Episode 174

 Disciple Up #174
Stupid Things Christians Say Pt 4
God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
By Louie Marsh, 8-26-2020

Intro.  It looks like I’ll be doing Hebrews, haven’t decided yet but am close.

The phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is a motto that emphasizes the importance of self-initiative and agency. The expression is still famous around the globe and used to inspire people for self-help. The phrase originated in ancient Greece as “the Gods help those who help themselves” and may originally have been proverbial. It is illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables and a similar sentiment is found in ancient Greek drama. Although it has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the modern English wording appears earlier in Algernon Sidney’s work.

 

The phrase is often mistaken as a scriptural quote, though it is not stated verbatim in the Bible. Some Christians have criticized the expression as being contrary to the Bible’s message of God’s grace. A variant of the phrase can also be found in the Quran (13:11).

 

Prevailing views

The belief that this is a phrase that occurs in the Bible, or is even one of the Ten Commandments, is common in the United States. The beliefs of Americans regarding this phrase and the Bible has been studied by Christian demographer and pollster George Barna of The Barna Group. To the statement “The Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves”; 53% of Americans agree strongly, 22% agree somewhat, 7% disagree somewhat, 14% disagree strongly, and 5% stated they don’t know.

 

Of “born-again” Christians 68% agreed, and 81% of non “born-again” Christians agreed with the statement. In a February 2000 poll, 53% strongly agreed and 22% agreed somewhat that the Bible teaches the phrase. Of the 14 questions asked, this was the least biblical response, according to Barna. A poll in the late 1990s showed the majority (81%) believe the concept is taught by the Bible, another stating 82%.

 

Despite being of non-Biblical origin the phrase topped a poll of the most widely known Bible verses. Seventy-five percent of American teenagers said they believed that it was the central message of the Bible.

 

Barna critiques this as evidence of Americans’ unfamiliarity with the Bible. He said,  It “suggests a spiritual self-reliance inconsistent with Christianity” according to David Kinnaman, vice president of the Barna Research Group. Christian minister Erwin Lutzer argues there is some support for this saying in the Bible (2 Thessalonians 3:10, James 4:8); however, much more often God helps those who cannot help themselves, which is what grace is about (the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, Ephesians 2:4–5, Romans 4:4–5). The statement is often criticized as espousing a Semi-Pelagian model of salvation, which most Christians denounce as heresy.

 

SemiPelagianism is a Christian theological and soteriological school of thought on salvation. Semipelagian thought stands in contrast to the earlier Pelagian teaching about salvation, the Pelagianism (in which people achieve their own salvation by their own means), which had been dismissed as heresy.

 

The Persians

The sentiment appears in several ancient Greek tragedies. Sophocles, in his Philoctetes (c. 409 BC), wrote, “No good e’er comes of leisure purposeless; And heaven ne’er helps the men who will not act.”

 

Euripides, in the Hippolytus (428 BC), mentions that, “Try first thyself, and after call in God; For to the worker God himself lends aid.” In his Iphigeneia in Tauris, Orestes says, “I think that Fortune watcheth o’er our lives, surer than we. But well said: he who strives will find his gods strive for him equally.”

 

A similar version of this saying “God himself helps those who dare” better translated as “divinity helps those who dare” “audentes deus ipse iuuat” comes from Ovid, Metamorphoses, 10.586. The phrase is spoken by Hippomenes when contemplating whether to enter a foot race against Atalanta for her hand in marriage. If Hippomenes were to lose, however, he would be killed. Hippomenes decides to challenge Atalanta to a race and, with the aid of Venus, Hippomenes was able to win the race.

 

The same concept is found in the fable of Hercules and the Wagoner, first recorded by Babrius in the 1st century AD. In it, a wagon falls into a ravine, or in later versions becomes mired, but when its driver appeals to Hercules for help, he is told to get to work himself. Aesop is also credited with a similar fable about a man who calls on the goddess Athena for help when his ship is wrecked and is advised to try swimming first. It has been conjectured that both stories were created to illustrate an already existing proverb.

 

The French author Jean de La Fontaine also adapted the first of these fables as Le chartier embourbé (Fables VI.18) and draws the moral Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera (Help yourself and Heaven will help you too). A little earlier, George Herbert had included “Help thyself, and God will help thee” in his proverb collection, Jacula Prudentum (1651). But it was the English political theorist Algernon Sidney who originated the now familiar wording, “God helps those who help themselves”, apparently the first exact rendering of the phrase. Benjamin Franklin later used it in his Poor Richard’s Almanack (1736) and has been widely quoted.

 

Islamic texts

A passage with similar sentiments can be found in the Quran:

Indeed Allah will not change the conditions of a population until they change what is in themselves.  Qur’an 13:11

 

It has a different meaning in that it implies that helping oneself is a prerequisite for expecting the help of God.

 

Trust in God But Tie Your Camel is an Arab proverb with a similar meaning. It is also one of the reported sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to Tirmidhi, one day Mohammed noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I placed my trust in Allah.” At that, Mohammed said, “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah.”

 

Other historical uses

The French society Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera (Help yourself and Heaven will help you too) played an important role in bringing about the July Revolution of 1830 in France.

 

Aide-toi et Dieu t’aidera (Help yourself, and God will help you) was the motto on the ship’s wheel of the famous UK-built Confederate sea raider CSS Alabama, captained by Raphael Semmes during the American Civil War.

 

Prevalence and assessment

The phrase is often quoted to emphasize the importance of taking initiative. There is also a relationship to the Parable of the Faithful Servant, and the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which has a similar eschatological theme: be prepared for the day of reckoning. However, the argument has been made that this is a non-Biblical concept. That’s what it is.

 

Christian Scripture

While the term does not appear verbatim in Christian scriptures, these passages are used to suggest an ethic of reliance on God.

 

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

Deuteronomy 28:8 – The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to.

Proverbs 13:4 – The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Proverbs 21:31 – The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

Matthew 5:3-4 – God blesses those who realize their need for him; and who mourn will be comforted.

I Timothy 5:8 – If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Reliance upon God is not mentioned but is strongly implied.

 

Conversely, instances where Jesus served or healed someone would be evidence of God helping those who cannot help themselves. (See Mark 6:34; Mark 1:30-31; and Mark 10:46-52.)

 

The Real Issue:

 

Are you talking about Salvation or living life every day?

 

If you’re talking about Salvation then you are completely off of what Scripture says and are expounding a heresy.

 

3  For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4  Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5  And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6  just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7  “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Romans 4:3-8 (ESV)

 

Mormon view – saved by works, and God fills in whatever gaps are left if you’ve done well.

 

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

2 Nephi 25:23 [Book of Mormon]

 

If you are talking about living life then you may have a kernel of truth.

 

For while life must be lived in the Spirit and by the power of God, we are also called upon to have faith and to take the initiative.

 

Proverbs 6:10-12 – A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 12:11 – He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Proverbs 12:24 – Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.

 

Just because I’m working hard doesn’t mean I’m not also trusting God!

 

Paul may say it best here:

 

28  Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:28-29 (ESV)

 

But this message is spread throughout the Bible.

 

10  “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NASB)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 170

 

Disciple Up #170
Reaching the Breaking Point
My commentary on my July Column of Parker Stripped
From Parkerliveonline.com
By Louie Marsh, 7-29-2020

I’ve been thinking about writing this column for quite a while now. But I’ve kept putting it off. In fact I actively looked for reasons not to write it. But it keeps coming up in many of my conversations and I see it all over the place, nearly everywhere I look in fact. So for better or worse I decided it was time to talk about the proverbial elephant in the room.

I say elephant in the room because I’m far from the only one who’s seen this. But most of us don’t seem to want to either admit to it or deal with it. So what am I talking about? Just this: The impact from our national shutdown, isolation from others, national unrest and the shifting “facts” we hear from day to day are taking a huge toll on almost all of us.

And its well past time we admitted it and began dealing with it.

Let me take just one recent conversation I’ve had as an example. A friend of mine had been commenting on how the people he worked with seemed have much shorter fuses than they used too. They were kind of grumpy and tense and just generally below par. This led to them to act in ways that a few short months ago he was sure they wouldn’t have.

I told him I’d seen a lot of that. Not only in other people but in myself as well. I said that being cut off from real, in person, socializing; not being able to hug or touch our loved ones and friends, was beginning to warp people in bad ways.

I don’t think any of us are thinking as clearly as we should be. Many of us, especially those of us who live alone, rarely if ever get to hug or touch another human being. We’ve been told for years how important human touch is and now we are finding out just how right all that information was!

This warping applies to our emotional states. Some people I know are more aggressive (if you don’t believe me just review your Facebook or Twitter feed, if you have one, and you’ll see what I mean). Others are quieter and depressed at their inability to do what we’ve always taken for granted. Like go to a store or hop on a plane or just visit friends.

If you still aren’t sure I’m right about all this try this little exercise in depression – try doing some long term planning. Good luck with that! (I confess that’s one of several things that really bugs me!)

Our world has changed in so many ways so quickly that we can’t really keep up. On top of that we have no trustworthy assurances when things will get back to normal, if they’ll ever get there at all! This uncertainty hangs over all our heads like (here’s another old cliché alert!) the Sword of Damocles. And like that fabled sword we don’t have any idea when it will fall, how it will fall or where it will fall.

To many of us it seems to be falling right now.

So what do we do about this on a personal level? How can I respond to this and, hopefully, find some much needed relief from all this pent up stress and pressure? Below are a few ideas to use as a starting point.

1) Admit that this really is bugging you. You are being affected and this is a real issue for you. (Starting a 12 step program for those dealing with 2020 Syndrome might not be a bad idea.) You can’t deal with any kind of problem or issue if you refuse to admit that it’s there.

2) Give Grace to everyone around you, including yourself. So we aren’t at our best right now. Instead of blaming or shaming or lashing out why not take a different approach? Why not offer some grace, some forgiveness, some understanding to others and yourself? We all need it, so we should all be giving it to others.

3) Make a life for yourself. How you’ll do this depends on your opinions on a variety of issues like masks and vaccines and a whole list of topics I’m not going to discuss here. My point is use your creativity and find a way to do meaningful, important activities and strengthen relationships in spite of all the road blocks strewn across our path.

4) Take the long, historical, view. For many Americans this will mean you’ll actually need to read some good history books. Remember we aren’t the first people to face a pandemic, and we certainly won’t be the last. Our ancestors faced far worse plagues with far less to fight them with, and they survived. If we can learn to look at life from a longer and wider perspective it’ll do us, and everyone around us good.

I realize it’s easier to write these things than to do them. I also know they are just a start. But everything has to start somewhere, so why not start now to deal with all of this and see where that road takes us?

VERSES WE NEED TO TAKE SERIOUSLY:

 15  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)

 1  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 (ESV)

 13  Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14  We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16  By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 19  By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20  for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:13-20 (ESV)

 1  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3  and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5  They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6  We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:1-6 (ESV)

 7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:7-12 (ESV)

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 159

Disciple Up #159
Freedom & Control
By Louie Marsh, 5-13-2020

Intro. Where the idea for this episode came from.

1) The Article: http://www.parkerliveonline.com/2020/05/08/theres-something-happening/

 

I’ve been noticing something lately with a lot of the people I interact with and that I see and hear online. There seems to be a certain feeling they are projecting that I’ve had a hard time putting my finger on. It’s there, it’s real, but what is it?

 

Yesterday I remembered a song from my youth that seems to sum up very well what I’m sensing. It was written in a different time and place and about a different situation, but the words still work (by the way if you haven’t heard this song find it online and listen to it as soon as your done reading this article!)

 

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

 

  • Written by Stephen Stills, 1966. Performed by Buffalo Springfield, it was recorded on December 5, 1966; released as a single on Atco Records on December 23, 1966;

 

Clearly COVID-19 and our response to it is oppressing if not downright depressing people. I’ve seen people exhibiting some of the classic signs of depression, being tired all the time, not sleeping well, finding it hard to get motivated, etc.

 

Once this clicked with me I began to wonder why. Now if you’ve lost your job then it’s completely understandable that you’d be down about that. But I know lots of people who haven’t lost their job but they are still showing clear signs of what I’ll call COVID-19 Syndrome.

 

To tell the truth I’ve felt some of it myself. But why? I don’t know anyone who’s starving, or being kicked out of their home, or who don’t have clothes to wear, etc.  Most of us are doing ok, if not great in terms of survival. Things could be a lot worse that’s for sure. So what’s going on here?

 

And then something hit me. What I’ve found frustrating about this, and many people throughout the country seem to be pushing back against, is the lack of control. All of a sudden the government is telling us what we can and can’t do, how we can do it and even when by setting up curfews. As Americans we value our rights to control our lives.

 

But now we are not in control.

 

Leaving the law aside for the purposes of this column, we are not in control of the virus itself. There’s nothing any of us regular people can do directly to effect either the virus itself or what it does. We can try and avoid it, but we have absolutely zero control over it and what it’s done to our culture.

 

I had to smile when this popped into my little mind because it took me straight back to Spiritual Kindergarten. And I mean that literally because currently in our Wednesday night Bible study we’re going through a book with that title, it’s a look at the 12 Steps from a Christian Perspective. So far we’ve done the first two steps.

 

You’ve probably heard the first two steps, here they are as a reminder:

  • We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

 

If you substitute the phrase our powerlessness over our life in general for “alcohol” it begins to make some sense doesn’t it? Kinda sounds like what many of us are living, but perhaps not admitting, right now.

 

I really believe that much if not most of our current malaise is directly connected to that feeling of helplessness that stems from not being able to control what’s happening in our lives. It’s a terrible feeling because people desperately want to be in control. That makes us feel both powerful and safe and both feelings have a huge appeal to the human ego.

 

But the truth is neither you nor I have control over much of anything at all. The only thing I really have control of in my life is what I say and do, and at least half the time I’m not doing such a great job of controlling that.

 

Control is an illusion. It is a comforting, desirable, and seductive illusion to be sure. But it is an illusion none the less.

 

So, if you’re feeling that COVID-19 Syndrome take those first two steps, realize that you aren’t in control, and then rejoice in the freedom that recognizing and living in the truth can bring.

 

2) The Response:

 

Had one response saying it was the lack of freedom that bothered them more than control.

 

Is that true? What is freedom and control anyway?

 

Freedom:

  • the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint
  • exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  • the power to determine action without restraint.
  • political or national independence.
  • personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery:

 

Control:

verb

  • to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command:
  • to hold in check; curb:
  • to control a horse; to control one’s emotions.

noun

  • the act or power of controlling; regulation; domination or command:
  • Who’s in control here?

 

  • My realization – being in control IS being free!

 

What else is freedom but the ability and license to make choices and do what you choose to do or not do what you choose not to do? You can’t be free without control of your choices and, to a certain extent, your circumstances.

 

So this feeling I’m getting from people really IS about control. Although that feeling is often misunderstood as a lack of freedom. They don’t understand the real relationship between these two states of being.

 

We see this here now all the time and especially on the weekends when we have hundreds of Californians flock to the river where they are FREE – i.e. have the ability to control their choices – to play on the river and beaches, something not allowed right now in CA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The only way you know they are free is because they are in control of their situation enough to carry out their wishes – that is to bring their boats and play on the river. If they weren’t able to do that then they wouldn’t really be free.

 

So – Control Is Freedom! Or control is the application of freedom.

 

But wait! Now I’m going to throw a wrench into all of this by looking at the teachings of Jesus!

 

11  The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12 (ESV)

 

32  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (ESV)

 

So Truth Brings Freedom!

 

Whose really in charge here? The free Pilate or the Prisoner Jesus?

 

37  Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38  Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. John 18:37-38 (ESV)

 

10  So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11  Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” John 19:10-11 (ESV)

 

Jesus isn’t free, yet he is in control. We see the same thing with Paul

 

25  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26  and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27  When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28  But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29  And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30  Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31  And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32  And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34  Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. Acts 16:25-34 (ESV)

 

So, spiritually speaking, being free and exerting control is found in the spirit not in the physical world. They can imprison your body but not your soul.

 

So it seems that from a Biblical perspective the main concern we should be having is our spiritual freedom, that would include our intellectual and emotional freedom as well.

 

This can’t be taken from us because we are always free to choose to follow Jesus. Even locked in a cell no one can take that choice and that reality from me. So yes, freedom and control are the same thing but you can’t have either one without the truth that only Jesus brings.

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 150

Disciple Up #150
A Christian Response to the Coronavirus
By Louie Marsh, 3-11-2020

Links To Articles:

https://dashhouse.com/whether-one-may-flee-from-a-deadly-ministry/

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/january-web-only/martin-luther-coronavirus-wuhan-chinese-new-year-christians.html

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/march/craig-groeschel-lifechurch-quarantined-coronavirus.html

https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2020/a-christian-response-to-the-corona-virus/

Things that Should (But Don’t) Go Without Saying:

  • We should be praying for those impacted by this disease
  • We should be doing what we can, either directly by helping, or indirectly by giving, to help those impacted by this disease.
  • We should use our brains and do what is reasonable to take care of ourselves and avoid getting this disease.
  • We should help others stay healthy, if any need that help, and help spread the truth about this disease.

The Real Issue – FEAR!

26  “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27  What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Matthew 10:26-29 (ESV)

14  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17 (ESV)

7  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

5  For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6  as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Peter 3:5-6 (ESV)

14  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 1 Peter 3:14 (ESV)

18  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 (ESV)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

 

Disciple Up #136
Christian Publishing Is Dying & Why You Should Care
By Louie Marsh, 11-27-2019

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/november/christian-bookstores-authors-publishers-changing-market.html

Those became mega-bestsellers, but the big retailers also demanded bigger discounts from publishers, in turn undercutting prices at evangelical bookstores. The big stores also sold fewer titles, so publishers increasingly looked for authors with some celebrity or platform, making it harder for unknown writers to break into the market.

On another side of the evangelical book industry, though, it’s just part of the business. Take Christian authors, who are competing for fewer bookstore spots and Amazon rankings with the already-famous: reality stars like Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Duck Dynasty crew, and breakout Instagram influencers like Rachel Hollis.

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 130

Scripture Over Culture

By Louie Marsh

 

THEORETICAL FAITH:

1) Faith in Christ is MY CHOICE.

 The Lord is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

 Faith is a personal choice placed in a PERSONAL GOD.

2) Then Jesus becomes MY PERSONAL SALVATION.

 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:8-12

 IT RESULTS IN…

 1) POSITIVE CONFIDENCE – because God is with me!

When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.  Psalm 27:2-3

Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us. 1 John 4:18 (NLT)

2) POWER through focus.

 One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I see…: Psalm 27:4a

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13-14

 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

 3) It is sustained by WORSHIP.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.  Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.  Psalm 27:5-6

Definition of Culture:

the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group

culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next. Culture is symbolic communication.

Culture determines what is acceptable or unacceptable, important or unimportant, right or wrong, workable or unworkable. It encompasses all learned and shared, explicit or tacit, assumptions, beliefs, knowledge, norms, and values, as well as attitudes, behavior, dress, and language.

Don’t forget – there’s the culture you live in and then there’s “church culture” as well. We have to be aware of both.

My Definition of Culture

 “Don’t follow the culture…all culture is, is a bunch of messed up people being messed up together”

Culture is a way of life well-meaning people established a long time ago. But these people were fallen souls and thus made mistakes. Every culture in the world, including mine and yours, contradicts God in many areas. Therefore we must test our culture by the Word of God and only follow it when it is following Jesus.

14  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15  See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16  Rejoice always, 17  pray without ceasing, 18  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19  Do not quench the Spirit. 20  Do not despise prophecies, 21  but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22  Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 (ESV)

Jesus Verses 1st Century Jewish Culture

 Washing Hands – Eating

 Traditionally, Jews are required to wash their hands and say a blessing before eating any meal that includes bread or matzah. The ritual, known as netilat yadayim, is typically done using a two-handled cup, but any vessel will do. There are various customs regarding how the water should be poured, but a common practice is to pour twice on the right hand followed by twice on the left (this is reversed for those who are left-handed). Hasidic custom is to pour three times on each hand.

After the washing, the following blessing is recited: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and commanded us concerning the washing of the hands.

Other Times to Wash Hands

  • On Waking in the Morning

This ritual is rooted in the belief that certain impurities come to the body when it is asleep and is also typically performed with a two-handled cup. Morning washing is followed by the recitation of the same blessing said after washing hands before bread.

  • After a Meal

In some Hasidic and other communities, it is customary to wash the hands after a meal, a practice known as “afterwards water.” Though not as widely practiced as pre-meal washing.

  • Prior to Reciting the Priestly Blessing

On days when the priestly blessing is recited during synagogue worship, it is customary for  Levites (descendants of the temple priests’ assistants) first to wash the hands of the Kohanim (descendants of the temple priests). No blessing is recited.

  • During the Passover Seder

Prior to dipping herbs in salt water, it is traditional to wash hands without reciting a blessing. This washing is in addition to the later washing prior to the seder meal at which a blessing is recited, since this washing is done in preparation for the eating of matzah.

  • Upon Returning from a Cemetery

1  Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2  they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3  (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4  and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) 5  And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6  And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7  in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8  You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

  9  And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10  For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11  But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12  then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13  thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:1-13 (ESV)

Sabbath Day

to those who observe Shabbat, it is a precious gift from God, a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when we can set aside all of our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to higher pursuits. In Jewish literature, poetry and music, Shabbat is described as a bride or queen, as in the popular Shabbat hymn Lecha Dodi Likrat Kallah (come, my beloved, to meet the [Sabbath] bride). It is said “more than Israel has kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept Israel.”

Shabbat is the most important ritual observance in Judaism. It is the only ritual observance instituted in the Ten Commandments. It is also the most important special day, even more important than Yom Kippur. This is clear from the fact that more aliyot (opportunities for congregants to be called up to the Torah) are given on Shabbat than on any other day.

Shabbat is primarily a day of rest and spiritual enrichment. The word “Shabbat” root meaning is to cease, to end, or to rest.

1  At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2  But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” 3  He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: 4  how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5  Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? 6  I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7  And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8  For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

 Jewish Tradition: The disciples were plucking the heads of wheat which to the Pharisees was reaping and were rubbing them in their hands  which was threshing – Word Pictures in the New Testament.

  9  He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10  And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11  He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12  Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13  Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. 14  But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Matthew 12:1-14 (ESV)

Jewish Tradition:  Said that the Sabbath prohibition of not working applied to healing as well. You were not allowed to heal on the Sabbath. You could give medicine to someone who was sick but only enough to keep them from getting worse, not enough to make them well.

 14  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15  See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16  Rejoice always, 17  pray without ceasing, 18  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19  Do not quench the Spirit. 20  Do not despise prophecies, 21  but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22  Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 (ESV)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

 

Episode 118

Disciple Up # 118
Can a Disciple Use Cannabis or is that One Toke Over the Line?
By Louie Marsh, 7-24-2019

Introduction:

Why I’m talking about this, why it’s important beyond just the use of cannabis or any other drug. This whole discussion strikes to the heart of the Christian faith and of what is authoritative, Scripture or experience and culture.

Links:

News Article – https://www.foxnews.com/faith-values/porn-pot-christian-cannabis-marijuana-pastor

https://christiancannabis.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6KJc5E1hEP5-cV3f3bTAJg

https://www.xxxchurch.com/

https://fultonsheen.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strychnine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrocannabinol

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Leary

Introduction to Craig Gross.

 He’s not the first one to advocate on the behalf of pot or cannabis being something Christians should use. He is the latest and he’s got a track record of doing some good work in his former ministry XXXchurch.

Read from article.

The sound clips you are about to hear are taken from one of the videos he has on his Youtube page, links in the show notes. They are edited but I’ve tried hard not to take things out of context. Hopefully I won’t be sued for sharing these, if there’s a problem I will take this down and replace it with an episode without his sound bites.

Introduction clip

 His explanation and defense of using cannabis;

You don’t need that your not a doctor clip

 I’ve done a lot of work – clip

If you want to have a conversation you can’t define people out of it just because they haven’t used cannabis. I’m in the conversation and haven’t and won’t. So there’s that.

The Spiritual side of things

Not replacing God with cannabis clip

 I’ve never been closer to God since I starting smoking cannabis clip

 Read from article about spiritual experience.

How Do We Approach This? From a Biblical Perspective

The Bible does not mention cannabis but has a lot to say about this topic.

The Bible and Getting drunk or high

Getting drunk or high is essentially the same thing. It is allowing a substance you put into your body to take partial or full control or you, alter your senses and perceptions and to do and say things that you would not do otherwise. Thus you are not in control of yourself, you and under the control of a substance.

1  Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1 (ESV)

20  Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, 21  for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. Proverbs 23:20-21 (ESV)

29  Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30  Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. 31  Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. 32  In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. 33  Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. Proverbs 23:29-33 (ESV)

18  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)

Becoming intoxicated is a sin because it removes you from controlling yourself and from the Spirit’s control as well, and puts you at the mercy of something else. Thus Paul’s contrast between being drunk and being filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit.

 Using anything as a substitute for the Spirit is bad and should never be done by a Disciple of Jesus.

But God created it!

“Plants were created on the third day, and humans were created on the sixth,” he said in part. “The provision was created before the need. God created the earth (and the plants) FOR us, BEFORE us.”

As Fulton Sheen said about strychnine, “I don’t have to take strychnine to know it will kill me.” By the way according to Wikipedia, the most common source is from the seeds of the Strychnos nux-vomica tree. Not every plant is edible yet every plant is from God.

Using Cannabis to Connect Closer to God is Sorcery.

20  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, Galatians 5:20 (ESV)

Greek word for sorcery – pharmakeia. Refers to the wide spread practice of shamans and priests using local substances to put them into an altered state of consciousness in order to contact the Spirit World. Native American tribes here in the Southwest often used Peyote (from a small spineless cactus) to do this. This is done all over the world.

Timothy Leary – Promoted LSD as a way to alter your mind, discover the truth, or God or whatever.

When they speak of cannabis bringing them into close contact with God they are in fact demeaning the faith and reducing Christianity to the level of many other religions. One of the distinctives of the Christian faith has always been it’s complete and utter rejection of using any mind altering substances. This doesn’t change just because you like or enjoy it or found it helpful.

Wrapping Things Up

 5  As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV)

 You can’t be sober minded if you’re not sober. The word there means self-controlled. You can’t be self controlled if you are allowing another substance to control you. Either way you translate it, it effectively bans the use of cannabis or all other mind altering substances.

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

 

Episode 103

Disciple Up #103

Cultural Coercion

By Louie Marsh, 4-10-2019

Article From Christianity Today: https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/april/barna-pastors-social-issues-speaking-religious-freedom.html

 Please Get In Touch!Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 54

Disciple Up #54
We’ve Got Issues
By Louie Marsh, 5-2-2018

What’s the Biggest Problem Facing the Church Today?

http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/galleries/the-10-biggest-issues-christian-americans-are-facing-today.aspx?p=2

    • Diluted Faith*
  • Pride
  • Bible Illiteracy?*
·       Do We Have Closed Minds?
·       Or Have We Become the Church in Laodicea?
  • A Lack of Honesty?
·       Bad Publicity?
·       Back to the Basics?*
·       Are We Willing to Serve?

Please Get In Touch!Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My book – 

Episode 34

Disciple Up # 34
What Is Christmas Anyway?
By Louie Marsh, 12-6-2017

HISTORY:

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.

Info from the book Christmas: A Biography,  by Judith Flanders.

Flanders begins her biography of Christmas with the early church observances of Christ’s nativity, where the name and calendar date of the holiday have their beginnings. But she insists that the role of religion is often overemphasized in accounts of the holiday’s origin. Independently of the Christian holiday, midwinter celebrations had long been held in Greek, Roman, British, and Germanic lands. From the start, there was never one Christmas. Instead, Christmas has always meant many things.
The modern observance of Christmas—marked by familial, commercial, nostalgic, sentimental, and religious elements—began to take shape in the late 18th century. Consider the Philadelphia Quaker Elizabeth Drinker, who kept a diary throughout the second half of the 1700s. Her earliest entries show that she, like her fellow Quakers, did not initially recognize or partake in the holiday. Over the next 20 years, we find spotty references to the activities of neighbors on “Christmass, so call’d.” But by the end of the century, we see her shamelessly celebrating with family dinners and visits from friends. Christmas, so it seems, sort of crept up on her.
by the late 1700s, as Elizabeth Drinker was writing in her diary, the old practices were already giving way to new traditions, such as decorating the home with holly, ivy, and kissing boughs made of mistletoe. The first decorated indoor Christmas tree appeared as early as 1605 in Strasbourg, France, but the practice only attained widespread popularity in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Indoor trees came with particular perils to the host home since they would be fitted with candles to be lit on Christmas Eve. The effect was both delightful and dangerous.

Gift-giving was not new to the modern age. The old practice followed the expectations of hierarchal protocol—social superiors gave Christmas boxes and monetary tips to their employees, servants, and various tradespeople. At the other end of the social scales, tenants offered fowl and fresh meat to their landlords. Such hierarchical gifts punctuated differences in social and economic status. But, by the early 19th century, gift-giving began to soften with the new emphasis on home and family. Parents gave to their children presents of books, nuts, wood-carved toys, and ribbons.
Around the same time, newly popularized carols spread from Germany to England, France, and the Americas. The habit of young carousers wassailing from door to door for money or mead gave way to church choirs and neighborhood caroling groups. Lyrics concomitantly shifted from making merry and imbibing deeply to Christ’s birth and wistful domesticity. In Flanders’s words, the new tradition “took what was secular and made it religious; and, most importantly, took what was working class and of the street and made it middle-class and of the hearth and home.”
Take Christmas cards, for example. An invention of the mid-19th century, the first card printed in the United States illustrated Santa Claus with a family opening gifts. The holiday message read, Pease’s Great Varety [sic] Store in the Temple of Fancy. The card was nothing more than a commercial advertisement. A survey of the more than 100,000 cards in circulation before 1890 reveals that religious images, such as the Nativity scene, appeared on extremely few. The majority featured “holly, mistletoe and Christmas pudding, Father Christmas or Santa, Christmas trees, bells and robins, food and festivity.” Biblical or religious themes on holiday cards were numerically “insignificant.”

QUOTES:

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. Thomas S. Monson

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. Winston Churchill

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united. – Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is joy, religious joy, an inner joy of light and peace. Pope Francis

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. Charles M. Schulz

Don’t let the past steal your present. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. Taylor Caldwell

I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness. Carrie Fisher

What Is Christmas Really All About?

What I hear all the time from Christians and non-Christians alike is that Christmas is all about family.

Don’t care how you answer the question.

But I’d love to know HOW you know that, or WHY you believe that.

I’m not criticizing or disagreeing, I’m asking an epistemological question. HOW to you know WHAT you know (or think you know at any rate).

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, I Peter 3:15 (ESV)

The Disciple Up Low Down

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 

Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My book –