Category Archives: Christian Essay

Interaction of Christ and His Disciples with the Government

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

How should a ministry or church model its activity? Follow the example of Jesus Christ! It is impossible to claim a biblical ministry that does not follow the example left by Jesus.  Jesus and His disciples displayed how we should interact in civil society. The Bible contains numerous examples of Christ and the disciples interacting with the civil authorities. Every example was either them ministering to the individual authority figure or responding to a charge for ministering the Gospel. I have found NOT ONE example of a political movement or some political action committee. I am attempting to post a comprehensive list to demonstrate this point. It is a distraction of the devil to engage the church or a ministry in achieving a political agenda.  I strongly encourage everyone to look at the examples below and seek any that I missed. Let God be true and every man a liar.

Comprehensive List (duplicate accounts intentionally left).

  1. Ruler’s raised daughter. Matt 9:18-26. Ministering.
  2. Ruler of the synagogue raised daughter. Mark 5:35-43. Ministering.
  3. Jarius Daughter. Luke 8:40-56. Ministering.
  4. Ruler with a question. Luke 18:18. Ministering.
  5. Ruler of the feast. John 2:9. Ministering.
  6. Nicodemus. John 3:1. Ministering.
  7. Crispus saved. Acts 18:18. Ministering.
  8. Charges brought before Gallio. Acts 18:12-17. Answering charge.
  9. Paul before the high priest. Acts 23:5. Answering charge.
  10. Healing Servant of Centurion at Capernaum. Matt 8:5-13. Ministering.
  11. The testimony of the centurion at the Cross. Matt 27:54. Charge and Ministering.
  12. The testimony of the centurion at the Cross. Mark 15:39. Charge and Ministering.
  13. The body of Jesus. Mark 15:44-45. Charge.
  14. Sick servant of the centurion. Luke 7:2-6. Ministering.
  15. The testimony of the centurion at the Cross. Luke 23:47. Charge and Ministering.
  16. Cornelius. Acts 10:1-22. Ministering.
  17. Paul before the Roman tribune. Acts 22:22-29. Charge.
  18. Paul before the governor. Acts 23:35. Charge.
  19. Paul before the Council. Acts 22:30. Charge.
  20. Paul before Felix. Acts 24:1-21. Charge.
  21. Paul before Festus. Acts 24:22-27. Charge.
  22. Paul in prison under centurion. Acts 28:16. Charge.
  23. Herod and the baby Jesus. Matt 2:1-15. Charge.
  24. Herod and John the Baptist. Matt 14:1-6. Ministering.
  25. Herod and John the Baptist. Mark 6:14-22. Ministering.
  26. John the Baptist reproving Herod. Luke 3:19. Ministering (it is safe to interpret ‘all these things’ as personal evils because that would be consistent with everything else recorded of John as opposed to thinking this were civil wrongs inconsistent with all of John’s other recorded words).
  27. Joanna giving to the Lord’s ministry. Luke 8:3. Ministering.
  28. Herod wondering about Jesus. Luke 9:7-9. Charge.
  29. Warning that Herod will kill Jesus. Luke 13:31. Charge.
  30. Jesus before Herod and Pilate. Luke 23. Charge.
  31. Herod persecuting the church and being struck down. Acts 12. Charge.
  32. Leaders seeking to catch Jesus in His words. Matt 22:16. Charge.
  33. Leaders seeking to catch Jesus in His words. Mark 3:6. Charge.
  34. Leaders seeking to catch Jesus in His words. Mark 12:13. Charge.

I have left off purely religious leaders because preaching the truth and contending for the faith in spiritual matters is exactly what the church and ministries should be doing. So, Paul rebuking Peter is not included nor Jesus discussing the law with the religious leaders.  The leaders trying to build a charge of blasphemy against Jesus is listed.

Old Testament examples do not apply in the New Testament because Israel was a theocratic democracy. In other words, it was both a state and a religion. That is NOT the case in the New Testament. In fact, Jesus specifically said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18:36.

Jesus is Coming Soon

I don’t care what the apostate church says about gradually bringing in the kingdom with political action committees, voters, and donations. Jesus is coming back suddenly. That means no time to repent. No time to contemplate. No time to make that extra warning. If you have turned your back on God, turn back to him. If you have lost your fire, rekindle it. If you have taken your eyes off of Christ, look again to him. He is the God of second chances. His coming is closer now than when we first believed.

What is Inerrant?

We say the Bible is inerrant. What does that mean?

The Bible says that Jesus was in the grave for three days. Does that mean he was in the grave exactly 72 hours? That cannot be the case. He died late on good Friday. The women at the tomb discovered the resurrection early Sunday morning. That is not 72 hours.

You can infer the value of pi from 1Kings 7:23 “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.” We know that pi can be calculated by the circumference (30 cubits for the molten sea) divided by the diameter (10 cubits for the molten sea).  That gives us a value of pi of 3. Yet pi is 3.14…

Both of these examples illustrate what we mean by inerrant. We mean the Bible is completely accurate as it was understood within the culture and language of the day.

The gospel writers were speaking within the context of Jewish syntax and culture. The culture and language called any part of a day a day when counting days. So, Jesus was in the grave late Friday night, all day Saturday, and part of Sunday morning. That is three days using the diction of the time.

Ancient writers usually used approximations for measurements with the exception of a few ancient mathematical texts. A calculated value of 3 for pi is completely reasonable when you understand the unit of measurement. A cubit was the length from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger. That can range from 15 to 21 inches. That is a very rough approximation.

This is completely consistent with how we use language today. How old are you? I am 58 years old. Wait, I am 58 years and 6 months old. Wait I am 58 years, 6 months, and 5 days old.

Am I wrong when I say I am 58 years old? Of course not. Neither is the Bible wrong when it says Jesus was in the grave for three days or the bowl had a circumference of 30 cubits and a diameter of 10 cubits.

 

Bathroom tolerance

In Phoenix, Arizona, just use whatever bathroom you come to first. I’m dense mentally, but I’m not the only one. In February, the Phoenix City Council voted to allow admission of any man or woman to all public toilet facilities. Now, why would you do that? Why would you even want to do that? Vote, I mean. Ok, ok, political expediency. But why even demand it? Why force other people to be uncomfortable over something that should cause you no trouble? It must be the forcing that you’re after. There is no problem that I can understand. If you are dressed as a woman and can fool the public, you use the women’s restroom; if you are dressed as a man, the men’s.

Written by Jane Freuler

Treasures in Heaven

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). I thought that it meant to give money toward activities that further the kingdom of God instead of buying stuff for myself that can and will be destroyed–yes, by moth and rust and theft but also, as I’ve noticed, by mice and falling trees and tornadoes and even by misplacing something so it can’t even be used. This is true, but the verse is in a context that points to more types of treasure. Some of our treasures on earth that we try to acquire are an impressive reputation (for years I’ve wanted to be impressive) or an ease of living (we worry and struggle to be sure we are well cared for).

But there are other magnificent treasures that we can lay up in heaven for ourselves. We can have a memorial before God like Cornelius did by his spending time in prayer and taking care of others who had needs (Acts 10:1-4,31). And Malachi 3:16-17 says that in heaven there is a book of remembrance where God has written the names of those whose conversations reflect that they take God seriously. God says that those people will be part of His own possession. Now THAT would be a seek to lay up for ourselves in heaven.

– Jane Freuler

Dancing Through Life

Absolutely – what I write is for me. This morning I was moaning about “just going through the motions of my life” and not “feeling it.”

Last night, my emotions of love and eagerness were strong toward Jesus, but so much of my life is not like that. What is wrong with me? What should I be doing? — Echo:  I be doing?  I be doing?

Much in the Bible gives commands to follow which, surely, I am to diligently attempt to do, but my life does not depend on me. Frequently, we are told that it is God who is able, willing, and even determined to grow us to be more like Jesus.

As I was pondering this, suddenly the piece “Dancing – A Parable” came to my mind. Dancing with Mr. Drill is my attempting in my own strength, to keep whatever law I have set for myself (a list to check off).  Mr. Thrill doesn’t show up very often (that’s for sure).

But Mr. Will, a very good dancer and easy to follow, will lead me in my life dance for the King if I diligently (diligently!) let myself be led—depending on and obeying—yes, by the Spirit of the King.

– Jane Freuler
jfreuler@comcast.net

Dancing — A Parable

I went to work with a team that danced in honor of the King. My first partner was a fellow named Mr. Thrill, who was a very good dancer, so my job was extremely enjoyable to me.

One day Mr. Thrill did not show up for work, and I had to dance with a fellow named Mr. Drill. After several days of this, I complained to the supervisor, who said, “Oh, no, no. We fired Mr. Drill. He should not even be here. But Mr. Thrill only works part time. When he isn’t here, you’ll have another partner.”

I went back to work, and was assigned a partner named Mr. Will who, in my opinion, wasn’t much better than Mr. Drill. When I grumbled, Mr. Will said to me, “Think about it. You like the wages, and Mr. Thrill is not dependable. You never know when he’s going to show up. So either dance or quit.”

It was true. I did like the wages. Day after day, as I danced with Mr. Will, I discovered that he was such a good dancer, I could quit focusing on my work so much and spend more time watching the King and enjoying dancing for Him.

I seldom come into work and find Mr. Thrill waiting for me, but sometimes I think that if Mr. Will shaved his mustache and took off his glasses, he would look a lot like Mr. Thrill. Sometimes I wonder.
— Jane Freuler
jfreuler@comcast.net

Jello

Jello is barking at a fly. How can I pray to the great God of the universe when this stupid dog is barking at a fly.

I sat down in my big chair to talk to my heavenly Father about the difficulties of my situation, the people and even potential threats that I’m facing. I must tell Him about this, but how can I concentrate.  Jello, my stocky white terrier, has planted herself, tensed for a fight, in the middle of my bed, which is as high as she can get, to rid us of this dangerous thing.

“That’s stupid. To bark at a fly is stupid,” I yell to try to stop her yelling.

Now wait a minute. Maybe God, My Father, is trying to tell me something. At II Corinthians 4:17 Paul uses the words “momentary, light afflictions.”  I have, as my personal Father, the wise and strong God, Who is totally capable of handling anything life can throw at me. The things that worry me do not worry Him. My forgetting Who He is and focusing totally on my troubles is not really praying. As someone once said, “It (my trouble) may be the truth, but it’s not the whole truth.” The whole truth includes the love and capability of my Father and His involvement in my life.

So when I just worry, even calling it “being in the presence of the Lord,” I am actually barking at flies, and that’s stupid.

Thank you, Jello.

— Jane Freuler
jfreuler@comcast.net

 

Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” and the Devil’s Waltz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcATvu5f9vE&feature=youtu.be
The opening 7/4 meter says it all — boom-DA boom-DA boom-DA-DA. A 7/4 meter is a very confused meter — stuck between duple and triple time. The beautiful girls behind him with no emotion and a total lack of interest. At a great distance they seem to play instruments that are a lie in their hand when you look closer. This a perfect artistic statement about a state of being appearing one way but actually totally different. Palmer himself says the song describes the hell of addictive personalty — the dichotomy of addiction. It is the rebellion that leads to servitude. The joy that leads to destruction. It is the march to freedom that leads to a waltz with the devil — bum-DA bum-DA bum-DA-DA.

— Donnie Bryson

The Musical Prayer: Personal Example of Abstract Musical Reactions

There are always discussions of the ‘spirituality’ of abstract musical devices or style in Christians circles. Some say a sound or rhythmic beat has the anointing of God or smells of hell.  I disagree. Abstract music is amoral. No instrument, chord, cadence, pulse, or device is good or evil. It is the message conveyed that is good or evil.

However, we must understand that we communicate with music on many levels. There is the verbal level of sung lyrics. There is the pulse of the beat and, more importantly, the variation in the pulse. Increasing the tempo gives one emotional cue and slowing it down gives another cue.  A raspy jazz singer conjures different mental images than an operatic soprano. Cadential elision can give the listener the feeling longing.

The most significant way abstract music communicates, however, is with the context that we place on the sound from our own story line. Here is an example from my own life.

In late 1999 Heather, my oldest daughter, developed a significant deep-vein thrombosis. The clot was half the length of her leg. Although she recovered, it was very serious. I looked down at my little girl in the hospital room and I was terrified beyond words. Suddenly, I started hearing  this melodic riff in my head that was almost loud enough to hurt. I knew it was from the Romantic period but I could not remember its   original source. All I could remember at the time is that it the melody you often hear when the villain is tying the girl to the train tracks. It was only later that I remembered it was Erlkonig by Goethe and set to music Schubert that I heard once during undergrad school. My subconscious had conjured up that melody to express the horror I was feeling looking down at my daughter who I expected to die.

Read this translation of the Goethe’ words and listen to the musical link below it.

Who rides, so late, through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He has the boy well in his arm
He holds him safely, he keeps him warm.

“My son, why do you hide your face so anxiously?”
“Father, do you not see the Elfking?
The Elfking with crown and tail?”
“My son, it’s a wisp of fog.”

“You dear child, come, go with me!
Very lovely games I’ll play with you;
Some colourful flowers are on the beach,
My mother has some golden robes.”

“My father, my father, and don’t you hear
What the Elfking quietly promises me?”
“Be calm, stay calm, my child;
The wind is rustling through withered leaves.”

“Do you want to come with me, pretty boy?
My daughters shall wait on you finely;
My daughters will lead the nightly dance,
And rock and dance and sing you to sleep.”

“My father, my father, and don’t you see there
The Elfking’s daughters in the gloomy place?”
“My son, my son, I see it clearly:
There shimmer the old willows so grey.”

“I love you, your beautiful form entices me;
And if you’re not willing, then I will use force.”
“My father, my father, he’s grabbing me now!
The Elfking has done me harm!”

It horrifies the father; he swiftly rides on,
He holds the moaning child in his arms,
Reaches the farm with trouble and hardship;
In his arms, the child was dead.

Listen to Erlkonig

All of this was being churned non-verbally in me. Weeks later I pondered the strange experience and mediated on how it was vaguely similar to the groaning we send up to the Lord in our times of need. It starts with a painful groan and often morph into priase. So, as a musical experiment, I took the painful melodic motif and weaved it into my musical prayer below for piano and trumpet.

Listen to Musical Prayer

— Donnie Bryson