Posts tagged ‘scripture’

January 18, 2012

It Is Forgiven

by pastortimfowler

I am winding down the work week with anticipation of my wife and I leaving this Saturday for our first ever cruise. It couldn’t come at a better time. Last week I told you that I wrecked my truck, well last night, my wife had a deer run into the side of her van. Add that to the cruise ship running aground in Italy and we are excited and ready to go. The way we look at it, the odds are in our favor that things will mellow out just in time for our vacation.
With two claims in one week, I was sure that my insurance premiums would be ready to go through the roof. So I went in to talk to my agent and she told me the deer thing was under comprehension, which is not charged against you and my wipe out in the truck was not going to cost me either because I had accident forgiveness on my policy. Finally a bit of good news in a week that has been very stressful.
God has been very kind to me through all of this. On top of protecting me from injury, my truck is still 100% drivable. Although the wife’s van has quite the dent in the doors and fender, , she and my grandson were not hurt and the van is also 100% drivable. Because both vehicles are paid for, I was able to save a little money for the repair of my truck to take on our upcoming cruise, of which I will treat my beautiful wife to a day at the spa and some unexpected shopping. Yep, I give God credit for that too, because He wants me to love my wife and treat her special. Let’s face it ladies, nothing says special like a spa day and shopping.
God also allowed us to not have our budget wrecked from all of this. He is in control of everything, including our finances. We try hard to save and to give and to live within the means of the income He has allowed us to have. That is why we have a written budget that we manage our money by. It allows us to see where our money goes and to use it within the guidelines of scripture. A bump in our insurance premiums would throw that our of whack, and although we could adjust and survive, this accident forgiveness really helps keep things from getting complicated.
I want to confess something that may seem awkward, but I hope that you get the point from what I am about to say. When I wrecked my truck, it caused me some stress and I began to get irritable and even lost my cool with my wife. Not godly. Then when she got hit by the deer, I began to doubt God’s protection of us. Not godly. My wife is a saint. She does not deserve me getting ill with her because I am stressed and she always understands and forgives. God is awesome to me. I have my wife, kids, grandkids, and an incredible church, not to mention my health, her health, their health and the Gamecocks beating Clemson. Despite all of that, I still screw up, and when I do, just like my accident forgiveness that doesn’t cost me, God forgives me and my sins, when I confess them, and they no longer cost me. Jesus paid that debt in full, and every time I forget and mess things up, I get that relief when I talk to my Agent, Jesus, to let him know about another accident, and He says, not a problem. You’re covered. It is forgiven.

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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.

August 25, 2011

Responding to the Response

by pastortimfowler

Photo copyrights see http://www.flickr.com/photos/capturecreation/5733866534/in/pool-inspiks

Not understanding God is does not mean that He is wrong or what His word, the Bible, says is wrong. In fact, it is confirmation that what the Bible says about God is correct. Isaiah 55:9 “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” I constantly remind myself of this verse. But that does not mean that we can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t try to understand the things that challenge us.
One of my last blogs was responded to more than any other in quite a while. The one about lying. Many agreed with me, which by the way, is the right thing to do, but I was surprised at how many tried to justify that there was a good time to lie. I have to admit and remind you that I too said that it was very difficult and at times it seemed right, but God disagrees. If Jesus is the Way, THE TRUTH, and the Life, then anything not the truth is not the way to go.
Many of you gave scriptural references of people who lied. Abraham, Moses’ family and others were brought to my attention. What you have to realize is that God did not put those in there as an example of what to do, but rather as an example of how He could still use a fallen mankind. In the case of Moses, it is important to remember that the whole reason Israel was in Egypt was because of a lie. Joseph was left for dead, sold as a slave and dad was told that he was in fact dead. Only by God’s grace and favor on Joseph did his family eventually move to Egypt during the famine and eventually ended up as slaves. Lies and sin never go unpunished. God is a just God and cannot allow sin to go unchecked.
Sure, there were always good things that came from the situations but that is not because of man’s sin, it is solely because of God’s grace. His grace is greater than all of our sins. Jesus did not die for the righteous, but for the sinner. It was a lie that convicted Jesus, but God used that lie as part of His plan to redeem fallen man. The only way an innocent man can be convicted is through a lie or the truth being ignored, call it what you want.
In the past several months I have been pounding into the ears of my church and anyone who will listen the fact that God wants us to read the entire Bible starting at Genesis 1:1 and all the way through to Revelation 22:21. Only when we take the entire Bible into account can the whole truth be revealed. Stories, chapters, or verses always build on or compliment the rest of the Bible. It is not a book of one liners to prove our point or children’s stories to teach a fable. It is the living word of God, the Truth, and the story of the redemption of a fallen man.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval. 17 They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things. Our human nature wants us to lie. It wants us to find a reason to justify our actions when they contradict the Bible. But if you are a Christian, your human nature must be replaced with God’s nature and a desire for the truth. Satan is the father of ALL lies, and we are no longer his children but rather Children of God, born into the family by the Truth, Jesus Christ.
Thanks so much for being honest about what you think about my blogs. Thanks for being honest enough to say that you struggle with some things that God says. We all do. In fact, let me leave you with one last scripture to help when you struggle.
Romans 3:2-4
2 There are all kinds of advantages. First of all, God entrusted them with his word.
3 What if some of them were unfaithful? Can their unfaithfulness cancel God’s faithfulness?
4 That would be unthinkable! God is honest, and everyone else is a liar, as Scripture says, “So you hand down justice when you speak, and you win your case in court.”

August 3, 2011

Read It All

by pastortimfowler

Today I am reading the last few chapters of the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. I love this book. Every time I read it I get encouraged. As someone who has been a pastor for over 15 years, I usually hear the opposite from people who read Revelation. It usually brings on confusion and fears and that right there tells me that God is not leading them through it, but rather Satan is. After all God’s word is one of Satan’s most used tools. He used it in the beginning with Adam and Eve and he even tried to use it against Jesus, what makes us think he has stopped trying to use it on us? Here is wisdom; any time you get confusion and fear from God’s word, it is not because God doesn’t want you to understand it. Revelation ends with this blessing:Revelation 22:7 ~ I’m coming soon! Blessed is the one who follows the words of the prophecy in this book.” God would never offer a blessing and then make it confusing and scary.
So why does this happen?
Currently I teach a class to the men of our church and have offered it and will offer it to everyone who wants to attend, called, How to Study the Bible. Most people, even seasoned Christians have little practical knowledge of how to properly interpret scripture. For some reason the church teaches bits and pieces of the Bible and not the whole Bible. Most people want to know where to find their problem solving verse rather than live the life that solves their problems as described in the complete Bible. What I teach is that in order to know what God is really saying to His people, we must read the complete Bible, starting in Genesis and ending with Revelation. But instead we read a few verse here and a few there or we read only the New Testament and skip the Old Testament. What we don’t realize is that the New Testament was written not to void the old but to complete the Old Testament. This makes it impossible to understand much of the New Testament and correctly interpret what God wants us to know and be blessed by.
We do not read any other book like we read the Bible. I hear people get all excited about the latest greatest book by the latest greatest author and never hear them say that they are only going to read a few select lines or chapters or that they will read the last chapter and understand the whole book. We do not build a new shopping mall by skipping to the last page of the blue prints, yet we try to build new lives that way.
It is impossible to understand the book of Revelation without reading the entire Bible, so stop trying. I know that I have read the entire Bible at least 20 times and I still don’t understand it all, but every time I do it again, I get more understanding and closer to knowing that blessing that God promised. I have been through 7, almost 8 years of seminary and still learn something new each time I read it. There is not a quick way to understand an infinite God. The Bible is not everything that God knows, it is, however, everything that He wants us to know. God wrote us a love letter and we call it the Bible.
I challenge you to read your Bible from Genesis 1:1 and not stop until you reach Revelation 22:21. Let me rephrase that. Read it again and again and again from start to finish, then you will begin to understand and look forward to reading and seeing the encouragement and blessings of Revelation.
One final note. It is properly titled The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, for short, Revelation. There is only one. It is not Revelations. Just thought you should know.
So read your Bible and read it all.

June 29, 2011

Just Do It!

by pastortimfowler

In the book of James, Christians are challenged with an “in your face” look at who we should be. Just in to the first two chapters most who claim to be Christians could walk away with a deep need to re-examine what it means to be a Christian. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is this one: James 1:22 Do what God’s word says. Don’t merely listen to it, or you will fool yourselves. Doing what we hear is a test of our faith. I know way too many folks who can quote the Bible very well and yet they do very little of what they quote. Apparently this is not a new problem since James was writing about it almost 2000 years ago.
James also says that faith without doing something with it is basically dead, or worthless. He tells us that even demons believe in God and even tremble at His name. What that means is that saying you are a believer is not enough. We must begin to do what the Bible teaches if we want to be called Christians. With that statement I mean others should be calling us Christians by the way we act, but we all know that most folks outside the church world call us hypocrites.
Can you imaging how many people would be following Jesus if He acted like many Christians act? What if He only quoted scripture and never did anything? What if he only said He was going to die on a cross and be raised the third day? Where would we be today?
By the same token, many people who don’t read the Bible, or don’t go to church, see people who are supposed to represent Jesus and all he taught and what they get is words and not enough actions. James said that if someone asked for food or clothes that really need them and all we do is tell them that we will pray for them that our faith is dead.
Faith should cause us to do good things for people. It should cause us to give because we know that God honors our giving. It should cause us to serve, because Jesus said the greatest among us will be servants. It should cause us to teach because you can’t make disciples if they don’t know what to do. It should cause us to lead children to worship and know Jesus because He said that they were precious to Him and that we must come to Him like a child does.
So here is my challenge. If you are a Christian, and you are not involved in doing what you hear taught from the word of God, start doing something. Here are a few suggestions:
You can pray. This is needed and was modeled by Jesus. Luke 18:1 Jesus used this illustration with his disciples to show them that they need to pray all the time and never give up.
Pray for someone, by name, that you know does not know Jesus. Pray for your church leaders that they are wise and not scared to do what they need to do. Pray for our nation, that we return to are Christian roots.
You can help in the children’s area at your church. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar. You just need to love kids and love Jesus. Mark 10:15-16 I can guarantee this truth: Whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child receives it will never enter it.” Jesus put his arms around the children and blessed them by placing his hands on them.
Not matter how big your church is, there is never enough help in that area. Some people rarely ever get to worship with “the big people” because they are loving kids. Even if you only help once a month it helps.
You can go out daily and invite people to your church. Luke 14:23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go to the roads and paths! Urge the people to come to my house. I want it to be full. This is nothing more than telling people, with enthusiasm, how much you love the Lord and your church. What? You don’t have enthusiasm about one or the other? Perhaps it’s because you are not doing what you have been taught and your faith is dead.
Its time to come alive and show your faith! Faith means you really believe it. You sit in chairs because of faith. You drive your car because of faith. Showing people what you know about Jesus should be just as natural because of faith. Like Nike says…Just do it!