Disciple Up # 171
Stupid Things Christian’s Say, Pt 2
“Everything Happens for A Reason”
By Louie Marsh, 7-5-2020

Links to Sites Quoted From on this podcast:

 https://www.inc.com/thomas-koulopoulos/its-time-to-say-it-everything-does-not-happen-for-a-reason.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-purpose/201807/why-we-think-everything-happens-reason

https://ideapod.com/everything-happens-for-a-reason-7-reasons-to-believe-in-this-philosophy/

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/christian-life/does-everything-really-happen-for-a-reason.html

Does everything happen for a reason? Yes.

Scientifically everything has a cause and then has an effect. That effect then often causes other things to happen. So yes, in the physical world everything is caused by something else. Nothing just spontaneously occurs for no reason whatsoever.  So, in the physical world nothing happens without a cause, or a reason for it happening.

Possible Reasons Things Happen

Sinful acts by others or myself

Well intentioned acts (mine or others) that go wrong (Murphey’s Law)

Things break or wear out in our fallen world

Chance that seems random, but may or may not be

Others responding to what I’ve said or done (reaping what I’ve sowed)

Physical consequences of my actions

Several or many different things happening at once

How this works in real life

 If someone you know and love kills themselves and a friend attempts to comfort you by saying, “Everything happens for a reason,” what do they mean? Do they mean that depression resulted in this person killing themselves?

Almost certainly no. When people say this they are referring to some vague and unknown universal power or deity or just “the universe” itself has some sort of plan or purpose and your friends suicide somehow, in some unknown and unknowable way, fits into this mysterious plan.

This is what is so objectionable from a Biblical perspective.  First of all God is not unknowable and secondly who are you to say that everything is part of his plan? What about our free will and our responsibility for what we choose to say and do?

According to the Bible everything that happens is NOT what God wants to happen, and He does NOT make it happen. He allows it to happen, but that’s completely different from causing or approving it. That’s why many things are labeled sin by God, they happen alright but not because they are part of God’s plan or He wants them too.

33  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37 (ESV)

  • We are responsible for what we do, think, feel and say, and we will answer for all those before God. That nine-year-old little boy who was killed in Chicago this weekend was NOT part of God’s plan. The reason he was shot was because of sin. The person or people responsible will be held accountable by God.

1  The word of the LORD came to me: 2  “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3  As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4  Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. 5  “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— 6  if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, 7  does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 8  does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, 9  walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD. 10  “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11  (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12  oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13  lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself. Ezekiel 18:1-13 (ESV)

  • God does have a plan, but it’s based on FREE WILL. Therefore everything that happens isn’t part of His plan. Yes He knows it will happen and yes He has a way to accomplish His will in spite of those events, but they are still NOT happening for some mystical reason. They are the result of sin, and that’s the bottom line on that!

46  “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, 47  yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ 48  if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, 49  then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause 50  and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them 1 Kings 8:46-50 (ESV)

 

  • What really offends me about this is just how self righteous it is. I head someone on TV say a while back that they are “a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.” Oh my, how spiritual you think you are! But are you?

 

1  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV)

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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)

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Episode 169

Disciple Up # 169
Colossians Part 8 The Christ Centered Family
By Louie Marsh, 7-22-2020

An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, give a smile, and a “Thanks for flying XYZ airline.” He said that in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for this little old lady walking with a cane. She said, “Sonny, mind if I ask you a question?” “Why no Ma’am,” said the pilot, “what is it?” The little old lady said, “Did we land or were we shot down?”

Two Facts About Submission:

1) Submitting is always a REACTION.

2) Wives submit THEMSELVES – they aren’t forced into it.

Wives, be constantly subjecting yourselves to your husbands…Wuest

How Husbands Should Act.

1) LOVE your wife by doing what’s best for HER!

And you husbands must love your wives and never treat them harshly. Col. 3:19 (NLT)

25  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30  because we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:25-30 (ESV)

Love = Agape = doing what’s best for the object of your love!

2) COMMUNICATE!

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Hosea 11:1

3) DON’T rely on emotion!

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Cor. 13:7 (NLT)

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardship of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy.  He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire.  The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.  The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying.  Their 13 children fled for their lives.  His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste.  For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.  A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

4) Be GENTLE!

How Wives Should Act.

1) SUBMIT to your husband by PUTTING HIM FIRST.

 Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master. Col. 3:18

2) Treat your husband with RESPECT!

Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:33 (NASB)

How Parents and Children Should Act.

  • Children: OBEY your parents!

Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end. Col. 3:20 (Message)

2) Parents: Treat Your Kids RESPECTFULLY, and ENCOURAGE them!

Fathers, don’t aggravate your children. If you do, they will become discouraged and quit trying. Col. 3:21 (NLT)

How We Should Work.

1) REALIZE that work is spiritual!

Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Col. 3:23 NLT)

2) SERVE  Christ – you’re really working for him.

remembering that it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all he owns. He is the one you are really working for. And if you don’t do your best for him, he will pay you in a way that you won’t like–for he has no special favorites who can get away with shirking. Col. 3:24-25 (LB)

3) BE FAIR to those who work under you.

And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master—God in heaven.  Col. 4:1 (Message)

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Episode 167

Disciple Up # 167
Sentiment VS Sentimentality
By Louie Marsh, 7-8-2020

sentiment

noun

an attitude toward something; regard; opinion.

a mental feeling; emotion:

a sentiment of pity.

refined or tender emotion; manifestation of the higher or more refined feelings.

exhibition or manifestation of feeling or sensibility, or appeal to the tender emotions, in literature, art, or music.

a thought influenced by or proceeding from feeling or emotion.

the thought or feeling intended to be conveyed by words, acts, or gestures as distinguished from the words, acts, or gestures themselves.

sentimentality

1: the quality or state of being sentimental especially to excess or in affectation

2: a sentimental idea or its expression

Call a person sentimental if he or she is led more by emotions than by reason. If you have a sentimental attachment to a favorite stuffed animal, you’ll probably even bring it to college with you. Sentimental describes a person who relies on emotions more than reason, or a novel or film that is overly emotional.

 – Vocabulary.com

The Dark Side of Sentimentality:

https://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/the-dark-side-of-sentimentality

Oscar Wilde, the 19th-century British playwright and wit, summed up this edgier meaning when he wrote: “A sentimentalist is one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.

Irish poet W.B. Yeats wrote, “Rhetoric is fooling others. Sentimentality is fooling yourself.”

Supriya Sharma, works at Indian Space Research Organization

Answered September 2, 2017

It is great to be a sentimental person.

You experience everything. Even though you get upset at little things, you find joy in the simplest of things.

You understand what a person is going through. You want to celebrate when they are happy. And you try to fix it if they are not.

You are a great listener. You understand that everyone has feelings, and give importance to them. You want to make everyone feel secure and heard.

You have the deepest relationships. People feel secure in sharing their deepest feelings with you. Because you care. You understand that every bond needs to be nurtured. That is the crux of a positive relationship.

You can easily forgive. You look to repair relationships and let go of grudges.

You feel all of life. Everything is an experience for you. You sense the little changes around you. You experience them and embrace them beautifully.

Be proud. You are beautiful 🙂

God gave us a mind to think with and emotions to feel with, don’t reverse them.

Sentimentalist Followers of Jesus

 3  Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4  rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6  He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7  Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8  Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9  Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” John 13:3-9 (ESV)

13  Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  … 21  From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22  And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23  But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:13-23 (ESV)

36  And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37  Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38  But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39  And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, Acts 15:36-39 (ESV)

Commands You Can’t Obey If You’re Sentimentalist

 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. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21 (ESV)

9  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10  not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (ESV)

1  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

 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)

 8  See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 (ESV)

 The Bottom Line:

 Disciples of Jesus thank God for the wonderful gift of sentiment, emotion and seek to live in the now and feel every moment of it. However, they reject sentimentality as dangerous and a tempting way to give into culture and our basest desires. Being sentimental is good, but sentimentality is bad!

 

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Episode 166

Disciple Up # 166
Potpourri: Boredom & Symbols
By Louie Marsh, 7-1-2020

 American Boredom –  hat tip to Hotair.com

The survey, by market research firm OnePoll, defined a boring day as containing simply no fun whatsoever. Not even reading a HotAir post about boredom.

The average respondent reported that being bored, having no fun or dreading something was taking up about 36 percent of their life. Which works out to 61 hours every week. Or 131 days every year.

Imagine being bored or dreading every single day for that long, ever since last New Year’s Eve, in fact.

Clearly, this is a First World problem since these respondents are not spending their days dodging bullets or foraging for food.

The biggest reported culprit for American boredom seems to be having adult responsibilities like going to work and parenting.

More than 20 percent told researchers 2018 was less fun than 2017. And almost half (49 percent) said last year was the most stressful year going back all the way to 2015.

You probably remember all the excitement during 2015. That’s the year Paul Ryan became House Speaker and Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify.

Remember when you were young and all you wanted to do was grow up? Well, now nearly two-thirds of those surveyed think their life is too “grown-up.” Half of them really miss hanging out with friends. And a quarter want more birthday parties. Come to think of it, so do I.

Why not have more fun? Well, a little more than a third (36 percent) said the costs of doing some fun things were prohibitive. Thirty-five percent said they’re just too tired most times to do anything fun because they have too much work to do (32 percent).

However, the biggest culprit (66 percent) was an inability to get everyone in their family or group to agree on a fun thing to do. Besides, of course, reading HotAir.com out loud at dinner.

Still — and there’s little explanation for this apparent inconsistency – Americans reported spending upwards of $5,000 a year on fun entertainment.

“Fun is really about the escape,” said one of the study’s sponsors, Colie Edison, “breaking away from daily stressors and focusing on enjoying the moment.”

So, what would folks really rather do? A quarter of them would prefer an afternoon at an arcade to going to brunch. A fifth would rather have a sleepover with friends over going to a movie.

And 39 percent would opt out of an exercise class to choose some time at a bowling alley. Which might sound like fun and makes sense since the poll was sponsored by Bowlero, a chain of bowling alleys.

12  “All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ 13  and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is GOD speaking to you! Malachi 1:12-13 (MSG)

13  But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the LORD of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the LORD. Malachi 1:13 (ESV)

 

The Power of Symbols –  Louie Marsh

 

As you can see in the post below we had a baptism yesterday. That always makes me happy and marks a great Sunday no matter what else happens as far as I’m concerned. I suspect most Ministers would agree with me on this one.

 

There are a couple of reasons for that. One, that I’ll probably write about someday, is the fact that baptisms are one of the few concrete things we in the ministry can point to as markers of progress or “success” (however you define that elusive word). Working in a business which seeks to change lives and restore the soul provides few substantial markers of progress.

 

I think another reason is the power of symbols. The Bible is full of symbols of course. From circumcision to all the symbols in the Passover dinner and beyond we seem to see them everywhere.

 

Those ancient symbols still have the power to move us today, even though they are no longer a living part of our lives. As Christians we have left behind most of the Old Testament symbols and have inherited the ones custom made for God’s New Covenant.

 

Before I preformed the baptism today I gave my customary little talk. But I did use a word that I don’t believe I’ve ever used before, a word found above, ancient. It’s a little funny to me but our New Covenant is over 2000 years old. I can’t think of anything else anywhere close to that age that we still call new or would even consider doing so.

 

Yet it is New, for it’s alive and the reality of the living Christ and the power of His Spirit still change lives today, as much as they ever did. It is new because it’s living, as real now as it was on that first Pentecost morning, and it will always retain that newness. Our faith is a constantly reoccurring springtime of the soul that is both ancient and new at the same time.

 

Part of the way that we hold on to the reality of this newness is through the symbols Christ has given us. There are two major symbols given in the New Testament, baptism is one and the Lord’s Supper is the other. Baptism is a one time act of faith, the Lord’s Supper is one enacted “as often as you do it.”  Both are done in the Name of Jesus, in memory of what He alone has done for us.

 

Thus both are ever new.

 

Beyond these two symbols there are others we can draw from the New Covenant. The Cross is probably the most striking and well known of these. You can name others, the empty tomb, descending dove, etc.

 

The danger with symbols is that they can get old, routine, mere habit. When we allow the Lord’s Supper to become mundane we are guilty of taking it in a way that does not properly discern the Body and Blood of our Lord. In so doing we lose the newness.

 

So this week as we come into contact with the various symbols of our faith, let us ask God to help us appreciate them anew, see them through new eyes, and draw from them new insight and the new spiritual life that will sustain through whatever may come our way.

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Episode 165

Disciple Up # 165

Christ the Controversialist

By Louie Marsh, 6-24-2020

https://www.amazon.com/But-Say-You-Christ-Controversialist/dp/1844749029/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1R3AIDRKY8S91&dchild=1&keywords=christ+the+controversialist&qid=1592860479&sprefix=christ+the+con%2Caps%2C197&sr=8-3

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Episode 164

Disciple Up # 164
Colossians: The Supremacy of Christ
Pt. 7(8): Put on the Garments of Grace, Col. 3:12-17
By Louie Marsh, 6-17-2020

Intro: Today we continue our look at Paul’s Putting off and on metaphor and focus on the positive side of it.  We’ve already seen we must put off the old man, now our focus must change.

Where you can find past episodes on Colossians:  134, 135, 137, 142, 146, 152, 160, 164. Please note my numbering of my Colossians are off by one – this should be Part 8!

Signs in Longmont for guys running for County Coroner – we don’t want to become our own spiritual coroner.

  1. I) THE CLOTHING OF CHRIST (vs. 12-14)

12  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

  1. A) Chosen People Choose Compassion (vs. 12)

1, “God’s chosen ones” = used of Israel in OT, now it’s us – dearly loved by God!

2, Because this is true we – as a Body – must put on these things.

a, Compassion leads to kindness, humility leads to gentleness & patience.

b, Compassion = “bowels of compassion”  literally “inwards parts” used of seat of emotions.  That’s heart to us, but bowels to eastern people

3, We know that we CAN be and act this way, because the Lord tells us here being this way is A CHOICE!

  1. B) Applying These in the Church (vs. 13)

1, There may have been hard feelings in Colossian church over fight with false teachers, may have felt bitter about growing churches in neighboring towns.

a, How do we handle these problems in the church?

2, Paul says to first of all bear with one another.

a, Literally that means “to put up with”

3, We must also forgive each other, even if the other isn’t worthy of it!

a, forgive = “give freely or graciously as a favor” give being Charis in Greek – GRACE!

b, Literal translation could read “forgive yourselves.”  When we fail to forgive other believers we fail to forgive ourselves because WE ARE ONE IN CHRIST!

c, It’s written in the present tense – showing a continual, tireless effort must be made.  Matt. 18: 21-35

21  Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23  “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24  When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25  And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26  So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27  And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28  But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29  So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30  He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31  When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32  Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35 (ESV)

4, We must forgive this way, because this is the way God forgave us.  The finished work of Christ is the basis for our treatment of each other.

  1. C) Love – Superglue! (vs. 14)

1, Clothing metaphor is back.  We are to wear love “above all” which may mean “on top of all.”

a, Love, Agape, is more than just another virtue, it’s what holds them together and makes them come alive.  Without love they are nothing (I Cor. 13)

2, “Binds them all together in perfect unity.”  What does this mean?

a, Perfect as we’ve discussed before means complete, mature, something that has completed it’s purpose.  Love is what brings us together and makes us into a mature Body of believers.

3, This word was used in early Christian lit. to distinguish the baptized believer from someone still being taught.

4, The Gnostics – a heresy – used it to denote the man who has passed from mere faith to knowledge.

a, Preachers who harp on “I know that I know that I know!” are dangerously close to the gnostic heresy!

  1. II) PEACE IN THE BODY (vs. 15-17)

15  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 (ESV)

  1. A) Peace that Rules (vs 15)

1, This applies to both individuals and churches

2, Peace = referred to umpires who presided over and presented prizes at games, normally used in the sense of judge, decide, control or rule.

3, The Peace of Christ should rule and decide what is and isn’t right behavior in our lives and our churches.  I should obey when it tells me something I’m about to say or do isn’t right.

  1. B) Be Thankful (vs. 15)

1, “Within the Pauline letters the word-group regularly denotes gratitude that finds outwards expression in thanksgiving; there is an emphasis in Paul on the public aspect of thanksgiving.”

2, Why aren’t we more thankful?

a, Could it be because Christ isn’t as real part of our everyday lives as I’d like Him to be?

  1. C) Peaceful Ministry (vs. 16)

1, The Word of Christ

a, more than the Bible – although that’s part of it

b, it’s the gospel message which centers on Christ, it’s everything about Him, it’s His special presence with us!

2, Dwell in us

a, dwell is to become a permanent part of your thoughts and feelings

b, it also means Christ is to be allowed to dwell in each church Body.

3, Richly

a, We must let the full effects of Christ’s Grace overflow us.

b, We must let Christ truly be Head of this church.

4, We are to teach and admonish one another – music is a way of ministry as surely as teaching and preaching.

1, We are to do this wisely – ie. under the influence of the indwelling Word of Christ and the at the direction of the Peace of Christ.

III) DO ALL IN THE NAME OF JESUS (vs. 17)

17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

  1. A) Whatever

1, This command isn’t limited to church or “spiritual” things.

a, it deals with both speech and actions

b, it deals with our entire life!

c, FOR THE CHRISTIAN THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM IT!!!

  1. B) The Name of the Lord Jesus

1, This refers to His authority.

a, A Christian shouldn’t steal because you can’t do that with Christ’s o.k.

b, To act in the Name of someone means to act on their behalf – with their permission!

c, So this brings us back to verse 14, acting in the Name of Jesus is acting in Agape – God’s Love.

2, It also refers to Salvation

a, Acts 4: 8-13.

8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9  if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10  let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:8-13 (ESV)

b, “The whole content of salvation revealed in Jesus is comprised in his name.”

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Episode 163

Disciple Up #163
Staying Sane in An Insane World – Thinking Biblically
By Louie Marsh, 6-10-2020

 How to stay sane?

 First Think Biblically

God calls disciples to think Biblically not culturally and not to simply follow my feelings or to go by my instincts. No, God calls all disciples to think clearly, critically (I mean analytically not to be critical of others).

18  “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18 (ESV)

We need to think like God thinks, to see the world as he does and then follow that truth.

People sometimes say, “The god I believe in …”  Perhaps the god you believe in isn’t the real, true and living God. And the only way to know for sure what he thinks is to consult, understand and depend upon the Bible.

C.S.Lewis: “If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones!”

Jesus shows us his authority in many places including the Sermon on the Mount when he repeatedly says, “You have heard it said but I say…”

To think like Jesus, to think Biblically means that you’ll really be different. Not different in a way that is considered cool, but different in a fundamental way that won’t be appreciated by many if not most people.

To really think Biblically I must to this:  21  but test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)

Test everything – especially things that make me feel good while sending me off in a slightly different direction in life.

This kind of testing, comparing everything to Scripture – needs to become a deeply ingrained habit that the disciple does automatically!

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. 1 John 4:1 (ESV)

An Example of Thinking Biblically

 34  But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35  And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38  This is the great and first commandment. 39  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 (ESV)

1st Question: Who is my neighbor?

29  But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37  He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:29-37 (ESV)

Is this a command to love yourself?

2nd Question:  What is the command here?

A: To love my neighbor. This isn’t two commands – it’s ONE. The command is to love my neighbor.

The second part of this is an explanation of HOW we are to love our neighbor. People have always known there are different kinds of love. Love my dog, spouse, baseball, various unhealthy sweets etc.

“As yourself” explains that this command is for us to love our neighbor the way we normally LOVE OURSELVES. This selflove is assumed – NOT commanded. This type of self-love, or self-preservation as we’d probably call it, is noted throughout Scripture.

28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, Ephesians 5: 28-29 (ESV)

Conclusion: This command is NOT a command to have high self-esteem. To make it say that is to twist the plain meaning of the text to fit into our modern therapeutic, psychologized world view. A view which did not exist prior to the last century and NEVER existed or was taught in the Bible.

Second Connect thinking to peace

4  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9 (ESV)

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Episode 162

Disciple Up # 162
Peace Thru Meditating On Scripture
By Louie Marsh 6-3-2020

How To Meditate On God’s Word
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.  Psalm 1:2-3

 

Meditation is THINKING / PONDERING about a Bible verse(s) in order to discover how I can apply its truth to my own life.

 

WHY Meditate On Scripture?

 

1) It is the key to becoming like Christ.

 

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Proverbs 4:23

 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

 

And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. NRS 2Co 3:18

 

2) It is the key to a more fruitful prayer life.

 

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  John 15:7

 

3) It is the key to successful living.

 

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Joshua 1:8

 

Six Ways To Meditate On A Verse

 

  1. Picture It! Visualize the scene in your mind.
  2. Pronounce it! Say the verse aloud, each time emphasizing a different word.
  3. Paraphrase it! Rewrite the verse in your own words.
  4. Personalize it! Replace the pronouns or people in the verse with your own name.
  5. Pray it! Turn the verse into a prayer and say it back to God.
  6. Probe it! Ask the following nine questions…

 

S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S. Questions

  • Sin to _CONFESS_?
  • Promise to _____CLAIM_
  • Attitude to _CHANGE_?
  • Command to _OBEY_?
  • Example to __FOLLOW_?
  • Prayer to _PRAY_?
  • Error to AVOID_?
  • Truth to _BELIEVE_?
  • Something to __DO_?

 

Links to pages talked about in this episode:

https://unlockingthebible.org/2015/10/five-steps-to-meditating-on-the-bible/

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/17-ways-to-meditate-on-scripture/

https://ourdailybread.org/resources/how-to-meditate-on-scripture/

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Episode 161

Disciple Up # 161
Fighting the Good Fight
By Louie Marsh, 5-27-2020

Intro:

What caused me to change what I had planned, John Stott, Christ the Controversialist Introductory Essay A may come later.

Suicide last night, others from my past.

What is real spiritual warfare?

 I’m preaching on this topic this coming Sunday, so won’t be referencing the Ephesians 6 passage much.

  • Spiritual warfare is NOT what most of you think it is and it’s NOT what many if not most of you probably what you were taught that it is.
  • This topic is Kooksville, and attracts lots and lots of kooks from all different sides of the church.
  • The Bible is very limited in what it says on this topic. But the topic is fascinating and people read it and say, I’m going to study and figure this out. Then they do study the Bible and discover they aren’t going to figure this out because there’s not much there.
  • How do I go past this? Easy, I take the train to Kooksville. It’s quick and easy to take that train because it’s running all the time. You get on that train by deciding that you are going to figure out what Scripture doesn’t tell you. This is variously done by reading and listen to what others are saying from their homes in Kooksville. Then you begin to pray and ask for “revelations” and then you get them in the form of emotional impressions, stories and experiences all mixed together. In the end what you’ve got is an ego/emotion driven nightmare that has little to nothing to do with what Scripture actually says.
  • You could call this a form of Gnosticism, a label that can be applied to a lot of teaching and beliefs both in and out of the church.

Short Definition of Spiritual Warfare: Growing the Fruit of the Spirit.

I close almost every episode of this podcast by saying, “Remember every time is a good time to Disciple Up.”  What does that mean? It means to get up and grow and move and fight and win. Living the Christian life, growing spiritually, keeping your heart open and soft and being open to others. In other words becoming spiritually mature IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE.

Biblical Background for viewing life as Spiritual Warfare

4  but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5  Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. Isaiah 11:4-5 (ESV)

 15  Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. 16  He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17  He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. Isaiah 59:15-17 (ESV)

The New Testament:

11  But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (ESV)

Forlorn hope – group left behind to cover an Army’s retreat.

4  And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” Revelation 13:4 (ESV)

3  For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (ESV)

12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

32  What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 1 Corinthians 15:32 (ESV)

8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (ESV)

10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

14  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)

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