Posts tagged ‘Isreal’

February 21, 2012

Priority

by pastortimfowler

After reading the Old testament book of Daniel I got to thinking about priorities. Does the church today have their priorities in order? Do I? I know that a lot of people think of the book of Daniel and get caught up in the prophesies, and they are interesting, no doubt. But from the beginning of the book you see 4 guys who know God and have their priorities in order.
The last time I was interviewed for a job as pastor, I was asked what my priorities were. I was quick to say, God, family, church. That sounds like a good answer and I try to keep that in mind, but lets face it, God is not always on the top of that list. Perhaps after reading this I will no longer be welcome to stay as pastor of my current church. Everyone knows that pastors are super Christians and never get their priorities out of whack, but I like to be a rebel. Okay, I don’t like it when this is what makes me a rebel, but it is true. So, I know if a pastor can get priorities messed up, the regular folk certainly can.
Let me go back to Daniel and those 4 and what these guys faced. Basically Israel was once again being rebellious against God and God allowed them to be over taken by hostile people. But Daniel and his 3 friends had found favor with the king because, like me, they were smart and good-looking. (Stop laughing) They were told to do things that were against God’s word and refused. Rather than get their priorities out of whack, they decided to trust God and God honored them. Not only did he protect them from death, but God continued to give them favor with a hostile people.
Today we, the church, have decided to make it known that we don’t care about God as much as we care about self. We would rather have a program that keeps us happy over a mission trip that make us sleep without AC or heat. We would rather the band play the songs we know than to worship God as if He was who we know. We would rather the preacher keep it short so that we don’t miss the football game instead of missing the football game because we asked the preacher if he would spend a couple of extra hours teaching us the Bible. We would rather argue the politics of welfare than to take a cooler of sandwich meat and drinks into the homeless hangouts of our town and feed and eat with them as we share the gospel.
In a class last night we discussed how if we spent 15 minutes a day reading the Bible that we could read it in a year. My wife can read a novel a day on vacation. Most people I know, including myself, can do it in a few days. We remember every name of every character in a series like Twilight or Harry Potter, but can’t name the disciples. We know every player on our favorite team and know their schedule and even have time for fantasy football, but don’t know how to lead someone to Jesus. We can learn every change on Facebook even though we complain about it and add friends about every day, but we don’t bring anyone to our church all year.
Today I was stood up twice by people who wanted to meet with me to get help with their spiritual life. I saw both of them on Facebook as I was waiting on them to show up. A couple that wanted help with their marriage was supposed to meet with me today, but they had something come up. Sure, these can probably be explained, but it does make you wonder about our priorities. The Bible says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all else will be added to it. Somehow we think that we need to get everything else in order and then find time for God.
All I know is that God has been dogging me out about keeping my priorities in order. I hope that other Christians will understand that unless we put God first, those who don’t believe will have no need to put God anywhere in their priority list. We have been given a command to follow Jesus. To follow anyone, they must be put in front of us or we are not following at all.

November 1, 2011

Curses

by pastortimfowler

I hope that I cover all of the questions that I was asked for this blog about curses. This is an interesting subject that probably takes more than a blog to clear up all the questions, but at the same time, can be a simple answer to give. I like simple and believe that it is the best way to study the Bible and the it best way that allows my brain to work.
The first curse came from God, when He cursed the serpent, man, and the ground. When you look at the word curse from the original texts it means that God’s favor is removed. There is no greater curse than that.
One of the questions was, who or what does the cursing. Only God can remove His favor. He can give authority and has given authority to humans to speak a curse, but only when prompted by following God’s word or His leadership. In Matthew 18 Jesus says that whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven. I think that this could be a curse on a believer who is not following God’s instructions for repentance. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:5 that the church should give a Christian who refuses to live a sexually pure life over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. I believe this too is a curse to Christians who refuse repentance.
Many believe that those who practice witchcraft can put curses on people. I do not know enough about this to speak with much authority, but I do know that dabbling in the supernatural world of the occult can lead to demon possession. But a person who is not living for God in already cursed by not having God’s favor. I don’t know that I would agree that casting a curse on someone in this sense of the word is truly putting a curse on someone or something.
As far as who or what can be cursed, God clearly shows us in His first 3 curses that it can be man, beast or an inanimate object. Jesus cursed the fig tree. God cursed the ground. In 1 Samuel 4, a child is named Ichabod, which means God’s glory has departed, as a sign to Israel that they were being cursed. I have heard of pastors pronouncing the curse of Ichabod on churches and cities who were not responsive to God’s word. Jesus even said to dust your feet off if someone was not responsive to His words.
I think it is a dangerous area for the average Christian to dwell in. I see nowhere in the Bible where anyone other than a spokesperson for God who was directly instructed by God to pronounce a curse, happens. Christians are far greater instructed to speak blessings into the lives of others. Jesus says in Luke 6:28, Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who insult you. I don’t think that these curses as spoken toward the believer, can remove God’s favor from your life, but the idea is that they will try to remove your trust in God’s favor.
The last question, is there an evil, good, or just curse. When God pronounces a curse it is just. He is a just God. Evil curses are like I spoke of earlier, in my opinion, are demonic and those who dabble there are already cursed. As far as a good curse goes, that would have to be in the same lines as the just curse, because God always wants repentance and if a curse drives someone to repentance, it is a good curse.
My favorite curse outside the Bible is the curse that Snoopy speaks to the Red Baron. I just thought you would want to know.