Translate

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The law of sowing and reaping

Karma. What goes around come around. You will reap what you sow. Various believers and non-believers, religious, not-so-religious, and irreligious, may express a view of the law of cause and effect in such terminologies. Everything happens for a reason. All actions (and even inactions) have consequences. The consequences occur in specific results (effect) created by the action (cause). Contra Meg Ryan in Proof of Life -- who said, "Things don't happen for a reason, they just happen" -- most people have some attachment to this idea.

Many consider this a law of nature -- whatever action we take, there is always a reaction. No doubt so many believe in cause and effect because it is supported by their experience. Non-believers may attach the idea to fate. In Hinduism and Buddhism it is karma* -- a person's actions in this life decide his or her fate in future life. Islam's writings agree: And said, "If you do good, you do good for yourselves; and if you do evil, you do it to yourselves" (Qur'an 17:7, Sahih International). In The Doctrine and Covenants 130:18-21, Mormonism's founder Joseph Smith teaches that God's blessings (effect) arises from obedience (cause), and that these continue into the next life. In the Bible we read, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." I'm no expert on all the world's religions, but it appears that most religions espouse a law of cause and effect.

There is a "Law of Cause and Effect"
The Bible teaching of this principle can be found in various teachings and sayings.
Obadiah 15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
Matthew 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Galatians 6:6-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Cf. also Job 4:8; Proverbs 11:18; Proverbs 11:24; Proverbs 22:8. This principle deals with all of life, natural and spiritual.If you plant a field of corn you will reap a crop of corn. If you sow to the wind, you will reap the whirlwind. One becomes a victim of the consequences of his own actions.

A few Bible examples
Positive
The widow of Zarephath used the last of her flour and oil to make a cake for Elijah and received in return a continous supply of meal for the duration of the famine. See I Kings 17:10-16
The disciples dispensed fragments of the loaves and fishes, and received back a basketful each. See Mark 6:41-43

Negative
Haman hanged on the gallows that he built for Mordecai. See Esther 7:9-10.
Edom joined Babylon in rasing Jerusalem, and were themselves in turn by destroyed as a nation. See Obadiah 8-15.

General truths of sowing and reaping.
1. A law of reproduction. You reap in kind what you sow. Corn yields corn; apples yield apples, etc. (Genesis 1:11; Galatians 6:8).
2. A law of order or process. Sowing precedes reaping (1 Corinthians 3:6; implies a wait).
3. A law of increase. You reap more than you sow (Matthew 13:8). 
4. A law of proportion. The more you sow, the more you are likely to reap (2 Corinthians 9:6). This is directly related to point three, but subtly different.
5. A spiritual law. For example, if you sow in sin, you will reap God’s judgment.

The Law of Cause and Effect serves God
The law of cause and effect serves and is subject to God. God does not serve it. It is not a law that operates independently of God. God is not only bends the laws of nature to His own purposes -- the sun standing still, storms being stilled, etc. -- He also supersedes His laws in the spiritual realm. Thus it is that, though we are sinners, we can be forgiven of God and escape the consequences of our sins. By law, yea, even the law of cause and effect, we should suffer eternal punishment for our sins. By God's abrogation of the law of cause and effect, Jesus is punished for our sins and we are set free from the law of sin and death.

Friend, the law of cause and effect is real. You will reap what you sow. God's grace and mercy is awesome. Cast yourself upon it.

“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

* "In short, Karma is the law of cause and effect in the ethical realm." Nevertheless karma as an ethical teaching is based on the Eastern idea of reincarnation. It has similarities to the law of sowing and reaping, but is not based on the Bible.
Cf. also "He who wishes for the tilth of the next world, we will increase for him the tilth; and he who desires the tilth of this world, we will give him thereof, but in the next world he shall have no portion." Surah 42:19

Sacred Harp at Huntington

The Nancy Amelia "Granny" Russell Birthday Singing will be held (d.v.) on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at the Little Hope Primitive Baptist Church outside Huntington, Texas. Huntington is south of on Hwy 69. At Huntington, exit Highway 69 on to FM 1669 (North Main Street) and head north. The church house is about four miles from the Highway 69 and FM 1669 intersection, on the right side of the road.

We will begin at 10 am and sing until about 3 pm. Dinner on the ground will be served, and we will use The Sacred Harp, 2012 Cooper Edition.

Make plans to join us. You could sing Huntington at Huntington!

For more info, click HERE and HERE.

Halloween scare -- "Obamacare" in the news (and opinion)

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* Democrats beginning to support Obamacare delays -- "The pressure is acute in the Senate where Democrats in conservative or competitive states are lining up behind proposals to delay Obamacare"
* Have you seen the viral Obamacare girl? -- "The search is on to identify the anonymous model whose image has been scrubbed from the Healthcare.gov website after she became the face of frustration regarding the site's well-publicized glitches."
* HealthCare.gov suffers outage as Sebelius testifies that it's never crashed -- "Poor timing was redefined in Washington on Wednesday."
* How Obamacare was fooled by high-tech glamour -- "The health care law, the White House argues, "isn't just a website." True enough. But the software problems are representative of a larger rhetorical choice."
* Is Obamacare’s legality still in doubt? -- "My jaw dropped when I first saw this. This has the potential to sink Obamacare. It could make the current website problems seem minor by comparison."
* ‘I was all for Obamacare’ until I got the bill -- "California residents are rebelling a bit against Obamacare, with thousands shocked by the sticker price and rethinking their support, saying that what seemed wonderful in principle is not translating so well into reality."
* More than 2 million people getting booted from existing health insurance plans -- "CBS News has learned more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies..."
* Obama administration knew millions wouldn't be able to keep insurance -- "While campaigning for health care reform in 2009, Obama went out of his way to make one thing perfectly clear: if you like your current health care plan, you will be able to keep it."
* Obamacare 'Absolutely' A Step Toward A Single-Payer System -- "...Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) was asked whether his goal was to move Obamacare to a single-payer system. His answer? “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”"
* Obamacare Fiasco Isn't a Single-Payer Conspiracy -- "There’s a pretty popular conspiracy theory running around to the effect that this was the Barack Obama administration’s intent all along: Design this big Rube Goldberg apparatus that couldn’t possibly work, and when it fails, sweep in and “fix” things by enacting the single-payer scheme you wanted all along."
* White House OKs limited waiver on health penalty  "...the Obama administration Monday granted a six-week extension until March 31 for Americans to sign up for coverage next year and avoid new tax penalties under the president's health care overhaul law."

"If Americans really wanted Obamacare, you wouldn't need a law to make them buy it." -- (credited to) Ted Cruz

"Whatever." -- Kathleen Sebelius

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Online church histories and church minutes

The following links contain transcribed minutes and online church histories. Their presence here does not imply endorsement of any of the churches, or the accuracy of any of the histories. Nevertheless, I hope you find the information contained in the links useful and interesting.

Minutes
* 1895-1904 Minutes of the Missionary Baptist Church of Christ at Pine Ridge, Shelby County, TX -- "Saturday night after preaching by Brother Jopling the church partook of the Lord's Supper and had a foot washing."
Chinquapin/Sharon Baptist Church Records, Duplin County, NC -- "Brother Alfred Guy and William M. Kenedy in this day (saturday before the third Sunday in March) according to previous appointment to assist some brethren & sisters from Island Creek Church in organizing a church at this place."
Dumplin Baptist Church Minutes, 1797-1860, Jefferson County, TN -- "Aug the 5th 1797 - being the first Church meeting on Dumplin Creek waters Church proceeds as follows - first agrees & appoints Br. Early Albertson Clerk for this Church - secondly appoints brother John Cate Junior to attend the general Association with a Church letter - thirdly unanimously make choice of br. John Cate Junior for one deacon in their church & appoints meeting Monthly the second Saturday."
Excerpts from Minutes of Plantersville Baptist Church, 1912-1965 Plantersville, AL -- "Owing to the small collections for pastor’s salary for two previous months, due to there being no preaching at the church in May on account of High School closing exercises; and on account of rain in June.  By motion and second the church gave the money thus collected for conventional purposes to the pastor."
* Minutes of the Lick Creek Baptist Church, 1835–1848, Henry County, IN -- "In late 1834 or early 1835 Henry County pioneers, led by Aaron Ballard, Aaron Evans, David Frazer, and others, founded the Lick Creek Baptist Church in Prairie Township, just north of New Castle, Indiana."
Mount Olive Baptist Church, Berea, Ashley County, AR -- "Mount Olive Baptist Church in the Berea community of northeast Ashley County, Arkansas, was active for some one hundred years, spanning from 1859 to the late 1950s."
* Myrtle Head Baptist Church - Minutes, Shelby County, TX -- "Next order of business was to call a Pastor Bro. Crocker was called unanimously by motion and second. J. L. Covington was elected Church Clerk. Next order was to elect a choice for Association, by a unanimous vote. The Shelby County Association was our choice."
* The Records of an Early Texas Baptist Church, 1833-1847, Anderson County, TX -- "The Pilgrim Church of Predestinarian Regular Baptists set at the house of Elder Daniel Parker Crawford County Ill. and in order Proseded to business Elder D. Parker moderator"

Histories
* A Brief History of Southside Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC -- "The articles of Faith and Church Covenant as found in Hiscox's Baptist Church Directory were read by Elder H.A. Brown and adopted, after which on motion of Elder S. F. Conrad, the presbytery unanimously voted that they be recognized as a regular Baptist Church."
* Central Baptist Church History, Livingston, TX -- "In 1857, Reuben E. Brown, who had been a missionary for the Bethlehem Association, became pastor. He represented Ariel Church at the State Baptist Convention in 1858. In 1861, Reuben Brown volunteered his services as Chaplain to the Confederate troops, and he died in Galveston during the war. In 1864, Thomas R. McCrorey, a then future pastor of the Livingston Baptist Church, was detailed to bring his body back to Polk County for burial."
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church History, Detroit, MI -- "Hartford Memorial Baptist Church celebrates 92 years of loving God and serving the world community."
History of Boyd's Creek Baptist Church, Sevier County, TN -- "It is believed that Boyd's Creek Baptist Church was organized in the late 1700s, but there is no exact record before 1802."
Lydia Missionary Baptist Church, Huxley, TX -- "Lydia Missionary Baptist Church of Christ was organized on the 29th day of September 1903, Upon the covenant & declaration of faith set forth in Pendleton Church manual."
* Our Church History - Flint River Primitive Baptist Church, Madison County, AL -- "...a small band of twelve  believers gathered on October 2, 1808 in the home of Brother James Deaton in Killingsworth Cove, for the purpose of constituting a local Baptist Church in which to worship their Savior. This Church, the Flint River Baptist Church of Christ, would be the first Baptist church not only in Madison County, but also in what would later become the State of Alabama."
* Pleasant Green Baptist Church, Kansas City, KS -- "The second oldest Baptist Church in the city, Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church, was started in the west bottoms in 1867."
* The Organization of Mansfield Baptist Temple, Mansfield, OH -- "A fundamental, old-fashioned Baptist Church is being started in Mansfield, Ohio. Rev. Charles W. Rader will be in charge."
Third Stonington: the Afro-American Baptist Church on Water Street, Stonington, CT -- "Believing that the time has come when the interests of religion, especially among the people of color in this village and vicinity, would be promoted by our organization into a separate body; We therefore request that letters of dismission may be granted to us whose names are hereunto annexed for the purpose above specified."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Praying for the Sick

"Did you ever complain because your pastor did not visit you when you were sick? Well, did you ask him to come? We have never known a preacher worthy of the name who did not visit those in sickness when they requested his presence. But we have never found authorization for the modern idea that the pastor is supposed to find out who is sick in order to visit them. It is not his job to read the hospital admissions in the paper, or hear them over the radio in order to know who is sick, yet we have known preachers who were blamed for not visiting sick members because “it was in the paper—he should have known about it.” The responsibility (if it can be called such) rests on the individual who is sick, or a member of his family, should he be too sick to seek assistance. What saith the Scriptures? “Is there any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him” (Jas. 5:14)." -- Banner Herald (as reprinted in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. III No. 2, March-April 1995, p. 3)

More links, hot and otherwise

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* Anabaptist book is tribute to Patterson -- "The volume largely entails essays presented at Southwestern's conference on Anabaptists in January 2012..."
City of Sterling, Colorado Backpeddles, will allow "Jesus" to be engraved on tombstone -- "Needless to say, it didn't take long for the city to start backpedalling; issuing a statement that there had been an 'error' in the cemetery director's decision....Ya' think?"
* Sardis Primitive Baptist Church -- "Sardis Primitive Baptist Church was constituted on January 7, 1821 to serve the needs of the growing population in Charlton County, GA."
* Steven Furtick and Elevation Church under critical scrutiny -- "[Furtick’s salary]… is set not by a group of lay members of the church, but by a board of five out-of-town pastors."
* Teaching Hebrew as a Living Language "..I decided to speak to her in Hebrew and after an agonizing minute all that came out was that I speak Hebrew. (My performance clearly contradicted that statement.)"
* The Bible Paradox -- "...we as a culture have invested the words of this book with amazing authority even when we don't know what these words are and what they mean."
* The Preacher and the Text -- "Affirming inerrancy in writing and conversation appears lame if it does not change the way that the preacher handles the biblical text in the pulpit."
* The Relative Unimportance of Redefining Marriage -- "The homosexual obsession is but one symptom of a culture that makes sex everything."
* Want Your Youngest Child to Achieve? Treat Him Like He's Your Oldest -- "...parents of earlier-born children were harder on them when they brought home poor grades than they were with later-born children."
* What Does the Bible Say About Cremation? -- "...the Bible doesn’t prescribe any method as the proper method for burial. It is silent on the issue."
* Why Roland Allen’s 100-Year-Old Book Continues to Challenge -- "It is rare to find a book recommended more highly a century after its initial publication than when it was released."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Butchering the King's English

BUTCHERING THE KING’S ENGLISH from Apostle of Sunshine by John Durham
A woman who seemed to be a little proud of her culture and her learning (with none too good a reputation among her neighbors in the control of her tongue), remarked to A. P. Durham, after one of his sermons, “Your thought is logical and your maxims striking. What a pity that you missed an education. Though you often butcher the King’s English, you always say something that is worth while.” He replied, “Some of us preachers and a few others too often butcher the King’s English in our efforts to put our messages over, but some people, with their good English, often butcher their neighbors.”
Copied from The Baptist Waymark, Vol. III No. 3, May-June 1995, p. 4

10 marriage quotes

"My marriage keep me on my knees. If I had a perfect husband, I wouldn't need God." -- Karen Ehman

"We judge ourselves by our intentions. We judge our spouses by their actions. No wonder we think we’re better!" -- Anne Moodie

"Making marriage work is like running a farm. You have to start all over again each morning." -- unknown

"Don't marry for money; you can borrow it cheaper." -- unknown

"A wife is to be a help-mate, not a hurt-mate." -- Tony Evans

"A husband should be a respectable leader, not a bottom-feeder." -- unknown

"Some who think their marriage is ideal soon find it is an ordeal. Next, they're looking look for a new deal." -- unknown

“I cannot need grace as desperately as I do and then refuse it to others.” – Hershael York

“Love me when I least deserve it because that is when I really need it.” -- Swedish Proverb

“Real love, the Bible says, instinctively desires permanence.”-- Timothy Keller

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Forgotten links

Following are links that I compiled and forgot to post. Most of them should not be dated. The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

5 Ingredients in Americans' Foods that are Banned around the World -- "The shocking truth is that many of our favorite foods, like boxed mac and cheese and yogurt, include ingredients that other countries have established as potentially harmful for health, and therefore are banned."
5 Tips to be a Better Dad This Week -- "The key is to be intentional as a dad."
Falling on Deaf Ears?—Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible -- "Indeed, in many churches there is very little reading of the Bible in worship, and sermons are marked by attention to the congregation’s concerns, not by an adequate attention to the biblical text."
Malaysian court rules use of 'Allah' exclusive to Muslims -- "The unanimous decision by three Muslim judges in Malaysia's appeals court overturned a 2009 ruling by a lower court that allowed the Malay-language version of the newspaper, The Herald, to use the word Allah - as many Christians in Malaysia say has been the case for centuries."
Tamar’s Cry -- "There are some 20 million adults and children bought and sold worldwide in the sex trade."
The Gender-Neutral Language Controversy -- "Gender-neutral language is a style of writing that adheres to certain rules that were first proposed by feminist language reformers in universities during the 1970’s..."
The “Gender-Neutral” NIV -- "The TNIV people have decided to translate the general idea of a passage and to erase the male-oriented details."
* The gender-neutral pronoun: after 150 years still an epic fail -- "...today the “dominant masculine” no longer applies in grammar, and still no gender-neutral pronoun thrives. It turns out that it’s not just the conservatism of the pronoun system that’s blocking the gender-neutral pronoun."

9 Quotes about preachers and preaching

“Using this verse as a proof text for avoiding careful study and preparation for normal preaching and teaching ministries clearly violates its context, although it does remind us that without the power of the Spirit human rhetoric accomplishes nothing of eternal value. The necessary balance between anxiety and apathy closely parallels Jesus’ teaching on 'worry' about food, drink, and clothing in 6:25–34.” -- Jarred Edgecombe

“Never ride a hobby-horse. A hobby-horse never takes you anywhere.” -- Eldon A. Huchison


“If preachers and Christians rely too heavily upon science to vindicate a biblical claim, it furthers the unwarranted popular perception that science is the final arbitrator of what is true and what is not.” -- Ronnie Rogers


“If Christ is the head of his body, then everything else is just body---including the pastor.” -- Paul Tripp


“Theology is a language used by a specific group of people to make sense of their world.” -- Rowan Williams


“The backslider likes the preaching that wouldn't hit the side of a house, while the real disciple is delighted when the truth brings him to his knees.” -- Billy Sunday

“You can use the Bible as the springboard for all kinds of ideas, can't you? Look around in here and find something that fits your fancy and then launch a rocket off it. People say, 'That was amazing, wasn't it? Remarkable what he got out of that.' Well of course it is because he put it in before he got it out.” -- Alistair Begg

"The Jesus that men want to see is not the Jesus they really need to see." -- G. Campbell Morgan

"It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher." -- George Whitefield

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Linx and a kwote

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* 5 Things Successful People do before 8 AM -- "The early hours foster easier reflection that helps when prioritizing your activities."
* A Sign of Them That Believe -- "Sometime around 1910 George Went Hensley walked down from White Oak Mountain in Tennessee convinced, because of his experiences on the mountain, that one of the signs accompanying believers baptized in the Holy Ghost was power over deadly serpents."
* Biblical Elements of Corporate Worship -- "Paul gives three elements of corporate worship in these verses: information, instruction, and emotion."
* Casual pope puts Vatican on alert with quips -- "But the Rev. Thomas Rosica, who helps with Vatican media relations, later said the interview didn't reflect Francis' real words."
* FBC Oxford, Miss., ongoing race relations
* Judge says living Ohio man is legally dead -- "On Monday, an Ohio judge told 61-year-old Donald Miller that he was legally dead."
* Singing Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs -- "So what are psalms, hymns and spiritual songs? What comes into your mind—or into your ear...We tend to define the terms based on what sounds familiar."
* The poorest cities in America -- "Last year, the median U.S. household income was $51,371. To determine which areas have thehighest and lowest median incomes, we used the bureau’s American Fact Finder tool to sort the data of 2,120 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas."

"No news is not always good news or bad news...it's just no news at all." -- Owen Ross

I Remember Sacred Harp Singing

The following reminiscence was written by Oran Heaton Griffith (1914--2004). Brother O. H. Griffith was born in Panola County, Texas -- once a hotbed of Sacred Harp activity -- and was an active Baptist minister for over 60 years. His father W. G. Griffith was a Baptist minister and a Sacred Harp singer (Bro. Greer's memorial marker mentions his singing Sacred Harp solfege to songs other than Sacred Harp, e.g. Jesus Loves Me). After Brother O. H.'s retirement brought him back to our area he attended our singing as long as he was able. During his service as Editor-in-Chief of the Baptist Sunday School Committee he was involved in compiling the American Baptist Hymnal.

Bro. Griffith credited the "help of Lewis Vaughn and D. J. Burks" in preparation of the following article, which was mainly intended for the churches of his association he figured had largely forgotten about Sacred Harp. I found it interesting, and thought it might be so to some of the readers. I don't know exactly when this was written, but I'd guess the early 1980's.


I Remember Sacred Harp Singing

They came from miles around and from every direction: wagons, buggies and Model T Ford cars. They were filled with men, women and children. When they arrived, children piled out of the wagons and cars and soon were engaged in childhood games. The men greeted each other with a warm handshake. Most of the women embraced. Each family brought a large box, "hump-back" trunk, or a #3 washtub filled with good "ole" country food: fried chicken, dumplings, dressings, salmon patties and whatever vegetables were in season. Previously men had set up long tables on the ground. Several vinegar barrels had been filled with water and a tin drinking cup hung on each. Inside the church house several benches had bee arranged in a "hollow square".

The PLACE could have been any large community with a church house. The TIME, July or August of the 1920's or 1930's. The OCCASION, a Sacred Harp Singing. About ten o'clock several men and women assembled inside the church house to sing. Some of those who did not sing would visit on the outside, control the children and guard the food against a raid by the community dogs. Others would go inside to listen to the singing.

The previously arranged hollow square accommodated the singers. Each of the four-part harmonies occupied one side of the square. The parts were treble, tenor (soprano), alto and bass. A man would be selected as "keyer". He would begin each song by sounding one or all the voice parts, and "pitch" it within a voice range comfortable to all. With the starting tone in mind, the singers could read their parts by following the shaped notes. There was no musical accompaniment, so the singers would go through one verse singing the notes: fa, sol, la, mi, somewhat like a church pianist playing through a song once to familiarize the singers with the melody. Then they sang the words, keeping time time with hand and arm, or toe-tapping.

Both men and women would lead a song. When a woman led, a man courteously stood up to keep the time for her. It was mostly an adult exercise, but usually a few teenagers participated. And, nearly always there would be at least one child, maybe not even of school age, who would lead a song. The child might stand on a low table in the middle of the square and direct the song entirely from memory. A high point for many, especially for the children, was when singing dismissed for "dinner on the ground." After dinner, the singers reassembled and sang for another two or three hours.

Today Sacred Harp is thought of as "folk music," and I guess it is, but it was sung with deep religious feelings. Some of the songs may be found in most church hymnals. This style of singing originated in England, and was brought to America by the Pilgrims. Today it is found only in the United States, and mostly in the South. However, in recent years some young people in Chicago, and the New England areas have organized classes of Sacred Harp singers. Several annual conventions are conducted in East Texas, one in Henderson. Most of the early churches used the Sacred Harp as their hymnbook. A few continued to use it to near the mid-twentieth century.

[The help of Lewis Vaughn and D. J. Burks in preparation of this article is gratefully acknowledged.] by O. H. Griffith

Friday, October 25, 2013

David Thomas on the Church

David Thomas: The Greek substantive so often used in the New Testament, and always translated the church, or an assembly, is evidently derived of a verb that signifies “to be called out.” It must therefore certainly refer to something that is possessed of life, and is capable of hearing, understanding and obeying a vocation or command. So that the Gospel-Church, must signify a company of persons removed in compliance with some call. Tis customary indeed in some places, to call the house dedicated to divine service, ‘the church’: but this is not according to Scripture. The inspired writers as far as I can remember never use the word in that sense. Wherefore it properly refers to the people, and not the building where they meet to worship. Hence we are told in the Prayer book, that “the Church of Christ is an assembly of faithful men,” which though short, is I think when fully understood, a very just description of it. -- Originally found in The Virginian Baptist, 1774 and quoted in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. III No. 5, September-October 1995, p. 3

Outrageous 2, the sequel

I'm not particularly tech savvy, but I have enough common sense to understand that the Health and Human Services Healthcare.gov website is a disaster -- not only in the fact that it doesn't work, but also in the fact of how much American taxpayers paid for a website that doesn't work! Charitably calling it a mess, Business Week writer Paul Ford says, "But it’s not just that the kitchen’s on fire. The alarm system doesn’t work either. The waiters can’t hear the screams of the cooks." And from the tech point-of-view he writes, "...the debacle makes clear that it’s time for the government to change the way it ships code—namely, by embracing the approach to software development that has revolutionized the technology industry."

According to a Newsmax article, "figures released Thursday say the total cost of the deeply flawed website and healthcare exchange has topped $1 billion." This figure comes from Bloomberg Government analyst Peter Gosselin, who is widely respected in his field.

Outrageous! Bizarre.

Online Articles

* As Obamacare tech woes mounted, contractor payments soared -- "A Reuters review of government documents shows that the contract to build the federal Healthcare.gov online insurance website - key to President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform - tripled in potential total value to nearly $292 million as new money was assigned to the work beginning in April this year."
* Final Cost of Obamacare Website Tops $1 Billion -- "Obama says he's as frustrated as anyone and has promised a 'tech surge' to fix the uncooperative website."
* Healthcare.gov contractors point fingers back at Obama administration in House testimony -- "The same contractors, testifying before the same committee on Sept. 10, assured lawmakers that they were ready to handle a surge of users when the federal exchange opened on Oct. 1."
* Obama: Health care website problems inexcusable -- "There's no excuse for the problems' on the website," (the President said, though he continues to make excuses)
* Obamacare’s Rollout Is a Disaster That Didn’t Have to Happen -- "...the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov represents everything that President Obama promised would be different about his administration—but isn’t."
* Obamacare's Website Is Crashing Because It Doesn't Want You To Know How Costly Its Plans Are -- "...Obamacare...was designed to force those people to pay more for coverage, in order to subsidize insurance for people with incomes near the poverty line, and those with chronic or costly medical conditions. But the laws’ supporters and enforcers don’t want you to know that..."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Outrageous

* Family fights to include ‘Jesus’ on grave marker at Sterling, Colorado cemetery -- "Her final wish was to have her cemetery marker engraved with the ichthys, a symbol of early Christianity. She also wanted the word ‘Jesus’ written inside the fish."

Todd Starnes writes, "It’s outrageous that a grieving American family had to fight and cajole a city government to allow them to engage in their Constitutional rights."

Amen. Outrageous! Bizarre. I found the above story unbelievable. I come from a land of cemetery markers filled with religious, fraternal, and benevolent symbols. I could not have imagined that anyone would even think that the name "Jesus" on someone's tombstone might offend somebody. It almost seems that folks are working overtime looking for some reason to be offended by someone else's beliefs. And to think, we live in a land that enshrined freedom of speech and freedom of religion in its Constitution. You'd think we enshrined in it the freedom to not be offended by what someone else thinks or believes!

This action by Sterling, Colorado representatives belongs in the Hall of Shame. Thank God that they reversed their decision. For shame that it took vast public outrage to get them to do so.

"The government shouldn't tell us what to think, what to say and what to believe. In their misguided attempts to offend no one, they end up offending many." -- Stacy Adams

Government Rests Upon Religion

President Calvin Coolidge:
Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles, they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in the world. One rests on righteousness, and the other rests on force. One appeals to reason, the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in a republic, the other is represented by despotism. The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man. Of course we can help to restrain the vicious and furnish a fair degree of security and protection by legislation and police control, but the real reforms which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity - these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of Divine Grace.
Calvin Coolidge, speech at the unveiling of the equestrian statue of Bishop Francis Asbury, 15 October 1924

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reasons to Love Not the World

1 John 2:
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Notice two reasons not to love the world, whatever "the world" is. Interestingly, the words "love" and "world" that John uses are the same ones Jesus used in John 3:16 when He said God so loved the world. John exhorts us, commands us -- do not love the world!

The love of the world is opposed to the love of God the Father. No man can serve two masters. No man can love two opposites. The world and its elements are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These elements arise not from our Father God, but from the nature of the world. We cannot love both. We must "choose this day" whom we will love. Worldly love should have no place in the child of God.

The world is temporal and the child of God is eternal. We should lay up our treasures -- our love -- in a place that is eternal, and we should love that which is eternal. The world is passing away, and all the desires we have in it. Let us not place our desires, our treasures, our love, in a woven basket that is temporal. Love that which we will love throughout eternity and not that which will melt with fervent heat.

7 Worship Quotes

"Why is it that you Christians worship one homeless man on Sunday, then turn your back on the first one you see on Monday?" -- Denver Moore

"The Christian who is not a personal worshiper during the week, will not be effective as a corporate worshiper on the Lord's Day." -- Robert Ashcraft

"We do not go to church to worship, because worship ought to be the constant attitude and activity of the dedicated believer. We go to church to worship publicly and corporately." -- Warren Wiersbe

"The worship of God is at once the true believer's most important activity and at the same time it is one of the most tragically neglected activities in the average evangelical church today..." -- Robert G. Rayburn

"God is to be praised with the voice, and the heart should go therewith in holy exultation." -- Charles H. Spurgeon

"A spectator aura has pervaded the average Baptist church service--we come to hear the choir or some singer perform, to see or hear a homiletical performance from the pulpit, or to see and hear what our friends may wear or may have experienced." -- Robert Ashcraft

"When God's people begin to praise and worship Him using the Biblical methods He gives, the power of His presence comes among His people in an even greater measure." -- Graham Truscott

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

All means all

"All" is a big little three letter word that may be used in English as an adjective, adverb, noun or pronoun. Its definitions encompass "the whole of", "wholly", "every" and so on. Its meaning is a source of constant soteriological debate (i.e., regarding the extent of the atonement). Its bigness promotes use as a rhetorical device to convince the naysayer and squelch debate. In a recent sermon Eric Hankins of First Baptist Oxford, Mississippi, stated that "All means all and that’s all all means." Who could argue with that, right? This inspired Tom Hicks to ask, "does “all” ever mean “all” in Scripture?" That is, is "all" ever used in Scripture to mean "all without any kind of limitation." I would say that all always means all and yet might not agree with the point Hankins is making. All -- like "all" other English words -- means what it means within the context in which is it written or spoken, and is limited and clarified by that context. "All have sinned" doesn't mean all of everything that ever is or was. It doesn't include water, willows, rocks and raccoons. Not even all of the angels, and certainly not God. "All" in that case, as in "all" cases, is understood within the context in which it is placed. I'm not now taking on the bigger task of solving the soteriological squabble. Hopefully we can "all" find ground for agreement -- all means all and is always defined by its context. Let's all discuss the contexts rather than debate a cute rhetorical device.

Links that argue whether "all always means all"
* #2 All means all -- "Another more common use for all which ends up meaning less than each and every is an implied qualifier. Someone says all, but they mean all within the context."
* All means all and that’s all all means but not always -- "I confess I was never familiar with the phrase “All means all and that’s all all means” until the last couple of years and while it certainly sounds good, especially as it is related to the Bible, is it an accurate statement?"
* Calvinists Do Not Know What “All” Means -- "I suggest other verses -- Verses with context so tight not even the most absurd Calvinist who thinks “all means some in the Greek” could not rationally twist the meaning of all men."
* Does “All” Ever Mean “All” in Scripture? -- "The meaning of “all” in Scripture is always determined by the context, and rarely, if ever, means “all without any kind of limitation.”"
* Eric Hankins’ sermon on Election at NOBTS -- "All means all, and that’s all all means."
* That “All” Is Always Defined By Context -- "But in other occurrences, the word “all” is defined by its context in such a way so as to preclude the universal sense of the word."
* What Does "All" Mean? -- "Can "all" mean different things in different verses?"
* What Part of "All" Do You Not Understand? -- " He fails to understand that "all people" can be taken more generally, in a non-literal fashion, as constrained by obvious practical considerations."

Linking, Blinking and Nod

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

9 Unusual Dog Breeds -- "Whether they're wildly popular or totally uncommon, we love dogs, period..."
* How to Google Like a Boss -- "Almost everyone uses Google these days, especially students."
* Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon -- "While numerous biographies of Spurgeon have been published over the decades, Spurgeon’s thought normally receives short shrift from his biographers."
* N.J. ruling is latest stab at marriage -- "A New Jersey judge has legalized same-sex marriage in the state, providing another victory in the growing movement to expand the legal definition of an institution previously limited to a man and a woman."
Nothing New Under the Sun: Theological Novelty and Heresy -- "At the same time, though, we need to be careful about dismissing something that sounds “new” simply because of its novelty. Every generation of Christians faces the task of saying again what they believe."
* Typology, Biblical Theology, and Theological Interpretation of Scripture -- "...biblical theology is the attempt to understand and embrace the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Old Paths links

"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." Jeremiah 6:16

I was curious about how many Baptist sites might contain the words "Old Path" or "Old Paths". Excluding churches with that name, I found the following. Their presence here is only a report of my search and not a recommendation of any of the sites.

Old Path Sermons
Old Paths Baptist Ministries
"Old Paths" Baptist Ministries
Old Paths Baptist Resources
The Old Paths Baptist Ministries

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Let Your Pastor Know

Mrs. Puff is up the miff tree on a seat fixed and firm,
And she’d like to tell the pastor A few things to make him squirm!
Mrs. Puff was sick abed, sir; Yes sir, sick a bed a week;
And the pastor didn’t call sir, never even took a peek!
Wasn’t that enough, sir, to provoke a saint to wrath,
And to make a Christian pilgrim wander from the churchly path?
When I asked her if the doctor called to see her, she said, “sure.”
And she looked as if she thought I needed some good, strong, mind cure.
Then I asked how the doctor knew that sickness laid her low. 
And she said that she had called him On the phone and told him so. 
So the doctor called to see her, and the pastor didn’t go, 
For the doctor knew that she was ill But the pastor didn’t know.
Now the doctor got his bill paid with a nicely written check, 
But the pastor - for not knowing, Simply “Got it in the neck!”

From The Baptist Challenge, June 1993 (as reprinted in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. III, No. 2, March-April 1995, p. 3)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Quotes by the known and unknown

“Grace always runs downhill. -- Rose Marie Miller

“It is no part of my experience in grace that God produced me and put me in His family, and then rambled aimlessly off into His vast dominion leaving me to fend for myself by myself.” -- Stanley Phillips

“The Old Testament and New Testament are both valid and both teach needed data, such as the life, being and status of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Example:  Exodus 9:16 and Rom. 9:17. Both confirm God’s power, not of some earthly king. So that which was written 'aforetime was written for our learning' – Rom. 15:4.” -- Hulan Bass

“When people were poor, they feared the Lord; but there isn't any fear now.” -- O. C. Dukes

“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” -- Winston Churchill

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.” -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“TRUTH: Find it...Believe it...Live it...Defend it!” -- copied

Friday, October 18, 2013

Church Discipline, Husbands, Optical Illusions and Thanksgivukkah

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Church Discipline, Husbands, Optical Illusions and Thanksgivukkah -- 6 Links

* Church Discipline Requires a Tender Heart: Love, Not Legalism  -- "If the attitude of those implementing discipline is not right, then what God designed to be a beautiful act of selfless love is transformed into an ugly act of power, even if all the other instructions are followed to the letter."
* Discipline Matters...But How? -- "During my five year stay in Romania, I was first introduced to comprehensive church discipline."
* Gobble tov! American Jews ready for Thanksgivukkah -- "An extremely rare convergence this year of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah has created a frenzy of Talmudic proportions."
* If You Are Not a Good Husband, You Are Not a Good Pastor  -- "Also remember that pastors who preach the gospel should not undermine the gospel by refusing to love their wives as Christ loves the church."
* John Wesley’s Failed Marriage  -- "For those tempted to confuse their God-given priorities, Wesley’s negative example in this area ought to be a powerful wake-up call."
* Optical Illusions: What do you see? -- "The scientists concluded that both human and animal brains try to link images we’re seeing quickly to ones in our memory, in part, as a defense mechanism against danger or predators."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Door-to-door evangelism and the law

I heard a brief but interesting discussion on the radio about door-to-door evangelism and the law. The law, for my discussion, means laws in the United States. Your mileage may vary in other countries.

Cities have begun to pass licenses and/or ordinances that are designed to curb citizens being disturbed by door knocking. One of the newest types are "Do Not Knock" laws. The "Do Not Knock" list idea is similar to the telephone "Do Not Call" lists intended to prohibit telephone solicitation. And we all like that, don't we? Ultimately these laws must recognize the constitutional guarantee of religious (and political) speech, as well as the right of persons to be secure in their homes. In 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court decided 8-1 the constitutional right of religions to go door-to-door and "witness" to homeowners who wished to listen, as well as the right to distribute religious literature (Watchtower Society v. Village of Stratton). 


I'm no legal expert, but it seems to me that the main points are:


1. Religious individuals have a constitutional right to "door-to-door free speech".

2. Government cannot restrict that right.
3. The individual owner has the right to restrict who will come on their property and what they do on their property.

Said about the government

“The president said the government doesn’t spy on us. Whether or not that’s a lie, or we call it a lie, is not that important. The information was wrong. We do know that the government is spying on us.” -- Ron Fournier

“We must 'turn away from' our propensity to see everything in light of 'conservative' or 'liberal' and instead 'turn toward' a regular practice of seeing everything in light of Jesus, as He is revealed in Scripture.” - Joel Rainey

"Government's first duty is to protect people, not run their lives." -- Ronald Reagan

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Political language...is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." -- George Orwell

I don't think we can quote what many people are saying about our government right now! But Thomas Sowell wrote this bit recently:

"If the continued existence of mathematics depended on the ability of the Republicans to defend the proposition that two plus two equals four, it would probably mean the end of mathematics and of all the things that require mathematics...Democrats, by contrast, are all talk. They could sell refrigerators to Eskimos before Republicans could sell them blankets."


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Green Heron and Evolution

I was reading today about one of God's amazing creatures, the green heron (a "fishing" bird). It is a bird that knows how to use tools. The green heron uses insects to bait or lure a fish in so it can grab it in its beak.

When the green heron catches the fish, it flips it to swallow the fish head first. This protects the heron's throat from the fish's fins and scales. The fins would poke out going down tail first, but folds up when going down head first. 

Smart bird, eh? Wonder where he learned this? This is much harder to accept in evolutionary theory than with creation. In evolution we must believe that two green herons -- a male and a female -- just happened to evolve at the same time in history, and that they were both smart enough to figure out to swallow the fish head first before killing themselves swallowing the fish tail first!

Simplicity and systems

In certain circles Calvinism is "all the rage".* In others the debates over Calvinism, Arminianism and all points in between are causing lots of rage.** In the end soteriological systems usually miss the point.

On the one hand, the biblical doctrine of salvation is so vast and majestic that it cannot be condensed to neatly fit a particular soteriological system.

On the other hand, those who clamor for their particular systems often obfuscate the gospel's simplicity. Christ died for sinners. Preach the gospel. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

* very fashionable, the object of widespread enthusiasm
** uncontrollable anger

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Holy Spirit and my lesson

A few weeks ago I ran across Michael Patton's old blog post I was going to preach on this, but the Holy Spirit led me to preach on this. He asks:
Have you ever heard someone (probably a preacher or teacher in the church) say something like this:
“I had prepared all week to teach on __________, but the Holy Spirit changed my lesson at the last minute.”
Patton listed 4 characteristics he sees in such statements. "They can:
* Neglect the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit was not present in the sermon/lesson preparation process)
* Blame the Holy Spirit (you did not prepare and are seeking to blame God)
* Be manipulative (if God changed your mind at the last minute, any critics of it might be criticizing God himself)
* Arise from a gnostic bent (the tendency to separate the mundane -- study -- from the sacred -- preaching)"

I think he has a point. I've seen/heard preachers who seem to get a charge out of letting people know just how "spiritual" they are. This person often tells folks that God "changed my sermon". But we could take it as evidence that this person is not very spiritual during the study process. I have seen once or twice a preacher pull a stack of outlines out of his Bible and indicate he is waiting for God to show him which one to preach! This was an obvious play for "I'm more spiritual than others."

But Patton neglects to recognize that this does happen apart from the quacks and gnostics -- and it is not stupid when it does! The secret is to be humbled by it and not exalted it. Patton believes that a preacher who changes his sermon "...misunderstands the way God works in the life of the church." But might it be possible that Patton assumes God only works one way in the life of the church?

From Archaeology to Hebrews to Congress, 7 links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* Hebrews Warnings -- "While they are still His children with His acceptance and provision, they lose specific blessing of the LORD now and forever."
* Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online -- "Now that I’m all grown-up, I’ve discovered a new arena for combat: The reader’s comments section for stories about religion."
* Members of Congress arrested at immigration rally -- "Approximately 200 demonstrators were arrested, according to U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kim Schneider."
* Rise and shine: the daily routines of history's most creative minds -- "The path to greatness is paved with a thousand tiny rituals (and a fair bit of substance abuse) – but six key rules emerge."
We Are All Clergy -- "If you insist on using the word, “clergy,” you had best drop the contrast with “laymen.” According to the Bible, we are actually all clergy."
* What archaeology tells us about the Bible -- "What ancient potsherds reveal about the past is subject to interpretation, which is shaped by prevailing cultural views, history, religion, and politics."
What Multitasking does to your Brain -- "When we multitask all day, those scattered habits literally change the pathways in our brains. The consequence, according to Nass's research, is that sustaining your attention becomes impossible."

Monday, October 14, 2013

5 thoughts on healing

Psalm 103:3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

God is sovereign. He heals. He doesn't heal. When He heals, He heals anyway He chooses. God cannot be fit into someone's theological healing box.

God heals by "means,"* using doctors and medicine. 
At times doctors and/or medicine do not heal. Anytime doctors and/or medicine heals someone, it is God healing. Notice the following texts.
Matthew 9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
Isaiah 38:21 For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.
1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
Luke himself was a physician, and it doesn't seem that he gave up his practice just because he became a believer.
The Bible speaks both positively and negatively toward doctors and medicine. We are not condemned for using doctors, but we should not put our trust in doctors. Our trust should be in God. We should not use doctors and medicine as an alternative to God. King Asa of Judah sought only the physicians and not God. He was condemned for that (Cf. 2 Chronicles 16:12).

God heals by "means" that are not "medical". (e.g. mud & spit, anointing, prayer)
   God heals in answer to prayer. Genesis 20:17 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
   God uses water to heal. 2 Kings 5:14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
   God uses anointing to heal. James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
   God uses mud of clay and spit to heal. John 9:6-7 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
On numerous occasions, for reasons unknown to us and for His sovereign purpose, God has chosen to heal using means that are not medical in nature. Any means he chooses is at His disposal.

God heals by no means at all. 
God speaks and it is done.
Matthew 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
John 4:52-53 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.  So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth...
John 11:43-44 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth...
While Scripture demonstrates that God has and does use "means" when healing mankind of the his diseases and afflictions, it also demonstrates that God heals by no means at all. He speaks and it is done. He can wills and it is done. Though He may choose to do so, an omnipotent God requires nothing beyond Himself to accomplish His will.

God does not heal. 
As God chooses divinely to heal. He also chooses not to heal.
2 Kings 13:14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.
2 Timothy 4:20 ...Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.
Is healing in the atonement? Yes, if we understand that correctly. But it does not mean, as some suggest, that all one has to do is "claim" their healing, or have enough faith. The Branches of the Vine Ministries web site tells us "that physical healing is part of the atonement paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ, and that it is always God’s will to heal every person and in every case." Tom Brown states, "Healing is part of man's redemption in Christ; therefore it belongs to every believer." Tell that to the prophet Elisha, who was "sick with the sickness whereof he died." Tell that to Paul, who asked the Lord three times to remove his thorn in the flesh. A full reading of the whole Bible shows us beyond the shadow of doubt that it is not always God's will to heal every person in every case. In fact...

God makes some sick.
The power of disease and healing is completely in God's hands. Not only can He heal, but He also can make sick. He "kills and makes alive." All power is in His hands.
Micah 6:13 Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.
John 11:3-4 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Deuteronomy 28:27 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
Acts 12:23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

Conclusion. 
There is no "God in a box" -- no "one size fits all" theology of healing. God heals as He pleases. Disease and death are part of the human condition. This will continue to be until we receive the ultimate healing of the atonement -- our resurrection bodies that are immortal and incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:52-54).

* Means is a human action (surgery, prayer) or natural element (medicine, diet, spit) than God operates through in the accomplishing of His will. This is opposed to the direct operation of God in which no means is used.