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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

Cal Thomas is a long-time conservative political commentator with whom I often agree. However, the mistake many conservative Christians make is in blindly following any and all conservative spin-masters simply because they’re conservative. Experience teaching us that conservatives can be just as down-and-dirty as anyone else: lying, cheating, stealing and engaging in immorality with the best/worst liberal in the land.

Christians tend to conservatism. Conservatives often pander to Christians. The possibility of our being “used” heightened as…  ( Click for more )

August 11, 2017

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The danger in this allusion to simple imagery is that we often expect it to tell the whole story, and that’s impossible. The problem is compounded by the fact that we are an image-driven society; too pre-occupied or lazy to investigate a person, cause or incident for ourselves – relying on 15 second audio or video bytes to tell us all we care to know. But again, these can be misunderstood, misapplied or manipulated to mean something they really don’t.

Some of the more easily recognized…  ( Click for more )

August 4, 2017

What kind of question is that? It’s not one to be asked lightly, as there is deep significance to this question in scripture. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25,26 What was he talking about? All men die – or do they? I believe in Jesus’ eyes, death is embodied in separation from him. What we call death is only a step to another dimension of life; real life. Belief in him assures us…  ( Click for more )

The clothing malfunction involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake during their Super Bowl performance several years ago set the bench-mark for bad taste and what is or is not acceptable for public viewing, while raising a number of other issues in the process; not the least of which was the hypocrisy of some who protested Ms. Jackson’s “unveiling.”

Although surprised and upset by what happened, I was left wondering how much would have been made of the performance if Janet’s breast had merely been exposed through the thin, red, clingy…  ( Click for more )

Last week’s article ended by invoking the image of Christian service the early church practiced. Their example being based on the social consciousness of the Jewish “church” or religious establishment, which was closely associated with Jewish governance. The prophets repeatedly admonishing the Israeli people to pay fair wages, not to take advantage of the less astute and educated, to care for the weak, the sick, the orphan and widows and to make provision for the alien residing amongst them. Jesus parable of the sheep and goats mirroring these injunctions…  ( Click for more )

July 14, 2017

The ongoing struggle to come up with a workable health care plan that would include rather than exclude people from participating may be easier if we were to answer a fundamental question. Are we a compassionate, humane society?

On the surface, many – including me – would say we are. But the wide range of ideas submitted to express that ideal in practical ways is at the root of our difficulty in installing a system that doesn’t reward indolence but is still quick to help the truly needy.

Another fundamental question being: Is healthcare…  ( Click for more )

I usually try to avoid commenting on politics, but have and will undoubtedly continue to address issues that entail moral as well as public policy with the capacity to impact believers and non-believers alike. The effects of the world-wide recession is one such topic, the fallout from the financial crisis being so widespread and pervasive that I felt the need to revisit it once more; especially after having recently read some observations of men eminently more qualified than I who warned years ago of the very type of situation we experienced in the recent past and may be stumbling…  ( Click for more )

June 30, 2017

Webster’s defines a disciple as a pupil of another’s ideas and ideals, and a follower as an attendant or one who adheres to another’s beliefs and teachings. What’s the difference? It’s ultimately a matter of commitment, yet what a difference that can make. It would seem to be significant that the word Disciple is derived from the word Discipline: training that develops self-control, orderliness, obedience in thought and deed; making ourselves a part of something – not copying a routine, belief or habit – but learning ideas,…  ( Click for more )

June 23, 2017

It is important to note right from the start of this article that a number of scripture references are listed but not written out due to length concerns. I could, as I have in the past, divide this article into two parts but felt, for continuities sake, the information needed to be kept together as a whole. It is therefore to your advantage to look them up, if you genuinely want to benefit from any real consideration of this study.

I have been reminded of the song, “Run To The Battle”, while watching previews of numerous dramas on T.V. over the years (And…  ( Click for more )

Benjamin Watson is probably best known as a football player with the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. But the professional tight end dabbles in another discipline as well, authoring two books; Under Our Skin and The New Dad’s Playbook.1

Beyond that, Mr. Watson is an articulate, committed Christian husband and father of five kids who still finds time to be involved in missions; recently visiting Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon in support of relief agencies there.

Having said all that, I still wouldn’t have been aware of all that…  ( Click for more )

June 9, 2017

Do you remember the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Indy, his attractive assistant and their arch-enemy are standing before a collection of beautifully decorated cups; any one of which is the Holy Grail, or the cup used at the last Supper and supposedly imbued with miraculous power? To save Indy’s mortally wounded father, he had to choose the right one; the German agent picking an ornately decorated one because it looked like something he imagined a king would use. Drinking from it, he immediately began to age and died a horribly wasting…  ( Click for more )

Joshua had just listed the opportunities and options the Israelites had for worship and service – contrasting the benefits of Jehovah with the other “gods” of the region. In challenging them to make a choice and to stand firm in that choice, he declared that regardless of what others did, “…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Moses had earlier set before them similar choices; follow God and be blessed or turn away and face hardship, even a curse. That seems simple enough; a choice between life…  ( Click for more )

More and more economists, theologians and Depression Era survivors agree that America’s recent financial crisis had a number of reasons but one basic cause; a bankruptcy of values pertaining to money. One of the reasons being a scarcity of savings and an over-dependence on credit, which is directly connected to the indifference many have for scripture such as that used in the title of this article which finishes by insisting that, “…a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Christian principles are increasingly…  ( Click for more )

Heated debate often results from any discussion of self-worth. Do we derive it simply by being human, due to our relationships with others or by virtue of redemption in Christ alone? Many say we have no self-worth at all and quote Isaiah 64:6 as biblical evidence. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” That doesn’t seem to leave much room for negotiation. Yet if I am a rag – a piece of shirt for instance – then at one point I was a useful object, or at least had the potential…  ( Click for more )

Christians in the Western Hemisphere have experienced very little in the way of suffering for an unnaturally long period of time. (Unless you count being stared at when praying over a meal in public or being made fun of on TV.) Which is not the case in other parts of the world, especially the Middle East and Pacific Islands. (And was not the case for the church for generations after its inception.)

In fact, Jesus told his disciples, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15:20 Paul, years later, confirming that by assuring new…  ( Click for more )

What does it take to get your attention? You probably think, ‘Not much, I listen pretty well.’ Would your friends and family agree? Before you get mad, let me say you’re both probably right. You undoubtedly listen more than you let on and your parents, in particular, might overstate their case because they’re not sure you do.

But is that an attempt to impose their will, depriving you of fun i the process? NO! It’s because they love you so very much, because they’re scared – about you and for you; wanting the absolute best for…  ( Click for more )

Much is made – and rightly so – of Jesus’ repeated expectation of those who profess belief in him to put substance to their profession and follow him; either by literally following him about the countryside (Mark 1:17) or by following his instructions and obeying his commands. (Matthew 16:24) That’s why I find Jesus’ request of Legion, the tomb-dwelling demoniac of the Gerasene region whom Jesus healed; at first perplexing, then instructive and finally profound. (Mark 5:1-20)

Scripture doesn’t say how this poor man – who…  ( Click for more )

Financial difficulties, while unpleasant, are often blessings in disguise; forcing us to re-evaluate our priorities, re-arrange our schedules, question who we really are – or ought to be – and what we are attempting to accomplish in life. And even as we see daily examples of the arrogance and stupidity of people who seem to have it all – or believe they are entitled to it – I am convinced that being wealthy is not sinful, rather not being generous is. I am further persuaded that, particularly as Christians, active involvement in the lives of those…  ( Click for more )

From Thanksgiving to Christmas, through New Year’s to Easter, giving thanks in one form or another for any number of reasons is a prominent theme; for secularists and Christians alike. A time when the whole world seems to take stock of the past and then, holding its breath and crossing its fingers, hopes for a better future. The ideal of thankfulness is universal and often more prevalent throughout society as a result of tough times like we’ve experienced lately. That being the case, I believe a revisiting of the theme of gratefulness and thanksgiving –…  ( Click for more )

Last week we looked at the challenges to Christ’s deity expressed by some and the importance of the claims made by Jesus, specifically those recorded in John and Mark’s Gospels. Both of which enable us to, at least in part, refute the “conspiracy theory” touted by some claiming that the later church fabricated Jesus deity as a means of gaining leverage over people within and outside the church. The remaining question being: Was Jesus God before the Gospels?

A key to answering that question is knowing that John was written about 60 years…  ( Click for more )

For Christians, the deity of Jesus is so fundamental to our faith that we rarely consider it as debatable, much less controversial. But to unbelievers, this bedrock principle represents a stumbling-block (1 Corinthians 1:22-24); as many will concede that Jesus was a good man – maybe even a prophet – but decline to declare him the Son of God, and thus their Savior. (Muslims in particular believing Jesus was indeed a prophet and even a messiah, but certainly not God’s Son and never God as part of the Trinity.)

Some, like biblical skeptic Bart…  ( Click for more )

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God…” Romans 1:1 Considered by many to be the greatest missionary of Christianity and it’s foremost theologian, writing thirteen books of the New Testament while being a focal point of the Book of Acts, Paul is known to have traveled extensively throughout Asia Minor, the Grecian Peninsula, Italy and possibly Spain (Romans 15:24) and Great Britain. Traveling tremendous distances, suffering many hardships, experiencing both success and opposition; he influenced…  ( Click for more )

Is that possible? The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, (what you know and are motivated by, for our purposes here – your mind.) for it is the well-spring of life.” Prob. 4:23 Some of us have been on our own for a while, others are striking out on their own for the very first time, being exposed to new ideas, new surroundings and having new experiences; which involves deciding what’s good, what’s not so good and what should be avoided altogether.

But that’s a lot of responsibility. The counsel, help and advice of friends…  ( Click for more )

March 10, 2017

“God will make a way

Where there seems to be no way.

He works in ways we cannot see;

He will make a way for me.

He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side.

With love and strength for each new day,

He will make a way.

He will make a way.”

Don Moen

Do you believe that?

The story of David the shepherd boy who slew a giant, rallied an army, and soothed a king has inspired many; and goes a long way in proving the reality of Mr. Moen’s chorus. It is also an excellent example of how fleeting the good life can be.…  ( Click for more )

Christopher Hitchens claims that, “religion poisons everything.” He and others in the Neo-Atheist movement (Which is nothing more than a repackaging and restating of old criticisms and concerns – only louder and more radicalized), try to prove this point by comparing the Christian and Muslim history of militarism – at times including Israel’s complicated dealing with the Palestinians as well. Richard Dawkins insisting that Christianity, like Islam, was spread principally by the sword.

An honest look, however, reveals that the…  ( Click for more )

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