Instructions With A Good Warning! “Common Sense Required”

Recently I finished a tile project in the kitchen. I had never used this tile cutter before, so, I decided to do something smart; I read the instructions. I came across the most interesting paragraph. It read:

“The warnings, precautions, and instructions discussed in this instruction manual cannot cover all possible conditions and situations that may occur. It must be understood by the operator that common sense and caution are factors which cannot be built into this product, but must be supplied by the operator.”

Now that is a disclaimer!

In other words, they have explained the right way to use the product, and they have given reasonable warnings. But no manual can devise warnings for every possible misuse of their product. A little “common sense and caution…must be supplied by the operator.”

When it comes to the Bible, the same is true. The Bible is a tremendous collection of law, history, poetry, wisdom, prophets, letters, and apocalyptic literature. It tells us how to be saved. It tells us the proper way to live in order to go to heaven.

But it can’t list everything in the “don’t” category. Even if God tried, which He doesn’t, people would look for loopholes. Yet, people seem to want to hold the Bible to a ridiculous standard: “It doesn’t say I can’t!”

A little common sense would go a long way for reading God’s Word. That’s why Paul writes in Philippians 2:12, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” In doing so, we receive the grace God provided through His Son.

So…give the Bible a read. It isn’t a list of every “don’t;” we must supply a bit of common sense and caution. But it does reveal the words of eternal life (John 6:68).

There is one main reason for using a tile cutter – to cut tile! There is one main reason for reading God’s Word – to be assured of eternal life. If you skipped reading the instructions, you probably missed something important!

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand” (Matthew 7:26).

Be Careful How You View The Sun…And The Son!

The eclipse is coming August 21st. It is the first total eclipse viewable from the United States since 1979. It is an exciting time to see a rare phenomenon. But in order to safely view the eclipse, special glasses are needed. And that has given an opportunity to scammers.

According to the American Astronomical Society, glasses must meet international standards in order to be safe. Otherwise, as Mom always said, “don’t stare at the sun!” But fake glasses are flooding the markets, and they might cause serious harm to those who use them.

Just as some people take advantage of eclipse interest, there are false teachers selling fake “Jesus-viewing” glasses…

Of course, as a preacher, I’m always asking people to look at Jesus. But we must also be careful how we view the Son. Using the wrong lenses when looking at the Son of God could cause far more damage than how we look at God’s sun!

Fake “Jesus-viewing” lenses attempt to filter out the real Jesus. They ignore His “politically incorrect” teachings. They block out His claims of deity. They shade His miracles from sight.

But the real Jesus wants to be seen, just as He is. And, if we come to Jesus with innocence, an open heart, and an open mind, we can view Him clearly with the naked eye. No special lenses are needed.

Some people prefer “rose-colored” glasses that tint God the way they want to see Him. Some will wear blinders that reject the light. But there is only one way to safely view the Son – the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Seeing Jesus through lenses of truth makes all the difference. “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:12). And nothing can eclipse that Son!

Prank Caller, Prank Caller…Hang Up!

If you lived in the 90’s, you may remember the “Jerky Boys.” They became famous by prank calling people while using voices and characters they had invented. They recorded the calls, got them played on the Howard Stern show, and eventually sold over 8 million copies of their albums.

Recently, pranksters known as “The Russian Jerky Boys,” have taken it to a whole new level – prank-calling heads of state! They successfully prank called Senator John McCain and Elton John. Their latest victim is Energy Secretary, Rick Perry.

In a 22-minute call, Rick Perry thought he was discussing cyber hacking and biofuel with Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman. They discussed deals on coal exports, fuel innovation, and the Paris accord. But it was all a lie – jokesters masquerading as Ukrainian officials.

No one likes to be fooled. It is embarrassing. And sometimes it can be more than just a joke – it can be downright disastrous.

The Bible tells us to watch out for those pretending to be something they aren’t. Specifically, the Apostle Paul warns:

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Did you catch that? Satan masquerades as an angel of light. And so do false teachers!

So what’s a person to do? How can we know what is true? How do we avoid being duped by a “prank caller” with eternal consequences?

John gives a simple solution: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). And how do we do that? By comparing God’s Word against the things we are told by all teachers and preachers (Acts 17:11).

Want to avoid prank calls? Check the number. Want to avoid false teachers? Check the Word.

There’s No Body, But He Isn’t A Missing Person

Swiss police identified two bodies on an Alpine glacier recently. Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife, Francine, were 40 & 37 respectively, when they went missing. But this was no simple missing persons case – they had disappeared on Aug. 15, 1942, nearly 75 years ago!

Amazingly, the bodies were perfectly preserved, lying next to each other in the ice. Police believe they likely fell into a crevasse. The family reported that rescue teams had searched for 2 months back in 1942, but with no success.

Due to warming, the Swiss regional police say that, as glaciers retreat, several missing person cases are being resolved. The ice has preserved, stuck in time, those who have died. The Dumoulin family is relieved to finally have closure.

When people go missing, it is traumatic for the family. There are many questions that are left unanswered. That is why funerals are so special – a moment of closure for the family.

But there is one famous person whose body went missing and His family took great comfort from the lack of a body! His name was Jesus, and His empty tomb makes all the difference. It makes Christianity unique. There is no body!

In fact, it isn’t the followers of Christ who look for His body today; rather, it is His detractors. Non-believers hold a belief that His body will be found. But the body isn’t there, it never will be, and that’s good for Christianity.

The lack of a body causes consternation for critics, but the facts are irrefutable. The Roman soldiers knew it; the Jewish authorities knew it; and the disciples and eyewitnesses knew it. Jesus rose from the grave, showed Himself to many eyewitnesses, and went to heaven.

Jesus’ family, the church, takes great joy and comfort knowing that there was no body. It is the foundation of the faith. He overcame death, and those who are in Him will too. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Though funerals are good for earthly closure, I look forward to a better day…and I hope you do too.