GOD FEARIN BEER DRINKIN

BeerAs I begin writing this blog entry I remember a very humorous television session. I think it was on the Ellen Degenerate show. There was a live call with a 90 something old lady and out of the blue (live) she said, “Well Ellen, I love Jesus but I love beer too.” It put people into stitches, me included. But hey, there is some seriousness to her lament
I will be writing many words about beer and the makers of beer. It will likely be 20,000 words or more and I hope you will stay with me. I hope you will be as intrigued as I.
This began as a thought to write about Arthur Guinness and how he used his beer brewing business for the cause of Christ in Ireland. Once I get into the Guiness story you may want to consider it a primer on a best selling book by Stephen Mansfield, “The search for God and Guinness.” Before I do that I must give you some background on the history of beer and it’s relation to Christianity. I think you will be surprised and amazed. If not anything else you will be the benefactor of a wonderful history lesson.
My disclaimer is this: Do not use my writing as an excuse to become intoxicated and drunken with beer or wine. I am not providing any justification or permission to drink. Drunkenness is sinful and bad for society as a whole. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18) My purpose is to open the eyes of everyone to a great story of how God uses the wealth of men and the things of men for his purpose. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27) If you stay with me until the end you will see this clearly.

If you have followed my blog you already know I am not stranger to controversial issues. So it shouldn’t surprise you I am taking this one on. I read Christian magazines and blogs continuously and often the subject of drinking comes up. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen writers take on the question of whether or not Christians should be drinking alcoholic beverages. It is not my purpose to take on that particular question today. I will give you my opinion however, regarding the subject of beer and then move on with my topic.
I do not believe it is a sin to have a pint of stout (beer) once in awhile with your meal at a restaurant or at home with your family. I do believe it is a sin to over indulge in it and become drunk. I believe drunkenness is a sin and that is what the Bible addresses. “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:10) I can point to over 100 verses within God’s word on this subject and all point to abuse and drunkenness. With that said, my position is that if you have trouble with self control then you should definitely abstain and avoid it at all cost. As a friend of mine says, “I am weak-willed and easily led.” If that’s you then be forewarned and do not partake. Secondly as a Christian, I would never do anything to cause a brother to stumble. What that means is to never have anything present or be doing anything among any brethren that could cause them to sin. We want to be sure we are of the same mind. “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Romans 14:21)
So just to be clear, it is not the beer that is the problem. It is the abuse that is the problem. I can’t put it into any better perspective than one of our great reformers and forefathers that also drank beer. Martin Luther wrote, “Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?” Yes, Martin Luther had a love of beer too. I won’t bother to call for a vote among men as to whether to abolish the beer and wine or to abolish the women. It might be a close vote.

Let’s begin the history trail of beer. You might be stunned, as I was to find that beer played a humongous role throughout the centuries within Christianity.
The Pilgrims
Let’s start with the Pilgrims and the Mayflower back in 1621 when they landed at Plymouth. They were standing guard because they knew natives were watching them. It must have been unbelievable to them when one native walked out of the woods and approached them. The native was almost naked with just a small loin cloth covering his private parts as he shouted “Welcome!” in clear English. They must have been even more surprised when this native asked them if they have any beer. Wow! He asked for beer! That’s right, you won”t find it in the grade school textbooks that one of the first of communications with this native was about beer. But it was. You can find it yourself within, ‘Mourt’s Relation’ and ‘Of Plymouth Plantation’ which are two primary sources for information on the story of the Pilgrims. So don’t just take my word for it. The native’s name was Samoset and he mastered the English language traveling with English ships up and down the coast of New England. Not only did he learn the language but he also developed a keen taste for English beer. When the Mayflower left the shores of England John Alden saw to it that it was loaded heavy with more than enough beer to make the trip. As it turned out the supply was running low when they landed and to them it was a dangerous threat. For the Pilgrims beer was more than a refreshing drink on a hot day. They believed it had great medicinal quality and like most people then were afraid to drink the water and instead drank beer. It was believed all the water was unsafe but beer was pure and healthy. They didn’t understand yet that the boiling of the beer along with the alcohol that kills the germs was what made it consumable and could also do the same for water.♦
We need to keep in mind that the Pilgrims represented Godly people. They risked their lives for religious freedom. The risk they took which caused death and sickness hardly explained enough was a religious and spiritual, not a political agenda; moral and theological principles were involved, and from their perspective, there could be no compromise. That is why they boarded the Mayflower.
Visiting the first paragraph of the Mayflower Pact we see, “In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, by the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc.”

These were godly men that were also committed to beer production and consumption.
Join me for the next segment on the beer story among Christians. You will be glad you followed along…     To jump to part 2 just click the glass of beer… Guiness glass

May your day be filled with God’s blessing,

The Tubthumper

 

Stephen Mansfield, In Search for God and Guinness (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009) p 4-5.

 

Why? Evil and Sin, Why?

GirdloinsThe bombers at the Boston Marathon got me thinking about something I read recently about evil and the universality of sin. It is indisputable that all are sinners and it has been estimated that some 40 billion human beings have lived (or are living) on this earth since God created Adam, the first human. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that perhaps one third of these 40 billion people lost their lives at the hand of another human being. So then, hundreds of millions of living flesh and blood creatures (people) have been stabbed, shot, stoned, strangled, gassed, bombed, burned, buried alive, hung, drowned and yes, blown up by other living flesh and blood creatures. (people) Each person has been given a sin-gauge at birth which is called a conscience. Unfortunately some gauges only have faulty operation and the voice of conscience is defiled. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) The exceeding wickedness of sin is unfathomable. We can expect more to continue because the world has rejected the preventive actions of the Word of God, the Son of God and the Spirit of God. Gird your loin’s people for the battle is raging on.

So why has God allowed sin and evil? Couldn’t he have stopped it?

Simply put it is because God created man with a free will.  When he created Adam and then Eve he created them with a high reasoning capacity and the ability to make choices.  It was obviously the choice of God not to create humans as robotic and controlled.  He wanted to give the humans he created in his own image some real freedom.  He offered Adam and Eve a multitude of choices among lots of perfect and good things but he also offered them the choice of an evil thing.

God did not create sin or evil, however he did create the potential for sin by creating the tree of good and evil.  He declared that tree off limits and it was the choice of Adam to go against his creator that has allowed sin to permeate the world.  The day that Adam made that choice he made it for all of mankind. Sin was immediately imputed to the human race, you and I and all the rest of humanity.  God had the ability to create a world where there was no sin and no human suffering.  He chose not to restrict our freedom.  God created both angels and men as intelligent creatures possessing moral natures that could determine and choose between right and wrong.  What if God had stopped Lucifer (Satan), and Adam one second before they sinned.  If that happened He would have, in effect, have violated their moral natures and reduce them to mere walking robots.  That is how I see it.  There is another suggestion some scholars present. 

Actually he did create everything perfect and without evil.  It says in the beginning of Genesis that all of His creation was good. In verse 6 it says that “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”  Then something terrible happened.  An extremely damaging thing happened to all of creation at that first sin.  The Bible says in Romans 8:22 that “… all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Adam and eve wanted space and control and they got it.  Along with it came the sin, death and evil that permeated the world.

The question many ask is, “why did God let anything like that happen?”  After all, He is God!

God could have prevented sin but he chose not to.  He did it for the same reason that we all move ahead to have children.  He did it out of love. It was likely a desire to have a relationship with a being created in His image, much like we want to have a relationship with our children in our own image. (But now, who can know the mind of God?  No one can.) God made the choice to bring Adam and Eve into the world with the risk of choice and we choose to bring children in the world when they have choice.  And our children often make choices that pain our hearts in unimaginable ways.  Love is always the most costly of any actions that anyone can take. 

God created the potential for sin because it was the only way he could create humans with the potential to love and the potential to produce goodness.  He had to offer the bad with the good.  Or the good with the bad, if you will.  But it was not God that made sin a reality. It was man. Satan introduced sin into the universe but it was man that introduced it to our world. 

There is one other suggestion that some scholars give for the allowance of sin. That God allowed man to sin so that he might display His awesome grace.  Before Adam was created God was already exhibiting his omnipresence (in being everywhere at once), his omnipotence (in setting the galaxies into motion), and his omniscience (in creating angels).  However, there was one attribute that was closer to his heart than any other.  It was his grace.  Where there is no sin there is no need of grace.  So that is why some think it was allowed.  As Paul wrote, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20b).  

I don’t think I can accept that one because of the price.  My goodness… take a look what God had to do to correct the situation.  He had to give His only begotten son to pay the price and to free us from eternal punishment due to what was started by Adam.  Love is always the most costly of any actions that anyone can take. 

Have a Godly day,

“The Tubthumper”

DESIRE TO KILL

NewtownIt has been over a week since the horrific killing of all the little children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  I haven’t done much writing since then.  I knew I needed to write something about it but couldn’t bring myself to face it down until I was ready.

My heart was sick when I saw the pictures of the little children.  Parents thought they were safe in kindergarten class at school.  They should have been safe. They should have been safe like we all were when in kindergarten a long time ago.  Do you remember those days?   These kids were not taken by guns but they were killed by a crazy, selfish, jealous, evil young man.  This man was no different than the very first murderer that bloodied his hands within a short time of the earth’s creation.  His name was Cain and this started a long time ago.  Killing has been a part of our society for ever.

Just to illustrate this is not the first and won’t be the last I submit the story of the “Bath Massacre”.  It was America’s first school bombing and shattered lives just like last week but this was back on May 18, 1927.  That mass killing of 38 children and six adults happened 85 years ago in a very small town in Michigan named Bath. The killing was done by a farmer named Andrew Kehoe, and he blew himself up as well. This man was a school board member; in fact, he was the treasurer and school caretaker.  He was well known and trusted.  He was having financial difficulties and taxes went up so he blamed the school for his problems.  That morning he beat his wife to death and set his farm on fire.  While the firefighters were busy with the fire on his farm he rocked the school with explosives.  When he was seen in his car and people ran over to him he detonated a massive bomb inside his car and shrapnel killed the school superintendent and others.  This was fairly similar to the mass killings last week and remains as the number one deadliest school killing in our nation’s history.

In the beginning, after God had created the earth he rested on the seventh day.  And then, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2: 7).  Then The LORD made the Garden of Eden and put the man there.  You know the story.  The man, Adam, was told that he could eat freely of any tree except the “Tree of Knowledge of good and evil”.  Then the LORD caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs and made a woman.  Then the serpent tricked the woman into eating from the tree of knowledge and she also talked Adam into eating it as well.  God was angry!  He cursed the serpent and kicked them out of the garden and nothing would ever be the same.  Sin and evil became a part of mankind.

In the 4th chapter of Genesis we read that Eve had two children.  The first born was Cain and the second was his brother Abel.  Cain was a farmer and Abel was a sheep herder.  Cain gave an offering to the Lord from the ground and Abel gave an offering to the LORD of the first of his flock.  The LORD respected the offering of Abel but didn’t pay so much respect to Cain for the offering he gave.  Apparently Abel’s offering was one of faith and Cain had no faith.  Cain was beside himself and very upset.  He was wroth, which means angry and irate.  His countenance fell so he was moping around.  God asked him what was wrong and Cain explained.  God’s answer was that He would give Cain a second chance and if he gets it right then it will be accepted.  God also mentioned sin at Cain’s door.  So God knew there was sin in Cain’s heart. So what did Cain do?  He killed his brother Abel.  Just like that! He snuffed the life out of his only brother.  Why? Because he was jealous and he was only concerned with self and he was sinful and did not have the love of god in his heart.  He had little regard for the life of others.  Is that any different than what happened last week?  I don’t think so.

So you see… this killing, this evil, this sin has been with us from the beginning.  It will be with us until God reigns over chaos and evil in the end as written in Revelation.  That day is coming soon.

Since the beginning all civilizations have been trying to figure out why.  They want to know why men are willing to put their own lives in jeopardy to extinguish the lives of others.  This has been puzzled over since Cain slew Abel. The theme of murder is used dozens of times each and every week by television script writers. It has inspired stacks of novels and multiple volume stories. Legal philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists have theorized endlessly to no avail. The cause of murder still remains a considerable mystery to those that do not study God’s word.  But we, the studied Christian’s know.  We know the core of where it comes from. Students of murder can spot only the visible and apparent reasons for it – greed, jealousy, fear, revenge, or a sudden insane anger that seizes a person and, a moment later, blots out all memory of his deed. (Or so they say. There are not any guilty people in prison you know.)  Ted Bundy referred to the killer as “the entity”. No killer wants to take responsibly and he never did. But maybe Bundy was onto something.  Maybe it was “the entity”.

If Bundy was thinking “the entity” was Satan he would very likely be correct.  It sounded kind of strange back in Genesis when a serpent tricked Eve into eating the fruit of that tree.  Was it a snake?  No. The serpent was not a talking snake.  The serpent is identified in the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, as Satan himself.  Satan beguiled Eve by taking the form of a serpent and using his evil and clever skill to scam her into it.  We must remember that Satan did not force her to eat that fruit and he didn’t force Adam.  They had to choose to do it.  And we also choose daily between good and evil and between being in the world or of the world.  So how do people get to the place where they can take another human life (or many human lives) simply to benefit some little feeling inside them?  It is when the evil one has taken residence in the person.  Certainly the professionals can put labels upon labels on top of it but at the root it is sin, it is Satan they follow and not God and it is a turning away from God.

In The Mind of the Murderer, W. Lindesay Neustatter remarks, “. . . motive, without the whole background in which it is set, tells little of the criminal’s psychology.” He classifies murderers as the schizophrenic (with delusions of persecution), the hysteric, the mental defective, the paranoiac (victim of a systemized delusional insanity), the epileptic (with epileptic automatism and amnesia), the constitutionally unstable psychopath, and finally the chap who is simply depressed possibly due to low blood sugar (momentary malnutrition).  J. Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist and author of The Psychopathic Mind; and Violent Attachments, says that such crimes occur as the result of a build-up of anger, frustration and planning, which undermines the already-fragile sense of self. They don’t take failure lightly and cannot tolerate humiliation. Having no way to relieve their stress, they let the steam build until it just explodes into violence. Their families are generally the easiest target and they have no inner defense against the flow of rage. Once it’s done, they often return to a sense of equilibrium and if they don’t also kill themselves, they often feel much better.

Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler (prince) of this world”, (John 14:30).  Jesus also spoke of two masters that people have the choice of serving.  The two he spoke of were God and Mammon, (Luke 16:13).  You see, Satan rules Mammon which is where most of the population put their treasures.  People don’t actually need to choose Satan directly.  Once they choose to serve Mammon as the master then Satan knows he has someone he can get to. Satan is very crafty.  He gets to the weak willed that serve Mammon and takes over their lives.  That is where the seed of this propensity to kill is sown. The origin that it comes from. Without realizing it this person falls into working on Satan’s side without even knowing it because they do not understand Satan’s schemes.

When Satan comes against you, be sure he has no power over you.  He will have no power if he finds the love of Jesus Christ in you and finds you following the Holy Spirit instead of the ways of the world (Mammon).  Follow the world into paganism and you could be the next bomber or shooter.  I know you think I am over exaggerating this.  But am I?  Am I really?

Our land has moved away from the roots of a belief and faith in God. ‘In God We Trust’ is not anymore worth more than the bills it is printed on.  Evil is taking over. Evil is at the heart of these killings.  We know where it comes from.  It was not a gun that killed all those children. It was an evil and sinful mind that like Cain had no faith in God. Put the blame where it belongs.

The gates of Hell have prevailed against the “church” and its leaders today.  The tolerance of sin has made us powerless in this battle against Satan.  Because of this failure we will likely see more of the kinds of things we witnessed last week.  God forgive us.  We need a genuine Holy-Spirit revival that will deliver believers from the love of the world and drive the prince of the world out of our churches.  We need a healing in our land. Before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples, “The prince of this world comes and he has no power over Me”, (John 14:30).  He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Next week we celebrate the life of the King. He is the only answer to this issue.

Merry Christmas to all,

“The Tubthumper”  

Day 8 of Prayer for USA Election

220px-Maria_Magdalene_prayingA prayer for election 2012 USA

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:14)

For all Christians the verse above tells us what should constitute our prayer lives: We should pray properly, purposefully and persistently. When all three elements are a part of our prayer lives, they work.  We are to align ourselves with God’s will.  We are to ask for what we want; we are to be specific.   We are to pray persistently.  The apostle Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. Every time we pray, God’s mighty power is released and made available to bring victory and breakthrough into even seemingly impossible situations.

Dear heavenly Father,

We love you Lord.  You are an awesome and amazing God.  You are faithful.   You have placed us in the greatest nation in the world.  The land of the free!  You have blessed us mightily. You are generous beyond anything we can imagine or deserve.  We praise you Lord for you are worthy to be praised, you are the King of all Kings, you are above any authority in heaven or on earth, You are creator, redeemer and sustainer.

We confess that we have not bowed before You.  We confess we have not acknowledged Your rule in our lives and over our leaders and our nation. We have gone along with the ways of the world and failed to give You glory.  Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may be your faithful people, obeying the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, who rules the world and the universe.

Father, watch over us this day.  Dear Lord, please guide us and strengthen us as we confess our sins to You.  Fill us with compassion as we pray for one another and as we pray for the leadership of our great country.  Please fill us as we pray for the needs of the world.  Please help us to not be judgmental, condemning and prideful.  Fill us dear God with your love.   Draw us close to you Father; create in us a desire to come to you in prayer every day for Your leadership, love and protection to reign in our lives and throughout our land.  We come to you once again and ask for you divine intervention and protection on our national election.  Dear God, please heal our land.

Through Jesus Christ we pray, AMEN.