Whence Cometh Evil (Suffering)

Epicurus Bust

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then He is not omnipotent.

Is He able but not willing?
Then He is malevolent.

Is He both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?

Is He neither able nor willing?
Then why call Him God?”

Please bear with me for a little history.  A few hundred years before the birth of Christ, famous Greek philosopher Epicurus proposed this series of questions and answers which has been often repeated. If God is all powerful and all loving, why does evil exist?

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Divorced Pastors

Divorce DecreeI have a good friend who is half way through seminary with plans to become a chaplain but just learned that his denomination will not ordain him due to a divorce.  He asked me for my opinion whether or not a divorce should prohibit a man from pursuing pastorship and wondered if Paul meant something else.  I am assuming that my friend was referring to 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 where he says that leaders in the church should be the husband of one wife. (more…)

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The Most Interesting Man In Heaven

Most Interesting Man In HeavenThe Man I’d Like To Meet

Everyone has their list of people they can’t wait to meet when they get to Heaven.  Paul, Peter, David of course.  Loved ones who have passed away.  And I know we all can’t wait to finally meet Alice Cooper (Vincent isn’t there yet, but I have a better chance of meeting him in heaven than I do down here).  But I’m really looking forward to sitting down and talking with King Nebuchadnezzar. (more…)

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September 5, 2014 – Jeremiah 11

Let GodDo What I Tell You – I Will Take Care Of The Rest

v21-23 “Therefore this is what the LORD says about the men of Anathoth who are seeking your life and saying, ‘do not prophesy in the name of ht LORD or you will die by our hands’ — therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish them.  Their young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine.  Not even a remnant will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the men of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.'” (more…)

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September 4, 2014 – Jeremiah 10:17-25

We Are Leaders – It’s What We Do

**  Oh, good.  We’re back to prophesying about Israel’s destruction.  I’ve missed that…

v19-20 – …Yet I said to myself, “This is my sickness, and I must endure it.”  My tent is destroyed; all its ropes are snapped.  My sons are gone from me and are no more…
**  My sickness – my transgressions against God – impact my entire family.  And although the verse doesn’t specifically mention it, my actions impact my friends, my coworkers, my church, my community…  We are leaders – it’s what we do.  We may not think of ourselves as a leader, but any path we walk down someone will follow.  Some may stand up and go their own way, but people will follow us regardless of where we are heading.  Our poor actions have the power to lead people to or away from God.

v23…it is not for man to direct his steps.
**  If people are going to follow us, we had better make sure we are leading them in the right direction.  I’m not smart enough to figure out what that direction is, and even though I like you because you’re reading my rambling thoughts, you’re not smart enough either.  We must submit to God’s direction in our lives or we WILL lead people astray.

v24Correct me, LORD, but only with justice – not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.
**  We must also accept God’s discipline (but please, God, don’t punish me when you’re angry!).  This really is important, and it does fit the theme, but mainly I had to add it because I thought it was a little funny.  Maybe I’m just twisted like that.

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Week In Review – Personal Bible Study

Personal Bible Study

Notes

It is important to review what you’ve studied frequently, otherwise we move on to new lessons and do not retain what we’ve already learned.  Here is a quick overview of the personal devotions I’ve had int he last week.  Just a couple of notes first, though.  I have been more consistent in having my personal quiet time bible studies than I have at posting them.  I post these to share what I’m learning, but also as a form of accountability.  There have already been times I’ve wanted to turn the alarm off and sleep just 30 more minutes, but knowing I have to post my journal notes motivates me to get out of bed.  Also, because these are daily updates, I don’t spend as much time organizing them or making them flow like a traditional blog post.  These are just my journal notes, and not meant to be anything fancy.  I would like to hear some feedback, though, if they seem TOO dry to make it through.  I can try to do a better job on them.  Finally, on Aug 29 (my second day of documenting these) I stole a tactic from one of my pastors (Jeremy Henderson) by declaring a ‘Big Idea’ on each devotion.  I am not ashamed to be a thief.  It gives me an anchor I can meditate on throughout the day that is easily communicated and recalled to my mind as I try to reflect on what I studied.

What I’ve Learned

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August 31, 2014 – Jeremiah 7

Why God Hates Sin

This time, God is speaking (through Jeremiah) to Judah, and of course is warning them of impending danger if they do not return to Him.  I can’t really explain why, but I very much felt like the tone of this chapter is like the conversations I have with my kids – “You’d better straighten up or I’m going to have to punish you.  This is all because of your poor choices…” (more…)

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