What Else Can You Be?

What Else Can You Be

The gannet is a large bird of the family Sulidae, of northern coastal regions, having white plumage with black wing tips.  They are frequently seen foraging for food around Scotland’s Shetland Islands.  You won’t find them lounging by the pool in Barbados.  They won’t be hitchhiking down the Appalachian Trail winding through the Smokey Mountains.  Despite rumors, you won’t find them doubting down in the casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada.

BirdThey instinctively know their place, and that’s where you’ll find them living.  They will be looking for food, raising their young, avoiding predators and living life as best they know how.  Pretty much the same as most humans.

The Bible records a story about two people who were rather ordinary, but pretended to be something different.  When they were asked a rather simple question, their stultifying answers brought the wrath of God upon them immediately.  Before they could change their answer, judgment fell suddenly!  The story transpires so fast with the direst of consequences that everyone gasps at the outcome.  Be forewarned; this story is not for the squeamish.

A man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira owned a piece of property.  They decided to sell the property and give the money to the church.  Once the property sold, the husband and wife decided to keep part of the money.  Peter confronted Ananias about his decision and before Ananias could offer an apology, he fell down dead!  Several men came, wrapped up his body and buried him.  Several hours later his wife Sapphira came back.  Peter told her the men who carried her dead husband out were there to carry her out as well.  Whoa!  At that very moment, she fell down dead!  The same men came and buried her beside her husband.  The whole church was greatly afraid.  Gives a whole new meaning to “dead on” and “drop dead” don’t you think?  God’s judgment on Ananias and Sapphira produced shock and terror among the believers, making them realize just how seriously God regards sin in the church.  What really happened?

The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not in selling all their property, or in keeping part of the proceeds of the sale, but in lying about how much money they had received.  Lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God.  God often times takes drastic actions.  Their act was judged harshly and ‘deadly’ because dishonesty, greed, and covetousness are destructive in a church, preventing the Holy Spirit from working effectively.  All lying is bad, but when we lie to try and deceive God and his people about our relationship with him, we destroy our testimony about Christ.  Read it all in Acts 4.

Ananias and Sapphira thought like hedonists which have an attitude “Who cares?”  “So what?”  “What I do is my own business?”  They are more concerned about satisfying their own passions than in pleasing and obeying the Father.  According to Romans 1:21-22  “Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, but they became fools.”  With this attitude and frame-of-mind, we lose more than the cross and stained-glass church windows; we lose our standard, our purpose and our worship.  We are who we are.  If we see only ourselves, our headstones will have the epitaph that Paul uses to describe enemies of Christ:  “Their god is in their appetite, and their glory in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven”.  Philippians 3:19-20  This world is the limit of their horizon.

We at God Speak welcome all your comments and will give Biblical answers to your questions.  Thank you for stopping by.

Clear Sailing By Faith

Clear

Nobody goes sailing or fishing if storm clouds threaten.   Who in their right mind goes boating with a category 99 hurricane on the horizon?   Storms can be tracked by satellite and their path predicted, but a sudden squall is quite another thing.

The Sea of Galilee is about twelve miles long and seven miles wide, and rests on the east side of a mountain range.   The warm winds coming off the Mediterranean Sea rush up those mountains, and then cool off rapidly while rushing down the eastern side causing sudden storms on the Sea of Galilee.

Sailing

The disciples were sailing across the lake one day.  Jesus curled up to nap and a violent squall arose.   The boat and those aboard were in grave danger.   The disciples woke up and screamed to him they were going to drown.

“He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?”  He asked his disciples.”  Luke 8:24

After it was all over, in fear and amazement the disciples asked each other “Who is this” He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”  Luke 8:25

When caught in the storms of life, it is easy to think that God has lost control and that we’re at the mercy of the winds and of fate.  In reality, God is sovereign.   He controls the history of the world as well as our personal destines.  Just as Jesus calmed the wind and waves, he can calm whatever storms you may face.  Christ controls the forces of nature and troubled hearts.

Are you sailing through life waiting for a storm to find your faith?

Who Cooked the Books?

cooked

Book BurningThe movie studios in Hollywood have shown movies with people burning books.  From the Indiana Jones movie showing the Nazi’s burning books during World War II, to author Ray Bradbury’s story turned into the movie Fahrenheit 451, we noticed the banality of thought control.  But wait a minute—is burning books all that bad?  Well—yes and no!

There have been some big book burnings in history.  The Bonfire of the Vanities, 1497, was a mass burning of books, including some master artworks by artist Botticelli.  The Royal Library of Alexandria was burned to the ground by Julius Caesar.  In Paris, 1842, Braille books were incinerated because officials at the Braille School for the Blind came to the conclusion that blind people might take away jobs from those who could see.  As you can see that didn’t work because we still have blind people and braille books.  How about the 1948 burning of comic books?  Parents felt their kids were being corrupted by the violence in crime comics—so they had a bonfire in New York and West Virginia.  Parents also felt Superman comics were altering their children’s minds with changing the laws of physics, strength and flying humans.  It was bad for children’s minds and their imaginations—so they stoked the bonfire of comic books.

God told Jeremiah to write his words on a scroll.  Because he was not allowed to go to the temple, Jeremiah asked his scribe, Baruch, to whom he had dictated the scroll to read it to the people gathered there.  Baruch then read it to the officials, and finally Jehudi read it to the king himself.  The Bible records two occasions where books were burned.  One; King Jehoiakim of Judah burned the book of Jeremiah strip by strip as it was read to him.

“Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire”.  Jeremiah 36:23

Don’t worry; God made sure that the book was rewritten by Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch, King Jehoiakim was punished, and the day was won.  The king could not destroy the word of God.  Today many people try to put God’s Word aside or say that it contains errors and therefore cannot be trusted.  People may reject God’s Word, but they cannot destroy it.  God’s Word will stand forever.

“Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.  Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.  Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you”.  Psalm 119:89-91

The other instance where books were burned is recorded in Acts 19:19.  A group of magicians at Ephesus, who were converted as a result of Paul’s preaching, brought their books of magic and sorcery and burned them publicly.  Ephesus was a center for black magic and other occult practices.  The people cooked up magical formulas to give them wealth, happiness, and success in marriage.  Superstition and sorcery were commonplace.  God clearly forbids such practices.  Chapter 18 of Deuteronomy specifically states that there is to be no practicing of divination, no sorcery, no interpreting omens, no engaging in witchcraft, no casting of spells, or anyone consulting with spiritualists or consulting with the dead.

“Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord”.  Deuteronomy 18:1

If you’re burning with a desire to read and know more—pick up a Bible.  There’s one book that can never be in danger of being burned: The Lamb’s Book of Life.  You must make sure that you name is in it!

We welcome all your comments.