Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Friday
Apr192019

I Can't Stop

This is a complicated, profound case problem. After six hours of Bible research, you may have a good grasp of how our LORD wants us to deal with the most significant problems in our lives. To do a thorough study can take as much as a dozen hours—but they’re worth it. The voyage of discovery will give you in-depth understanding of human nature and of Jesus as our Savior.

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You’re having lunch with a friend who surprises you by saying, “I need to tell you about my problem. Like, make a confession.”

You gulp, take a breath, take courage, and say, “. . . OK.”

“Now what I say here has to stay here. You can’t repeat this to anyone—even if you don’t mention my name.”

You agree, and your friend then tells you of a controlling addiction that is life-destructive. It has been deep-seated for years. “And the problem is, I can’t stop. What’s worse, I don’t want to stop. It’s become my joy in living. Yet, I know it’s wrong. I know God doesn’t like it. I know it’s wrecking my life. When I’m in my right mind, I’m miserable and ashamed and appalled. Dozens of times I’ve tried to stop—and failed every time. Is there any help? What can I do?”

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What are the relevant passages of Scripture?

What would you pray?

What would you say?

What would you do?

What is the Gospel message here?

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The word “addiction” is only about four-hundred-years old. However, in his letters, Paul uses another word repeatedly which precisely describes the effects of addiction. Find that word—it’s the key to dealing with this case problem.

Two people are speaking in the case problem above. Can you identify them?