Towel Elephant

There Is A Way That Seems Right To Man

For many years the cry from the left was that you could not legislate morality. Now, they openly celebrate the Supreme Court doing exactly that. This latest attempt by the highest court to legislate from the bench has far reaching implications. The Federal government has made behavior, how one chooses to live, a protected class. It has also opened the door for all sorts of legal persecution of people of faith who recognize the Eternal consequences of those choices.

Marriage is not a legal right. The question should never have gone to trial. Marriage is a covenant, ordained by God between one man and one woman. That has always been the ideal. Adam was created first. Eve was taken from him. Meaning that the two together were one complete person. God, who knows the heart of individuals, brings them together in marriage to be a whole person – spirit, soul, and body. Anything that deviates from this original ideal leads to problems, as is obvious from the many examples in the Bible, and life itself.

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Only 6% of the Earth's surface is inhabited by man.

Green Is The New Gospel

In the 70s, my elementary school took a break from teaching necessary things like reading, writing, and arithmetic, to scare the britches off us kids about the coming ice age. Our biggest concern in life up to that point was what game would be played at recess. Now, it was how to escape the coming glaciers and make it to Mexico before we froze to death. While the cause of the coming disaster was not directly linked to human activity, there was certainly plenty of hints that it was related to modern society. And the solutions, less freedom, more regulation, and higher taxes, were not that much different than the ones claimed to be necessary to stop global warming, which paused over a decade ago.

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Freedom From Religion

Around every Christian holiday, I can count on seeing a post or two shared on Facebook from an organization whose mission in life is to be free from religion. Strangely, I strongly endorse their efforts – but likely not in the way they imagine.

To understand what religion is, you must travel back to the beginning. God created Adam from the dust of the ground and filled him with spiritual life. He placed His children in the Garden and gave them dominion over the Earth.

However, they weren’t alone for long. There was an enemy present, Satan. His rebellion before led to a catastrophic judgment of Earth, leaving it in darkness, and covered with water. This was the condition when God recreated the earth in Genesis 1. He was an outsider, an intruder, and had Adam or Eve exercised their authority, they could have sent him packing. Instead, he engaged in a conversation with Eve. And she listened to what he had to say.

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I Would Not Have You To Be Ignorant, Brethren

As a bored child in church, I would sometimes turn to the back of a hymnal to find anything to occupy my time. There you could find random lists of things like the corresponding dates to the next several decades or so of Easter Sundays. This was somewhat alarming because the list in one particular hymnal ended at the year 2000. In my youthful ignorance, I assumed that the hymnal manufacturer had inside knowledge of the End Times. Having sat through a few sermons on Revelation, and my own time in the book, this was a frightening prospect. Such is the power of religious tradition, and ignorance of God’s Word.

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Its The End Of The World As We Know It

In the press leading up to the new Nicholas Cage movie, Left Behind, I came across an interesting quote from someone described as a Christian philosopher. Now I am not quite sure what that is, but it can’t be good. Philosophers work in the field of philosophy, a word handed down by the Greeks (philosophia) which literally means “love of wisdom”. If that is truly the focus of this person’s endeavors, all would be well, since wisdom comes from God and is far superior to even the greatest knowledge of men. (Proverbs 2:1-15, 1 Corinthians 1:17-31, 3:18-20, James 5:1-8). However in practice, philosophy often gets stuck in the reasoning and foolishness of men. That would be very bad. Its the traditions and ideas of men that has led to so much confusion concerning God’s Word. Its the religious that have so confused the simplicity of the Gospel, and given us so many interpretations to divide the Body. God’s Word, His Truth, is designed to unite Believers. God is not the author of division, confusion, and strife. (1 Corinthians 14:33) Its the enemy that has twisted and confused God’s Word from the very beginning, causing the downfall of so many. (Genesis 3:1-4, 2 Corinthians 11:1-3) The enemy has the greatest success turning people away from God’s Truth, His Word, by working through religion.

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Read The Word

To Suffer Or Not To Suffer

I recently took part in a discussion on suffering, specifically Christian suffering. All the usual anecdotes were offered, the unborn, the premature death, the physically disabled, those born into poverty, or living in war zones. The usual Biblical examples were dragged out – Job and Paul’s thorn. It makes you wonder what Bible people read. Let’s take a look at some of these examples.

In a passage often quoted from Job 1, Satan complained to God because He had placed a hedge around Job, and blessed all the works of his hands to the point that he was the richest man in the East. For Believers, this should be cause for hope. Instead, this passage is often misunderstood as either God, or Satan, removing the hedge and attacking Job. If this is what you have been taught, you need to dig deeper into God’s Word. The Bible tells you exactly what brought that hedge down, and hindered the Blessing. It definitely was not God, or Satan directly.

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The Shining One – The Old Serpent

When I was a wee lad, there was a series of books published featuring the entire Bible illustrated in comic book form. I devoured each one, fascinated by the stories, miracles, and such a wonderful God. I soon graduated to a children’s RSV, and then the Thompson Chain-Reference KJV my parents gave me in high school. Now, I have many translations – electronic, printed, and with the Internet, seemingly an unlimited supply of options to consider.

I have always read the Bible as God’s Truth. I also understand that His Words are filtered through men. Different translations, unfamiliar languages, strange religious practices, or cultural nuances, can make the Bible challenging at times. Religious tradition may create boundaries that make it difficult for the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Truth. But if you keep digging, continue searching and expecting God to reveal the meaning of a passage, it will come.

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Did God Really Say…

In my last post, I discussed the Blessing, the fall of man, along with Satan’s temptation of Eve. If you missed the article, I recommend taking a quick peek back before continuing. One of the most common weapons the devil uses to undermine faith, is to get people to doubt God’s Word. Because if you doubt God’s Word, your faith will definitely fail. How can you have faith in someone, if you don’t trust their word?

Just the other day I was sitting in a church listening to a sermon on Hezekiah, the Assyrian invasion of Judah, and the siege of Jerusalem (2 King 18:13-37, 2 Kings 19:1-37). This is a wonderful story of how God supernaturally destroyed the Assyrian invasion force, 185,000 men in a single night. Hezekiah had heard Sennacherib’s threats, and instead of worrying about it, or focusing on the circumstances, he turned the problem over to someone who could handle it, God.  But that’s where the sermon derailed a bit. The pastor started to undermine the story – maybe it wasn’t 185,000 killed, or perhaps there was a plague, or maybe the writer embellished the story. Though momentarily offtrack, he somewhat recovered by mentioning the decline of the Assyrian Empire from that point, and the fact that Judah would remain independent for another 100+ years until Babylon invaded. Unfortunately though, the damage had already been done. Because you don’t believe the story because historians, theologians, or even archaeologists think its true. You believe the story because God’s Word is Truth. Natural evidence may put your mind at ease, but faith rests in your spirit. You KNOW the Word is true in your heart first, and you renew your mind with the Word of God until it falls in line with your spirit. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. But you must have spiritual “ears that hear.” (Matthew 11:15, Mark 4:9, John 16:12-15, Romans 10:17, 12:2, 1 Corinthians 2:4-16, Galatians 3:1-6, Ephesians 4:15-23, 5:6-10)

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In the Garden of Eden

And God Blessed Them

“Why Did This Happen To me?”

Its a question that gets asked far too often. And unfortunately, it is often coupled with a belief that tragedy, sickness, or death was sent by God. It is like a no-fault religion. A belief system that takes absolutely no responsibility for what happens in life. But as in the natural world, you have cause and effect. In the spiritual world, its called sowing and reaping.

This topic sometimes makes people uncomfortable. The opposite should be the case, especially for Believers. If you are prone to ask these types of questions, or question God, remind yourself of God’s ultimate will for mankind. This can be found throughout the Bible. But let’s look at Genesis 1 to get started – underlining added for emphasis.

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Day 4 – Lazarus, Come Forth!

In John 11, there is a remarkable story of Jesus raising Lazarus back to life after his death 4 days earlier. Jesus had already demonstrated God’s Power and Glory numerous times, and in numerous ways, including raising the dead widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), and the daughter of Jairus (Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:41-56). This miracle stands out not only for what was actually done, but for the revelation in these verses.

Let’s take a quick look back at the facts. Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus lived in Bethany. They were good friends of Jesus and had hosted Jesus and his disciples in their home. When Lazarus falls gravely ill, the sisters send a messenger to Jesus, who was about 18 miles away. By the time the messenger arrives, approximately a day, Lazarus had already died. Jesus was well aware of the situation. I really like how Holman translates his response to the messenger.

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God Is Not The Unjust Judge And You Are Not The Widow

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus gives a short parable about a widow who keeps coming before an unjust judge, badgering him until he finally gives her justice. Then Jesus explains that God is nothing like the unjust judge, and will grant justice speedily to all who call on him. He ends the parable with an interesting question,

“But when I, the Son of Man, return, will I find people who have faith?”

Luke prefaces the story with an introductory line telling folks the parable is about praying, and not giving up. A common explanation for the parable is that Believers should keep praying until they get the answer. But what sometimes gets communicated, or understood, is the notion that you need to act like the widow, and pester God until He gives you what you want. It seems people are more focused on the actions of the widow and the godless judge, rather than God’s promise to grant justice speedily.

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Do You Believe In Love?

The film Mirror Mirror (2012) was a reimagined version of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs fairy tale featuring Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, Sean Bean, and Lily Collins as Snow White. In the closing scene, the adorable Lily Collins performs a Bollywood-esque dance to her song titled “I Believe In Love.” The song is about romantic love, Snow White getting the prince, and of course ridding the kingdom of the evil queen.

If you missed the movie, here is the video of the closing scene. It really is a catchy little tune.

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Mette’s Christmas Miracle

The Story Behind Mette’s Christmas Miracle

“God will provide everything we need.” — Mette

BackgroundMette’s Christmas Miracle is the story of a small flock of sparrows that faced starvation during a Christmas blizzard. One of the birds, Mette, proves that God will always honor the faith of those that trust Him.

Summary – A small flock of sparrows lives near a small farming village in Norway. It was right before Christmas when a brutal storm covered the countryside and made it impossible for the birds to leave the safety of their tree to search for food. One of the younger sparrows named Mette challenges the other birds on their faith in God. He had always provided for them, why would this time be any different?

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The Terribly Scary Storm

The Story Behind The Terribly Scary Storm

“Boris learns a valuable lesson about fear when he faces a scary thunderstorm.” – Harrison Woodard

BackgroundThe Terribly Scary Storm is the 9th story in the Boris Kitty series. The real Boris was one of bravest cats I have ever known. He could climb any tree and stare down dogs three times his size. I once watched him chase two cats over the fence and out of the yard. The cat was fearless.

The only thing that gave Boris pause, was a thunderstorm. As the thunder got close, and the rain started, he would make his way into the utility room to wait out the storm in safety. On rare occasions, I could keep him on my lap for a few moments, but then a large thunder clap would end that quickly.

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The Adoption Miracle

The Story Behind The Adoption Miracle

“Boris learns that he must patiently wait for God to answer his prayer for a new home.” – Harrison Woodard

BackgroundThe Adoption Miracle, was the second story I completed in the Boris Kitty series. The story was based on actual events and came from my pondering what if animals had faith to pray for a home. I have always been bothered by caged animals. God made the creatures of this planet to live free. And wherever possible, I believe wild animals should be allowed to live in their native habitat, free from cages. Of course many dogs and cats have been domesticated to the point that living in the wild could be hazardous.

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Spiritual, But Not Religious

I am fascinated by people who proclaim themselves spiritual, but not religious. I first started seeing this in the dating/singles world and then later with celebrities as a technique to distance themselves from the sometimes awkward subject of religion. Much like the independent or moderate tags come up when it comes to politics, the term spiritual sounds to some as more worldly, or dare I say transcendent.

The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead. — Psalm 10:4 <NLT>

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Though He Slay Me, I Will Hope In Him

I recently was having a discussion on a Christian message board about healing. It was very revealing how angry and passionate people were to prove that God does NOT heal. In fact, one of the arguments against healing was by someone that posted Job 13:15.

God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him. — Job 13:15 <NLT>

Now why would anyone want to make their religious stand on these words of Job? And why, as it is translated by the NLT, would you love God if you thought He was likely to strike you down at any given moment? What kind of fellowship could you have with someone who might kill you for any old reason? It boggles the mind the poison that the enemy sows and religious tradition perpetuates!

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Lend Me Your Ear – Jesus Restores the Ear of Malchus

My latest project involves the story of Jesus healing the chopped off ear of Malchus, a servant of the High Priest. During the arrest of Jesus, Peter pulled out his sword and swung wildly at Malchus who was part of the mob that had come for Jesus. Although the Bible does not say this specifically, I doubt Peter was aiming for the guy’s ear.

In the confusing confrontation between soldiers, servants and armed disciples, who no doubt were afraid for their lives, this incident could have exploded into a bloodbath. But since it involved Jesus, everything was contained. He was in complete control of all the events that evening.

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George Carlin On Religion – A Response

There is a reason that people have continually looked for something greater than themselves. To put it simply, there is something greater. One cannot rationally examine creation and not see the handiwork of a master designer. From the smallest organism to the heavenly bodies, everything has been designed to work perfectly within their prescribed place. And you want educated people to accept that this was all just some big cosmic accident? That would take a whole lot of faith.

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Christmas Is Just Presents?

The decline and dismissal of Christmas. Why the Christmas holiday is still one of greatest celebrations in the history of mankind.

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