The LOOPS newsletter Reflections goes to 36 states and 6 foreign countries. We have over 300 students (mostly inmates) enrolled in our Bible correspondence courses. Needless to say, our little office handles a lot of correspondence. Much of our time is used in answering questions. These questions range from deeper theological questions to inquiries about the contemporary church movement. Many people seem to think all inmates are backward and stupid, but believe me, that is not the case.
Right Division Blogs
What is this thing called “love?”
One of the signs of the last days is “misplaced love.”
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves…” 2 Timothy 3:1-2.
Time does fly, but only as you look back on it. 2006 has been like most years, both bitter and sweet. We have buried some loved ones, including my Mother. We have seen good friends stumble and fall back into the prison system. We see truth continue to be sacrificed for profit, power and prestige. We keep reading about the masses leaving the ministry, churches going hip-hop trying to stave off their failure.
I have been thumbing through my Bible trying to find verses that instruct us to sneak up on lost people. Today’s mainline churches are going incognito and wearing camouflage! When a law enforcement officer goes undercover, he does so to impersonate the bad guys. Why would a Christian do that? As best I understand it, God wants us to “come out from among them,” not imitate them.
Much is being written and spoken today about “praise and worship.” I am bad about accepting things, especially things issuing from Christian friends and reputable Christian leaders. It usually takes some traumatic event or conflict before I research anything on my own. It is obvious that “praise and worship” means different things to different people, but it is just as obvious that everyone seems to think it involves music of some kind.
Easter is here! Christ has risen! Everything worthwhile is tied to Christ’s resurrection. Paul said,
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain…If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1 Corinthians 15:14, 19
There are two events in scripture that point to drastic mistakes we can make about Jesus Christ. Both of these mistakes were made by people who were close to Him, who loved Him and were dedicated to Him.
1. FAILING TO RECOGNIZE HIS PRESENCE
A pastor friend of mine related this story. On their way home from church one Sunday, his ten year old daughter quizzed him. She said, “Daddy, that story you told today…was that really true or was it just preaching?” A little girl, wise beyond her years; for so much of what we hear as preaching may be just that…preaching, not truth!
We live in unusual and interesting times. Never have things moved so fast around us. It took right at 5900 years for transportation to advance from animals to automobiles. In a 100 years man has achieved speed faster than sound, traveled to destinations as far as the moon and changed the English Bible over 200 times. In less than 50 years we have seen the most prosperous and advanced civilizations legalize murdering innocent babies, approve same sex marriages and strive to remove God and the Ten Commandments from our society. Man keeps contradicting himself.
James, the Lord’s brother, in writing to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered everywhere, said,
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
In Acts 15 we have an account of a harsh conflict between two of God’s children, Paul and Barnabas. Barnabas first appears in Acts 4:36 as one who sold his land and gave the proceeds to the apostles. The next time he appears is in defense of Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:27.) In Acts 11:22-26 Barnabas was sent by the church at Jerusalem to disciple new converts at Antioch. He thought of Paul and brought him to join in this ministry.