Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Realism - Emotionalism - and Halloween

Realism – Emotionalism – and Halloween
Barbara Henderson

If I were describing my paintings to you I would call myself a realistic impressionist.  That means I paint realistic paintings with an impressionist influence.  But, you can always tell what I am painting.  That is the way the life of a realist is.  We have goals we are working toward, or boundaries we work to live within.  It may not always be clear what we are doing to observers, but it is clear what we are doing if you step back and look at the big picture.

An abstract painter just flings stuff on the canvas, and something turns out that may – occasionally – have a sort of color mix and an ‘almost’ design that is sort of appealing.  But there is nothing real in the painting.  Some people live their lives like that.  Everything is based on their emotions.  If they feel like it today then that is what they do.  If they don’t feel like it tomorrow then they don’t do it. Emotionalists have nothing real in their lives because every action is based on shifting sand.

Obviously, realists have emotions.  However, they do not base their decisions on their emotions.  Good decisions give a realist joy. Hard decisions may give sadness or even a broken heart.  But when these decisions are based on right and wrong they are going to ultimately work for good.  Letting emotions rule one’s life ultimately leads to sorrow and disaster. 

From an emotional point of view the Bible can’t mean it when it says those who reject Christ are choosing to go to hell.  Those souls must get a second chance.  From there you have reincarnation, purgatory, and eventual nothingness.  But if you are a realist, you read the Bible, and you don’t try to change it.  You either believe God or you don’t. 

A realist learns early on not to lie.  The most important person to hear the truth is the realist him/herself.  The realist doesn’t make matters worse or better than they really are. 
An emotionalist looks at things differently.  If he/she feels like the world is coming to an end today then they live today as though the world were coming to an end.  If he/she feels on top of the world today then that is how they live.  If they feel like something is right – even murder of unborn children – then that is a cause they support.  If they feel like it is a woman’s turn in the Whitehouse then they support a woman candidate.  If they feel like someone other than their spouse will make him/her happier then they switch spouses or partners.  Their loyalty is subject to their emotions.  Their work ethic is subject to their emotions.

From an emotional viewpoint the entire world is sitting on shifting sand.  Nothing is secure or good.  Good today is evil tomorrow.  Evil today is good tomorrow. 

And the world today is clearly confused regarding what is right and what is wrong.  The Bible has something to say about those who call good evil and evil good.  Isaiah 5:20-24 says,
     ‘Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Their end is not pretty is it?  Honestly, you cannot be an emotionalist and fully accept the word of the Lord.  Emotions don’t like the harsh reality that the wages of sin is death.  Emotions, instead of going to work to tell people there is one way into heaven, set out mentally to find a way around God’s finished work.  You hear them say things like, ‘The God I know wouldn’t send anyone to hell.’  In one sense they are correct because God doesn’t send people to hell.  People reject Gods offer of salvation, and in effect choose anyplace but heaven with God.  Anyplace without God is hell.

Realistically, they are a lot of things I could point out that are done by emotions instead of by a realistic evaluation of the situation.  But Instead let me point out a few things that are done through a realistic evaluation of a situation.  If you see your brother in need, and you have the means to fill that need, then realistically it is your Christian duty to fill that need.  You may also have the emotion of compassion that helps you give your brother what he needs.  OR, your brother may keep getting himself into a needy place through poor choices, and you may feel somewhat miffed that you are bailing him out again.  But realistically, if you can help him you do it.  Help can take many different ways.  It doesn’t always mean financial help.  It often means  prayer for sinners (such as I am) who really don’t deserve your time or effort.  But, if financial help is what is needed then don’t shirk your duty.

Realistically what some people need is going to be an encouraging word, an acknowledgment of hard work (although hard work not acknowledged is no excuse to stop working hard).

Realistically, children and adults who have no way to church may need your help in getting there.  Do your duty and a then even more. 

A lot of things are done for the joy of doing it, but realistically these things are also right to do. 

There is joy found in doing many things that are right to do.  Being a realist doesn’t mean you have given up joy.  It just means you put right decisions ahead of emotions.

There is joy in holidays spent with loved ones.  Thanksgiving is a favorite of mine.  In anticipation of Thanksgiving I recently opened a can of black olives and ate the entire contents of the can.  (I have cancer – so if I feel like eating something I eat it.  Right now my weight is stable, but I am on a new anti-cancer pill that causes weight loss, so in anticipation of losing weight I am already eating anything I want – including a can of olives.)

Thanksgiving celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November has no Biblical basis, although thanksgiving is commanded throughout the Bible.  I really try to make October, November, and December a time of Thanksgiving.  It sets a good tone for the new year.

Celebrating Christmas doesn’t really have a Biblical basis either.  In other words, the Bible doesn’t say Christ was born on this day and you need a big celebration on that day where you give gifts to everyone.  Honestly, I think just about anyone would admit that Christmas has gotten a little out of hand.  A TV news reporter was doing some street reporting, going from person to person asking about the controversy of saying happy holiday or Merry Christmas. I actually saw someone give an answer something like this. 
     ‘Why can’t those Christians get out of our holiday and leave us alone?  Do they have to stick their nose in everything?’

Realistically, we have an occasion that deserves celebrating!  God came to earth as a baby.  To not celebrate His birth is ungrateful. Celebrate every day!  Do celebrate on December 25th.  Setting aside a day to celebrate is a good thing if we keep the focus on Christ.  Also, we shouldn’t forget that Baby Jesus did not say a baby.  He grew into a man who is the Savior of the world.  Some people stay focused on that baby because the rest of the story, while filled with the overwhelming love of God, is also filled with the harsh reality of the crucifixion, suffering, and that little phrase ‘take up your cross and follow me’.

Then there is Easter or Resurrection Sunday as we Baptists call it.  Obviously, there are pagan elements thrown in to confuse the celebration.  Every good thing on this earth is tainted by sin.  Once again, don’ get caught up in the worldly part of the celebration.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ and His power over death is the high point of history.  Because Jesus Christ lives, His followers will also live again by His power.  We don’t have to do anything.  Jesus did it all at Calvary.  He will do all the work when he descends from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first….   We should celebrate Christ’s resurrection every day.  We should celebrate that He will raise the dead at the appointed time.  But don’t get caught in the worldly aspects of Easter.

We also celebrate man made holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, birthdays, and some families have special days they celebrate.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I think it is good if the celebrations are God honoring, and not used as an excuse to get drunk.

But…..there is one holiday that gains more importance every year. That holiday has no good beginning.  It is Halloween.  Without going into the details of Halloween, we can say it is entirely pagan.  It IS the actual devil’s holiday.  Please don’t make light of its background.  It stems from pure evil.  How can you take something so evil and dress it up as good clean fun?  I understand that while we are not of this world we are still in it.  We pass out candy with Bible tracts when little beggars come to our door on Halloween.  We don’t go out and lecture their parents. 

What I protest is Christians decorating for Halloween, adults dressing as evil beings or women dressing as sluts.  They need to remember that Halloween IS the devil’s holiday from its very beginning.  I don’t see how it can be dressed up enough to take the evil out of it.
Trying to make Halloween into good clean fun is something an emotionalist would do.
Admitting its evil beginning and avoiding it is something a realist would do.

Are you a Realist or an Emotionalist?

Barbara Henderson

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Whatching the World Crumble from the Cleft of the Rock

Watching the World Crumble from the Cleft of the Rock
Barbara Henderson

If you had the opportunity to talk face to face with a liberal talk show host or radio host or even someone on a news channel who would it be?  But more important, what would you say to them?  You can’t curse them and tell them to die.  I mean what would you say that might convince them they are totally backwards in what they are calling good and what they are calling evil?  I would guess that our common ancestor Noah had that same thought in his mind continually.  Thankfully, Noah turned 7 people to the Lord, and they got on the ark of their own free will.  Then the flood came and took all the others away.

Anyway, back to the question.  What would you say if you had an opportunity to talk to someone who is an utterly despicable collectivist who hates America, hates God, and who hates anyone who did not vote for their candidate? I can think of a lot to say, and although I may be bashful with people I don’t know, I am not in the least shy about giving an opinion when I have a chance.  But, in this case, I think I would not worry about what to say.  I would just trust the Lord to give me the right words, because the words I have would probably not come out in any way, form, or fashion as something a Christian should say.  I would probably say something like,
‘Are you blind?’
‘How can you possibly be so stupid?’
‘Do you have any idea of how utterly evil you are?’
‘If you think Islam is a religion of peace then you are ignorant on purpose.’
And, I would not use a nice tone of voice.  The problem with that sort of comment is that it is just venting.  It isn’t constructive, and it won’t do any good.  It might start a fist fight, but that is all.

Short of a miracle, these people will not be turned.  I do remember that the Apostle Paul, the man also called Saul, the man who was there at the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr, was turned by direct intervention on the part of the Lord.  So, I know that some of the leftists elite might turn, most won’t.  Our job is to just speak out when we get the chance.  We probably won’t get a chance to speak to someone in the leftist elite, but you never know.  I guess stranger things have happened.

What is likely is that we will continue to hear lie after lie spoken as the truth, and the truth disparaged as a lie.  We are dealing with a delusional world. They have their conscience seared over.  When they see wrong such as women celebrating ripping unborn babies into pieces, they celebrate instead of even shedding one tear for the innocent life that was tortured to death.  God help us.

Here we sit in America watching all the world slowly fall to pieces.  In addition to the torture of Christians and terror attacks all over the world, we are seeing an attempted political take over by the leftists in politics, media, and Hollywood.  They are fighting and inciting others to fight with every breath they take.

As Christians, we need to remember that this world is not our home, and that our job description has not changed. We are to tell the truth that Jesus Christ alone is the way that leads to everlasting life.  Whether or not we use correct and eloquent grammar, or we have poor language skills makes no difference.  We speak it.  God uses it to enlighten whoever He wants whenever He wills.  Our job is to simply deliver the message.  It might get us in a lot of trouble, but that doesn’t change our duty to speak up.  If you wonder how the Christians being persecuted are facing the torture and execution, I say don’t worry about exactly how they are dmanaging it.  Do pray for the persecuted brothers and sisters.  But, as far as understanding how they do what they do under fire is impossible.  God gives grace when it is needed.  That is far as we can go in understanding.  It is like trying to understand how people get through it when a loved one dies.  They have grace that gets them through it.  It still hurts.  I can say from experience that it hurts a lot!  Looking back, most people don’t know how they got through it. God gives grace as needed. 

The word of the Lord gives us instructions on what to do in perilous times as well as times of peace.  Nothing is accomplished without the hand of God.  God works in the times of peace, unrest, and war.  Take Zechariah 4:6 to heart.  Zechariah had a night like no one ever had before.  He had visions all night long!  He asked the Lord how these things would come to pass.  His answer was:
 ‘Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.’

Zechariah was asking the Lord about the visions he was receiving, and how all this would come to pass.  The Lord basically told Zechariah that the prophecies would not be filled by the power or might of a man, but through the Spirit of the Lord of hosts.  The Lord used Zerubbabel to accomplish His purposes, but everything was done by God and His heavenly armies. 

This is a specific prophecy.  However, we can apply this to our own lives when facing difficulties or in everyday life.  All accomplishments are by the power of the Lord.  Sometimes we work very hard toward a goal and achieve that goal. We are just the means the Lord used to get the job done.  It was His power.  So, don’t be outcome based in your thinking.  Of course do have a hoped for outcome in any endeavor, but ultimately all you can do is the best you can do. Be action based.  Do your job with the best of your ability in a consistent manner.  Exactly how it turns out is in the hands of the Lord.

Matthew 6:34 says,
‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Don’t waste your time worrying about tomorrow.  Just take care of what needs to be done today.  The future does look bleak from a worldly view point.  Christians are facing more persecution every day.  Working people are being taxed into poverty. Sedition against the government is mainstream.  Blah, blah, blah.  You already know what is going on.  The Bible tells us not to focus on tomorrow.  Just do your job today.  Whatever comes to pass, Christians are safe from hell.  There is a reunion at the throne of God for all believers. 

However, we do need a plan that includes getting our work done and if necessary self-defense.  We are not required to bury our heads in the sand and ignore trouble and danger.  We are just not supposed to worry about the outcome. 

Nehemiah chapter 4 gives a wonderful example of how extreme danger was handled while getting a very important job done.  The walls of Jerusalem were in ruin. That left the city defenseless in case of an armed invasion.  Nehemiah had a burden to rebuild the walls of the city.  The king gave Nehemiah permission to go to Jerusalem and build up the walls.  He gave him all the building materials that he needed.  So off he went to Jerusalem to get to work.  As usual, there were some who did not want to see the work of the Lord done.  They set up all sorts of roadblocks for Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem who had a mind to work.  The Jews rebuilding the walls worked and were ready to defend if necessary.  Please – read the entire chapter – or the entire book. Here are a few verses on how Nehemiah responded to the opposition and the danger they faced. Here is just a part of Nehemiah’s story.
    And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
15 And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.
16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
18 For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.
19 And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.
20 In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.
21 So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.
22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day.
23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.’

Every man was armed. 
Every man was ready to defend. 
Every man worked.
So, if you have any doubts about national or personal defense, or the right to bear arms, look no farther than Nehemiah chapter 4 to see what the Bible says. 

An aside here is my opinion that in addition to the workmen being armed that the women, the disabled, the elderly, and those considered too young to work at rebuilding the walls were also armed to the level that weapons were available and they were physically able.

Something to think about is that what we are seeing in the world today is nothing new.  The devil and his followers have been fighting against God and His children since the beginning of time.  When reading the Bible we can see times of terrible turmoil and danger.  In these times the Lord either took His children through the turmoil, or took them out of it.  The Lord isn’t going to forsake us.  His power is still without limits.  Bible prophecy tells us about some things that are going to happen in the future.  It does not give us exact time lines, or personal prophecies concerning our own lives.  It does tell us everything we need to know to be saved and how to behave during our lives.  We are to be obedient to the commands given to us in the Bible.  The Bible is relevant to every age whether it is in line with what is considered socially acceptable or not.  It is still completely true.  And it is complete or sufficient.  We don’t need any new revelation or prophecies from the Lord.  We just need to read the Bible, and apply its teachings to personal actions. The cleft of the rock for believers in Jesus Christ is faith that our God is able to do far more than we even think or ask.  

The world may crumble politically, socially, and eventually physically, but Christians are eternally safe in Jesus Christ.  Just a little longer and our work will be done.