August 28, 2008

Chapter #4 - Our Tax Obligation

"It is right for us to take advantage of legal deductions and other tax benefits, but we should never be looking for more ways to avoid paying taxes." page 53

"While many people view the governments of contemporary democracies as corrupt and unjust, by comparison the Roman government of the first century was pagan, despotic, and often ruthless." page 54

"Christ's statement here is an assertion that citizens of all eras have a God-ordained obligation to pay taxes to their government." page 61

"No matter what position they have attained, what administrative competence they bring to the task, or what personal character qualities they possess, officials who assess and collect taxes are 'God's ministers.'" page 62

Simply, we are to obey the authorities in charge, sure we can use whatever legal means to protest or remove those from office, but we are not to break the law (unless it violates God's law).

"Christians have both the moral and spiritual responsibility to pay taxes because that's what God requires of them." page 63

"All things belong to Him, but a certain amount of that wealth which He entrusts to each person must go to support the institutions of human government. That is in accord with the Lord's plan and decree and part of His perfect will for us." page 65

August 25, 2008

Chapter #3 - The Biblical Purpose of Government

"Paul identifies three basic purposes for the existence and role of government: (1) it restrains evil, (2) it promotes good, and (3) it is empowered by God to punish wrongdoers and the disobedient." page 41

"Even unconverted government leaders intuitively know good from evil and thus realize that part of their governing responsibility is to punish evil behavior." page 43

"Even the poorest form of government is better than no government at all." page 43

"By looking out for you and protecting our legitimate rights and interests, any government official is 'God's minister' or servant on your behalf." page 44-45

"Government exists as an institution that God has ordained to punish evil lawbreakers." page 46

This includes the God ordained right for governments to utilize capital punishment. We have seen problems in nations where capital punishment is no longer used. Prisons become filled and are simply breading grounds for more criminal activity. As the prisons become filled prisoners are released early to make room for new prisoners. Unfortunately, the prisoners that are released usually commit another crime and end up back in prison.

"Thus, simply stated, the prison system as we know it is not a proper deterrent to or punishment for crime." page 49

"When the leaders of a nation fail to administer justice, they and their people fall under God's justice." page 49

"The United States and other supposedly sophisticated, technologically advanced societies have sanctioned abortion, which is nothing less than the murder of unborn children. Those who for nearly thirty years have encouraged this ghastly execution of the most defenseless and harmless of people created in God's image will not escape His eventual judgment." page 49-50

August 20, 2008

Chapter #2 - Our Responsibility to Authority

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities." (Romans 13:1)

"Christianity and good citizenship go hand in hand." This includes "a sincere honor and respect for all official authority." Because "government officials are God's agents for maintaining order and justice in society." page 20

"The Lord expects us to speak out against sin, injustice, immorality, and ungodliness with courage and diligence. But we must do so in a law-abiding manner, according to the civil laws that legislative bodies and governing officials have established for us." page 21

"We are to obey every civil authority, no matter how immoral, cruel, ungodly, or incompetent he or she might be. Any government is better than anarchy." page 21

There is of course one exception to this rule and that being if the laws made by people are in direct violation of God's Word. There are several Biblical accounts mentioned about this in the chapter.

"Likewise, our churches ought to obey ordinances and regulations concerning zoning, fire safety, structural standards, building permits, and every other law that does not conflict with Scripture." page 25

"There is no type of persecution that should cause us to revolt against the government. It should only cause us to patiently endure the trial and persevere in righteousness." page 26-27

All government is put in place by God. If we were to disobey the government we would be disobeying God and therefore be subject to punishment.

Any thoughts? Interested in getting your own copy of the book yet?

August 18, 2008

Chapter #1 - Political Involvement: A Christian Perspective

Chapter #1 - Political Involvement: A Christian Perspective

"During the past twenty-five years, well-meaning Christians have founded a number of evangelical activist organizations and put millions of dollars into them in an illconceived effort to counteract the secular undermining of American culture." Page 5

What is the undermining of American culture? It is our legislators and judicial system that have sanctioned same-sex unions, abortions, criminals rights, and so on.

As Christians we know these types of activities are wrong. However, the problem with being against these types of activities politically is the fact that people (Christians) can turn against the people personally instead of just politically.

"Believers become antagonistic toward the very lost people God has called to love and reach with the gospel." Page 5

Thus, they hate the sin and the sinner.

"Over the past several centuries, people have mistakenly linked democracy and political freedom to Christianity." Page 6

"The United States was actually born out of a violation of New Testament principles, and any blessing that God has bestowed on America have come in spite of the disobedience by the Founding Fathers." Pages 6-7

"The ideal human government can ultimately do nothing to advance God's kingdom, and the worst, most despotic worldly government in the end cannot halt the power of the Holy Spirit or the spread of God's Word." Page 7

"A certain amount of healthy and balanced concern with current trends in government and the community is acceptable, as long as we realize that such interest is not vital to our spiritual growth, our righteous testimony, or the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. Above all, the believer's political involvement should never displace the priority of preaching and teaching the gospel." Page 8

"Christ did not come to promote some new social agenda or establish a new moral order." Page 11

The Apostle Paul tells us that we need to reject the ungodly ways of this world. We cannot compromise the truth of God's Word. We are to present the world with the gospel of Christ. Anything else that does not promote God's Kingdom should not be the focus of our life.

More to come with Chapter 2. Leave some comments if you want.

August 10, 2008

Something Different

I started reading John MacArthur's book, Why Government Can't Save you.

As usual I planned to write a short review. However, after the first chapter I realized I would not be able to post a short review as it would turn into a very long review. So I will be reviewing the book chapter by chapter.

For the most part I will stick with quotes from the book, but some of my own thoughts will be thrown in as necessary.

Check back next week for a review of Chapter #1 - Political Involvement: A Christian Perspective.

August 09, 2008

Book Review

Now That I Believe by Robert A. Cook

I enjoy listening to Dr. Cook each morning on the radio for his brief "Walk with the King" segment. I read a previous book of his and was impressed. I was expecting the same quality from this book as well.

Now That I Believe is wrote to the new Christian and I was hoping it would be a good book to recommend to others. However, I was disappointed in this book. Especially since the book claims to have over one million copies in print!

This book has nine chapters and each chapter attempts to answer a particular question that a new Christian might have.

The chapters are:
  • What happened to me?
  • How long will this new-found joy last?
  • The battle ahead (what to do in temptation)
  • How do I act like a Christian?
  • What to do about the Bible?
  • How can I pray?
  • Do I have to testify?
  • What shall I do with my life?
  • Worldliness and what to do about it?

These are all excellent questions, but Dr. Cook didn't seem to really give a great answer to them. It seems like most of the book is simply quotes from the Bible combined together. Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is not what I was expecting from Dr. Cook.

Overall, this is a short read, but one that can be safely skipped over as it doesn't really provide much insight for Christian living.

Next up is: Why Government Can't Save You by John MacArthur

2008 Suzuki SX4 Oil Change Procedure

Below is a brief description about changing the oil on a 2008 Suzuki SX4. The following parts were used during the process:
  • 4.75 quarts 5w30 oil (SuperTech Full Synthetic)
  • Oil Filter (Fram TG4386)
  • 17 mm and 10 mm wrench
  • End Cap Oil Filter Wrench
  • Oil drain container
  • Jack or Ramps
  • Latex gloves
  • Rags, newspapers

I attempted to change the oil in my car last week, but I was unable to get at the oil filter. This is a more difficult car to change the oil in than I am used to for a couple of reasons. First, the car sits low to the ground and is virtually impossible to crawl under. Second, the oil filter is in a challenging location to get to.

The first step was to jack up the front passenger side of the car enough to slide under the car and work. I was going to attempt using ramps, but the bumper hit the ramps before the tires so I decided to just use a floor jack. Once under the car, I removed the three screws (using the 10mm wrench) holding the plastic engine cover. I did not remove the engine cover, but by simply removing those three screws allowed the guard to flex enough to get my hands up to the oil filter.

The next step was to see if I could get the oil filter loose. The end cap filter wrench I purchased did not fit the OEM oil filter, however, it does fit the FRAM filter which I plan to use in the future. After quite a while of messing around with it, we were finally able to loosen it. It was difficult!

After it was loose, I removed the oil pan drain plug with a 17mm wrench and the oil drained into the drain container. I reinstalled and tightened the drain screw and emptied the oil into another container.

Next, I slowly turned the oil filter until it started to drip out. I gave it another quarter turn and then let the oil drain into my container. After the oil stopped draining, I removed the filter completely and wiped the filter area clean.

I ran a bead of oil around the seal of the new filter and installed it. It was rather difficult to get it started. The threads did not seem to want to align correctly. DO NOT FORCE IT ON. Keep adjusting it until it screws on easily.

After the filter seal touches the bottom of the engine and is finger tight, put the end cap filter wrench on and give it a half to three quarter turn to tighten completely.

Refill the crankcase with about 4.75 quarts of oil. Start the engine and check for leaks. Cleanup and dispose of the used oil properly.

Good for another 6,000 miles!

August 08, 2008

New Feature at Thoughts From Doe Valley

If you’re like me your time is very valuable and limited. I find that I don’t always have time to seek out the latest updates for various blogs around the web that I enjoy reading.

Thoughts From Doe Valley has always had RSS feed capabilities, but many people don’t know how to use an RSS reader or incorporate into their outlook or other mail reader.

Therefore, you can now subscribe to Thoughts From Doe Valley via e-mail. Check out the link on the right hand side of the screen.

Simply enter your e-mail address and click “subscribe”. A window pops up asking you to enter a verification code.

The system will then send you an “activation” message to the e-mail account you provided. Click on the link in the e-mail you receive to activate your subscription.

Every time I add new content an e-mail will be sent with the new post.

It’s easy, fast, and FREE!

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any thoughts!

August 06, 2008

Book Review

John MacArthur – God’s High Calling for Women

This is a short (52 pages) study on 1 Timothy 2:9-15.

MacArthur believes the Bible says women should not seek leadership roles in the church. Their primary duty, given by God, is to raise godly children.

According to MacArthur, women are allowed to proclaim the Word of God, share their personal stories/insights, and pray in public. They just cannot lead when the church comes together to worship.

MacArthur explains 1 Corinthians 11:5 away by saying “Perhaps Paul meant this or Perhaps Paul mean that.”

This is probably one of the few MacArthur studies that I don’t totally agree with. I believe the entire (historical) context needs to be kept in mind while reading these verses. Usually MacArthur does that in his studies. That being said I don’t believe women (or anybody for that matter) should be in a church leadership position because they want to be there.

I believe leaders need to be called by God to their leadership positions. No one should usurp authority just so they can be in charge. God’s way is the only way for a successful, fruitful, and everlasting ministry.

Next book: Now that I believe by Robert A. Cook