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May God bless President Biden –with an effective four years resulting in a more godly America and all the way to heaven.

This image, with the knowledge that it came from the rally the proceeded the Capitol riots, is evocative, provocative and triggering.

Here are some wrong (sinful or foolish) thoughts that a person might have as they look at this photo:

Disclaimer 1: I might have thought some of these.
Disclaimer 2: It’s possible that some of these have been thought by no one. But I doubt it.
Disclaimer 3: I’m not only suggesting they are wrong, I’m further suggesting that almost all Americans would agree that these are wrong. Or at least possibly wrong.
Disclaimer 4: It’s a dangerous thing to be this condemnatory; as such I’d be interested to know if you think any of these are correct or wise.

  • Aha! This is evidence that Jesus is on the side of Trump supporters.
  • Aha! This is evidence that all Trump supports subvert/pervert the true message of Christ.
  • The people that put up that sign are definitely idiots/evil.
  • The people that put up that sign are definitely strong Christians.
  • The people that put up that sign were definitely aware of/ in agreement with the rioting that happened in the capitol.
  • Great! I can describe this image in a way that makes it look like all Christians are rioters.
  • The people that put up the sign were definitely thinking “Jesus Saves with Trump as president.”
  • No one at the rally saw that sign and thought “Yes, Jesus Saves with Trump as president.”
  • Great! I don’t like Trump supporters and I can use a pretext of care about truth, or racism, or Jesus to make Trump look bad. Yet again!
  • It’s a ‘Jesus Saves’ sign! What could possibly be seen as dangerous/wrong-minded about that?
  • If there’s a chance that a person might take a sign wrong, we should definitely not put it up.

And here are some correct/wise responses – which I hope all Christians would agree with:

  • The people that put up that sign might be well-intentioned and might have done some good.
  • People at rallies really should be careful with Christian imagery they post.
  • There is such a thing as feigning offense.
  • There is such a thing as feigning fear that others will see the wrong message.
  • There might be people who looked at that sign (at a gathering literally called the “Save America” rally) and be reminded that Jesus transcends politics and presidents in His ability to preserve and defend America.
  • Yes, Jesus does save.

With all the statement about judging (from Jesus, James, Peter, Paul) in the Bible, I think we should always tend towards grace and trust in God. But it’s sometimes very difficult to do that.

Scott Adams is most known for his highly successful Dilbert comic. He’s also a prolific author on wide variety of subjects. 566,000 people follow him on twitter.


He’s generally an advocate for Trump, but he’s an athiest, he describes himself of “left of Bernie”, he advocates for legalizing drugs, he’s prochoice and recently he said, “I’m the most pro-LGBTQ person you’ve ever met.”


So what do you think he thinks is the most central aspect of Christian behavior? How would you expect him to talk about how he sees Christians acting these days?


He has a daily periscope podcast (“Coffee with Scott Adams” – Today’s had 85,000 viewers). Earlier this month, he experienced something and his comments about Christianity made me glad.


As I say, he’s usually pro-Trump, but not always. He was so disappointed in Trump’s performance in the first debate (including not taking a stronger stand on white supremacy), he openly proclaimed on his podcast that he wasn’t going to vote for him unless things changed.


And you might think that people who don’t like Trump would be pleased to hear this and would be encouraging to Scott. But that’s not what happened. And the negative thoughts that came at him from left caused him to say the following ideas. [Note: even with his disclaimer, I disagree with his overly-negative description of democrats, so I took them out, but thinking towards fairness and completion, I’ll be adding them in the comments of this post. And yes, his description of Republicans is almost certainly overly positive. More’s the pity.]


************************
(From around time marker 22:15)

I’ve noticed that there’s a distinction between Republicans and Democrats and it goes like this… This is going to be a gross generalization, so I’m not going to say every Republican and I’m not going to say every Democrat…

Would it be true that Republicans tend to be Christian or Christian-biased, meaning that they tend to be influenced by the Bible, and by that teaching? Even if they’re not actively religious, they probably came from that culture.

And one of the biggest elements of Christianity is forgiveness. In fact, there’s almost nothing more central to Christianity than forgiveness, right? Second chance, you know, you can make up for it in heaven. It’s all about forgiving sins.

The Democrats, on the other hand, tend to be a little more godless…

So here’s the distinction: Republicans will, by choice – this is actively their philosophy – they will forgive you for actual real sins. Including, you know, you saw the president do that First Step Act, if you can get your life together in prison, learn something and serve some of your time, you are forgiven. You’re released.

And I think Christians actually mean that. It’s really baked into them. You can do some pretty bad stuff, but if you’re genuinely forgiving and you do something with your life, you can be forgiven.

************************

What he’s missing here, of course, is the source of a Christian’s interest in forgiveness: Jesus and the fact that we’ve been forgiven by him as a result of what he did for us on the Cross.


But just like with Louis C. K., I’d like to commend the Republicans that Scott’s been talking to. It looks like you’ve represented Christianity (and Christ) well. May we all be more like that.


And Scott, thanks for the nice words.

One of the last times I read through the new testament, I kept track of all of the passages that outline positive and negative behaviors, vice lists and virtue lists*. There were more of both of them than I expected.

I then charted all of them, listing the vices and virtues – and I would like to present a summary of them here – vices first (I’ll show the virtues in another post – you know, end with the more positive).

There are 19 passages and 159 total items in this list, but (since many of them are repeated, there are 83 unique items on the list.

34 of those unique items appear on more than one list and 49 of them only appear once.

What vice do you think is on the most lists? It’s not a big surprise – Sexual Immorality. It’s on ten of the lists, so more than half. And this isn’t the only one having to do with sexual sin.

The rest of this post has two parts:

  1. The context of each of the posts, which the authors say is true about all of the listed vices.
  2. The full list of all of the vices and how often they appear.

I hope you find it helpful and interesting and motivating.

1. Vice List Context Passages – What You Should Know About These Sins

For out of the heart come … But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

What comes out of a person is what defiles him… All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done….

… Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in … But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the … will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be … I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: … I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

… has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: … On account of these the wrath of God is coming. … seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for …

… imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

This is not the wisdom that comes down from above…

… the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do

… they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

… their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

2. Full Vice List

Here are a few things to note:

  • I put all of the full passages – lists with context, in the post right before this one.
  • I used my own discretion when combining, but I didn’t do that too often
  • I’m using ESV
  • With most of these passages, I’m always surprised to see the dark and horrible sins mixed with the more acceptable sins.
  • Entries that are in both of the gospel passages (Matthew 15:19 and Mark 21-23) I only counted as one. They are fairly similar lists.
  • I’ll do the Virtue list summary soon.

Here’s the list of all the vices on all the lists.

Sexually immoral – 10
idolaters – 7
slanderers – 7
anger (fits of anger)(quick tempered) – 5
drunkards – 5
envy – 5
malice – 5
murder/murderers – 5
deceit (lying) – 4
impure – 4
jealousy – 4
Sensual (sensuality) – 4
Conceit – 3
covetousness – 3
evil (desires)(thoughts) – 3
foolish (talk) – 3
liars – 3
orgies – 3
passion – 3
quarrelling – 3
sorcery/sorcerers – 3
wrath – 3
adulterers – 2
boastful – 2
disobedient – 2
disorder – 2
dissensions – 2
faithless – 2
gossips – 2
greedy – 2
homosexuality practicers – 2
lawless – 2
strife – 2
thieves – 2
ambition (selfish) – 1
Bitterness – 1
Clamor – 1
Controversy (unhealthy craving for) – 1
cowardly – 1
crude joking – 1
demonic – 1
depraved in mind – 1
deprived of the truth – 1
detestable – 1
disobedient to parents – 1
divisions – 1
dogs – 1
enmity – 1
empty talkers – 1
enslavers – 1
evil suspicions – 1
filthiness – 1
friction (constant) – 1
hated by others – 1
haters of God – 1
hating one another – 1
haughty – 1
heartless – 1
hostility – 1
hypocrisy – 1
insolent – 1
insubordinate – 1
inventors of evil – 1
led astray – 1
maliciousness – 1
obscene talk – 1
perjurers – 1
practice contrary to sound doctrine – 1
practices falsehood – 1
pride – 1
profane – 1
revilers – 1
rivalries – 1
ruthless – 1
sinners – 1
strike their parents – 1
swindlers – 1
ungodly – 1
unholy – 1
unrighteousness – 1
unspiritual – 1
violent – 1
wickedness – 1

In case you’re curious, here is a list of other posts on my blogs which show a whole category of items from the Bible (Biblical Surveys).

*Yes, that’s a chiasm

Here they are. There are 19. To be used in a soon to come post. Please let me know if I missed any.

These are all from the English Standard Version

Matthew 15:19

[19] For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. [20] These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Mark 7:20-23

[20] And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. [21] For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, [22] coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. [23] All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Romans 1:28-32

[28] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. [29] They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, [30] slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, [31] foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. [32] Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 13:13-14

[13] Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. [14] But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

[9] Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

2 Corinthians 12:20-21

[20] For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. [21] I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

Galatians 5:17-21

[17] For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. [18] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. [19] Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, [21] envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 4:31

[31] Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Ephesians 5:3-8

[3] But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. [4] Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. [5] For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. [6] Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. [7] Therefore do not become partners with them; [8] for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Colossians 3:5-10

[5] Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. [6] On account of these the wrath of God is coming. [7] In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. [8] But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. [9] Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices [10] and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

1 Timothy 1:9-10

[9] understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, [10] the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

1 Timothy 6:4

[4] he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, [5] and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. [6] But godliness with contentment is great gain,

Titus 1:5-8

 [5] This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—[6] if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. [7] For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, [8] but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

James 3:14

 [14] But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. [15] This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. [16] For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. [17] But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Titus 3:3

For cwe ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

1 Peter 2:1

 [1] So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. [2] Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation

1 Peter 4:3-5

[3] For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. [4] With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; [5] but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Revelation 21:8

[8] But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 22:15

[15] Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

As another entry in my Biblical survey posts, I thought it might be a revealing study to consider the first occurrence of key words in the Bible.

A few notes:
I’m using ESV
No proper names, (except Satan, I guess)
Yes, I know there are translations issues.
Nine times I list out word pairs (like Joy and Joyful, Praise and Praising) in different passages.
About half of them are found in Genesis.

One result of this study is that I’m (once again) very grateful to be a New Testament/ New Covenant Follower of God.

The following shows the first occurrences of each word – in Biblical order:

God
Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Good
Genesis 1:4
And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

Holy
Genesis 2:3
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Lord
Genesis 2:4
The Creation of Man and Woman
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

Evil
Genesis 2:9
And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Die
Genesis 2:17
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Wise
Genesis 3:6 – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Help
Genesis 4:1
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”

Sin
Genesis 4:7
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Covenant
Genesis 6:18
But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

Fear
Genesis 9:2
The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered.

Bless/Blessing
Genesis 12:2
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.

Hebrew
Genesis 14:13
Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram.

Word
Genesis 15:1
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

Judgment
Genesis 15:14
But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

Peace
From God’s Covenant with Abram
Genesis 15:15
As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.

Judge
Genesis 16:5
And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”

Wicked
Genesis 18:23
Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?

Death
Genesis 18:25
Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

Merciful
Genesis 19:16
But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.

Dead
Genesis 20:3
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”

Pray
Genesis 20:7
Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

Prophet
Genesis 20:7
Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
(So both Prayer and Prophet are first found in Genesis 20:7)

False
Genesis 21:23
Now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my descendants or with my posterity, but as I have dealt kindly with you, so you will deal with me and with the land where you have sojourned.”

Love
Genesis 22:2
He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Bad
Genesis 24:50
Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing has come from the LORD; we cannot speak to you bad or good.

Prayer
Genesis 25:21
And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

Praise
Genesis 29:35
And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.

Sacrifice
Genesis 31:54
and Jacob offered a sacrifice in the hill country and called his kinsmen to eat bread. They ate bread and spent the night in the hill country.

Truth
Genesis 42:16
Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.”

Mercy
Genesis 43:14
May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

Salvation
Genesis 49:18
I wait for your salvation, O LORD.

Holiness
Exodus 15:11
“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

Goodness
Exodus 33:19
And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

Demon(s)
Leviticus 17:7
So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.

Idol(s)
Leviticus 19:4
Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God.

Amen (this one is especially dark)
Numbers 5:22
May this water that brings the curse pass into your bowels and make your womb swell and your thigh fall away.’ And the woman shall say, ‘Amen, Amen.’

True
Numbers 11:23
And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

Faithful
Numbers 12:7
Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house.

Wisdom
Deuteronomy 4:6 – Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

Loving
Deuteronomy 11:22
For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the Lord your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him,

Rejoice
Deuteronomy 12:7
And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.

Joyful
Deuteronomy 16:15 – For seven days you shall keep the feast to the LORD your God at the place that the LORD will choose, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

Gentle
Deuteronomy 32:2
May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.

Joy
Judges 19:3
Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father’s house. And when the girl’s father saw him, he came with joy to meet him.

Hope
Ruth 1:12
Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons,

Temple (place of worship)
1 Samuel 1:9
After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord.

Savior
2 Samuel 22:3
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.

Jew(s)
2 Kings 25:25
But in the seventh month, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck down Gedaliah and put him to death along with the Jews and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah.

Satan
1 Chronicles 21:1
Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.

Praising
1 Chronicles 23:30
And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening

Grace
Esther 2:17
the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Atone
Psalm 65:3
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.

Patience
Proverbs 25:15
With patience a ruler may be persuaded,
and a soft tongue will break a bone.

Disciple(s) – This is the only time it’s in the old testament
Isaiah 8:16
Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples

===

Here are seven words that are not found in the Old Testament

Devil
Matthew 4:1
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Gospel
Matthew 4:23
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Kingdom of God
Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Apostles
Matthew 10:1
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.

Church
Matthew 16:18
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Messiah
John 1:41
He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).

Sovereign
Acts 4:24
And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,

In contrast with the first Amen, the very last Amen in the Bible (the last word of the Bible) is much more joyful.

Revelation 22:21
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Any other words I should add to the list?

In case you’re curious, here is a list of other posts on my blogs which show a whole category of items from the Bible.

Here is the complete (I think) list of Biblical Surveys (everything I could find in the Bible of a certain kind) in my blogs:
Read the rest of this entry »

Jamsco Rule 89: The person who is the most sensitive on a certain subject should not be in charge of making corporate decisions about that subject.

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Let’s try a mental experiment where instead of avoiding getting the Covid virus, you’re actually trying to contract it. Like, what if you’re told that you have a rich uncle that says (because he’s, you know, crazy) if someone in the family is clinically diagnosed with the Virus, he will give that person a million dollars. You know that if you catch it, you have less than a 1 in 20 chance of dying from it, so you decide to go for it. You now want to catch Covid 19.

But how?*

Well, first you stop washing your hands, and you start touching your face. Like all the time. Then you leave your home. Obviously without any mask. But then what?

You remember reading this article that states that it’s possible to catch the virus from a stranger even while taking a walk (or biking or jogging) out in the great out of doors. And you say triumphantly, “Aha!” and choose that method.

But … then the math starts to get you down. Let’s say you live in my state, Minnesota, which currently has 1242 confirmed cases. And it has a total of 5.6 million people. That means only one in 4500 people actually have the sickness. And about half of them (675) have recovered. And those who are still sick with it aren’t out jogging.

But (you think optimistically) we keep hearing (accurately) that there are many people out there who have it in their system and are contagious but aren’t showing symptoms. Maybe, you guess, there are as many as ten time as many contagious people, some of whom might be out for a walk right now!

That lowers the odds to about 1 in 450. You’re standing outside and you think – that guy that just walked by at the park (not one with a mask, obviously!) there’s really less than a 0.2 percent chance that he has it. This makes you downhearted. But you start to follow him anyway, still trying to be glass-half-full about it.

As you walk, you check back in with the article and see that you have to be within 5 meters of him (in his “slipstream”) to have any chance of catching it. And you can only be directly behind him, because ‘diagonally’ the opportunity to catch the sickness from him is measurably less.

So you estimate the distance of 4.5 meters (you’re more of an Imperial system guy yourself) and then try to get that close to him without making him nervous. It’s really quite close. He keeps looking back at you. Maybe he thinks your about to mug him. But you smile and he eventually does his best to ignore you.

So far so good. If he’s one of the 1 in 450 you’re on your way!

But then you check back in with the article and it says you will only catch it if you’re in his slipstream AND the person coughs or sneezes. And you remember – the fact that this guy is out here almost certainly means he’s not symptomatic. If he was, he probably wouldn’t be exercising.

But still, maybe he’ll cough or sneeze eventually, right? You wait. He doesn’t. You follow him for several minutes.  Did he just cough? No, he’s just chuckling at something from the podcast he’s listening to.

And then … finally … he does cough! Kind of. Slightly. But into the crook of his arm! The odds that he just created a “cloud of droplets” that you might be able to harvest from his slipstream comes close to approaching nill!

“It’s hopeless!” you decide as you stop and walk home deflated. I’m never going to get Covid like this!

You decide your only recourse is to go lick the shelves in your grocery store’s empty toilet paper aisle.

====

My point is, you can give yourself permission to go for a walk.

* I did my best to not make any major errors here, but the odds that there are none in this thought experiment also comes close to approaching null.

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Earlier this year, the pastor in charge of small groups at our church, Pastor Sam, asked several of us to present our thoughts about a set of texts that he suggested – in under five minutes – in a small group leaders meeting.

When I got this request, my mind went pretty quickly to a memory from work. An executive VP, in preparation for a large group meeting, asked several people to present “three-minute drill” talks, and I remembered how one wise lady had handled the time-limited challenge – by writing a poem. So I thought, well, that’s what I’ll have to do then. One big difference, during the big meeting, the EVP put up a countdown timer with an oddly distracting and fairly loud alarm that went off if the speaker went over the time limit. Pastor Sam didn’t do that.

The passage I chose was Matthew 7:13-14, and it is this.
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

And these were Pastor Sam’s questions to consider:
• What is destruction?
• What is life?
• Explain “easy.”
• Explain “hard.”
• How is Jesus central to all these dynamics?
• What potential do small groups have to foster life and not destruction?

Here is my poem. I’m finally getting around to posting it, and I think it applies well to these times. The form is the same used by Pastor John for his advent poems, which my daughter Adelyn says is iambic octameter.

Thoughts On Matthew 7:13-14

Yes, enter by the narrow gate,
Commands our Christ, so it’s the fate
Of those who follow Him to go
This way, against the ebb and flow.

For many go another way.
It’s hard, we hear, so why obey?
His reason told: it leads to Life.
Not fear, not death, not curse, not strife.
Destruction is a fright’ning word.
It means disease that can’t be cured.
It means a death forever felt.
To many will its curse be dealt.
There’s one who wants its death for you.
He sings against the good and true.
The Prince of Darkness points to wrong,
And calls it good. Resist his song.

But life here means to be with God.
Not under His just, chastening rod.
But in His loving, strong embrace
And under His bright shining face.

So: what is meant by easy? All
our undirected minds will fall
In line and follow our own way.
We’re gone tomorrow, here today.
It’s easier to hate, ignore,
Or scorn the One you should adore.

And what is meant by hard? This way
Will mean we choose to trust, obey.
And that’s not what we tend to do.
We still don’t want to follow through
And follow the creator who,
Yes, by the way, created you.
We walk a different path away
So we won’t have to trust, obey.

And how is Jesus central to
all these dynamics? Sam*, don’t you
already know the answer? He,
the human in the trinity,
This Jesus made this blessed gate
And laid a path, clear, level, straight.

And if it’s hard to walk God’s will,
It was for Him much harder still.
He didn’t cross the easy gate.
He stepped out in the face of hate
And walked a cruel, horrid path.
He felt God’s full, just, potent wrath.
So what else can we do but choose
His road, t’ward life we cannot lose.
If Satan wants dark death for all,
There’s joy for those who heed Christ’s call.
He’s stronger than the Prince of Pain.
So choose the path of hope and gain.

And what about that group you’re in?
You all will lean t’ward ease and sin,
Forget God’s plan to cure and bless-
This we will surely do, unless
We enter by the narrow gate.
And not just pass, then sit and wait.
You aren’t in a one act play.
No. Choose this hard gate ev’ry day
And every minute, every hour.
And not by your mere human power,
But by the strength that He gives you.
Thus choose the hard way found by few.

Our one-another goal: Exhort.
And not just: “Hey, hold down the fort.”
Say more: in trust and joy, step out
In faith, walk straight, not roundabout.
Step t’ward each other, and with them
Then side by side thus walk t’ward Him.
Step down the path He walked for you.
He made it well, it’s straight and true.
Again today, choose joy, don’t wait.
Yes, enter by the narrow gate.

* Or, if you like, ‘Saint.’

I’m glad you’re here. Please take a look around.

And while you’re here – can I suggest looking at two other things I’ve worked on?

1. I’ve been posting a series of stories for parents to read to their kids (and to themselves) which illustrate allegories found in the Bible.

2. We have six Fighter Verse Song CDs (for Bible Verse Memorization). Please take a look here:

(or go straight to the Amazon page.)

I don’t go to church regularly (or read the Bible, or pray) so it will make me a better (more spiritual, more Godly, more living-in-line-with-the-Gospel) Christian than other people. I do these things so it will make me a better Christian than I would be otherwise.

It’s been a long time, (perhaps a decade) since I’ve tasted alcohol. And it’s possible that tomorrow I’ll be in a situation where I decide it’s a wise choice to drink something with alcohol in it, but this, I’m guessing, is quite unlikely.

This is not because I think it’s a sin, so this is another issue where I don’t encourage people to be like me. But I do have reasons for not drinking that are less morality-based. Here are eight. I should say that there are a few that I’m not proud of, like the first one.

  1. It doesn’t taste good to me.

This one falls under the “I’m a big baby” category. People talk about acquired tastes about many things, but I’ve never acquired a taste for anything and that includes wine, champagne, and beer. And from the expressions on people faces when I see them drink harder liquors, I’m pretty sure I would dislike them even more.

  1. I’m a volumes guy.

I see people on TV pouring themselves a glass of whiskey and it’s always very small and I ask – what’s the point of that? If I want to drink something, I want to be able to safely drink a lot. When I drink liquids I want to quench my thirst, not sip.

  1. It’s expensive.

Even if you buy the big cheap bottles, pretty much any kind of alcohol is the most expensive way to get fluids into your body. Why would I spent five dollars at a restaurant to get one glass of wine when a (to my mind) much better tasting bottomless Cherry Pepsi is $2.50? (And ice water is free!)

  1. It’s possible I’m a lightweight.

The last time I drank, I had a glass and a half of wine (or less). I felt it. I think I got a little dizzy. I don’t want to pursue that.

  1. The Bible

There is a fair amount in Scripture that warns against over-drinking. Choosing to completely abstain make this a total non-issue.

  1. Everyone should have something

I think there is some wisdom in having something you totally forgo.

  1. Holding down one end of the spectrum

If there are people in the world (or at any given adult gathering) who drink too much, it seems like there should be someone who doesn’t drink at all, perhaps to help other people who don’t want to drink feel more comfortable. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

  1. Minding my words.

My whole life I have done my best to attempt (with an imperfect success rate, as some of you can attest) to keep myself from saying stupid things. It is my guess that my stupid-things-said-by-me to things-said-by-me ratio would increase exponentially (yes, I’m mixing my math metaphors) if I drank alcohol. I fear this. I fear this to the degree that I have difficulty understanding why other people don’t fear this.

Those are my reasons. I hope they make sense, and maybe these thoughts help you understand others you know who are like me.

==

Here is my post linking to all the posts in this “Why I do/don’t do this” series of posts.

To write a good story, it’s often helpful or necessary to describe what’s in the mind of a character. An author can do this with perfect certainty. A journalist can’t. Any time a news story makes assumptions about what is in the mind of one of the people in their narrative it is deceptive journalism. Beware.

If your child directly disobeys you and I see you calmly take your child to another room to spank them and talk about their disobedience, I will gain (not lose) respect for you as a parent.

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Every time you sin, it is an act of …
1. Disobedience – God made a command and you went against it
2. Pride – You decided you knew better than God
3. Selfishness – You put yourself first
4. Distancing – You have put space between you and God
5. Embracing – You have brought yourself closer to the will of Satan
6. Foolishness – You acted contrary to the will of the wisest person in the universe.

And for a Christian – it’s worse, because for a person in Christ, every sin is an act of …
1. Betrayal – You acted against your previous commitments to your Lord and Savior
2. Hypocrisy – You say you are a Christian, but you’re not acting like one.

You should remember these things when you confess your sins. And then remember – he is faithful and just and will forgive you your sins. And make them white as snow.

Every time you’re tempted to sin and resist it, it is an act of …
1. Obedience – God made a command and you did it
2. Humility – You decided you (or at least your sinful self) didn’t know best
3. Submission – You put God’s will before your will
4. Distancing – You have put space between you and Satan
5. Embracing – You have brought yourself closer to the will of God
6. Wisdom – You acted in accordance to the will of the wisest person in the universe.

And for a Christian – it’s better, because for a person in Christ, every resisted temptation is an act of …
1. Loyalty – You acted in accordance your commitments to your Lord and Savior
2. Genuineness – You say you are a Christian, and you’re acting like one.
3. Sanctification – God is making you more like His son.
4. Sovereignty – God is ordaining his perfect and prescriptive will through you.

You should thank God that he is working out his salvation in you, for his good pleasure and your good.

 

I’ve noticed a trend in some of the posts I’ve written, so I decided to post them all here.

Why I wear a tie on Sunday, but I don’t think everyone should.

Why our family sits in the second row at church, but I don’t think everyone should.

Why I sing harmony in church, but I don’t think everyone should.

Why we go to church and we DO think everyone should.

Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol, but don’t think everyone shouldn’t.

I’m glad you’re here. Please take a look around and if you’re interested in finding about music that teaching people the Bible through song, please click on the gold CD to the left there.

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At the risk of letting my right hand know what my left hand is doing, I will state here openly that our family regularly gives a non-zero amount of dollars to our church. I have proof of this, because recently our church sent out to all of its givers their quarterly Contribution Statements. And on it, a sentence caught my eye:

No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contributions, other than intangible religious benefits.

Now it’s clear in the Bible that all (or nearly all?) church attenders should give to their church and we do this, to some degree, because we feel to do otherwise would be an act of disobedience. We are also desiring to contribute to the spreading of the glory of God. But the phrase “intangible religious benefits” made me think.

And it gave me joy – because our family does indeed receive many religious benefits as a result of our church attendance, and (don’t tell the IRS) some of them are just barely ‘intangible’.

Have you considered these?

Catastrophic Coverage

We pay serious money for various forms of insurance in case of great loss. But as I consider possible traumatic sudden losses that could happen to our family at any time, none of them are as valuable to me as the knowledge of the great support our family will receive from many families in our church, as it has in the past many times over, if our family did suffer great loss. We have felt the love of God through meals brought to us, and being uplifted in prayer, and many, many words of encouragement. We have been a part of supporting others in difficult times. The value of this (both giving and receiving) is great.

Consulting Confirmation

If my wife and I were going this alone, our kids might have great reason to doubt our theology, or our understanding of the Gospel, or our belief in the existence of God. But each Sunday they hear a sermon from a respected pastor, and then they hear a lesson from a Sunday school teacher. At other times they hear the singing voices of people in our small group. And they learn from mentors and youth group leaders. And all of them are more or less in agreement with what we’ve taught them. There is benefit here.

Correction Certainty

It is possible that one day either or I, or my wife, or one of my kids will stray from God, or away from the gospel, or away from life-giving, fruit-bearing Christ-centered behavior. Out of ignorance or informed disobedience, we might move in a direction outside the will of God in an outward way. If that happens, I know that there will be concern from people in my church, and then prayerful consideration, and then they will, in imperfect but loving ways, approach the family member with warning, direction and biblical counsel. I’ve seen it happen, and I’m counting on it.

Caring Community

Much of our lives, there are situations and concerns, big and small, that are pressing on our hearts, making us fearful, or confused. When we walk out into the commons area of our church after a service, or when we’re having prayer request time in our small group, if there is something we need to talk through with someone outside our family, there they are. Willing to listen and promising prayer, or praying right there on the spot. Giving suggestions. Weeping with those who are weeping and rejoicing with those who are rejoicing. There are times that it’s very important to talk things through and church is a resource making this possible.

Continual Cross

Perhaps the most important truth in the world is “God made a way, through the work of His Son, for you to be with Him.” This truth, as explained in His word, is not only important in showing us the way, but in giving us a right long-term moral, spiritual, and mindful mindset. So, it’s not just a truth to accept and move on from, but it’s a way of thinking that gives us joy and direction throughout life. And our family can hardly spend fifteen minutes in our church without experiencing reminders of this path, this salvation, this Gospel. And the reminder keeps us motivated to stay on the path towards Jesus.

I know that when deciding whether to give to a church, we shouldn’t feel it necessary to do a cost/benefit analysis. But for us, it’s certain the benefits outweigh the costs. I hope you go to a church and I hope you’re finding these benefits at your place of worship. This is certainly not a complete list (I started to run out of C-words), and maybe you could suggest more. Honestly, I don’t know how non-attenders live without them.

==

Here is my post linking to all the posts in this “Why I do this” series of posts.

People are like muscles – if they are stretched the wrong way, they can be injured. But if they are never stretched (challenged, stressed, used) they get weaker.

So as ‘members of the same body’, we should make it a goal to challenge each other.

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