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When is okay to murder?

   Last night my wife and I watched a French film I loved you so long.  The film portrays a woman who was released from prison after murdering someone.  It turns out that she had murdered her own eight-year old son who was dying from some unspecified illness.  We are aghast - how could a mother kill her own son?  But in the United States ninety-percent of all Down Syndrome babies are aborted.  Or we try to match the perfect genes to produce the perfect child - think rocket scientist with model.  And in Belgium, the government just passed an euthanasia bill to allow children to voluntarily be murdered.

Lord, give us compassion for all - the sick, the young, the old.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.

   This past Friday my wife Kathy's mother passed from earth to glory.  In the last years of her life, she looked forward to glory where she would live in the presence of her heavenly Father.  As St. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21 "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."  My mother-in-law had that attitude.She cared for this world, but wanted to be in heaven where Christ "will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain."(Revelation 21:4)  We are looking forward towards that eternal rest. 
   My challenge for you is "Are you looking forward to heaven?"

Prayer to Buddha - Dali Lama

   On 06 Mar the Dali Lama opened the US Senate with prayer to Buddha and all other gods. Buddha would have been very surprised because, unlike Jesus Christ, Buddha never claimed to be God.  He claimed only to have found the way to Nirvana - which is a bodiless place.  Buddha claimed to have found the middle way - not asceticism - the denial of self and not wealth and pleasure, but the middle way.  He never claimed to be God or even a god.  He claimed just to have found the way to Nirvana.  Further, once you reach Nirvana, you merge with nothingness.  So when the Dali Lama prayed to Buddha, it is unclear to whom he prayed.
     On 06 Mar I prayed to God the Father - a Spirit not bound by time or place.  I prayed through Jesus Christ, who not only showed the way, but was the Way.  And I prayed in the power of the Holy Spirit who helped me to pray.
     It is vitally important to be know to whom you are praying.  So pray to a God who claims to be God, not to a human who never claimed to be God or even a god.

Greed - $5,000/month/rest of your life

    For those of you who missed it, last year on board a Carnival cruise ship there was a fire.  On the fourth and last day of the cruise, as the ship was on her way back from Mexico to Galveston, a fire broke out and the ship was adrift for five days.  There was no cooked food and sanitation was inoperative.  So Carnival refunded everyone their money, gave them all a $500 voucher and a free cruise.
     Now 33 people have sued Carnival for mental anguish and they want $5000/month for the rest of their lives.  Is that justice?  Seventy thousand dollars/year for the rest of their lives seems excessive to me.
     I Timothy 6:10 states that "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." 
Lord, keep us from coveting.

Charitable Giving

    You get an appeal in the mail from an organization and it pleads with you to open your wallet, send in a check and make a contribution for some worthy goal.  Before you do that, I would like to offer some advice. 
      First of all, most of your giving should be to your local church.  Why?  Nobody else is going to give to your local church.  This is where true preaching of the World of God happens and communion with other Christians.  It is hard to have communion with organizations that are far away.  And the overhead of your local church is minimal. 
    Second, the organizations that appeal to you should be doing good work.  For example, National Veterans Service Fund "is dedicated to helping serve veterans and their families. . . - we have purchased wheelchairs, scooters, ramps and other assistive technology"  Sounds impressive.  They are for veterans that have been injured in the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.  But on their website they don't show a breakdown of their budget.  So I became a member of guidestar.org which allows you to see their financials.  In 2012 (the last year the data was posted) they received over nine million dollars.  Fourteen percent was spent on professional fundraising.  Another 4% was spent on salaries.  But wait there is more.  Three million seven hundred thousand was spent to another company for fund raising.  And another three million was spent for legal fees (F. R. Counsel).   And another $235,000 on fund raising.  So when all is said and done, they gave $1,100,000 to the veterans out of the $9,500,000 they raised.  Thus the veterans get 12%.  Shame on them. 
     So I plead with you - before you give to an organization, do some research.  After all, it is your money.  A quick and by no means all inclusive list is at http://www.tampabay.com/americas-worst-charities/ 

Historical Sources & Christianity - Part I

   For my history class, I have been emphasizing historical sources.  What is exciting about the Bible is that there are so many texts that were written so close to when the event took place.  We have 5366 fragments and sections of the New Testament that are dated by 325 A.D.  There is even one manuscript that was written before 100 A.D.  With so many records so early, we can compare and contrast those texts and so we know that the Bible we read is textually true.
     In contrast, Thucydides wrote The Peloponnesian War around 400 B.C. and the earliest copy that we have dates from around 900 A.D. There are seven copies from around 1100  A.D.  So there are eight copies and they are dated 1,500 years after it was written.  Note that there are just eight copies, not thousands of copies. 
      Another example of late and few manuscripts are the writings of Buddha who lived around 500 B.C.  His words were not written down until 29 B.C., thus there were 500 years between when he lived and when his story was written down.  Further, with the exception of a few fragments from @ 1475 A.D., the earliest manuscripts date from the 1700s.  Thus, there is over 2,000 years between when he spoke and when we have a written record.
     Bottom line:  we have every confidence that the Bible is true.