Thursday, February 14, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms #41


Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


#41

“True and False Expectations”

Psalm 41 is about David’s expectations.

David expects people to betray him: “My enemies speak maliciously about me…They store up evil in their hearts against me…They plan to harm me...They wish the worst for me…They form committees to plan misery for me…Even my friend in whom I trusted has betrayed me.”

David expects he will betray God: “Lord, I know I’m a sinner.  Please be kind and generous to me because I have sinned against You…Please put me back together again because my bad behaviors are tearing me apart.”

David expects God to save him from himself: “But You, God, be gracious and lift me up…Yes, I know You do…You always come through for those who trust You…You save me from them and myself…You keep me…You preserve me…You don’t give me over to my enemies and You sustain me in time and forever.”

Summarily, David expects a lot from God and next to nothing from everyone else including himself.

True expectations count on God in time and forever.

False expectations count on people for anything.

While I may be wrong, I think too many people have missed the course on original sin.

The original or first sin was Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the garden that went something like this.

God: “Don’t do that!”

Adam and Eve: “But we wanna do that no matter what You say.”

Et that instinct, that bent on sinning or rejecting and going against God’s will for our lives, is why we need Savior Jesus to save us from ourselves.

It’s in our genes to sin.
We have an instinct or inherited inclination to insult God’s holiness and injure God’s people.

While becoming born anothen (again and from above) by grace through faith in Jesus as part of the Christian family, the apple never falls too far from the tree as we’ll always also be the Adamsons or daughters and sons of Adam and Eve with that undeniable and awfully repeated and irresistible desire to paddle our own canoes against the flow of His living waters.

That’s why there’s nothing original about sin.

It’s one of the things that we’re sooooooo repetitively bad at…like sentences ending in prepositions.

Too many people ignore that reality about others and themselves and spend so much time feeling miserable about it/them and the mirror’s reflection.

I’m reminded of an opening scene in The Wizard of Oz.

Parenthetically, I just saw the re-mastered 80th anniversary big screen edition of it with my mom, sister, and nephew on January 27, 2019 at a movie theater along Route 81 between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Anyway, here’s the scene.

Scarecrow: “I haven’t got a brain…only straw.”

Dorothy: “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?”

Scarecrow: “I don’t know…but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking…don’t they?”

Dorothy: “Yes, I guess you’re right.”

Yeah, they’re right.

It brings to mind…

Sooooooo  many choices.

You pick.

Moretheless, it doesn’t take much brains to look at the world, America, churches, them, and the mirror’s reflection to admit, again, there’s nothing original about sin.

Psalm 41 reminds us to be honest in our expectations.

Honestly, we can expect to be betrayed.

Especially, if we love Jesus, we will be betrayed by people; even friends and family.  Jesus said that will happen and we pray for the persecuted in worship every Sunday on the corner of Lincoln and Main.

Honestly, we can expect to betray.

Everyone, honestly, can relate to the apostle: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…I want to do the right thing but I too often do the wrong thing…I really need a Savior!…Thank You, God, for giving me a Savior in Jesus by grace through faith!”

Honestly, we can count on God to save us.

Now go read John 3:16-17 again!

Pero though no one is pure and perfect in every way and we can’t get that DNA from the garden out of our or anyone else’s systems completely, maybe it’s not thaaaaaat unreasonable to have higher expectations for those who say they love Jesus.

Calvin said Christians show signs of being saved.

Luther said, “Good works don’t make a person good; but a good person does good works.”

What we say and do is an expression of what we believe.

Deeds confirm creeds.

The apostle wrote about fruit/proof/evidence of being a Christian like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, humility, and self-control.

A Scout aka Christian is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

A mentor put it this way: “My biggest struggle is not with people who don’t believe in Jesus.  I don’t expect anything from them.  My biggest struggle is with people who say they believe in Jesus but don’t act like they believe in Jesus.”

Hmm.

I wonder how Jesus feels about that?

I wonder if Jesus ever feels like saying, “Don’t tell anybody that I’m your Lord and Savior because I don’t want them to think you got what you got from Me.”

Just a thought.

Here’s a better one.

We can expect Him to be our Father even if He doesn’t expect us to act like it.

How do we know that?

Jesus.

Knowing we’d never be able to save ourselves, which means He doesn’t expect us to do it, He did it.

That’s why He’s called the Gospel.



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Blessings and Love!

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Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!






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Monday, February 11, 2019

RRK Weight Loss Program with Thanks to Mark Roden


Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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    My famous friend Tony that I used to hang with when I was an important pastor/presbyter often chastened clergy that lived lavish lifestyles while he wore a plastic watch that he got in a Happy Meal from McDs.

    Then there was Dr. Woflgang Lowe who was one of my professors in Germany.

    While I'm not one of those fundy morons in churches that think Jesus used Welch's at Cana, I'd rather have my wife's iced tea than beer though Dr. Lowe and I shared a few unfiltered and full-bodied mugs of it on Heidelberg's Hauptstasse that's made me immune to American colored water versions ever since; pero if you can get me a shot of B&B, Sambuca, or Pisa while savoring a fuma...

    Anyway, he once criticized American clergy because, in his words, "You drive caddyyacks and pretend to believe what you don't really believe anymore."

    I got mad at him because I hadn't been around clergy enough back then to know it's true; so I blurted, "Yeah, well, if you Germans are so great, how come you start world wars that you never win?"

    I still got an A.

    Professors didn't grade by ideology in Germany back then.

    Then there's Paul Roberts.

    He is the proverbial father of the Confessing Church Movement that tried unsuccessfully to save the PCUSA by calling it back to Jesus by the book a few decades ago.

    There have been similar failed movements among Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, UCCers, and...

    Getting back to Paul, he is one of the most confident, courageous, redemptive, assertive to sometimes aggressive while remaining humble in a 1 John 1 kinda way pastors that I've ever met; so I was surpirsed when he seemed so depressed during a lunch in Pittsburgh so long ago.

    He said, "I'm becoming a fat pastor and it's a bad witness."

    Being fat myself at the time in a continuing struggle that started not long after my first church potluck in 1971, you will be surprised to hear I kept my mouth shut.

    I have never forgotten any of those three preceding conversations.

    God always brings them to mind when I need confessional, conduct, or countenance chastening.

    Recently, after a bad doctor's appointment, I realized I was gaining too much weight again and...

    Fortunately, God's providence intervened again and...

While I'm not an expert, people have been asking about my recent weight loss and increased energy.


It's true.

Though those who would like to see me dead because I am unrelenting when it comes to Jesus by the book as the only answer to what's plaguing the planet and especially America in these last days may have been cursing me with a terminal illness - and remember they come in sheep's clothing - my increasingly physical fitness is approaching my emotional, intellectual, and spiritual passion for loving the hell out of people.

Get it?

Anyway, I flunked an iron test to give blood before Thanksgiving 2018 and was taking too many naps.

God's providence took over.

I met Mark Roden.

He is the main man of M&R Custom Millwork - Google it/him - and has become a close friend and we met because Leslie is finally getting a kitchen that she has deserved for too long.

Yeah, you can go on the cheap and get crappy work in such areas pero Mark and his crew are the best quality with enduring excellence of anyone in the area at any cost.

O.K., back to the weight loss program.

Mark told me about his plan for managing diet, weight, and vigor.

Basically, it's a smoothie that includes more vegetables and other stuff than we'd ever eat in a day at the start of the day; and since I've started it, I don't graze as much as I used to and I'm losing weight faster and more permanently than ever before.

Here's my variation of what Mark has taught me.

I blend most of these things into every smoothie every day for breakfast and even love the taste.

It may sound gross to you; but if you haven't tried it and you're still going to Kohl's for expanded waistlines more often than not...

Or as I say to mainline denominational pastors and pewsitters who don't like our passion for Jesus on the corner of Lincoln and Main in the words of Moody, "I prefer how I do it to how you don't do it."

Contents (preferred fresh pero frozen if necessary):

Beets (Power Beets if no fresh ones available but always beets)
Blueberries, blackberries, or any dark fruit
Coconut
Almonds
Cranberries
Carrots
Kale
Spinach
Broccoli
Bananas
Whey Protein
Green Superfood
Metamucil
Apple Cider Vinegar (not much)
Any kinda juice or tea, especially green, or even water

More than less, that's it.

I never add ice cream or peanut butter (though I may eat that during the day) or chocolate (though a little dark chocolate is good for blood pressure; especially apres a fuma).

Nothing against milk but...

My serving size is a large cup from McDs or Starbucks.

One a day at dawn.

I also walk two miles in the morning - around 3:45 - 4:00 a.m.  If you wait until after work, yeah, right! That'll work!  Not! - and more when away when not pressed by high maintenance ministry or a pick up after 11:30 p.m.

Blessings and Love!

@#$%

Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





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Friday, February 8, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 40


Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


#40

“Have You Had It With It?”

          It’s an ancient verity that’s always current: “How do you know if a politician is lying?  Her/his lips are moving.”

          37: “I am not a crook!”

          41: “Read my lips!  No new taxes!”

          42: “I didn’t inhale…[and]…I didn’t have sex with that woman…”

          44: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

          While you can get into trouble for saying this in a state that’s made an industry of his legacy despite the apostle saying all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, truth is 16 even had some ethical hiccups.

          It’s like the inventor of the internet who’s made a fortune on climate change without offering any viable solutions or personal modeling for dealing with it observed, “A zebra doesn’t change its spots.”

          Breaking the 9th commandment of God has always been a lot easier than keeping it.

          Pero let’s get back to 42 who was fortunate enough to be P before the “Me Too” movement: “It all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

          Not even 45’s idolaters could spin a lie that well.

          It.

          Rhymes with…illegit…dimwit…a bit…quite a bit…chomp at the bit…get up and git…smash hit…close knit…play hard to git…lit…nit…sit…split…[and my favorite for this occasion]…throw a fit.

          Moretheless, if you’re like me, you’ve had it with it.

          Haven’t you had it with men who don’t take off their hats in restaurants or remember the common courtesy of ladies before gentlemen along with gender-inclusive selfies who never turn off the lights when they leave the room or lock the doors when leaving the building or must have had the exact number of staples in the stapler and paper in the duplicating machine or don’t flush or pick up or put down the…?

          That’s that little, uh, it.

          Then there’s the really big, uh, it like bullying, bruising, beating, battering, and butchering in the name of nationalism or religion or…

          Talking about how bad it is getting, there’s a banner making the rounds these days that brings those neo-Nazi governors and legislators in New York and Virginia to mind.  From what I’ve been able to discover, it first appeared as a counter-protest at the 2011 Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco: “If Mary Had Had An Abortion, We Wouldn’t Be In This Mess.”

          I kid you not.

          It’s getting that bad aka unGodly, mes amis.

          Of course, there’s nothing original about sin.

          We’ve been breaking all of God’s laws for getting along with Him and each other ever since Moses brought down the first edition: “You shall have no other gods before me except for the ones who promise lots of free stuff…You shall not make for yourself an idol unless it really looks good in the narthex or town square…You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God unless you’re really, uh, ticked off…Remember the sabbath day unless you’re hung over or have really good tickets…Honor your father and your mother if it’ll keep you in the will…You shall not murder unless you live in Virginia, New York, and…You shall not commit adultery unless you’re really in love and can get away with it…You shall not steal too much…You shall not bear false witness unless you must to get your way…and…You shall not covet as long as you can beg, borrow, or steal.

          Truly, truly, truly, anybody who still cares about Jesus by the book has had it with it.

          It’s like the little card that I hang on my study door whenever I’ve had it with it in churches: “The more I read through the Bible, the less I have in common with modern Christianity.”

          David had it with it.

          Psalm after psalm after psalm expresses David’s disappointments, disgust, and disdain for it while begging divine deliverance from it.

          Psalm 40 repeats the theme of Godly people like David being fed up with it: “I waited patiently for God who heard me and helped me…[yet]…I still need You, God, because so many troubles continue to surround me.  They want to disgrace, confound, harm, and humiliate me…On top of that, I can’t stop sinning either.  My sins are more than the hairs on my head…Please deliver me from them and me!  Hurry up and help me, Lord!”

          Surely, David always ends up thanking God for interceding supernaturally in his life to save him: “How happy is the man who has put his trust in the Lord and has not turned to the proud or those who run after lies!”

          As usual, David ends by singing the praises of God because God always saves the faithful: “Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You.  Let those who love Your salvation continually say, ‘The Lord is great!’”

          Still, even as the praises extol the saving graces of God, David notes the continuing struggles with it that will always require God’s intervention: “I am afflicted and needy.  I know You know that.  I know You never stop thinking of me.  You are my help.  You are my deliverer.  So, my God, do not delay.”

          David knows it will never end.

          Though he’s had it with it, he knows he will always need God to save him.

          He knows the only way to keep keepin’ on and get over it is to stay close to Him.

          That’s why we always include these words at the end of every worship service on the corner of Lincoln and Main: “Until next time, continue in God’s peace through faith in Jesus!…Love God and be kind to one another!…Remember, the answer to every question is Jesus!…And if you care, pray and work to make America Godly again!…The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all!”

          If you’ve had it with it, get with Jesus!

          He is the only way to get over it!

          When I’m feeling down about it, I read psalms like 40, Biblically meditate or wrap my soul around His Word enfleshed in Jesus and explained in the Bible, and often go to YouTube and watch Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last public witness on April 3, 1968 at Memphis, Tennessee’s Masonic Temple; turning up the volume as high as I can take it for the last few minutes: “Well, I don’t know what will happen now.  We’ve got some difficult days ahead.  But it doesn’t really matter with me now.  Because I’ve been to the mountaintop.  And I don’t mind.  Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.  Longevity has its place.  But I’m not concerned about that now.  I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over.  And I’ve seen the promised land.  I may not get there with you.  But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land.  And I’m happy tonight.  I’m not worried about anything.  I’m not fearing any man.  Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

          That’s why the earliest creed in Christendom remains the clearest and most conclusive witness to what we can do about it: “Jesus is Lord!”


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Blessings and Love!

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Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt! Shine! Leavenate!





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Sunday, February 3, 2019

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 39


Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


#39

“Make America Godly Again!”

Psalm 39 is personal to the perils and predicaments of living amid the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life in the world.

It’s also prophetic to the responsibilities of the Godly while living amid the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life in the world.

Speaking for everyone conscious of the perils and predicaments of living in time still tainted by original sin or the instinct to insult God’s holiness and injure God’s people that proves humanity still bears more resemblance to the rebelling DNA of the Adamsons than Christians born anothen by grace through faith in Jesus, Psalm 39 acknowledges the existential suffering even of the Godly who trust God in the certainty of enduring and overcoming as preface to heavenly graces.

Primarily, David is speaking for all of us in confessing our assurance of eternal life in paradise does not diminish our disappointments, frustrations, challenges, and other pejoratives that are undeniably a part of life on earth.  

Certainly, we know from the overwhelming witness of his psalms that David shares Paul’s strong calm sanity that “the sufferings of this age are not worth comparing to the glory to come” in heaven by grace through faith in Jesus.

Pero it can be so trying and painful and even discouraging on more than a few occasions in the meantime.

I like how William MacDonald, the late President of Emmaus Bible College, paraphrased Psalm 39: “I was fiercely determined to keep myself from rebelling or complaining against the Lord in spite of the extremity of my plight.  I vowed to muzzle my mouth as long as I was in earshot of unbelievers.  I didn’t want to give them any excuse for questioning the providence of God.  So there I was, dumb and silent, with no outlet for my suppressed emotions.  But it was no use.  My heart was red hot with indignation and perplexity.  I couldn’t understand why the Lord was allowing me to endure such overwhelming grief.”
“Finally,” the paraphrase continues, “all my pent up feelings burst forth in questioning prayer.  Lord, how long is this nightmare going to last?…My only hope is in You.  Apart from You, I have nothing.  Deliver me!”

Admittedly, even those most intimate with God and trusting the eternity that lasts infinitely longer than our sojourn in time have moments when even the lack of doubt about the heavenly that happens in the end by grace through faith in Jesus does not totally pacify existential pain and suffering.

Truth is these are tribulating times.

The end is coming.

That’s what those red letters of Jesus make so clear in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 as graphically and often unintelligibly illustrated in the Revelation to John.

Prophetic voices around the world are witnessing to the increasing intensity of these eschatological times; and many of those voices are close to home.

Bob Hecox, who went home to Jesus back on January 3, 2012, often said in our chapel during Bible studies, “Do you know what time it is?”

He was being rhetorical.

We are somewhere/sometime in the end times.

John Haselton, Coach and June Haselton’s nephew, just wrote a devotional with this warning: “There is a full litany of slow-motion disasters that are wreaking havoc on America and indeed the world…All of these are symptoms of a spiritual deadness that threatens to devour the nations of the world; leaving in its wake people who can no longer tell right from wrong and indeed no longer desire to do so…leaving lonely, depressed, and broken humanity in their wake.”

God knows the catalogue of these tribulating times; and there isn’t enough space in this edition to list ‘em all.

However, the latest worst insult to God’s holiness that will be followed by another and another and another as the days grow closer to the end of time before the commencement of His eternal Kingdom when “every knee will bow and confess Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father” is what just happened in New York on January 22, 2019 when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed state legislation that allows the murder of unborn babies at any time before birth including seconds from delivery.

Anyone who cannot see the barbarity and savagery and hideously grotesque insult to Creator God’s holiness by this latest assault on life’s sanctity is so blinded by satanos that exorcism not reason is the only remedy.

Again, that’s just the latest before the next illustration of a nation and world dying in darkness.

That’s why we cry out, “Make America Godly Again!”

Getting back to Coach and June’s nephew, John concluded, “What to do at such a time as this?  At the risk of sounding old fashioned, I prescribe repentance…I cry out to this nation to repent of our evil ways.”

Amen!

I hear Obadiah screaming to America to repent or else: “Your presumptuous heart has deceived you…who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’  Though you seem to soar like an eagle and make your nest among the stars, even from there I will bring you down…For the Day of the Lord is near against all nations!”

Yes, we must repent before it’s too late for America.

That means turning away from darkness and the satanosly oppressed and possessed and turning to God’s will in the Bible as best exemplified in Jesus, shattering the silence about America’s infidelities mirrored around the world, and modeling Someone better for Christ’s sake that will bless people because people are always blessed when the Godly follow His lead punctuated by grace, mercy, and a thirst and hunger for righteousness as modeled by Jesus in the manual called Holy Scripture that’s all wrapped up in His agape.

It means waking up, looking up, standing up, speaking up, and acting up for Jesus!

It means being the salt that stings to alert to the sin that’s killing America and the world and inhibiting existential and eternal salvation.

It means being the light that shines so brightly that darkness cannot overcome us as we point to the only way, truth, and life named Jesus.

It means being the good leaven of Godliness that mixes in for the better in all things at all times in all places with all people.

Back on January 20, 2019, elder Ev Worrell’s Sunday School class on the corner of Lincoln and Main spelled out that repentance by pointing to Exodus 20, Matthew 22, Matthew 28, and Acts 1 as the plan.

Exodus 20 has ten rules for Godly behavior to honor God; and when God is honored, everyone is blessed.  

Look Him up!

Matthew 22 includes our incarnate Lord Jesus’ summary of Exodus 20.  In short, love God and be kind to one another or love God by being kind to one another.

Look Him up!

Matthew 28 and Acts 1 are the charge to the Godly to serve Him by sharing Him because everyone and everything get better when people relate to each other through Him.

Look Him up!

So let me repeat the plan as simply as possible.

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Shatter the sound of silence!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!

You will be glad you did!

America and the world will be better!

In short, make America Godly again!

Selah.

Pause.

Ponder.

Take a deep breath.

If we don’t do that, it’ll all keep going to everywhere but heaven.



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Blessings and Love!

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