Posts tagged ‘dead’

January 28, 2013

How Did We Get Here?

by pastortimfowler

Blog

 

I want to fast forward through the rest of Genesis to get to Moses and the deliverance from Egypt. I am currently working on a commentary of the Bible so I don’t want to duplicate that in blog form. Most people are familiar with the story of Moses and how God used him to free Israel from slavery in Egypt. What most don’t think about is how they got there. If you have read your Bible you know the story of Joseph being sold into slavery and the brother’s lie to the dad saying that he was killed. What happens after that is often forgotten when the slavery part comes around.
The Old Testament is full of typology. Certain things and places represent certain common theological issues all throughout the Bible. For instance, Egypt is a type of sin. God’s people, Israel were in bondage to sin, Egypt. When we get to that point in the Bible, most of us are feeling sorry for Israel and rooting for them to be delivered. We all want God to fix the injustice that Egypt is inflicting on them. What we forget is that Israel chose to live there.
Keeping in mind the typology, Israel chose through the years to disobey God. God promised them a land through Abraham and his descendents and over time they rebelled and did what they wanted to do. They chose what felt right to man over what was right to God. That is how sin works. It causes us to go farther and farther away from God. Before you know it we are deep in trouble and crying for God to get us out of it..
Remember that Joseph was sold and left for dead. God sent a famine, and his family that did this to him had to face their sin by going into Egypt and asking for help. Joseph made it possible for the family to move into Egypt and for a while, things were great. But that is how it is, way to often, with sin. It usually feels good and for a while even looks like the right thing, but before long, sin shows its true colors and turns ugly.
God said from the beginning that sin would lead to death. He said that sin would cause trouble for mankind as long as we are on this earth. The more we sin, the less God can fix our problems until we finally decide to turn to Him in desperation and let Him restore us. The good news is that when we finally ask God for help, He will help. He is the only answer to our sin problem. His gift of salvation and forgiveness comes through. Call to Him with all your heart. It is called faith and repentance. If we cry out to God with a change of heart He will forgive us and begin to deliver us from our sin.
The best thing we can do is trust God before we move to Egypt. Turn to God before we think that we can fix a problem by trying to get even further in sin.
Don’t forget that it was Israel that chose to live in Egypt. Don’t forget that even their best efforts turned into slavery. Don’t forget that God is the one who set them free. And don’t forget that you too can be set free if you cry out to God.

October 3, 2012

Dead Car Batteries

by pastortimfowler

Car Battery

This morning I was told that my wife’s car would not start. It had been hard to start for a week or so now and we have been putting off the inevitable of buying a new battery. It’s funny that every time something goes wrong with your car that you think the worst and my wife does this well. She said, “I hope it’s not the alternator”. I am not sure if she really knows what the alternator is or does, but it sounds worse than a dead battery. But this got me thinking about our spiritual lives and I thought I would draw out this analogy.
A car’s electrical system is a lot like our spiritual life. It is all tied together and certain things can make us unable to run and in some cases even unable to start.
The battery is our free will. Although it comes fully charged, unless it is in a car that is fully functional, it is nothing but a bunch of useless chemicals. Put it in a car that is fully functional and it becomes a major part of the car’s ability to function. But of itself, the battery has no power at all. It must be charged in order for it to come to life. The factory puts the charge on the battery, but unless something is available to continually charge it, it dies.
The car has a charging system and the alternator is that which provides power to the car when it is running and charges the battery so it stays fully charged and able to start the car. This is our relationship with God or God’s will. The battery starts the car, then the alternator takes over. If you tried to run the car without the alternator, the battery would soon die and the car would cut off and not start again. So the alternator is what really provides power to the functioning car. The battery is only the starting power and the alternator is the staying power.
Our free will as Christians is constantly used to try to start our Christian life each day. That is a hard task and takes lots of power. If our spiritual batteries are not fully charged, sooner or later we will not get started at all with what God wants from us. Our free will must constantly be given over to the power and will of God in order for us to continue running as intended. It is then that we take the load off of our own abilities to function as designed and allow God to be the driving force.
As long as the car is running, even if the battery is dead or taken out of the car, the car will still run because the alternator is providing all the power. But when you cut the car off, and we all have to do this from time to time, the dead battery makes it impossible to get started again without something happening.
Often the answer is what we did for the last couple of weeks. We just used jumper cables and got some starting power from another vehicle. Other Christians can do this and in cases where the battery was just drained due to leaving the lights on while the engine was off, it might be all that is needed. But do this too often and the battery will go bad and don’t forget that over time all batteries go bad. They just are not perfect, kinda like our free will.
In the case where the battery dies, it is easy for people to jump to the wrong conclusion and say that the alternator is bad. These things rarely go bad and in the case of God’s will, it never goes bad. But when we struggle as Christians, Satan is there to tell us that it is the worse case scenario. This is kinda like my wife’s thoughts…NO! I am not calling her Satan, it just works for this analogy. When that happens we can do a couple of things. Listen to your husband, the wise Christian, to tell you that it is not as bad as you think. Getting godly council is like listening to someone who knows cars. They can help calm you down when Satan attacks with his lies.
But every car comes with an owner’s manual and they often give some very simple troubleshooting tips. In this case, the owner’s manual would say that the most likely problem is the battery. The Bible, our owners manual, will tell you that our free will is most often the problem to our challenges in life. Every now and then, we need to replace the battery. When we need to replace the battery, we go to the parts store and tell the person that we have a problem and need a new battery. If we go there and tell them that we don’t have a problem, they can’t fix it. So the obvious must be stated. This is our prayer life and God is the person to fix our dead battery.
We must confess our sins. 1John 1:9 says. If we confess our sins, God is faith and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Unrighteousness is our free will. Forgiveness is God’s will. When God replaces our will with His will, we can begin to start our days again without the whining and groaning of a dead or dying battery. Remember this, the quicker a car starts, the sooner it runs off the alternator’s power and stops draining the battery.
There is nothing wrong with replacing a battery. It must be done from time to time. Free will is the same way, it can work for a while to do God’s work, but even under the best conditions we must replace it from time to time. Dead car batteries are powerless. Dead free will is too. God’s will is the life-giving power to keep our free will full of power.

October 20, 2011

God Said No

by pastortimfowler

Last night I got a call from the church where the ladies of the church were doing their weekly Bible study. I was in the shower and usually don’t get calls, nor do I usually have my phone in the bathroom with me, but, it happened that this time I did. When I saw the number and realized who it was, I had thoughts of possible trouble, that is why I answered, but it turned out that they had a question about something that they were studying.
The study is about women in the Bible and this night they were studying a woman who was assumed to be able to talk to the dead and had been asked by King Saul to call up Samuel from the dead and to her surprise he showed up. The question was; did this woman actually call Samuel from the dead or was it a trick. When you read the text it can be a bit vague.
I do not believe this woman or anyone else had or has the power to talk to dead people. I believe that when you die you go straight to heaven or hell and people on this earth will not talk to you again because of some mystical powers. Now if God decides to let it happen, then I will believe it. But those instances are rare, at best.
God says many times in His word that people who claim to summon the dead and practice soothsaying and conjuring of spirits are evil. I am not talking about childish games and spooky fun, but I do caution people against that. I am talking about so-called mediums who practice this seriously. They are not of God and God does not use them.
I believe in this case, God, who knows everything, knew that these two would have this meeting and He sent Samuel back to mess them up. If you read the story, it did. I do not think nor believe that it had anything to do with her “powers” because there are no such things. If someone does actually talk to “someone” during one of these meetings it is not a person but a demon. Yes, I believe in demons. It was good enough for Jesus, its good enough for me.  God does not tell us to not do something because it is sinful, then change His mind and allow it to happen. When we read the Bible, this is important to remember and will help us to better understand the Bible. Keeping the focus on God’s holiness and His consistency will allow us to think of more logical explanations to scripture that may seen difficult to understand. It is important to know the context of the scripture,  read the whole account, then comparing it with the whole Bible and the facts and doctrines that run throughout it.
I know that there are always skeptics out there who are looking for ways to prove the Bible wrong or look for double standards, and I will admit that there are things that are very difficult to reckon with, but that does not mean that there are those things that these people are looking for. And my point is not to argue with anyone about these things either. I wanted to put it out that when you find yourself, as a Christian, struggling with something that seems to not make sense, those basic rules will help to sort it out.
My parents use to say something that I swore I would never do when I grew up and had kids. They use to tell us when we would ask why, “Because I said so”. I hated it and did not understand it, but I have now done it. Sometimes there does not need to be an explanation, especially when God says “no”.

October 17, 2011

Dead Dreams

by pastortimfowler

Here goes another blog on a subject that will probably irritate some people and I have to say that the idea was not mine, but that dear friend of mine whom I keep referring too and who I think must like to see me get yelled at, (figuratively). This one is, what I think about people who die and get visions or messages from the other side then come back to tell others what they have seen. She wants MY OPINION, not hard-core facts, unless I have hard-core facts, and I have a few.
My first thought on this is that people want to write a book and get rich. There are a few who have done this and because of the success of a few, others want to follow. But that does not explain that some of these folks may have had something that they think is an out-of-body experience that lead them to heaven or hell during a near death or coma experience. Because I have never had one of these visions, although I have almost died a few times, mostly my stupidity that caused it, I can’t speak from experience. So to say that people did not see something would be a tough one for me to do. But I do not believe that people are really going to heaven or hell. I think that there are two possibilities.
First, people are dreaming. Some would say that these dreams are too similar to be coincidences. But I would say that people have similar dreams all the time and I am talking about people who do not know each other and live nowhere near each other. How about the dreams of falling in your sleep? What about dreams of winning the lottery? What about the dreams of someone chasing you in a dark alley and you can’t scream? All these are dreams that many people have and they are all similar and we can’t explain why, other that our sub-conscience has ways of dealing with things through dreams. Maybe this is a common dream for people who are very sick or near death.
Second, scientists who study the brain will tell you that when someone is near death, certain chemicals are released and can cause hallucinations or the “white light” experience. I got hit in the head really hard one time and was almost knocked out.  When I was hit I briefly saw a bright light. Many people say they see white light when they are about to pass out or even just before “going under” anesthesia. This explains some of the similarities in what is seen, and we don’t know that people who nearly die or in deep comas don’t dream, hear people in their room, or even the TV, when it is left on. All these things could be confused and this might explain the “message” people get from God, or Satan, or Zeus, or whoever they think they heard from.
Biblically I can only refer to these verses to dispute this claim of new words from God. Revelation 22:18-19 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy in this book: If anyone adds anything to this, God will strike him with the plagues that are written in this book. 19 If anyone takes away any words from this book of prophecy, God will take away his portion of the tree of life and the holy city that are described in this book.
This seems to be clear to me, a Christian, that God is not giving out new words for humanity in general. I do believe that God speaks through people, like pastors and teachers and even regular old Christians who are sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I have spoken, what I believe are God inspired messages and have had others speak them to me, but this differs from something that would be added to what the Bible teaches. These would only confirm, compliment, or is inspired by scripture.
So that leaves it open to think that it could be possible to hear from God in a dream, I believe I have in the past. This could happen to someone near death or in a coma. But most of what I have read or heard from these books or stories, is often conflicting to what the Bible says or just doesn’t feel right to me. I think that there is a lot of interest in the afterlife and rather than trust the Bible, people want to hear it from people like themselves. And that holds true about many other things. But I will leave you with this last scripture to keep in mind. Proverbs 14:12 s There is a way that seems right to a person, but eventually it ends in death.