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Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Phone Scam and the Proud Heart

Proverbs 11:2: “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.”

Yesterday I almost got “scammed.”

I received a phone call from “Covington’s Who’s Who?”. I was told by the smooth-talking lady that I had received a prestigious award. “Congratulations!”, she said, “You have been identified as being in the top 2% of your profession, and have been selected to be part of the Who’s Who Amongst American Professionals!”

I took the bait.

She proceeded to “interview me” for inclusion in the 2014 edition, to honor me for “outstanding achievements” in my field of expertise. One by one, my educational and professional accomplishments were duly noted, and my adrenaline was pumping with excitement. “Who’s Who?”, I thought to myself, “Wow, all of the hard work is finally paying off!”

About half way through the “interview”, something began to change. I started to think with my head and not my heart. Jeremiah said that  the heart is “desperately wicked.” Solomon stated that as a man “thinks in his heart,so is he.” I began to realize that the pride in my heart was getting me into trouble. Warning signals started going off in my head.

And then, the “Derrick Keeter is Greater than Sliced Bread” award ceremony came crashing down with a loud thud. The sweet little darling on the phone dropped her bomb on me. “Would you prefer the Platinum membership or the Gold Membership?”, she asked, as she rattled off information about trips to Hawaii and “packages” that would be delivered to my home.

“Wait a cotton-picking minute!!”, my brain screamed at me. “This is a sales pitch, you dummy! Abort! Abort! Abort!”

With a new-found sense of sanity, I began to wriggle off the hook. I shook off the pesky salesgirl and ended our once glorious phone call. I began to “Google.”

Aaahh, there it was, in bold print on the BBB website. “Covington Who’s Who?” is nothing more than a scam. Over 50 consumer complaints had been lodged and gone unanswered. I had almost agreed to send that woman $799 out of my savings account, and another $199 a month for my “exclusive membership” in this “highly respected” fraternity of proud fools. My wife would have killed me. My name would have appeared in the obituary column, not the “Who”s Who of American Professionals.” Boy, did I feel stupid. And ashamed.

I am ashamed of the pride which is still lurking in my heart. I thought that it was gone, but apparently it is not. The devil knows our weaknesses. He identifies the “chinks in our armor” and thrusts his sword in at that exact spot. He almost got me.

I thank God for the mind of Christ. My heart is not dependable, but God’s Holy Spirit continues to transform my mind into the attitude of Jesus. I acknowledged my sin to the Lord and learned my lesson. Hopefully, I gained a little more wisdom yesterday.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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Starfish, Muslims and Dead Churches

Perhaps you have heard the sappy story about the starfish.

You know, the one in which an old man is picking up starfish on the seashore. The starfish had washed ashore and were dying in the hot sun. When a passerby noted that the man could not possibly save them all, the old man said, “Yes, but I saved this one”, as he throws the starfish back into the ocean.

The fastest growing religion in the world is Islam. A number of us Christians are concerned about Muslims. We see videos of men having their heads chopped off, we hear about the evils of sharia law and we fear another terrorist attack upon our country. Those strange-looking Islamic folks look nothing like the good ole Baptists that we grew up drinking sweet tea with and attending dinners on  the ground.

To hear most preachers like myself tell it, the world is going straight to hell. The country is being run over by druggies, homosexuals, liberals and Democrats. God help us, we spend most of our time talking about the “old days” and praying for Jesus to come back before another one of us dies from cancer.

If things weren’t bad enough, our churches are dying. Catholics are running out of priests. Protestants are running out of church members. Baptists are not baptizing. What in the world are we to do? How do we stop the bleeding, for crying out loud???

Well, as corny as it sounds, we must do it one starfish at a time. More precisely, one person at a time.

Jimmy Draper, writing in SBC Life, addressed the need for Baptists and churches to get back to personal soul-winning. We must tell people about Jesus. “The only hope of our nation and world,” Draper noted, ” is the change that comes through the redeemed lives of those who have been transformed by the power of the Gospel message.”  He further spoke of the saturation of America with churches, ministries, seminaries and Christian media. In spite of an abundance of Christian presence, Draper said, the United States suffers from a lack of Christian witness.

Thomaston, Georgia is a perfect example of the problem. There is no shortage of churches nor preachers. You shake a pine tree in these parts and fifty Baptists will fall out. And yet, statistics indicate that on any given Sunday, about two-thirds of Upson County’s population is not in church anywhere. Not in a Baptist church, not in a Methodist church and not in a holy-roller church. Not in anybody’s church.

As followers of Christ, we can change our world one person at a time, by sharing the Good News of Jesus.We must get back to personal witnessing and the winning of souls to our Lord. Draper added this: “Many modern-day churches are like social gatherings with little sense of urgency in reaching our nation with the Gospel of redemption.” As Christians, we must reclaim a sense of urgency.

The old man on the seashore threw the starfish back in the water before it was too late. We must act just as quickly.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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The Truth Hurts

John 18:37-38: “Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I have some into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ ”

The idea of  “absolute truth” is under attack in Western culture. So-called “postmodernists”, who control the thoughts of our universities, public schools, media and entertainment, argue that truth is relative and open-minded. In other words, what is” true” for one person may not be “true” for another person. Homosexuality might be wrong for you, but it might be right for someone else. Your definition of sex (intimate sexual contact with another human being) might be different than Bill Clinton’s (” I did not have sexual relations with that woman..Miss Lewisnky.”) . Christianity might be the true religion for you, but not believing in God might be perfectly fine for an atheist. Any attempt to proclaim or live by “absolute truth” is met with scorn, ridicule and anger by a growing number of citizens in American society.

So, to answer the question raised by Pilate 2,000 years ago, “What is truth?”, Geisler and Turek, in the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, make the following statements about truth:

Truth is discovered, not invented.

Truth is trans-cultural. If something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, at all times. 2+2=4 is true for everyone, everywhere, at every time.

Truth is unchanging, even though our beliefs about truth change.

Truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it.

All truths are absolute truths.

The problem with Jesus is that He declared Himself to BE absolute truth. (John 14:6) He never left open the possibility that Buddha taught absolute truth. He never left open the possibility that Muhammad taught absolute truth. He never said that a person could believe in Him but also believe in other “truths” as well. Following Jesus is not a “both/and” proposition. You can’t worship Him AND practice another religion. You cannot live by BOTH the Bible and the evolutionist’s description of Creation. Truth, according to Jesus, requires one to make a decision, take a stand and be one-sided. Being a follower of Christ is “either/or”. You either believe Him to be true or you do not. You either follow Him or follow the devil. You either take a stand against what the Bible teaches as sinful or you choose to be sinful.

The authors stated that ,” we humans have a fatal tendency to try to adjust the truth to fit our desires rather than adjusting our desires to fit the truth.” That is an apt description of what our culture is doing today. People are trying to change “truth” in order to fit their habits and decisions, instead of conforming their lives to the word of God. “If it feels good, do it. If it brings me happiness, I will do it.” As for truth itself, it only applies to me if I want it to. If not, I will either ignore it or “change” it.

In our world of “tolerance”,plurality and political correctness (to quote Jack Nicholson from the movie A Few Good Men), people ” can’t handle the truth.” The truth hurts.The truth is a threat to self-empowerment. The truth is a threat to mutli-culturalism. The truth is a threat to  the pursuit of happiness. When sinful, selfish humans are confronted with the truth they get angry because they don’t get their way(see the Freedom From Religion Foundation).

On the other hand, when one embraces the Truth, and doesn’t fight against it, the result is total freedom and joy. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) The truth hurts at first because we don’t want to submit to it. St. Augustine said that we love the truth when when it enlightens us, but we hate it when it convicts us. Once we do submit, however, we never regret our decision. Freedom is better than bondage.

The world around us is in a prison cell. The key for release is within reach, but most would choose not to open the door. Those who hate the truth would rather remain in chains.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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The Devil’s Desire

Luke 11:17: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls.”

The devil’s desire is that we be destroyed. He came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He is a thief and a liar. His primary tool for destroying us is division.

When he divides a husband and a wife, he will destroy a home.

When he divides a pastor and congregation, he will destroy a church.

When he divides the people in a society, he will destroy their nation. He is doing that today in America. We are a country divided.

We are divided racially. We are divided morally. We are divided politically. The enemies of the United States can see that we are at war amongst ourselves. While the foolishness in Ferguson, Missouri lingered on, the armies of Islam marched forward and captured more prisoners.

If we do not wake up, our division will allow us to be conquered. When it comes down to it, we are all Americans.

We are not white nor black. We are not male nor female, homosexual nor heterosexual. We are neither Republican nor Democrat, Southerner nor Yankee. We are citizens of the United States and our freedom is in jeopardy.

None of us want to live under shariah law. If we don’t unite, however, the enemy will overtake us.

The church of Jesus Christ must rise above our own divisions. The Enemy is not impressed with whether we are Baptist, Methodist or Pentecostal. He doesn’t care whether we sing out of a hymnal or with words on a screen. As long as we stay divided, he can overcome us and destroy us.

Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Let us pull together as Christians before it is too late.

Let us pull together as Americans before it is too late. The enemies of God and the U.S. are watching us.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer