Posts tagged ‘right’

August 17, 2012

Trial by Children

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcbeth/2568041356/

As I told you a few weeks ago, God was messing with me, I mean, blessing me with extra children around the house. My wife started baby sitting and we took an international student into our home for the school year. I believe the Bible; all of it. I don’t understand all of it and do have some questions for God when I get there. This verse is one I think I will question: Psalm 127:3 - Children are an inheritance from the LORD. They are a reward from him. A reward? Really?
So with the rewards piling up, I was trying to think about all the things that I must have done right to deserve these rewards. I know that I am an excellent husband and treat my wife better than she deserves. I get up early and fix her coffee. I do dishes and cook and sometimes the other way around. I keep the yard looking as well as could be expected and I am just an all around good guy. But to reward me with children for that? Couldn’t God have just given me a couple of free rounds of golf?
I am a great dad to my own children. A raised them for 18 years and through them out of the nest so that they would learn to fly. Sure they bumped their butts a little, but on the third or fourth bounce, they got it. All of them are out of jail and free of any communicable diseases, as far as I know, and they either have a husband who is like me or are a husband like me. That surely does not deserve more children back in my house does it? How about a fishing trip to the Amazon River in South America? That would be sufficient.
I am an awesome pastor too, just ask the people that I pay to say that who use to go to my church. I tell them that they are going to Hell and how to avoid it. I keep all of my sermons short and stay on point so that no one is forced to wonder what I am talking about. I rarely turn down a opportunity to have people buy my lunch if they want to talk to me and, I let people bring me peach milkshakes from Chic- Fil-A anytime they wish. Does this deserve the reward of children? Hardly. Perhaps an all expenses paid Bible conference in the Bahamas might be more appropriate.
And we can’t forget that I provide almost an endless supply of fantastic and informing blogs that keep you on the edge and have you begging for more. These blogs challenge your minds and imaginations and keep you laughing and therefore bring great joy to many lives daily. But reward me with children? No, I am not worthy. It would be more appropriate to send money to my church and designate it for the pastor’s vacation fund.
Yes, I feel like this may be a trial that I am going through. Perhaps a trial to keep me humble and learn patience. Perhaps a trial to learn to accept blessings of great magnitude, even though I may not deserve them, so I should just accept them. If this is so, I thank God for the rewards, but ask God to scale it back a bit and stick with the simple and less rewarding things like golf and fishing trips.

March 28, 2012

Justice

by pastortimfowler

Justice.jpg

According to dictionary.com, this is the definition of Justice: the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness. It does not mean do what you think is right. It does infer that there is a higher authority that determines what is right. I believe that higher authority is God. Otherwise that leaves the whole idea of right and wrong in the hands of mankind, who has the tendency of injecting feelings over facts. I have written about right and wrong and where we get the idea of what they are. It has little to do with feelings, but few will admit it. Justice is a word being tossed around by many in cases like I wrote about yesterday. Justice in America is accomplished through a system of laws and courts and civil authority, not random groups who feel like they have a better way.
Before I go any further I want to respond to one comment from a reader about yesterday’s blog. I said that clergy needed to speak out about the threats of taking the law into your own hands and this person said that there are no black pastors or churches that were not racist or had the guts to speak out. This is one of those times that I would like to slap someone who reads my blog. You could not be more wrong. The only reason I feel that I can speak out on such a sensitive subject and be as bold as I am is because my friends know my heart and know me. They know that the truth sets us free and not our opinions. Many of my friends are black and pastor churches full of people who love God and other people, regardless of race. While I appreciate your opinion, I take offense at your racist comment about my friends and brothers in Christ.
Now back to justice. The goal of justice is to make things just, or right. Right and wrong were never meant to be subject to feelings. They were never meant to be gray areas or ambiguous. There is a difference between and law and right and wrong. A law can be something that is totally based on feelings. For instance, the current health care law is a feeling that everyone has a right to health insurance. I can find no place that ever gives us a clear-cut right or wrong concerning this. If the law remains, it will be wrong not to follow the details of the law, but it is still based on a feeling.
Right and wrong is where there is a clear-cut determination, regardless of feelings. Murder is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Sexual abuse is wrong. These are things that almost every civil society in the world agree on. It is something that comes from the very moral fiber of humanity, which I believe comes from God. It is right to help the poor, but how, is left open for interpretation. It is right to work for what you have and to provide for your family. It is right to love and protect one another.
But justice is the process of taking a wrong and to the best of the ability of the legal system, making it right. That may mean to those who have stolen, that they give back. To those who have hurt another that they lose the ability to hurt again. The process most often takes time, and because of the human element, can sometimes make mistakes. That still does not give anyone the authority to take this into there own hands. We must first give the justice system time to work. In America we are innocent until proven guilty. We are protected from those who would take vengeance into there own hands and given a method to defend ourselves against all accusers.
The bottom line to this whole idea of justice comes down to God. He is the only righteous judge. He is the only one who knows the hearts of man and has promised that no sin will go unpunished. He did not limit those sins to the ones that we feel are worst, but to all sin that has separated us from Him. He made a way for the punishment for sin to be given to another. One who would be our sacrifice and take the wrath of God so that we may receive total forgiveness. Not based on who we are or how good we say we are, but totally based on His love for us and His hatred of sin that causes us to be separated from Him. God can do this because only a righteous judge can bring true justice with no influence from human imperfections. God has done this and will do this for those who repent.
Although His justice is firm and final, He has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our advocate, the Savior of humanity. Vengeance is Mine says the Lord. His judgment is true and His mercy is greater. Justice will prevail.

March 27, 2012

Justice or Self-Righteous?

by pastortimfowler

gun

Why is there not an uproar about the New Black Panthers putting a bounty out for the guy in Florida who shot the teen? I know that this is a horrible incident and that many were hurt by it, but what gives these people the right to put a bounty on the head of someone who has not even been charged with breaking a law? In America, we are innocent until proven guilty and in this case the man has not even been accused by law enforcement of breaking a law.
I am not a lawyer and I am not an expert on the particular law that this man is not accused of breaking. I am a legal concealed weapons carrier and in my state there is a similar law on the books that says we can stand our ground and defend ourselves if we feel threatened. It does seem to be a bit strange that we can shoot another person because of a feeling, but that is how the law is written. But by taking the course and legally obtaining and carrying a weapon, I do not automatically support and agree with the law. However, I am covered under that law, regardless of how I feel or others feel. This is not my fault nor is it the fault of the shooter in Florida. So why is he the target of such hatred? Where is the outrage not over those who publicly threaten an innocent man with harm, just because they disagree with a law?
It would be nice if there was not a race issue to be talked about, but only the discussion of whether or not the law was broken and if there is a disagreement with the law, then taking the proper steps to have the law changed. That is how a civil society should operate. But when we have groups making threats of taking the law into their own hands, we bring hatred into the picture and civility is left by the wayside. Sadly the race issue threatens to blow things into an all out race war. This bothers me.
Every elected official should be stepping into the public’s eye to stress the legal and civil ways to handle such issues. They should condemn any group who threaten to step outside the boundaries of the law and not back down until the public outcry is for true justice, not vigilante efforts to under mind the law. The media should condemn and expose anyone who tries to subvert the legal system. Clergy should take to the pulpits to remind the church of its obligation to follow the laws of the land and it appointed officials. Every law-abiding citizen should be on guard against groups who put themselves above the law and we should not stand for any of those who are supposed to speak out for the laws of the land if they neglect to do so.
My heart breaks for this young man who was killed. There is never a good way to lose a loved one. But I also feel bad for the man who shot him. Not because I agree with what he did. I was not there and I only have the reports from the media to form my opinions. But his life is ruined without the help of a group like the New Black Panthers getting involved. And I also believe that if this man acted wrongly, he will be exposed for it. There is a process for such things to work themselves out and I believe that for the most part it is a good and just system.
It is easy to understand the anger that can be stirred when an event like this takes place. But anger is not a means to destroy, but a means to make things right. God’s design for anger is to fix the injustice and restore things to it proper bearings. Human anger is often distorted and dangerous, but that is why we have laws and a system of justice. Ultimately I believe that no matter the fault of this situation, God will keep track and make it right. He is the Righteous Judge and no sin will go unpunished. But in some cases, only God knows the true injustice and in that case we must trust Him to make things right.
I pray for the families involved. I pray for peace and I pray for the truth to come out. But I also pray that those who try to take the law into their own hands would be exposed for the menace to society that they are. They are not seeking justice. They are claiming to be self-righteous and only God can do that.

February 1, 2012

To Work or Not To Work?

by pastortimfowler

To work or not to work? Poverty is a problem world-wide. It always has been and always will be. In Matthew’s gospel, the 26th chapter and 11th verse, Jesus said that we would always have the poor with us and I believe what He says. That does not mean that we should not care about them, the question is how should we care for them? Our country has an ongoing argument about how the poor should be dealt with and I have talked about this before in a few blogs.
The best thing a poor person can do is to get a job. I am not saying that we should not provide for those who can’t work, and I am not saying that it is a simple thing to get a job. I am saying that if you can get a job it is better than living off handouts. In fact the Bible says that if a man will not work, he should not eat. Sadly we have developed a culture of people who believe that they deserve to have the government and anyone else who will, take care of them. I get many calls a week from people who are “professional” beggars that have developed a phone script to ask for handouts from churches. They know the agencies that I try to refer them to before I can even get the list out of my drawer. I ask them if they are willing to come do some work around the church and they almost always say no. FYI, I have never turned someone away who is in true need of food or shelter.
Many people who are poor are going through a difficult period in their life that is due to circumstances beyond their control. Sadly they often become comfortable with having the unemployment checks sent to them and begin to enjoy not having to work for their money. Soon they stop looking for work and become a burden on society. Often the excuse in the beginning is that they can’t find a job making enough money. Many times people are not willing to do a job for less than what the last one paid but are more than willing to take less for doing nothing. I have a problem with that.
Working more than one job can overcome the difference in salaries. I know of multiple places that are hiring right now if you are willing to work for minimum wage. Having two and even three jobs is not a bad thing if it pays the bills. Many of our parents and grandparents worked multiple jobs as a way of life. It is not something to be ashamed of. And before you jump to the conclusion that I don’t know what it is like to work two jobs, I do. I have done it as recently as last year. Why? Because I needed to pay my bills and I was not willing to sit around and sponge off others when I could do something to help myself.
Being on government welfare is too often the hindrance of people who would work, but don’t because of convenience. Unemployment insurance should not be extended automatically to everyone who is accepting it. The money does not come from the government, it comes from the tax payers. Sure, most pay unemployment insurance while they are working, but it is not for indefinite benefits. After the allotted time for those benefits, it becomes other people’s money that pays for it. If the checks stop, people are more likely to look harder and take whatever jobs needed to feed themselves and their families.
The bottom line is not about being compassionate or not. It is about enabling those who are fully capable of working but won’t. People who can’t work and are in need must be helped. It is the right thing to do. One of the commands of the Bible is to help those who are in need. But personal responsibility is also a command of the Bible. Laziness is a sin. Not supplying the needs of your family when you are able, is a sin. The church nor the government, should ever help someone sin. But we better be ready to help those who can’t help themselves. If we don’t, then we sin.
But when someone can work, they should. We do no favors by letting people have handouts when they could find a job. While they are in that difficult spot of in-between jobs, we need to help. We need to assist in food, housing, and the overall well-being of anyone in that position. But we must remember that old proverb that says, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. To work or not to work? WORK!

December 27, 2011

I Don’t Know When

by pastortimfowler

There are only a few days left in the year. Really?!?! 2011 is almost over? Time flies when you are having fun. I just hope that this isn’t our last days, because I have already paid for my cruise in January. What am I talking about? The Mayan calendar that ends in 2011. Oh wait; never mind. I was just told that we have until December 2012 before it all ends. The good news is that I won’t have to do any Christmas shopping for next year and I get to take my cruise if this is true.
What if we only had a few days left? What would it be like?
Imagine for a moment that we were told beyond a shadow of a doubt that the world would end in a few days. Do you think it would be a fun place to finish out your last days? Or do you think it would be pure chaos? I would put my money on the chaos. It would be nice to think that brotherly love would break out and we would all gather around to sing and hug for the remainder of our lives, but something tells me that it would be a dangerous and violent place with rape and theft and fear for those who are weak.
The Bible tells us that in the last days, there will be just that type of situation. Violence and fear, not peace and love. Left to ourselves, humanity will self destruct and there is not much that we can do about it. Laws can only restrain lawlessness as long as there is someone to enforce the laws with consequences that compel one to think twice before committing such an act. It is also God that puts a sense of right and wrong in our hearts and a fear of knowing that one day we will be judged. It is God that restrains evil and allows for order in our world and even with Him in control that potential for evil in humans is barely kept in check.
The difference between the last days of the world without God and the last days of the world with God are pretty simple. Without God, there is no hope and it all ends in destruction. With God, there is hope and He promises a new life, new heaven and new earth. God is the God of hope. He is the God of salvation. He is life and love and He offers this freely to all who ask.
The Bible tells us that no man knows the hour or the day of the end of the world as we know it. Only God. But He promises to those who know Him and His salvation that we will not face His wrath, but be saved. I do believe that it is a good thing that we don’t know the hour or the day. Many religious “know-it-alls” have tried to say that they know the end and predict the date, but they are fools. God does not want us to know the time of the end because He wants us focused on life. He wants us loving people and helping those in need and sharing the good news that He saves and He loves. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.
I don’t know when it all will end but I do know Jesus, so…Bring on 2012!!!

June 13, 2011

Judge Away

by pastortimfowler

I was asked the other day about how Christians are supposed to judge right and wrong, when the Bible tells us not to judge. That is a great question and the short answer is that the assumption that we are told not to judge is wrong. That assumption comes from taking one verse out of context and is used by people who are not Christians so that Christians will not tell them that they are sinners, and by Christians who are sinning but would rather submit to sin than submit to God.


Matthew 7:1-5
1 “Stop judging so that you will not be judged.
2 Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.
3 So why do you see the piece of sawdust in another believer’s eye and not notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
4 How can you say to another believer, ‘Let me take the piece of sawdust out of your eye,’ when you have a beam in your own eye?
5 You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the piece of sawdust from another believer’s eye.

This is where that teaching comes from. It does not say that we can’t call a sin a sin, it tells believers not to be hypocrites by pointing to other people’s sins when we are sinning in a very obvious manner. Let me share some other verses that are better suited for us having the right to judge others.
John 7:24- Stop judging by outward appearance! Instead, judge correctly.” This plainly tells us to judge others, but to do so correctly. That is the key. To judge the sin and not the opinion. Sin is wrong, and people don’t like to be told that they are wrong. So if we do tell them, we can expect to be criticized. But often we turn a blind eye to sin because of that. God has given us the truth to help us judge. If the Bible says it is wrong, we can say it is wrong. There is no one in their right mind would not tell someone who is sexually molesting a child that they are not wrong. That is judging, right?
1 Corinthians 6:2- Don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? So if you’re going to judge the world, aren’t you capable of judging insignificant cases?
I think that this is an important verse for Christians to understand. There is coming a time when we will judge the world. This means that we will enforce the laws of God. So if God is going to trust us in the future to judge the world, we need to be able to judge ourselves now. The emphasis is on righteous judging, not self righteous judgement.
Overwhelmingly, Christians are shut down because of ignorance of the Bible. Ignorance can often lead to us not doing what God wants us to do because someone who doesn’t want to accept that they are a sinner plays a guilt card on us. There is a whole book in the Old Testament call Judges. It is about people who were given the authority to judge the actions of others according to God’s word. Most of the judging was for the purpose of correcting the actions of God’s people not those who were outside of them.
The same is true today. God’s people must first learn to judge themselves using God’s word before we should go running to tell those outside that they are sinners. My personal belief is that they already know it and are trying to find hope, not judgment. That is where Christians are to use a tool far greater than judgment. That tool is called GRACE. Grace is what God used when we all deserved judgment. When God judges us it is not in comparison to me or you or any other person we know, but He judges us compared to Jesus and we all fall short. So by accepting forgiveness and God’s grace we are reconciled to God and judged as such.
So grace allows us to admit our faults and receive forgiveness. It allows us to know the truth and when we know the truth we are free to judge away.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96 other followers