Sunday, February 26, 2012

Invasion of the Soul Snatchers

(Dear Readers: Some of you may have watched the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" filmed in 1956 and remade in 1978. This blog post is a take-off on that movie. I hope you find it meaningful.)

He wants our souls and will stop at nothing. He'll allow the infiltration of our minds with seemingly innocent and innocuous ideas. His goal is to lull us into thinking that everything is OK, that we're on the right track in life, that we're doing enough to get favor from man...and God. He even likes when we don't think at all about the meaning of life.

Our good thoughts about "religious" people are no problem to him, as long as those people leave us alone. Good people and religious people can live side by side in harmony, all we need to do is to just keep our distance and don't open ourselves up to each other.

And look at all the hypocrisy in Christians. Remember the televangelists that did things to prove they were hoaxes; the Billy Graham Crusades had "plants" that went forward first so others would follow. We can use logic and explain anything away if we think hard and long enough

But stay away from what might be called "soul snatchers". They're beginning to enter our workplaces and communities, and they never give up on their prey. They are tenacious and hang on with all their might and nothing can make them lose hope. They believe the Bible to a fault and they cannot be steered off course. They want all people, even the worst of us, to give our hearts to a man called Jesus who they claim is the Son of God. How can any man claim that?

These people say that Jesus can invade our bodies with His Holy Spirit. That seems too strange to even consider. And what about this blood thing? Who wants to be covered by blood? That seems almost disgusting, like it's out of a horror movie!

But they never give up. They use the Bible verses in Matthew 7 that talks about the "broad" path and the "narrow" path. They then try to convince us that the broad path leads to hell and the narrow path leads to heaven. How can anyone tell another person that they might end up in hell if they go on a certain path?

These soul snatchers take literally the verse in Jude 23 where Jude instructed followers of Christ to "save others by snatching them from the fire".

But don't worry friends. Our leader has plans for them to make them lose their zeal. He will come against these zealots with all he's got.

Their soul snatching fervor will diminish…or will it?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

“Amish This” & “Amish That”

Dear Readers:

I often tell my wife my dislike for things labeled “Amish This” or “Amish That”. Currently there is a wave of labels of goods, services, and philosophies that have the word “Amish” attached to them. There are “Amish Goods”, “Amish Wisdom”, “Amish Books”, “Amish Furniture”, “Amish Heaters”, “Amish Proverbs”, “Amish Cheese”, “Amish America”, etc. The funniest one I ever saw was “Amish Meat". I'm still looking for the first Amish cow!

Why are businesses and people, in many cases “English” people, attaching the word Amish to their wares? Are Amish made products and Amish wisdom better than other products and wisdom?

I’m from Holmes County, Ohio, so I know that tourism there has brought great prosperity. Holmes County is touted as having the largest Amish population in the world, and has grown from a sleepy community with one motel/hotel in the entire county to having hotels, restaurants, bed & breakfasts, and tourist stores at every turn.

Is what happened to Holmes County a good thing? I’m not sure. I’m guilty of the same pride when I return and take friends and relatives through there and let them know where everything is located.

I also proudly tell my wife that if I ever start a business I’m not going to use the name Amish in the title, but will use the name “Yoder”. But by association almost everyone knows that Yoder is usually attached to having an Amish heritage. I would then vicariously be using my Amish roots to get gain.

I recently watched a video of Jim Cymbala, the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, where he preached to a group of pastors and missionaries about Jesus driving out the money changers. He said that Jesus drove them out on two separate occasions. My question is, can the use of the Amish label to products be compared to the money changers of the temple, or am I way off base? The money changers and sellers of animals to be sacrificed used the religious traditions of the Jewish nation to make money, usually at inflated prices. They let themselves believe they were doing a service, and they may have told themselves they were entitled to make a little extra money on the side.

Can the same be said of the use of the Amish name and traditions? I don’t have all the answers. I love my relatives that have grown up Amish. I love and am proud of my Amish roots. But I don’t want to be so infatuated with them that I forget a more important equation: Salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-10

See you next time,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Open-Door Policy

Dear Readers:

The things Peter warned us about in 1 Peter 4:12 seems to be happening to me and my family. He said, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” Without going into detail I never thought that we would be experiencing the almost surreal things we are right now.

The event in our lives is so unexpected that it makes me question, “Why?” I’m sure that there are some people that might point out our flaws and the flaws of my family and say the following: “See what happens when you’re out of God’s will.” I have questioned this myself so I can’t blame them, although it would be a hurtful thing to say.

Others might say that God is taking us through a time of time of suffering for Christ as Peter indicated in verse 13, “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

Good things are happening in our family like never before and perhaps our “fiery ordeal” is a way of Satan putting roadblocks in the way to slow us down. My wife just got a publishing contract for three fiction books, and the books will reveal some flaws in the proliferation of romanticizing the Amish culture. The books will point out that many Amish people, although religious, are not taught to become saved and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We also had some minor involvement in a PBS production and a National Geographic production and had film crews in our home twice in the last year. In one production a man that formerly was Amish became born-again.

I cannot control the thinking of other people about our circumstances. All I can do is to have what I might call an “open-door policy” with wisdom. Solomon wrote the following in Proverbs 8:33-35 about waiting daily at the doors of wisdom:

Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the LORD.

See you next time,