When Life Doesn’t Fit

God is NOT in the box business! He does not build them and because He has not constructed your box, it is also NOT His responsibility that its construction is of shoddy workmanship or that it was built to specifications that are NOT His!

 

Have you ever had times when, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot make life fit into that perfect little box you have been constructing all your life? You know the box I’m talking about. Your parents and even your grandparents probably helped you build it. Certainly, in today’s world, the media helps you build it. Back in my day, shows like Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver and a dozen more fantasy television shows built the box that most of us in our WASP worlds saw as normal family life. Movies showed us patriotism and that things ALWAYS worked out happily ever after in the end. Even when you fall off a 150-foot cliff and an anvil slams down on top of you, you will be just fine; at least if you are Wile E. Coyote.

If you went to the kind of church many of us did, you also had neatly tucked into the back of your mind the list of Do’s and Don’ts that make for good people. Some churches would even give you a box to keep that list in! There was a definite line between good and evil. Such things were black and white. Why else would the good guys on the late-night westerns always wear a white hat and the bad guys a black one? It was all part of our box that we had so carefully constructed. We couldn’t even consider that our boxes could be made to come apart.

Is there a certain amount of pressure that, when applied to the box, makes things fit the way they should? Can that unknown amount of pressure cause the box to go flying into a gazillion pieces across the room?

It is difficult enough when the box you have with things sticking out in all directions that is starting to come apart is your own; but, what if that box you had built was one you had constructed for your child? You know, that precious wonderful child of yours, no matter what age, that you love more than life itself… you have in your mind, in your heart really, as to how their life will be so much more comfortable, less stressful, less hurtful than yours was and that all their wondrous dreams will come true. That is the special box you have built for them. Then, for what seems like no fair reason, nothing is fitting in that box. Your heart is absolutely crushed as you see your child now faced with a life that is nothing like you would like it to be. Sometimes, maybe it is because of their own bad choices; yet so often, it is because of someone else’s hurtful actions. Boxes can also be smashed by something even more difficult to get a handle on, a vicious disease that has grabbed hold of your child, sending your box careening across the room.box

Whenever our boxes get busted, there is a great tendency to blame just about everyone, including God. It took quite a bit of time for me to work through how my own box just couldn’t possibly hold all of what I expected life was supposed hold. I finally learned that much of what I thought was supposed to be in my box was just completely unrealistic, too much Loonie Toons and not enough 60 Minutes. Now that I’m pushing the door open on my sixth decade, I know that a portion the box busting was because of my own bad choices along the way too, although at the time I wouldn’t have seen it.

What about those times when your box starts breaking apart and it is because of the horrific actions of another? Is it better when there is someone to blame? Is it worse when there is just an organism or a genetic anomaly to blame and not a person? Does God take the heat even more when what appears as such a senseless hurt has no one at which to point your finger?

Certainly, there can be very real times when the grief caused by the bursting of one’s life expectations is the result of the sin or evil actions of another. Not a day goes by when there isn’t a crime committed by a person with no regard for life, whether his or another’s. The multiple boxes that can be shattered by that one person’s actions can result in a firestorm of anger and resentment and some of that will still be shoved on God. We shake our fist or scream out at God and demand to know why He allowed such hurt.

As I have studied the wondrous Scriptures with this question in mind, I have come up with one very profound truth. To be quite self-asserting, I don’t know that any student of the Bible, any theologian, great preacher or teacher of the holy book has ever found this particular bit of wisdom, at least not in the way I have discovered it! (Okay, I said all of that just to whet your appetite for what I am about to share… even Solomon once said there is nothing new under the sun!)

When we are ready to demand from God why He would so destroy our boxes, the truth that the Bible will make clear to us is: God is NOT in the box business! He does not build them and because He has not constructed your box, it is also NOT His responsibility that its construction is of shoddy workmanship or that it was built to specifications that are NOT His! It is true that Jesus was a carpenter, a very well-trained one to be sure. It is also true that He is the master creator of everything. God’s Word tells us in the book of John that without Him nothing was made that was made!

God doesn’t build boxes and He doesn’t design boxes either. People who are big on ‘RELIGION’ like to believe that their boxes are uniquely designed by God to make certain that His people do church the one right way. They are mistaken. One box may be three hymns and an offering or a sermon with three points and a prayer. Another box may be candles in the corners and censers flying in all directions while a low voice mumbles a liturgy that no one can hear and, even if they did, they wouldn’t understand a word of it because it is in Latin! Boxes like those into which people have stuffed their religion are usually rectangular and have a lid. It’s appropriate that they resemble a coffin.

God did provide us with a framework for how He would have us to live out our lives here and even about how to do church. The base boards are these: Love the Lord your God all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself.  That’s for us as we seek to live in community with one another. As to how we are to pattern ourselves individually to please God, He gave us three side boards. They are: Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God. Then when it came to being useful as a Church body, He gave us two great handles for us to hold: Baptism and Communion. Finally, God knew that the living of life and the doing of church would often require us to bear some burdens, our own and one another’s; so, to the framework He gave us he added an axle by telling us to ‘GO’ and He added two wheels, evangelism and discipleship.

If LIFE doesn’t FIT in your BOX, try Christ’s push-cart instead.pushcart

 

What Do I Do Now?

When pressed to choose, I will obey God rather than man. The outcomes are always and already in God’s hands.

With the U.S. Supreme Court decision this week (June 2015) that legalizes gay marriages nation-wide, I was asked by a godly friend of mine, “What do you intend to do now?” As I thought that through the first reflection that I had was that America has, as a government, stopped following the Judeo-Christian God years ago that the nation was founded upon. This is just another log on the fire of what I believe will be the eventual lessening of the U.S. in world affairs. Recently I heard a self-proclaimed expert on Bible prophecy explain that the reason the U.S. is not mentioned in biblical prophecy of the end-times is because it  is under the hidden name of Babylon. I did not listen very long. There is no way with a literal-biblical hermeneutic that anyone can make the argument that the U.S. is Babylon of Revelation. Most have said for years that Babylon in Revelation is Rome because of the papacy; but, I believe that Babylon is Babylon – just ask ISIS. America is not mentioned, thus we are not important in the last days because we, like the rest of the world turned our back on Israel and on God.  What do I do now?

I am going to follow the admonitions of Christ. His commandments were: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might. Love your neighbor as yourself. Go into all the world and make disciples, first in Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth. In Micah 6:8 we read: “What does the Lord require of you? But to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” I will preach only God’s truth. The Bible tells us, “Your Word is Truth”

When it comes to me as a pastor and performing wedding ceremonies. I already will only marry those I believe to be born-again believers in Christ. We go through that in premarriage counseling and get the issue settled. Will I marry a gay couple? Peter said it best before the Sanhedrin when they were told to stop preaching Christ crucified and resurrected. In Acts 5:29 we read: “But Peter and the apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than man.”

I determined a long time ago that I am willing to go to jail for my faith and my family. Someday it may come to that.

Until then, we are admonished to obey those placed in positions of authority over us and to pray for them. I will do that.

What do I do now? The same things I have tried to do already – through the faith of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, I will love God with all that I am; love and care for others, share Christ whenever and wherever the Holy Spirit opens the door staying true to the TRUTH of God’s Word. I will do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before God. I will pray for our nation and its leaders. When pressed to choose, I will obey God rather than man. The outcomes are always and already in God’s hands.

A Response from the President
A Response from the President

When Progressive Is Not Progress

By trying to merge two theologies, the Progressives have lost the essence of each particularly in the dispensational theology the understanding of the Bible as being without error (in the original manuscripts) and interpreting the Bible historically, grammatically and literally.

Riggs Ministry Minute: when there’s only a minute for ministry

                         Rev. Ross L Riggs, D Min.           www.docriggs.com            03/09/2012

 

From the breaking out of our shell in the 1950’s and as we ‘Baby-Boomers’ (at least that is what they call us) listened to President John F. Kennedy offering a challenge that: before the end of the decade, America would land a man on the surface of the moon; we knew what progress was all about! Everything from our breakfast cereal and laundry detergent somehow was part of progress. I recall this hair drying contraption my Mom brought home. This thing had a heating unit that blew hot air through a flexible hose into a plastic shower cap worn over your hair. It would either dry your hair or cook your brain. If you recall the commercial of the egg frying, “This is your brain… ”; this contraption was designed to keep your ‘over-easy’ brain warm before there were microwaves. (I think she got it with TV-Stamps.)

There was true progress, however. America did land Neal Armstrong on the moon one historic July day. Yes, America won the ‘space race’ on President Kennedy’s calendar requirement: before the end of the decade with that July day coming in 1969. In many ways the decade of the 60’s contained a great deal of progress.

Grammatically speaking, if one is supportive of progress, he or she is progressive. Merriam-Webster writes that to be progressive is to be “characterized by progress”[i] as such is the use of the term as an adjective. There is, however, a use of the term that is characterized by the noun: progressive. Merriam-Webster defines it this way: “often capitalized, of, or relating to political Progressives.”[ii]  There is something about a noun that, when used by an individual, it seems to infer that if one calls themselves a Progressive then their views support or sustains progress. Logically, however, just because sometimes A+B=C, it is not always true A+B=D. The confusion comes when supporters of ‘D’ work very hard to present D as equal to C. Many parts of the 1960’s were presented as progressive like the free-thinking flower-children with communal living and casual open sex but it was not progress.

In order to proceed with as little confusion as possible, let’s first describe three terms: Dispensationalists, Covenant Theology, and Progressive Dispensationalists.

Dispensationalist refers to Christians who understand the inter-relationship between God and man as having been different at different times or different dispensations of time. The focus always is to reveal the glory of God. The number of dispensations may vary by one or two but for the most part, there are seven periods of time or distinctive eras wherein God related to His creation in distinct ways. One example is at the completion of the covenant with Abraham, God related to Israel through this covenant. The dispensation is called simply: PROMISE.  Promise indicates that the people lived in the hope of the promises made in the covenant relationship by God with His chosen people. (See chart[iii])

 

Covenant Theology speaks of two covenants rather than seven dispensations, with believers living in Old Testament times as living under the Covenant best described as Works and current believers under the ‘New Covenant’ described as Grace. The key issue between a Dispensationalist and a follower of Covenants is how they view Israel within their theology. The covenant theologian tells you that the ‘church’ (believers in Jesus Christ) has replaced Israel and is now the beneficiaries of the promises God made originally to Israel but since the nation rejected Christ, those promised blessings come to Christians under the New Covenant. The central focus is the salvation of man rather than the glory of God.

Progressive Dispensationalists diverge from Traditional Dispensationalists when they merge the ideas shown in the previous chart with the teachings of covenant theologians. Their moniker, ‘Progressive Dispensationalist’ is a noun seeking to be an adjective or perhaps it is an adjective seeking to be a noun. A ‘Progressive’ believes that Christians (the Church) has superseded Israel as the ‘chosen people of God’ because Israel rejected Christ and the Church now will receive all the blessings prophesied to Israel in the Old Testament (land acquisition, coming glory etc.) Most will say that someday Israel will be re—joined and receive some blessing but this is in eternity future. By trying to merge two theologies, the Progressives have lost the essence of each particularly in the dispensational theology the understanding of the Bible as being without error (in the original manuscripts) and interpreting the Bible historically, grammatically and literally. Although they might argue they can still interpret with those parameters this cannot be true if they see an error on the part of OT prophets who spoke of the blessings for Israel that cannot be abrogated. They also must sacrifice ‘literally’ because they are replacing Israel with Church in promises that have nothing to do with the Church. Historical interpretation falls to the wayside when biblical text referring to Christ reigning from the throne of David over the New Jerusalem is said to have already begun. To do so requires reading the New Testament back into the Old Testament to gain a ‘fuller’ meaning. Dispensationalists see this in the Millennial Kingdom. The Progressive Dispensationalist understands the Rapture of the Church to be pre-millennial or before the beginning of Christ’s 1,000 year reign on earth before a new earth is created. The timing of the rapture as it relates to the Tribulation (a seven year period of intense judgment on the earth) vacillates with some holding to ‘pre-tribulation’ others ‘mid-tribulation’ and finally, others at ‘post-tribulation.’ They see no eschatological requirement for the time of the Rapture as it relates to the Tribulation to be of any consequence. The following chart is instructive:

[iv]

Although the Foundations for Freedom charts are instructive, you’ll note that this chart shows that the Progressives hold, as a group, to the pre-tribulation Rapture. That varies based on individual beliefs but overall the writings from most Progressives simply do not put much emphasis on its importance no matter when it happens. This creates problems when literally developing the message of Revelation for the Church in heaven during the tribulation on earth.

Summary

Progressive Dispensationalism has taken the adjective to underscore the link its adherents see to the progressive revelation of God, bringing together the ‘best’ of the Covenant Theology and the Dispensational Theology. When we consider progress, in this instance perhaps the best definition is “The development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.”[v] In this case with this definition I fail to see how the creation of this new Bible study technique or this new theology moves hermeneutics in a direction more beneficial and/or superior to the previous level. Allow me to quote Dr. Charles Ryrie on Dispensationalism[vi]:

“Dispensationalism holds to a distinction between Israel and the Church.”

By merging the promises and blessings reserved for Israel, Progressive Dispensationalism blurs this distinction.

“Dispensationalism practices consistent literal interpretation of the Bible. Prophetic passages are to be interpreted like the rest of the Bible following a grammatical-historical approach.”

By reading NT texts back into the OT prophecies to cause them to say something the original author could not have intended them to say, Progressive Dispensationalism sets aside the grammatical-historical approach.

“Dispensationalism teaches that the overall purpose of biblical history is the glory of God, not the salvation of man.”

Again, by merging with Covenant Theology which focuses on the salvation of man (election) as the key to understanding God’s revelation of Himself, the Progressive Dispensationalists loose the focus of Dispensationalism.

It is apparent that the ‘new’ has not brought us to a better place from whence it was that we first ventured forth and as far as this author is concerned it has failed to meet the standard definition for progress. Does it enhance the progressive unfolding of God’s revelation of Himself or does it recycle older ideas in new packaging? Progressive… perhaps we are not as advanced as we have come to believe that we are?

R. Riggs

SCAM and FACEBOOK an unholy attack

Rev. Ross L. Riggs, DMin.   Director    Security Consulting Investigations, LLC

                                                                                         and  Global Security Consulting Investigations  GSCI21

Your premier private investigations and consulting team across the US and worldwide

SCI has posted blogs and published articles all around the world and none have reported on so diabolical a scheme. This one is aimed directly at Christian communities, targeting pastors and their affiliated congregations. Church members have begun to see FACEBOOK posts that look pretty much just like their pastor’s FACEBOOK page. But now, on the page, is a heart wrenching plea “from the pastor” to help him and his family pay a looming debt. Recently, in NE Ohio where this was done, an elderly single lady in the church removed all but $3.00 of her life savings and completed the transfer to the “pastor” she loved, at least she thought the $4,000 would go to her pastor and his family. Instead it went into thin air. (The $3.00 was just enough to keep her account open.)    This lady has no family and the church to which she belongs is a very poor church financially. We are trusting God to help her regain her only means of support. Reports have been made with the local police, FACEBOOK, Western Union and IC3 will be contacted also.

If there are people, groups, churches, or businesses interested in helping SCI create a fund to help, we need to hear from you.

Go to: www.security-consulting.us/help to pledge a donation today. You will receive directions on how to forward your donation so that will be used to direct the funds to her savings institution.

Note: Names of victims have been withheld for privacy concerns.

Security Consulting Investigations, LLC is fully licensed by the State of Ohio Department of Public Safety/Homeland Security PISG Unit, Columbus, Ohio License #200921001465   

SCI is fully insured by West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, West Bend WI

Contact the director by phone at 330-956-9561 or director@security-consulting.us