Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Spiritual "Flat Earth" Model

Recently, I have noticed a lot of “Flat Earth” videos on You Tube.  People believe that the earth is flat – I’m not kidding.  They’ve crossed over from the common understanding that the earth orbits the sun and that the planets are globes.  This is something that was discovered and reasoned out by Copernicus in 1543.  But now, in 2016, once again, the debate rages.  The idea stems from the conspiracy theory that NASA faked the moon landings:  That no one has ever reached the moon.  The most common “Flat Earth” argument is this:  “NASA lied; the photos from the International Space Station are CGI.”

The problem is that if listen to their arguments they include a combination of a misunderstanding of perspective, a misuse of practical geometry and other things.  In short, they have rejected what is perceived to be scientific fact and embraced a lie, and I'll tell you there is no debating of scientific principle with them; they have no understanding of that.  They just accuse you of being a NASA shill or a sheep. 

In our day and hour, in the church, we have seen people rejecting the truth of God’s word and by rejecting that, they’re accepting the lies of false doctrines.  Today, I want to look at these things from this portion of scripture:

John 14:16-17 (NKJV)
14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Embracing the Lie

At first glance the “Flat Earth” movement seems harmless.  The proponents are doing their little experiments.  They’re launching their “Go-Pro” cameras on weather balloons.  They’re using lasers to measure the curvature of bodies of water.  They’re drawing single plane triangles on globes, applying single plane geometry to a curved surface, which doesn’t work.  They’re making slick you tube videos to convince people.

The sad part is that it is a failure of the US educational system.  In the US educators have become social engineers.  They’ve stepped away from educating and have put their energy into changing society.

We have to be careful in the church, that we don’t remove our focus from the Word of God and place it on the changes taking place in our society: Embracing the policies of the world and neglecting to apply the truth of scripture to our lives.  We must remember this:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

The word of God is inerrant truth.  We hear the argument, “The Bible was written by men and so it can’t always be correct.”  The Bible was written by men INSPIRED by God.  God has used these men as tools to give us His word.  God is incapable of lying.

It’s a strategy of the devil to cause us to doubt the word of God.  When we doubt the word of God we end up lifting up the philosophies of men, and make God a liar.

Romans 3:3-4 (NKJV)
3:3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."

Then truth is still the truth.

Satan used this strategy of causing doubt in the very earliest moments of human history.  This is how he caused the fall of mankind – Let’s examine that:

Genesis 3:1-3 (NKJV)
3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' "

The Bible tells us that the devil is cunning.  That word cunning means that he is able to use trickery.  He’s good at it.  It’s something that he uses for his purposes.  He begins to do that with Eve, “Did God really say..?” He’s saying, “What?  I can’t believe God said that to you.”  Then:

Genesis 3:4-5 (NKJV)
3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Here he says, straight out. That God lied.  “God’s a liar – You’ll not surely die. He just doesn’t want you to be like him.”

Genesis 3:6 (NKJV)
3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

The devil lied and mankind died!  The liar was the serpent, but Eve believed that lie.

The Bible is full of truths:

Fornicators will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9).  That’s a truth.

You must be born again:  Experience a change of heart about sin (John 3:3).  That’s a truth.

Jesus is God.  He is God made man. (John 1:14)  That’s a truth.  

There are many others, but people pick and choose and apply only certain ones, just like the “Flat Earth” crowd and because of that they believe the lie.

A Spiritual Flat Earth Model

Some interesting flat earth beliefs:
1.        The sun and the moon rotate on a flat plane over the earth.  They are supposedly four thousand miles up into the “Star Dome.”
2.        The Stars are arranged in a “dome” over the earth.
3.        Antarctica is a ring around the earth that keeps the ocean from falling off the edge.

But in order to believe those things you must reject things that are observable, for instance:
1.        The sun rises and sets.  It comes up and it goes down.
2.        The moon eclipses.  A round object passes across the front of it.
3.        The sun eclipses.  The light of the sun is blocked.
4.        The stars in the Southern Hemisphere can’t be seen in the Northern Hemisphere.  It they are in a dome with Polaris in the center we should be able to see all of the stars.
5.        Antarctica can be crossed.  It isn’t a ring, it’s a continent.

There are so many observable phenomena that must be ignored in order to believe this, that it can’t be anything but an unflinching refusal to believe the truth.

Since the beginning people have refused to believe in God.  Look at this:
 Romans 1:18-20 (NKJV)
1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

“There are those who suppress the truth.”  That word “suppress” means to exclude from consciousness.  In other words, you refuse to believe it.  The scripture says that God’s invisible attributes can clearly be seen since the creation of the world.  So there are spiritual “Flat Earthers” who see what is clearly observable and overlook it.  They refuse to believe the evidence of the existence of God.  In the same way as those who refuse to see accept the shape of the earth even when the evidence of a global earth can clearly be seen.

Those people doubt God’s existence, so they don’t give any authority to His word.  They pick and choose what “truths” to believe and they begin to mix their own philosophies with the truths of God.  How many times have you heard truths of the Bible perverted?  For example, the Bibles says no one enters the Kingdom of God except through Jesus (John 14:6), but how many times have you heard, “Yahweh, Buddha, Allah, they’re just different names for the same God;” or, “If I’m a good person I’ll go to Heaven.”  All of these thoughts are spiritual Flat Earth Models. 

When you refuse to believe the truth you can use your own imagination to fill in the blanks.

Romans 1:21-23 (NKJV)
1:21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Why are there so many different religions?  Because there’s no limit to imagination, the more people you have the more different religious philosophies you can imagine.  The Flat Earth model is nonsense – it’s foolishness.  The Bible says when we reject the truth we will develop foolish philosophies. 

“Professing to be wise they became fools, changing the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.” 

It is a suppression of the truth and I want you to know there are consequences for suppressing the truth.

Romans 1:24-25 (NKJV)
1:24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

These are people who worship their bodies.  They throw away modesty; they sexualize everything.  These are people who are hooked on pornography.  They’re men, who see every woman as a sexual conquest.  They’re women who look at men solely as a source of sensual pleasure.  They’re people who blur the lines of gender accepting anything; hedonists seeking only pleasure.

Romans 1:26-28 (NKJV)
1:26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

In a mind where truth and authority of scripture is overlooked, there is no moral absolute.  In the absence of morality any act, no matter how depraved, becomes possible.

Genocide – destruction of a nationality or race of people.
Abortion – Murder of society’s most innocent.
Transgenderism – You don’t even believe your own body.

These things are a spiritual Flat Earth model.

Resisting the Lies:

Foe the last several months, I've been carefully considering the thought process that leads to a Flat Earth model.  I’ve listened attentively to their arguments.  I’ve attempted to refute logical fallacies.  I’ve even spent time examining the mathematics that accurately explains the Global Earth Model.

To me this kind of discussion is interesting; it’s scientific.  That's always appealed to me; I majored in Biology in the university.  The problem is that it seems like science, but it’s all based on faulty logic incorrect mathematical application, a refusal to believe the easily observable, and a complete lack of understanding of Physics.  In short, it’s not science, it’s pseudoscience. It sounds like science but it’s not.  It’s imagination.

Those who reject the authority of the Bible, creating their own spiritual philosophy that sears the conscience and makes it possible for them to participate in sin without guilt, are involved in something that seems like spirituality, but isn’t.  It’s pseudo-spirituality.  There is a way to resist these arguments.  Immerse yourself in the truth.  Read; study your Bible.  Know what God said.  Eve believed the lie because she didn’t understand clearly what God had said.  Look:

Genesis 3:1-3 (NKJV)
3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' "

God clearly said, “If you EAT the fruit you will surely die.”  He didn’t mention touching it.  That was Eve’s interpretation.  We have to be careful of NEW interpretations of God’s word.  We need to know what God has really said.  The Bible is straightforward and clear.  If we aren’t careful to know the truth, we can be easily deceived by carefully spoken words and slick presentations.  Be on guard – know your Bible.

When Jesus was tempted he turned the devil back with the words of scripture, “It is written…”  When the devil attempted to twist scriptures, Jesus called him on it.  He knew completely the word of God.  He studied it.  He memorized it and spoke it.  Following the scriptures in church and in Bible study isn’t enough.  You have to devour the word of God.  Meditate on the word of God.  Know the truth and reject the lie.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Filters of Fear and Faith

We all make use of filters in life.  A filter is something that screens out impurities.  We filter water before we drink it.  We wear those masks to filter air when we ride our motorcycles.  Filter can affect the quality of what we take into our bodies.

In our cars and scooters there are certain filters that we use.  Our cars have air filters, oil filters and gas filters.  These filters affect the vehicle’s performance.  Unfiltered gas can clog fuel injection lines.  Unfiltered air can allow things to enter the cylinders that can damage the engine.  Unfiltered oil can allow metal shavings that enter and score the cylinders.  All of these things affect the cars performance.

I want you to know that we have spiritual filters that filter our perceptions of the world.  Those filters can affect our performance as well.  Today I want to post on filters from this portion of scripture:

Matthew 6:22-23 (NKJV)
6:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!


There were two sources of inspiration for this sermon.  The first was a comment that my wife made about what we look at and listen to.  The second was the story of David and Goliath from our Bible study on Wednesday (Points of Victory, “The Spear of Intimidation;” by Pastor Greg Mitchell).  This post is what God showed me through those two things. 

Our bodies are created with natural filters; our eyes are filters; our ears are filters.  The things we hear and see can affect us.  The scripture says that the eye is the lamp of the body.  If our eye is good there will be light in the body – The light is goodness and righteousness:

2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV)
6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

Our eye is a filter of light and darkness.  What we focus our attention on is what enters our minds.  What we see isn’t the filter.  What we see is information that requires interpretation.  We take what we see and we FILTER it through our biases, our culture and our frames of reference. 

Today, I want to focus on spiritual filters, specifically, the filters of fear and faith.  These two filters are opposites.  You cannot have faith in presence of fear, because fear betrays a LACK of faith.  If fear is present then faith is not. 

So much of how we behave and react is based on these two filters – many of us struggle with fear:

Fear is a natural response to danger.  It’s a part of the fight or flight response.  This is a natural physiological response to imminent danger.  Adrenaline is secreted into our bloodstreams.  Our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes deeper, so more oxygen can be transported to our muscles.  This can provide more speed when running or more strength when fighting.  Or reflexes become faster so that we’re better prepared to face the danger.  Those responses were built into us for a more dangerous time.

These days we don’t have to run from saber-toothed tigers but we continue to have the same reactions, but now we call them stress and they’re produced by different fears, like fear of failure, for example.

Fear of failure can cause us to react in one or more of following three ways:

1)      We don’t act at all – We’re paralyzed by over-analysis; fearful of a misstep creating more problems.  In sports this often called “the paralysis of analysis.”
2)      We become control freaks – We hold on to every detail.  We don’t allow anyone to help, running ourselves ragged, or;
3)      We become perfectionists and because nothing is perfect we end up doing nothing at all focusing on minor details always striving for an unobtainable result.

There are other types of fear and other reactions.

1)      Fear creates a lack of confidence – I can’t do it – I’m not up to it.
2)      Fear creates procrastination – If I ignore that thing that frightens me, it will go away.
3)      Fear makes you unable to lead – I’ll leave it to someone else so I don’t mess it up.

If we filter what we see through fear it stops us from moving forward in life, it’s destructive to relationships, and it hinders God’s calling in our lives.  Nothing positive is created by fear, but fear is pervasive in society. 

In order to illustrate the differences between fear reactions and faith reactions I’m going to look at one event in which, the filter of fear and the filter of faith cause separate reactions.

The Fear Filter

1 Samuel 17:4-7 (NKJV)
17:4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him.

So here’s Goliath – He’s a huge man about three meters tall (9.5 feet).  The name Goliath is Hebrew and the man is a Philistine, so this is probably a name that the Israelis gave him.  The name means to strip naked – so as to humiliate someone.  Every time they see Goliath and say, “There’s Goliath!” they’re saying, “There’s the one who will strip me naked and humiliate me!”

Words have power, they define the filter that you’re using to interpret the circumstances you find yourself in.  You can speak words of strength and courage or you can speak words of fear and discouragement.  Your actions will always follow the direction seen through your words.  The words "I’m afraid" lead to the actions of fear that I mentioned earlier.  That’s what we see here:

1 Samuel 17:10-11 (NKJV)
17:10 And the Philistine said, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together." 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

They saw him – They heard his words and it caused fear.  That word dismay means to lose courage.  They saw this huge powerful man, they spoke their fear, they heard his taunt – You will be our slaves and they lost the courage to face him.  They quit.

1 Samuel 17:23-24 (NKJV)
17:23 Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.

They used the fear filter.  They took actions of fear; they fled from him.  There’s no victory in fear.  Fear must be overcome in order to see victory.

How often do we filter our circumstances through fear?  “What if I lose my job, I may not find another one?”  “I can’t take a chance and invest my money.  What if I lose it?”  “What if my kids don’t get into the best school?” What if?  What if?  What if?   “I can’t.”  “I’m not qualified.”  “I don’t know enough!”  “They might be offended.”  “They might react angrily.”  That’s the fear filter.  It paralyzes you – It hinders you.

Do you know that great success usually involves great risk?  Edmund Hillary – No one had ever come off of Mt. Everest alive – But he went anyway!  Neil Armstrong – He didn’t know if landing on the moon was even possible – But he did it, anyway. 

Fear takes away the courage to risk.  You have dreams; things you want in life but you filter that vision through a prism of fear…so they never happen.

Fear also destroys relationships.  It creates family friction.

1 Samuel 17:28-29 (NKJV)
17:28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was aroused against David, and he said, "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle." 29 And David said, "What have I done now? Is there not a cause?"

David’s talking to the others, trying to find out what the reward for killing Goliath is.  He’s considering it.  His brother Eliab confronts him, “You’re full of pride.  What can you do?  It’s insolence to think that you can do what this army of battle hardened soldiers can’t do.”  I think Eliab resents David’s courage.  He was also there and he also refused to face Goliath.  He thinks David’s courage highlights his lack of courage so he lashes out.  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever ridiculed someone because they weren’t afraid of what you’re afraid of?  That’s Eliab thinking.

Fear also betrays your lack of faith in God

The Faith Filter

Let’s look now at the Faith Filter.  We find faith in David’s reaction to Goliath.

1 Samuel 17:26 (NKJV)
17:26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, "What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"

Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that defies God’s army?  Who is this enemy of God that has you running scared?  He’s reminding them that they’re instruments of God’s power.  This is the army that took the promised land.  This is the army that has faced enemies too numerous to count.  This is God’s army – Who’s this Philistine punk that thinks he can defeat God’s army?  That thinks he can defeat God? 

So, he goes to Saul, remember he’s a teenager – He’s young.  Look at what he says:
 1 Samuel 17:32-33 (NKJV)
17:32 Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." 33 And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."

He says, “I’m not afraid – I’ll handle this for you – I’ll fight him.”  He’s confident; he has faith in his own abilities and in God’s assistance.  He knows God will help him.  Saul, though, is fearful, “You can’t you’re too young.  I’m a veteran of many battles and I’m scared.  You’re so young, what can you do?”

David’s had victories, though.  He’s a experienced battle, too.
 1 Samuel 17:34-35 (NKJV)
17:34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.

David’s filter isn’t fear – He’s seeing past victories and he’s applying them to this circumstance.  David’s filter is faith; in himself and in God.

1 Samuel 17:37 (NKJV)
17:37 Moreover David said, "The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the Lord be with you!"

David says, “This is no different and since he’s also defying God, God will move on my behalf.”  Faith is the filter that David is visualizing this through.  Faith trumps fear.  Victory is only possible through faith. 

David’s faith encourages.  It doesn’t drive courage away; it causes one to gain courage.  It doesn’t paralyze it makes it possible to take action.  It makes it possible to take a risk that leads to reward.
 1 Samuel 17:48-49 (NKJV)
17:48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.

David, in faith and courage, ran to the battle.  He RAN into the danger and God gave him a victory.  Our faith causes a response on God’s part.  Our faith can be the catalyst to victory.

Finally, your faith can ignite faith in other people. 

1 Samuel 17:52 (NKJV)
17:52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron.

Suddenly, the paralysis of fear that has kept the Israelis from the battle is lifted.  The men rose up and ran toward the enemy, engaging them, chasing them and killing them.  Your victory through faith and courage can inspire others and encourage others to that same kind of action.  If we face challenges through a filter of faith, and people can see that we trust God for the victory, they will trust Him as well. 

What do you look like when there are challenges in your life – fearful?  Are you afraid to move forward?  Lashing out at others?  Or are you like David, filtering the challenge through faith, eager for victory?  Trusting God to bring it and making it happen.

The outcome of any circumstance is the dependent on the filter through which we see that circumstance.

Abraham’s filter was faith – He was called the friend of God.
Moses’ filter was faith – God met with him as with a friend.
David’s filter was faith – He was Israel’s greatest king – EVER!
Paul’s filter was faith – God’s greatest evangelist and missionary.

What are you looking for – Victory or defeat?  Through what do you filter your vision – Fear or Faith.