Monday, September 28, 2009

Simon Says...So What?

Raise your hand if you ever played "Simon Says." Surely, you didn't just raise your hand. First of all, you would look ridiculous sitting at a computer with your hand in the air. Second, I didn't say, "Simon says."

We used to play this when I was a kid. Somehow, my sister was always Simon. My brother and I never dethroned her. I can still see her skinny, tanned frame as she stood in the yard with hands on her hips, giving out commands. (For her husband's sake, I pray she has discontinued this practice). Oh, hi Lynn!

Who is Simon and why should we care what he says? Some say Simon really isn't Simon. Simon is Cicero. Cicero was a famous ancient philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He was a really smart guy. Like E. F. Hutton, when Simon speaks, people listen.

Or maybe, it is connected to Simon de Montfort and the year 1264, when Simon captured King Henry III at the English town of Lewes. For the next year, any order Henry III gave could have been countermanded by de Montfort. Henry's son, Prince Edward, (who, according to rumor, was at it) took Simon's castle by force and used his flags as a means to surprise Simon's forces in 1265, thus ending the game, "Simon says."

Whether it is truly rooted in Cicero, the philosopher, or Simon, the conqueror, it is a fun game for children. But when you get older, you soon learn to stop letting Simon boss you around.

So, who SHOULD we listen to? First, you need to realize that there are still a lot of Simons out there, shaking their fingers at you, and telling you what is and is not acceptable. Modern philosophers will tell you to listen to your inner child. That's kinda dumb. Doesn't that bring us full circle back to the kid who used to listen to Simon? The cultural gurus would tell you to listen to anyone who meets with their esoteric chalk dust theories...which usually leave you coughing, choking, scratching your head, or starving. Spiritually, the world would like to hang twenty-five signs pointing in twenty-five directions and have you believe all are equally viable...except for the one that points to Christ.

You can believe anything as long as you don't really believe it. You can do anything any way you want to do it as long you don't tell anybody it's the right way to do it. And you can stand on any truth you want to stand on as long as it doesn't come from a Bible or quote Jesus.


You can be honest. You can make an honest search. You can question why the prevailing philosophy of this world wants to Simonize you away from Jesus Christ and the Bible. You can open your ears and your heart and listen for that still, small voice that speaks from a heart of love, grace, and peace.

I'm not Simon. I'm Perry. I can't tell you what to do or believe. I can only tell you that I'm a recovering Simon-follower who has found Someone far better to follow. I'm a follower of Jesus Christ. There. I said it. Let the politically correct police pummel me with their arrogance and smug faith in the shifting sands of today's "Simon" who was yesterday's nobody and tomorrow's forgotten idol.

I believe in the Rock of Ages. I believe in the One is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I'm going to listen to the One who took my punishment and bears my scars all because He loved me.

By the way...I'm in good company. A guy named Simon (Peter) met this same Jesus and left everything to follow Him.

You don't have to take any baby steps or giant steps to find Jesus. He's only a prayer away. Call out to Him. He's waiting for you with arms open wide, not hands on His hips.

Perry says, "Jesus Saves." But Jesus saves whether Perry says so or not.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clear Your Heart, Not Your Calendar

Ever wonder what some of that stuff on your calendar means? Not the stuff you wrote illegibly. The stuff printed on the calendar by the calendar-making people - the Calendarites.

The Calendarites have printed a couple of things on my calendar during this month that are incredibly significant, yet most Christians have no idea what any of it means nor how it relates to their faith.

Keeping in mind that this is a devotion and not a dissertation, let's glance at our "at-a-glance" calendars together and learn a little about some funny words printed there. Look at the 19th and the 28th of September. What do you see? Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Men, those are not famous fashion designers. Ladies, those are not famous athletes. They are Jewish holidays. Why should we care? We're Christians, not Jews. True. But Christianity came out of Judaism and Jesus was Jewish!

Reminds me of the Jewish Rabbi who sent his son to Jerusalem only to learn that his son met a Christian there and became a follower of Christ. The Rabbi was heartbroken, and went to God in prayer, "My son went to Jerusalem and became a Christian! What am I going to do?" God answered, "Why are you asking Me? So did Mine!"

Let's start with Rosh Hashanah. Translated, it means "head of the year." Believe it or not, "Happy New Year" hasn't always been celebrated by all things human on January 1st! The Jewish New Year isn't about fireworks and resolutions. It's about repentance and cleansing.

Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Feast of Trumpets. In ancient Israel, a trumpet (shofar) was blown for two reasons: to gather the Israelites together for an assembly or to sound an alarm to the troops that an enemy was approaching.

The trumpet means, "Get ready!" The trumpet is blown for 40 days to remind people to repent because Rosh Hashanah is coming. Sound familiar, Christian friend? I seem to recall the New Testament repeatedly warning followers of Christ to get ready and stay ready because of the promise of a trumpet blast that will announce the return of Christ! (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17). One big difference. When the trumpet blows to announce Christ's return, the Calendarites won't have it printed for us. 2nd Peter 3:10-12 reminds us that no one knows when that day will come.

Rosh Hashanah means, "Get ready." And the way to get ready is to repent. Turn from your sins. Be cleansed of your sins that have accumulated and now cling to you like dust and grime.

Are you listening for the trumpet? Are you ready for Jesus to return? I can't help but believe that Gabriel has been practicing and his angelic lips are near the horn. Repent and turn to Christ now while he's inhaling. Once he exhales and blows that trumpet, it will be too late.

How do you turn to Christ? Just tell God in your own words that you know you are a sinner and you want to accept the sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus), who paid the penalty for your sins when He was crucified in your behalf. Ask Him to forgive you and cleanse you. God's grace is freely available to all who ask.

Yom Kippur. Day of Atonement. Separate the first two letters of atonement from the next three and you get the idea: "At One" -ment. Our sins separate us from God. To be atoned means to be made "at one" with God again.

All the other Jewish festivals are celebrative. Filled with singing and dancing before the Lord. Yom Kippur is a more solemn time. A time to 'fess up and seek God's forgiveness and mercy.

Yom Kippur was the only time of the year the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place of the Temple. He would enter to atone for his own sins and for the sins of the people. A bull and goat were sacrificed and their blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat.

On this same day, a second goat was brought in -- a scapegoat was brought to the leaders of Israel. They laid hands on the animal, symbolically placing the sins of the Nation on it. Then they drove it out into the wilderness, believing that it was carrying their sins away.

Goat #1 paid for their sins with his blood. Goat #2 removed their sins from their presence. Goat #1 brought forgiveness. Goat #2 brought cleansing and restored them to a righteous standing before God.

At least, for a little while. It had to be repeated every year and was needed every month, week, day, and hour. Why? Because we are all professional sinners.

The Book of Hebrews in the New Testament explains all of this. It is called "Hebrews" because it reveals the truth of Yeshua's Messianic fulfillment to those Jews who seek to make an honest investigation of the claims of Christ. It brings the Jew to see that Judaism has been fulfilled in Jesus.

Yom Kippur. Day of Atonement. As a believer and follower of Christ, you have a Yom Kippur, too. There's been a day of atonement for you. It isn't on any of our current or recent calendars. It was etched into one calendar 2,000 years ago. "For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24).

Once Jesus made His sacrifice of atonement on the cross when He died for our sins, it finalized the need for annual sacrifices. "Not that He should offer Himself often...but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many" (Hebrews 9:25-28).

By the way...Jesus IS returning. How do I know? He promised He would. He's kept every promise He ever made. Others can scoff and doubt. It makes them feel smart. That's fine. Jesus predicted they would, so when they do, they just make Him look right smart.

I don't know when Jesus is coming. I just know He is. When I see my calendar every September, it reminds me to be ready. Are you ready? If not, will you make an honest, unbiased search of the Bible for truth? Not because you already believe it ISN'T true and want to nitpick it to death, but because you really want to know if it IS true.

I know you're hungry for something that satisfies. Jesus is the bread of life, the manna from heaven, the source of living water, the light of the world, and the garment of righteousness.

Happy New Life!
Perry Crisp

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What's That You're Wearing?

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings" (Genesis 3:7).

An increasing number of television documentaries take aim at the Bible in an attempt to question the validity of its content. Scholars with a bias against belief in a sovereign God or sinful man pick apart Scripture by developing theories of logic that seek to trap God within the confines of human limitations. Like a glove that doubts the existence of a hand, they ignore the obvious.

They also ignore Biblical scholars with equal or greater credentials than the ones they interview because such scholars believe the Bible is true and accurate. Instead, they seek out like-minded doubters with the same agenda to convince us all that the Bible is not a valid source for the creation of the world, the existence of man, or the explanation of life.

Forgive me for being blunt, but the question begs to be asked: Why, then, do those who spout their doubt so freely against God's story still wear clothing? Don't get me wrong -- I'm GLAD they do! But why?

If the Bible-attackers and naysayers of God who diligently work to convince the world that the Bible is a myth and God is dead truly believe what they are spouting, shouldn't their logic lead them to stop covering themselves?

I'm not advocating a revival of nakedness. I'm asking those who are certain of the absence of God or the irrelevance of Scripture why they are still clothed. If, according to them, the Bible isn't true, including the creation and beginning of man through Adam and Eve, and the whole Garden of Eden thing -- then humans are not sinners and shame, guilt, and embarassment are not valid.

I, for one, am glad they are inconsistent at this point. But think about it. If there is no God, no sin, no fall of man, and all that follows according to Scripture, then why are we the only species shopping at JC Penney? After all, we're born naked. Yet we are quickly covered. Frogs are born naked and swim nude the rest of their lives.

Oh, I know what their answer would be. It is a social etiquette engrained in our society based on a false belief system that would be too shocking to our culture to reverse. Plus, you can get arrested.

I wonder. Is that an answer based on logic or is it a personal conviction? I have a sneaky suspicion that even if we removed the laws, even the loudest Bible haters would never feel comfortable removing clothing from their closets. Even the atheist thanks God for clothing.

I thank God for clothing, too. Especially at restaurants. But I believe the origin of the whole clothing thing goes back to the first couple. I believe it had everything to do with sin, shame, and the fall of humanity. I know I'm sacrificing my opportunity to be a guest theologian on PBS and the History channel, but I believe the Bible.

Blessed to be Dressed,
Perry Crisp

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lefty-Loosey, Righty-Tighty

All dads are familiar with "daddy jobs." Daddy jobs are jobs that everyone else in the family gladly relies on dad to do. Dads get to deal with fun stuff like snakes in the house, spiders in the bathtub, and going outside at 2 a.m. to see why the dog is barking.

But there are other "daddy jobs" that a dad is called on to do because he's the only one strong enough to do them. The universal daddy job of all households is opening stuff. Well-taped packages that require a knife or sharp instrument? (Insert "toolman grunt" here). Daddy job. Sticky doors and drawers that swell and won't open easily? Daddy job.

The most common of all is the stuck jar lid. It can be a jelly jar, hot sauce jar, mayonnaise jar, or a jar of any kind with food products inside --- Daddy job.

"Dad, can you open this?" I've yet to figure out if that is a request, a command, or a challenge to my manhood. I always assume the latter and spring to the challenge. Thankfully, there haven't been too many that caused my face to turn red or my veins to thicken on my forehead. Most of them are opened rather easily. But every once in a while, a challenger comes along that is a worthy adversary.

"Dad, can you open this," asks your six-year-old daughter as she hands you a jar of preserves that has been passed down from grandma and has been sitting in an outside pantry rusting away since Truman was president. Without hesitation, you find yourself in a death-grip with that jar twisting with all your might. That old rusty jar takes you to your knees while your daughter looks at you in disappointment. You feel like Superman trying to open a jar of kryptonite and Lois Lane is shocked to see that you can't even open a jar!

After two or three innings, the old jar lid loosens and loses the battle against the man of the house. And yes, the man of the house takes a victory lap around the kitchen.

In the pantry of your life, there may be some things that need opening that fall into the category of "Daddy jobs." Not your earthly daddy. Your heavenly Father. There are some things that only the Father can open. Whether in your life or in the life of someone close to you, you can approach your Father and ask, "Daddy, can You open this?"

He can. God can open closed minds, barricaded hearts, and doors that we thought were permanently shut. Do you have a loved one whose heart and mind is closed toward God? Ask your heavenly Daddy to open it. Do you have a friend or someone you love deeply who has closed the door of their heart to you? Hand it over to your Father. Do you find it difficult to understand what the Bible is saying when you sit down to read it? Ask God to open your understanding. Luke 24:45 says,
"And He (Jesus) opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures."

Whatever the jar and however tight the lid, take it to Daddy. If He can open the closed tomb of His lifeless Son and bring Him back to life, He can open anything.

Perry Crisp

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Hunting Ranch for the PC Now Open

New Hunting Ranch for the PC Now Open

Ever wanted to satisfy that innate craving to hate and hunt, but your political correctness keeps getting in the way? Sure, it's great feeling smug and self-righteous when defending the rights of the planet, animals and people less "people" than you, but what do you do with the call of the wild inside you?

Well, now you have an outlet! Bill Mayhem and Michael Moreorless have created El Rancho Diablo, government-funded (oops, that part was supposed to be a secret) hunting ranches for the Politically Correct. These ranches are conveniently located in several undisclosed locations on both the east and west coasts.*

What can you do at El Rancho Diablo? You can release the deep wells of anger and hatred you have for those pesky Christians and right-wing radio personalities at the top of your lungs without fear of having to defend your bias or irrational and unjustified disdain.

El Rancho Diablo is fully equipped with extravagant Shouting and Shooting Ranges. Our shouting and shooting ranges allow you the option of shouting or shooting a BB gun** at life-like fake wax*** replicas of Bible-thumping believers and your most despised radio right-wingers.

Want to pop a vein on your forehead while shouting at the top of your lungs at Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, or Shawn Hannity without fear of them talking back? No problem. Care to spew venom and hatred at a few smiling, hard-working, tax-paying, successful, upper-middle class Christians? Fire away!

Speaking of "firing away," we even provide weapons (because we know you've always wanted to hold one). At every shouting and shooting range, you can choose from a selection of BB guns ranging from BB pistols to semi-automatic BB rifles. Your personal trainer**** will assist you in the proper methods of gun handling. She or he will show you how to pick up the weapon, hold the weapon, and aim the weapon.

*A screening process is required to gain access to these locations to ensure that you won't actually have to confront a live Christian or right-wing radio personality.

**Of course, because this is a PC outing, the ranch only allows BB guns with blanks. All BB rifles come standard with recoil pads for your safety.

***No candles were harmed in the making of these replicas.

****Recently released Guantanamo Bay terror suspects.

Apply today. No logic necessary. Politicians, government employees, Oprahma, all news agency employees except FOX NEWS, and Liberal College Professors hunt free. No ID (or IQ for that matter) required. Lists of popular slogans and fool-proof irrelevant chants complete with demonstration signs supplied if you feel more comfortable holding a sign instead of a gun. While government funding lasts. Lawyers experienced in frivolous lawsuits are on standby for your convenience in case you wish to sue us.