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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sunspots 640


Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:



Christianity: Relevant has an article on modesty. It points out that becoming lustful after seeing a woman is a man's choice, that what men are sexually attracted to varies from man to man, and is also different in different cultures, and that the only use of the word, modesty, in the Bible, in 1 Timothy 2:9, refers to ornaments, not to how much leg or whatever may be revealed.

David Drury urges so-called evangelicals to repentance.


Computing: Gizmo's Freeware recommends the Problem Steps Recorder, a free tool, built in to Windows computers, which records exactly what happened, and when.

National Public Radio reports that experts have changed their recommendations on choosing passwords. Their recommendations should make things simpler.

Gizmo's freeware also reports on a web site that will tell you what passwords have been compromised in the past (millions have).

Education: Listverse describes the right and wrong usage of 10 common words.

Food: NPR reports that men may be more attractive to  women if they eat certain foods.

History: Relevant points out that Robert E. Lee, himself, was not in favor of displaying confederate sympathy in statues, and in other ways, after the Civil War.
 
Politics: FiveThirtyEight presents a short, calm primer on the histories of black and white identity politics, and the role of President Trump.

The New York Times presents data on the frequency, by race, of killings by police being ruled justifiable.

Science: Statnews reports on the interesting things that have happened when white nationalists have genetic tests to examine their ancestry.

FiveThirtyEight reports that, with the exception of Saturn, solar eclipses would not be visible on any other planet in our solar system, and eclipses on earth are much better viewing than the possibility from Saturn.



Image source (public domain)

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 63

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion of the result of living by "Convictions from Above," according to Christ's example, continues:

In the presence of the luminous example of our divine model, the fatal fallacy proclaimed by some that the Holy Ghost may lead to do deeds which are unscriptural and contrary to sanctified common sense, dies a death that knows no resurrection. To follow it is to stumble into its grave.

As His life work was the working out of God's will concerning Him as it is revealed in the Word, so in our humble spheres shall ours be. May we ever fully follow in His steps.

2. He Never Said or Did a Wrong Thing. All His words and acts were right. Tried by the most rigid criticism of friend and foe no wrong act has ever been proved against Him. The candid verdict of the centuries is voiced in Pilate's words: "I find no fault in Him." His most malignant foes, who watched Him with eagle eyes for years, at last gave up the fruitless search, and hired false witnesses to manufacture charges against Him of crimes which it was impossible for them to find. All agree that it is right to do good continually and to all, and this was His life work. "He went about doing good." All agree that it is right to expose fraud and rebuke hypocrisy. This He did repeatedly, thoroughly and fearlessly. Every act of His wonderful life was so manifestly RIGHT that He, without fear of the results, could triumphantly challenge His enemies: "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" Through His wondrous power may we each claim the grace that will lead us, like Him, to be so busy in doing good that we will have no time nor inclination for that which is wrong or even questionable.


Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Monday, August 21, 2017

What the Bible teaches us


This is an attempt to distill the Bible's teachings in to a single page. No doubt I've left out important ideas. I welcome your comments.



What does the Bible teach us?
There is a deadly sin problem, but Christ has solved that problem. God hates sin, but He loves us. We can be forgiven! (We must also forgive others.) The Holy Spirit helps us to be holy, and to live above sin. (Holiness: “… to be set apart to reflect God’s character in all of our ways – his goodness and love, his kindness and compassion, his concern for justice and the poor” – Rankin Wilbourne, Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God) God wants us to tell others that there’s a cure for the sin problem, by our life and our words. Our lives are part of God’s plan for redemption.

Individuals, including children and females, are important to God. (See, for example, the “begats,” and the genealogies in 1 Chronicles.) God is especially concerned about the poor and oppressed. God can speak to us, and do miracles, but He almost always does these things through some human agent. (Examples: Moses, Gideon, Deborah, Samuel, Esther, Peter and John.) Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit guides believers in these things. Such guidance is often through the Bible, and we should study it prayerfully.

Worship, private and public, is important. Praise and giving should be part of worship. So should Communion.

God answers prayer, but not always in the way we expect or hope for. Believers sometimes get sick, have accidents, are rejected by others, become poor, and die.

God expects to be first in our affections. Pride – putting ourselves first – leads to destruction. Examples: Saul, Uzziah/Azariah (2 Chron 26:16-21), Judas. We are to have, and show, unselfish love for others. Allegiance to a flag or country, a prominent person, or an earthly cause or group, should be secondary to our allegiance to Christ. One way of showing allegiance to Christ is baptism, which is expected of believers.

The world, as God planned it, was good, but sin has messed it up. Part of that goodness was diversity. (Psalm 104:24-5) God apparently loves diversity, in beetles and flowers, and in human personalities and characteristics. God will fix the world so it is, again, entirely good, and sin free. Those redeemed from sin will live in that world, with Christ. Eternal issues are far more important than current politics, sports, or the stock market.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 62

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion of the result of living by "Convictions from Above," according to Christ's example, continues:

The miracles He wrought, the prophecies He fulfilled, the glad tidings He proclaimed, the denunciations He uttered, His betrayal, trial, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and reign, all were foretold and in harmony with the Scriptures. When human opposers accused Him of violating the Word, He always successfully defended Himself and exposed their deception and error. He was never like them and some of His professed followers today, guilty of wresting Scripture from its proper place and meaning to serve a selfish purpose. In His boyhood, though His young heart burned to be about His Father's business, yet He restrained His "strong impressions," and as taught in the "law of Moses," was subject unto His parents. Thus by His example He taught that impulses, which, if followed, would lead to disobedience, should be smothered.

When He engaged in the extraordinary act of scourging the buyers and sellers from the temple, and commanded them no more to make His Father's house a place of merchandise, He met their indignant opposition by the unanswerable Bible declaration: "It is written, my house shall be called an house of prayer," but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Thus at every step He rested the rightfulness of His acts upon the written Word. Study the gospels with reference to the allusions of Jesus to Scripture, and you doubtless will be surprised at their frequency. 


Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sunspots 639

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:




Christianity: Christianity Today reports that Perry Noble, recently fired as senior pastor of the largest church in South Carolina, NewSpring, is thinking strongly about starting another church.

A Relevant writer says that Jesus didn't need the approval of others.

Ed Stetser warns against overemphasizing patriotism in church services, here and here. He cites evidence that 53% of protestant pastors think that their congregations sometimes love America more than they love God.


Computing: I haven't used it yet, but Firefox Send is said to be a free, safe way to send large files to other users.

Wired has a thorough article on how the Russians are viewing and waging warfare. Scary, and it's doubtful if our government really understands.

The Guardian reports on a man who "married" a robot. CNN reports on a man who "married" a video game character.

Food: Listverse lists 10 ice cream flavors that are popular outside of the continental United States, but you probably can't find in the US at all.

Health: Scientific American reports that women with insomnia are more likely to give birth to premature babies.

History: (or botany) Listverse on the history of 10 commonly consumed fruits.

Humor: (or botany) Wired has posted a photo of a man trimming the world's largest hedge. It's really tall.


Politics: A Christianity Today writer argues that the use of nuclear weapons is inherently, and always, evil.

Listverse reminds us of times when the press made us aware of scandalous uses of power.

The Barna group reports on what Americans think makes America great. Different groups responded differently.

Science: A Clemson University professor has spent more time in the shadow of total solar eclipses than anyone else on earth.

FiveThirtyEight reminds us that there will be less solar-powered electricity during the upcoming solar eclipse.



Image source (public domain)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 61

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion of the result of living by "Convictions from Above," according to Christ's example, continues:

Next let us bear in mind that Jesus in His humanity is the Christian's model, in regard to being divinely led. His every act and word bear each of the stamps that prove them from the skies.

1. Jesus Never Said or did an Unscriptural Thing. Though born of the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and led by the Spirit, He continually recognized the Scriptures as the rule of His conduct, and always magnified the written Word.

His mistaken followers who claim that the Spirit may lead contrary to the Bible, should learn this much-needed lesson from the Great Teacher.

The very fact that the Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture, proves that all His teachings and leadings will be in accord with it; for an infinitely wise Author will not contradict Himself. Jesus revered the written Word as a dutiful son the will of a dear father, and when He made new revelations they were simply the unfolding of the old, and were to them what the blossom and fruitage is to the bud.

His miraculous advent, the angel's message to Mary, to Joseph and to the shepherds, and all of the great events of His life, were foretold in Scripture and in harmony with it. His chief employment when a youth doubtless was the mastery of Bible truth, and in later years it was with the "sword of the Spirit" that He pierced the formality and hypocrisy of a haughty ecclesiasticism. When tempted in the wilderness to distrust God and use unlawful means to satisfy His hunger, like men do when they do wrong for a livelihood; and when tempted to test God's power by doing a presumptuous thing; and when tempted to give up His divine mission for gain, like men do when they turn from the ministry or from principle, for money or position; and, finally, when tempted to own the lordship of the devil by worshipping him; in each instance He tried the Satanic suggestion by the written Word, and thrusting the enemy through with the keen blade of a fitting Scripture quotation He put him to flight, and "angels came and ministered unto Him."


Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.