My Old-Fashioned Faith

I have an old fashioned faith. I believe that the Bible is the sole authority in understanding and knowing God, the only infallible guide that teaches man how to be saved through the saving death of Jesus at the cross and His resurrection. I sing because I know I have been saved and that not by works. I sing, not because the melody suits present day tunes, modes and ambiences, but I sing because I am a sinner who has been forgiven. I rejoice at this thought so my song is one of rejoicing, even as it is also that of pain, knowing that countless many others are in need of this same rejoicing. I do not seek to promote a sense of euphoria by showing human wisdom and feigning that God will speak to me as more privileged than the next saved man beside me.

My faith is old fashioned. I remember my fathers before me, who endured the nails and spikes like what my Savior endured, the lions and the crosses, the fire, the storms that engulfed them for their stand of this old fashioned faith. I do not seek adulation or to adulate performance, whether it be in the name of this faith, by which many have forgotten how much tribulation and trials must we endure to make us richer in the maturity of this old fashioned faith.

I am an old fashioned Christian, and looking at a fashion, I can say that not even the best wardrobers this world can offer, can promote my growth and that of my fellow believers in the Word and never be a stumblingblock on the faith of the young ones. I have my liberties, but my love is as old-fashioned as my faith. I seek to hear the Bible preached at the pulpit and not science, fiction nor opinion. I seek the truth of God and Him speaking through His Word rather than the dreams and aspirations of human wisdom.

I look forward to my Fashion Designer, who crafted my old fashioned faith, who clothed the most magnificent lilies of the valley and who has fashioned me a new, blessed and incorruptible body, which none of this world’s best fashions can ever match, or is even one wit capable, to clothe.

1 Kings 12 – The Start of the Reign of Evil

So this chapter starts with Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, succeeding him as king after his death. But Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s mighty men, who rebelled against him and was in exile in Egypt, heard of Rehoboam’s ascent to the throne, he returned and stirred the people to rebel against Rehoboam. He called for an easing of the burdens that Solomon used to impose upon the people. Rehoboam asked for two opinions from his advisers to reply the people and he listened to the advice of his young colleagues rather than to the wisdom of the ancients. And thus started the division of the kingdom – Judah and Benjamin under Rehoboam and the rest of Israel under Jeroboam. And since the temple was in Jerusalem, Jeroboam made him instruments or idols of worship – 2 golden calves in 2 strategic locations – in order to prevent the people from going to Jerusalem of Judah, for he feared that the people would be dissuaded to follow Rehoboam. Thus we see the start of the reign of evil with Jeroboam. All of the evil kings of Israel, or the northern kingdom of Israel, under Jeroboam, would soon fall away from the Lord, because of this stumblingblock that Jeroboam made.

Sometimes in our lives when we are insecure of our position, sometimes in the church, we make programs or activities to make a strong hold of or to enhance that position. I have seen some who would even add that these are “musts” for Christians to do, making it a legal requirement for the Christian life which is supposed to be anchored on grace. Sometimes we honestly believe that we are doing God glory in doing these. Many of these have been framed in our minds through things that we read, books that frame our decisions in life.

It is important that we remain focused with the Word of God as the sole Guide in our life. Some small decisions can lead to disastrous effects down the road. Rehoboam made a mistake, Jeroboam made a bigger one. Let us not let the reign of evil destroy our spiritual future. Because evil can take in the form of something “good” for the “benefit” of all.

The Wild Ducks of Bohol

Coming off from the marshes of Pilar and Dagohoy towns in the island-province of Bohol, Philippines, one may be lucky to find a flight of a couple or so of wild ducks. These birds are of the specie anas luzonica and are endemic to the Philippines. Over-hunting has caused its massive decline. I remember, as a kid, these were more common, but today, to see a flock flying is a treat. It would not be an exaggeration to call this specie endangered. Yet people are still hunting and buying the hunted birds.

I still cannot believe these wild ducks have more culinary value or more economical to market than chicken or farm ducks. If it is just for the pure thrill of game, I believe there is more reason to occupy oneself than this game.

So next time you see a person hunting a wild duck, please do remind him a measly P500 fine awaits him (if caught like the bird he caught).

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An Appeal to Some Baptists

Instead of writing a full rebuttal of a teaching that has been going around recently, I am writing this article to hopefully illuminate some of us on the genealogy of Baptists.

Speaking about genealogies, Paul, through the Spirit, warns us in 1 Timothy 1:4 not to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in the faith. The genealogy I am talking about is the teaching (though may not be recent, as when as a YP, this would be a joke among us, which we all knew was a joke, that we belonged to the right religion) that the true or correct “religion” or “group” is the Baptist group. This is taken from the assumption (again, as a YP, we took this as a joke, but now has become a teaching), that: a) John THE Baptist was a Baptist, similar to what our Baptist groups of today and that since he was a Baptist and he baptized our Lord Jesus Christ, then it follows that b) Jesus Christ was also a Baptist.

Let me quickly say that premise b is a inductive fallacy that fail the simplest of all logical tests, the terms, from my collegiate education, would fail me now because of the following:

1. This is based on the assumption that John THE Baptist was a Baptist. I mean, as a Baptist like what Baptists today are now. There are many places in Scripture which tell us that this is not true. He himself was not sure if Jesus Christ was He that was to come (a very strong connotation to the promised Messiah, Matthew 11, Luke 7).

2. The earliest occurrence of the word “Baptist” as ascribed to John was in Matthew 3:1. He was born to Elizabeth and Zacharias who later prophesied that John would be called the prophet of the Highest.

The title Baptist therefore comes as a result of his work as one who was preparing the way of the Lord and in so doing was preaching repentance and baptism, as a sign or consequence of such a repentance. He was in the deserts till his showing to Israel (Luke 1:80). Sometimes he was referred to as John Baptist (Luke 7:20) or John the Baptist in many of the references to him. But this is the same in the Greek (I am no Greek expert but a simple look-up into the Greek Interlinear reference reveals this). The title therefore comes a result of the work that he was doing – preaching and baptizing. He baptized those who repented, Since Jesus Christ was not yet revealed, or the mystery of the gospel, as to how sins would be atoned for at the cross, the knowledge of the work of Jesus Christ was not yet known to John as evidenced by item 1 above.

These simple references (although there are a lot more), would tell us that Jesus established His church not through John the Baptist, neither that Jesus Christ was a Baptist because He was baptized by John. We all know why Jesus allowed Himself to be baptized by John – to fulfill all righteousness, a pattern which all of those who repent must follow (Matt. 3:15, 28:19-20).

I am no historical expert but a simple search into the history into how the Baptists got their name tells us a different story. The believers were first called Christians in Antioch, not Baptists (Acts 11:26). The earliest denominations who did not compromise their faith in the first centuries, as can be learned from the Trail of Blood by Dr. Carroll, were also not named Baptists.

I am a Baptist and I am happy to be one.

But I appeal to my fellow Baptists to please be more responsible in this area of teaching as we can be a stumbling block, a laughingstock to the world whom we are trying to win for Christ as we preach that none can be saved by membership and we tone others who call themselves to be of the right religion, a thing that must not be mentioned, even if one belongs to such or if even such ever occurs. What I know is that there is a right assembly of believers, the body of Christ, of whom, He, the Master, the Savior, the Head, should only receive all glory, honor and preeminence (Col, 1:18).

Praise be unto Him saved us from perpetual damnation.

Where Is The Love?

When a person is away from his country for work, he is in search for companionship and his cultural values are questioned. It is times like this when Filipinos away from home gather to drink, eat, sit, talk. these being the least. It is on these times when the heart is ripe for the gospel seed to be planted. A group has been doing Outreach here for several years and thank God, souls are getting saved every Sunday. But getting saved is only the first step as the Lord commanded us to “go and teach”, not just to preach, or simply to make disciples of men.

Please pray that God will send forth more laborers for His harvest, for this, undeniably is God’s harvest, and yet, the workers are few. Others may be resting at home, having fun or doing what THEY think SHOULD be done during Sunday afternoons.

No matter how one looks at it, this is an opportunity knocking for every Christian, Filipino or otherwise, simply because other places are also filled with similar scenarios from other nationalities.

Where are the laborers? Can’t we forego a little of our comforts, or review our beliefs, so that these would have the opportunity to hear the gospel?

We preach love, but where is the love?
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Thecrossman Quotes

ON QUOTING QUOTES:

If I would have to write a new proverb with the hope to encourage others, would it be not better if I have only shared God’s Word which is like a endless river of wisdom to inspire even the frailest of all souls like me? The Word of God- it is the ultimate word, the only lasting word.

THE TRUTH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST:

There is no truth more profound in the fact that Jesus came, was crucified and resurrected after 3 days. History and archaelogy testify to this. This is a fact that so many want to stifle, silence, distort, whatever. But this fact remains true as all his disciples gave their lives just for this truth and countless others after them.

So, since this is true, now what are you going to do with all that He said that is written in the Book?

ON LEGALISM AND “CHURCHIOSITY”:

It is so sad that there are still many Christians who do not know the real difference between a church and a religion.

ON GRACE:

Grace is total reliance on God not only from salvation, but all throughout the entire sphere of the Christian’s life on earth.

ON THE WORD OF GOD:

There are two ways how the Word of God can be rendered ineffective. By attacking it or not proclaiming it. The Word of God need not to be defended even if it is attacked because it is all-powerful. But by not proclaiming it, we have rendered it ineffective on the souls of men. The Word of God do not depend on the qualities of its bearer, all we need to do is bear the Word of God and bring it to the lost. From there, its power, the power of God, will transform the souls of men

ON CHRISTIAN GROWTH:

A fruitful tree is so wonderful to admire, but it only has attained thus after years of being buffeted by the wind, sun and rain. As it digs its roots into the rich soil, and firmly establishes itself, can it become a shelter for the birds of the air. 

ON PROPHECY:

I’d rather be a harsh reality prophet of doom than to be a false prophet at all.

ABOUT WAITING:

Waiting for a bus involves being at the bus-stop before the bus arrives.

1 Kings 11 – The Wasting of a Blessing

King Solomon had so much blessings. He was endowed with much wisdom, the kingdoms of the then known world sought his keenness. He had so much wealth. And women. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines and these turned away his heart from the Lord.

He served the gods of his women – Ashtoreth and Milcom, strange and detestable idols of the neighbors of Israel.

So God stirred up enemies against him – Hadad, Rezon and Jeroboam, all who had histories of antagonism against David, his father, or Joab, David’s general, or even against Solomon himself.

When we are persistent in our disobedience, God will turn the blessing into cursing. This was what He promised His people in Deuteronomy 28 and can still, apply to us, if we remember how the Lord will chastise those whom He loves.

May we never waste the blessings God has given us. If Solomon was wise, but could he have been wiser by not going astray from God?

Whatever it is, wine, women or song, or the cares of the world, let us continue with the blessings that God has showered unto us.

His Name be praised forevermore.

“Haling” – Responsibility Demands Knowledge

The practice of backyard waste burning (“Haling” in Visayan), is an age-old tradition that seemed appropriate before but is actually scientifically and environmentally unsound. It is so annoying to see how this practice is tolerated in this country for such a long time, even with the ever-increasing consciousness everywhere about global warming and environmental preservation.

It is quite easy to say that we have no choice. I think it is a matter of making more possibilities.

Let us look closer into why this practice is still rampant today.

SOLUTION TO THE GARBAGE COLLECTION PROBLEM.

Before the “modern” plastic age, packaging materials were made from indigenous materials, mostly from banana leaves, paper and other organic materials. Back then, these materials are disposed of by burning them in bonfires that were lit in almost every household as a solution to the garbage collection problem. I remember this was even taught in the schools. Since CO2 is good for the plants, I recall that this virtue was also taught/But it is now known that CO2 is an ozone depleting gas and therefore is a huge contributor to pollution and global warming. Asthma and allergies are some of the side effects brought about with the gases produced in these backyard cleanup process.

With the entrance of plastic materials, the problem has worsened since plastic is now a common packaging material and hence it is a new ingredient of this dangerous recipe of backyard burning. Unless garbage collection management is left out, “Haling” would still be here.

SOLUTION TO THE MOSQUITO PROBLEM

I can still recall, how “Haling” was used to drive off mosquitoes. Dried coconut husks would produce dense smoke from their ambers which slowly consume the husks and unlike burning where less smoke is produced, this practice had more “smoke efficiency”. With coconut still a common plant everywhere in the Philippines, it should not be surprising how this method could be used, together with waste burning and be viewed as a solution to the mosquito problem.

Rather than eliminating ponds and places where these mosquitoes breed, more effort is placed in driving these mosquitoes to the neighbors and hence trigger a chain of reaction from neighbors and before long, one can see a whole community engulfed in dense smoke every afternoon. Please see the pictures below.

Whatever the reason, this practice must be stopped. The government must step in. Education, legislation, implementation of the right solutions  must play hand in hand in order to put an end of this rape of the environment and of this maybe innocent intrusion to everyone’s right to breath free and clean air.

Our people must realize that any smoke that reaches our neighbors is actually such an intrusion.

Lastly but not the least. it is God-given responsibility to take care of our environment (Gen. 1:28).

Backyard bonfires in Dauis island almost every afternoon.

Backyard bonfires in Dauis island almost every afternoon.

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