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God: Friend or Foe

God: Friend or Foe?

For Christians, there are some verses in the Bible that are just hard.  Not hard to understand, but hard, in that we wish they weren’t there.  Mark Twain said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”  And there are more of those parts than we like to admit.  We like to argue about the Trinity, who exactly the antichrist is and is he alive today, what does “predestination” mean, who are the 24 elders in Revelations.  But get to the plain meddling verses, and then we start making excuses and exit the conversation, both with others, but worse, with God Himself.

Here is one I came across the other day:

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?  Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4

Wow, that is a pretty straight forward, clear cut, no holds barred, cut-to-the-chase kind of verse.  It’s a verse we like to just skip over, read quickly.  Whatever this means, it’s not a place we want to be, being an enemy of God.  We can read the history of people in the Old Testament to find out just how well that worked out.

What did James mean when he said, “adulterous people”?  Adultery means you are committed to one person in marriage by oath and covenant, and you have gone outside that relationship to fulfill some felt sexual need or want.  Jesus was more broad in saying it was even the thought that can create this sin of adultery.  So when James says we are adulterous people, it means we have forsaken our first relationship with Jesus, and gone after other lovers, like the Jews in the Old Testament.

What did James mean when he used the word “world”?  I think he means the world system that satan has spent millennia setting up, a system that opposes God directly and subtly.  As Christians, we would like to think we would never be on that side of the war (and it is a war).  But I think there is another def. of “world” and that is anything on this planet that we seek to use to fulfill parts of us that only God has promised to fill/fulfill in this covenant relationship with Him.  Essentially, they are things that have become god to us, idols that we worship to help us make our goals of success, security, and meaning in life.  And satan has been very good at disguising his agenda with lots of seemingly innocent vices and devices to lure us into believing that this or that isn’t so bad and that we actually can’t get along without that certain person or thing.

“Friend of the world”  Here are some combined online definitions of “friend” (in italics):

  1. “One attached to another by affection or esteem”

How many times have you recently said, “I just love ______ !” (insert favorite movie star, movie, video, TV show, latest pop singer, song, food, media star, politician (well, maybe not politician). The word “love” is an expression of affection, esteem and personal regard.  Do your affections for the people and things of this world put you on the wrong side of this verse and thus on the wrong side of God?  The passion with which you want to argue this question, the more you probably need to examine your heart to see where your affections lie.  Are you a friend of the world?

  1. One that is not hostile, a person who is on good terms with another

In this verse, there is God and then enemies.  Do you see the world system as an enemy to God and your soul?  If you are not hostile to the world, then to whom/what are you hostile?   God does not give us a choice.  It’s either friendship with God or friendship with the world.  You are either being hostile to the world as an enemy or hostile towards God.  There is no middle ground.  In what you view, listen to and buy, are you consciously fighting against the world’s values, customs and idols?  Or are you on good terms with the world?   Are you a friend of the world?

  1. One that is of the same nation, party, or group

The Bible is pretty clear that when we confess and repent of our sin and accept what Jesus did on the Cross for us to pay for these sins, we are no longer of this world and are just passing through.  We are foreigners and aliens here, sojourners as the Bible writers put it.  Have you aligned yourself with so much of what this world has to offer that they would say that you are of the same “group”?  Do you look like this group, talk like this group, have the same values as this group, buy the same things, go to the same places, like the same things?  With even a cursory glance, what group would others associate you with?  God or the world?   Are you a friend of the world?

  1. One that favors or promotes something

Do you favor the world’s system of “do your own thing” over God’s system of holiness?  When a choice is to be made, of what to think about, watch, listen to or buy, do you use holiness and righteousness and God’s Kingdom values as your guide or do you use the world’s system for reference?   Do you recommend these things to others?  Have you recommended a PG13 or R-rated movie or webpage to your friends on your Facebook page or in a text that would grieve the Holy Spirit?  What about a webpage that would make Jesus’ hands bleed with pain?  The very fact that you favor these things over a holy thought life and then tell others about it, shows where your affections lie.  Are you a friend of the world?

  1. A favored companion

A companion is one who is always by  your side, one who is there to comfort you when you are down, to lift you up when you stumble. Where do you go when you need comfort?  Where do you escape to numb the day’s events?  What idols of the world do you use to medicate your life?  An idol is something or someone that promises all the things that God has promised to provide but can never deliver.  Do you depend on the world system to provide for you what only God can provide?  What’s on your radio first thing in the morning, in the car, on your computer, on your phone, and in your ear buds?  What companions have you chosen to get you through your day and finally put you to sleep at night?  Are you a friend of the world?

In case this isn’t enough of an indictment, here are few more unambiguous verses:

 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”  I John 2:15-17

And then there is this:

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”  3 John 11

This last verse could be a whole blog in itself.  Why is it that Christians, especially the youth (who are probably mimicking their parents or actually encouraged by them) tend to imitate the worst the world has to offer?  Why is it that “edgy” is the word for the day and if you aren’t a little “out there” then you just don’t fit into today’s Christian youth culture?  The problem with imitation is that what one imitates, one assimilates.  Is this about looking like a friend of the world for acceptance but then actually trying not to be one?   It seems the stats of what happens in the world and what happens in the church aren’t so different, so this isn’t working.  This is nothing new; we did it in the 60s and 70s with the whole hippy, drug, free sex culture.  But I digress…

Now, you can argue against all these verses, statements and questions, and come up with your own definitions of what “friendship with the world” means, working in your vices, habits and preferences. You can make up grey areas in the places where your particular likes, wants, desires and behaviors don’t fit into these verses.  We don’t want God meddling with certain areas of our lives, so we redefine terms or just say that certain things are ok and don’t fit under the “friend” category.

But I wonder: Is Jesus impressed with your arguments?  Would He buy into them?  If He would show up at your door a 6PM on a Saturday night, would He say, “Wow, I never thought about how useful that world system is and how meaningful it can make a believer’s life.  Thanks for pointing that out to Me.  I’ll have to talk to satan to see if I can borrow some of his ideas to promote the Kingdom, since so many Christians seem to think they are just fine to incorporate these things into their daily lives anyway.  Maybe I’ve been too hard-nosed about that whole Ten Commandments thing.  By the way, what’s on Netflix tonight?  Mind if I watch with you?”

So, are you a friend of the world?

Are you being honest?

Are you only asking yourself in a general sense, where you give yourself an A-, or have you gotten specific?

Are you making excuses for “friend” behaviors because your comforts, entertainment and peer acceptance are more important than being a friend of God and more necessary to your life than personal holiness?

There will be no excuses when we someday stand before the Holy God Almighty, where He will discern whether we are His friend or not.  And in the final analysis, it’s only His opinion that matters.  Seems like something mighty important to think about.

Wisdom for the Day

The Wisemen of Christmas fame did not travel all that way to bow down in worship, asking for gifts.

If you reject the Bible because it shares hard truth about you, it’s like blaming a mirror for your dirty face, messed up hair and bad breath.

As a Christian, never believe you are somewhere by accident nor someplace for no reason.

Would you be disappointed if Jesus were to return tomorrow?  Your answer shows where your treasure is and where your allegiance lies.

If you have a specific amount of money in mind, that if you had it you would no longer worry about your future, that number is your god.

As Christians, we have this silly mistaken notion that if money comes to us, it’s ours.

Keeping up with the latest fashion is really a kind of Olympic event, except this race is never over and there are no winners.

Woodworking Tips and Tricks…Carpet Tape

There are times when clamps will get in the way of machining operations.  Several places are the table saw, router table and routers.  If you clamp to the fences or the router base, the clamp is in the way of what you want to do.

Carpet tape is the answer.  Comes about 2″ wide and has some pretty good grip if used correctly.  This is NOT double stick foam tape but the thin double stick tape that you can use to hold a throw rug in place.  You use foam tape at your own risk…that stuff is pretty much permanent…

This is useful for putting a tall fence on the table saw for doing fancy work on the edge of a board so you can keep the piece vertical and not have it wobble on the short existing fence.  Clamps will get in the way of this.  This will also work on the router table fence if it has a smooth surface.  Also, it can be used to put guides on a router base where clamps will interfere.  There are many other uses that you will find once you have bought your roll.  I have used this many times over the years.

Make sure the surfaces are flat and free of dust, wax, silicone or whatever you use to slick up the surfaces on your fences. .   Don’t skip this step or the tape won’t stick.  Don’t skimp on the amount of tape, but also don’t get carried away with using too much.  Too little and it will come off at the wrong time, and too little and you will have a bugger of a time tearing down you setup.   If the two surfaces aren’t flat, the tape won’t grip…it won’t fill a gap.  If the tape folds over and sticks to itself or goes on in ripples, the remove it and put another piece on flat.  You don’t want any air gaps anywhere in the tape.

You will also probably mess up a few pieces before you get one to go on correctly…done that many times.  There is not easy way to remove the protective layer and you will pick at it and mess with it and by the time you are done, it’s time to throw that piece away and get another one.  Peel the tape off one side only at first, apply and then peel off the other side protective layer.  Sometimes this can be hard to do.  I have found that a knife works to tease the protective layer from the tape.

After cleaning and applying tape, place the surfaces together and clamp it if you can, hammer it pretty good.  This insures the tape is good and stuck.  Then do your machining.  To remove the fixture, slide in a putty knife and work it around to break the bond.  If it seems like this was all a big mistake and it won’t come off, take some acetone and dribble it where the tape is and it will dissolve the bond.

Hope this helps you with your impossible to clamp setups.

Wisdom for the Day

Men are commanded in Scripture to unconditionally love their wives.  But woe to the person who dares utter that wives are to treat their husbands with unconditional respect.  Many woman would see this as an oxymoron.

We hear these days about the “Thin Blue Line.”  If law enforcement is the only barrier between a civil society and chaos, our culture is already lost.  JP

Earth is crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes;  the rest sit around and pluck blackberries.

If God calls you to be a doorkeeper, don’t stoop to be a king.

Look around at your possessions, your job, you friends, and your money.  They are but a hand mirror, reflecting back who you are in your soul.

You don’t have to keep your kids entertained all the time.  Boredom is where creativity is born.

Quotes from Books Revival Praying by Leonard Ravenhill

More quotes from Revival Praying by Leonard Ravenhill.

No man who prays, struts!

To many, prayer is dry because they do all the talking.

The place where the Christian stops to refuel is prayer.

But in Spirit born prayer, I believe we pray God’s burden into and through our hearts.

We can use words without praying, and we can pray without using words….there is a language of the Spirit beyond words – groanings that cannot be articulated, that defy language, that are the yearnings of the heart of God committed to those who seek to know His will and to care for the lost world and feeble Church.

I feel deeply that we trifle with the [Holy Spirit] even in prayer.  What a trivial round of petitions we get in the average prayer meeting!

To be much for God, we must be much with God.

Prayer is taxing.  Prayer is exacting.  Prayer means enduring.  Prayer means denying self, daily dying to self by choice.  But someone says, “There’s nothing wrong in going fishing for a couple of hours.”  Maybe not if you are prayed up.  Yet there is something wrong when we go fishing or do some other thing without the Spirit’s leading.  It is wrong when instead of praying we do things to please ourselves.  There cannot be two operators of the Christian’s life.  We are either Spirit led in everything or self led.

Wisdom for the Day

“Easy” isn’t ever where we meet Jesus.

We wonder why God doesn’t act because we are looking at our watches and God is looking at the calendar.

The strength of your marriage can be gauged by how often you laugh at yourself, at/with each other, and at life.  Laughter covers a multitude of sins.

“Jesus is mine.”  What standing do we have to claim ownership of Almighty God?

Gossip:  Sharing anything about someone, when the act of sharing is not part of the solution to the person’s problem.

Are you really so awesome that you want everyone to be like you?

Make this day count.  You only get one shot at it.

If you were your boss, would you promote you?



What Do You Believe is True?

I don’t remember where I got these questions but the point is convicting and worth repeating.

  1. Do you believe everything is true that you read in newspapers, books and magazines?
  2. Do you believe everything is true that you read on the internet?
  3. Do you believe everything is true that you read on your phone, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the text messages you get?
  4. Do you believe everything is true that you see/hear on TV, movies, videos?
  5. Do you believe everything is true that you hear in the music you listen to?
  6. Do you believe everything is true that God says in the Bible?

If you said no to the first 5 and yes to the last one, why do you spend the majority of your time watching, reading, listening to something you don’t believe is true, and spend so little time reading something you do believe is true?