Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Holiness Perspective on Alcohol

The Holiness Perspective on Alcohol 

Pastor Keith Taylor is pastor in the Assemblies of God and agreed to allow me to repost this in my blog.


Its longer than I normally write, but it is really well explained. This position is also shared by the Church of the Nazarene which I am a part (CSA).


The effects of alcohol 

[God loves those who are bound by alcohol - Jesus will set the captive free - we are to minister with such love to those bound - we also as Christians need to take a long look at alcohol and what the scriptures reveal]

ABSTINENCE
This statement on abstinence was approved as the official statement by the General Presbytery of the Assemblies of God on August 6, 1985.

The General Council of the Assemblies of God has historically opposed the consumption of alcohol in any form. Early documents of the church declare, without reservation or compromise, a position of total abstinence.

In more recent years, however, this mark of separation from the world and this token of dedicated service to God has been questioned by some. Yet the continued effective work of reaching the lost and of challenging all believers to be always filled with the Holy Spirit is seriously jeopardized by a careless attitude concerning the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

For two reasons we urge all believers to avoid the Satanic tool of alcohol which destroys lives, damns souls, and blights society:
(1) A studied review of the Scriptures affirms a stern warning against intoxicating drink and a call to separation from this evil for the purpose of better service to God and mankind; and
(2) Current social abuses and the public outrage over the high cost of alcohol in terms of human misery, death, and destruction of property cry out with urgency for the church of Jesus Christ to oppose firmly any use whatsoever of a beverage which so insidiously afflicts and binds the bodies and minds of men and women.

The Scriptures Record Tragedies Caused by Alcohol

Although there is disagreement among Bible scholars about the true nature of the drink referred to by the various Hebrew and Greek words for "wine," it is only too evident that some persons in the Old Testament drank fermented wine.

Noah, after saving his family from the destruction of the Flood, planted a vineyard, made wine, became intoxicated, and brought disastrous results on himself and his family (Genesis 9:20-27). Noah was no doubt surprised, upon his return to sobriety and clear thinking, to realize his simple act of taking a drink had ended in such shame.
The two daughters of Lot made their father drink liquor until he became drunk; then they committed incest with him (Genesis 19:30-38).

Xerxes was powerful. He ruled over a great kingdom and had a beautiful wife. But his foolish action before his drinking guests resulted in the deposition of his queen and the dissolution of their marriage (Esther 1:9-22).

Belshazzar, in a state of drunkenness, committed sacrilege with the sacred vessels from the Jewish temple. That very night he was killed as a fulfillment of prophecy (Daniel 5).

Drunkenness, according to Scripture, is a sin. But what about such references in the Old Testament as "wine which cheers" (Judges 9:13) and "wine that makes glad" (Psalm 104:15)?
We believe such references are accommodations to human weakness and hardness of heart (cf. Matthew 19:8).

The spirit and intent of Scripture emphasize the evil consequences of alcohol.

Scriptural Principles and Examples Recommend Abstinence

Alcohol destroys the body. Even in small amounts it begins its subtle work of destruction, taking its toll on mental and physical reactions. God knew this fact very well when He gave instructions that priests and kings (spiritual and secular leaders) should refrain from any use of alcoholic beverages.

In the Old Testament instruction to the Levites, the spiritual leaders of Israel, priests were commanded to abstain from wine or intoxicating drink when they went into the presence of the Lord to minister (Leviticus 10:8-11).

This requirement of abstinence was given so the ministering priest would be able to distinguish between the holy and the unholy, between the clean and the unclean, and so he could be a teacher of all the statutes of God.

Today, all born-again Christians have been made priests to God
(1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6).
As such we should always give our best and be at our best in His service.

We believe the standard of abstinence demanded of the Old Testament priest should be the standard of every Christian today. We too must distinguish between right and wrong.
We must be Spirit-led teachers in a society that greatly needs divine instruction and godly example.

Secular leaders are also to abstain from alcohol.

"It is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted" (Proverbs 31:4,5, NKJV).

If the prohibition is absolutely essential for spiritual and secular leaders, it is certainly essential for every believer.
We who are kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:6) must live according to His standards.

A Little Alcohol Is Too Much

The Christian who advocates or condones "drinking in moderation" is providing Satan an opening he would not have with an individual committed to total abstinence.

By medical definition, alcohol is a drug.
The moderate drinker is naive if he does not recognize the peril of eventually becoming addicted himself.

The condition of the drunkard is tragic; and God's Word gives clear warning of the final tragedy.
The individual who refuses to have anything to do with such a dangerous taskmaster is wise indeed.

No alcoholic ever intended to become an alcoholic when he/she took the first drink. And no individual who persistently refused to take the first drink ever became an alcoholic.

The church of Jesus Christ must take a bold stand against this evil that in the end "bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper" (Proverbs 23:32, NKJV).

The effects of alcohol are vividly described in Proverbs 23.
There is a physical and emotional impact. "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?"
(Proverbs 23:29, NKJV).

The answer is obvious: "Those who linger long at the wine" (v. 30). But the woe, the sorrow, the contention, the complaints, the injuries, are not reserved for the drunkard in the gutter. They begin all too frequently with the social drink.

Just like every other temptation of Satan, the drinking of alcoholic beverages has its attraction. Hence the warning of Holy Scripture: "Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly" (Proverbs 23:31, NKJV).

The warning is so strong because the attraction of the temptation soon turns the pleasure seeker into a pathetic embarrassment to the human race: "Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things" (23:33, NKJV).
Even the normal physical protection systems of pain and caution are defeated by alcohol (23:34,35).

"Wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise" (Proverbs 20:1, NKJV).
God's will is for His people to abstain from this deceitful betrayer that mocks and destroys the basic dignity of mankind.

God Calls His People to Holiness

The standard for God's people is no less in the New Testament than in the Old.
The Old Testament warnings about the abuses and excesses of alcohol become in the New Testament a call to holy living through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).

We need to cleanse them from all profane habits, including alcohol. Opening up the human temple to the possible influence and control of alcohol is absolutely contrary to the Biblical admonition to keep those temples filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
The only safe way is to leave alcoholic beverages alone.

First Timothy 3:3 states that a bishop must be one "not given to wine." A spiritual leader should set the highest example for all Christians to follow.
The apostle Paul willingly invited his fellow believers to follow his example, even as he followed the example of Christ
(1 Corinthians 11:1).

A minister who drinks alcohol risks disobedience to the Word of God.

Some well-meaning people have misused the instruction given by Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5.

When Paul suggested that Timothy "Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" (5:23, NIV), he was not recommending wine as a social drink.

The fact that Paul had to mention the medicinal use of wine indicates rather strongly that Timothy was committed to abstinence as a lifestyle.

The call to holy living and to total abstinence is most appropriate for a Movement that looks with expectation for the soon return of Jesus Christ and the eventual inauguration of His kingdom on earth.

Jesus warned His disciples, as well as all who would live between their time and the end time, "Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life . . . . Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34, 36, NKJV).

As we watch and pray for the return of Jesus, our senses should be as sharp and clear as they can possibly be.

The Use of Alcohol Weakens the Christian's Testimony

The use of alcohol violates some basic principles laid down for all believers, whether minister or laymen.
One of these important principles is the Biblical caution not to offend a weaker brother or cause a younger Christian to fall.

The apostle Paul deals with the responsibility of the stronger brother toward the weaker brother in Romans 14. "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak" (v. 21, NKJV).

It takes a stronger act of the will to abstain from the consumption of alcohol than to participate in this social practice of the world.
Yet believers who take their Christian responsibility seriously cannot avoid the obvious importance of total abstinence to their Christian testimony.

This truth is especially significant when it is applied to the young people of the world who are turning to alcohol in unprecedented numbers as an acceptable mind-altering drug.
They are going beyond moderation, no matter what their parents and elders say. If Christian parents and adults use alcohol even in moderation or just to be socially accepted, the next generation will use it with less care and self-control.

The best example our generation can set for the next generation is to practice and teach total abstinence.

Jesus spoke very clearly to the disciples about the responsibility of the older generation to its children and youth: "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones" (Luke 17:1, 2, NKJV).
We must not set an example that will send others to hell and destruction.

As believers we must draw a line on the use of alcohol.
If we draw the line at the point of moderation, our ministers will soon find it necessary to exhort congregations to forsake drunkenness.
If we draw the line at total abstinence, we will save a multitude of young and old from the sin of alcoholism.

Social Drinking Is Satan 's Cruel Deception

The term social drinking suggests that the consumption of alcohol in respectable surroundings is in some way different from drinking in other environments.
There was a time when it would have been unthinkable that we would have to speak out against social drinking among Christians. The fact that such a problem has grown to the currently distressing proportions shows what a powerful and insidious influence the present age exerts on the church of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit can deliver from the shackles of social drinking, and we plead with all Christians who have fallen into this bondage to cry out for God's help immediately.

Many people who experience psychological problems (and some of them unfortunately are Christians) are tempted to seek an easy solution in "a little bit" of alcohol. But what was used as a supposed cure has caused even greater problems. We are set free through Jesus Christ, not through a drug that dissipates and destroys us when we submit to its influence.

Every one of the 13 million problem drinkers in the United States today started on the road to alcoholism with a social drink or an innocent first taste. Half of the fatal automobile accidents in this country are caused by drinking drivers.

According to government estimates, the economic cost of alcoholism-including lost production, automobile accidents, health care, violent crimes, and fire losses- exceeds 100 billion dollars every year.

Alcohol is consistently linked to a high percentage of reported murders, assaults, and rapes, as well as to suicide. domestic violence, and child abuse.
The role of social drinking as the starting point for much of this abuse can only be estimated.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is one of the leading causes of mental retardation as a birth defect in the United States.
Whatever alcohol the pregnant mother consumes crosses the placenta and enters the bloodstream of the baby.
The result too frequently is below-average birth weight and size, deformed and improperly formed joints and limbs, as well as heart defects. We should not be concerned only about the life of the unborn child; the health of the child is important too.

The consumption of alcohol has become a national crisis, tearing at the moral fabric of our nation.

Christians cannot meet their moral responsibilities by a posture of neutrality about alcohol.
The problem is not merely economic, cultural, or social.

In the final analysis, the use of alcohol is a spiritual problem.

Alcoholism is sin, not sickness.
Its shocking increase is another manifestation of the permissive, lawless spirit produced by the spiritual degeneration so much in evidence today.

The Call to Abstinence

Alcoholic beverages should have no place in the life of the Christian. Let there be no doubt about the Assemblies of God stand on this critical issue. (Or the Church of the Nazarene added CSA)

We declare unequivocally our conviction that total abstinence from alcoholic beverages is the only acceptable way of life for the Christian.
We call upon every member and adherent in our Fellowship, including both the ministry and the laity, to teach by word and example a life-style that abstains totally from the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
__________
1Statistics provided by the National Council on Alcoholism, Inc., 12 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10010. Up-to-date materials and statistics may be secured from the Council upon written request.
2National Council on Alcoholism, Inc.
(c)1985 by the Assemblies of God Gospel Publishing House Springfield, Missouri 65802 Printed in the United States of America 34-4187


Fight the good fight, with love and truth.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Is the Donkey really stuck? (Christian rest)


This was a blog a wrote awhile back. I thought it might be good to be reminded (as much for me as anyone). 

Is your Donkey really stuck?

        In reply to Jesus followers not following the ceremonial rules regarding the Jewish Sabbath(day of rest), Jesus said the Jewish leaders of his day (Luke 14:5) would help their donkey if it was stuck in the ditch on the Sabbath Day. 
        Preachers and church people have used this as an excuse for years to say they needed to do work. "I have to do this, remember even Jesus taught that it is okay to work if your donkey is stuck" they say.

      The problem is that we allow our lives to become so full we never set time aside to rest. We constantly have something that has to be done.

       Yesterday was one of those day for me. I was required to help someone for part of the day. I did this but then I went home and rested. Now you have to realize, my home is a disaster right now, boxes from moving everywhere and a toilet need fixing. It was hard to not do something but cook dinner.

Why did I?

This week is going to be very busy and I am already tired. If I do not take the time off, I may not feel the effects today but they will hit me.

Our bodies need time off to recharge, remember Jesus said that God gave us the sabbath. He gave it to us because he knows we need it.

Schedule time to rest. 

Take a sabbath!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hache and the Urchin (1500 word short story)

This is an unedited short story who knows where it will go but just wanted to share it




Hache sipped his hot java waiting for inspiration. Then he saw it and began to draw. The face looked dejected and poverty was its lot in life, yet there seemed to be an innocence which this life had not taken away. The boy may have been as young 10 or possibly even as old as 12. He was at that age where it seemed impossible to tell. His clothes were worn but not filthy and there was no smell which sometimes attended those who had no place to bath. Sympathy moved inside of Hache cause his hand to begin drawing the face he now saw.

Sympathy not something new to Hache. He was usually on the receiving end. Times had been hard and when his patron had to leave town or be lynched by the those in the village he owed, Hache was left with his little savings and his art supplies. Even now it was the sympathy of his old friend Daniel who owned the shop he was sitting in which keep a roof over his head. Daniel had told Hache that it wasn’t sympathy that he expected to be reimbursed when he found another patron, but Hache knew better.

Hache did not know if he would call Daniel a friend and certainly not family though it felt like it sometimes. They were as different as night and day, yet Daniel had always been there to look out for him. Hache had done some work for Daniel and there were a few times, but only a few, when the older man and talked if not like father and son, then like an older brother.

Hache finished his first drawing of the boy and was now started another even as his mind turned back to Daniel. Hache knew when this strange relationship started. It was the day Daniel opened this store with his young wife, Daffodil. Hache just a young man not much older than the boy now waiting in line, when Daniel walked across the street to shew Hache away. Hache had been sitting there a couple of hours staring at Daniel and Daffodil. Hache was drawing then just as he was now when Daniel grabbed his arm and pulled him up to send him on his way but stopped halfway through the pull when he saw what he had drawn. The picture was of Daniel and Daffodil looking at each other the way young married couples do.

Hache had given the picture to Daniel and thereafter Hache was allowed to draw in the pastry shop on a table near the back anytime the store was open. That had been years ago and their strange relationship, yes, Hache thought our friendship has always been strong.  

Hache stared again at the young man as he started on his third sketch of the boy. The look of faint hope touched his face as he looked at the remaining pastries behind the glass display. The look quickly left as he looked down to coin he had in his hand.  Hache guessed that the child did not have enough to but a single pastry.   

“What would you like, young man?” Daniel said to the boy as if he were the son of the local banker.

Hache smiled because once it was the scruffy looking child of the local banker, who had taught Daniel to treat every person who came through the door as a proper customer. Hache smiled, today it seemed to be his day to go down memory lane. The child had come in on that day looking worse than this child and Daniel had thrown him out when he asked for a dozen pastries. It was only a few minutes later that the banker walked in with his son and yelled at Daniel for refusing to serve his child. Daffodil defused the situation with her beauty and charm, but Daniel learned his lesson. Since that day Hache had never seen Daniel treat anyone bagger or banker any different. Yes, some took offense that Daniel didn’t treat them better, but Hache thought Daniel’s actions had served his business well. Hache stared to think of the greatest way it had but quickly put it out of his mind, he didn’t want to think of that today.

 “I want to get one for me and my brother,” the urchin said slowly, “but this is all I have.” The child held up the coin which caught the light for just a moment but then seemed nothing more than a small nearly worthless coin.

“I am sorry, young man” Daniel replied in a voice which still held respect, “but I don’t have anything you could purchase for that amount.”

The face of the child quivered as he dropped the hand which held the coin. The child’s face dropped as if to examine his shoes and he stood still for just a moment.

“Thank you” the boy muttered and turned to leave.

Daniel and Hache both watch the boy turn and slowly leave. The store was empty as the lunch rush was over.

“Wait” Hache got up and walked toward Daniel.

Daniel shook his head “On your tab, I assume. You’re too generous with my goods,” yet he picked two of the largest pasties and place them in a bag.

The urchin returned with a smile and graciously took the bag.

“I can give you this,” Holding the coin in the air to Hache.

Hache smiled and shook his head. “Don’t worry about it for now, maybe later.”

The child stuck the coin in his pocket and raced out the door. Hache watched him turn a corner and move off down an alley. Off to meet his brother Hache assumed.

“You’re too sentimental,” Daniel said with a smile. “You do realize those would have probably been your bag tomorrow you know.”

“Speaking of which”

Daniel reached behind him and hand up the bag of day-old pastries that he saved for Hache. He knew Hache well enough to know what was going to happen. “Just because you give away your meal ticket for today, don’t assume I’m going to give you a fresh one.” Hache smiled knowing he wouldn’t but that tomorrow there would be another bag which Daniel would claim it was better to give it to him than to throw it out to the pigs.

Hache grabbed the bag and raced after the young boy. When he reached the alley he heard a voice which sounded almost familiar.

“What chumps. I told you my luck wouldn’t run out. We’ll take their generosity during the day and steal them blind at night just like we did in the last town.” Then there was a laugh which joined the laugh of the person who spoke.   

Hache turned the corner and saw two young men with their back to him beginning to eat. Hache immediately recognized the speaker and was shocked. Hearing the voice now and seeing him from the back Hache didn’t know how he could have thought of this man as anything but the twenty, maybe even thirty years old he was.

The man held up a coin Hache recognized. “Only use it twenty times the old man said, you’ll lose far more on twenty-one.” The two laughed.

Hache walked up behind the men, took the coin, and quickly stepped back.

The two spun around and looked at Hache with undisguised anger.

“You offered this to me, so I’ll take it.” Then he threw the bag of pastries at the pair.

The second man grabbed the bag and wasted no time looking inside. Hache saw now the child-like face of the man/boy but now saw that he was not a young man but a man cursed with dwarfism. How had he missed it before?

Hache had been tricked, his generosity taken advantage of, but that was nothing compared to the plans of these two thieves. As what they want to do sunk deeper into Hache’s mind he grew angry, then a plan blossomed in his mind.

Hache smiled. “Leave town now. You won’t find any more generosity here.” Then he turned and left. There were a group of sketches sitting on the table of the pastry shop that he wanted to show to the local market owners and the constable.   

“Yes, you have lost far more,” Hache said as he flipped the coin in the air and placed it in his pocket.   


Monday, November 27, 2017

Thankful for the Church

Written by Pastor Charles Areson, Tell City First Church of the Nazarene for From the Pastor's Desk

As we enter a season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, our hearts normally turn toward the things of which we are thankful and the gifts we have given and received. In that spirit, I would like to ask you to think of the church, specifically, the churches of Tell City.

Are the churches perfect, no of course not, but neither are our schools, our workplaces, our first responders, nor our government. Our community is made up of people and people even the best are not perfect. We hope to get better, but we aren’t there yet. This is not the point, if you’re looking for perfection outside of God himself, then you will never be happy.

However, when we see the churches of Tell City there is much to be thankful for. For many, they serve as a place of community and support through life’s roughest times. In death, heartache, sickness, the church has reached out to many and stood beside them. We have seen the church reach out with the Great Day of Service to improve the look of our community. In times of needs, the church has served as a place of help to the poor and needy. Most know of the Widows Barrel and other smaller food pantries operated by volunteers from the churches of this community giving food to those who are hungry.  If I listed all the works of Catholic Charities does for this community then I could take up an entire page. No one can honestly deny; the church is a force for Good in Tell City.


Are needs still out there, yes, but Jesus seemed to indicate we would always have the poor with us. However, our community would be much, much poorer without the giving and love of our churches.  I doubt we could count the tangible ways the churches of Tell City have assisted this community, let alone the intangible support which has been given. Therefore, in this time of thanks and of giving, let us be thankful for the churches of Tell City.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Personal update

Yes I am still writing and the blog is getting ready for a new update in January. I don't want to promise anything as life has a way of changing our plans, but it will be something I hope you can enjoy.

For myself the updating of Impossible to Forgive has been more disjointed than I expected. So post on it haven't been forthcoming which if you were watching you already knew.

In the United States, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. I don't know what your plans are but I hope that they good and that you take time to thank God for all he has blessed you with.

CSA

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

EM Areson and Blogging

My daughter is going to start a blog which contains short stories she will create (thearesonstories.blogspot.com). This blog is to show her how I do it and to introduce you to the beginning work of a young lady who is going to develop into a great writer.

If you like short stories then you might check it out.

However, if you just want to complain don't bother, you might make me angry and you wouldn't like it when I'm angry.

CS Areson

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Impossible to Forgive - Preface

I am attempting NaNoWriMo this year, but instead of a traditional fictional novel of 50,000 words, I am going to write nonfiction. This year I am going to update and expand my book, Impossible to Forgive.


My current plan is to publish my daily work on my blog and ask that you and others you might recommend this to might comment, give feedback, and suggestions to the work. One warning the words are not going to be edited and they will be rough. They may even be a little tough and need to be some toning down.

Preface



More than 150 people murdered, by some estimations. After the investigation was completed, the prosecutor chose only a few of the cases the strongest to take to trial. After much of the most convincing evidence was thrown out by the judge, the “angel of death” was convicted.
My own grandmother was among those victims whose cases, though investigated, never went to trial. Her murder is still alleged. Justice and closure never came through an earthly court of law.
I wish that was the worst thing that ever happened but like many of you, pain doesn’t come from only one source. Later, a very close family member was accused of misconduct. For various reasons, that never went to trial. My personal investigation found far more evidence than I ever wanted to know. Nothing could be reported to the authorities, for various reasons. These crimes caused their own type of damage and pain deeper than that caused by the murder of my grandmother.
The pain and suffering I faced were great, but due to possible legal ramifications the names in this book have been changed and details will be left out. Naming them will not change anything, nor will they change the truths taught in these pages.
It may be that there have been crimes committed against you, which also may never see an earthly judge, but that doesn’t change your struggle. For you especially, I pray that my experiences and my studies will help you find peace in your soul in a world that too often fills filled with pain, suffering, and injustice.
By changing names both the innocent and the “alleged” will be protected. My name will not be changed. I was not innocent. My sins are obvious though all too human: hate, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Through God’s grace, they have been forgiven and I have found freedom. A freedom you can have and enjoy.  



Charles S Areson

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sign of the Red Flag (A non-horror short story for Halloween)


This is something different from my normal post. This is not a horror story but a fantasy. It is actually a fun little story. I hope you enjoy this rough draft of.....

Sign of the Red Flag


The battle was lost. 

I couldn’t think of anything that we could do. These confused dangerous people that followed the dragons would win. Elizabeth was wore out, her power depleted. We were offered the opportunity to surrender before the battle began but after so much death, I doubted that they would be willing to accept our surrender now. 

I called over my servant and told him to run back and tell the villagers to prepare to move out. He didn’t realize how bad things were. Christy, Martin and Elizabeth had poured everything they had into this battle. My sword was available, but I was no expert. If I fell in battle the alliance would fall apart. 

I knew if they sent forward their main force we and the villagers would be slaughtered. I looked over at Elizabeth and I knew she was thinking the same thing. Maybe if we surrender it could buy the villagers time to escape. 

I looked around and there was nothing to tie my mostly white handkerchief to. I decided that my sword would do. I carefully drew it holding back the flame inside that wanted to ignite. I took the handkerchief stuck it on the end and before anyone could stop me I jumped over the rocks that Martin had moved to protect us.

I noticed the look of shock and fear on the face of the village leader. I didn’t realize why he had such a look but didn’t take time to think what it meant.

When I took the first few steps it seemed that every mental attack was aimed at me. I took a few more steps and stumbled before a small tree. I thought that maybe I should cut a branch and place the white flag of it. I quickly removed the handkerchief and brought my sword down against the tree. It took just a few seconds and the tree was ready. The handkerchief was tied to the top and I held it high in my left hand my naked sword down by my legs but a little out so that they could see where it was. 

I continued to walk slowly toward the enemy. Some of their warriors continued to send attacks in my direction but it seemed as if very thing had paused. I heard some yelling behind me. I knew it was my servant yelling out to the villagers. 

I saw a table sized rock not twenty feet in front of the stones that protected their main force. I planned to go there and lay my sword down. right before I reached the stone I saw it and my heart froze.

 A red flag came up from behind the stones right in front of me.

They meant to destroy us. I didn’t know what to do to show they they didn’t have to do this. As I looked at the stone in front of me rather than lay my sword down I jumped up on it and started waving the flag back and forth. 

I saw more red flags emerge first ten then twenty then so many I couldn’t count.

Then I heard the cheer from the ridge behind. I glanced behind me and the villager that I had sent word to move out had all come to the edge of the battle. The small group of defenders that we had been fighting with had moved from behind their defenses to stand on the open field behind me. 

In the confusion of the moment, I forgot about holding back the power of the sword and it burst into living flame. I looked forward again, now seeing a sea of red flags.

 I yelled “SURRENDER” at the top of my lungs. I meant to say, "we surrender."

Then it happened, weapons were thrown over the stones and men came from behind their defenses with their hands behind their backs (the universal sign of surrender in this world).

We had won but I didn’t know how.

It was explained to me later that the white cloth hanging on the edge of a town was a sign of health. The red a sign of sickness or injury.

Flags had never been used in battle before. The sight of me standing there taking the mental attack of the enemy, holding the white flag told them that we weren’t injured.  They thought we were about to destroy them. 

They had taken more injures than we realized and held up the red flags to show they were injured. Now they were willing to talk. 

When I yelled the word "surrender," it was the act that would make the red flag the universal sign of surrender forever.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

An update and What is Coming

There are only a few out there who read this and I appreciate you and hope my frail words can bring some inspiration.

The last few weeks I have been considering what I need to be focusing on. Thus the weekly post I try to get up hasn't been happening.

I mentioned that I have gotten serious about losing weight and I have lost 20 pounds and more than 5% of my body weight.

My plan is to attempt NaNoWriMo again this year but this year instead of a traditional fictional novel of 50,000 words, I am going to write nonfiction. This year I am going to update and expand my book, Impossible to Forgive. Also, I am beginning to work on a 3 year Bible reading plan with personal commentary. I will publish some of each as I feel it is right.

See you in the middle of it all.

God Bless
CS Areson

Friday, September 29, 2017

Is Dialogue Dead?

Is Dialogue Dead?



“Dialogue is dead. Welcome to the age of a million monologues. Welcome to the day when people shout angrily at empty space rather than conversing with one another. Today is a day of hearing but not listening, when accusations are made without understanding, and when we fight against one another as we try to reach shockingly similar goals.


I am convinced that we are not as opposed to one another as we think we are, but we have lost the capacity to understand. And I lament that our ignorance appears to be increasingly willful. Rather than disagreeing, we make enemies. Rather than engaging perspectives that differ from our own, we villainize. Rather than recognizing our shortcomings, we cast our sin upon scapegoats.” Pastor Nick Highland


I wish I could say Nick is wrong but it seems that he is correct. Attacks and insults seem to be most peoples’ first response. So, what do we do as Christians? Forget that question, I have been hearing and seeing what Christians are saying and doing. Maybe I should say, “What should we do?” The answer is to live and talk like Christ. How is that? In Love.


No, it isn’t easy to walk in love. Yes, we will take abuse, but that isn’t anything new for the Christian. Jesus said we would face persecution.


Next, in a world filled with the noise of anger and hate-filled monologues, what should we focus on? I suggest we look to the Bible and what Paul said in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.”


Finally, I suggest that we practice forgiveness. It is easy to get upset, angry. and bitter. Sports figures, politicians, reporters, bloggers, the twits on Twitter and the Slander on Facebook, just to name a few, make it easy to lose your cool. However, Jesus told us to forgive and to love. There wasn’t an exception clause because someone was an idiot or because they were evil.


It doesn't matter if Dialogue is Dead, we are called to act one way no matter what other people do.
Think about it.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Christian: noun or adjective?

JD Walt is the writer of the Daily Text (Info below). Today he asked:  a couple of questions and I thought I would ask and answer two of them here.
  1. American Christian or Christian American; what’s the difference?
  2. Why does it matter?

Is Christian the noun or the adjective for a Christian who has American citizenship? 

The fact that a pot is green of blue does not change the function of the pot. A pot is a pot what color it is, doesn't matter in the least. With this logic, I have to say that Christian is the noun. You can have a Christians who are different but we are all in a sense the same. This is born out in Scripture where Paul said: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28).

However, if you talk about service, then there is compassionate service and resentfully, spiteful service and that changes everything. In this example, the type of service or the lack of it is changed by the adjective. In this, an American Christian could carry a negative overtone (in today's world it probably does) where a Christian American may not. 
 
So which is it?

I am going to say that the primary noun and the primary adjective in a Christian who has American citizenship is Christian or maybe I can put it in a more confusing way. 

We are Christian American Christians. 

Yet, when this life is over we will just be Christians. Just like a child is both a child and child-like but one day by God's design they will be neither: "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." (I Corinthians 13:11)

I know that it isn't just Americans who read this blog, so if you're from Germany, Russia, or from elsewhere, you have to change the term American to where you are from. 

Anyway, think about it. 

Promised Infomation:
Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Why a newsletter at TCN

Why a newsletter?

There are many reasons for an organization to send out newsletters. These are at least some of the ones we considered when we decided to launch a newsletter here at Tell City First Church of the Nazarene.

11.     Information:
We live in very busy times and though our church is close there are times when we miss out what is happening. Bulletins are lost, websites and Facebook don’t always get updated or work right. Let’s be honest our little church has a lot going on it can be hard to keep track of it all. Our hope is this newsletter will help people know what is going on.

22.     Connectedness:
The information sent out will help us connect better. A listing of Anniversaries and Birthdays will be listed and reminders of special times of when we can enjoy fellowship.

33.     Growth:
To supply an extra bit of spiritual insight from myself and others. Also, provides links to other sources of growth and inspiration.

What do I promise:

11.     That as long as the newsletter seems to be a blessing we will continue it. If this seems to not be a blessing anymore, then we will discontinue the newsletter.
22.     I (Pastor Charles) promise grammatical errors, misspellings, forget to add an event or some other mistake. I’m a doctor, not an editor. Oops, I mean I’m a pastor, not an editor (If you’re not a Trekkie, over look that last comment).
33.     To try and make looking at this worth your time to look it over.

We are family here at Tell City First Chruch of the Nazarene and it is our hope that Hitting the Mark will help give us what every family needs: better communication.

Hitting the Mark: 
What is in a name.


No, I (Pastor Charles) didn’t ask the church board what we should call our newsletter and who knows maybe after it’s been out we will change the name, For now, I have chosen to call the church’s newsletter Hitting the Mark
I wanted to name the newsletter something which would both be scriptural and fit our community. Calling it the Marksman wouldn’t work, we have people who attend Perry Central and besides that name has already been taken. Yet, I did like the idea of shooting for a goal and trying to reach something. This is when I remembered Paul saying, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14, KJV). I memorize this scripture as a child and it just felt right. Even a student from Perry Central or Cannelton can say they want to hit their goals, so that’s how Hitting the Mark became the name. It is my prayer that Hitting the Mark will help us hit the goals God has given us in our lives and in our church. 
God Bless. 
Pastor Charles 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Miracles from Heaven (my thoughts)

I am more often than not a little skeptical when it comes to claims of miracles. I have seen some and know that God does them, but as Chuck Swindoll said, “They’re miracles, not Commons." In recent years there has been a plethora of books and movies about miracles and visitations to heaven. I have heard the people say, "It's a great story" to which I resist saying, but is it true. Some of them make claims of things which are not evident in scripture, but normally I hold my tongue. This being said, I sat down and watched Miracles From Heaven and was thoroughly surprised. It was at times hard to watch but afterward, I was glad I did. You can decide for yourself. PC

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Journey Continues

Week one was completed last week.

I lost 5 pounds last week. I know this isn't the same for some people, but for me it was encouraging.

I keep under my point count (weight watchers food counting) for the week. I even had several treats, that I adjusted my eating for.

The first week was actually easier than I thought it would be. As of today, I am 4 days into my second week and it's getting harder. This is when the initial push of emotion has passed and the reality of what I am doing is setting in. I am still determined but the cost of changing my eating lifestyle is becoming real. I am not giving up, but I can't lie and say everything is easy.

Wish me luck, as the journey continues.

8-21-17   5 down  - 95 to go...

UPDATE 9-15-17 14 down 86 to go

Monday, August 14, 2017

A new journey (trying something different)

I am starting a new journey, or maybe I should say I am starting again. I didn't get there last several times I tried.

I am going to change my lifestyle and become more healthy/

No, I didn't have a heart attack or bad news from the doctor. No, it was something a lot worse...

My own words.

We all know what we should be doing things about. The doctor had said many times it would be good for me to lose weight. I know I would feel better and eventually it would hurt me in ways that I may not recover.

What did I say?

In talking Sunday about the spiritual discipline of engaging your Bible (reading, reflecting, responding), I said if what you are trying to do isn't working do something else. Find something that works and stick with it. It is like dieting. What does works? The one you stick with, so find one that works for you and stick with it. If what you are doing isn't working try something else.

What I am doing when it comes to food isn't working. I was challenged by a friend to try Weight Watchers.

I had excuses, but it was something I had never tried and we both knew what I was doing wasn't working. So I found a good deal, a good meeting time and started.

Where will this lead?

To success I believe, but here is the teachable moment.

At least, I am trying something different since what I was doing wasn't working.

So what in your life isn't working?

Try something else, try another path toward your goal.

I'll keep you updated on mine.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A habit, not legalism.

I have been preaching about doing what is needed to grow in Christ. In my preparations, I found one of the most important things you can do to grow spiritually is to engage the Word (Bible Study, journaling, interactive apps, etc) and to make it a habit (at least 4 times a week).

A habit, not legalism.

Some people express their concern about becoming legalistic when it comes to Spiritual disciplines but what they may be is undisciplined. 

I will give you an example of habit versus legalism.

Brushing my teeth in the morning.

Do you think I find this legalistic? Have there been times I had to jump up and run without doing it?

Of course, and no one died. (my wife thought I ate something that died but that's a different story)

So why do I continue the habit (I don't want to be legalistic about it do I)? 

Because it’s good for me and everyone I interact with.

I don’t think that I will ever find anyone so much a rebel that they will tell me I am being legalistic about brushing my teeth. Most will encourage me to keep doing it. They would say it great personal hygiene.


Yet some of these same people will look at my admonition about regularly engaging the Word, attending church, and Bible study as legalism. 

It’s not it just good spiritual hygiene (to use dental terms).

So make engaging the Word a habit, it's only legalism if you define it as that.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Devil rarely honors his deals.

OR maybe I should title this Why I didn't write that story?

When the Devil does honor his deal the reason is, of course, so it will benefit him.

I say this not because the devil came to my house with blue eyes and in jeans, but from what I see in scripture and see in the lives of people.

Many years ago, I had a nightmare it was very, very vivid. It came to me like a movie, in which, I was the main character, an author. The story unfolded with the Devil disguised as the caretaker gave promising rest for writers of suspense and horror and though he gave them this in body he was tormenting their souls making it possible for them to write more horror.

When I awoke from this dream I felt as if I had the seed of a novel but it terrified me. Writing it I knew would open my mind to some very dark places. Places from which I might never return. I decided that I wouldn’t write it.

Since then there has been a whisper in my mind, “This story is a best seller,” “You can have wealth and fame.” The promise seemed real but now almost two decades later, I have still never written the story, nor will I.

I have written a few small books and have written several stories. Over the few couple of years, I have self-published some of those works. I discovered though the difficulty in writing, editing, and publishing a book. I have learned that even a good story may never hit fame.

Last week it hit me, I was lied to. This horror story would never be all it was promised, yet I would have been changed. I would have opened my mind to a darkness which I believe would have haunted me for the rest of my life. It was all a lie there would have been no reward, but there would have been a price paid, I would have paid it.

Why share this?

You might even now be hearing a lie. It might not be the Devil, but it is making you a promise that if you compromise your integrity there will be a reward. The truth is whenever we compromise our values and integrity, we lose. Even if there is that on in a million chance you get what is promised, the cost isn’t worth the reward. So, don’t do it.

Don’t give in.


It isn’t worth it. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The obvious answer is wrong (sometimes)

If you ever have the opportunity to hear me preach you will find that I enjoy asking rhetorical questions. 

What my congregation quickly learns is a portion of these questions are trick questions. There seems to be a simple answer but, in reality, the obvious answer is wrong.

For example: We all know the Bible teaches we have to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior? 

Now at this point you may be wondering why I would blog on this. It might be useful if you hear me preach or read my blog but what difference does it make. 

The reason I mention this is, there are times in our lives when we need to question what is the obvious answer and see if it is correct. 

Is it safe to walk off the top of a skyscraper?

Okay, maybe not that one.

Most of the time you will actually find the answers you assume are correct, (like the skyscraper one) but sometimes especially in areas you are only partially informed you may find a different answer or a deeper understanding. 

What is my point: Never get lazy in pursuit of the knowledge.

CSA


By the way, the short answer to the skyscraper question is; NO. 

Consider this spirtual question, "Is a relationship with God a personal matter?"


The Bible says we have a personal decision to accept Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) 

But our relationship to him is more than personal (yes there is a personal side). 

We are made part of the family of God or as Paul calls us the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). 

We are commanded to have a  relationship with other Christians. 

The Bible does not teach you are suppose to have a relationship with God by yourself.    

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Right Time to Sow Wild Oats

The Right Time to Sow Wild Oats
Poetic Reasoning 


Someone once told me “Sow your wild oats while your young.”

But for me this did not seem sound, though fun it may be.

Because what ever you sow, you will one day reap,

And what you have planted will definitely grow.

So if I planted these weeds while yet I was young 

Then when I was grown, oh the work to be done.

Not only would I have to struggle and fight to do what is right

I would have to struggle with all the weeds in my life.

So sowing these foolish and childish acts would catch me at last.

In the prime of my life when I need it last.

So I considered Sowing those oats while in my life’s prime.

This I saw was even worse yet, 

what would my friends think of me then.

I would spend my strength in the prime of my time

spreading out something with no lasting gain

With its great harvest coming out when I’m weak 

Oh what a fool I would be to plant those weeds then.

So I considered at the end of my life sowing these weeds

Perhaps I would die, before the harvest was in?

But how would I do that after a life full of striving 

To throw it away for a little free running. 

At the end of my life what most would remain,

is what I had done at the end of my game.

I would lose then I know because the Maker would see 

these oats in my hands, my life all unclean. 

So what does it mean I think it is clear.

Sowing those oats is never a gain

The Price is too great whatever the year. 

So I gave back the oats to the fool who had said,

Spread them out now, think of now not then.

He was not happy I could see that for sure,

But I will be happy for one thing is sure

 this bad harvest will never be mine and that is for sure. 

Think about it....



Monday, June 19, 2017

Ask, Seek, and Knock (what does it mean?)


Matthew 7:7
Luke 11:9

After years of Bible Study and reading, there are few things, I haven’t heard before. There may be new ways of saying things and some renegade crazy thoughts; like the writer who suggested that the temple of Solomon was designed to keep the common people in their place and away from God (i.e., the design of the holy place and the holy of holies as "priest only" places). I digress, but I there isn’t much that grabs me and causes me to say, “Oh.”

I have always heard the scripture referring to “Ask, Seek and Knock” as a progression in pray. Martin Luther interpreted it this way as well as a number of other scholars. However, I was reading John Wesley’s Notes on the New Testament and though I have read through it before I missed this commentary on Matthew 7:7, “But ask—Pray for them, as well as for yourselves, in this, there can be no such danger. Seek—Add your own diligent endeavors to your asking; and knock—persevere importunately in that diligence.”

According to Wesley, the progression to getting what you want (if what you want is God’s will) is to:

1.   Ask God in prayer.

2.   Work toward it.

3.   Be persistent in your work.

I will admit that this is usually the way I work anyway. I pray and if I think it is of God I work toward it. However, I never saw it laid out that way specifically and it caused me to say, “Oh! I like that.”
I wasn’t going to accept it as Gospel just because I liked it and it agreed with my philosophy, which is always a bad idea. I went over and looked at other commentaries and at the ones listed in Biblehub.com (a good resource). What I found were the two views laid out above, the desperation in pray progression and what I will call Wesley’s idea.

So, which is correct?

You will have to make that call for yourself, but both ideas can be seen in scripture. Personally, I lean toward Wesley’s interpretation to pray, then do what you know to do, and finally having done all I can to stand firm in God (Ephesians 6:13-14).


Whatever you decide it is God we have to rely upon for everything.