One of My Problems This Time of Year

One of my big problems this time of year is the idea that a rabbit, a mammal that delivers its young alive, could lay an egg made of chocolate and creme.

It isn’t just that such an animal has escaped my notice through my 63-years of life on this planet, but also there has never been a documented case of such an animal in biological science that I know.

While it is possible to see the image of a rabbit in 100-percent milk chocolate, it is not possible to see one that is living and breathing, that is, unless one takes a rabbit and dips it in chocolate. Most people would never inflict such a punishment on an innocent, fluffy living creature.

While I have seen eggs, most of them were laid by chickens, while a few of them were the overnight gifts of ostriches. To be sure there are other birds that lay eggs along with fish, snakes and possibly other creatures. But rabbits do not. Easter rabbits may exist in the baskets of some children, but they are a representation of something that is not real.

My problems extend to the use of the word, “Easter,” in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version and the propensity some have who believe that the observance of Easter must be in the Bible. Further study would, of course, inform one that the King James translators made a mistake. The word they translated “Easter” is the word “Passover.” Jews in the first century knew about Passover. They did not, however, know about “Easter.”

The word Dr. Luke used when he wrote Acts 12:4 was “pascha,” a word that means Passover. The American Standard, New American Standard and English Standard translations of this passage all translate the term “Passover” and not “Easter.” The Thayer Lexicon of the Greek New Testament does not define “pascha” as “Easter.” In fact, the word “Easter” is not anywhere in the definition of the word. The word “Easter” was an addition that should have been placed in parenthesis to denote it as a supplied word, but the translators of the King James Version failed to do that.

The practice of keeping “Easter” as a festival of some kind is not taught in the New Testament. It is a creation of man and was blended into denominationalism from the practices of the Catholic Church. It has been said that Easter was developed from pagan sources, very much like the idea of December 25 being the day Christ was born.

We should not accept the theories and teachings of men, nor should we accept or practice the festivals, feast days or traditions of men. During this time of the year, we may hide “Easter” eggs, or we may dress up in bunny suits, but let me assure you. We should not believe bunnies lay eggs, or the festival taught by the flawed theology of men called “Easter.”


Beware Small Problems

Take some snow and form it into a ball. Roll the ball downhill and it will get bigger and bigger. The faster it rolls, the faster it becomes a danger. It’s even possible for a deadly avalanche to start from the effects of just one small snowball.

Take a small problem in a church such as a growing dislike by a few for doing good works. Ignore it and the problem will spread. More and more people will stop doing good works for King Jesus. Soon, the entire congregation is a massive body of inactivity.

But there’s more to it that just a dislike for good works. The base problem is a lack of love. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments,” (John 14:15). A failure to do good works is a failure to love Jesus because good works were commanded by the Lord and by the apostles who taught by his authority (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:7-14; Hebrews 10:24).

Inactivity is the killer of churches. Who could believe the Lord Jesus will bless a church that is unloving and unwilling to obey his word?

If one looks at large, faithful congregations of the Lord’s church, one will see they became large because they worked hard doing what the Lord wanted them to do.

Beware small problems like inactivity. Those small problems can snowball into something deadly.


Don’t Fail God

If there is anything people avoid most it is being a failure.

People will do anything to achieve success in business rather than go broke and retain the label of failure. People usually hate failure in school or work and don’t want it discovered.

But, do we ever think of failing God? Are we ever concerned about what how we may fail him in his eyes? What are the ways in which we may fail God?

Forsaking God is one way we fail in God’s eyes. Wouldn’t we think God a failure in our lives if he forsook us? But, scripture says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me,” (Hebrews 13:5-6). Forsaking God results in spiritual death, and in God’s eyes, it is an act of failure.

Stubbornness is another failure in God’s sight. In the Bible, stubbornness and rebellion go hand-in-hand. Part of rebellion is a stubborn mind that will not consider another’s point-of-view. When we are stubborn against God, we refuse to accept his word and way so rebellion and violation of his will are the manifestations of our stubborn resistance.

Worldliness is another way we fail God. The Lord expects us to focus on his will and focus on his goals for our lives instead of preoccupying our minds with the world. The apostle John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” (John 2:15). God sees our infatuation with the world as our failure to love him as we should (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Disobedience is the ultimate sign of failure in our lives before God. When Israel failed in the wilderness, the adult population was not permitted to enter the land promised by God because of disobedience. The writer of Hebrews is specific about our failure in life as a failure of obedience. He wrote, “And with whom was he displeased forty years? Was it not with them that sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but  them that were disobedient? And we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief,” (Hebrews 3:16-19 ASV). God saw the failure in his people as disobedience.

We should be more concerned that God not see us a failure than anything else in this life. If one fails in business, start another business. If one fails as a husband, wife, father or mother, there is always a chance to do better. But, if one fails God, it may mean spiritual and eternal death.

While we live, God give us a chance to do better. Let us not fail him.

Ready to Start Digging!

Scientists have decided there is life on Mars and all they need to prove it is fly there and start turning over rocks.

Oh, and they would appreciate it if you would finance their little trip. It’ll only cost NASA more $200 billion (about what they spent on the “cheap, reusable shuttle). It will probably cost much, much more.

Evolutionary scientists want to start looking under Martian rocks to find if there is evidence life existed there. While there is no evidence it ever did (from the unmanned spacecraft already sent there and cost millions of dollars, too) scientists believe if they can get a chance to dig, they can find it.

In the March 2014 issue of “Reason and Revelation,” published by Apologetic Press, Dr. Jeff Miller wrote that scientists have given up on their long-held idea that life on earth began in a primordial slime pool which lightning has struck. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence for that idea. Bro. Miller wrote that because scientists on earth have found some evidence of life in rocks here, there must be evidence of life in the rocks on Mars, or under Mars.

Other scientists agree. According to “The Telegraph,” an English newspaper, two scientists have written a paper that says they have discovered the best signs of life on Mars is below the surface of the McLaughlin Crater.

So, now, scientists are saying life begins underground. They have no proof for the statement, just as they have had no proof for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. But, they don’t mind making people on earth paupers if it means they could possibly prove their guesses by digging into Mars.

Already, scientists have tried to whet our appetite for another rock hunting expedition (similar to the Apollo missions to the moon) by saying there is enough iron to supply earth with that raw material for thousands of years. Of course, what they’re trying to do is a little magic trick involving misdirection. While they have us digging into Mars to make money, they’ll be digging into Mars to find proof of evolution.

What if, instead of digging on Mars and finding nothing, people were to dig into their Bibles and find the evidences of God written there? What if our scientists stopped looking for evidence for something that doesn’t exist, and started looking for the evidence proving the existence of God? The results would certainly be more fruitful and positive than what they’re doing now.

God said, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth,” (Psalm 46:10 KJV). God’s existence can be proven. We don’t need to devote billions of dollars for rocks under the surface of Mars to prove God exists!

The Children’s Teeth

While in Paris attempting to gain support for the American Revolution, Ben Franklin stayed in salons late at night and slept well into the noon hour almost every day. His habit infuriated fellow-emissary John Adams. Yet, it was Franklin who wrote, “Early to bed, early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.”

There are a number of good proverbs and also some pretty bad ones, too. “The Devil made me do it,” has reached almost proverb status in this day. The Devil doesn’t make anyone do anything. We decide to do evil.

In Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day, there was an evil proverb that people used to recite when they wanted to lay blame for the terrible things that were happening to Judah. They said, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge,” (Jeremiah 31:29; Ezekiel 18:2). In an attempt to avoid responsibility for the terrible things Babylon was doing to Judah, people blamed the trouble on one of their former kings (the fathers) for what they were suffering (the teeth on edge).

The people of Judah were the ones responsible for what was happening to their nation. They were the ones who had served idols and forgotten God. They were the ones who adopted the practices of the ungodly and it was their sins that had put their “teeth on edge.”

God powerfully denied the evil parable they had used. Through his prophet, God said, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die,” (Ezekiel 18:3-4 KJV).

Every soul belongs to GOD. Therefore, each of us are responsible to God. The Apostle Paul told the Athenians, “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commands men that they should all everywhere repent: inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead,” Acts 17:30-31 ASV). Every human being who has ever inhabited the world will face Jesus, the Judge, on the last day to answer for their own sins.

There are many people who may feel it appropriate to blame their parents for keeping them away from the truth, but no matter what a person’s parents may say or do, the individual is responsible for what they themselves do (Matthew 10:37).

Every soul is owned by God. The soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4).

Finding True Power

People sometimes look in the wrong place to find power.

Sometimes, folks look for power in the teachings of human beings. We humans are sometimes amazing. But, when it comes to true power we suddenly find ourselves unable to do very much.

The teachings of Confucius are great, but are not divinely inspired and cannot provide salvation. The writings of John Locke influenced the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the creation of the new government of the United States, but Locke believed we can only know those things we experience through our senses.

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, the great Danish philosopher, was a great writer and thinker, but Kierkegaard believed man must take a leap of faith into the unknown. The Bible teaches faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. There is no “leap.”

Politicians like to demonstrate their power in elective office and sometimes the people are the ones to suffer. One of the lessons of humans and political power is that, although they may mean well, their use of power leaves something to be desired, doesn’t it?

When humans seek true power to change their lives and prepare themselves for heaven, there is only one source: the Bible has the powerful word of God which is able to “which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified,” (Acts 20:32 KJV).

When desiring the knowledge of salvation, that power is available only through the word of God (Romans 1:16). Sure, there are people who appear on television and ask us to believe their wondrous “works.” It seems these men can do almost anything, but they alone do not have the power to save souls. That power rests supremely with the word of God. James wrote, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls,” (James 1:21).

It is the word of God that can save us, and nothing man can offer. Belief and obedience to the word of God has always been necessary for men to be saved.

One Suffered in Silence

The news media recently reported an NFL investigation that showed a Miami Dolphin offensive lineman was harassed by one of his teammates last year.

The league’s investigator said he found evidence that Jonathan Martin had been the subject of racial slurs and bullying during his time with the Florida football team.

Martin’s accusations and the league’s investigation received national news attention for several weeks last year. Dozens of lines of newsprint and numerous television news stories covered Martin’s departure from the team.

In comparison, Jesus’ harassment and mistreatment before his crucifixion was much worse than anything Martin suffered. Yet, most people probably didn’t know very much about what happened to the Lord until the preaching of the truth on the day of Pentecost.

During Jesus’ crucifixion, not only was there the physical pain of being nailed to a cross, but also the pain of ridicule. In one passage, King David wrote, “All those who see me ridicule me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted in the LORD, let him rescue him; let him deliver him, since he delights in him!’” (Psalm 22:7-8 NKJV).

Matthew records the harassment in his gospel. The scribes and Pharisees taunted the Lord saying, “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he is the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he will have him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:42-43).

People who are falsely accuse or ridiculed are not afraid to take the matter before the national media, however, Jesus never said anything. The prophet Isaiah described this hundreds of years before it happened. He wrote, “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So he opened not his mouth,” (Isaiah 53:7).

We are the ones left to tell others about the suffering Jesus endured so that we might be saved from sin. Let us carry the message of the blessed Savior who died for us all to the people of the world that needs to hear it so they may turn from sin, obey the gospel and live for him who died for us.