Before and After


We have all seen them. Before and After photos on television. There are before and after “The Lifestyle Lift”, before and after “Weight Watchers”, before and after “Extreme Makeover” as on the Today Show with Hoda Kotbe and Kathie Lee Gifford. How about Before and After where they tear down or gut someone’s home and remake it into House Beautiful? Then there are the movies – like romantic comedies where the boy who is a buffoon entirely incapable of commitment in any relationship, meets the girl of his dreams, and, still, it takes him the entire movie and many mishaps before he comes to the solid and satisfying realization that he simply cannot live without her and runs, flies, races, after her taxi, airplane, bicycle or whatever mode of transportation she is using to leave his sorry self behind, finally to stand before her and declare his undying love and earnest desire to be with her forever! Yeah. I’ve seen it too, and we appropriately, smile, or quietly weep, or at least let tears brim our eyelids politely as it warms the cockles of our little hearts.

Before and After….nothing compares to the ULTIMATE Before and After, performed by the God of The Universe. Think about it. Look in the mirror. Once we were “dead in trespasses and sins”.

(Ephesians 2:4-10) (But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.)

Did we choose Christ? No. He chose us! Can a “dead man” make a choice? We were dead and He  “made us alive” together with Christ, and then He gave us the Gift of Faith to believe in Him. Before he “made us alive” we had a “heart of stone”. He gave us a heart of flesh! Can a “heart of stone” love God? Can a “heart of stone” have faith? Can a “heart of stone” believe The Gospel? NO.

(1Corinthians 1:18)  “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 

That has to be the Ultimate “Before and After”. “Before” we were dead. “Before” we had a heart of stone. “Before” we were incapable of loving God as dead men.  “After” we have been given a heart of flesh. “After” we have been given the “Gift of faith”. “After” we have been made alive together with Christ, and adopted into the family of God. I submit to you, there is no greater “Before and After” on the planet.

Allelujah!


“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

This is My Body


Benjamin Eliff has a cogent article exploring the differing interpretations on the Lord’s Supper from the viewpoint of Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Non-Lutheran Protestantism. He looks at the doctrine of “transubstantiation” and what Catholics believe about the body and blood of Christ actually existing in the bread and wine of the sacrament. Then he looks at “consubstantiation” from the Lutheran viewpoint of Christ’s spiritual presence in the elements, ending with his take on the true Biblical interpretation on the entire subject. Truly important “food for thought” can be found in this study on “The Lord’s Supper.” From: World View Weekend – CLICK HERE.

Glenn Beck’s: “Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life”


Glenn Beck has a new book on the market by the title you see above this article.  World View Weekend (which you will find a link to on my blogroll to the right) produces a magazine called” World View Weekend Digest. Brannon Howse has penned an article revealing the philosophy Glenn Beck is espousing and preaching in his new book. It is a real eye-opener. Many Christians are naive endorsers of Glenn’s commentaries on the state of America and the world, because he is an articulate, passionate, and persuasive speaker. But don’t let his charisma fool you. Do yourself a favor and read Brannon’s essay by CLICKING HERE. This link will take you directly to page 28 of the WVW Digest. Read it. READ IT NOW.

Of Ducks and Dynasties and GLAAD.


Have you ever gone to Amazon.com and searched Duck Dynasty Merchandise? An eye opener for sure. More than 2,000 items for sale with some connection or other to the Robertson’s Duck Dynasty empire. Prior to the reality show Duck Commander was a leader in the duck call manufacturing industry. $40 million a year selling duck calls is what you might call a successful business. They don’t need the money from the reality show, although being wise stewards and entrepreneurs, you can see they have not lost any opportunity to capture some additional income by marketing products related to their number one reality show. They draw as many as 14 million viewers a week on the program (2 million more, by the way, than the number of viewers who tuned in for the “Breaking Bad finale according to GQ).

A&E has decided to suspend Phil Robertson the patriarch & founder of Duck Commander from the reality program. In today’s politically correct America you can be censored even if the infraction never appeared on their program. Phil had the unfortunate chance to stand still for an interview for GQ where he answered far ranging questions. Inevitably, they got around to gay marriage and Phil in his usual frank and possibly crude manner explained exactly what the Bible says about homosexuality, without any disclaimers. A&E and GLAAD were not pleased. Now, could he have worded his response a little better? Of course, but face facts, would it have made any difference at all? When you quote admittedly paraphrasing from Corinthians 6:9 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men…”  then that is just the jumping off point for a critical interviewer to make hay. As you read the interview, or more properly an article about the family sprinkled with supposed quotes from family members, the author makes fun of them with his own version of crude obscenity laden humor. So…what will become of the Duck Dynasty reality show? Can it survive without Phil in the cast? Will the cast choose to go on without Phil? Will A&E bow to the pressure from GLAAD and forego the millions of dollars they are reaping the most popular reality show on TV? If they do cancel, will other cable channels get in line to ride that gravy train to the bank? Time will tell. BTW there is a movement to boycott A&E on Facebook. My take is to get one and all to send Duck Dynasty ratings through the roof and boycott every other hour on A&E sending the rest into the tank. A total boycott of A&E which made a dip in Dynasty’s ratings would be interpreted as the public boycotting the show because of his remarks in the GQ article, which is the exact opposite that the Facebook page is attempting to achieve. I’m just sayin’.

You say Tomato…


Still a lot of discussion across the internet amongst Evangelicals in regard to plagiarism. Here is my two cents.

What was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira? They sold a piece of property and donated a portion of the proceeds to the church, representing it as ALL of the proceeds of the transaction. How did the Holy Spirit react to their misrepresentation? Rather harshly, right? When you steal someone else’s work and misrepresent it as your own, modern society calls it plagiarism. Scripture might call it Lying. What about “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” is unclear in any way? Who is the plagiarist lying to? His publisher?, his readers?, God? What about “He who knows to do right and does it not, to him it is sin.” Any way you want to look at this issue..sin is involved. We human beings LOVE to rationalize our lies, misrepresentations, characterizations, telling less than the whole truth, because WE think it benefits us in some way. How many sins can we count? Selfishness? Lying?, Failing to do right when we know what to do? Pride? I am sure the list can go on and on. Grace is a wonderful gift from God. My belief is that Grace is designed to protect us from UN-intentional sin. Sins of ignorance. Is deliberate deception UN-intentional? Or is repentance required? To be clear, repentance is required either way when it is brought to our attention, whether by the Holy Spirit, or a talk show host. Sin is Sin. Public sin requires public repentance.