October 29, 2008

Bible Study

Getting Perspective
James 4:11-17

Doing the will of God is another test of a Christian’s faith. A Christian should want to carry out the will of God with all their heart.

Those people who do not submit to God’s will are saying that they rule their own life and are essentially rejecting God’s salvation plan.

James uses the example of a businessman planning his day. This example doe not condemn planning, rather it demonstrates the significance of making God’s plans a part of your plan.

There is nothing better to show the character of a true believer than his desire to do the will of God. Being a Christian and living a Christian life is not just avoiding the evils or the wrongs things in life. Rather, it focuses on doing the right things as well.


October 24, 2008

Bible Study

Chapter 6: Makers and Breakers of Peace
James 3:13-4:10

James tells where the sources of disagreement come from and where the source of peace comes from. Wisdom is not simply “smarts” or knowledge. Wisdom is the effective application of the truths you know.

Wisdom is yet another test of a believers faith. There is man’s wisdom and God’s wisdom. The wisdom of man seeks his own and has no saving relationship with God.

Being a friend of the world is the same as being hostile to God. Christian living involves separation from the contaminants of this world. Christians need to live in this world but not be of it.

Are you a maker or a breaker of peace? Do you apply God’s wisdom in your life or are you more focused on the wisdom of this world?

October 23, 2008

Some Headlines from the Internet

Foreclosure Filings Rose 71% in Third Quarter as Prices Fell

81312 Homes Lost to Foreclosure in September

American Employers Set To Layoff More Workers

US Congress clears $700bn financial bailout bill

Unemployment on the Rise

Rising Food Prices hit the poor hardest.

Get the point? Things don’t sound good do they? Be glad you have a job and work hard at it, right? Not if you are a teacher in the South Butler School District because today you are on strike! Here is that headline:

South Butler teachers strike; classes canceled

The teachers want a 5% annual raise for the next 5 years and want to limit their health care premium to $3.33 per month, that’s $39.96 a year for health care or $199.80 over the five year period!

The district is willing to give a 3.2% raise, but agreed to the fact finders report of 4.3% in each of the five years. The teachers of course rejected that offer.

The average salary of the teachers in the district is $51,144 for 185 days of work. I work 260 days a year and don’t make that much. I have a master’s degree. But you know what? I choose to work where I do and am content with my job. In fact, with all the issues in the economy I am glad to have my job!

The nerve of any union going on strike right now is unbelievable. The community should be up in arms over this. People are loosing their homes and jobs and these teachers simply want more money and benefits.

Here is what I say: You want more money or better benefits? Then find a different job. Don’t make the students and taxpayers suffer for your greed.

October 20, 2008

Election 2008

Pennsylvania – Indiana County - Pine Township Ballot

As usual I have complied a list of positions that will be voted on during the November election. I have not completely decided on all of the races yet, but here are my current picks for this year’s candidates.

President: Chuck Baldwin or Bob Barr or maybe John McCain
Attorney General: Tom Corbett or Marakay Rogers
Auditor General: Chet Beiler
State Treasurer: Tom Ellis
Congress Rep 12th District: William Russell
Senator 41st District: no recommendation
State Rep 62nd District: Dave Reed
Water and Sewer Improvements Bond Referendum: NO


President - Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party) does not appear on the ballot in many states, so he would be a write in candidate. Bob Barr is on the ballot as a Libertarian Party member in most states.

Senator 41st District (PA) – I have no recommendation. Don White is both the Republican and Democratic candidate. I have wrote to him many times, and I rarely get a response. I am not sure what he does, therefore, I cannot support him.

Water and Sewer Improvements Bond Referendum – NO we do not need more debt as a state. The Rendell has spent, taxed, and borrowed more than enough money and we are no better off than what we were before Philadelphia voted him into office. He has increased the budget by $8 billion since he got into office. We need to stop spending money we don’t have and live within our means as individuals, as a state, and as a nation.

I am not endorsing any of these people, however, I do believe that the people mentioned above will be the least damaging to our state/country.

October 16, 2008

Bible Study

Chapter 5: On Preventing Forest Fires
James 3:1-12

James moves on to yet another test of a geniune believer: the tongue. A person's speach tells a lot about their heart. The tongue is probably the easiest way to sin.

The tongue can condem, control, and corrupt, but it also can praise, bless, and encourage. The tongue brings faith and works together. If you heart is obediant to God, your words will show it natually. You won't have to force yourself to say nice things and remember not to say mean things.

James also finds inconsistancy in the tongue. It blesses and curses. It builds up and tears down. James asks how can this be> Alan Greenspan would probably call it a conundrum.

We need to remember only God can completely control the tongue. When our life is in submission to Him, then will the tongue be in control.

October 14, 2008

Book Review

Leading Bible Discussions: A LifeGuide Bible Study

This is a short, quick read study guide on leading Bible discussions. The authors discuss introductory topics like: Why you would want to study in a group, how to start a group, and how to decide what to study.

The authors also describe how to prepare to lead the Bible study and then the actual leading of the discussion. Of course, there is a brief chapter on evaluating the discussion as well.

The authors also provide some insight and instruction as to how you should study the Bible as well as how to write your own questions for the discussion.

The authors end the book by emphasizing the spiritual aspect of growing together - fellowship building. The appendix provides a model study that is the basis of the lifeguide Bible study series.

Overall, this is a good book for beginners that are interested in starting a Bible study or Bible discussion group, but just isn't sure how to start doing it. This book provides the guidance you need to get started.

Since there have been some worries over the current financial "crisis" (my advice - hold tight - stay the course), I decided to read "Who's Money is it Anyway?" by John MacArthur next.

October 08, 2008

Bible Study

Chapter 4: Just Works
James 2:14-26

To recap: we’ve seen several “tests” of faith so far in James.
  • Response to trials
  • Response to temptations
  • Reaction to the Word of God
  • Impartiality

James continues his series of tests by introducing the test of works or behavior that obeys God.

Remember a person is not saved by their works, but their works can be evidence of their salvation. The Bible basically tells us that what we do shows the world who we really are.

The genuineness of a believers claim that Christ is their Lord and Master is shown more by what they do as opposed to what they claim.

James provides several examples of this. Abraham and Rahab as examples from the Old Testament and the human body as a physical example. Both Abraham and Rahab trusted God and demonstrated this with their actions. They passed the test! Do You?

All Christians sin, but all also obey God. Sin is present in the life of a believer, but it is not the main characteristic of their life.

October 02, 2008

Bible Study

Chapter 3 – Who’s the Judge
James 2:1-13

So far in James we have seen three tests of faith:
  • Response to trials
  • Response to temptations
  • Reaction to the Word of God

The fourth test is that of partiality or favoritism. In particular James mentions social and economic status as an example of showing favoritism or discrimination.

God is impartial in His dealings with people. This is not usually an attribute we normally associate with God, at least not the first descriptive term we think of, but it is true.

We need to remember to be impartial in dealing with others. Christians will all be equal in Heaven for eternity. We will be surrounded by God and His love for us.

Of course, we also need to use biblical discernment, but without being prejudice.

October 01, 2008

Blue Cross Merger

Here is a letter sent to Robert Brackbill & Don White regarding the proposed merger of Highmark and Independence Blue Cross. This spells trouble for the PA health care industry if the merger does go through.

A merger of Blue Cross could be devastating to the people of Pennsylvania and their health insurance as well as the health care providers. It is not worth the one-time payment of $1 billion to the state.

Competition is needed to maintain not only consumer protection, but health care provider protection as well. The state needs to open up its health care market to insurers outside of Pennsylvania in order for the natural market forces to work most efficiently and effectively. Competition is what keeps companies in check. Merging these two giants will do nothing except cause problems and increased premiums.