All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
The above verse is a well known and often quoted verse. Unfortunately it also abused in its application. But that is not the point of this article. My purpose is to share some thoughts about human pride being on full display this week during and after the Nor'easter of this past week.
The following are three examples of human pride getting in the way.
In each case human pride played a role as I show below ...
1. When I make a decision, I resist changing it, unless something very compelling is shown to me. We all do this. We defend our decision as being right before we act upon it.
In terms of this forecast was there compelling data that would lead to a forecast change in the I-95 corridor? The maps below are snow maps from the NAM and Canadian RGEM. Both are from the Monday(13th) morning model runs. This would be the last runs prior to the final forecast for the storm. The maps reveal the area where sleet was predicted: SE PA, Philadelphia up to NYC, Long Island and Connecticut. The very areas that got it.
Why not change the forecast? Pretty compelling evidence.
God teaches us that pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). In other words, my pride can cause me to stumble and fall in front of others, because I refused to change my decision, even though there was a strong reason to do so. We must all be careful. For we are all human and all have the pride.
2. Jesus also teaches us about casting the first stone, but only if you are without sin (John 8:7). Human pride reared up and the harsh critics jumped on the bandwagon of criticism. But they failed to look beyond their own little world. And with headlines speaking of a glancing blow, a fizzling storm, they looked like fools themselves.
This storm produced huge area of 20-40" snows throughout the Northeast, inches of sleet in NYC (which is really hard to move. Worse than snow), and caused winds to exceed 70 mph from NJ to MA. A widespread 1-3" of precipitation was measured in many places. This was not a glancing blow or a storm that fizzled.
Pride rears up when the opportunity comes along to tear down someone else's work. I confess it is easy to see the errors of someone else, and fail to see my own. This is why having good friends who hold you accountable is a true gift from the LORD above.
3. And now the final example of human pride. The forecasters defending their decision. We know the feeling. When someone cuts into your work/actions and is harsh in doing so, we all get defensive. But was this the best course of action? What about being honest? Being truthful? Taking responsibility? Confession?
The Bible teaches that if we confess our sin, the LORD will forgive, for He is faithful (1 John 1:8-9).
Now, not every person will forgive, but if one admits he made a mistake, explains the thinking, takes responsibility, and vows to learn from it ... most people will forgive and move on. It becomes a no-story. Especially when it comes to a weather forecast.
But when I make excuses, and defend myself. When I fail to confess and be humble and admit I was wrong, bad things happen. As followers of Jesus, we are to be increasingly like Jesus. He did not defend Himself. He defending His Father, His Father's house (temple) and others. But Himself? Nope. Didn't do it. And good things came of it.
The point of this whole rambling piece is this: Be careful of your inner pride. God opposes the proud (James 4:6), because He is humble in heart. (Matt 11:29).
Enjoy the day the LORD has made and make the most of it serving Him.
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)
Whether you are from the alt right, alt left, right, left, conservative, or liberal “Fake news” is a hot topic. Before we go any further, we must answer this question: what is fake news?
News is defined as “newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events (English Oxford Living Dictionary Online). In other words, facts concerning real things that are going on. Fake is simply false, made-up, and not real. So, fake news is something presented as real, that is in fact not real. It is a deception. It is a lie.
Fake news is dangerous. It is propaganda. And if repeated enough, people will begin to believe it. An extreme example would be Nazi Germany. Much propaganda and fabricated stories were used to further the evil of Hitler and his henchmen. Fake news is dangerous.
Instead of reporting facts, no matter where those facts lead, speculation is used to convey a certain point of view. It seems that many “news” organizations pander to their audience and give them what they want to hear. It does not matter whether a lie is perpetuated or not. What matters is whether it fulfills its intended purpose.
The sad thing is that in the midst of all the speculation and rhetoric being thrown around, the truth, the real news, the real facts, are so buried that who can tell what is real and what is fake? And when some of our leaders use blatantly obvious fake twitter account tweets (like this past week) as supportive evidence to bolster their accusations, it truly is a sad day.
I guess we should not be surprised. The LORD teaches us in His Word that “a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear (2 Tim 4:3).” is this not what is happening today? The answer is very obviously, a resounding “yes.” Yet, I must be careful and not throw stones, for inside the co-called “church,” fake news is also a problem.
Yet, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).” So, I must ask how can believers in Jesus Christ not believe what He says? Isn’t that really unbelief?
In the UUA, in the search for truth, some believe in one God, some in a benevolent force, others in no god at all. How can a legit search for truth (that which corresponds to reality) discover very different answers to the same question? There either is a God or there isn’t. It cannot be both. It is impossible to both. Yet, to their followers, it sounds great. It sounds inclusive.
These examples, just two of many, are ‘fake news.’ How can I say that? Because the Word of God (a.k.a. the Bible or Holy Scriptures) is very clear: There is One God (“I AM”, Yahweh, Adonai Elohim, Jehovah, LORD, Father – Son – Holy Spirit) and only one way to Salvation: by grace through faith in the work of salvation through Jesus Christ. This is fact taken straight from God’s inspired Word (2 Tim 3:16-17, 2 Pet 1:16-21).
Fake news must be called out and rooted out whether it be in the main stream media, the social media, or the body of the church itself. It will not better anyone. Instead it will prove destructive, because fake news it based on lies and is meant to deceive.
Remember, truth is what will set you free (John 8:31-32).
It’s a PC World.
No not a personal computer world; although one can argue it’s a phone or tablet world.( If you don’t believe that just take a look around. Even on the AGT Results show last evening, of the 5 people in the Duncan Lounge, only 1 was not looking at a phone.)
I am talking about a politically correct world. There has been lots of attention draw to it during this presidential campaign, so far. So I thought I would tackle it here this morning.
Recently the Ark Encounter theme park opened in north central Kentucky. It is right along I-75 south of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is a life size replica of what is believed to be Noah’s Ark as recorded in Genesis 6-8, but despite this architectural marvel, being the largest wooden structure in North American and possibly the world, there is plenty of criticism being leveled from Christian and non-Christian groups alike.
Basically, the Ark Encounter provides visual evidence that an ark made of wood with Gen 6 dimensions, could have had enough room for 8 people, the animals, birds, insects, along with food and waste storage. It could have been very stable, and floated over the surface of a global flood. This visual park will show that it is possible. I encourage all to go at least once, for it might challenge your thinking a little.
And here lies the problem: It does challenge the preconceived notion that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are myth and fable. And that is why it is controversial. It will challenge the way people understand the world. And that is exactly why it was built in the first place. But I must ask, for those who oppose this, if you are secure in your understanding of the world, what then do you have to worry about? Besides, the more you criticize it, the more attention the Ark receives. And more attention means more people willing to go to see what the fuss is all about.
So, fuss about! God may use it to draw people to Him!
As of noon Tuesday, July 5th 2016, the FBI publicly announced that they would not recommend criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton. The FBI director, Mr. James Comey, listed some “extreme carelessness” in handling classified emails. But they would not recommend criminal charges because they did not find that Mrs. Clinton and her staff did this intentionally.
This has set off a firestorm of celebration and disgust. So I wondered, can God help us in all this? Well, here are some thoughts from His Word:
Matthew 7:17 … Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Ok. So what about the part on intent?
Psalm 44:20 … If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?
1 Chronicles 28:9 … "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.
So today is a day of high political emotion. Some think Mrs. Clinton has been vindicated. Others feel the justice system is rigged. Regardless of how you feel, this really is a dark day. Why? Think about it. It's hard to miss.
One of the two leading people running for the Office of President of the United States of America, was investigated by the FBI, for several months, and was publicly rebuked by the FBI director for seriously poor judgment in the handling of classified information. How is this good news?
In this case the boy won and the gorilla died. I am sure you have heard about this sad story out of the Cincinnati Zoo.
Somehow a little boy aged 3-4 climbed a 3’ fence, went through some bushes and then fell 15’ into a shallow moat where the silver back gorillas lived. The male gorilla took charge of the boy, dragged him through the water a couple of times, but did harm him physically. The zoo trained experts chose to shoot and kill the gorilla rather than risking a tranquilizer that would take 5 – 10 minutes to take effect. During those minutes the gorilla could grow agitated at being shot. This might endanger the child, and the gorilla had more than enough power to kill that child in any second.
Both support and opposition to this decision has been expressed both to the family and the zoo itself.
Personally I agree with the decision to save the child, but is that the end of it? As a Christian, the Bible ought to be my guide, so then what might the Bible have to offer as guidance in a situation like this?
There isn’t much on zoos in the Bible, but Exodus 21:33 might offer a principle to help us:
"If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his.
Points to consider:
I know things are different today, but the principle here might help in this situation, esp. since the family “thanked the Lord” for their child being rescued. It is great that the boy is ok. But should there be some fine or restitution that the parents pay because of the loss of the animal?
Just something to think about …
Lots of talk about the upcoming November election. Among that is who to vote for? Who do the conservatives vote for? Who do the evangelicals vote for? Who do the Sander’s supporters vote for? And on and on.
Every citizen ought to exercise their right to vote and do just that come November, however, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I keep these Proverbs in mind to help in my decision:
Candidates will say almost anything to get elected. They want to be liked by the people so they can get the vote. But to get a feel for who they really are? Look who they surround themselves with. What advisers do they have? Who are they friends with?
Just something to keep in mind. We are not voting for one person, but rather a whole team of people to lead this nation. Who do the candidates choose as VP running mate and other advisers will be very revealing.
Yesterday afternoon the Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals ruled that quarterback Tom Brady will serve his 4 game suspension as discipline handed down by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. This came about because of the circumstantial evidence surrounding the less footballs discovered being used by New England Patriots in the 2015 AFC Championship Game.
This whole episode is very sad indeed. It is evidence of greed and the unsatisfactory feeling wealth brings to a person.
What I mean is this:
During the 1990s and early 2000s baseball players reset the home-run records. Three players broke Roger Maris season record of 61, on more than one occasion, and Hank Aarons career record. But since MLB has gotten much tougher on performance enhancing drug usage by testing the players randomly, the home-run numbers have dropped dramatically. No one has even come close to Roger Maris' record for a season in the last decade (2006 Ryan Howard had 58 making that the highest total since 73 by Barry Bonds in 2002). Do PED's have an impact?
Football has drug testing also. But their rules are slightly different. But they too realize players will try to gain an advantage. But other things have occurred like illegal filming of practices, tampering with players in order to win them as free agents before they are allowed to, and now tampering with footballs.
Even the fine game of Tennis has been hit with scandal. One of its top stars was caught using a banned drug (even if used for health reasons) due to its performance enhancing abilities. I won't even go into the Sport of Cycling (see Tour do France for many years of performance drug problems) or swimming or numerous others.
Why do players and teams do these things? I mean they make at least hundreds of thousands of dollars and most make millions over their careers above an beyond their salaries. You would think they would be satisfied and not feel the need to break the rules. But some still do. Why?
Well, no one knows their heart and motivation except themselves and God. But this passage from the Bible (among others) might shed some light ...
1 Timothy 6:9-11 (NIV):
"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness."
In life one may be tempted to play outside the rules or to stretch them to ones advantage. But in the process some great athletes have tarnished their names and reputations. And they did so for what reason? To gain just a little more than what 99% of us do not have nor will likely ever come have on this earth. Am I judging them? No. I am only looking at decisions already made. I do not know their hearts. I only know what happens to athletes when they are caught breaking the rules of their sport and wonder why they do it ...
It is a great gift from God to learn to be content with what we have (See Philippians 4). We should strive and give our best always, but also be content with what you have so you do not pierce yourself with griefs you do not have to endure.
The disciples experienced it all in a matter of seven days. It was a mega roller roaster ride, and thankfully it is one that ended good … very good.
But how do we know He really rose from the dead? I mean, how many people do you know that rose from the dead?
So, after His death and burial, Jesus appeared alive to more than 500 eye witnesses. In a court of law, if you have one eye witness, that is very good. If you have two, that is excellent. If you have three or more, it’s pretty much an open and shut case. But to have 500? There would be no question about the verdict, even if it was regarding His resurrection.
Have a wonderful Resurrection Day … every day.
How does one respond to the heinous attacks in Brussels? I cannot fathom the hate that fills one’s heart to think that he/she is doing their god’s will by blowing up plane and train travelers? It is simple: These were pure acts of evil, masquerading as something that is good.
It is very tempting to allow emotion to rule ones response. Why not just go and pound them all into dust? I mean, an iron fist could destroy the desire. Right? But lets think for a moment, where did ISIS come from? Some say it is was the war in Iraq. Others blame the rapid pull out of Iraq. Well, whatever your persuasion, ISIS is real, and very much willing to do just about anything to appear strong by committing acts of terror. So what do we do? Well, first lets get the proper perspective.
Listen to these words:
Hate does not come from teaching. Hate does not come from false religions. Hate does not come from acts of war. Nor does it come from failure of leadership. It comes from out of the heart, for the heart is deceitful and beyond cure. Now how about these words:
So if people are blowing themselves up and murdering many others ... what does that say about their heart?
Yes, it is true that teaching and life experiences can encourage hatred. But evil originates in the heart. This is why it is said that we are dead in our sins. The evil in our hearts will lead to death, one way or another. Now, thankfully that does not have to be the final word on the subject.
People need a new heart. A heart that is pure like Christ's. Without a pure heart, there is no hope for removing evil. Yes, as a society wrongful/evil behavior must be punished, but to remove evil from the world, requires a changed heart and soul.
Only God can do that ...
Psalm 51:10 ... "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
Pastor Terry, his wife and family came to Suedberg in 2003. There have great times, good times, and well, not so good times. But through it all God has been good. This blog will share the goodness of God as seen in the midst of the great, the good, and the not so good of our world.