestly say: I wasn't all that cold.
Things were much quieter in the marketplace tonight. I welcomed this quietness after that nasty "St-Patrick's Day" last week; a day that should be renamed "drunkenness and debauchery day". Oh! There was plenty of wickedness going on tonight (I did walk right by a drug deal)
, but nowhere near the intensity of last week. The people were still quite cold to the Gospel, but not too many overt expressions of their disdain for the Truth.
My pastor was really "in the zone" tonight. Just like a hockey player, on some nights, my pastor is just so passionate in his Gospel presentation, it really is something to see. He doesn't go all emotional like some actor. No, no. Rather, his preaching becomes clear, direct and incredibly convicting. Here are some of his "highlights":1-
A Romanist (with the distinct smell of alcohol on him) came by and asked my pastor if he was having a good "lent". This is how my pastor handled the situation:
"What is your faith," my pastor inquired.
"I'm Eastern Catholic," the man answered.
"Catholic..." my pastor began, "I knew you'd say that. I knew it because instead of inquiring on the Gospel, you came to me and inquired about the tradition of lent."
"Tell me," my pastor continued, "do you read the Bible?"
"Oh yes!" the man answered.
"Everyday?" my pastor asked.
"Everyday," the man replied.
"Do you pray to Mary?" my pastor asked pointedly.
This question shook the man. He started stuttering and searching for his words. Finally he struggled to get this out:
"We pray to Mary to get closer to god..."
"You HAVE to be a minister of Satan," my pastor immediately replied. "To read the Bible everyday, and still be wicked enough to bow the knee to someone other than God... to read all about how to serve the Living God through the Bible and still manage to hold on to doctrines of demons... you truly have to be under the complete control of the devil."
The Romanist tried to justify his false doctrines but my pastor wouldn't give him the time of day. He finally gave up and walked away. God have mercy on his soul.2-
Another Romanist walked up to my pastor with some questions. My pastor was holding up our 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 sign:"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
"Well, I'm a Catholic," the man began, "and my religion always led me to believe that even if I was guilty of drunkeness, or if I have some marijuana, or if I'm immoral, I'll still be able to go to Heaven."
"Oh! I'm sure your religion will tell you that you will still go to Heaven," my pastor replied. "Problem is, I can guarantee you God doesn't care at all about your religion".
"So how do we know what to do to go the Heaven then?" the man inquired.
"God gave us a Bible to read and obey," my pastor answered.
"So we have to follow the Bible literally? That's tough, man!" the Romanist concluded.
"You find it tough because you're not born again," my pastor said. "Before the Lord saved me, I couldn't even stop smoking, much less give up on sin! But when the Lord saved me, I didn't WANT to do the things God hates anymore. Cursing, drinking, immorality... it all had to go."
The man and my pastor continued for awhile. My pastor explained that faith in Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, was the key to eternal life, and that the only way one could truly have faith in this Jesus, is to know Him; and the only sure place to go to learn about Jesus the Saviour is the Bible, the written Word of God. Let's pray our Romanist friend will turn away from his dead religion and embrace the God of the Bible.
And that's the notes for tonight. It's time for bed. Remember me in your prayers, dear saints, as I will be preaching the evening service this Lord's Day. Good night.
Thanks... You American Pig-Dogs
Friday, March 24, 2006
the fine art of gratitude...
So the three remaining "Christian Peacemaker Teams" hostages have been liberated by coalition forces in Iraq. I'm sure everyone will agree, this is wonderful news.
What I find interesting though is the reaction to their rescue. Until late afternoon yesterday, the CBC
website had the title "Released" over the article declaring the rescue operation of the three men in Iraq. Now I don't know about you, but I see a big difference between being "released" and being "rescued". By the end of the day, the heading of the article changed from "Released" to "Freed". CBC.ca
must have received some e-mails.
Second interesting reaction comes from "Christian Peacemaker Teams" themselves. Now we must keep in mind that three of their own have been kept in bondage for months, in danger for their lives by militant Islamists. Their reaction? Well first they said:"Our hearts are filled with joy today as we heard that Harmeet Singh Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember have been freed safely in Baghdad. Christian Peacemaker Teams rejoices with their families and friends at the expectation of their return to their loved ones and community. Together we have endured uncertainty, hope, fear, grief and now joy during the four months since they were abducted in Baghdad."
So the successful rescue effort was a good thing, according to the CPT. A rescue effort organized and orchestrated by coalition forces in Iraq, against the Islamists that held the three men captive. So the next part of their statement was gratitude to the rescuers... right? Wrong!"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end."
Yep, instead of an honest, heartfelt "thanks", coalition forces got the back-hand. How nice.
I have had my skin "saved" from harm numerous times on the street during our Friday evangelistic efforts. Many of my rescuers have been ungodly perverts, Romanists, drunks, blasphemers... etc... etc. My response to their help has always been the same: "Thank you." When a soul puts himself/herself in harms way to be a help to someone else, that soul deserves some grace and kindness.
The absence of sincere thankfulness in the CPT's statement is just more corrupt fruit which shows to all that their "christianity" is quite un-Christian."Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." (Romans 13:7)
Family Finances Part 3
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
A Category For Everything and Everything In Its Category
Don't spend the grocery money on birthday gifts! Budget enough money for groceries and don't use a cent of this money for other things. You buy pretty much the same grocery items every month and this amount is fairly static. Once you start using the grocery money only for groceries, you'll actually NOTICE A DIFFERENCE when you do things to trim your grocery bill like baking your own cookies, or shopping where the best sales are.
For everything else that you may need to buy, have a category, with one category called miscellaneous for things you hadn't thought of. I keep the money in envelopes in a container in the freezer. We have envelopes for kid stuff, homeschool, clothes, birthday gifts, books, entertainment, home improvement, spending money for Rand, and misc. These ones come to mind, but I may be forgetting a couple of envelopes that we have.
If you can't put much in the envelopes, put something. You will know where you stand and have a starting point to work from. It is essential to have an entertainment envelope - skipping this is no way to save. It would be like skipping breakfast to lose weight - you could end up eating twice as much at lunch! Now if you find you don't need to spend the entertainment money, that's fine - now you really have saved something, but do not fail to budget for the possibility of needing it. Yes, I do mean to use the word need there! Not that entertainment is actually a necessity, but treat it like one when you plan your budget - don't treat it like a necessity when you are spending the money, only when you are planning. Mark each envelope with the category and the amount and how much you would really like to have in the category. We fill our envelopes every 3 months. In clothing, there is $250 added every 3 months. Before we started doing this, we would have never even considered spending that much on clothing. Not saying we would have never spent that much, mind you - we just wouldn't have planned to! You need to budget for everything, and feel free to spend what you've budgeted if it is needed. Now here is the cool part: if you do spend less than the full amount, you have some extra money in that category when you refill the envelopes. In our case for the clothing envelope, if we spend only $150, there is $100 leftover and when $250 is added after 3 months, there will be $350 now set aside for clothing. If the envelope ever gets $1000 it is full and the overflow is used for other things. When large purchases are anticipated, you can plan to spend less in the months leading up and have the envelope fill up as much as possible. By next winter, we are needing to save for 2 pairs of new boots and 1 winter coat. I guess I will divide the money at some point and put the boot/coat portion in the bank to gain interest, while keeping the rest in the envelope. Each category has its own amount and its own full-line.
I have found it extremely helpful to use envelopes and "real cash" as we have a much clearer idea of where we are at all the time. We can see when an envelope is getting near empty and adjust our spending accordingly. We tend to spend more wisely because of the fact we are using cash and not a credit card. With cash, if I bring $20 to the store, I only use the $20. With a credit card, I would not have a problem spending say $28 when I know $20 is the amount I was prepared to spend.
Over time, as you see a few of your envelopes reach their full-line, you will find you've freed up some extra money you never used to have to use for savings or other priorities. And you have the peace of mind that there is enough money laid aside for everything you are going to have to spend on.
This may seem like a strange method - putting aside so much money in advance of need when it could be used or invested in the short-term. But if you've never managed to save anyways in spite of all your good intentions, or worse yet, if you've had a persistent problem with falling into debt, then this will help you break that cycle.
In our home, money saved without a purpose is soon spent without a purpose!
Next installment in this series: Give off the top; Live off the rest...
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
what to do... what to do...
It all started over a year ago with my post on Romanism
. I used my corner of cyberspace to expose Romanism
for the wicked religion it is, and Kaboom!!! In came an army of Romanists from all walks of life basically highjacking my comment box, bringing in so-called Romanist apologetics. There were links to Romanist sites, there were assertions of the supremacy of the Papacy and the "holy catholic church" (cough... cough... cough...)
, and there were plenty of name calling (idiot, fool and a child of the devil come immediately to mind)
. There was plenty of grumbling, but for the most part, my guests went along with my rules; those who didn't I banned and didn't feel the least bit bad about it. And so things have carried on this way for well over a year.
The Commenting Rules
had a very beneficial effect over the last year in that it weeded out a lot of undesirable commentors who felt my rules were too strict, but that is not to say that it ridded me of all nay-sayers. Not by a long shot. Romanists, sodomites, liberal quack-os... you name it, they are around, commenting respectfully from time to time; but most often bending the rules.
This never ceases to amaze me. Really. I don't visit Romanist sites. I don't visit Sodomite sites. I don't visit far-left sites. I REALLY, REALLY DON'T. Such sites aggravate me. I don't need to, daily or even weekly, visit blogs by Romanists, Sodomites and lefty quacks to understand them better. I know what they are about, and I'm soooo not interested.
Well, it would seem that there are people out there that, for some strange reason, do the exact opposite. I have a troll who I have banned for well over a year now (he/she/it cannot comment), and still, 3-4 sometimes 5 times a day, the troll logs on. This poor fool has no time for my views, he/she/it thinks I'm completely wrong on just about every issue, but still, multiple times a day, where does the troll go? My blog.
I don't understand.
And then we have Jake, Joel, Dennis, Aliera... etc. Again, they think I'm off. Fine. I can live with that. Why do they keep coming back?
I don't understand.
Are they trying to influence me or my readers to their particular cause? Probably. I mean, it's the only logical explanation. This blog has NOTHING for a Romanist who is content in his/her romanism. This blog has NOTHING for a queer. It has nothing for left wing nutjobs. Why else would they keep coming back?
I recognize that this is the way much of the blogosphere operates. A blogger and a small army of his supporters "play" on their blog, eventually someone shows up who disagrees with the blog or a specific post, and then everyone jumps into a debate. A lot of people must find this quite enjoyable because it's going on all over the place in th blog world. The problem though, is this isn't how I want to run my blog. I hate long winded, drawn out, unfruitful debates and babblings. I want to post the Truth that is in Christ, and get honest questions or impressions; not veiled agendas.
So now the question: what do I do about them?
This question has surfaced from a comment by my good friend Puritan Belief
. He clicked on the homepage link from one of Jake the queer's comments. Boy, I don't think he was prepared for what he saw. Profanity, advertising for the murdering infants, immorality... you name it, it's there. So what should I do? Should I remove the homepage links of commentors if the sites are ungodly? And if so, where should I draw the line? Joel's homepage is a Romanist site, and is therefore as immoral in the spiritual sense as Jake's site is immoral in the physical sense. Should I remove the homepage links of all Romanists as well?
And then let's go a step further: should I even be letting known Romanists comment? Sodomites? Lefties?
BTW, these questions aren't rhetorical. I'm really asking. I'm already deleting comments I judge violate the Commenting Rules
, I delete trackbacks that direct my traffic to sites that aren't in line with the views of A Form Of Sound Words
, and I don't allow links in comments that send people to wicked sites. I suppose, if I were consistent, I would have to remove the homepage links as well...
What think ye?
Rand(All are welcome to comment on this question, but understand that it is the views of my born-again brothers and sisters that I will be taking into consideration.)
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, March 18, 2006
no, Pat... it's an evil day...
Wow! tonight's edition of street preaching was particularly aggravating. To echo the term often used in comedy: Tough crowd!
We preached the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ from our usual place in the market for a big three hours, and the crowds were present. Most were out to celebrate "St-Patrick's Day" with a night of "drunkenness and debauchery", and I put these words in quotations because that's EXACTLY how a young lady described the night to one of her friends as they walked by me. The ungodliness and level of hatred for the Gospel was so high tonight, it was extremely difficult for me to cope. I had prepared myself emotionally and psychologically for a rough night, so I'd like to think I didn't do too badly.
Suffice it to say: "not a whole lot of saints out on St-Patrick's Day".
There were, however, a few blips of mercy, kindness and hope throughout the night. I did talk with a man named Andrew. At first, he was with a couple of other men and he had a mocking tone, but when the friends left, his attitude changed. He started asking me questions like "why I was out with a Gospel sign?", "why I thought he wasn't right with God?", and my favorite question to answer: "how could he be right with God?". I was pretty dry in my answers (I don't know if it was of the Holy Ghost, or whether it was some kind of defense mechanism), but in the end, he seemed to take to my no-nonsense approach. He thanked me for talking with him, wished me well and took a Gospel tract. Please pray that the Lord would bring Andrew back to that Gospel tract, or better yet, the Word of God.
I also received a few "God bless yous" and "what you're doing is good" from people who walked by, but all and all, these were dished out at me in much higher volume:-"You idiot!"-"You're sick." (yes, I know, that one again.)-"I love the devil!"-"«bleep» God!"-"Jesus is dead."-"«Bleep» you! you stupid «bleep»! "
Ah yes! Good times... good times. If I sound kind of aggravated, well, it's because I am. This may be a character flaw in me, but I really find it difficult to be reviled by so many, for no reason at all. I need to learn the definition of "longsuffering" I think. I covet your prayers, brothers and sisters.
Let me conclude this post with this observation:"There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:18)
That pretty much sums up my city, and by extention, my poor country. No fear of God. None. Zilch. Zero. Tonight, they blasphemed, they drank themselves stupid, they gave themselves over to all manner of lusts and immorality, and the preaching of the Gospel was an abhorrence.
"Who cares about God!" they said. "We want sin! And if there is a God to answer to one day, He'll give us a pass because we are too great a number to all be condemned."
That is what is in their hearts and minds, and before some scorner comments that I don't know that for sure, let me assure you I do know, for their tongues tonight clearly expressed the contents of their depraved hearts. O Lord have mercy on them. O Lord, have mercy on Canada."Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19)"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?" (Psalm 85:6)
What Do You Think?
Friday, March 17, 2006
What do you think when a thief gets robbed?
What do you think when an adulterer's wife cheats?
What do you think when a liar is deceived by lies?
What do you think when a murderer is murdered?
What do you think about this
Am I the only one who sees some poetic justice here?
Yet Another Evil Day
and it's not even Hallowe'en!!!
To some, it is a romanist idolatrous day. To the overwhelming majority, it is a day of revelry, celebrating the wicked facets of being Irish; drunkenness, idolatry, and pride. A wicked day indeed.
And then, we have this article
, which made me laugh. Especially:"She said she will attend several pre-parade breakfasts, along with Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, but will not join the 150,000 marchers Friday on Fifth Avenue."
It must be hard to be that inconsistent, as well as hypocritical... for all involved.
Family Finances Part 2
Monday, March 13, 2006
The Family Car
Car related expenses in particular, have the potential to bring about a financial crisis even when you thought things were sailing along pretty smoothly. Here is how you can be free of ever having another predictable car-related financial crisis. There will always be unpredictable things in life, and this plan will not cover every scenerio that could come up. It will however give you a good plan to allow for maintaining and repairing and eventually replacing your car.
First, revise your budget, allowing $100 per month for car maintanance. This could be money that is currently going into some form of savings.
Second, open an interest-bearing bank account called CAR SAVINGS and have the $100 per month direct deposited into this account. If you have any additional money laid aside, use it to give the account an initial boost, but in the future, just the $100 per month should do. Now, whenever you spend money on anything from oil changes to license plate renewals to getting new brakes, it will come from this account.
Third, if/when the account gets $2000 in it, it is now full and the overflow is yours to do other things with as you see fit. If you are striving to drive the car into the ground, you might increase that amount as the car ages.
Fourth, since the car won't last forever, you also need a plan for purchasing another one some day, if that is a priority.
You need not borrow money to buy a car now that you have a healthy CAR SAVINGS. With this cushion of money to look after repairs, it suddenly seems plausible to keep the old clunker longer than you had planned. If the car is paid for, decide how many more years you can realistically keep it running and how much you will spend on the next one. Now do the math to determine how much you need to save each year. You could break it into a monthly amount if you wish. If you are used to making a monthly car payment, and you think your car can survive 5 more years, the amount will likely be a bit less than what you are used to paying. In our case, we use our tax return every year instead of a monthly amount. If the car you have is not fully paid for, you need to trick yourself in the sense of pretending your payments are a bit higher than they really are, but putting aside the extra for your future car savings. In this way, once your car is paid for, you will have shaved some time off the additional years you would need to keep it in order to save enough cash for the next car you buy.
Fifth, deposit the money somewhere that you won't be tempted to touch it. Remember, this money is not your emergency fund for other things that come up - it is specifically for keeping you out of car debt in the future, and for making sure that you aren't thrown into a financial crisis.
Friday Night Notes
Friday, March 10, 2006
feeling kind of dopey...
Yet another Friday night of street Gospel preaching in the books. My pastor and I were at our usual station, with our usual Message, for our usual amount of time. My pastor passed out a record amount of Bible tracts tonight and we had a few one-on-one conversations (nothing too promising though
There were a lot more people out tonight than last week, but despite the higher numbers, it was a pretty "quiet" night. Quiet as in no one gave us a hard time, which is good, but also, quiet as in no one was overly interested in our preaching. Seeing souls violently and spitefully rejecting the Gospel isn't good, but seeing souls remain indifferent to the Good News is pretty disturbing too.
Oh! there were a few mockers, and those who shouted at us in an attempt to silence us, but these were few in number tonight. There were also an even smaller minority who encouraged us and thanked us for our labouring. I don't know how to rate this night of preaching really, but I do believe the Lord was glorified by our work.
One thing is for sure, I was really dopey tonight. A cold virus has been affecting my youngest son and my wife these last couple of days, and it looks like I'm getting it now too. I also had a long and busy week at work which really wore me out. These two factors may very well explain why I wasn't very sharp tonight. Oh well, a dopey Gospel preacher is better than no preacher at all I suppose.Tonight's key moments:
- I was told by a young man not to "push my religion" on others. I answered: "I'm not pushing, I'm preaching." I then smiled and winked. The young man left.
- Another young man came over and tried to justify his sinful behaviour with the old God-made-me-this-way-so-I'm-alright" philosophy. I didn't waste too much time with this poor fool, since it was clear he was just looking to justify himself. I made sure to remind him though that his wicked behaviour was his own, God never FORCED him to do anything he didn't want to do."He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13)
- A group of four men came over as I was standing on a street corner with a Gospel sign. Three of them mocked me at every chance they got, but there was one fellow who asked a couple of good, honest questions. It was clear, by his countenance, that he was embarrassed by his friends' disrespect. He even apologized for their wickedness. I will be praying for this soul.
And that's it for tonight, dear readers. I'm going to have a quick midnight snack... and then off to bed. Have a good weekend, and especially, a blessed Lord's Day.
Family Finances Part 1
Thursday, March 09, 2006
When it comes to managing our family finances, there are many traps that Christians can fall into. We should learn from our mistakes and not weaken our testimony by repeating them endlessly. In our home, I am the "financial minister" - a title which I relish! I am fascinated by banking, investments and all things related to money - and my husband most certainly is not. As long as he knows there is enough in the bank to pay the bills and still buy himself a bag of candy at the end of the week, he is a happy man.
Although I truly enjoy managing money, I am not particularly good at it, and have made all of the mistakes that are there to be made. However, I am slowly gaining wisdom in this area, for which I am thankful. I am not sure if my husband is thankful for my increasing wisdom or not - he gets less and less candy the wiser I become!
First, we need to have our priorities right:
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Mat. 6:24
But how should we interpret:
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Is he saying we should not lay aside money ever for anything? I would say no, he can't be saying that, but that we shouldn't be anxious about it. If you have a job that gives you XXX dollars every month, and that is enough to pay for a roof over your head and something to eat for the whole month, then you are responsible to handle that money so that these things are supplied. You are irresponsible if you rely on others at the end of the month. I will note here that perhaps in the past, relying on others would have had a greater stigma attached to it. No one wants to call their mommy and daddy for a loan because they have been foolish with their money. However, it is not so hard to take a little loan from Mr. MasterCard when something unforeseen comes up.
Now, most people, including generous hearted Christians understand that they need to keep enough money to take care of their own needs from month to month. However, we tend to fail when it comes to needs that are less frequent. We do not put aside enough money to pay for car repairs and new boots and summer camp. When these things come along, we throw up our hands in despair. There is no reason for these things to be unforeseen. They are very predictable. When you buy a car, you know it will break down. Not the first week or month, perhaps, but some day it will happen. When you buy new boots, they will not last forever and you will one day have to buy boots again. When you plan to go to summer camp with the family, there are going to be expenses attached to that just as there were last year and the year before. We should not be in financial crisis over irregular but predictable expenses.
At one time (not very long ago), our family paid for everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - on credit card. We thought this was very strategic as we were faithful to pay off the whole bill each month and the card has a rewards program where you get points on your purchases towards free things. The only problem was that I had no sense of where all our money was going and no sense of what we could and could not afford to buy. I knew we were definitely overspending because of using the card and not cold hard cash. We always had enough to pay the bill, just. If I got a little bit of extra money from my babysitting job, it would always seem like just what we needed to get by that month. So actually, the Lord was good to us, and there was never any need to be anxious. But I just knew in my heart we were not being good stewards.
In this series, I will relay the things I have learned about budgeting and avoiding credit. Anyone can learn to do this. It is easy and effective.
A Wartime Lifestyle (Twinklemoose)
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Taken from Don't Waste Your Life
by John Piper
Sometimes I use the phrase "wartime lifestyle" or "wartime mind-set." The phrase is helpful - but also lopsided. For me it is mainly helpful. It tells me that there is a war going on in the world between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief. It tells me that there are weapons to be funded and used, but that these weapons are not swords or guns or bombs but the Gospel and prayer and self-sacrificing love (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). And it tells me that the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite: heaven or hell, eternal joy or eternal torment (Matthew 25:46).
I need to hear this message again and again, because I drift into a peacetime mind-set as certainly as rain falls down and flames go up. I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth "home." Before you know it, I am calling luxuries "needs" and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don't think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set.
O Wouldn't It Be Nice!
Monday, March 06, 2006
Ba, ba... ba... ba... ba... ba... ba...
Reading this article
today really brought me hope. I mean, I'm only cautiously optimistic... I know for A FACT that, like Canada, there are A LOT of wicked souls in the U.S. who have no problem with infanticide. As long as they don't see it of course.
That being said, it would seem that there is enough people in South Dakota willing to take up this most noble cause, and their governor, Mike Rounds, seems to have the courage to take a stand. It'll be interesting to see if other states will follow this wise and godly lead.
A serious matter of prayer anyway.
Friday Night Notes
Saturday, March 04, 2006
the Word on the street...
Yes, finally made it back to our street corner for a good 3 hours of open-air Gospel preaching. My pastor and I were out tonight, and things went as well as they could. I can't say things went well, for if they had truly gone well, I would report to you tonight of someone's conversion or sanctification, but alas, no such event.
Tonight was a quiet enough night in the marketplace; the crowds were much smaller than what we had been seeing of late (praise God). The weather wasn't all that cold, but there was
a nasty enough wind that kept us from walking around with our Gospel signs. With the smaller crowds, fewer tracts were handed out, and we didn't have too many one-on-one conversations.
However I did speak, in the opening half hour, to a fellow named Niles. We had a good conversation on the Gospel and the logic and importance of seeking God through reading the Bible. His conclusion, after our conversation: "Hmm... you know, I really should get a Bible tomorrow and start reading." Brothers and sisters, let us pray that he does just that!"So then faith cometh by hearing (or reading), and hearing (or reading) by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
We also came by some interesting news tonight. Remember that drunk man
who punched me last August, and has been breathing threats against us over the last few weeks? Well, he won't be bothering us for awhile. I learned from one of his friends that a few days ago, he was begging for change near the liquor store, hoping to get enough change to buy himself some cheap booze. Well, the liquor store was about to close and he didn't have enough money, so he decided to assault an elderly man. Using the elderly man's cane, the drunkard beat the old man severely and stole his wallet. Before our adversary could get away with his crime though, the police arrived and arrested him. He is presently in jail and the word on the street is that he will be there for some time. The Lord have mercy on his soul."For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." (Romans 13:3-4)
Oh yeah... I almost forgot: "I'm a very sick man".
That was the diagnosis which a cigarette smoking, dyed haired, lesbian handed to me tonight. I didn't say one word, I just offered a Gospel tract entitled "God, Jesus Christ and You", and that was her response. Yesssir! A full-time lab technician, father-of-three, faithful husband-of-one, Christian man who spends his Friday nights spreading the message of repentance and faith in Christ Jesus.
What a sick-o I am.
With that, I bid you all goodnight, dear readers. It's been a long week, a long night. I'm off to bed. Take care and God bless you all.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Okay, before anyone goes nuts on me, let me emphasize that I know what most people mean
when they say "atonement", so I'm not trying to irritate anyone or change anyone's vocabulary. This post is the result of a very interesting prayer meeting and Bible study I just got back from tonight.
In our study, we observed that the word "atonement" is a purely Old Testament word. It is NOT found in the New Testament. Before anyone calls me on that... DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! Actually, there isn't even a Greek word for "atonement". In the Old Testament Hebrew, the word "kaphar" is translated "atonement" in English, and it literally means: to cover
. For example:"And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him." (Leviticus 1:4)
And then, interestingly enough, this example:"Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch." (Genesis 6:14)
No, I didn't make a mistake. In the verse above "and shalt pitch
" is the word "kaphar" which means "to cover", and "with pitch
" means "with a covering".
So, the definition of "atonement", in a spiritual realm, is the concept of sin being covered by sacrifice. And while we see this concept all through the Old Testament, that is, of sin being covered, it is absent in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus Christ did NOT die on the Cross of Calvary "to cover" His people sins."The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." (1 John 3:5)"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:5-6)
The Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross TO TAKE AWAY the sin of His people, TO WASH them of all their transgression. Not to cover... rather, to wipe away! That's the teaching of the New Testament. So if we're to be technical, using the word "atonement" to describe the Lord's crosswork probably isn't a good thing.
What do you think?