Will Solomon be in Heaven

To repent and turn from our wicked ways is the only way we can be fruitful. Solomon comes to my mind here. He was literally hell bound. In 1 Kings chapter 11 we find out God talked to Solomon twice about turning from his wicked ways. He did not wholly follow the Lord and His ways and the punishment God had for him was not Hell's Fire... but the punishment was physical. God raised up 2 enemies against Solomon. Hadad and Rezon. Then God promised to take away the united kingdom of Israel from Solomon's son.

I once thought that Solomon would not be in heaven. I thought because Solomon led the Israelites into idol worship and even worse by building worship places to Molech and Astoreth... the first to sacrifice human babies to and the second for prostitution of children and women that there was no way God could ever allow Solomon into heaven. How could He? What Solomon did was an abomination!

Of course, that road of thinking leads to works-based salvation and we all know that we are not working to get to Heaven, right? We only get there by grace and mercy from the LORD God Almighty.
Then I read--I mean really read Ecclesiastes 12. Solomon is very old when he writes this book and he writes it as repentance. He tells us that he did investigate everything and it was all in vain. Only the Lord God is worthy. His last words are very telling. "Fear God and obey His commands; there is no more to man than this. For God brings everything we do to judgment, and every secret, whether good or bad."

God's ways are not our ways, and God's thoughts are not our thoughts. Neither shall I ever try to say "this one is saved and that one is not saved." However, I can say, "That person professes Jesus but his actions are far from Christ-like." A person's fruit is testimony to whether the tree (person) is a good tree or a bad tree.

Therefore, I'll throw this on the table for discussion: If a person habitually and continuously walks in the darkness while professing to live in the light--is that person is a liar and is not and never was a Christian to begin with?

A big mouth can cause big trouble

What is the one thing that usually gets us in trouble? James says it can light a fire. James 3:5 So also the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold, how little a fire kindles how large a forest! I used to have a plaque that had an "Elroy-was-here" face on it. If you are too young to remember that, back during WWII, you could find this hand drawn icon in a lot of different places. It was a straight line with a huge nose draped over it and large round eyes and hands on each side of the nose gripping the fence. My plaque read, "Lord, help me to keep my big mouth shut and my nose out of other people's business." It was good for me to remember that.

Our mouth (or tongue) has a habit of running without our brains kicking in gear and that usually gets us in hot water. The same thing happens in our next funny story from the Bible.

Judges 9:26-41
What about Gaal? (Gaal means Loathing. He was the son of Ebed who was one of the sons of Adin who returned from exile with Ezra.) “In those days, there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

A little background here... Gideon saved Israel from the tyranny of the Mideonites with just 300 men -- a drop of water compared to a river. He had a lot of wives and those wives gave him 70 sons. After Gideon saved the Israelites, they begged him to rule over them. Even then, they wanted a king. Gideon told them "No way. GOD will rule over you." He was hardly cool in the tomb before Israel went back to worshiping Baal and bowing down in the high places. Then along comes Abimlech. He was Gideon's son, but his son by a concubine, not a wife, and she was from Shechem. Abimlech slew each of his brothers except one, Jotham, who managed to hide from Abimlech's slimy followers. Abimlech had gone to the leaders of Shechem and advised them they'd be better off being ruled by someone that was one of them.

Jotham gets up on his soapbox and tells the people of Shechem just how the cow eats the cabbage. He told a parable. (A most delicious way to teach and make a point, which Jesus used frequently.)

All the trees decided they needed a king so they asked the olive tree to be king. No way... said the olive tree, "No. I'll have to quit making my fruit so that I could do all that work. I'd no longer be servant to God." The other fruit trees said the same thing. Isn't it interesting that the fruit trees were asked and the fruit trees said no? The fruitful were the most valued. The oak and the pine and the cedar trees are only useful after they are cut down, but the fruit trees are more useful while producing fruit. Then all the trees ask the bramble to be king, to which the bramble scrambles to grab the crown. Just like Abimlech did. The worthless, scratching and destructive choking bramble trying to rule. He only ruled for three years. Compare that to the good judges who judged, not ruled, for at least 40 years.

Enter Gaal.

This dog... er, bramble... sniffs the wind and sees how it lays. Then his mouth runs way ahead of his brain.
Gaal gets the citizens of Shechem to transfer their allegiance to him. They go out and press grapes having a big ole party. Gaal obviously gets drunk and blasts Abimlech.

"Who is Abimlech? He's not so big as the Shechemites!" He beats his fists on his chest and with a great Tarzan imitation. “If I were in charge here, I would know how to get rid of Abimlech!" (Insert the Tarzan yell), "I would say to him, ‘Let's take this outside buster...let's fight!’ Nana nana boo boo... “ This type of taunt is usually accompanied with the behind wiggle and the finger waggle, hands held appropriately about ear level. Here is one drunk bramble trying to take over another bramble's territory.

Oh, and Governor Zebul hears all about it! "Ummmmmm! " You can just hear the wheels in the man's mind rattling around and 'round. "I'm tellinnnnn'!"

The Gov gets this brilliant idea and sends Abimlech a message and tattling all about it. Then tells Abimlech exactly what to do. He's the Governor after all and that's what governors are supposed to do? Right? Tell other people what to do. He tells Abimlech the basics of the classic Indian ambush! Hide in the bushes at night and when Gaal appears "do what the situation requires" in the morning. What was the Gov thinking? Do we have a three-way bramble brawl?

So when Gaal gets up in the morning probably not feeling very spiffy, probably with an exploding hangover, he downs his morning coffee, yawns, stretches, scratches the itches, then he goes and stands in the open gate! What a target. What a stupid thing to do. All night he was mouthing off about Abimlech to Abimlechs relatives. Didn't he know they were kith and kin? It was like "Uh, here I am...I'm the one in the red shirt!"

Any one who has had even the remotest contact with small towns, knows that everyone is related in some way, shape or form in small towns. This is how Abimlech became ruler... he was bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh. It just isn't wise to say anything about anybody in a small town because sure as you do, you'll step on a cat's tail and set up the squalling all over the place.

It didn't matter that Shechem's leaders had put violent men in the mountain passes to rob the passers-by to undermine Abimlech. That was just brotherly squabbling. Everyone knows you don't step in between brothers when they squabble. They'll turn on you with a united front and down you'll go in a TKO in three seconds flat.

Standing in the gate, Gaal sees this huge army outside the gate and panics. He runs behind Zebul's skirt...
He says all whiney, "Gov Zebul, baby, there are big men with knives and stuff coming!"

Gov. Zebul, knowing the plan and seeing that its working just fine says, "Oh, no. That's just shadows you're seeing." Can't you see that sly grin behind that hand? Can't you see those winking eyes and jabbing elbows?

Now, the hungover Gaal is probably seeing double through the pounding of his head and here is the classic case of seeing what you want to see. Whether Zebul was stalling for time, or was calling Gaal a scaridy cat for becoming alarmed at shadows is speculative. Gaal alarmed himself, it seems by pointing out they were surrounded by an army sporting war weapons.

Gov. Zebul looks at him with beady eyes and says, "All right Big Mouth, you wanted to be in charge here. You were the one that said Who is Abimlech? There he is [finger jabbing Gaal’s chest and a smirk on face] Go out and fight him!"

Then Gaal goes out the gate [knees trembling] and fights. But Abimlech basically says “BOO!” and chases Gaal. He flees with tail tucked between his legs after there are bodies strewn all the way to the gate. Zebul then bans Gaal and his brothers from living in Shechem.

What’s the lesson here? Big mouths often cause big trouble. I think the better lesson here is choose carefully the person you follow or consort with because he's liable to cause you great pain or harm. I keep thinking about those fellows who followed Gaal. He ran and left them high and dry without so much as a horn-tooting-retreat. They wound up dead. It is crucial to know the character of the person you choose as a leader. How often do we vote without the first real thought of how that person votes on legislation? How well do we know how each candidate feels about each issue? Too often, we find out too late when the person is in office and we can't change it for years. Sometimes, the very bad choice made is because we are so apathetic to even voting. How sad. Arm chair critics are quick with their tongues, but slow with their fingers. Know the candidates and what they stand for. In my opinion, we've got too many brambles in Congress. Remember to VOTE!

Obamacare: 2,500 pages of lies

I did everything right when this nightmare began. I emailed and called my representative and senators. They knew how I felt and felt the same way, too. They voted against the Lies buried in 2,500 pages that were coated in tiny bits of truth, and lots of “what a disadvantaged person wants to hear.” But, the thing passed anyway. It is just plain DUMB. Anyone who would vote for something without knowing and understanding not only what is written in it, but all the ramifications of it is just plain DUMB.
Obama promised in a speech to the AMA back on June 15, 2009  http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/06/15/obama-if-you-like-your-doctor-you-can-keep-your-doctor/ that everyone would be able to keep their own physician. But if your doctor steps away from the Medicare program and you are on Medicare, then you can’t keep your doctor. Before 2007, doctors who left the Medicare system were very few. The Texas Medical Assoc. says that their survey in 2008 revealed the 300 doctors that have left the system in the past two years far exceeded their assumptions.  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7009807.html It is because of the alarming decreases in reimbursements (21% in 2010 alone).
“You do Medicare for God and country because you lose money on it,” said Dr. Guy Culpepper, a graduate of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and a family practitioner. “The only way to provide cost-effective care is outside the Medicare system, a system without constant paperwork and headaches and inadequate reimbursement.”
In Obama’s speech on September 9, 2009 to the joint session of Congress, he promised again that there would be zero federal dollars spent on abortions. That is simply not true. States like Pennsylvania http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/233141/democrats-life-call-your-office-kathryn-jean-lopez and New Mexico will be using federal funds to abort babies…
“The section on abortion (see page 14) asserts that “elective abortions are not covered.”  However, that statement proves to be a red herring, because the operative language does not define “elective.”  Rather, the proposal specifies that the coverage “includes only abortions and contraceptives that satisfy the requirements of” several specific statutes, the most pertinent of which is 18 Pa. C.S. § 3204, which says that an abortion is legal in Pennsylvania (consistent with Roe v. Wade) if a single physician believes that it is “necessary” based on “all factors (physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age) relevant to the well-being of the woman.” 
In one word: appalling.
The most frightening of all is that this Obamacare package requires all businesses to maintain some medical healthcare security for their employees. The burden is so great that some businesses will find it cheaper to just pay the $2,000 fine per employee. In fact, premiums are so high now that $2,000 per employee sounds good to employers. For example…
AT&T, for example, paid $2.4 billion last year to cover medical costs for its 283,000 active employees. If the company dropped its health plan and paid an annual penalty for each uninsured worker, the fines would total almost $600 million. But that would leave AT&T with a tidy profit of $1.8 billion. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703880304575236602943319816.html
Even the fact that a company like AT&T even did the internal computations to find out the cost effect of the fines is scary enough to make me tremble.
Any person who can balance their own check book knows without having to do any kind of heavy calculations that when you try to insert 30 million people into a medical care system that is overburdened as it is because of fewer and fewer physicians that the system will collapse under this “last straw”. Malpractice insurance costs depleted our physician pool, and the low reimbursements of Medicare and Medicaid have reduced the pool even further. Now, the burden of even lower reimbursements along with the HMO-type of government decisions on what kind of care will be paid for (Sarah Palin called them the “death panel”) http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=116471698434 takes the medical decisions out of the hands of the physicians and puts them into the hands of bureaucrats. That is just plain DUMB. Oh, there is a lot more of the lies, but right now, I’m sick of DUMB.

We have the supernatural strength of Sampson

Be strong in the Lord
Be as strong as Sampson…Sampson’s strength
Enduna Moo
Mighty Power – Ischurf Endowment of physical or mental or moral power.

God is perfectly capable of empowering us with His mighty power.  Kratos denotes the presence and significance of force or strength rather than its exercise.

One verse that has strong, might and power.  God has the power but not necessarily exercises the power.  Endunmoo Dynamite.  God has the mighty power but we must do something to cooperate with him to utilize that power.  The strength is conditional and only one way it will be demonstrated within us.  This kind of power does not come by being born again, but through some conditions.


We must put on the full armor of God.  Put on… enduo sink under.  To put on as a garment.
This is a deliberate action.

Just as we are first born naked, we are reborn naked.  When we are born, we have everything internally we need for our new life…heart, lungs, blood etc.  Clothes are put on to keep us warm.  Shelter to protect us.

Jesus says just as we are born naked, we are reborn naked.  We must put on our clothes, our protection.  If we have one thing uncovered Satan will find it.

Dunamai to have the power demonstrated.  God has everything we need to fight this fight and we must put on that armor which is panoplia.  So that we can stand against the devil’s schemes.  To be steadfast and firm.  We cannot fight laying down or sit down but to stand.  Pros  a preposition of direction; forward to, that is, toward.  God is saying that we will face forward and go toward to learn how to do battle against Satan face to face.  Never turning our backs on him.

James 4:7 Then be subject to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Antistete  resist.  ἀνθίστημι
anthistēmi anth-is'-tay-mee From G473 and G2476; to stand against, that is, oppose: - resist, withstand.  Take a stand against the Devil.  We must hate him with a passion. 
Satan goes and tattles on us.  God wants us to be at the throne of Grace before Satan gets there.
Μεθοδεία  this is the word translated “wiles”… “schemes”.
From a compound of G3326 and G3593 [compare “method”]; traveling over, that is, travesty, (trickery): - wile, lie in wait.  Following and pursuing of an orderly and technical procedure in the handling of the subject.  And the subject is us!
Satan has a method for his actions. 
Satan has a method, and orderly plan for our life.
“Satan is the antithesis of every Godly attribute.” John MacArthur.
Joh 10:10  The thief does not come except that he may steal, and kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly.

Joh 8:44  You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you desire to do. That one was a murderer from the beginning, and he has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own, because he is a liar, and the father of it.
Jer 29:11  For I know the purposes which I am planning for you, says Jehovah; purposes of peace, and not for evil; to give you posterity and a hope.
Jer 29:12  Then you shall call on Me, and you shall go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Jer 29:13  And you shall seek and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
2Ti 2:22  But flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, with the ones calling on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2Ti 2:23  But refuse the foolish and uninstructed questionings, knowing that they generate quarrels.
2Ti 2:24  But a slave of the Lord ought not to quarrel, but to be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing,
2Ti 2:25  in meekness teaching those who have opposed, if perhaps God may give them repentance for a full knowledge of the truth,
2Ti 2:26  and they having regained senses out of the snare of the devil, being captured by him to do the will of that One.
God’s Will for us…
Rom 8:28  But we know that to the ones loving God all things work together for good, to those being called according to purpose;

Satan’s will for us…
all things work for evil…Satan takes what is behind us and before us and weave it together for our harm. We must see this from God’s point of view.

Satan’s method is against us individually.  Eph 6:12
Eph 6:12  because wrestling against flesh and blood is not to us, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenlies.
PALE … struggle.  To Shake, vibrate, to wrestle a struggle in hand to hand combat.  This war is hand to hand and denotes the struggle between individual combatants during a military campaign.  WE are arm-wrestling with Satan individually.  We cannot rely on anyone else to fight the battle for us. 
We must be one on one with Christ in order to win the battle.
Satan’s methods start early…

Mat 18:1  At that time the disciples came to Yeshua, saying, "Who then is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?"
Mat 18:2  And He called a child to Himself and set him in the middle of them,
Mat 18:3  and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mat 18:4  "Whoever then humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Mat 18:5  "And whoever receives one such child in My name, receives Me;
Mat 18:6  "but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Mat 18:7  "Woe to the world because of its stumbling-blocks! For it is necessary that stumbling-blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling-block comes!
The treatment of children is taken so very personally and strongly by Jesus. 

Someone else can cause us to sin.  We are responsible but we can be set-up to sin by someone else.  Jesus says that when you have set one of my children up to sin, you have made Me angry. 
Must come – things are inevitable and will happen  σκάνδαλον
A “scandal”; probably from a derivative of G2578; a trap stick (bent sapling), that is, snare (figuratively cause of displeasure or sin): - occasion to fall (of stumbling), offence, thing that offends, stumbling-block.  The trigger on a trap which the bait is placed.  Satan places that bait on our trap as children.  Satan waits for the snap.  Enticement to conduct to ruin our minds. 

Satan is our enemy.  He is trying to tear apart everything in our life and it starts as a little child.  Our battle is not against our loved ones or anyone else human.

We must take a stand against him…
“People believe that spiritual victories come by simply surrendering more to God.  They believe that the Christians role is passive.  But that is not so.  WE must apply ourselves to good deeds, cleanse from filth, work out our faith, be strong in the strength of His might.  God supplies the resources and we supply the effort.”
The strength of Sampson!
Jdg 16:2  The Gazites were told, saying, Samson has come here. And they encircled and set a trap for him all the night at the gate of the city, and kept quiet all night, saying, Until the light of the morning, then we will kill him.
Jdg 16:3  And Samson lay down until the middle of the night, and rose up in the middle of the night. And he took hold on the leaves of the gate of the city, and on the two side posts, and plucked them up with the bar, and put them on his shoulders and took them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron.
Mat 16:18  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against her.
We have the supernatural strength of Sampson!

Bank robber commits suicide

Desperate men do desperate things. This is just one example. The article I read got me to pondering deeply about why people do such things.

A man robbed a local bank (one that was close to the interstate) and fled the scene. The teller gave extremely accurate details of what he looked like and the car he drove away in. The police sped after him, a sheriff's deputy was somehow embroiled in the pursuit.

The robber was not familiar with the area because he tried to turn into Anchor Rd while still at high speed. That road is a horseshoe and comes out almost at the same place you turn in.) He lands in the ditch just as police and the Sheriff catch up to him. The man gets out of the car with gun in one hand and a wad of money in the other hand, and shoots himself in the head.

One has to marvel at the despair and lack of hope his actions of the morning dictate to the world. What drove him to rob a bank? The economy? Lack of job? Kids to feed? House to keep?

He wasn't very professional about the task. He parked where the whole bank full of people could see what he was driving. She got an excellent look at his face and clothes. He never flashed his gun around, he just told her he had a gun. But the saddest thing of all is that he was probably holding just enough money in his hand to solve the most pressing of his financial problems, yet he chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

We'll never know his motive. Most would assume that motive for robbing a bank was greed and laziness. But somehow, that doesn't ring true for this fellow. It is too late to pray for him, but I shall pray that his family will be able to forgive him for his selfish act of suicide and his misguided thinking that robbing a bank would solve any financial woes.

What is sacrificial love? Win a Ted Dekker t-shirt

 You have a chance to win a Ted Dekker t-shirt by answering a simple question. Although the answer won't be so simple, I'm thinking. I usually do this kind of thing on Upon Reflection blog, but since this is an excellent question, I thought I'd do it here. 
All you have to do is comment on this post and write out your contact information (it will not go on any mailing list, nor will I use it to spam you!!!) Write it out like I.M.Someone at abc dot com. If you have trouble, you can email me at G L Burgess at gmail dot com.  Here are my thoughts on Sacrificial Love...
What is sacrificial love? That is the question asked by Ted Dekker of his fans and of the bloggers on this tour of his new book, Immanuel’s Veins.
Oddly, that term is not in the Bible. Nor is the term unconditional love found, but these principles are stark realities of God’s Word. We are to present ourselves and living sacrifices, Paul tells us in Romans 12:1. I wrote about unconditional love several years ago and still believe that humans are not capable of unconditional love without the continuing super power of God infusing our being completely and solely. How often does that happen?
Yet, there is Jesus on the cross thinking about the joy beyond, not the shame of the moment. There is the instance of Abraham who was told by God to sacrifice his precious son, Isaac. There is Paul who was beaten and left for dead, whipped, ship-wrecked, starved, worked for his living, who loved God so much that he bore all the tribulations to obey the command, “Go and make disciples.” The Apostles died terrible deaths for the Gospel, all for love of our Father who created us in His image and who gave His only Son so that we would be reconciled to Himself. That is sacrificial love. It is putting our self-serving desires aside to provide service to a greater cause.
Every Christian must know the difference between lust and love, but not every Christian exhibits sacrificial love. It goes against the human nature to love someone else more than oneself. God knows this which is why the 2nd Greatest Command is to Love one another as you love yourself. Healthy sacrificial love is not beating the chest, or slicing to let blood flow. It isn’t being crucified every Easter to show the world how much you love God.
It is quiet. It is sweet. It is unannounced. It is done, not talked about. A mother gives her tiny, daily ration to her child instead of eating the only meal she’s been able to scrounge, though she starves, her child will live. A father works three jobs so his wife doesn’t have to and his children can eat and go to college. A sister gives her favorite dress instead of loaning it so that her sister can look nice on an interview and get a job. A brother gives his kidney to his brother so he may live.
Sacrificial love is more than compassion in action. It is the ultimate giving of one’s self to make life or liberty better for others. Is it possible to exhibit it on a continual basis? We would die trying.

Honoring a fallen hero of 9/11

Please click on the link to read the tribute to Maj. Steve Long who gave his life for his country on September 11, 2001.

Let us never forget what happened that day. Let us forever remember that as long as we stand together we will overcome our foes. Divided we fall, divided we fail.

Big words...

I love learning new words. I am somewhat of a wordsmith, but I do not like to have to read an article or text book with a dictionary in the other hand. Use of words is truly important because if used out of sync to the meaning, then it only makes the user of the word look foolish. Since the word euphonious is an adjective meaning melodious, to say an euphonious keeps you smart would make a musician laugh and a professor scratch his head.

I have tested some of my stories with the grammatical feature on Word and find that with some I'm writing at a 5th grade level and with others, I'm at 10th grade. One has to wonder what makes the grammatical thing tick? Is it the use of big words? Is it the length of sentences? It certainly isn't the subject matter per se. I'm just wondering...

Can you tell a story in one sentence?

I sometimes remember the six words that tell a tragic story, "Baby shoes for sale, worn once." That story makes my heart constrict. At my group on LinkedIn, we did an exercise concerning telling what we do in a creative way using 15 words or less... I'm still working on that one because I have SO many interests and SO many irons in the fire.

I was wondering if there is anyone out there who would like to put their thinking caps on and tell a story using 20 words or less?

I have a Ted Dekker t-shirt that I will give away to the winner. The deadline for your entry to count toward the t-shirt is September 15, 2010 at Midnight Central Time.